Cashmerette Holyoke Dress

Disclaimer: I received this pattern for free in exchange for testing, but my opinions can’t be bought by patterns alone. I require cheese (preferably lactose free) and probably a good amount of tequila and cold hard cash. Feel free to send me that.

I tested the Cashmerette Holyoke dress ages ago and then left it unhemmed for ages after that. What can I say….I am a procrastinator.

As soon as I saw the pattern, I knew that I wanted to test the dress. I had been looking for something similar and the Holyoke fit the bill. However, when we tested it, it was something like March or February and not time for a sundress. Probably why I procrastinated on sewing the hem for so long.

Let’s chat a bit about the features of this pattern: princess seams, straps that cover bra straps, a long full swishy skirt, a waistband, elastic back for cheese room, and no buttonholes for a faux button placket. It’s pretty fantastic.

My tester version was made using a cheer patterned poly chiffon. The fabric has a crinkly texture. It was a bitch to sew with. It stretched out a bit when sewing the front neckline; although, steam from my iron worked at getting it back in shape every time. For my tester, I made a size 24 GH graded to a 26 at the waist. It fit pretty well except for being a bit wide at the shoulders and the neckline. Underneath, I styled it with that lovely white tank dress that I made with the Concord t-shirt pattern for a lovely 90s look. Look at me being trendy af.

I did a wicked job of almost making the pattern match at the front on the skirt completely unintentionally; luckily, the busy pattern doesn’t really make pattern matching an issue since I didn’t have enough fabric to deal with pattern matching across that many seams. Because of the sheerness of the fabric, I didn’t interface the pieces since it would show through. I took about 6 inches off the hem of the skirt, if not more in some areas due to the fabric stretching out. I made the dress a bit shorter than a maxi since maxi dresses are notoriously bad for making me trip.

I have made another version using the final pattern. However, that is reserved for the Minerva Crafts blog in August so I will just share a preview picture with you:

This version I shortened to knee length. I made the same size as the tester with no modifications. All the issues with the neckline and shoulders are very much improved in this version as well as the the armsyce being raised a bit more. I did move the straps in about a 1/2 when sewing due to my narrow shoulders.

The fit is great. The only change I will make is to shorten the centre front bodice a little bit as there is folding in that area due to my belly sending it up a bit. Yay for bellies.

I have plans for a ton more of these dresses. I really love the style and the fit. It’s a great sundress!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Holyoke dress
  • Pros: Good size range. Lovely fit. Cup size choices are wonderful as usual. Covers bra straps! Cheese room comfort level with the elastic back waistband!
  • Cons: I mean… I guess the maxi only length, but like…. I can shorten shit in my sleep so not really a con to me.
  • Make again?: Well of course! I WANT ALL THE HOLYOKE DRESSES.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Designer Stitch Pippa Wrap top

I cut out this top LAST YEAR. Not even like in December. It was shortly after I made the tropical M7624 which Miss Bossy, you, voted for making. I said I would make the Pippa dress, however, turns out that I didn’t have enough fabric for a dress so instead I made a top. A few people will finally be happy that I made this though. Hahah.

The pattern is the Designer Stitch Pippa wrap dress and top. I cut out a size 10. The main issue with cutting out a top and then sewing it a year later is that sometimes our measurements change in that amount of time and things don’t quite fit the way they should. I’ve not changed much in my bust measurement but my stomach has changed a bit. This is one of those cases where I should probably have made a muslin first, but I made it work. My bust measurement puts me in a size 11, but my stomach and hip measurements put me outside the measurement chart. Like where Artax is after he sinks into the swamp of sadness. Yes, I just watched that video and cried a lot. Artttttaxxxxx. Um….moving on…

I didn’t make any changes to the pattern before cutting it out.

As you can see, I needed to wear a top underneath since the bust is too small. Even given the size change, though, that bust is definitely drafted for a cup size smaller than mine. If I were to make changes for another version, I would definitely choose to do an FBA on the size 10 instead of sizing up since the shoulders are wide already. I may even use a size 8 shoulder and then grade out.

The fabric I used is thrifted cotton dot. Not the greatest picture but it does show the texture. The dots are printed on with a puffy feel to them.

It’s cute fabric.

I added a ruffle to the bottom of the top since as drafted, the top is actually pretty short. And that’s coming from a short-waisted person here.

 

I’m sort of over wrap dresses like this, though. What do I mean? Well, the closure on right side is a button and a piece of elastic loop rather than a tie that goes through a hole and then ties around. I’m not sure what it is about these types of wrap dresses and tops that I hate but I never like how insecure they feel on me. A wrap dress with the tie just feels better to me. It might just be me or maybe it’s because my bust is so big that I feel like snaps and buttons don’t quite contain it. Hahah. Not to brag or anything. HA!

I’m really into how I styled it with the white tank dress (made using the Concord t-shirt pattern). It’s super cute. But the big question is will I make the pattern again. Honestly probably not. I know the pattern could easily be altered to be the type of wrap dress I like, but the fit issues (big shoulders, needing an FBA, etc.) combined with how much fabric it required… Well I am just not really up for that. I love the result of this look, but I’m not sure how else I would style this top.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Designer Stitch Pippa wrap dress and top
  • Pros: Okay size range (could definitely be better, but points for going to a 52″ bust). Cute style. Love the sleeves.
  • Cons: Drafted for a small bust for sure since there isn’t much fullness in the front and a pretty wide back and shoulders for the size. To me, when the shoulders are like that, it’s a drafting issue for larger sizes. Disagree with me. That’s okay, but shoulders and back don’t change too much due to fat so they don’t need to be too wide. Not a fan of the type of wrap it is at all… Buttons and pieces of elastic do not make Andie feel secure and probably send her to the swamp of sadness.
  • Make again?: Probably not.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 3.5/5 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.

Decades of Style Ophelia Overalls

Today I am sharing my Ophelia Overalls from Decades of Style. Usual disclaimer: I was given the pattern for free to test it out and share on social media. All opinions are my own.

I’ve been wanting to make overalls for a while now. Overalls were my favourite thing to wear in the 90s. I owned a pair of wide legged overalls in a lightweight denim fabric that I absolutely loved. I wore them all the time in spite of my sister poking fun at me and saying I could be a farmer in those overalls, to quote Clueless.

I loved those overalls and was recently thinking that I needed to replicate them since the style was coming back. Let’s be honest, style be damned; overalls are super comfortable.

When Janet, the mastermind behind Decades of Style, sent me the pattern information, I said yes immediately. I also knew immediately that the polkadot chambray in my stash was perfect for it.

Before I cut anything out, I did two things: 1) I compared the crotch curve of the pattern to my Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers and 2) I did a muslin of the pattern in a shorter length since the patterns requires a lot of fabric.

The crotch curve was almost a perfect match. All I did before making the muslin was scoop out the front crotch curve.

My muslin turned out well. It revealed that I would need a full belly adjustment. I also narrowed the width at the top of the bib by about an inch to account for my narrower upper frame. I didn’t want the straps slipping off.

 

 

The result in my final version is awesome. There are still some very minor fit issues. I do think a bit more of a full belly adjustment would help it. I also forgot to adjust the side panels for the increased length so they matched correctly. I will do that for my next version.

 

The result is so adorable and reminiscent of Rosie the Riveter that I am in absolute love with it. I did red topstitching, which while not perfectly even, is perfectly acceptable. I love the loose style of the overalls with the ties to cinch in the waist. They are comfortable and flowy.

 

Of course, it being Canada and the middle of winter….I will probably not wear this outside the house until the Spring. But I can always sew in them.

The other bonus of this pattern is those massive pockets. I can definitely start a revolution with those.

 

Finally, I will leave you with this note. Unlike a onesie or jumpsuit, the overalls don’t leave you naked when you pee. Hahhah.

For the pattern launch, there is a discount for 20% on the entire purchase with code OVER20 and it will run for 2 weeks.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Decades of Style Ophelia Overalls
  • Pros: I love big pockets and I can’t lie. Those wide legged pants are so fly.
  • Cons: Doing pattern adjustments are slightly tough but that’s only because of the number of pattern pieces and that my brain couldn’t remember that the sides would need adjusting. There is a sewalong that will cover some adjustments.
  • Make again?: YES! I am actually going to go back and finish the muslin shorts I made since they just need a couple minor adjustments to be wearable.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Fancy Pants and Burda Sweater

 

Today I am sharing two newer garments I made in January: Style Arc Misty Jeans in a houndstooth doubleknit fabric and the Off the Shoulder Sweater from Burda issue 09/2018 in a turquoise hacci knit.

There isn’t much to say about the Misty Jeans. I’ve made them several times before. The only difference with these ones is the material. The fit is okay, but the material grows over the day so I needed to take in the waistband a bit. The doubleknit is a wool blend. Possibly blended with vicose or rayon since the material is super soft and doesn’t have great recovery like most rayon/viscose blends I’ve used. If I took the pants in, though, to account for the poor recovery, they would be tight on first wear for a couple of hours. I’m just accepting it. They are soft pants and super warm for winter so I’m not super concerned about them growing as the day goes on. With the waistband a bit tighter, it keeps them in place.

 

I made these for the #sewfancypants challenge on IG. The challenge was a lot of fun. It got me to finally make more pants.

The Burda sweater is lovely with these pants. I made size 52, the largest size. The pattern fits large. I find that about most Burda patterns, though. While I am a bit outside of the measurements for 52, I don’t have an issue fitting into it. I usually do an FBA but didn’t feel the sweater would need that and it doesn’t. It has an oversized look which is perfect for a cowl neck sweater. I am not really into off the shoulder sweaters so I am wearing this as a cowl neck. TBH I would also need to increase the size of the cowl to not have trouble getting it into an off the shoulder look. It’s a bit tight due to my bust size and the length from my nape to my full bust not being very long. Otherwise, the cowl just pops up and becomes a cowl again.

 

The sweater is hella long, though. We’re talking might as well be a dress long. I shortened it by 5-6 inches and then lopped off another 4 and even made a hem band with some of the length. HELLA LONG. I get I am 5’3″ but like….sometimes plus size drafting is way too long and Burda is pretty guilty of that. It’s possibly drafted for a 6 foot person in length!

 

BUT the arms are short. What? I didn’t notice because the model’s arms are scrunched up so it’s tough to see that the arms are shorter. I usually have to shorten arms not add long bands so they are long-sleeved. I don’t understand a cowl neck sweater with shorter sleeves… I want a sweater with long sleeves. I want to be cozy af.

Other than those issues of confusion, the sweater is great. I love the oversized cowl and the shape. It’s a lovely cozy sweater in a gorgeous turquoise/teal colour.

 

The sweater actually completes one of my make nine items. Yay!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Off the Shoulder Sweater from Burda issue 09/2018
  • Pros: I love the final result! Even though I am a bit outside the size 52 measurements, it fits well.
  • Cons: Super long length and then weirdly short arms.
  • Make again?: I would. However, it required a lot of fabric even after shortening it quite a bit so I won’t be making it again any time soon since I don’t have enough fabric.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md  3.5/5 stars

Lace Party Dress

 

Talk about a slow sewing dress and slow to post blog (hahah), I started my lace party dress beginning of October and finished it just in time for my friends’ wedding on October 20th. And yes, it’s February and I am finally writing about it.

I love slow sewing projects. I mean don’t get me wrong, I can complete tons of fast sewing in no time, but I love being able to focus on details like handpicking a zipper, hand-basting lace to underlining, or hand stitching the lining to the skirt. My goal for this year is to focus on similar projects. I have a few planned that will be tons of fun.

Carefully pressing seams over hams with a presscloth become like meditation…

The dress uses the bodice from Simplicity 8096 and a gathered skirt plus self-drafted pockets. I draft most of my own pockets, which is not a huge skill to brag about, but I can’t stand a small pocket. I don’t have large hands (actually super tiny…like I buy kid’s size gloves to get them to fit right) but I like using pockets for my phone, kleenex, keys, key fobs, protein bars for when my food restrictions/allergies/intolerances make grabbing something to eat impossible, my kindle, a brick, etc. You know, normal things. The whole idea of tiny pockets on women’s clothing is weird and stupid and misogynistic since men’s clothing gets huge pockets all the time.

I had limited fabric for this project. I only had 2 yards of the dusty rose lace. The lace was bought many years ago through fabric.com at the same time as other orders for my wedding dress. I originally had plans to use the dusty rose lace on the bodice of my dress instead of the ivory lace and use the ivory lace instead for lingerie. My plans changed and I had this lace leftover.

With only 2 yards, there had to be some pretty good pattern tetris. I also had even less than 2 yards for the beige satin I used for the underlining AND lining…. eeep. Luckily the skirt underlining was able to get cut out using the satin, but I did need to use some other cotton pieces for the pockets and parts of the lining of the bodice. As you can see, I also needed to cut the beige skirt lining much shorter than the lace. It actually made for a lovely tiered hem look. I also used the beige satin for the straps.

The fit on this dress is similar to the fit on my crop top version. It is a bit tight at the front unlike the crop top, where I added in some inches for the overlap there and didn’t have 3 layers of fabric. I think I could benefit from adding an inch to the center panel for comfort. The back fits okay. Although the strap could be brought in on left by an inch (hello, asymmetry!).

 

As part of this outfit, I also wanted to wear a short crinoline under the dress for the wedding. I did leave it off for the pictures to show you the tiered hem. I originally thought of using tulle in my stash and making it from scratch. However, I had a crinoline from my wedding dress that was simply sitting around in a garment bag; the crinoline was longer than most of my skirts and dresses. I decided to be smart and just shorten that crinoline instead to be able to use it for other outfits. I removed the bottom panels of the two skirts of crinoline and then finished the hem with ivory hug snug.

The new shorter crinoline looks great. I have enough crinoline left from the panels I took off the bottom of both skirts to make another crinoline!

I think that some fabric dye would work great on it and then I would have 2 crinolines in different colours. I’m thinking maybe hot pink for the other one.

The result is a great party dress which I wore with some brown Doc Martens and a lovely floral shawl for the wedding. I felt pretty stylish. It was a really lovely night. I didn’t actually take any pictures, though. As a result, it took me forever to actually take blog pictures for this post.

 

Here I am accepting my fake award for being incredible.

 

To say I love this dress is an understatement.

Some Loosey Goosey Summer Sewing plans

I have a weird relationship with planning sewing. I love planning stuff out, but I hate being confined to the plans. So I am calling these “loosey goosey” plans because I don’t want to feel confined to them. I want them to inspire me but not restrict me.

I’m going to talk categories, because Me-Made-May always makes me think about the areas I really need to replenish my wardrobe or the areas I am lacking.

PJs

It’s been true for a while now that I need to make more PJs/loungewear for around the house. My current flannel pj pants and lounging shorts are getting threadbare and ratty looking after so many washes. Also, many lack pockets and that’s ridiculous to me now. I need a place to stash my phone or my tissue (sinus problems and being an empath mean I need tissues constantly…).

Since these are summer sewing plans, I have two summer pj plans.

Blank Slate Patterns Barton shorts

I know how weird it must seem to pick flannel for the summer to a lot of people. But I love flannel all year round. It’s really difficult for me to regulate my temperature so I often need sweaters all year round. Also, flannel is incredibly soft and there is nothing worse to me than having a lounge/sleepwear in a stupid scratchy fabric. I mean why choose stupid scratchy fabric for anything ever?

The flannel pictured is one of many flannels I have. I hoard that stuff. I will probably make a couple of these in different fabrics. The nice thing is this also helps me achieve a #2018MakeNine fabric objective of using my flannel. Go me!

I’ve made the Blank Slate Barton shorts many times and love them. They are super comfortable.

Hot Patterns Cupid Cami and Tap pants

This pattern is available for free on fabric.com. I have this black and white floral satin that would be great for some warm weather pjs. If these work out well, I might use some other satin I have for another pair. The only issue is that there are no side seams for pockets. I think I will probably add a patch pocket to the top. I also have the Designer Stitch Ella Cami set so I might switch the pattern out to that since it has pockets. Or not. Loosey goosey, after all.

DIYB Club Gabriela PJs

Welcome to the over the top crazy plan. I got this pattern for free since DIBY contacted the CSC editors asking us to review a few of their patterns. I immediately jumped on the Gabriela. I’ve been wanting to make a onesie for pjs for a really long time. Until this past year, there weren’t any in my size. There are now two patterns that I know of in my size and above! Gabriela is one and the other is Rad Patterns Cosplay suit. There might be more out there, but I am good with just having one for now. The Gabriela pjs are like old one piece thermal pjs and have a functional butt flap. Amazing! LOL. Perfect for pjs.

I got some Disney Princess cotton lycra from Funky Monkey Fabrics for this pattern. It’s a super indulgent and frivolous purchase for sure! I want to use a solid accent colour for the butt flap, cuffs, and pockets, but I haven’t picked that out yet since I was waiting to see the true colours in the fabric. I think I will likely make the shorts version of this pattern with no hoodie meaning that I might have enough fabric leftover for a tank top. YES!

Tops

The Peplum top is a free pattern from In the Folds is available through Peppermint Magazine. I have two linens (white and turquoise) that I want to make into Peplum tops.

I snapped this Designer Stitch Synthia ruffle top pattern as soon as it was released. Recently, I got this digital print rayon from a local store. The wrong side is a greyscale version of the print and I think that will look really neat with the pattern since the wrong side shows on the ruffles in some places.

Yes, yes, I know. I am the queen of Cashmerette Cedar Dolman hacks. I am the hack queen. ROFL. The idea of this hack is to use the leftover rayon from my M7624. I plan on using the coral to colour block the shoulders/neckline and then the tropical print for the main body.

The Style Arc Blair cropped shirt looks great for summer. I have a bit of this tropical print voile from my first Willow Kimono. I hope I can get it cut out of this fabric. If I can’t amke it work, I will pick up a solid colour and do the bottom half and the button band in the solid.

I bought this cotton lycra on a whim lately and went looking through my stash for a good pattern. Version B of Simplicity 8342 is the one I chose. I also kind of want to make the cropped pants but I would need fabric for that.

Shorts

Cake Patterns was briefly out of commission for a bit and then they were bought out so their patterns are available again. WOO! I am a big fan of the Pavlova skirt. I have so many different versions. I’ve wanted to make the Endeavour shorts for a while. I have a bunch of smaller cuts of fabric that would be perfect for it. Some with a bit of stretch for comfort. 😉

Top Layers

I made a Designer Stitch Willow Kimono for our vacation this winter. I got this idea in my head to make a super weird version using this really bright orange leopard print satin with a ridiculous red fringe trim on the hems. Um yeah, so I am making that happen. This is also a #2018MakeNine fabric!

While it might be summer, I often toss on a light jacket for cooler nights. There are a few jean jacket patterns out there but few in my size so Seamwork Audrey it is. My dream is to make a jean jacket and then put a bunch of patches on it. I want a basic jean jacket and then a ridiculous

Dresses

I need a dress that would work for a wedding and I think this rayon polkadot fabric plus the Seamwork Arden would be lovely. However, I want to swap out the sleeves for some short flutter sleeves. Another #2018MakeNine fabric.

This Burda Keyhole dress has been on my to-make list for a while. I think this polkadot chambray will look awesome with it. Another #2018MakeNine fabric.

You may remember this Designer Stitch Pippa dress and pink polkadot fabric pairing from my Miss Bossy vote! I shall make it happen since it got so many votes.

Helllooooooo mint floral eyelet! You would look lovely as Simplicity 8096 view C. Yes, yes, you would. Another #2018MakeNine fabric.

Etc.

I need to get a move on a new batch of bras. I also need underwear. And some bike shorts for under dresses and skirts would also be good.

Final thoughts

It’s a lot of plans. I definitely won’t get them all done since I have costume making to do as well this summer. But a woman can dream!