Seamwork Audrey Jacket #sewyourpride

I’ve wanted to make a jean jacket for a while and the Seamwork Audrey was on my list. It’s one of few jean jacket patterns that actually goes up to my bust measurement. On one level, I find that appalling, but there are also not many jean jacket patterns out there with this style. The Alina Design Co Hampton Jean Jacket also has a similar look but only goes up to a 42″ bust. The lack of patterns going up to or beyond a 52″ bust isn’t shocking to me at all. Say there are a 100 patterns out there of a certain type; probably around 20 of those have a more inclusive sizing, but maybe 1 has sizing that goes beyond a 60″ bust. Soap box: it would be great to see companies that go into 50″ bust land upping that into 60″ bust land. Show the companies that are just starting to increase their sizing AND show them it can be even more inclusive.

Back to the jean jacket. What I really had in mind for a jean jacket was to get a lovely light pink denim. However, my budget plus the availability of light pink denim made that a future hope. LOL. Instead, I used three different stretch denims in my stash plus scrap fabric for my pockets and pocket flaps.

Because I was using denim, I wanted to use some of the sew on patches that I have acquired over the years to make a #sewyourpride project.

On the back, I used a large sequin rainbow and on the sleeves three pride flags and a Sailor Moon patch, because if you don’t know that Sailor Moon is an LGBTQ2+ show…then you watched the American dubbed version or didn’t watch it at all.

I made a size 26 with a large bicep adjustment. With my measurements, the size 24 would have been fine but I went with the size 26 to get a jean jacket perfect for wearing with hoodies in the fall. I love a layering piece. The pattern does run large, though, so just be aware of that.

I did faux flat fells for the seams and topstitched in a bright yellow using the triple straight stitch on my machine. I don’t like struggling with topstitching thread and the triple straight stitch looks so good.

The welt pockets have a different construction method than I have done in the past. The welt pocket facing actually gets folded up to become the welt. I love the method, actually. Later the method helped me since the pants I cloned for my husband use the same method. Basically, what I am trying to say is that I am a welt pocket expert now. Hahha. Joking, but I do feel really confident about them.

Some things I had issues with are the pocket bags for the welt pockets. I was careful about the placement but they still didn’t extend to the be sewn into the button band. I had to sew the tops of the pocket bags down. The welt pockets also open a bit too far back for me. So once I get the light pink denim of my dreams, I will move the location of the welt pocket closer to centre so I can catch the pocket bag in the button band as the instructions dictate. The flap pockets on the bust are also fake. I won’t change that, but it’s a bit ugh to put in fake pockets. I’m not a fan. I also don’t love the collar construction. You snip into the neckline to put it in. I worry that this method will lead to wear and tear in that area.

The jacket is definitely not perfect but I love the result. I can definitely improve on managing corners like on the waistband or the sleeve bands. It’s not perfect in those areas, but not too bad.

I’ve been wearing the jacket non-stop since I finished it so in spite of any “imperfections,” I love it. My fav style is to roll up the sleeves and wear it open. I used to have a jean jacket back in the 90s that I wore in this style and I loved it.

It’s strange how styles repeat themselves. I’m basically back in the styles that I loved back in my teen years. But this time, I am happier, more confident, and can sew the styles that were barred from me by lack of inclusive sizing. So, fuck you, 90s designers; I got this.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Audrey
  • Pros: Okay size range up to a 54 inch bust and likely due to the oversized look can probably push that a bit. I love the details and all the topstitching. It’s a definite “classic” jean jacket style.
  • Cons: The issues with the welt pocket bags not going to the button band to be sewn into it. Faux pockets ughhh. Welt pockets are too far back.
  • Make again?: Obviously I still require a light pink denim version. OBVIOUSLY.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Style Sew Me Nikki Blazer

When @naturaldane and @onesewsweet announced the Black History Month Pattern Designers Challenge, I was excited. I wanted to try Style Sew Me patterns for a while and what a perfect time to do it. I got the Nikki blazer pattern and the Alise top, which is a current work in progress.

I used a green ponte knit for this version. I made the largest size and used smaller seam allowances. Mostly because I was worried that the sleeves wouldn’t fit but that wasn’t an issue; I should have just measures the pieces but I guess I was feeling lazy at the time. Even with the seam allowances as recommended and not in a knit fabric, it seems like the sleeves would be fine. Also, another thing about the sleeves is they are 2 piece sleeves. I adore a 2-piece sleeve.

I made no alterations for this version. The fit is okay, but for the next versions, I will shorten the bodice by about 2 inches, and add a bit more flare to the back skirt piece. I know that the sleeves are about an inch too long, but my preference is that they are longer so it’s unlikely that I would change it. A note that in the pictures, I am holding my remote so my hands disappear in a lot of the pictures. The sleeves hit about 1/3 or 1/2 of the way into my palm so a bit long but I like it that way.

I didn’t line this version since the knit is sewn on my serger and all the insides are finished anyway.

In terms of instructions, the pattern actually has very few. But there are youtube tutorials on it and the other patterns so anything that isn’t clear in the instructions is understood through the video tutorials.

I have already made a second version of the blazer. For this one, I added a bit more flare to the back peplum as sort of a faux full butt adjustment. I shortened the bodice by 2 inches. I do think that I could use a narrow shoulder adjustment but I keep forgetting and it’s not bothering me too much. The fabric is antique gold coloured faux leather and cotton lycra for the side panels and under sleeve due to fabric constraints. I hemmed the blazer with Heat N Bond Super hem and it is holding nicely in place. I also used the Heat N Bond to give a nice crisp edge to the collar pieces.

I made this one for the Day and Night Dress Challenge.

I also made my tassel necklace and the clutch (although to be real, the clutch isn’t quite done since it still needs lining and I haven’t found the strap I want to use for it.

The theme this year was to take a dress that you have in your closet that you don’t wear that often and make things that complete a day look and a night look. This Cashmerette Rivermont is actually the opposite of the dress requirements. I wear this one so often that I needed different looks for it. Mission accomplished.

The clutch is the Seamwork Valencia. It’s made with purple leather and green suede. Both of these are my first projects with faux or real leather aside from some leather patches on a jacket that I made ages ago. The sewing could be better on the Seamwork Valencia, but it could also be worse. Thank goodness for past me getting a teflon foot for my sewing machine. Also thank goodness for an amazing sewing machine with the Singer Heavy Duty 4452. ❤ Oh and I will be posting my review on the machine soon since it’s been a year with it.

The Valencia needed some piecing since the purple leather I had was a small remnant. The clutch has a magentic snap. Part of the reason I am also waiting to finish this is that the holes I cut for the magentic snap were cut a bit big. I think it will be okay but it would benefit from some reinforcement behind the snap just to ensure the hole doesn’t get bigger. I’m procrastinating on doing that. But I’m also not sure about the lining yet. Do you ever hesitate on small details like that? I even had a lining all ready and then went to put it in and was all….nope I don’t like that. I’ll figure it out. I might have to visit a remnant bin or two. Oh no fabric shopping! hahah.

I definitely don’t think this is my last leather/suede/faux leather project. I really want to make a small backpack with a combination of tan and more of the hunter green suede. We’ll see when I get around to that. I still haven’t found the perfect pattern for that.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Style Sew Me Nikki Blazer
  • Pros: Princess seams in front a back, nice shaping. The sleeves are actually generously sized and didn’t require a large bicep adjustment at all.
  • Cons: I can’t think of any cons! My length issue is because I am short, but that’s a common adjustment and easy adjustment for me.
  • Make again?: Definitely. I want a woven version next!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Valencia
  • Pros: An easy project for a first leather purse.
  • Cons: No cons really.
  • Make again?: Probably not. I don’t know how many clutches I would need!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

LBD and a Designer Stitch Willow Kimono

I don’t wear a lot of black anymore but I used to wear black in my early teen years. I like sporting black tops and a million “Goth” necklaces. It didn’t last long before I thought that the black made me look super pale and I started having allergic reactions to the bad metals in the cheap necklaces. A rash on my chest plus a super pale face just looks like I am suffering from a terrible disease. Turns out it was a terrible disease!! (EDS joke!) …But not an infectious one. I eventually settled in to a more grunge style with men’s jeans or super baggy overalls and a large amount of vintage t-shirts with men’s button up shirts or a plaid flannel shirt over top.

