Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spring sewing plans, part 2: Dresses, shirtdresses, jumpsuits, and rompers(!)

Because I couldn't contain my entire "to sew" list in one post (that first post was getting seriously long), I split my spring planning into two posts. I realize that these planning posts are probably boring for others to read ("Hey, a blouse pattern! Oh, another blouse pattern!"), but I like to write them every few months to jot my thoughts down somewhere so that I can refer back to them for inspiration. From a purely self-indulgent standpoint, it's also fun for me to go back a few months later and look at what I was planning to sew and compare that list to what I actually did sew.

Spring sewing wouldn't be spring sewing without a ton of dresses on my list, so this post calls out the non-separate sewing patterns that I'm looking to make for this spring/summer.

Dresses

HotPatterns Cote d'Azur Dress

First up is an old favorite. I made this dress last summer, loved it, wore it a ton, and got a ton of compliments on it. Unfortunately, the fabric is starting to fade and pill a bit, and I want to replace last year's version with a new version sewn in a higher quality knit.

HotPatterns Cote D'Azur dress

BlueGingerDoll Violet

Tanya's versions sold this pattern to me while back during a BGD pattern sale. Mary's recent version reinforced that I want one of these in my wardrobe sooner rather than later.  For mine, for warm weather, I'd be going with the short sleeved option on the dress with the fuller skirt.

Bluegingerdoll Violet dress
On a side note, when one of these Violet dresses pops up in the blogosphere, am I the only one who then immediately winds up with Courtney Love screaming in her head, "Go on take everything, take everything, I want you to!"  It's just me? Oh well, carry on, then.


Modcloth Coach Tour Dress knock-off (McCall's 6796 & Colette Moneta frankenpattern)

When browsing Modcloth, I became smitten with the Coach Tour Dress:

ModCloth Coach Tour Dress
I couldn't find a pattern that was all that close of a match to this one, but McCall's 6796 does have that collar, and the gathered skirt is similar to the Colette Moneta.

McCall's 6796
 I'm envisioning a frankenpattern of the two patterns, and my version will have short sleeves, rather than being sleeveless. Since I'll need an FBA on the McCall's, I'll just rotate the resulting dart to the waist gathers, and I'll add a waistband/belt detail between the bodice and the skirt.

Shirtdresses

Will Spring 2015 finally be the season that I finally sew one of the shirtdresses that I've been openly ogling/pinning/talking about for months, but not actually sewing? If I'm going to deal with the hassle of fitting woven blouses, I might as well tackle fitting a shirtdress, right?

Lekala 4115

The dress that started my recent streak of wanting to knock off Modcloth dresses was this one: the Soda Fountain dress:

ModCloth Soda Fountain Dress (in grape)
I'd sent my husband a link of a swimsuit that I wanted his opinion on (he liked it, I bought it), and I apparently got him browsing the site. He sent me a link to this dress and said, "You should make this!" That immediately sent me browsing pattern sites looking for a pattern that I could use or patterns that I could frankenpattern.

Lekala 4115 is pretty close to the inspiration dress:

Lekala 4115

So, I paid the $3 for another Lekala experiment. I'm not a fan of the super puffy sleeves, but I can modify those. My first experiment with Lekala was a total wadder, but it was a knit, and they seem to do better with woven patterns, so I thought I'd give them another shot.

McCall's 6696 & McCall's 7084
McCall's has a few good shirtdress patterns. The two that really jump out to me are the ever-popular M6696 (aka Mary/Idle Fancy's shirtdress) and McCall's 7084.

McCall's 6696
M7084
Both dresses have a separate button band. M6966 has a waistband as well. M7084 has shoulder princess seams (yay!) but no separate cup sizing (boo!). M6966 has the separate cup sizing (yay!) but uses darts for shaping (meh, compared to princess seams). Both patterns have options for a straight skirt or a full skirt--M6966's full skirt is pleated, whereas M7084's full skirt has a bunch of godets. I'm really on the fence as to which of these I'd rather sew and wear--I think my perfect pattern would be if these two patterns mated had had baby shirtdresses.

StyleArc Italia

The StyleArc Italia is the only dress on this list that doesn't have some sort of a waist seam. However, it does have a fair amount of shaping through bust darts, waist darts, and back darts. This pattern is also easily the most modern/least retro looking of the group that I've picked, so if I end up sewing two shirtdresses, I'm sure that this will be one of them.

StyleArc Italia shirtdress

Colette Hawthorn

Because it has to be here, right? I'm going to keep the Hawthorn on my to-sew list until I finally sew the damn pattern. Or maybe if I keep including it in these lists, it will fit and sew itself, right?

Colette Hawthorn

Jumpsuits and rompers

Like a shark drawn to chum, I've been picking up and hoarding jumpsuit and romper patterns every time they're on sale for the last few months. Have I made any of these patterns yet? No, and I'm not sure if they're work on my figure, but I'd like to imagine that they will with the right fit and proportions! I'm determined to at least muslin at least one of the following patterns in the upcoming months.

Vogue 9075

My desire to make this pattern hasn't decreased in the months since it was released. I suspect that I'm not the only one, given that the larger size range was sold out on the Vogue website for a little while. On paper, this pattern sounds like a horrible idea--a culotte jumpsuit! But really, in the photos, it looks like a fit-and-flare style dress (a good silhouette on me) that just happens to have wide-legged pants instead of a skirt attached. In reality, this is probably the "safest" pattern choice out of this bunch, between the shape and the fact that it has shoulder princess seams.

Vogue 9075


Lekala 4053

On my many visits to San Diego over the past few months, I saw rompers everywhere, on women of all shapes, sizes, and ages. I went to brunch with a friend one Sunday morning (at one of those places with an outdoor patio that's great for people watching), and I swear that every third woman was wearing either a romper or a jumpsuit that looked like a maxi-dress. This convinced me that I could pull off this look with the right pattern, fabric, and fit adjustments.

That said, a romper/playsuit on a 5'2" uber-busty plus sized woman should be an ultimate test of Lekala's custom drafting abilities, right? I like this one because it's a little more conservative than some of the romper patterns out there, with its longer shorts and short sleeves, but it doesn't look dowdy.
Lekala 4053

McCall's 7115

McCall's 7115 is probably the closest style-wise, to most of the rompers that I saw in San Diego. It's also similar to the rompers that were popular in the mid-90's that I always coveted but could never wear because my top half was two sizes larger than my bottom half. I still think that I could make this work with the right fabric choice and fit adjustments:
McCall's 7115

Final Thoughts

So, those are the patterns that have made it to the top of the pile on my sewing desk for the next few months. I am sure that there will be at least a few bright and shiny new patterns released this spring and summer that will vie for my sewing attention as well.

I'm extra, extra torn on the various shirtdress selections. I feel like I'm a housecat trying to chase a laser pointer when it comes to choosing one to sew. Here! No, over here! Do any of these grab your attention over the others?


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring Sewing Plans, Part 1: Separates

As is always the case when the seasons change in the spring or fall, I have many more things on my "want to sew" list than I know that I'll have time to sew. I'm also looking to break out of my comfort zone for warmer weather and try some of the newer looks/silhouettes that have been popping up in recent months, and that means more muslins since I'll be in unfamiliar territory from a fit and flattery standpoint.

Typically, for me, most of the patterns that I've pulled out as "candidates" are from recent releases, with a handful of holdovers from previous years/seasons that I've still been wanting to make but haven't yet.

Woven tops and blouses

I am in love with all of the pretty prints that I've been seeing lately in cotton lawns and voiles. I usually stick with knit tops because they're so much easier to fit and generally faster to sew than wovens. This year, though, I really want to add some woven basics to my closet.

HotPatterns 1186 - Plain & Simple Woven Tee and Dress

If you're going to tackle a woven blouse, you may as well start simple, right?  This pattern is HotPatterns version of the woven tees like the Grainline Scout and that several of the Big 4 offer. Trudy released this pattern a few weeks ago.

