Muna and Broad Torrens Box Top

Disclaimer: I received the pattern for free but my opinion is my own. Check out the CSC post for more versions.

Muna and Broad is one of the newer indie pattern companies run by Leila (@Leilasews) and Jess (Broad in the Seams). They are a plus-sized pattern company and really put a lot of work into making sure their patterns have a lot of plus-sized alterations built in. I have the Glebe pants and will be trying them out soon (my muslin is already cut out); I also tested their Undies/Period Undies pattern and it’s life changing! You’ll see those on the blog soonish (although just the undies not the period undies since I don’t have the materials for those yet). The Torrens Box top is a boxy silhouette top with sleeve bands and a sleeve extension pack.

My first version of the Torrens top is made without any alterations in a pink swiss dot cotton. I made a size A. There is a slight bit of gaping in the neckline but the fit is good otherwise. Gaping in the neckline is a usual issue for me due to my large bust.

It’s a really cute top. I’ve been wearing a more boxy silhouette these days since developing issues with compression urticaria (hives from wearing tight clothing). Let me tell you how horrible compression urticaria is when you have EDS. My skin is fragile so scratching actually breaks the skin or causes blood vessels to burst in my skin and also develops hives from scratching (dermatographia). Think of being itchy and then just getting itchier from itching and then being so itchy you want to cry. Fun times. It’s changed a lot of my sewing. I need to sew bras that I can actually wear without having this issue but I am not sure what those would look like. Some of the dresses I have made in the past aren’t comfortable for me anymore and even the waistband on skirts is getting to me. Honestly, it’s probably the most frustrating part of having a chronic illness: having things you love taken away from you… So my style is changing to adapt. Thankfully my Belmont leggings are still okay and my Misty jeans (new plaid pair here in double knit fabric… couldn’t pattern match due to fabric constraints) and a lot of my tops are okay, but most woven fabrics are too constrictive for me to wear. So I am really thankful for patterns like this that are loose fitting and comfortable to wear. I have plans for other types of flowy tops and some already cut out. You’ll likely see more pants here, too, but only elastic waistbands as anything else would hurt.

After this version, I made a few changes. I lowered the neckline as well as taking out a 1/2 wedge to deal with the neckline gaping. For version 2, instead of the deep hem, I chose to just do a 1/2 inch hem for a bit more length.

I used the sleeve expansion since I was given early access to it. It’s definitely my favourite version. The sleeves, the colour, so goooood. Since I lowered the neckline, I do have more gaping at the neckline in this version. It’s also made with red rayon fabric which does have a tendency to grow. We’ll see how it washes up but I will do some more neckline alterations for the next version.

There will definitely be more of these in the future. It’s such a comfortable shirt to wear.

I totally chose the red after seeing Leila’s red Torrens on Instagram:

How amazing does she look? I had to follow her footsteps.

Let’s talk about those sleeves for a moment. They are so roomy. I used the wide sleeve and really love it. One of few patterns where I haven’t needed to make a large bicep adjustment.

Real talk, just before taking these pictures, I washed my hands and got water all over the bottom front of the top right before taking pictures. I don’t photoshop my pictures so feel free to play Where’s Waldo with those water stains. LOL.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Muna and Broad Torrens Box Top
  • Pros: Great size range for plus and honestly that’s all I really care about. Love the sleeves. Love the sleeve bands. Love the shape. Great instructions. So many pros.
  • Cons: No cons that I can think of. Even the neckline gaping issues aren’t really cons.
  • Make again?: Oh yes. It’s so goood.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 5/5 stars

 

 

Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee

The Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee was recently updated for a larger size range. Previously, it was only available in one size but this update includes multiple sizes and it’s still a free pattern! Free patterns are really great for me since I am still recovering from being unemployed for the majority of this year (feel free to drop me a kofi if you want to help me out; things are still really tough for me even though I am employed now). Thankfully my stash was large and in charge so I wasn’t experiencing withdrawal from sewing. One of the difficult things about sewing is that it can be financially inaccessible: sewing machines can be expensive and especially here in Canada, fabric is expensive and patterns are even more expensive than in the US. I am so envious of those pattern sales in the US! So when free patterns are offered by companies, it really helps people who don’t necessarily have the funds to buy the latest new pattern. I know this isn’t necessarily something every company wants to do based on their own financial resources, but it really helps people with lower incomes. ❤ I really appreciate the free patterns I have been trying out lately.

The Hemlock tee is a drop-shoulder tee with short sleeves and long sleeves for options as well as different lengths. You get it for free when you sign up for the newsletter.

To test the pattern out, I chose the short sleeve and cropped version using leftover fabric from my Clementine shirt. It’s a rayon spandex knit in a tropical leaf pattern.

The new size range is 0-30. Grainline, however, has different blocks for 0-18 and the 14-30.

I used the 14-30 size range and chose size 26 since my bust is 52 inches. Although my hips are 56 and size 26 is for 55 inch hips, with the boxy style, the extra inch shouldn’t matter too much especially using the cropped version due to my lack of fabric for this.

It’s a boxy tee so the fit is oversized. It fits pretty well for the style and was super easy to make. It’s actually really great for someone who wants to start sewing knits. The instructions are quite good. That said, the seam allowance is 1/4 inch so if you aren’t using a serger, you may want to add to that or size up for a larger seam allowance. I used my serger for the construction and just using my machine to topstich the hems and the neckline.

It’s unfortunate that my hair is covering the neckline because those are the only issues I have with it. It’s not quite sitting right where the shoulders are which suggests maybe the pattern isn’t trued there or it has to do with my shoulders. I did manage to press it into submission and then topstitching helped but it isn’t perfect. That said, I also have narrow shoulders/upper bust so this is sometimes an issue. It could be truing, though, since the shoulder had a puff at that area. I have very little drafting experience, though, so I can’t confirm that the issue is there or with the fit on my body. And because I didn’t move my hair, you can’t really see it. Let me know if you try this and have issues with that, though! Or if you know exactly how to check for a truing issue.

 

The fix for that issue is relatively easy. It would be taking a small wedge out of the height of the shoulder at the neckline. I’m not too fused on it for this version, though.

 

It’s a pretty cute top and I love the cropped version with my Belmont leggings. Now that it’s winter here in Toronto, I haven’t worn it too much but I think once Spring hits, I will maybe make another… That said, I love the Mica shirt so much and I imagine that will be my go-to boxy tee. V-necks are just so much more my style than this higher round neckline.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Grainline Hemlock Tee
  • Pros: Good size range and options. FREEEEEE when you sign up for their newsletter. Good instructions.
  • Cons: Possible truing issue at the shoulder, but I am not a drafting expert so I can’t confirm that.
  • Make again?: I would. However, I like the v-neck of the Mica shirt a bit more than this but occasionally I do like a round neck too.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 4.5/5 stars

 

Cashmerette Tobin Sweater

As you probably know by now, I test patterns for Cashmerette. I can’t test every single one, though, and sometimes it really hurts to turn it down! The Tobin sweater was one that hurt to say no to, but I wasn’t able to do it at the time. The lucky thing is that Cashmerette still sent me the pdf for free with absolutely no expectation to review or sew it up. So I sewed it right up!

There a lot of options to this sweater: two different collars or a no collar option, colourblocking options, and hi-lo or straight hem. The split neck collar is what drew me to the sweater plus the cowl neck. You know I love a cowl neck!

I made view A with the split collar, straight hem, and colourblock options. I used a striped coral and white ponte and a navy ponte. The striped ponte was purchased at the thrift store and it’s so soft. The navy ponte was salvaged from a Turner dress that I had stopped wearing because the bodice got a few stains on it.

I made my usual size with Cashmerette: 22 GH graded to a size 28 at the waist.

The fit is spot on. I thought I might need to lower the bust darts, but they actually seem okay. I do seem to have put the split collar on the wrong way. You’ll also notice the lack of buttons on it. I don’t love putting non-functional buttons on garments just like I hate a non-functional pocket. So I left those buttons off.

It’s such a great sweater and I definitely want to make a bunch more. I think the next version will be view B with the cowl neck. I also really want to make the version with no collar. The neckline has a facing so it’s a nice finish.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Tobin Sweater
  • Pros: Many options. Great for stable knits. Love a cowl!
  • Cons: I see no cons.
  • Make again?: Is 500 sweaters too much?
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md 5/5 stars

Introducing the Cashmerette Alcott dress

I’ve been waiting to share this one with you since I tested it. I love the Cashmerette Alcott dress. Obviously, there are disclaimers aplenty in this post since I received the pattern for free in exchange for testing and I got fabric for free in exchange for promotion, but my enthusiasm and love of these two dresses is real. Also, my opinion can’t be bought with pattern and fabric. It helps, but I am too opinionated for that. LOL.

The Alcott has a fully lined wrap bodice, elastic waistband, and either a full skirt or an a-line skirt with ruffle options for hem and sleeves or flutter sleeves. The wrap bodice has elastic at the neckline so it stays put.

I made a mash up of the Dartmouth and Turner patterns, but this one is so much better.

This is my tester version made with cotton lycra. I made size 22 GH graded to size 28 at the waist. I reduced the height of the waistband in this version since I didn’t have 2 inch elastic available at the time.

The length of the bodice was a bit too short for this version. But being a tester, it was good enough to be worn all summer.

It’s a super cute dress. You can always tell how much I love one of my creations by the massive amount of pictures I take of them. I really love this dress.

I was excited enough just to share this version, but then Cashmerette reached out to me asking if I would like to be part of a promotion opportunity where they partner with a fabric business to send fabric out and then make up the final version of the pattern. I was stoked and then found out it was Imagine Gnats that would be sponsoring it! I’ve had my eye out on their Dakota rayon/spandex jersey in plum for a while. They sent me the end of their stock at the time so I got a little over 4 yards which is just shy of the fabric requirements for view B with the ruffle sleeves and ruffle hem. With some magic, I managed to squeeze it on that amount. Again, I made size 22 GH graded to size 28 at the waist with no other adjustments.

The result is an incredible fit and gorgeous dress that while it looks elegant is comfy af. That fabric is so soft and lovely to wear. It makes the ruffles really dance.

Again so many pictures that I don’t think I should post them all in one post. LOL.

You can see the other Alcott dresses here. I love the other versions. I want to make another right now.

 

All I need is a snifter of brandy and a cute date with my husband.

Forget-Me-Not Patterns Clementine Top

Disclaimer: I was sent the Forget-Me-Not Patterns Clementine pattern for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own, though.

Forget-Me-Not Patterns is a new pattern company created by Johanna Morris. Johanna also designed the Manuka dress and top with Muse Patterns. I really love my version of the top I created during testing. Johanna reached out to me when Clementine was released. The pattern does only go to a 48.5 inch bust so my instincts were to say no since I have a 52 inch bust. I let her know and she asked that I follow the tutorial she released on doing an FBA on the pattern and incorporate that into the review. I used that tutorial and an additional tutorial on increasing the depth of the cowl since I knew from personal experience that I like a deep cowl.

I used size 48 and did a 2 inch FBA and graded out at the waist a bit. I added an additional 2 inches to the cowl depth. I found both tutorials were really easy to follow.

The fabric I used is a super soft rayon knit with lots of drape. The tropical leaves pattern somewhat hides the style lines of the princess seams in the front and back, but it fits incredibly well and the cowl depth is perfect. I also did a full bicep adjustment and added bands to the sleeves as that is my preferred hem for a sleeve. The fit isn’t tight at all around my stomach, but my belly does show and it always will.

I also added length to the top. The FBA also added length, but I lengthened the top about 2 inches in addition to the FBA length. I actually would lengthen it about 2 inches more for future versions since I prefer longer tops. I’m wearing it here with pink ponte Style Arc Misty Jeans. It’s a cute outfit. 🙂

The instructions in both the tutorials and pattern are great. It could definitely have a better size range and I am hopeful that they will do that in the future. The alterations, however, gave me a great fit with this pattern. I am definitely making more of these tops. I am not as keen on making the dress version, but that is because I haven’t really been wearing knit dresses at all lately. I tend more toward tops and skirts/overalls/leggings than dresses these days even knit dresses.

I can’t wait to make another!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Forget-Me-Not Patterns Clementine top
  • Pros: Princess seams and cowl make for my perfect styled top. I really love the fit I got with the alterations.
  • Cons: The size range deducts a point for me.
  • Make again?: Yes, I have some sweater knit that will be great for a fall/winter version.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Helen’s Closet Yanta Overalls

Hello Readers.

It’s been a while since I posted here. September was a tough month for me mentally and physically. At the end of August, I went to Victoria BC for their Fringe Festival, where my husband was showing his solo play, Personal Demon Hunter. We walked a lot in Victoria and I experienced a lot of pain and exhaustion on returning. Before that, my improv troupe was at FanExpo, our biggest local convention, and I was already low on energy. I spent the first part of September recovering from that and dealing with a lot of migraines and allergy-related hives. My mental health hasn’t been great since I became unemployed in April and money has been getting tighter and tighter to the point that I can’t cover some meds, which would help my migraines and allergies. I’ve been applying to jobs, though, so I am hopeful that the situation will change. In the meantime, though, everything is tough and the financial situation triggers a lot of anxiety and depression in me. I’m trying to focus on the positive and keep reminding myself the situation is temporary.

Before Victoria, I sewed up a bunch of garments, but I never got around to sharing them here. It took a while to take pictures and then I wasn’t sure what to say here. I have always been transparent about my health both mental and physical but I was having trouble speaking about it all. So there it is in all it’s messy glory. My situation sucks right now and that’s the reality of it all. I do have lots of support from family and friends and I am extremely grateful for that.

Let’s talk sewing now. ❤

I’ve been wanting to sew up the Helen’s Closet Yanta Overalls since their release. Ever since making my first pair of overalls, I’ve been sort of obsessed with making more. I haven’t been able to wear most other types of pants due to compression issues. Even my stretch Misty Jeans became super uncomfortable. I can wear the ones I made with ponte still due to 4 way stretch but any made with denim are no longer wearable. My knees and waist don’t deal with the compression well. Compression actually triggers hives for me for fun chronic illness reasons. I tried altering them to make them bigger but they just don’t work for me anymore, which is okay since I have a lot of other options and ponte pants are super comfy. Overalls are next to leggings in my book for how comfortable they are, especially in short length since it allows my knees to be free to do their hypermobile thing.

I made these Yanta overalls with a non-stretch denim with red lurex in it. I got it locally earlier this year specifically for Yanta Overalls. I used the reverse side for the pockets. The sad part is that the pictures are not showing how awesome this fabric is with it’s sparkly redness all over. I used red for the topstitching too.

I made a size 28 with no modifications except for adding length to the straps so that I could use overall hardware. The fit is meant to be loose (for maximum overall comfort). I find the back crotch depth to be a bit low and the back pockets are a bit big and sit low on my seat. I actually would eliminate them entirely for my next pair as I find back pockets annoying. I kept them in because I was doing a Same Pattern, Different Bodies post for the Curvy Sewing Collective. Check out Michelle’s and Megan’s versions here. I think that the front pockets could also have a bit better placement, but I was following the pattern placement. I’m not a huge fan of patch pockets in general, though. I do like it on the bib but not the others. I will be narrowing the bib a bit as the straps fall off my shoulders a bit and the bib folds in when I sit. The waist is a bit large, but for comfort reasons I won’t be changing that.

Looking at the pictures, I could also lengthen the front crotch depth a bit.

Overall (harhar), though, I love them and have been wearing them a ton since I made them!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Helen’s Closet Yanta Overalls
  • Pros: Good size range up to 58 inch hip, but can likely fit larger since they are such a loose fit. Without any zipper on the sides, they are easy overalls to make and fit.
  • Cons: Patch pockets aren’t really my favourite look. I like it on the bib, but not the lower ones or back ones. That’s more personal preference, though.
  • Make again?: YES. I have a bunch more planned so I will definitely be making ALL the overalls.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Seamwork Loretta top

I’ve been wanting to make a Seamwork Loretta top since it was released but for whatever reason just kept getting pushed out of my sewing queue. I’ve had it printed and put together for a while now but finally decided to take the plunge a few weeks ago.

The Loretta is a pull over woven top with raglan flutter sleeves and an elasticated neckline. It also features a rounded front hem and a straight back hem.

I made my usual size 28 with Seamwork patterns. I did no alterations. I actually find that it fits pretty well for the style. The fabric I chose for it, a yellow cotton gingham, is a bit stiff. I do think it would benefit from a much more drapey fabric. I am also not a huge fan of how high that neckline is on me.

In the top version, it’s also pretty short. I’ve been mostly wearing it with skirts rather than with pants like in these pictures. I think the tunic version with the tie would be super cute and help define my waist a bit more. I am getting major… um….”all boob” feels from these pictures. Not that there is anything wrong with that! But it’s not all I want to show off.

 

I think that the pattern is really cute, though, and already have another version cut out in a white gauze. I’m going to add some fringe trim to the hem and the arms for that one. I can’t wait. All in all, it’s a great pattern and looks especially cute with skirts. I’ll have to show that when I take pictures of my next version. 🙂

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Loretta top
  • Pros: Good size range…although only to a 54 inch bust so it could be improved… Love those flutter sleeves.
  • Cons: A bit short in the top version and a pretty high neck, but these are preferences not major pattern issues.
  • Make again?: Already have another cut out.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars