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

 

Seamwork Brit

As soon as I saw the Seamwork Brit and the bonus variation, I knew I had to have it. Although, I wasn’t interested in making the dress. I have been lusting after a top with a ruffle detail for ages. I was actually going to design one myself using the Cashmerette Concord t-shirt pattern but hadn’t gotten around to it and didn’t really want to. The sleeves on the Brit pattern are a bonus, too! I absolutely love a bishop sleeve.

I shortened the pattern by about 8 inches. I wanted the top hem to hit my low hip so I didn’t want to take out too much length. I cut out a size 24 and the only modification I did was shorten it to a top. I have to say that the fit is lovely. The sleeves fit nicely and the top fits over my bust and back really well. I think the pattern is going to become a TNT (Tried and Tested) pattern. I honestly don’t think I have any changes I would make for the next versions.

The fabric I used is a bright blue with white stripes knit. I got it from Tanya during a destash a while ago. I have been hoarding the fabric ever since. It’s a very lightweight knit with a nice drape perfect for the sleeves as well as not being too thick for the layers in the ruffle.

In the curvy range, the pattern has a centre back seam to help with the fit. Not that I needed it since it fits great.

The sleeves are lovely. The bands are a bit tight in this knit for rolling up sleeves; although, not around my wrist. But just be aware that if you occasionally roll up your sleeves, the pattern might need a slight modification here or a stretchier fabric.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Brit and the bonus variation
  • Pros: I could wear this top all the time. I love it so much!
  • Cons: No cons imho. It’s a great pattern.
  • Make again?: I have a ton more version planned including one that uses lace for the yoke above the ruffle. ❤
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Seamwork Jill Coatigan

And now for something completely different…

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

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

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

  

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

TL:DR Review

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

While I’ve been gone

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been busy with a lot of pattern testing that I can’t share yet and a costume project that I can share, but didn’t take many pictures of, and a few other smaller projects one of which I will share in a different post.

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For the costume project, I took apart a suit and two jumpsuits to make them tearable for a friend’s sketch show. This is the only picture I took, but it reminds me of Flat Stanley and makes me giggle a lot. The suit ultimately needed to be made into a jumpsuit and then the front needed to tear away from the back.

My old Brother SQ9050 kind of died after this project. I broke about 10 needles during the project and it struggled through every bit of it. Afterwards, the feed dogs just stopped working completely. RIP Jane Eyre. Rochester, my serger, will be in mourning forever… I do want to see if I can fix Jane so I can use her as a backup machine or even use the different stitches. I don’t want to take her into a shop, though, so it would be purely DIY. I did that with my serger at one point and fixed the timing. I think the connection to the feed dogs is probably where to look. And I looked briefly at the Brother site and saw that parts are available including new feed dogs.

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Meet Brienne of Tarth. She’s a Singer Heavy Duty 4452 that I purchased off Amazon.

Brienne of Tarth is aptly named because she is a workhorse and can take anything I throw at her. She has a metal frame and a fast motor meaning I can go up to 11,000 stitches per minute. So far, I love this new machine. Moving from a computerized to a manual machine is a bit of a learning curve, but not impossible. My first machine was manual, but I didn’t really remember a lot from that time. I also think I didn’t really learn what I could about the stitch settings and am taking my time to learn with this new machine. I thought at one point I would save up to get a Pfaff, but I think that is out of range for now. The positive of this machine is that is extremely affordable. I’ll do a full review after I work with it for some more time, but so far is is doing a far better job than my Brother ever did.

I started off with a simple project of some fabric bins for the first project with Brienne.

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I used this tutorial on Birch Fabrics to make them for my friend. I did change the shape slightly into a rectangle due to a cutting error, but I love the rectangular shape. I also used fusible foam instead of a heavy interfacing so they stood up better. I have fabric and foam left to make myself a couple of fabric bins.

This past weekend, I made a Concord top and redid my tester version of the Belmont leggings so they fit and I cropped them off in hopes that Spring may arrive here some day…

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The fabric is a bamboo jersey and is quite lovely. Grey seems to be a theme lately with me since I just cut out another grey project and have two others planned. I’m not entirely in love with the colour or lack of colour, but can see potential for layering and pairing with obnoxiously bright neon colours. I am also working on a grey Seamwork Jill Coatigan:

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The fabric is a gorgeous heavy wool knit blend with stripes on one side and floral on the other. I decided to go with the stripes on the outside, but have the floral showing on the collar. I ran out of fabric as well so I had to cut the pocket and the tie I decided to add from a dark wool. To make the whole thing less blah, I will be finishing the inside seams with a lime green bias tape made from the fabric in the bins above. 😀 I shortened the coat by about 10 inches for two reasons: 1) I am super short (5’3″ at last measuring) and the hem would have hit me at mid calf when it is supposed to hit mid-thigh; 2) And then when I was cutting it out…. I had to shorted it again to get the main pieces to fit on the fabric and they *just* fit. This actually might hit me mid-thigh now…which makes me wonder if they made the pattern for a person with Brienne’s proportions… I’m excited to share this later on this month on the CSC and then again here. Cross your fingers it all goes well.

I also recently made a new knit dress, but I will share that in a different post. 🙂

In other news, I received my first sewing magazines in the mail from Ottobre. The CSC editors were offered them for free. I have a few favs from them and at the top is that pink babydoll dress on the right hand cover of the Spring/Summer 2018 issue. I just have to get some tracing paper and then I should be ready to go.

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I have some pretty intense costume projects coming up for improv performances at festivals in the summer and early fall. I will need to plan them out and I’ll share the process here. It’s pretty exciting, actually, since we have a costume budget! But it is a budget so I will have to think carefully of the plans for it. After all the costumes are created, we can use them for more festivals in the future as well as runs of our improv shows. The troupe is pretty excited about all that. Speaking of the troupe, if you are at Toronto Comicon this weekend, check us out:

Seamwork’s Florence Lounge Bra

Disclaimer: there is swearing in this post.

florence

I sort of knew going into this project that it might fail horribly. I have huge boobs, after all, and the phrase “lounge bra” as Seamwork calls it doesn’t really fit with huge boobs, even if my measurements are within the pattern’s specifications. I wanted to try it out, though, because I had some scraps lying around and it doesn’t hurt to try things and watch them fail. It’s all a learning experience.

I really like the idea of Florence, I do. I also have a major crush on the model, Sierra McKenzie. Most of her stuff is nsfw, fyi, btw. So google her carefully or don’t, whatever. 😉 Anyone else giggle when they say they are googling someone or is that just me? It sounds oddly dirty.

Anyway…..

I was pretty excited for the lingerie issue of Seamwork and the two patterns. The Geneva knickers are also really cute, but I had a good pattern already. Florence, however, took me in. I want a lounge bra: something to wear at home or to bed and feel supported but not restrained. Florence isn’t really that unless you do major changes for larger cup sizes.

In the larger sizes, the cup increases length-wise, as well as in the width. It’s a significant increase length-wise. Based on the line drawing, I wouldn’t have thought that it would be such a long cup, but in the larger sizes it is very long.

The instructions have very little information in them as well as an odd instruction or two that made me question the process all together.

First off, there is no instruction on stretch percentage. The fabric is simply listed as 6″ stretch lace, but there is no guidance given in terms of stretch percentage. I have four stretch laces in my stash that vary from 20% – 150% stretch. That’s quite a difference. Not all stretch lace is considered equal, either; some can be higher quality than others and have perfect recovery while others have shit recovery. I decided that my lace was either too stretch or not stretchy enough and figured for my first Florence I wouldn’t risk using any of it and instead went with a spandex that had a good stretch/body to it. You saw it before with my gold Moneta.

Second, there is a far easier method to creating the adjustable straps than the one listed in the instructions. Here is the easier method via Madalynne. I was taught this way in my bra class and the method in the instructions, which is here, kind of makes my head spin. You can still attach the extra bit of elastic to the other side of bra ring after or before, but why go through the trouble of sewing the slider bit around other bits of elastic, when you can make a much neater bar tack without all that crap in the way?

Third, I find it very unlikely that they tested this for the larger sizes.

Fourth, I think the band runs really large. So test your fit before you put the elastic in. In comparing the Geneva knickers to my pattern, I also see those run rather large….and there might possibly be an overall issue in both patterns and how they are graded up.

Of course, I know I am not a typical size in my chest, but I doubt this works for larger bust sizes (1X-3X). That’s the problem with lounge bras, I guess, they cater to small busted women, which is great…for small busted women.

I guess I have a problem with creating a pattern for a certain size when it won’t work without proper guidance on stretch percentage or possibly reinforcing with powernet or etc.

If you want the Florence to work for you and you have a large bust like me, be prepared to do a ton of shit to make it work.

Things you might want to do to make the Florence work for a larger bust:

1. Line it with powernet.

2. Add in a closure at the back so that you don’t have to stretch it over your head, because the powernet won’t be as stretchy as the lace.

3. Extend the bridge length slightly so that the cup is more supported underneath.

4. Shorten the cup length, if you have to. I would have to, because I have short shoulders (wait, is that a thing…. I dunno how to describe it…) and the bra cup extended to the back….

5. Drink lots of wine.

6. Repeat #5 until you forget what you are doing.

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*please drink responsibly*

I think I will just get a sports bra pattern from Pin-Up Girls and toss this in the garbage. The nice thing is that I didn’t use much new material for it. No big loss there. 🙂

Honestly, I am glad for fuck-ups like this, because they help me learn. I learned more about sewing with spandex and using elastic in lingerie. It was a nice learning experience even if the pattern didn’t work out for me. 🙂

Here is a picture of my Florence. I literally got to a point when I didn’t care about creating a perfect finished product….so the sewing isn’t great, because I just used it as an opportunity to try new stitches and play with elastic methods…

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork’s Florence lounge bra
  • Pros: Great for small busts….maybe? Not for large boobs…
  • Cons: Errything. Too much to put here.
  • Make again?: NOPE.
  • Rating: white-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md o/5 stars