HotPatterns Woven Tee
I opted for this pattern over the others because I knew that HotPatterns' drafting works better for my figure than some of the other options, and I liked that this pattern gives a few more design options than some of the other patterns, as well--there's both a top and a dress view, and both a v-neck and boatneck option.

I've already muslined this pattern, found the muslin promising, and so made my pattern adjustments and am working on my first "good" version. I'd love to have a few of these tops in fun prints in my closet.

SBCC Mimosa Blouse

I made one of these blouses last summer and skipped the muslin stage when I shouldn't have. The blouse is wearable, but there are certain things about the fit that really irk me, and I know that I can do better. I really want to make another one of these, but apply the fit tweaks that I should have done to the first blouse.

SBCC Mimosa blouse
HotPatterns Super Fantastic Shirt

This pattern is now out-of-print (OOP), but it's been perennially on my "to sew" list for about 4 years. It's like my Colette Hawthorn of blouses! Placket-style blouses like this have been everywhere, though, for the past 2 years, and I think it's finally time for me to sew this pattern up.

HotPatterns Superfantastic Shirt
McCall's 6898

Another recently OOP pattern, with a few modifications, I'll be using this pattern to knock off and create a more plus sized friendly version of the Deer & Doe Bruyere shirt:

McCalls M6989

I like some aspects of the McCall's version better than the Deer & Doe--like the fact that the McCall's version has different cup sizes and shoulder princess seams, both of which should make this easier to fit to my own figure than the Deer & Doe, which I'd have to grade up and do a large FBA on.

HotPatterns Classix Nouveau Refined Peasant Blouse

I loved this pattern when it came out but haven't gotten around to making it up. It's looked good on everyone who's made it up, too. This pattern should be a good choice for when I want to sew a woven blouse but not spend weeks working on fitting beforehand.

HotPatterns Refined Peasant Blouse
Muse Melissa (blouse)

The Melissa, by promising newcomer Muse patterns, is a blouse/dress/skirt pattern that was released while I was taking a break from my blog. I love the open neckline and multi-princess seaming on the blouse, especially since the blouse/dress has an option for D-cup sizing.

The blouse is my favorite view of this pattern and the one that I see myself making and wearing the most:

Muse Melissa blouse, dress, skirt
I don't sew a lot of skirts, but the skirt view of this gives me flashbacks to the A-line rayon challis and corduroy skirts that I loved wearing in the 90's, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. And I think that the dress has potential, but with a bad fabric choice, you're running dangerously close to looking like you're wearing a waitress uniform. And right now, when I think "waitress uniform", I think of that awful "Di" character that they've introduced on Mad Men this season, and I really wish she'd just go away, just like everyone else who watches Mad Men.

Pants and shorts

If I'm going to sew a bunch of new blouses, I need some new pants and shorts to wear with those blouses, don't I?

HotPatterns Classix Nouveau Dolce Vita Slim Cut pant

I'm already two muslins in on this pattern. The second muslin was an improvement over the first, but they're still not where I want them to be. This is such a nice basic, classic style of pant that I'm really hoping to get a TNT pattern out of this one. How amazing would it be to think, "I really need a new pair of pants to go with such-and-such blouse, " and to be able to pull out a pattern and sew up a pair of pants that fit nicely?

HotPatterns Dolce Vita pant

StyleArc Jennifer City Short

Cute walking shorts in a current style. I suspect that the longer and slimmer length on these will also help prevent the dreaded inner-thigh-ride-up that can be an issue with shorts when you have larger inner thighs.

StyleArc Jennifer City Shorts

HotPatterns Camera Ready Culottes

I will be jumping onto the culottes bandwagon!

HotPatterns Camera-ready Culottes
I chose this pattern over some of the other culotte patterns out there because the HotPatterns version doesn't have all of the pleating over the tummy that you see in the StyleArc and Big 4 takes on this style. These have a single, small pleat on either side in front, and two darts in back. Annie from SewBaby has already made these up, and they look pretty fabulous on her. They key to making these look nice on my short, stumpy figure will be getting the length right, but I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to do that.

Final Thoughts

My plan is if I keep the bottoms fairly neutral, the blouses will all likely pair pretty well with any of the bottoms, giving me a nice capsule wardrobe of separates for spring and summer. I didn't do a whole lot of successful sewing for myself in the latter part of last year, and I'm really looking forward to refreshing my warm weather wardrobe a bit.

Have you started planning or sewing for warmer weather yet? What patterns are on your "to sew" list?


Friday, April 10, 2015

Everybody loves raglans! (or Finished Project: Simplicity 1317)

I have a couple of well-worn raglan tops that I bought from Old Navy a few years ago. They're actually made from French Terry, and I love that weight-wise, they're somewhere between a t-shirt and a sweatshirt, making them very versatile for layering. I've also been digging the trend of the past few years of raglan tops with contrast sleeves, interesting uses of lace, etc. So while I have several other projects in various states of muslin and UFO-ness, when my husband offered me a free weekend afternoon to sew as I grieved the loss of my father, I headed straight for Simplicity 1317 in hopes of a good, instant gratification project.

Simplicity 1317 - raglan sleeved top
Oops. Didn't notice that bra strap until I looked at the photos on my computer!  The pants are my second, wearable-on-the-weekend muslin of the HotPattern pant pattern that I originally muslined back in February. I can see that I need to shorten the front crotch length a touch here, but most of the wrinkles in front are just from me having sat in them all day before we took these pictures.

Pattern Drafting Notes/"Does it look like the envelope?"

I found the pattern to be well-drafted in that everything lined up as expected; however, the sleeves on this run large in the larger sizes. How do I know this? This pattern has been pretty popular on PatternReview and in the SBC for the past few months, and the sleeve fit looks normal on smaller women (say size M-L on down), whereas the fewer curiver sewists who have made this up also appear to have the baggy sleeve issue that I do. I hadn't noticed this on others' posts/reviews (it wasn't called out), but it's visible in their pictures. So, if you're sewing the size XL or XXL of this pattern, check the fit of your sleeve before doing anything semi-permanent with it. Baggy sleeves aren't usually an issue with my large arms, but there's an excess of ease there with this pattern.

As far as whether it looks like the envelope, I think it's pretty close (baggy sleeve issue aside):

Simplicity 1317 envelope

Fabric and Notions Used

  • Black sweatshirting: Cottons sweatshirt fleece from Girl Charlee ordered during one of their recent big sales around the holidays. I prewashed this several times and have washed the top twice now, and so far, it's holding up nicely. This is a nice, midweight sweatshirt fleece. No regrets about this purchase yet.
  • Black ribbing: (Used on the cuffs/bands.) Cotton ribbing from my stash. I'm not sure if this was purchased from fabric.com or perhaps from JoAnn's at some point.
  • Contrast/houndstooth print: Heavy-ish weight cotton knit from deep in my stash. No idea where this one came from. It doesn't have a lot of drape to it, and it doesn't have any stretch to it, either. This sat in my stash for years because although I liked the print, your options for a stiff-handed knit with no stretch are kind of limited.

Pattern Sizing and Alterations

This pattern is available in Big 4 sizes XXS-XXL (29"-48" bust). I sewed an XL through the neck/shoulders (based on my high bust measurement), grading up to an XXL at the armscye down through the body of the top. I commonly do this "cheater FBA" in knit tops. Additionally, I lengthed front of the top by 1", easing into the side seams of the back piece in the bust area to give me extra room over my bust without adding a dart. I think that the ease in this pattern is pretty much as you would expect, so you can probably go by your high bust/usual pattern size as a starting point.

Obviously, if you've looked at the photo, you can see that the top has a few fit issues:
  • The wrinkle between my bust indicates pulling and that I could use a tad more room in the bust.
  • The dragline that you're seeing from my bust to my butt indicates that in addition to needing a little more room in the bust, the top is getting hung up on my high hip in back, which you can see more clearly in the back view photo.
  • That wrinkle coming out from my armpit is a dart wanting to form. These wrinkles can happen when you only do a cheater FBA, and you should have done a full-on slash-and-spread FBA. I really didn't want to bother with a full-on FBA for such a simple knit top, and I did yesterday run across a possible solution to this wrinkle in a fitting book that involved transferring (but not sewing) a dart to your pattern tissue. I'm going to try that for my next version.
  • There's a ton of ease in those sleeves, and the length is a bit dowdy. The dowdy length is what I get for rushing through the project (Hey, I wanted to finish in the afternoon that i was given!) and not checking the sleeve length before serging on the cuffs. I ended up turning up the cuffs and stitching them into place--what you see here is a huge improvement over how they originally were.
Simplicity 1317 - back view
These are all pretty easy fit adjustments, so I'll make those to the pattern tissue and see how the next version looks. This version, while not perfect, is certainly wearable for a casual knit top. I sincerely doubt that the people at the grocery store are going to be pulling their spouses aside and going, "Oh. My. God. Look at her armpit wrinkle! It's so big!"

Pattern Instructions

I didn't even open them to look at them. Reviewer fail, I know. This is such a basic top, though, that most people with sewing experience probably won't need the instructions. If you don't have much experience, though, Google the pattern number and/or check PatternReview--there are plenty of other reviews of this pattern out there.

Similar patterns

Interested in a similar pattern to Simplicity 1317? The following patterns are similar designs:

Final thoughts

I'll be making this pattern again (with the proper fitting adjustments), since it's a quick and easy pattern and has a ton of stashbusting potential.

One observation: I've sewn three Simplicity patterns (all from recent releases) in the past six months--two for me, and one for Eva. Every single one of these has run true-to-size, IMO. Is Simplicity finally getting away from the "excess ease" issue that the Big 4 have been so notorious for? Or have I just gotten lucky? What have your experiences been like with their more recent patterns?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

For whom the BHL tolls (Time marches on...)


What, you didn't think that I'd let this morning's big news from By Hand London go un-posted-about, did you?

By Hand London: Some Heavy Hearts and Big News From Us

The TL; DR summary of the BHL post is as follows:
  • BHL bit off more than they could chew with their kickstarter-funded fabric printing business.
  • Because of the overhead of printing/carrying paper patterns, they're doing a 180 on their paper-patterns-only post from a few months ago and will be distributing ONLY PDF patterns, once they run out of their paper pattern inventory.
  • The BHL girls are going back to their day jobs, but will continue to produce new PDF patterns as a labor of love and do have a few new patterns in the works.
I admire them for being transparent with this post and admitting and taking responsibility for the business mistakes that they made. Reading between the lines, it sounds like that getting into the fabric printing business really torpedoed their finances, even with the kickstarter funding. 

I do not own nor have I have I ever made any By Hand London patterns, but I've certainly followed them. They certainly have been one of the higher profile "new indies" of the past couple of years. I'm not an expert at the pattern business, but as a software industry veteran who lived in the Bay Area during the dotcom explosion/implosion and with a resume that includes eight cumulative years at three different startups, I do know something about business failures. Here are my thoughts on where BHL made missteps:
  • No clear business plan or product roadmap: We're going to start distributing PDF patterns! No, wait, PDF patterns are eating too many sales from our paper patterns, which we printed a ton of and have an overstock of! Ooh, and now we're going to print fabric, too!

    At best, BHL came across as indecisive. At worst, they came across as unprofessional. When you're asking customers to pay over $20 USD for a pattern (expensive, even by indie standards), you had better come across as having your shit together both creatively and professionally.
  • Lack of marketing and manufacturing research before expanding: Clearly, the women at BHL had no idea what they were getting into when they kicked off their funding campaign for their fabric printing business.

    From a customer standpoint, custom-printed fabric is very expensive. With several other fabric printing vendors out there, was BHL really filling a niche that couldn't be filled by another manufacturer? From their post, I got the impression that they thought that they'd be able to hit the ground running as soon as they got their printer without accounting for the test runs and fine-tuning that would be needed to produce saleable fabric.
  • Unrealistic sales forecasts: As BHL admitted in their post, they had overly optimistic sales forecasts (leading me to wonder how much research was done in this area) and that the slow summer months hit them hard. We also saw this point pop up with the excess of printed pattern inventory that they had.
  • Limited target demographic: Based on their designs and size range, I can guess that the target demographic for BHL's patterns is slender, 20-something women who attend a lot of weddings and parties. And who sew. That's just not a huge customer pool for purchasing your product.

    While BHL isn't the worst offender of an indie with a limited size range, it's not particularly inclusive, either. And how many party dresses does one woman need? Even between the years of 27 and 32, when it seemed like I had a wedding to attend every few weeks, I rotated three different dresses among the occasions. To me, the Holly jumpsuit was the only "interesting" pattern they've released in the past year or two, and even in that case, I thought that the original bodice given to the pattern testers was better than the one that they ended up releasing.
  • Tone-deaf marketing sense and customer service: I cringed when BHL pulled their PDF patterns from their website without any forewarning. I can't think of another pattern company that has pulled a major product line without warning.

    What's worse, if you poke around the blogosphere and GOMI, you'll find numerous stories from customers who had paid for PDF patterns but had not downloaded them yet when the patterns got pulled from their website. These paying customers had to fight to get their money refunded, even though a number of them would have been perfectly happy to have just been emailed the PDF that they had previously paid for. A 14 or 30 day grace period or "last call on PDFs" would have saved BHL a lot of bad publicity and angry customers.
  • Ignoring what your customers want: To me, this is probably one of the biggest contributors to BHL's woes.

    If your customers are telling you (via sales) that they prefer PDF patterns, then you don't pull PDF patterns from distribution just because you have an excess of inventory of paper patterns. You put those paper patterns on sale, perhaps write off some losses and lick your wounds, and you focus MORE energy on PDFs, not less. On a positive note, this appears to be what BHL's plan is for the future.
What's your take on By Hand London's big announcement? Were you at all surprised by the news?

My life is starting to return to normal after my father's recent passing. Cancer sucks. I'm back in Seattle and back at work.

I did sew that Simplicity raglan sweatshirt (the one that looks like the Grainline Linden) as a quick sewjo-boosting project, and it's cute even with a few fit issues, so I'll be blogging that soon.  And I want to get back to my pattern release recaps! I've missed writing those! However, I'm not sure that I'll continue post them on an weekly-basis. Like BHL, that turned out to be more work than I anticipated. But I will get back to them, and I will be doing them on a regular basis, maybe just not as tight of a schedule as before.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

On hiatus

My family has received some very bad news regarding my father's health. As some of you who I talk to off-blog know, he has been battling cancer for the past six months. While things were going well initially, they have recently taken a bad turn, and we now know that he won't be with us for much longer. My family and I are devastated.

I will be taking a temporary break from blogging while I focus on emotionally supporting my family and coming to terms myself with the hand that we've been dealt.

When we've moved past this, and I've had a chance to grieve and start healing (and my sewjo returns), I expect to be back with more pattern snark.

Friday, February 20, 2015

This Week in Patterns (20-Feb-2015)

I'll be blunt. I'm still down in the dumps mentally/emotionally and not quite up for writing my usual weekly pattern round-up yet. I try to keep personal stuff (outside of kid/cat/dog pictures) mostly out of this blog, but on top of losing my cat, my dad has been dealing with some serious health issues for the past few months, and he had a major setback yesterday.

If that weren't enough, my team's office moved to a different neighborhood in downtown Seattle last week, so I'm still getting used to a new commute and a tougher parking situation (on days when I don't take the commuter bus). The upside to that is that we're now in a much cooler neighborhood (we're a block away from SubPop records, for example) that should allow me to easily reach a few of Seattle's best indie fabric stores (Nancy's Sewing Basket, Drygood Designs, and District Fabrics) with a short bus trip on my lunch break. So, um, lookout fabric stash?

Basically, I'm still not in the mood to snark or gush about anything. However, we've had a ton of new pattern releases over the past two weeks, and while I'm not doing a full write-up this week, I did compile a list of links and jotted down a few notes, if you'd like to click through and check them out yourselves. The New Looks and Simplicities came out yesterday, and while they're both mostly "meh", they did each have a couple of noteworthy designs (IMO), and I might very well cover those in more depth next week.

Anyway, here's an abbreviated round-up of new pattern releases for the past two weeks:
  • Bluegingerdoll: A-clan collection: Warm-weather collection of four patterns that coordinate with each other.
    • Abby singlet top
    • : Cute woven, button-down tank. Easily my favorite piece out of this collection.
    • Alicia shorts
    • Shorts with front pleats. There's something odd going on with the crotch on these in the pattern photo, which would make me wary of buying them.
    • Anne peek-a-boo knit top: Knit top with peek-a-boo cutout. Yeah, that's not going to work with my ginormous bust. I remember there being a similar Big 4 pattern to this in recent years, too, but wasn't able to find it quickly.
    • April gathered skirt: Basic, but cute skirt. If I wanted to make this, I'd probably opt for a Big 4 equivalent.
  • BurdaStyle Plus: Modern Museum Collection (02/2015) : Not as fug as last month, but nothing I'd want to sew or wear, either.
    • Day Dress : Dress with pleats over the boobs. Not going to work on the uber busty unless those pleats are stitched down, and then, what's the point?
    • Silk BlouseAnother boxy blouse from Burda Plus (ABBFBP).
    • Hi-Lo Plus size shirt: Meh.
    • Fringe Trim CoatA nice-looking coat, and it's actually not double-breasted.
    • Star JacketCute, if boxy, jacket. Not sure what's up with the giant star applique thingy.
    • Bootcut pantsTurkey-eatin' pants. They should have released these back in November. (Or maybe this is Burda's consession that plus sized women DO actually have sex and get pregnant--because these look an awful lot like my old maternity pants.)
    • Fold blouse: Blouse version of that same pleated dress.
    • Cargo pants: I like these (in a drapey fabric). I probably shouldn't, but hey, they look comfortable and POCKETS.
  • By Hand London: Sophia Dress (presale): The latest party dress from BHL. There are some interesting darts there--I'll be curious to see what this looks like on a curvy figure.
  • Jennifer Lauren Vintage: Felicity Dress: Cute, vintage-style dress.
  • New Look: Spring 2015: Mostly boring basics, but there's a casual wardrobe pattern in here that caught my eye.
  • Paprika Patterns: Jade skirt (re-release): The re-released Jade skirt now includes sizes 7-10 and a few other updates. Based on the fact that I flat-out like the skirt and my positive experience with the Jasper sweater, I've already purchased this.
  • Simplicity: Spring 2015: More mostly boring basics, but I liked one of the knit skirt patterns and the jumpsuit pattern. Because apparently I hoard (but don't sew) jumpsuit patterns.
  • StyleArc: Toni designer dress: Interesting dress, but not my style, and I'm not sure that I'd like the look on my figure, anyway.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New HotPattern for a good cause

First of all, I want to thank you all for all of the kind comments that you've left about my recently departed cat, Dante. I miss him dearly, and even though I haven't responded to individual comments on my post about him, please understand that I very much appreciate your thoughts and sentiments.

In more fun news, Trudy has released a new FREE HotPatterns PDF download in conjunction with a charity fundraising effort that she's helping out with:

HotPatterns Joyful Top pattern

HotPatterns Joyful Top
The top uses mixed fabrics--wovens, sheers, and knits and has hidden bust darts. While you can download the pattern for free, Trudy is hoping that if you are able to do so, you can chip in a few dollars towards a charity that she is helping to raise money for. The charity benefits a summer camp for kids with cancer, and you can click the following link to read a bit more and to donate:

http://www.chailifeline.org/events/Bike4Chai/my/Shauly

I have made a small donation and downloaded the pattern, but have not printed it out or made it up yet. On the HotPatterns Facebook group, a few people asked questions about their printouts. Specifically, they asked how much to overlap the pages, since the pattern lacked a lined border to show the overlap. Trudy explained that the pages are NOT meant to overlap at all; just butt the pages up next to each other when taping them together. You'll get some blank spots where the printer cuts off before the edge of the paper, but you should hopefully be able to mentally "fill in the blank" of where the lines would be. (Note that until recently, SBCC pattern downloads did this same thing.)

Happy sewing!