Ever since, I haven’t really cared for black anything. I wear black pieces but never a full black outfit anymore. A little black dress is a piece women are often told they must have in their wardrobe. I’m not really one for being told what to do, but since I wanted to make more party dresses last year, I thought I would make one. And yes, this project was started last year.

I used the Cashmerette Upton bodice and the Tenterhook Patterns Snapdragon skirt with a curved wrap front. Sadly, Tenterhook Patterns is completely out of business, but there are other woven pencil skirt patterns you could use to recreate this look.

I put it together the first time with the zipper and was underwhelmed. It wasn’t as cinched in at the waist as I wanted it. So I unpicked the zipper and side seams and unpicked the waistband to the waist darts and then left it in a basket for…. several…. months….ahem a year…

And then, as with every time I plan a bunch of stuff, I started thinking… Oh I should maybe finish that thing first…. So I picked it up.

Instead of doing fisheye darts like I was originally going to do, I wanted to maintain the waistband without interruption. So I unpicked the bodice and skirt from the waistband and I put an additional dart in the bodice at the waist. Shortened the waistband by about 2 inches and put a dart in each side of the skirt at the waist and then tried it on and was much happier.

My plan with the dress originally was to make it accessible so that if I was having trouble with my shoulders, I could easily get in and out of the dress. I put ties in at the shoulders and an extra long zipper at the side. There is about 4 inches of side seam at the bottom of the dress on the right side only because I forgot that I didn’t get a separating zipper for it. Originally, I was going to use a separating zipper and then have slits on both sides. I still have slits on both sides but not a completely open side seam for the zipper. In retrospect, that makes it a bit easier for me, especially when getting into the dress.

I’ve tested it a few times and I can get the dress off without any effort. I can also slip it on over my head without any effort. It’s really remarkable!

I bought the fabric years ago. One of the first bits that I added to my stash. It’s a black cotton embroidered with leaves. It’s like an eyelet but without any holes. It’s actually really challenging to sew and my old machine had a lot of trouble sewing it. The embroidered sections are difficult to sew over and are really thick with thread. My new machine went over it without issue, of course. Yeay for the Singer 4452.

I added pockets when I redid the dress. I love having them in the dress. If I ever make another in this style, though, I will use a slash pocket that is anchored by the waistband. Because the pockets aren’t anchored, they fall open a bit. It’s not a huge issue, but doesn’t look as great as I want it to look. There is also a strange pucker on the left bust dart and a bit of gaping at the armsyce. I am guessing that is due to my left shoulder being more dropped that my right shoulder. I likely need to make sure that side is tied a bit tighter.

I’m really glad I made this dress. I think it will be great for at least one of the weddings I am attending this year.

And because I don’t really wear solid black anymore… It also happens to look fabulous with my outrageous Designer Stitch Willow Kimono.

Last year, I got a bunch of fabric from Minerva Crafts as an Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month prize. I also got a voucher for Designer Stitch as well during that month and got the Willow Kimono. Among the fabric was this orange animal print satin. It’s definitely a bright and outrageous print, but I fell in love with it. I sent some fabric to family in the Dominican Republic for a fellow sewist who lost a lot in the hurricane last year. I almost sent this fabric but then pulled it out of the pile because I had the brilliant idea of making a shorter Willow Kimono with red fringe. Don’t worry, I pulled something else out of my stash that was fabulous to replace it for the gift. I had a meter of this satin and basically decided to cut the length to whatever I could fit on to the piece of fabric. It is cut about 4 inches under the curve of the sleeve.

It’s a really weird garment even for me who loves wacky fabrics! But I really really love it. It was quick to make. The thing that took the most time was trimming the fringe so it was all relatively even.

I think it looks great paired with my LBD. It also looks great with my white upton dress with tie sleeves underneath. Both dresses make it the focal point and don’t overwhelm the eye too much.

What is the most outrageous thing you have made?

 

 

 

Burda Magazine Jersey Blazer 08/2016 #134

The Curvy Year of Sewing Jackets and Blazers theme was the perfect opportunity to finally make this Burda blazer. I keep talking about making a million blazers and then never doing the thing. I think starting here is a great gateway into maybe finally making the Vogue Claudia Shaeffer blazer of my dreams.

The Burda Jersey Blazer #134 from August 2016 issue is a lined jersey blazer with a shawl collar and patch pockets. I’m not sure if you know, but I am a fan of Burda. I can always rely on their drafting for getting a good fit with some adjustments. Mostly, I love the classic styles they have. I don’t love their lack of instructions, however, and they certainly are famous for sparse instructions in their magazines. Burda plus sizes range from size 44 (39.25 inch/100 cm bust) to size 52 (48 inch/122 cm bust). Admittedly, not the greatest size range, but it works for me with minor adjustments.

My measurements are: 51/52 bust, 46 waist, and 54/56 hip (depending on my swelling that day due to my chronic illness). I made a size 52 with a 2 inch FBA (adding 4 inches overall) and a 2 inch full bicep adjustment. I added 4 extra inches to the bust to allow for a button closure. The original pattern is meant to sit open, but I often want to pull blazers closed and quite frankly I think the look works well with the Cashmerette Rivermont, which was my planned pairing for this blazer.

Let’s talk fit issues. The blazer is long on me. I am a shorter person at 5’3″ and I have short arms. I prefer longer sleeves that cover my hands since they get cold easily. The back could use a sway back adjustment as well as a bit more room in the hips, which would help the pulling at the front button. I think the bust looks good. I do wish I had but in 2 buttons and may be adding that later, but we’ll see if I ever get around to that. For future versions, I will shorten the length overall, as well as do a swayback and full hip adjustment.

I love the blazer in spite of that and for most non-sewists those issues are minor.

My favourite details of this blazer are the purple piping along the lapel and the small purple buttons on the sleeve vents. Speaking of the sleeve vents, the instructions weren’t very good to help me do my first sleeve vent. I actually used this tutorial from Patterns Scissors Cloth. It was fantastic in holding my hand throughout the process.

I used a medium weight poly blend jersey in a dark grey. The piping is Wrights pre-made piping from Funky Monkey Fabrics. Buttons are sourced locally. I didn’t line the blazer. I don’t think it needs the lining at all. I used my serger for the most of the construction so the insides are nice anyway. I made shoulder pads for the blazer using the grey jersey and some poly padding I had leftover from a previous project. Easier than buying shoulder pads and they match my blazer.

Construction, except for the sleeve vents, went together really easily. With the tutorial, the sleeve vents were a breeze. The instructions were no help there. My one issue with the pattern is that the back facing seemed unnecessary. The lapel is cut on and then facing is sew on. The front facing pieces attach at the back and then get sewn into the seams below the pockets. The back facing is supposed to be attached to a cut out part on the front facing and then sewn into the seams on the shoulders and back neckline. It is likely my error with adding in the seam allowances (since I eyeball them when cutting out the pattern) and not using a lining, but the piece wasn’t necessary to me and could have been incorporated into the front facing piece which has a seam at the back anyway. I was able to sew the front facings to the back neckline and the shoulders without the back facing piece. Likely my error, but also possible not. I will see the result with a more stable knit since I plan to use a tan knit next time with blue piping.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Burda Jersey Blazer #134 from August 2016 issue
  • Pros: Great size range. Jersey means comfort! Opportunity for customization. Love those princess seams.
  • Cons: A little long. Burda does tend to think that plus sized equals tall so I often have to shorten things. Unnecessary back facing piece possibly. Easy to draft out, though. Terrible instructions.
  • Make again?: YESYESYES
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Seamwork Jill Coatigan

And now for something completely different…

The last time I made a Seamwork magazine pattern it was a complete and udder (HA!) disaster with the Florence bralette pattern. I would still love to find a bralette pattern that works for my bust size (gargantuan). That experience definitely turned me off of the patterns, but then I started thinking that maybe I might perhaps….. try another.

I’m not extolling the virtues of Seamwork or Colette, but my Jill Coatigan did work out very well. I had bought some other patterns before I made the Florence bralette. I also ended up getting the Audrey jean jacket. Of course, the patterns are very tempting because they go up to a 54 bust and 58 hip. But are they actually worth it? Colette gets some pretty warrented criticism from the sewing blog community for their drafting, especially in the sleeves.

I took the plunge, though, because I wanted a boxy coat for the Spring and really wanted to use some wool knit I had in my stash for the project. Megan and I spoke and decided to do a Same Pattern, Different Bodies for the CSC for the Curvy Year of Sewing theme of jacket/blazer for March/April. You can read more about Megan’s coat here. All of these things kind of meant I was committed to another Seamwork pattern.

  

In spite of the loose fit for this pattern, the arms were still going to be a bit tight for me. They would have *just* fit so I added 2 inches there and had to add a bit to the side seams to accomodate. I also initially shorted the pattern by 7 inches. I am 5’3″ and regularly have to shorten patterns quite a bit. 7 inches would have meant the pattern would hit my mid-thigh. But then due to fabric constraints, I needed to shorten further to get the pattern to fit because I *had* to use this fabric. I think in total it is shortened by about 15 inches. If I were to make it again, I would go with the 7 inches instead.

In terms of fit, it fits as boxy and loose as the pattern suggests. I made a 2XL. The arms are a bit long but I do prefer jackets and coats and cardigans and long sleeves in general to be long on me to protect my always cold hands.

Things I didn’t like about the pattern are the slightly curved seam at the front. Comparing the curvy block to the regular block, the curve is a bit more in the curvy block. With the curve going up to the centre front, it doesn’t make any sense to me since it then doesn’t look like a straight hem from the side view. My bust pulls it up further as well. If I make this again, I will definitely be correcting that.

The instructions were so strange in some places. It suggests top stitching the facing down but then it would show from the right side in places so I noped that. It’s a simple pattern and would work for a beginner, but some instructions might be tough for them to understand and could be done in an easier way. So for the most part, I ignored them.

I started off by binding all my seams with a bright green cotton bias tape. I sort of abandoned that after a bit because I found the process tedious. Do you ever do that mid-sewing? The back seam/kick pleat and the edge of the facing all are bound, but the rest is finished with my serger instead.

 

The main fabric is a grey floral knit with a stripe on the wrong side. The floral shows on the collar facing but I used the stripe for the main parts. I liked the floral but not enough to make it the main look. I added a belt and belt loops to the coat. I used a darker grey wool coating for the tie and the pockets for a bit of contrast…..hahahha because I ran out of fabric. Luckily, I had some in my stash from a trade a while back so my lack of fabric worked out okay.

 

I love the look of the tie and those pockets are enormous and can fit anything in them. I put my kindle in it as well as some cards during a respiralogist appointment recently. Very useful.

The other good thing about the pattern is that it is quick to cut out and quick to make. It is pretty satisfying to have a pattern like that. I think you know by now that I enjoy quick projects. I do love an involved one, but definitely need a few quick ones in between those.

 

What more can I say? I love the coat. It’s great for this in-between weather and an alternative to my Pepernoot coat that I made 2 years ago.

Before I finish this post, a quick update on my health. My new respiralogist has been amazing (I literally cried in his office after he promised he would get my cough managed). He put me on some new meds and increased others and my cough has improved dramatically. Initially, I thought I might need to return to him sooner for an appointment because my cough was bad for about a month with the transition of the new meds, but it just started going away and now I cough only if I forget my meds. At the first appointment, I was using 80% of the normal lung capacity. Now I am at 120%, because I am a major overachiever. 😉

Of course, the disclaimer to this update is that while one part is more managed by medication, other parts of my chronic illness are not and I am still a person who lives each day with health issues and chronic pain. The thing about devoting all my time to breathing normally is that it allowed me to ignore or push aside the pain. Now that I can breathe again without coughing fits, I am noticing the pain more and how much it has increased in the past year. I have a growing instability in my lower spine and my left hip (my right hip has a labrum tear so it is always in pain), and my costochrondritis is flaring horribly making deep breaths extremely painful. But I take the breathing again as an extremely amazing victory! And knowing I have remarkable lung capacity for a person of my age, weight, and height, is fantastic news! Yeay lungs! When they work, they sure make breathing easier! 😀

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Jill Coatigan
  • Pros: Simple pattern with a good size range. Great for beginners who need a gateway drug into coatmaking.
  • Cons: Instructions are a bit weird and could be improved. Strange curved front hem….
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments and in the mid-thigh length. How many coats does one need? Well, quite frankly, I think all the coats would be the answer. ❤ I have a tan non-stretch knit that would work well for this pattern so I will probably use that for another version since it sews up pretty quickly.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Swoon Patterns Scarf Neck Cardigan

I love a good flowy cardigan with a scarf neck. I’m a layering person and love having tons of options. I still love my Jenna Cardigans and wear them tons, but I was looking for a scarf neck cardigan for a different option. The big bonus: this pattern is free! The Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan wasn’t on my radar for a while and then someone (terrible memory…) made it on Instagram (EDIT: It was this post on the CSC that brought it on my radar. Boy do I have a bad memory!) and I realized it actually has a larger size range than I thought. It goes up to a 50 inch bust, but has a generous scarf front so it could likely fit higher than that. I can be as much as a 53 inch bust on a day where I am swelling and it fits great. If you are a bit larger than 50 bust, you could probably fit into it nicely.

Word of warning, the instructions are bare bones and similar to Style Arc with only a couple of pictures for guidance. It took me a couple of beats to understand how the scarf neck was installed, but overall it wasn’t difficult to put it together.

As per my usual methods, I didn’t hem the knit. I just serged the edges.

I made no alterations for my green and white rib knit version. For my second version, I used a sheer white knit of “mixed fibres” (all clearance fabrics in fabricland are marked with “mixed fibres” for some reason…). My guess is a rayon/polyester blend, but who knows? For the second one, I did a full bicep adjustment on the sleeve. It’s meant to have a bit of a dropped shoulder so I didn’t narrow the shoulder, but I found the bicep a bit tight to wear with sleeves underneath. My third version is using a sheer fluorescent orange striped knit. I have no idea what I will actually wear this over and regret not picking up a pink flourescent eyelet fabric that would have made a perfect dress for underneath (Andrea said I would regret not getting that fabric and she was right…lol).

I thought about shortening the sleeve length, but my hands get really cold in AC or in the winter so it is often nice to have the sleeves to cover them as needed. I can roll them up if they get in the way. I love how the cardigans work with pants/shorts or with a dress/skirt. My cropped Jenna cardigans are great for wearing with dresses and skirts, but do not work with shorts or pants. I wear 80% skirts and dresses, but it is nice to have options.

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan
  • Pros: The lovely princess seams really sell this cardigan for me. They give the cardigan a nice shape. I also love the hem of the cardigan. The side panel has a pointed hem and with the scarf neck it makes for a lovely flowy hem. Major pro is that the pattern is free.
  • Cons: Decent size range, but I am at the top. Minimal instructions, but an easy pattern.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! You can see I already made three. I often come across nice fabric that would work well for this kind of cardigan and will probably make a few more in solid colours for the fall. Oh fall…. I don’t want to stop sewing for summer, but I feel fall creep closer and closer….. At some point, I guess should switch gears…
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Upton Maxi dress

Back on my honeymoon, I was 3 weeks away from my sewing machine and I started dreaming of what I would make when I returned. The fabric haul I brought back helped, of course, but I also dreamed about the fabric I already had, including this lovely bright print:

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It’s definitely reminiscent of African wax prints, but I am not 100% sure if it is one. I forgot to ask and, quite frankly, at $5/metre, I doubt it is a wax print. Every wax print I saw while I was in the Netherlands was around 15 euros a metre or more and looking briefly online I see similar prices. I saw so many gorgeous wax prints in the Netherlands:

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I wanted to buy them all. As a result, my mind wandered back to this fabric I already had. I bought 5 metres of it without a clear idea in my head of what I would make, but it was only $25 so I just did it. I was 100% after my trip that it was screaming to become a maxi dress. Then Cashmerette released the Upton dress and Ashley announced the Maxi dress sewalong and I knew: an Upton maxi dress.

I’ve never worn or even tried a maxi dress on before in my life. I had a strange notion that because I was short and fat, it would make me look even shorter and fatter. Now I don’t give a flying beep about that. I just want to try new styles and stretch my fashion wings. So a maxi dress is perfect for getting over that fashion fear.

Usual disclaimer: I didn’t test the Upton pattern, because the timing was off for me, but I did receive it for free.

I’ll go into a more extensive review when I actually sew the entire dress, but for my maxi dress, I only used the bodice, didn’t even line it, completely ignored the instructions, and can only speak to how that worked out. I made two muslins for the bodice. One I tried the 24C/D graded to the 26 at the waist.

Another I made the 22G/H graded to the 24 at the waist (that one wasn’t even IG worthy!). Then I measured myself again and chose to make the 24G/H graded to the 26 at the waist and it was perfect:

Next version, I will narrow the shoulders and maybe do a forward shoulder adjustment, too.

I made extra darts at the armholes to get a good fit. I had this opinion that armhole darts are not ideal for some reason and should be avoided, but unless I am working with princess seams I really need them to get a good fit everywhere. My high bust to full bust to underbust ratio is extreme and my shoulders are narrow. With princess seams, I’m always shaving off a bit where the armhole meets the princess seam. It works well without a dart there for princess seams, but in a darted bodice, that extra dart at the armhole works so much better for me. Any flat pattern adjustments won’t quite get the right shape, because we are 3D beings. In patterns with sleeves, it’s a bit different as the sleeve generally pulls that extra fabric in, but in a sleeveless bodice with darts, I’m all for that armhole dart. It just looks better on me.

Again I had a horrible time with my zipper. I need more practice, but also my machine just does not want to work with zippers. It won’t feed them through for whatever reason. It’s not bulky and there is no thread in the way. It just hates zippers. I’ll figure out what the issue is eventually or get a new machine, but in the meantime I am trying to figure out how to perfect my lapped zippers. I’ve looked up many a tutorial and am ready to get better at it. I changed the zipper from a back zipper to a side lapped zipper. My mobility in my shoulder is pretty limited and I definitely have an easier time with the side zipper.

I’m slightly ashamed of my sewing on this dress. Neither of the waistband seams meet in the right place and the zipper is a bit of a mess. But there is no way I am ripping it out to make it perfect. The print hides everything so I will just wear it as is. I didn’t take any pictures of the mistakes either because they don’t really matter. If you zoom in on some of the pictures, you’ll probably see them anyway. If you really want to be like that.

For the skirt, I just gathered two panels of the fabric from selvage to selvage and attached them. I also added pockets because why wouldn’t you add pockets. I should have checked the skirt pieces on the pattern for pocket placement because they sit just slightly too low. I can still get my hands in, but for getting anything out of the bottom of the pocket, it’s a bit tricky. Trickier when you have mobility issues with your shoulder.

I also made a Muse Patterns Jenna cardi. My many versions of these are worn all the time. I got this pink knit content unknown from the thrift store. It’s a perfect addition to my wardrobe since I have many dresses that would work with it. Pink is totally a neutral for me. I don’t have buttons on it yet and am definitely wearing it around until I find the right ones. The cardigan fits with the stashbusting sewalong theme for the month of seasonal change and will help transition my dresses into the fall nicely. I can’t believe I am actually thinking about fall. I’ve pulled out a bunch more patterns for seasonal change so I am hoping to do some more fabric stashbusting. I’ve got one shelf in my stash almost half gone! It feels great! Almost all the fabric from my honeymoon is sewn up. Knits get sewn really fast for me. I’m trying to focus on wovens more lately, though, so I can stashbust those.

Prepare for a bunch of pictures of my maxi dress!!!

Jenna Cardi and Upton Maxi Dress

Jenna cardi and Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Excuse the picture dump, but I am stoked about the dress. I made it with v-neck back and front and finished the armholes and neckline with bias tape.

I’ll review the Upton dress properly when I actually make it in full.