Sunday, July 26, 2015

Last Week in Patterns (26-July-2015)

In a fairly quiet week of releases, the most notable pattern news to happen was that Butterick released its Fall 2015 collection. With the exception of New Look, all of the major fall releases are now out, although Simplicity usually does a follow-up batch in late summer with more of a focus on costumes for Halloween. (I can't imagine that they'll head into Halloween season without some sort of minion-related offering for those of us with kids.)

We had new releases from the following companies this week:
  • Butterick
  • HotPatterns 
  • StyleArc
Butterick: Fall 2015 Release

Butterick is usually a bit of a hit-or-miss line with me. I feel like it's a line with a bit of an identity problem--you've got Vogue, which is the higher-end designer and more artsy line, then you've got McCall's which has your generally youthful, trendy, everyday basics. Butterick, on the other hand, seems to be this mishmash of retro designs and somewhat boring basics, often aimed at a more mature target audience than McCall's.

The out-of-the-gate reaction to this year's fall collection from Butterick has been mostly lukewarm, but I actually liked a few patterns in this bunch. I didn't love this collection the same way that I loved McCall's fall collection, but there are definitely a few new Buttericks that I'll be looking for the next time that JoAnns has them on sale. Granted, I love zippers, and there's not one, but two, zippered jackets in this collection.

BTW--If you've been into the trend of the past few seasons of tops and jackets with wrap or cross-over pieces, this is definitely a collection for you.

Onto the patterns...

Butterick 6244: Lisette Coat and Dress

OMG, enough with the waterfall jackets and cardigans already! (The dress is fine, although it's not anything that we haven't seen before.)

B6244: Lisette coat and dress
Butterick 6260: Lisette Jacket and Skirt

Here's a two-piece pattern where I actually really like both pieces. Multi-seamed skirts like this one are a curvy woman's friend, and I love both the neckline and zipper closure on the jacket. I don't love these paired together (especially styled the way that they are), but dressed down, I think that these are great individual pieces.

B6260: Lisette jacket and skirt
B6256: Misses' Jacket and Skirt

Annnd here's another zippered jacket with some interesting neckline options and a nice, basic seamed skirt.

B6256: Misses' jacket and skirt
B6241: Misses' Dress

Ugh. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I really like this. Maybe the CSC's recent guest post on lagenlook infiltrated my brain because this is usually one of those things where I go "okay on someone else, but not my style".

Maybe it's because my inner lover of all things 90's likes the zip-up collar, which can be worn open? (I had a couple of tops like that back in the mid-90's.) It also looks like it would be so comfortable to pair with leggings, and it has those big, crazy pockets!

I can understand many women not wanting to add bulk to their hips with those pockets, but I have the opposite figure issue and kind of wonder if those pockets would help balance my figure out.

B6241: Misses' Dress
HotPatterns: Updated Sunshine top (pre-order)

At some point within the past year or so, Trudy discontinued HotPatterns ever-popular Weekender Sunshine top. I've made about a half-dozen of these over the years, and it was a nice TNT pattern for me. However, since discontinuing this pattern, it seems like any time there's a HotPatterns thread on PatternReview or a few new people join the HotPatterns Facebook group, there's one question that springs up: "How can I get a copy of the Sunshine top pattern?"

Well, Trudy has just opened pre-orders on an updated version of the Sunshine top. This one has pleats instead of gathers, a hem band, and (finally) a long-sleeved option. If she gets enough pre-orders, the updated pattern will be available on September 1st. (Trudy occasionally offers preorders for a new pattern to gauge interest before going through all of the development work, printing, etc.) It's also on sale until July 30th:

HotPatterns - (new) Sunshine Top
StyleArc: Esme Designer Top

For their "designer" release this month, StyleArc released the Esme top--a boxy top with a funnel neck designed for stable knits.
StyleArc - Esme top

I think that the sewn up samples (the floral is clearly a Scuba knit) are much more compelling than the line drawing:

Esme samples
This boxy style with a high collar is a no-go on my figure, but I actually really like the sewn up samples.

That said, how long has it been since StyleArc has released a pattern with a reasonable amount of shaping? It's getting a little discouraging seeing month after month of boxy releases from a company whose aesthetic I was quite fond of. I'm guessing that these boxy styles must be selling well, otherwise they wouldn't keep releasing them.

At least most of their older patterns that are on my "wish list" are now available as PDFs and are very reasonably priced when there's a sale (like right now).

Final Thoughts

This was a pretty low-key week in patterns. I do like a few of the new Buttericks, although most of the collection felt like things I'd seen before. On that note, I've recently acquired two new books with plus sized patterns that I'll be reviewing once I've had a chance to make something from them. I'm probably more excited about my picks from those books than from anything in this week's releases.

Any must-haves in here for you this week?


Monday, July 20, 2015

Last Week in Patterns (19-July-2015)

Yeah, so this week's post is a little late. Going into the weekend, the only new patterns that we had were the two Tilly patterns, and I was debating whether to even publish the post for that or to just hold off and add these into whatever we end up with in this coming week's post.

