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. 😀

Verity Dress Plus Sized Re-launch by Moxie Patterns

Disclaimer: Received the pattern for free. Opinions my own. Dragons were not harmed in the making of this dress.

My blog has a contact form and occasionally I get contacted by companies for weird promotional purposes. It’s pretty rare that happens and I usually actually ignore the emails. I know, terrible, but sometimes they have nothing at all to do with sewing so why would I even bother wasting my spoons on people that are clearly spamming anyone with a blog? I’ve been contacted about posting promo for men’s fashion, women’s fashion, ray bans, etc. Recently, Rebecca, the creator/owner of Moxie patterns, contacted me for a pattern testing opportunity about her increased size range for the Verity dress plus a new collar. I generally leap at free stuff and decided to go for this. I will say, though, I’m probably not going to leap at future pattern testing unless it is from Cashmerette or Muse Patterns. I’ve had a lot of spoons go toward it lately and I really need to focus on an accessible wardrobe instead of the next new and shiny new pattern. Of course, I am a magpie and generally have trouble saying no to the next new and shiny. If I go back on that, please remember I am a weak human creature.

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The Verity pattern grabbed me because it reminded me of my favourite ModCloth pattern, the Coach Tour dress (fyi, none of these are affiliate links…I’m not making money from my blog at all). Back in the day, when I was buying clothes instead of making everything, the Coach Tour dress was my favourite ModCloth dress. I got a similar looking dress from eShakti later on, because the $60 US price tag was a big rich for my blood. eShakti dress was purchased on sale during a buy one get 2 free sale so it was afforadable. I also added sleeves to it. I still wear it to this day because it’s a gorgeous red. But every time I wear it, people ask me if I made it and I have to say no… I would buy ModCloth on sale and then take a hit with customs prices. I also loved the Windy City dress and actually had it in a bunch of colours and styles (okay…three). So if someone out there could make a knock off pattern for that or recommend one for 51 inch bust…that’d be great!

Back to the Verity dress. I had trouble saying “No, I can’t test this as I really need to make new bras and a swimsuit and costumes for the end of October and a crib set for a friend…” So I didn’t… I said YES and made grabby hands motions.

Although, I did make sure that Rebecca was okay with the fact that anything I post anywhere is accompanied by my honest opinion of the pattern. She was! So I hunted for fabric for it, because clearly I suck at stashbusting…

I found this lovely soft cotton/rayon knit at a local store.

It’s medium weight with a quilting texture and is super soft. It was a bit more that I was looking to spend for a pattern test, but it was definitely the right choice for the dress.

Rebecca has really made the instructions for the pattern great for beginners. A person of any level can sew this dress with all the detail in the instructions. She also includes alternative options and ways of constructing the dress so that if one way seems too complicated for a beginner, they can try another way. Or if you prefer one method over the other, it helps to see the two methods there. For experienced sewers, there are shorter instructions in the style of say…Burda or StyleArc where it tells you sew up side seams instead of taking you through how with pictures. Of course, all these details make for an incredibly long instruction booklet. I would recommend viewing it digitally if you want to save paper. The pdf pattern is 60 pages as well as the 42 page instruction booklet. That’s a lot of paper! The pattern includes three different sleeve lengths, as well as sleeveless options, shirt versions and a dress version. The sleeves are puffed and have bands. You can also make it with various neckline options: band, cowl, split cowl like the ModCloth dress, and the new peter pan collar version. There is gathering under the bust, a waistband, gathering at center back, and a circle skirt.

Verity Dress by Moxie Patterns

 

Verity Dress by Moxie Patterns

For my test version, I chose to make the dress with elbow length sleeves and a split cowl neckline. You will notice in the pictures that the sleeves are not puff sleeves or elbow length (in the picture of my back, the sleeves are bunched up slightly to the elbow; they are readjusted for other pictures). The issue with puffed sleeves has been resolved in the final pattern, I am told, as well Rebecca said that she was going to deal with the length of the sleeves/skirt. I am also 5’4″ so on the short side with tyrannosaurus arms so take that into consideration. This is something I told Rebecca to take into consideration for the length. The pattern is drafted with a 5’6″ height in mind.

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I really enjoyed making the dress. I made it in one evening including cutting using my serger for the most part. I used my machine for stitching the collar with a lightening bolt stitch. I just serged the hem. I originally was going to do a proper hem, but the fabric isn’t flipping and the hem looks pretty good as is so I’ve decided to leave it as is.

Verity Dress by Moxie Patterns

In terms of fit, it’s pretty good. I actually am between a 5X and a 6X in this pattern. The extended sizes go up to 8X or a 57.5 inch bust. I settled on making a 6X. Looking at the fit of this, I’d definitely size down next time since I have no negative ease in the bust and have a bit of positive ease in certain places. I was very impressed with how the shoulder fit on the dress. I didn’t need to narrow the shoulder at all!!! I usually narrow the shoulder by about 1-2 inches on any pattern I use. The only adjustment I made was to cut the length for 3X instead of 6X, because I was pretty sure I would need to shorten it. Even with that, it ended up longer than the above the knee length of the pattern photos, but, like I said, that is something that was adjusted for the final pattern.

Verity Dress by Moxie Patterns

As I have stated in the past, I don’t do a star-rating system for test patterns, but when I make the pattern again, because I will make it again using the final released pattern, I will give it a star rating at that point. I have a brilliant idea of making it out of some gorgeous two-tone stretch velvet for a classy winter dress. There is some locally that I might splurge on for my birthday next month!

Verity Dress by Moxie Patterns

Anyone else get Western vibes from my dress? 😀 Do-si-do!

The increased size range with the peter pan collar is available in the Moxie Patterns Etsy store along with the straight size version or through Creative Notions, Rebecca’s blog.

Verity Dress by Moxie Patterns

Comfy Womfy: Butterick 6210

Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry by ooh shiny! That’s the quote right?

Directly after I made my plans for the remainder of the summer, I started making a muslin of M6754. It’s okay. It has an issue with the raglan sleeve so there are a few more adjustments to do. Frustrating for an easy knit dress, but par for the course with my chest. I’ve never done raglan sleeve adjustments before, though, so I haven’t tackled the issue, but I did get tons of advice from fellow sewcialists.

I decided I just wanted to make something and not really worry about fit. Purely comfort. Enter B6210:

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The dress has a loose fitting blousey top with elastic waist and straight skirt. There’s also a faux drawstring on it. I’m really not pleased that thing is a faux drawstring. I guess I didn’t read the pattern description right to see it was just attached on the front. I want a real drawstring dammit! Next time I make this, I will figure out how to add that. Shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s just a matter of making two buttonholes and a long string and putting it in when I do the elastic. This time, though, I decided not to add work.

Fabric requirements are challis, jersey, and rayon for this. Basically fabrics with a nice drape. I chose a  rayon knit fabric I got during my adventures in Hamilton. Gillian pointed the fabric out and said she made something for her sister with it. The minute I touched the fabric, I knew I had to have it for secret pajamas. This fabric is so soft. I just want to wrap myself in it and cocoon.

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I used the top from view D and the bottom from view C for this dress. Or, at least, the bottom started as view C. It ended up being really really long. I cut out a size 28W and the old plus sized means giant amazon rule of patterns and fashion came into play. It was supposed to be knee length, but ended up mid-calf length. I guess I am short…

I chopped off several inches from the bottom to make it a little bit above the knee and then I serged the hem instead of bothering folding it under. It did end up a little bit shorter than I wanted, but it’s good for leggings.

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Because I was using a knit fabric, I chose to make knit binding for the sleeves and the neckline rather than use bias tape. I used the same method for both sleeves and neckline and serged the binding on and then top stitched with my machine.

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I am surprised with this pattern that the armholes aren’t horribly oversized. They are big, but not hilariously so as is my experience when I choose my “size” based on my full bust measurement instead of high bust and then do a full bust adjustment. I was prepared to wear a camisole underneath this and have it show, but I don’t need to worry about that. The armholes provide enough coverage for me.

I didn’t have an issue with my serger loving this fabric. Rochester did his part in no time, but Jane Eyre, my sewing machine, freaked the hell out with the fabric. The elastic waistband is incredibly messy inside. It’s messy outside, too, but hidden by the fabric gathering. Although, the messiness and some rolling of the elastic makes that gathering a little odd looking. If I could have figured out how to do this entirely on my serger I would have. It doesn’t so coverstitch so I had no clue what to do. If I ever work with fabric like this again, I will try out the walking foot to hopefully keep Jane from eating the fabric.

I also will be getting better elastic next time. I used some stuff from my stash and it rolls like crazy. It works fine for pj pants, but for some reason really doesn’t work for this dress. Maybe a bad package… I need to get the good stuff for the boxer shorts I am making for my husband, too. I don’t want them to roll on him and be uncomfortable.

Because of the drapiness of the fabric, the pockets also drape a little oddly. I decided not to both caring about this for a comfy dress. I didn’t spend a lot of time at all thinking about the fit, which was nice for a comfy dress. It’s honestly just lovely to wear. So comfy and soft.

That’s about all to say for the dress. Here’s the photoshoot:

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In other news, I am slowing getting set up in my new sewing space. Once the space is all done, I will take you on a tour of it and show you how I organized things and made the smaller space work for me. 🙂 I’m excited to see the result.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: B6210
  • Pros: It’s a fast & easy pattern just like the envelop claims. Armholes are actually not oversized like most Butterick patterns for me.
  • Cons: In the plus sizes, this is a very tall pattern and will require major shortening. If you are tall, this is not a con!
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I would love to find a nice woven rayon fabric for the next one and the striped duvet fabric in my plans would also work well as it has a nice drape. I want a real drawstring next time, though!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

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