Muna and Broad Torrens Box Top

Disclaimer: I received the pattern for free but my opinion is my own. Check out the CSC post for more versions.

Muna and Broad is one of the newer indie pattern companies run by Leila (@Leilasews) and Jess (Broad in the Seams). They are a plus-sized pattern company and really put a lot of work into making sure their patterns have a lot of plus-sized alterations built in. I have the Glebe pants and will be trying them out soon (my muslin is already cut out); I also tested their Undies/Period Undies pattern and it’s life changing! You’ll see those on the blog soonish (although just the undies not the period undies since I don’t have the materials for those yet). The Torrens Box top is a boxy silhouette top with sleeve bands and a sleeve extension pack.

My first version of the Torrens top is made without any alterations in a pink swiss dot cotton. I made a size A. There is a slight bit of gaping in the neckline but the fit is good otherwise. Gaping in the neckline is a usual issue for me due to my large bust.

It’s a really cute top. I’ve been wearing a more boxy silhouette these days since developing issues with compression urticaria (hives from wearing tight clothing). Let me tell you how horrible compression urticaria is when you have EDS. My skin is fragile so scratching actually breaks the skin or causes blood vessels to burst in my skin and also develops hives from scratching (dermatographia). Think of being itchy and then just getting itchier from itching and then being so itchy you want to cry. Fun times. It’s changed a lot of my sewing. I need to sew bras that I can actually wear without having this issue but I am not sure what those would look like. Some of the dresses I have made in the past aren’t comfortable for me anymore and even the waistband on skirts is getting to me. Honestly, it’s probably the most frustrating part of having a chronic illness: having things you love taken away from you… So my style is changing to adapt. Thankfully my Belmont leggings are still okay and my Misty jeans (new plaid pair here in double knit fabric… couldn’t pattern match due to fabric constraints) and a lot of my tops are okay, but most woven fabrics are too constrictive for me to wear. So I am really thankful for patterns like this that are loose fitting and comfortable to wear. I have plans for other types of flowy tops and some already cut out. You’ll likely see more pants here, too, but only elastic waistbands as anything else would hurt.

After this version, I made a few changes. I lowered the neckline as well as taking out a 1/2 wedge to deal with the neckline gaping. For version 2, instead of the deep hem, I chose to just do a 1/2 inch hem for a bit more length.

I used the sleeve expansion since I was given early access to it. It’s definitely my favourite version. The sleeves, the colour, so goooood. Since I lowered the neckline, I do have more gaping at the neckline in this version. It’s also made with red rayon fabric which does have a tendency to grow. We’ll see how it washes up but I will do some more neckline alterations for the next version.

There will definitely be more of these in the future. It’s such a comfortable shirt to wear.

I totally chose the red after seeing Leila’s red Torrens on Instagram:

How amazing does she look? I had to follow her footsteps.

Let’s talk about those sleeves for a moment. They are so roomy. I used the wide sleeve and really love it. One of few patterns where I haven’t needed to make a large bicep adjustment.

Real talk, just before taking these pictures, I washed my hands and got water all over the bottom front of the top right before taking pictures. I don’t photoshop my pictures so feel free to play Where’s Waldo with those water stains. LOL.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Muna and Broad Torrens Box Top
  • Pros: Great size range for plus and honestly that’s all I really care about. Love the sleeves. Love the sleeve bands. Love the shape. Great instructions. So many pros.
  • Cons: No cons that I can think of. Even the neckline gaping issues aren’t really cons.
  • Make again?: Oh yes. It’s so goood.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 5/5 stars

 

 

Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee

The Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee was recently updated for a larger size range. Previously, it was only available in one size but this update includes multiple sizes and it’s still a free pattern! Free patterns are really great for me since I am still recovering from being unemployed for the majority of this year (feel free to drop me a kofi if you want to help me out; things are still really tough for me even though I am employed now). Thankfully my stash was large and in charge so I wasn’t experiencing withdrawal from sewing. One of the difficult things about sewing is that it can be financially inaccessible: sewing machines can be expensive and especially here in Canada, fabric is expensive and patterns are even more expensive than in the US. I am so envious of those pattern sales in the US! So when free patterns are offered by companies, it really helps people who don’t necessarily have the funds to buy the latest new pattern. I know this isn’t necessarily something every company wants to do based on their own financial resources, but it really helps people with lower incomes. ❤ I really appreciate the free patterns I have been trying out lately.

The Hemlock tee is a drop-shoulder tee with short sleeves and long sleeves for options as well as different lengths. You get it for free when you sign up for the newsletter.

To test the pattern out, I chose the short sleeve and cropped version using leftover fabric from my Clementine shirt. It’s a rayon spandex knit in a tropical leaf pattern.

The new size range is 0-30. Grainline, however, has different blocks for 0-18 and the 14-30.

I used the 14-30 size range and chose size 26 since my bust is 52 inches. Although my hips are 56 and size 26 is for 55 inch hips, with the boxy style, the extra inch shouldn’t matter too much especially using the cropped version due to my lack of fabric for this.

It’s a boxy tee so the fit is oversized. It fits pretty well for the style and was super easy to make. It’s actually really great for someone who wants to start sewing knits. The instructions are quite good. That said, the seam allowance is 1/4 inch so if you aren’t using a serger, you may want to add to that or size up for a larger seam allowance. I used my serger for the construction and just using my machine to topstich the hems and the neckline.

It’s unfortunate that my hair is covering the neckline because those are the only issues I have with it. It’s not quite sitting right where the shoulders are which suggests maybe the pattern isn’t trued there or it has to do with my shoulders. I did manage to press it into submission and then topstitching helped but it isn’t perfect. That said, I also have narrow shoulders/upper bust so this is sometimes an issue. It could be truing, though, since the shoulder had a puff at that area. I have very little drafting experience, though, so I can’t confirm that the issue is there or with the fit on my body. And because I didn’t move my hair, you can’t really see it. Let me know if you try this and have issues with that, though! Or if you know exactly how to check for a truing issue.

 

The fix for that issue is relatively easy. It would be taking a small wedge out of the height of the shoulder at the neckline. I’m not too fused on it for this version, though.

 

It’s a pretty cute top and I love the cropped version with my Belmont leggings. Now that it’s winter here in Toronto, I haven’t worn it too much but I think once Spring hits, I will maybe make another… That said, I love the Mica shirt so much and I imagine that will be my go-to boxy tee. V-necks are just so much more my style than this higher round neckline.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Grainline Hemlock Tee
  • Pros: Good size range and options. FREEEEEE when you sign up for their newsletter. Good instructions.
  • Cons: Possible truing issue at the shoulder, but I am not a drafting expert so I can’t confirm that.
  • Make again?: I would. However, I like the v-neck of the Mica shirt a bit more than this but occasionally I do like a round neck too.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 4.5/5 stars

 

Laela Jeyne Patterns Lotus Bodysuit

The Laela Jeyne Lotus camisole and bodysuit is a free pattern (read how to get it here).

I love a good bodysuit with a skirt. They are comfortable to wear. I also move the snaps forward so they are easier for me. I cut off the front crotch on the pattern pieces and then tape them to the back. It results in a longer crotch piece in the back making it easier for me to grab and close the snaps in the front. You can see the pink bias tape I used for the snap closure in the picture below. Fun fact, the snaps are not sewn on here. I was having issues with my hand and it was super swollen so I decided to leave them off for the picture.

Just like with the Mica shirt, I made a 2XL E cup graded to a 3XL at the waist. The fit on this one isn’t perfect. That said, I didn’t notice how the back of the bodysuit was pulled down a bit due to catching on my leggings. I think it actually needs a full seat adjustment so that it sits right. Originally, I thought it needed more length especially at the back, but I think it needs more room in the bum. I will also do a full belly adjustment.

The sides of the top need to be raised a bit more to not show my bra. I was also thinking of making wider straps since I don’t love the width of those straps.

I made it using leftovers from my Disney Princess Gabriela onesie. It’s cotton lycra with 4 way stretch.

The pattern is good. My fit issues are mainly due to my bust being larger than what the pattern is drafted for so I am not surprised about the sides not being high enough to not reveal my bra. As for the belly and bum fit…well those are typical adjustments for me. Otherwise, I think it’s a good pattern.

Both this pattern and the Mica were great ways to try out Laela Jeyne patterns. I’m grateful that they were free. I’m definitely going to try out another Laela Jeyne pattern at some point.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Laela Jeyne Lotus Bodysuit (read how to get it here)
  • Pros: Good size range. Options for bodysuit and camisole. FREE.
  • Cons: Definitely some fit issues for me. However, those are mostly due to the fact that my bust is larger than what the pattern is drafted for.
  • Make again?: Yeah definitely
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 4.5/5 stars

Laela Jeyne Mica T-Shirt

Thank you for all your lovely comments on recent posts. I’m sorry I haven’t replied to every one of them. It’s been a tough transition with my new job. I will get to replying to them when I can, though. ❤ I appreciate and read every one of them.

Last Thursday was my birthday. I celebrated in a *very chronic illness* TM way by busting my knee and being in bunches of pain. That said, it was actually a really good birthday for me. My brother visited and he gave me some wrist warmers he knit and I made cake and had wings for dinner. My husband took me to a Brazilian steakhouse on Tuesday (since we knew my brother was going to visit) and he gave me a huge bottle of one of my fav kinds of tequila. While my chronic illness and pain can often offset my plans, I’ve learned to relax a lot of my expectations and listen to my body when it says I need to rest. It’s definitely changed how I live my life. I try not to push past where my body can function. I’ve been embracing more comfortable clothing. It helps that I now have a job where I work from home all the time so I can relax a lot of my wardrobe needs.

This top is all about embracing the comfy.

The Laela Jeyne Mica T-Shirt is a free pattern (read how to get it here). The Mica Pattern is a drop shoulder relaxed fit shirt with short and long sleeve options and a V-neck.

I made a 2XL with C-E cup graded to a 3XL at the hips.

It’s oversized in a good way and comfy AF.

I’m wearing it here with my Cashmerette Belmont Leggings and I love it. This outfit has become my go-to outfit the past few weeks since making the top.

The fabric I used is a rayon spandex that I found at the thrift store. It has to be the softest, loveliest fabric and, with the drape, it’s completely perfect for this pattern.

Granted those sleeves are a bit long, but I have mentioned how I prefer that. My brother’s gift of wrist warmers were probably the best, smartest gift ever for this coldy bear. I get cold hands so easily and don’t always have gloves on hand so I find that having longer sleeves helps me out there. So hold your comments on me needing to shorten those since I like looooong sleeves and never adjust sleeve length.

This was my first Laela Jeyne pattern, but not my last. In fact, I also made the free Lotus Bodysuit (also available in this link), but that will come another day. The instructions for the Mica shirt are great and it fits just as expected. I actually have no changes that I would make for this top. I think it fits just as designed and works really well for me.

It’s also a great shirt for video conferences in that I don’t look like I am in my PJs, but it definitely feels like it and that’s what I am looking for in clothing these days. Secret PJs, actual PJs…. etc. Anything that is incredibly comfortable.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: The Laela Jeyne Mica T-Shirt (read how to get it here)
  • Pros: Fairly good size range. FREE. Lovely v-neck. Nice style.
  • Cons: I see no cons.
  • Make again?: 100% yes.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 5/5 stars

Cashmerette Tobin Sweater

As you probably know by now, I test patterns for Cashmerette. I can’t test every single one, though, and sometimes it really hurts to turn it down! The Tobin sweater was one that hurt to say no to, but I wasn’t able to do it at the time. The lucky thing is that Cashmerette still sent me the pdf for free with absolutely no expectation to review or sew it up. So I sewed it right up!

There a lot of options to this sweater: two different collars or a no collar option, colourblocking options, and hi-lo or straight hem. The split neck collar is what drew me to the sweater plus the cowl neck. You know I love a cowl neck!

I made view A with the split collar, straight hem, and colourblock options. I used a striped coral and white ponte and a navy ponte. The striped ponte was purchased at the thrift store and it’s so soft. The navy ponte was salvaged from a Turner dress that I had stopped wearing because the bodice got a few stains on it.

I made my usual size with Cashmerette: 22 GH graded to a size 28 at the waist.

The fit is spot on. I thought I might need to lower the bust darts, but they actually seem okay. I do seem to have put the split collar on the wrong way. You’ll also notice the lack of buttons on it. I don’t love putting non-functional buttons on garments just like I hate a non-functional pocket. So I left those buttons off.

It’s such a great sweater and I definitely want to make a bunch more. I think the next version will be view B with the cowl neck. I also really want to make the version with no collar. The neckline has a facing so it’s a nice finish.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Tobin Sweater
  • Pros: Many options. Great for stable knits. Love a cowl!
  • Cons: I see no cons.
  • Make again?: Is 500 sweaters too much?
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 5/5 stars

Friday Pattern Company Adrienne Blouse

The Friday Pattern Company Adrienne Blouse has been on my to-sew list for a while. Its dramatic “statement sleeves” are right in my wheelhouse.

According to the size chart, I made a size 3XL at the bust graded to a size 4XL at the waist and lengthened by about three inches since the pattern has a cropped length. My bust is 52 inches, waist is 48, hips 56. Once I put pattern pieces together, I was concerned about the fact that the front and back pattern pieces are the same. This generally doesn’t work well for me as my back is quite narrow in comparison to my bust. That said, it worked fairly well. I still think I will do a full bust adjustment. I will narrow the upper back a bit and grade out the hips a slight bit more. I also want to add to the length. I really prefer for tops to hit about three inches lower than this.

There do seem to be overall issues with the shoulders falling off for people, especially in the larger sizes, and my version is no exception. Part of that issue is that the neckline is too wide so I will be taking a wedge out of the next version. I also shortened the elastic at the shoulders quite a bit.

The fabric I used is a rayon spandex knit, which is a fabric that I love the feel of, but the recovery tends to be poor. Poor recovery means that neckline stretches out as you wear it so that compounds the issue.

That said, I love the top and with some improvements it will fit great. I also think bra strap holders would really help this version.

Yellow and me are really having a moment lately and I love it. This fabric is so soft and wonderful to wear that I can’t get enough of it. Thankfully, I have more of this fabric. And those sleeves! Let’s just say, they make a statement!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Friday Pattern Company Adrienne Blouse
  • Pros: Okay size range. Great sleeves.
  • Cons: Typical drafting issues with the larger sizes where the neckline is bigger than it needs to be. Having front and back be the same pattern pieces can lead to issues for people with larger busts and it did for me.
  • Make again?: Yes, after fit changes. I also like the idea of not putting elastic in the sleeve cuffs for a bell sleeve. I think I saw someone else do this on Instagram and can’t get it out of my head.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md3.5/5 stars

I’m on a Podcast and my Helen’s Closet Donovan skirt

I Can Make That Podcast Interview

Check out the latest episode of the I Can Make That Podcast featuring me! Andie! That’s me!

I was excited when Katy reached out to me for an interview. It was a great opportunity to talk sewing, plus size sewing, chronic illness, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, @chronicallysewn, geek culture, improv and being schmoopy about my husband. Check it out!

Helen’s Closet Donovan Skirt

When the Donovan skirt was released by Helen’s Closet, I impulse bought it. It’s a relatively simple design but something I was seeing a lot in RTW inspirations and knew I needed to have it.

I loved the longer version of the skirt with the side slits.

My size on the bottom for Helen’s Closet patterns is a size 28. On top, I am a size 26 at the bust, but a size 20 at the shoulders so I usually have a lot of grading between sizes. I didn’t have to at all for this skirt since it is easy to fit. You just need to fit your waist and you can also cut shorter elastic if you decide to pick a larger size for your hips.

My first version was for the Minerva blog. It has yet to go live but I will share a preview of it. It’s made using a chartreuse viscose fabric. The fabric is lovely but it stretched out bunches sewing so do stay stitch. I tend to skip stay stitching, because I hate it but don’t for this fabric, okay? Also saying that to remind myself, because I actually did skip it again with my next Donovan skirt.

I paired it with a top made with the Workhorse Ione shirt in a sheer watermelon crepe that I modified so it was cut as one piece and used bias tape to finish the armholes and neckline. I was going for all watermelon outfit by pairing this skirt with the chartreuse fabric.

You can see that the fabric stretched out in those pockets. I should have used a bit of interfacing to stabilize them. On the other hand, the RTW inspirations I saw had the same feature. So now I can call it a design feature instead of a mistake. 😉 That’s definitely why it happened again with my second version and not at all that I was marathon sewing and cut corners before heading out to the Fringe Festival in Victoria BC. Not at all.

I love that side slit! I have no fit issues with this. Although, I do think the waistband elastic was slightly too long for both of my versions. I measured it on my body but I think the elastic is stretchier than I am used to and the recovery may not be great. It was cheap, though, so I will live with it… The drawstring in this version does help that issue, though.

My second version was made using a magenta tencel twill I got with a gift card earlier this year or last from Blackbird Fabrics. I paired this with my Forget-Me-Not Clementine top. I had planned to make another Workhorse Ione shirt with this since I love the look. I was planning on using the leftover chartreuse vicose with an ivory lace yoke. I still want to make that top, though, since it will also evoke watermelon vibes.

I didn’t make a drawstring for this version, which I regret. It’s not something you can really make after the fact since it requires buttonholes in the waistband. I’d have to take that apart and I am just not willing to do that.

Can I sing the praises of these pockets for a little bit? They are wonderful and big. I love them. Okay it was a short song…

I really love both skirts and wore them a lot this summer.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Helen’s Closet Donovan skirt
  • Pros: Good size range up to 58 inch hip, but can likely fit larger since they are a loose fit. Big lovely pockets. Thank you.
  • Cons: I really don’t have any.
  • Make again?: I want to make the shorter version at some point, but it’s getting colder and colder out so it will wait until next year.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars