Style Sew Me Nikki Blazer

When @naturaldane and @onesewsweet announced the Black History Month Pattern Designers Challenge, I was excited. I wanted to try Style Sew Me patterns for a while and what a perfect time to do it. I got the Nikki blazer pattern and the Alise top, which is a current work in progress.

I used a green ponte knit for this version. I made the largest size and used smaller seam allowances. Mostly because I was worried that the sleeves wouldn’t fit but that wasn’t an issue; I should have just measures the pieces but I guess I was feeling lazy at the time. Even with the seam allowances as recommended and not in a knit fabric, it seems like the sleeves would be fine. Also, another thing about the sleeves is they are 2 piece sleeves. I adore a 2-piece sleeve.

I made no alterations for this version. The fit is okay, but for the next versions, I will shorten the bodice by about 2 inches, and add a bit more flare to the back skirt piece. I know that the sleeves are about an inch too long, but my preference is that they are longer so it’s unlikely that I would change it. A note that in the pictures, I am holding my remote so my hands disappear in a lot of the pictures. The sleeves hit about 1/3 or 1/2 of the way into my palm so a bit long but I like it that way.

I didn’t line this version since the knit is sewn on my serger and all the insides are finished anyway.

In terms of instructions, the pattern actually has very few. But there are youtube tutorials on it and the other patterns so anything that isn’t clear in the instructions is understood through the video tutorials.

I have already made a second version of the blazer. For this one, I added a bit more flare to the back peplum as sort of a faux full butt adjustment. I shortened the bodice by 2 inches. I do think that I could use a narrow shoulder adjustment but I keep forgetting and it’s not bothering me too much. The fabric is antique gold coloured faux leather and cotton lycra for the side panels and under sleeve due to fabric constraints. I hemmed the blazer with Heat N Bond Super hem and it is holding nicely in place. I also used the Heat N Bond to give a nice crisp edge to the collar pieces.

I made this one for the Day and Night Dress Challenge.

I also made my tassel necklace and the clutch (although to be real, the clutch isn’t quite done since it still needs lining and I haven’t found the strap I want to use for it.

The theme this year was to take a dress that you have in your closet that you don’t wear that often and make things that complete a day look and a night look. This Cashmerette Rivermont is actually the opposite of the dress requirements. I wear this one so often that I needed different looks for it. Mission accomplished.

The clutch is the Seamwork Valencia. It’s made with purple leather and green suede. Both of these are my first projects with faux or real leather aside from some leather patches on a jacket that I made ages ago. The sewing could be better on the Seamwork Valencia, but it could also be worse. Thank goodness for past me getting a teflon foot for my sewing machine. Also thank goodness for an amazing sewing machine with the Singer Heavy Duty 4452. ❤ Oh and I will be posting my review on the machine soon since it’s been a year with it.

The Valencia needed some piecing since the purple leather I had was a small remnant. The clutch has a magentic snap. Part of the reason I am also waiting to finish this is that the holes I cut for the magentic snap were cut a bit big. I think it will be okay but it would benefit from some reinforcement behind the snap just to ensure the hole doesn’t get bigger. I’m procrastinating on doing that. But I’m also not sure about the lining yet. Do you ever hesitate on small details like that? I even had a lining all ready and then went to put it in and was all….nope I don’t like that. I’ll figure it out. I might have to visit a remnant bin or two. Oh no fabric shopping! hahah.

I definitely don’t think this is my last leather/suede/faux leather project. I really want to make a small backpack with a combination of tan and more of the hunter green suede. We’ll see when I get around to that. I still haven’t found the perfect pattern for that.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Style Sew Me Nikki Blazer
  • Pros: Princess seams in front a back, nice shaping. The sleeves are actually generously sized and didn’t require a large bicep adjustment at all.
  • Cons: I can’t think of any cons! My length issue is because I am short, but that’s a common adjustment and easy adjustment for me.
  • Make again?: Definitely. I want a woven version next!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Valencia
  • Pros: An easy project for a first leather purse.
  • Cons: No cons really.
  • Make again?: Probably not. I don’t know how many clutches I would need!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Introducing the CocoWawa Crafts Maple Dress

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

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

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

Some details about the Maple dress:

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

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

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

I added in a tie using the navy bias tape.

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

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

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

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

What more to say? I love it!

Seamwork Tacara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TL:DR Review

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

 

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

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