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

Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit

This post was originally on the CSC for the Curvy Year of Sewing Bodysuits and Swimsuits theme.

Today I am reviewing the Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit. I did also test the swimsuit before release but my opinions are my own. There were some changes made between the version we tested and the final version so for obvious reasons this review it based on the final version.

The pattern has two views: view A is a one piece swimsuit and view B is a two-piece swimsuit. The size range is size 12-28 with cup sizes C/D, E/F, and G/H; bust 40 inches to 58 inches. I chose to make view B for this review. I prefer two-piece swimsuits as they make bathroom trips a lot easier in the middle of swimming and they are easier for me to put on and take off with my disabilities. The pattern also has an internal wired bra that is optional. I chose to make it with the internal bra since I have experience making bras.

My measurements are 51.5 bust, 44 underbust, 46 waist, and 55 hip. I chose to make a size 22 G/H. I could have graded to a 24 at the hip but I chose not to do that and it worked out just fine except in one area which I will get to a bit later.

  

The fabric I used is nylon spandex lightening print and black poly spandex with black swimsuit lining and black bra foam as well as powernet for the bra band and black duoplex fabric for the bra bridge (duoplex is a stable polyester fabric used in bramaking). There are a lot of notions for this suit: swimsuit elastic, stable elastic for the straps, swimsuit clickers for the back closures, underwires, and underwire channeling. Phew. You can make the swimsuit without the internal bra and that definitely cuts down on the amount of materials, but you might not get the support you need. If you do choose to do that, I recommend using powernet to line the front as well to give a bit more support. Powernet should still be used in the back as well as directed.

In terms of construction, swimsuits are definitely not for beginners. Cashmerette lists the pattern as intermediate and it definitely is for that level. The pattern instructions are great and very detailed. There is also an online course for it, but I haven’t tried it out. There were some construction methods that I didn’t prefer. For the most part, however, those were personal preferences based on what is easier for me.

In terms of fit, there are a few issues. First off, this pair is my second pair for the bottoms. The first pair I made were a lot lower rise due to my belly and bum. I raised the pattern by 7 inches. However, I took about 3 inches away after construction. In total, there are 4 inches added to both front and back using the lengthen/shorten lines. They fit a lot better for me this way. You may need to make adjustments for a larger belly or bum.

 

The leg holes are finished by attaching elastic and then flipping it to the inside and topstitching over it using a stretch stitch. For my next pair, I will used bands with elastic enclosed in them. It’s my preferred method and tends to feel a bit more secure.

The top fits okay. I am going to narrow the neckband a bit since my shoulders and upperbust are narrow. This will help stop that wavy/loose bit at the centre of the neckband.

The bra does not fit me well. For people who are familiar with bramaking and have a bra pattern that fits well, continue to use that for your swimsuit, any swimsuit. I haven’t made a bra in over 2 years so I didn’t have that option and I wanted to see how the pattern bra fit me. There definitely needs to be more room in the cups for me. I am spilling over and the wires are lower than the should be instead of following my breast root. The shape of the cup works okay, but I definitely need more projection. Everyone’s needs are going to be different here so if you don’t have a TNT bra pattern, start by trying it out and then tweaking from there. I will need to do quite a bit of tweaking to get this one to fit well but it’s definitely going to happen.

Word of caution, though, for anyone pursuing the internal bra is to not expect a 100% great fit out the package. As with all bramaking, fitting is the hard part. Don’t use your super expensive material on that first one. Muslins for bras and swimsuits are a bit more expensive, but completely worth it.

I made one tweak for this version instead of following direction and used band elastic on the bottom of the top. For me, it helps keep the bottom in place a bit better and is firmer than the swimsuit elastic.

 

Overall, I really like the design and plan on making it again. I’d love to make the tankini using the free expansion pack. I also want to play with cutouts using powermesh or tweak the neckline into different looks.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit
  • Pros: I loved the pattern. I think there are definitely fit issues (as there would be with any swimsuit pattern) but overall there are more wins in terms of support for the bust and fun use of pattern mixing with the panels. The instructions are great as usual with Cashmerette. I definitely need to get a better fit in the bra and tweak a bit more here and there, but I’m not far off from a great fit.
  • Cons: I do think that the neckline could be a bit more flattering. The boobs do look a bit like a single block. I plan on tweaking that a bit.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I am working on my bra pattern and then I will get more foam so I can use it for the internal bra.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

Miss Bossy said McCall’s 7624…so I delivered…

Miss Bossy said make McCall’s 7624 so I made it!

You know, I never was one for being ordered around and told what to do. I can get really stubborn and dig my heels in before I listen to someone tell me what to do. But occasionally, I listen to and follow orders. When it makes sense, I am willing to do it. And sewing always makes sense to me. 😉

  

I chose view C but with the ties from view D. I love the sleeves in view B, but wanted something for summer. Before I started sewing, I had to do an FBA…ughhhhh. I have never done an FBA on a bodice with a cut on sleeve like this, but I was up for the challenge. I chose size 22, which has a 44 inch bust. The finished measurements have it at 49.5  inches (edit: oops forgot to input the finished measurements for size 22). My bust is at 51/2 depending on the time of the month. I did a 3 inch FBA to add 6 inches overall to give me the extra ease that the pattern calls for. I also added 4 inches to the back skirt and the front skirt panels as well as 3 inches to the waistband pieces. I did my best to maintain the original neckline on the bodice so that I could avoid gaping. I didn’t manage to do that completely. There is still some gaping in the neckline, but it is not too bad. I will account for that in the next version. The tutorial I used for the FBA is from the Closet Case Files sewalong for the Kalle shirtdress. It worked out really well. I think the only adjustment that I would make for the next version other than the neckline gaping would be to add a bit more to the front skirt panels to balance out the fullness in the back. Or…alternatively take out the extra inches in the back. We’ll see when I make it again.

  

What else can I say? I just really really really love this dress! It looks fucking fantastic on me!

  

You can see how much I love this dress from these pictures.

  

And the sheer number of pictures I took!

  

The fabric I used is rayon fabric from Fabricland/Fabricville. It was lovely to sew with and pressed beautifully.

I think this will be a summer fixture in my wardrobe!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: McCall’s 7624 
  • Pros: Possibly the perfect summer dress with loose sleeves, drapey skirt, and elastic back for comfort.
  • Cons: Let’s talk about how crappy that size range is! 44 bust? Gimme a break, McCall’s. Your size range is the worst! Patterns rarely go above size 22/44 inch bust. McCall’s better wake up and start seeing the plus sized market!
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I love it. I just need to fix the neckline gaping a bit more and I may or may not make an alteration to the skirt fullness.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

Simplicity 8140

Simplicity patterns haven’t been widely available in Canada since the distributer issues years ago. Fabricland (Canada’s chain fabric store) stopped carrying them and even smaller independent fabric stores don’t carry them. Jen from a Maker Heart saw me lamenting about that and offered to send me a bunch on the next Joann’s sale. Tanya has also sent me a few Simplicity patterns in the past as well. It’s nice to have such amazing sewing friends. ❤

Simplicity 8140 popped out at me as a style I might like. I was excited to make it. Fabricland had a sale on yarn-dyed plaid flannel fabric and I started imagining a plaid version of this pattern with a lace yoke. I had a remnant of a navy lace really wanted to use it. Through some miracle, I had *just* enough fabric for it. The patterns calls for lightweight fabrics and while the flannel isn’t lightweight it still works well.

I made size 28W. I did widen the sleeves for puffed sleeves. Sorry not sorry for loving a puffed sleeve. I have super narrow shoulders so I like the way it gives me the appearance of having wider shoulders and I also love the mobility the extra fabric gives my arms without changing the size of the armsyce which often leads to other fit issues. So for me, a puffed sleeve is always going to be my default.

It was always my intention to wear a belt with this dress. Without the belt, it does resemble the nightgown Ebenzer Scrooge wears throughout the Night Before Christmas….

You’ll notice that I didn’t put the pocket on the bust. To me, bust pockets on a person with my size of bust need to be super tiny or not there at all, because they just tend to empasize that my bust is waayyyy bigger than the pocket and then people stare at the pocket in awe. So I moved the pockets down and cut them on the bias to avoid print matching.

I used the scallop edge of the lace on the back. I reallly reallly love the look of it. The dress certainly has a strange cool/warm thing going on and I find myself sort of wanting a shawl. The pattern does call for lining the lace, but I didn’t want to do that.

With the belt, the dress looks awesome. I made no attempt at pattern matching, but it doesn’t look too bad especially with the bias cut button placket and pockets.

That hem looks wavy, but I think it’s just the way it is draping because it is flat… I pressed it a bunch. Burnt my fingers and everything.

This was really easy to make. I followed my favourite method for the button placket and have all the raw edges hidden inside and then the boxed “x” topstitching. I used a glue stick when sewing the collar facing down and it looks amazing. I should really take more detailed shots of these finishes, but I sort of feel like sewists have probably seen enough collars in their lives…

Perhaps my only criticism is the sleeves are really wide at the hem. Instead of tapering down to the hem, they are straight from the armsyce to the hem. It would have looked ridiculous keeping them like that so I tapered them a bit at the hem. Even though they are meant to be rolled up, it doesn’t really make sense to me to have such a wide hem. Also, the 3/4 length that you are supposed to roll them to is really long. I get that I have short arms, but these are basically full length on me… For my next version, I will definitely be moving where that sleeve tab sits for them to actually be 3/4 length on me.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8140
  • Pros: Great size range. Love that hem.
  • Cons: The sleeves are weirdly large at the hem.
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments to where that sleeve tab sits. I really want to make the top version.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers

As part of the Curvy Year of Sewing, I decided to make the Forsythe trousers to fit the pants/trousers theme for Jan/Feb. I made Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers, an elastic waist trouser with front pockets and back welt pockets. The trousers can either be full length or capri length. The Forsythe Trousers go up to a 55″ hip. It’s not an amazing size range: my 55″ hips just make it into the pattern’s 3XL size. I have a double belly, big booty and a waist that is about 7 inches smaller then my full hips. I haven’t done a lot of pants fitting and have only just begun with it, but this pattern is great for beginners. They are like secret pjs and are so so sooooo comfortable to wear.

The first version I made was with a lightweight denim with deers and stars on it. I made the capri length in anticipation of wearing the pants for a trip over the holidays to Cuba. The fit wasn’t perfect. I did my usual adjustments before this pair by adding to the back rise (big booty adjustment) and scooping out the front crotch. The back fits pretty close to perfect for my first version, but the front crotch definitely needed more scooped out of it as there is some pooling of fabric in that area.

I forgot to mention in my CSC post that I changed the waistband so it was 1 inch elastic. That, of course, means only skinnier belts can go through the loops. It does also bring the rise down a bit more. I prefer rises to hit under my belly button.

My second version is made using a lightweight stretch suiting material with stripes throughout. For this version, I scooped out more in the front and actually lowered the rise a bit at the center back. There is maybe a few more tweaks that could be made, but overall they fit pretty well and I really love them. You’ll notice in both versions I left the back pockets out. I am not a fan of back pockets in general. I have them on a few other pants I made, but I just don’t like them. I never use them and find that they don’t really add any benefits for me. I do, however love the front pockets and think they are a great size. My phone fits in them so that makes me happy.

I took about 4-5 inches off the hem to get them to fit correctly. I didn’t go for the cuffed hem, but instead made a 2 inch deep hem.

 

Blank Slate Patterns always has great instructions that are easy to follow. I also find that their patterns are pretty standard and I can make the same adjustments. I actually used my Barton shorts pattern to help me get a good fit with my first pair by comparing the pattern pieces to make my adjustments.

 

I’m a big fan of how the pattern looks on me and I am definitely going to make it again.

It’ll be a great addition to my work wardrobe.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers
  • Pros: Simple pattern. Great for beginners with great instructions. Fits well with minor adjustments.
  • Cons: Size range could be a bit better, but I do fit into the size range so that is something.
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments. Destined to become a TNT pattern.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

Decades Everyday ESP Dress (Tribute Sewing)

For Sewcialist tribute month, Gillian asked me to contribute to the blog. I knew immediately who I was going to make a tribute to: Tanya from Mrs. Hughes.

I’ve been following Tanya since 2012. She is one of the reasons I got back into sewing in 2013 along with the other editors at the Curvy Sewing Collective. My adventures in sewing had been all over the place before. I was convinced that sewing patterns were incompatible with curvy women. I didn’t know about FBAs or other pattern adjustments. I still use Idle Fancy’s tutorials on that.  I also mostly saw bland clothing out there for plus sizes. Nothing colourful or interesting and certainly nothing with reasonable prices and shipping for a Canadian gal. I ordered some dresses from modcloth and eshakti, but I had to wait for sales. I knew I wanted to sew all my clothes since I bought a sewing machine in 2009, but I didn’t feel like the majority of sewing bloggers reflected my needs. When I started following Tanya, all that changed. Her style was exactly what I wanted to sew! Vintage, colourful, and lots and lots of dresses! 😀

Eventually after a million comments, Tanya and I became friends. She sent me the Decades Everyday ESP dress and Wonder Woman fabric and I knew my tribute to her would include both.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

If you don’t know, Tanya is the queen of the ESP Dress. She has several versions in all different kinds of fabric, including her very own Wonder Woman ESP Dress.

I love this dress!

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

The ESP dress only goes to a 46 bust, though, which meant I had some pattern alterations to do for it. I did a 2.5 inch FBA on the largest size to give me 5 extra inches for my 51 inch bust. With the ease in the pattern, it worked out perfectly for me. I also did a large bicep adjustment on the sleeves. The sleeves weren’t tight, but I wanted a bit more ease of movement. For the future however, I will need to increase the armsyce just slightly since it is a bit tight and high.  The FBA added space to the waist. However, I could have made the waist darts a big bigger since the dress doesn’t quite come in enough at the waist without the belt. I also lowered the neckline since I knew that would be too high for me. After a muslin, I did a slight hollow chest adjustment at the neckline. I will also be taking a wedge out of the back neckline too next time.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

For the skirt, I was restricted with the width due to fabric constraints. I think the fullness works, though.

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

I already have another version planned using nerdy Hello Kitty fabric.

While this dress isn’t going to worn to work that often, it will get a lot of wear at cons or on the weekends. Basically any excuse for Wonder Woman!

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

Decades Everyday ESP Dress

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Decades Everyday ESP Dress
  • Pros: Really well drafted dress with raglan sleeves and square neckline. Easy pattern for making alterations.
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for it only going up to a 46 inch bust. Otherwise a 5 star pattern. (edit: Decades Everyday is going up to a 52 inch bust soon!)
  • Make again?: Already have my next one planned out.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars