Helen’s Closet York Pinafore

Hot on the tail of my last post is my Helen’s Closet York Pinafore!

I made view B with the kangaroo pocket. I did some grading between sizes. 22 at the shoulders. 26 at the bust. 28 at the hips.

I’m wearing it with my Adrienne blouse.

The fabric I used was a poly twill I had in my stash from the thrift store. And yes, I have already stained the pocket with something. LOL.

The fit isn’t bad overall. There are some issues at the bust and I think that the sides could be graded out a bit better. It’s very curved and needs more of an A-line shape, I think. There also needs to be a bit more room at the centre back. Overall, though, this is the look I was going for and I think it’s pretty cute. I do think the fabric is a bit stiff for the pattern. Poly twills tend to be pretty stiff, in my opinion. The fabric calls for twill but specifies cotton twill, which does have a softer hand.

The York Pinafore probably won’t become a favourite of mine. I love this version. I just don’t see myself making a bunch more. I may try out some of the “hacks” posted on the Helen’s Closet blog, though. I really love the tiered gathered version. But that is likely not happening until the Spring.

In the meantime, it’s Autumn here in Toronto. Our back patio is filled with fallen leaves. There might be snow on Halloween night. More pinafores are not in my plans at all.

I recently used the latest MyBodyModel release to plan out a “Fall for Pastels” capsule wardrobe. There are more outfits planned than just these three, but this gives you an idea of what I plan to make. The first outfit is Helen’s Closet Blackwood cardigan in a pastel rainbow cotton lycra with soft blue corduroy Helen’s Closet Yanta overalls. I drew a white top on underneath since I have a Concord T already made that would work with the outfit. The second outfit is a Cashmerette Tobin Sweater in a coral striped ponte knit that I found at the thrift store with navy ponte contrasts and Muna & Broad Glebe pants in a seafoam suiting (also a thrift store purchase). The third outfit is the Blackwood cardigan from the first outfit with a Decades of Style Dorothy Lara dress in a lilac swiss dot. Paired with some fleece-lined leggings in white, it will work well for the Winter.

I have a few other plans including some PJ plans and an epic Onesie, but some will have to wait until I start my new job. 🙂 I just signed my job agreement today and start November 18th! My job is a remote position so I am feeling pretty positive about it with my disability. I think it’s going to be a great fit. Mostly, I am just relieved as anything to have a job and over the moon that it works for my disability. It’s been really difficult the past couple of months especially and now I am feeling a lot of relief. I haven’t been on some meds due to lack of funds so I am hopeful once those resume that I will be doing a lot better.

I’m excited to share my Halloween costume with you. So keep an eye out this Thursday for the reveal! 🙂

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Helen’s Closet York Pinafore
  • Pros: Good size range up to 58 inch hip. Super simple sew. Only took about two hours to make them.
  • Cons: No cons, really.
  • Make again?: No plans right now for future versions since Winter is Coming and more pinafores aren’t part of my plan.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

 

Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown

The Friday Pattern Company Wilder gown is definitely a perfect gown for dramatic looks. I’ve been following the hashtag on IG for a while because people are creating such beautiful versions of it!

The Toronto Sewcialists had a fancy party a few weeks ago and I knew I had to make this dress. I had recently gotten this sheer poly chiffon with polkadots from Fabricville during a sale. The sheerness of the fabric makes all the fabric feel much lighter. This is 4 yards of fabric after all so it can definitely feel like the fabric is consuming you.

I think swishy pictures might be mandatory with this pattern!

I made a size 3XL without any modifications. There are definitely modifications that I would make for my next version, though. The seam for the arms is a bit low and large. It actually is slightly uncomfortable where it hits (observe how the seam pulls the arm in the first picture above) and makes wearing my backpack purse a bit difficult as well as pulling the waist seam up so for my next version I will be modifying where that seam hits. I know that the patterns are drafted for a smaller bust size (B cup, I believe) so the position of the raglan sleeves/seams may be better on someone with my measurements, but less boob. For me, it isn’t terrible fit but not a comfortable fit. I should have chosen a smaller size and done an FBA but I was in a time crunch and actually started the dress just a few days before the event. Everything else fits well. I will just modify where the seam hits instead and raise that armhole instead because not only would an FBA be required for a smaller size but also a full bicep adjustment and probably widening the back a bit or grading out at the waist. Far more work that just moving the seams and raising the armhole.

This was my first pattern from Friday Pattern Company and I really enjoyed it. The instructions are great. I had no issue with them.

The Wilder gown is such a dramatic and lovely pattern. I couldn’t resist making felt flower clips for my hair and walk around swishing my dress during the event. I got some requests to twirl, but that would have left me fallen over! As much as I would love to twirl in this dress, my disability means no twirling.

I did make one modification for the pattern. Instead of wasting fabric with the skirt panels, I cut them out of the width of the fabric so there is much more gathering in this skirt than the pattern calls for. I decided to start off with gathering the skirt panels and sewing them together. I thought maybe this might save my sanity by not gathering a bunch right at the end of sewing, but it turns out no matter when you gather, you will want to set things on fire at some point during that process. Hahha! I love a gathered skirt but damn… I hate gathering fabric no matter what method I use to gather it, even those tricks that make it easier.

In spite of all of that gathering frustration (haha), I adore this dress. It’s dramatic. It’s bright. It’s wonderful.

 

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: The Friday Pattern Company Wilder gown 
  • Pros: Good size range. Lovely design.
  • Cons: Having it drafted to a smaller cup makes it a bit tough for someone with my bust. However, I know that altering the pattern will not be difficult.
  • Make again?: Well of course! I think I will try out the top version after I do my modifications.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

 

Introducing the CocoWawa Crafts Maple Dress

After the size inclusivity chat on Instagram, I was contacted by several pattern designers that pledged more sizes. CocoWawa was one of them. While the dress they were doing pattern testing for was just slightly outside my size, the ease in it would work. Ana and I chatted about it and she really wanted to see how it would look. Spoiler alert: amazing.

Usual disclaimer about getting the pattern for free but not my opinion blah blah blah.

Generally, with pattern tests, I don’t like to simply cut into precious fabric and I do a muslin first. But I grabbed some seersucker gingham locally for around $10/ yard and got 3 yards. I already had a ton of navy bias tape in my stash.

Some details about the Maple dress:

Maple Dress, a beautiful and feminine design featuring a slightly loose shape, tailor or double breasted collar, flattering midi or shorter quarter circle skirt and three types of sleeves. Long with the option of an exposed elastic, 3/4 sleeves with cuffs and short sleeves with a keyhole and bow detail. Another personalized detail of Maple is the optional ruffle that runs along the collar, which can be also exchanged for some contrasting piping. Last but not least, Maple comes, of course, with inseam pockets!

I made the double breasted collar with shorter quarter circle skirt and short sleeves with a keyhole and bow detail. I could not resist that sleeve. It’s gorgeous and I love bows. I did make some adjustments ahead of time. I did a full bicep adjustment and graded the waist out a bit. Those were my only adjustments. The dress is meant to pull over the head. I could probably do another inch for a full bicep adjustment to really make that easier for myself, but it works for this version.

The Maple dress can be made in a variety of fabrics for different looks. Obviously, drapey fabrics give a softer look and heavier weight fabrics give a more structured look. I like the idea of both. How cute would it look in a navy wool suiting with red bias tape details? Or in a drapey double gauze with cotton lace? I also could see this pattern looking incredible with a short gathered skirt and working as a top in a lovely drapey fabric like a rayon or even a bit more structure with linen. I actually really want to do that asap. It would be so cute for the Spring! (All I can think about is Spring!)

I added in a tie using the navy bias tape.

The buttons I added are from a stash of buttons given to me last year.

I also added a ruffle to the hem with a strip of flat bias tape.

I really like this dress. It’s adorable and Spring-y and I love the colour. The fabric is soft and lovely.

It looks best with the tie. In general, I prefer when I cinch in the waist on dresses. I’m not entirely pleased with how the pockets sit on it. They are slightly low and effect the drape of the skirt. I made that part of my feedback so it might be changed in the final version. I’ll let you know since I have the final pattern. 🙂

What more to say? I love it!

Seamwork Tacara

I recently took part in DH Fabrics’ Sewing is for Everyone and Every Body blog series. As part of it, DH Fabrics offered to send us fabric. I opted for this gorgeous berry wool blend jersey.

A bunch of us at the CSC wanted to do a Same Pattern Different Bodies for the Seamwork Tacara pattern. I knew the fabric would be perfect for it since it has lovely drape with the vicose content.

I made a size 24 and then tried it on. The cocoon shape was less cocoon and more….sack chic. I took the side seams in by about 2.5 inches each side (5 inches overall) and shortened it. It did end up a bit shorter than I would have liked, but I would typically wear this with leggings anyway.

I think the style is nice for relaxed days. The fabric is the real star of this garment. It’s so soft and lovely to wear.

I’ve been using a cane for a while now. I’ve been slowly acquiring more and more braces as well. But I realized since I don’t tend to wear them around the house or use my cane around the house, none of my blog pictures were really reflecting my disability. So here I am. This is how I look most days when I am out of the house except that I would be wearing leggings (because it’s freezing in Toronto).

The bonus is that my cane has a spike on the end for ice and snow, but also maybe for bad ass reasons. Hahah.

Thanks again to DH Fabrics for the fabric. I love it. 🙂

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Tacara
  • Pros: Super comfy.
  • Cons: It runs very large.
  • Make again?: I’m not sure that I will make it again to be honest. I think it might be cute shortened to a shirt, but I’m not sure how many shirts I would need like this.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Burda Tie Sleeve Dress

 

I love this dress from Burda issue 02/2018. The dress is made for woven fabric but I knew it was destined for this crepe knit fabric. I adapted the pattern for knit fabric but not doing my usual FBA, omitting the zipper, and relying on negative ease by only adding a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance. I think it worked very well.

 

Because the knit fabric has a white backing, I needed to make a facing for the ties so that the wrong side didn’t show. Due to fabric constraints, I couldn’t make the facings extend to the split or hem. Instead, they are just facings for the ties.

 

The fit is not perfect. The fabric was bizarrely difficult to cut so some seams are not as straight as they could be (see the centre back seam above). The side seams are pulling back so I definitely need a full butt adjustment back there.

The upper sleeve could also use slightly more room.

I shortened the skirt by about 5 inches (in a super accurate way of folding out the length until it fit on the fabric) and added massive pockets that are sewn into the waist so they sit nicely.

 

In spite of those minor issues, which are mostly hidden by the busy pattern of the fabric, I adore this dress and feel amazing in it.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Dress from Burda issue 02/2018
  • Pros: I love the final result! I think it looks great on me.
  • Cons: The usual cons with Burda patterns. Really long. Bad instructions. But it was an easy creation and overall really nice.
  • Make again?: I will definitely make it again. I would like to make it in a woven fabric, too.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Velvet Gothic Dress: Halla Patterns dress

Another dress that I made a while ago is this velvet dress from Halla Patterns. I don’t like the name of the pattern. A kimono is a specific cultural garment from Japan and, while this dress may have a kimono sleeve and be inspired by kimonos, it is not a kimono and I will not be referring to it as such. Please read this post and I encourage you to follow @little_kotos_closet on Instagram. In the past, I have maintained the name of the pattern, but going forward I will not. I realize that makes it more difficult for people to search for my post if they are looking for others that make the pattern. I’m just hoping that going forward, there won’t be this issue. The Wiksten jacket has already been renamed to the Wiksten Haori jacket.

In November, the Toronto Sewcialists met up and had a fancy dress party with a sewing session before. I wasn’t initially going to make a new item for the fancy dress party, but then I bought this gorgeous velvet fabric from a local store, Fabric by Designers, that was going out of business but managed to extend their lease again so they are back in business. I managed to grab 4 yards of this velvet fabric for a decent price along with some ponte and doubleknit in their sale. I love this fabric. It’s soft and drapes so nicely. It washes really well, too.

I had also just put the Halla dress pattern together and then got a vision in my head of a floor length dress with voluminous sleeves. The resulting dress is gorgeous, moody af, and makes me think that I should be wondering the North York moors of Yorkshire, England, singing Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. Fun fact, I’m actually first gen Canadian on my dad’s side and he was born in Yorkshire. He also immigrated to Canada on a boat in the late 50s. I haven’t ever been to Yorkshire sadly. I hope to one day, though.

I made a size 28 graded to a 30 at the waist. I changed the skirt to a longer and slightly narrower skirt. It still has a lot of volume but not quite as much as the original pattern. I left off the pockets since they interrupted the drape of the skirt.

Here I am surprised by the ghosts of Catherine and Heathcliff.

Overall, the fit of the bodice is okay. The front needs a bit more length due to my large bust. While the pattern has different cup sizes, I do still need a bit more room to get tue waistband to sit in the correct location. You can see the waistband going up a bit as a result. I think also a shorter waistband would look better. I think this ends up being close to 3 inches long finished but waistbands work better on me when they are less than 2 inches long.

To get the longer sleeve, I just extended the sleeve by about 10 inches and added elastic to the hem. I didn’t want the elastic to be super tight just give the look of gathered cuffs.

Overall, the pattern was good. Good instructions. I like how the neckline is completely faced with self-fabric and then the whole thing is constructed together so that the facing stays in place. It’s pretty smart.

I enjoyed being moody and Gothic for this photoshoot. Makes the inner 90s goth in me feel pretty fantastic.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Halla Patterns dress
  • Pros: I love this dress. The pattern went together well and the instructions were good.
  • Cons: The bust fit could be better. With HH cups, it’s difficult to get a perfect fit even with cup sizes. Next time I will lengthen the front bodice by about 2.5 inches and shorten the waistband by half.
  • Make again?: Absolutely.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

So done with Healthcliff’s shit.

Cashmerette Rivermont Pattern

I tested the Cashmerette Rivermont pattern and really fell in love with it.  The pattern includes a sheath dress and a peplum top with a high scoop neck. The neckline has shoulder to shoulder facings. And there are big pockets in the sheath dress. The pattern called for medium weight ponte knit or lightweight neoprene/scuba.

When Jenny sent me the pattern preview, I jumped on it. We actually tested back in July/August. I bought some lovely ponti de roma in a deep purple from Fabricland to make my first version.

 

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I sent off the results of testing and hadn’t hemmed the dress yet. I usually take off 3-4 inches from the hem of Cashmerette patterns unless I feel like leaving them long (the Webster dress I left longer). I’m considering going back  and hemming it about 4 inches shorter. Also, because the hem got all wavy in sewing and even after pressing it wouldn’t go flat.

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I realized as I was taking these pictures that most are with my hands in the pockets. They are such deep cozy pockets that I just kept putting my hands in there. Ha! I styled it with a belt from Addition-Elle. That belt is one of my favourite wardrobe accessories.

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I adore purple on me. Weirdly I don’t have a lot of it in my wardrobe. This piece was the start of getting it back into my wardrobe. 🙂

My second Rivermont dress was also using the tester pattern. I had a wedding to go to in Killarney at the end of September and really needed something nice to wear. I got some peach scuba in a Bunz trade at the end of August. Over 86 yards of awesome fabric for a $40 gift card to Staples! Bunz is crazy good. What I noticed was the light peach colour was a great match for my skin and then my brain just needed some lace overlay for it. I got some royal blue stretch lace from Fabricville (sadly not available anymore) and got started the week of the wedding. Yes, I was finishing the dress up the night before we left.

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You can see how the scuba with its lower stretch percentage and stiffness makes it fit a little bit differently. But it still looks awesome imho.

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After seeing all the pictures with my hands in my pockets, I basically was self conscious and kept them out for these pictures. LOL. I styled this dress with a thin gold belt from Winners.

The neckline was fixed for the final version. It doesn’t really bother me in either of these dresses. It’s much better in the ponti version since the fabric has better recovery. The scuba version definitely has a more pronounced neckline issue as well as an issue with gaping pockets. I used a lighter jersey to line the pockets due to a few reasons. I didn’t want to have too much bulk from sewing through three layers of fabric at the waist and I didn’t have enough fabric. The dress also had to be cut 4 inches shorter, but that turned out to be a great thing since I love the length.

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I really wanted to take these pictures and get the post ready for the launch of the pattern, because I love it so much. I had a rough September and October due to having gluten back in my diet in order to get tested for celiac disease and spent a lot of the time sick. I’m back on my gluten free diet now and automatically feel better. I mean I still have a chronic illness, but a chronic illness plus an extra amount of horrible migraines, allergy attacks, GI issues, and not being able to eat for fear of throwing up is the worst. I often have all of these issues, but not to that degree. And of course, it is fall here, so if it isn’t me being sick, it’s raining. I actually managed to take these after it had rained off and on all day.

There will be many more Rivermont iterations in the future. I plan on making a stretch velvet peplum next. 😀