Of course, then over the weekend, we had the release of a new BurdaStyle Plus collection and of a really cool (IMO) Muse pattern, but I was super busy with other things and didn't get a chance to update the draft of this post until now. Better late than never, right?

Anyway, in the past week, we had new releases from the following pattern companies:
  • BurdaStyle Plus
  • Muse
  • Tilly and the Buttons
BurdaStyle Plus: August 2015 "Tea Time" Collection

Oh Burda, you sure do like your boxy-with-a-bust-dart styles for plus sized women, don't you? You know, you can do things like utilize princess seams and creative tucks and gathers to add bust and waist shaping to a pattern, right?

This collection isn't offensive like some Burda Plus collections are; on the other hand, there isn't much of anything to get excited about here, either. The model is cute, though, and they managed to find the perfect shade of red lipstick for her.

BurdaStyle 08-2015 #132: Open Coat

First up is a boxy coat with a bust dart.

Burda (Plus) 08-2015 #132

BurdaStyle 08-2015 #128:Keyhole Blouse (short-sleeved), 129: Keyhole Blouse (long-sleeved), 130:Keyhole Dress

Next up is a cute, but boxy, peasant dress and blouses with a keyhole opening and a bust dart:

Burda (Plus) 08-2015 #130
Burda (Plus) 08-2015 #129
Burda (Plus) 08-2015 #128

BurdaStyle 08-2015 #127A & B

Next up is two views of a gently flared dress with a drape feature and curved French bust darts:

Burda (Plus) 08-2015 #127B

Burda (Plus) 08-2015 #127B

BurdaStyle 08-2015 #126A & B: Cuffed Sleeve Shirtdress

Moving along, we have a boxy shirtdress with a bust dart:

Burda (Plus) 08-2015 #126B

Burda (Plus) 08-2015 #126A

BurdaStyle 08-2105 #131: Culottes

Finally, we have a pair of culottes. These do not have a bust dart.

Burda (Plus) 08-2015 #131
Muse: Sophie Cardigan

I've learned to get excited every time I see a new pattern announcement from Muse because I've learned that Muse designs things that no one else is currently doing, yet are actually practical for many of us to wear. The new Sophie cardigan (named after fellow CSC Editor Sophie of Two Random Words) is no exception. It's sort of like a cross between a traditional cardigan and a track jacket, and like all Muse patterns, it has a lot of different options for details. It's also on sale right now, as a new release, until July 27th.

While some of the samples leave a bit to be desired from a construction standpoint, I really love the design and options for this. I don't personally love that big collar, but I do really love the v-neck. I've already purchased this--I think it will make a great cool-weather topper for all of the summer dresses I expect to be sewing.

Muse - Sophie Cardigan

Tilly and the Buttons: Fifi Camisole and Shorts set

This pattern is not for me, but I don't hate it. I think that this lounging set is both cute and appropriate for what's becoming increasingly clear to be Tilly's target total/near-total beginner customer base.

Tilly and the Buttons - Fifi set

Tilly and the Buttons: Bettine dress

I actually kind of like the Bettine dress, as well. There's a similar Modcloth dress that I've been looking to knock off, although the Modcloth has set-in sleeves. I've been seeing these elastic-waist style woven t-shirt dresses all over Seattle since the spring, so I'm not going to complain about Tilly following a very clear RTW trend. Plus, I like that Tilly's version incorporates pockets, and I like the Bettine's neckline, too.

However, I won't be buying this one because at this point. Unless the Big 4 comes out with a cheapo version of this (surprisingly, I haven't been able to find one), I'll probably use my HotPatterns woven tee to knock off the Modcloth dress that I have in mind--I want my set-in sleeves.

Tilly and the Buttons - Bettine dress

Final Thoughts

So for me, the only must-have this week is that Sophie cardigan--I can't imagine not getting my money's worth from that one. I feel like all of the Pontes in my stash that have been waiting for a non-waterfall cardigan but are too beefy for a Muse Jenna cardigan finally now have a pattern that they'll match with.

We're still waiting on Fall collections from New Look and Butterick, so I'd expect to start seeing those appear in the next week or two.

Did anything from this week grab you?


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Finished Project: Blank Slate - Marigold Dress

You may or may not have heard, but here in the Pacific Northwest, we're off to our hottest, driest summer on record so far. We're just finally exiting a heat wave here where we've had temperatures in the 90's for over two weeks. (BTW--Hardly anyone up here has central A/C.) During this heatwave, I made the painful realization that many of my summer clothes from the past couple of summers are either really beat up from wearing and washing or currently fit more snugly than I'd like.

Basically, I need hot-weather clothing NOW, and I decided that the best way to get the most bang-for-my-buck as far as my sewing time goes would be to sew some work-appropriate dresses. For the interested, I've got a handful of recent-ish McCall's patterns, a Lekala, the Colette Hawthorn (of course), and two Blank Slate patterns pulled as candidates for my summer dress sewing marathon. First up is the Blank Slate Marigold dress.

Blank Slate - Marigold Dress


I saw a lot of potential in the Blank Slate Marigold dress when it was released last summer. I liked the yoke/shoulder gathers, which is a good design combo for dealing with a large FBA/dart rotation, the lightly gathered elastic waist, pockets, and the full-but-not-too-full skirt. Oh yes, and it has jeans-style pockets in front, as opposed to having pockets in the side seam. This is a nice feature because you get the benefits of pockets without worrying about gape or bulk at the side seams/on your hips.

The line drawing is kind of blah, but it does show you the pattern's design features and options. Note that it includes options for long or cap sleeves, a band or traditional stand/shirt colllar, a blouse option, and a skirt option:
Blank Slate - Marigold dress
Outside of the fact that I wished that Melly's drafts included more sleeve cap ease, I've been very happy with her children's patterns that I've sewn for Eva. The patterns are true-to-size, and the instructions are well-written and clearly photographed. I bought a few of her women's patterns as a bundle last year, but I hadn't made any of them yet. I've been seeing a few cute versions of the Marigold popping up around the SBC in recent weeks, so I decided to give this pattern a shot.

 

Blank Slate Marigold vs. Sewaholic Nicola

 

I was almost finished with my Marigold when Tasia from Sewaholic released the Nicola. The Nicola's release amused me because it's awfully similar to the Marigold.

Sewaholic Nicola
 Here are the key differences between the patterns, based on my observation:
  • The Nicola is drafted for pears. I'm not sure that Blank Slate drafts for a particular body type, but based on my experience, I'd say that it's for a proportionate hourglass. Granted, in a flared, full skirt like this, you only really need to worry about fitting the bodice.
  • The Nicola's neckline is more open.
  • The Nicola has a faced neckline and button closure. The Blank Slate has a more traditional collar and button band closure.
  • The Nicola's buttons extend down the skirt. The Blank Slate's skirt is cut on the fold.
  • Nicola: no pockets. Blank Slate: No-gape pockets at skirt front.

 

Fabric and Notions Used

 

I used the following fabric and notions for this version of this pattern:
  • "Frock" rayon in the cobalt "Hana" colorway by Cotton + Steel. Purchased on sale from Craftsy.

    Wow, did I love working with this fabric. It has the hand and drape of a rayon challis, but is beefier and as opaque. It also pressed beautifully. I wouldn't hesitate to buy more of this stuff in other colorways.
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing (on button bands and band collar) from Fashion Sewing Supply.
  • 1/2" elastic purchased from Fashion Sewing Supply.
  • White shirt buttons from JoAnn's.

 

Pattern Drafting, Sizing, and Alterations

 

This pattern is available in Blank Slate women's sizes XXS-XL. (30" bust/33" hip - 44" bust/44" hip) and (76cm bust/84cm hip - 112/cm bust/112cm bust).

Before I get into my alterations, I want to point out that Melly included finished garment measurements on nearly every pattern piece AND also included lengthen/shorten lines on many of them, as well. I really appreciated these inclusions, and I, uh, was a bad girl and skipped the muslin because I felt pretty confident knowing how much I'd need to add and where.

So, let's cover my pattern alterations. They were all pretty standard alterations for me, based on the size chart and finished garment measurements. (I'll be making a few additional changes when I make this again.) I started with a size XL (44" bust), which was the closest option to my 43" high bust measurement.
  • 3" FBA with dart rotated to the shoulder and waist gathers
  • 1" broad back adjustment
  • 1" full arm adjustment
  • Lengthened cap sleeve by 1" for more coverage
  • Did NOT shorten the skirt, but cut skirt on "above knee" length cutting line, which ended up being *just* below the knee cap on me (I'm 5'2"). Since I have to shorten most patterns, I figured that the "above knee" cutting line would give me the length that I was looking for, and it did.
Marigold bodice with 3" FBA and rotated dart
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the fit. I could use a smidge more room across the back, so I'll probably up my broad back adjustment to 1.5" and incorporate it as an ease pleat on my next version.

The shoulder seam does extend slightly out past my shoulder joint, which is a little unusual for me when picking a pattern size by high bust. (My shoulders aren't particularly narrow.) As is typically the case with Blank Slate's kids' patterns, I also found that I wished that the pattern had a higher sleeve cap. I suspect that the shoulder length/sleeve cap drafting issues are related.

A few more drafting notes:
  • The armscye on this pattern is nice and high and tight.  I suspect that many of us could go sleeveless with this pattern (which isn't included as a standard view) without worrying about bra coverage a whole lot. 
  • The pockets on this dress are nice and deep. They're actually big enough to comfortably hold my OtterBox-protected iPhone 6. I will likely use these pockets in other dress/skirt patterns.

 
Marigold - back view

PDF Assembly

I didn't run into any issues assembling the PDF for this pattern. I've consistently found Blank Slate's PDF patterns to be clearly formatted and to not have any issues with the pattern lines lining up correctly.

 

Pattern Instructions

 

I found the pattern instructions and accompanying photos to be very clear. There was one bit where the instructions for attaching the waistband to the skirt view was partially mislabeled to make it seem like you had to attach a waistband to the dress, but this was easy to figure out--the dress instructions are on the next page.

 

Final Thoughts

 

A few fitting quirks aside, I love the final dress. I've already worn it twice, and I finished it less than a week ago. I will definitely be making more of these.  This is a nice, basic shirtdress pattern that's easier to fit than some shirtdress styles and should lend itself well to a lot of the fun, lightweight cotton prints that seem to have exploded on the garment sewing fabric scene in recent months.

Marigold Dress - full length

Additionally, if you're interested in this pattern you'd like to open the neckline or would like the blouse view without the elastic waist peplum, blogger Melissa from A Happy Stitch wrote a post explaining how she made these alterations:

Marigold Blouse/Dress Hack

I like the waist definition that the elastic waist gives me in the dress view, but I do want to try making a blouse version with a simple shirttail hem like Melissa did. I'm also tempted to give one of the long-sleeved views a try (either dress or blouse) when the weather starts to cool a bit.

Overall, I'm quite happy with this pattern, and I am looking forward to having more dresses and a few blouses made from it in my closet.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Last Week in Patterns (12-July-2015)


This past week was a good week for pear-shaped sewists; however, I didn't feel that it was such a good week for my own figure or own personal style. We had releases this past week from the following companies:
  • HotPatterns
  • Itch to Stitch
  • Sewaholic
  • Vogue
HotPatterns: Fast & Fabulous Trilogy Shift Dress, Tunic, & Top

The Trilogy dress, tunic, and top appears to basically be HotPatterns take on the RTW trend that I'm sure inspired the True Bias Sutton blouse. I've been seeing similar blouses all over Seattle for the past few months, so it makes sense that multiple pattern companies would offer a take on this style. I already purchased the PDF for this (it's 20% off right now). I've nearly bought the Sutton several times, and since I'm familiar with and trust HotPatterns drafting, I figured this was a sign to finally pull the trigger on this one. I'm currently working on the mini-Southport for my daughter, but I've already prewashed fabric and will be making up the Trilogy top after that.

HotPatterns Trilogy Top, Tunic, and Dress

Itch to Stitch: Angelia Shorts

I don't follow Itch to Stitch all that closely. A few people have brought her patterns to my attention, but I'll be honest that I didn't really pay attention because I was a little turned off by the way she was putting calls out for pattern testers--they're done on a super tight deadline, which makes me question the thoroughness of the testing. Not to re-open the debate on pattern testing again, but I'm of a firm belief that pattern testing is something that you do to check the fit/grading on your patterns and/or the clarity of your instructions.  Outside of that, you're probably looking for someone to sew up your samples for you for free or for free marketing.

Anyway, I'm posting this because frankly, I really like these shorts. I love all of the details on the pockets, and I've been seeing some of these military-esque details on RTW shorts a lot lately. And as a fan of fly fronts, it's really nice to see a new-ish pattern designer offer a pattern with a fly front and not automatically fall back on a drawstring or elastic waist because it's easy.

I don't know if I'd buy these until I see some more reviews on women of larger sizes, but I definitely can see myself morphing some of these details onto a pattern that I already own.

Itch to Stitch: Angelia shorts
Itch to Stitch: Kathryn Top & Dress

Released at the same time as the Angelia shorts was the Kathryn knit top and dress. This top is so wrong for my figure, it's not even funny. Those pleats would open up and look horribly sloppy on my G-cups, not to even get into the bulk that they'd add. It looks okay on the slender, small-busted testers, though. Obviously, this one is a "hell no" from me.

Itch to Stich: Kathryn top and dress
Sewaholic: Harwood dress

The Harwood is one of those dresses that I like the idea of, but I think you need to be Sewaholic's target pear-shaped figure for it to look good. That closed-up neckline is the opposite of what I need for my upper body to avoid looking like one giant boob. The placement of this particular yoke and gathers could also potentially be problematic on a large bust.

On the other hand, if you're small-busted, I think that this dress could nicely balance out your figure, if that's something that you're looking for.

Basically, I like the design of this dress, but this one's not for me.

Sewaholic: Harwood dress

Sewaholic: Nicola dress

I had to laugh (in a good way) when I saw the blog post announcing the Nicola dress. Why did I laugh? I laughed because, as you'll see when I get a chance to blog it, I was just finishing up the very similar Blank Slate Marigold dress and was super happy with how that dress was turning out. A few of the details are a little different, but the basic idea is the same--a shirtdress with a shoulder yoke, shoulder shirring, elastic waist, and flared skirt.

So yeah, I like this a lot, but I have no need for it since I already own and have figured out the fit on the Marigold. I will say that although Tasia from Sewaholic drafts for a pear figure, I think that this dress is going to be a pretty flattering shape on a lot of women, pear figure or not. Those shoulder gathers are a convenient place to rotate a dart from an FBA. (I'll talk about my FBA in more detail in my Marigold post, but everything that I did FBA-wise for the Marigold will apply to the Nicola.)

Sewaholic: Nicola dress
Vogue: Fall 2015 Release

*sigh*  I must be one of the very few people in the SBC who didn't care a whole lot for this Vogue collection. There are very few patterns here that suit both my lifestyle and my figure. It figures--I loved the McCall's Fall Release (and have already bought 3 patterns from the collection), so I probably wasn't going to like any of the other Fall collections from the Big 4 nearly as much.

V1465: Donna Karan Jacket, Skirt, and Top

I like the jacket here, and the top and the skirt are okay, although I wouldn't wear a turtleneck. StyleArc has a few similar jackets, though, and I tend to trust StyleArc's drafting a bit more than most Big 4 drafting.

V1465
V1461: DKNY dress

The early 90's fashion revival, influenced by grunge and riot grrrl influences has been around for a few years at this point. It would figure that we'd start to see fashion influences from the mid-90's starting to show up in collections. This dress just screams "Clueless" to me.

"Sometimes you have to show a little skin. This reminds boys of being naked, and then they think of sex." --Cher Horowitz

V1461
V9124: Misses' Dress

If V1461 screamed Cher Horowitz, then V9124 screams Elaine Benes. Get out!

V9124

V9125: Misses' Dress

Nipple darts!

V9125

V9122: Very Easy Vogue Misses' Jumper

I wonder if these jumpers with the bias insets are expected to be a big thing for fall. McCall's had a variation on this in their fall catalogue.

V9122

Final Thoughts

First of all, I want to mention that a few of us Seattle-area sewing bloggers had a lovely meetup at Drygoods Designs here on Saturday. I even got a chance to meet my fellow CSC editor Jenny/Cashmerette in person! I'll try to pull a few pictures off of Instragram when I get a chance.

The only must-have for me here this week is the new HotPatterns top/tunic/dress, which I'll be sewing up soon. There are a few wait-and-see's, but that's just about it. I know that a lot of people really loved the new Vogues, but I felt that they were mostly kind of "meh". I guess I'm just more of a McCall's woman, when it comes to BMV. Were there any released this week that are on your must-have list?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Last Week in Patterns (5-July-2015)

I hope that those of us in the US are enjoying our weekend, and I hope that your dog has emerged from his or her hiding place where it was cowering during last night's fireworks.

This past week, the following designers released new patterns:
  • By Hand London
  • Cake Patterns: Tidepool Collection, Wave 2
  • Colette Seamwork: July 2015
  • Seamstress Erin
  • StyleArc: July 2015 Release

By Hand London: Zeena Dress

By Hand London released their first pattern release since announcing that they'd be closing their studio and getting out of the paper pattern business (for now). Not surprisingly, it's a party dress, although this one looks like it could be dressed down with a more casual fabric.

Their patterns really don't fit my style or lifestyle, and this one is no exception. However I know that they're popular among other sewists.

BHL - Zeena
Cake Patterns: Tidepool Collection (Wave 2)

I can't talk about the second batch of patterns from Cake's Tidepool collection without mentioning the elephant in the room--Steph's recent blog post: http://3hourspast.com/2015/06/29/coming-out/

I don't really feel comfortable commenting on it more than to say that I hope she's getting the help that she needs and starts to see some improvement, for the sake of her mental health and of her family.

Anyway, I'd misunderstood the initial announcement of the Tidepool collection, thinking that it would consist of 3 shells, the Endeavor pants/skirt, and a skirt with undershorts. There are actually four shells, in total, in the collection along with the aforementioned pants/shorts and skirt.

Urchin skirt

The Urchin skirt is an elastic waist skirt with a pleated waistband and pockets. The pattern includes a knit undershort pattern for modesty and chub rub prevention.

I don't ever wear my shirts untucked, so while kinda cool-looking, the pleated waistband holds no appeal to me. The knit undershorts are a nice extra, but not enough to get me to invest in a basic pattern like this.

Cake - Urchin skirt
Scallop Shell

The Scallop Shell is one of the four Tidepool shells and includes options for a sweetheart or boatneck neckline, and an option to add a pretty cool-looking sailor's knot detail in back. I like the options included with this pattern, although I think that the price is pretty steep for a shell pattern of any kind.

Cake - Scallop shell
Miter Shell

The final shell--the Miter shell--is probably my favorite. It features a square neckline and a miter weave detail on the back.

Cake - Miter shell
Overall, I quite like the three shells that clearly share the same pattern base--the Scallop, Miter, and Pipi (discussed last week). As a consumer, however, I really wish that she had released these all as part of the same pattern, even if that meant raising the price slightly from the "Riff" price that these currently have. I'd guess that most interested people would probably look at buying one shell and then look for tutorials on how to hack the other necklines and back details onto their basic shell.

Colette Seamwork: July 2015 Issue

The July issue of Seamwork has an "outdoors" theme. In line with this, the two patterns being released this month are a pair of drawstring shorts and a drawstring backpack.

Nantucket shorts

As someone who hasn't really been taken with most of the Seamwork patterns, I think that these are really cute, actually. I'm a little dubious of the fact that the pattern doesn't appear to include any elastic--I could see these coming untied and sliding off pretty easily--but outside of the somewhat similar Made with Moxy Prefontaine shorts, these shorts are a fairly unique design.

Colette Seamwork - Nantucket shorts
Seabrook bag

I think that the Seabrook bag is pretty cute, too, although you can find drawstring bag/backpack patterns like this one all over the place these days. I made up the HotPatterns version a few years ago, myself.

Colette Seamwork - Seabrook bag

Seamstress Erin: Nautilus Swimsuit

I hadn't really followed Seamstress Erin, but she recently released a swimsuit pattern that caught my attention. And why did it grab my attention? It includes cup sizes up to DD+ (I'm not sure what a "DD+" is, but typically that means that it's sized for a generous DD cup) and includes strap options beyond halter straps. And I think that the twist detail is pretty cute, too.

We've already had an early review on the Curly Sewing Collective, and it's quite positive, which is very encouraging, I think.

Seamstress Erin - Nautilus swimsuit
StyleArc: July 2015 Release

Candice Skirt

The Candice skirt is StyleArc's take on the full skirt trend. It has a pocket and stitched-down inverted pleats. It's a cute skirt, although I'm not sure what this particular pattern offers over a lot of the similar Big 4 patterns that are already out there. I do like that the pleats are stitched down, which would help minimize bulk over the hips and tummy.

StyleArc - Candice skirt

Skye Top

The Skye top is designed to be paired with the Candice skirt. Skye is drafted for stable knits or lightweight wovens. It's a pretty simple top--I find it difficult to have much of an opinion about it. I'm kind of surprised that this wasn't the freebie for the month.

StyleArc - Skye top

Livia Jacket

Easily my favorite pattern offering out of this batch, the Livia Jacket also happens to be the freebie pattern for July. It's basically an easy Chanel-look style jacket with a boxy cut and optionally trimmed pockets. This jacket is unlined and has a hook-and-eye closure.

StyleArc - Livia Jacket

Final Thoughts

So...my picks for the week...I don't really have any "must haves", but I do have a few that interest me and that I'll be watching for reviews.

I've been really encouraged by what I've seen from the Nautilus swimsuit so far, so that one is definitely on my radar. I actually really like some of the tank/shells from Cake, although I wish that she had packaged them all together as separate view and just charged the price of a full pattern for them. Finally, I like the Seamwork shorts, but as a non-subscriber, I'll have some time to see how they look when made up before making any decisions on whether I'd want to actually buy them.

What are your favorites out of this batch?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mid-year checkpoint: Sewing goals for 2015

Like many other sewing bloggers, I set a list of goals for myself for 2015 at the beginning of the year.  By some sewing blogging standards, my goals for this year weren't particularly ambitious, but they did all relate to areas where I wanted to progress. Now that it's the end of June, and we're already halfway through 2015, I think it's about time to check in on those goals and see how I'm doing.

Finish that damn winter coat.

Done! Yaaaaaaaaaay!

Simplicity 1254 - Leanne Marshall coat

Pattern stash goal: none

I didn't want to set a pattern stash goal for myself this year because I felt that I should stop fighting my "Ooh shiney!" tendencies and embrace them instead. Interestingly, I do feel like I've been a little more thoughtful in my pattern/project selection this year by concentrating on wardrobe holes and very wearable garments, rather than purchasing and leaping into The Next Big Thing, pattern-wise. I do feel like writing my weekly pattern roundups has helped me evaluate new pattern releases a little more objectively than I had been, and as a result, has curtailed some of my impulse pattern purchases.

 

 Fabric stash goal: Shop my stash first, shop local for wovens, and quality over quantity

This one has been a bit of a mixed bag.  I think that about half of the projects that I've made so far this year have been sewn from stash fabric, as opposed to fabric purchased in the past couple of months. I am realizing that I really do need to go through my stash and do another cull--there are fabrics in there that made the cut at the last cull because I liked them, but I am now realizing that I am unlikely to wear a garment actually made from those fabrics. I also did have a few pretty bad online buying binges while my father's health was failing, but that was retail therapy in the truest sense of the phrase. I don't need to beat myself up over this, even if my credit card statement is a somewhat nasty reminder.

On the other hand, I've definitely been doing the quality over quantity thing--making fewer purchases if not spending less money. I can't count how many times I've filled a cart on FabricMart's website and then had the willpower to close my browser tab.

Sew a water-resistant jacket with a hood.

Can't say that I've made much progress here. Granted, we've been having a ridiculously warm and dry year here in the PNW, and that's killed my motivation for this goal, somewhat. The other thing killing my motivation has been the lack of pattern options that fit my idea of "the perfect rain jacket". If the Sewaholic Minoru wouldn't require major re-drafting to fit me, I'd probably sew that and be done with this goal. If a jacket with the details that I want doesn't get released in the coming months, I'm toying between either trying to feminize the fit of a men's pattern or converting the Jalie City Coat to a zippered opening.


Jalie City Coat

Jeans! Jeans! Jeans!

I'm almost there on this one! Technically, I guess, I did make a pair of jeans when I made my wearable muslin pair of Burda 6951. However, now that I've made this pattern again and have the fit much closer to what I wanted, I'm not counting this goal as "accomplished" until I make up my "real" pair of jeans. I do consider this goal to easily be "on track" to be done by the end of the year.

Burda 6591 - wearable muslin

Burda 6951 - back pocket and rivets

Fit and sew a button-down blouse.

I haven't tackled a button-down blouse yet, but I do currently have a couple of shirtdress patterns sitting on my cutting table as candidates for my next project. Does that count? In any case, I'm pretty confident that I'll accomplish this by the end of the year. Note that by "fit", I mean "wearable in public", not "get rid of all wrinkles and draglines".

Watch and complete the relevant projects for at least two of my Craftsy classes.

I've started watching Suzy Furrer's skirt sloper class. I want to learn more about drafting my own patterns and figured this was probably the easiest place to start. I'm also hoping to get through one or both of Suzy's bodice sloper class and/or Beverly Johnson's basic bra-making class.

 

Final Thoughts

So, I feel like I'm doing "not bad, but could be better".  On the other hand, I feel like I'm on track to accomplish most of what I set out to do in 2015. As a list maker, I know that it will feel awfully good to tick a few of these boxes when I do accomplish a few of these goals. I guess we'll just see?

Did you make any sewing goals for 2015? How are you progressing on your own goals?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Last Week in Patterns (28-June-2015)

It's Sunday, and we have a LOT of patterns to look through, including early Autumn releases from Simplicity and McCall's, both of which had some nice patterns. Grab a cup of coffee and a nice breakfast pastry because we're going to be here for a while.

Here's the list of the releases that we'll be covering today:
  • Cake Pattern: Tidepool Collection
  • Closet Case Files: Sallie Jumpsuit and Maxi-dress
  • McCall's: Early Autumn 2015 release
  • Peek-a-boo Patterns: Friday Harbor blouse and dress
  • Simplicity: Early Autumn 2015 release
Cake Patterns: Tide Pool Collection, Wave 1

After a long hiatus of about a year and a half, StephC from Cake Patterns has released a new pattern collection for summer called "Tidepool". She'll be releasing this collection in two waves, and it will consist of three top patterns that can be paired with two bottom patterns, all with multiple views. She's just released the Wave 1, which consists of two shell patterns and a pattern for pants or shorts.

I'll admit that while I was turned off a bit from Cake after Steph's social media meltdown a while back, I do like a few of the patterns in the collection. Granted, I'm not sure that anyone needs three different knit shell patterns that, at first glance, all appear to be pretty similar but with different details.

Pipi Shell

Like all Cake Patterns, you'll draft/trace the Pipi Shell to your own measurements. This is a simple pattern, but I like it. Cut out backs and back details are all the rage these days, but unlike a lot of patterns I've seen along that line, this one is actually bra-friendly. I'd consider this one.

Cake - Pipi Shell
Janthina Shell

Whereas I kinda liked the Pipi shell, I'm pretty meh on the Janthina. It just reminds me too much of those tops with flounces that everyone was sewing a few years ago. Both Simplicity and HotPatterns had variations on this, and I'm just not ready for flounces to come back yet.

Cake - Jathina shell
Endeavor Trousers

These are easily my favorite pattern out of this bunch. The seaming and pocket details, while not totally original, are also something that you don't see in a lot of sewing patterns. The trouser legs are a bit wide for 5'2" me, but I suspect that's something that you can customize with this pattern, at least somewhat. And I just think that the shorts are really cute and wearable.

One thing that I'll point out is that the shorts and pant samples fit Steph very well--no weird crotch wrinkles or butt drag lines or anything. Granted, this is easier to accomplish with a wide legged trouser than, say, a pair of skinny jeans, but we've also seen plenty of pant patterns from other indies that have had insane crotches or other fitting red flags. Outside of the fact that I feel like these look too long on Steph (or that she should have been wearing different shoes), I think that many of us would be really happy to have trousers that fit like these.

Cake - Endeavor Trousers and Shorts

Closet Case Files: Sallie Jumpsuit and Maxi-Dress

I don't have a whole lot to say about this one. I think it's cute, but I've been hoarding jumpsuit and maxi-dress patterns for a while and have options that are fairly similar to most of the views here that I'd wear.

If you're not like me and don't hoard jumpsuit and maxi-dress patterns; however, this one does provide you with quite a few options. I do really like that Heather included both bra-friendly and non-bra-friendly views in this pattern, so that those of us who do not have the option of wearing a strapless bra aren't left out in the cold. I'll be putting this one in my "like it, but probably don't need it" pile.

Closet Case Files - Sallie Jumpsuit and Maxi-dress
McCalls: Early Fall Release 2015

Much like their early spring release about six months ago, there are quite a few patterns that really like in McCall's Early Fall release. What's interesting to me about this collection is that I've been seeing many of these looks popping up in RTW around Seattle. A valid criticism of the Big 4 is that their patterns are sometimes a step behind RTW trends, but you could walk into a department store today and buy pieces that are similar to a lot of the patterns in this collection.

Also, remember that cute brunette model with the short hair that we all liked so much from the Early Spring release? She's back, and she's still damn cute.

If you haven't already refilled your cup of coffee, now is the time to do so.

M7187: Misses' Dress with panel inset and drop-waist skirt options

I think that this dress is really cute. I like the princess seam inset/panel, and the skirt options on the drop-waist are interesting.

M7187
M7188: Misses Dress (with cup sizes)

Princess seams, a short midriff band, and a quarter circle skirt? I'm there. The styling in the sample photo is really unfortunate, but look beyond that and see what a cute, potentially flattering dress there is in the line drawings.

M7188
M7199: Knit jacket with asymmetrical zipper

I've been seeing this style of jacket all over Seattle. They're really cute on a lot of women. I was actually figuring that I'd buy the StyleArc Marie, which is relatively inexpensive in PDF form, to knock off this style, but now McCall's has put out a nearly identical version of this look. The "No provisions provided for above waist adjustment" is a little concerning, though, given that I know I'd need to FBA this.

M7199

M7192: Misses' Tops with sheer overlay

I've been seeing these blouses with the asymmetrical sheer overlays around town a lot so far this summer. I've stayed away from these patterns with the overlays on the front before because I was afraid that the fabric would hang unattractively off of my boobs, but I'm less concerned about that with this version, since the overlay fabric would be a lightweight, drapey sheer.

M7192
M7195: Misses' Woven Sweatshirts

Woven t-shirts have been huge for the past couple of summers, so it makes sense that the next step in this trend evolution would be a woven sweatshirt, right? I live in the sweatshirt capital of the world, so of course, I'm going to give this one a try.

M7195
M7203: Misses' Romper and Jumpsuit

Because I hoard but don't make romper and jumpsuit patterns. Well, to be honest, part of that is that I've been searching for a romper/jumpsuit pattern that had the following elements that previously had been difficult to find all in one pattern: button front, elastic waist, easy to FBA. This pattern checks all of those boxes. Have I finally found the pattern that I'll use to test drive this trend?

M7203
M7214: Kids' and Adults TMNT and Minion costumes

Minions! And Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! All part of the same pattern! Eva is really into minions right now, so this pattern will be a likely contender for this year's Halloween costume.


M7211: Frozen Costumes for Dogs

Frozen costumes for dogs. I have nothing else to say about this.

M7211

Simplicity: Early Fall Release 2015

Simplicity released a small batch of patterns earlier this week (although these patterns had been appearing around JoAnns' stores for at least a week before this). As is typical with their early fall releases, this batch contained a few costume patterns that I suspect Simplicity expects to sell well for Halloween. There are also some nice basics for fall, including a jacket that I absolutely love.

Simplicity 1066: MimiG Lined Jacket

Generally, MimiG's style and my own style don't have a whole lot of overlap, but OMG, I LOVE THIS JACKET pattern! First off, it's actually a lined jacket pattern (as opposed to draft your own lining and figure things out), it includes multiple cup sizes--up to a DD in the larger range, which is what I use, it has shoulder princess seams (yay!), and I really like the optional details--you could either go with a bit of a military look or incorporate some faux leather piecing.

We know what jacket pattern I'll be making this fall, right?

Simplicity 1066 - MimiG jacket
Simplicity 1063: Misses' Knit Tops

Based on my experience with a similar HotPatterns knit top that I ended up not wearing much, I don't think that Simplicity 1063 is the best look for me, but it's an interesting pattern that incorporates some draping and a crossover in a kind of cool way. (There was also a similar BurdaStyle pattern about a year and a half ago.)

Simplicity 1063 - Misses Knit Tops
Simplicity 1061: Sew Chic lined dress and jacket

This dress is cute as heck (especially in the fabric that they chose), although it's probably not something that I would sew/wear. I suspect that we'll see lots of cute versions of this one out and around the SBC in coming months.

Simplicity 1061: Sew Chic dress
Simplicity 1095: Misses' (Dr. Who) Costumes

I don't watch Dr. Who myself, but I know plenty of people who are really into it. One of the most Seattle cars I've seen since moving here was a Fiat with a "My Other Ride is a Tardis" sticker on it. This costume is for the driver of that car.

Simplicity 1095: Misses' (Dr. Who) Costumes
Simplicity 1094 & Simplicity 1097: Girls' and Misses' Frozen Fever costumes

Were you a child in the early 80's? Did you play with Star Wars action figures? Do you also happen to remember how George Lucas would license and Kenner would sell action figures who appeared in all of ONE SHOT of the original trilogy? Like this guy--Hammerhead? (He was featured in exactly one shot of the Cantina Scene in Episode IV.)

Star Wars Hammerhead action figure
Disney/Simplicity appear to be heading down a similar route with the movie Frozen and its characters. With a true sequel somewhere on the distant horizon, Disney ran a 10-minute animated short called "Frozen Fever" before the live-action version of Cinderella a few months ago. We now have a set of women's, children's, and 18" doll costumes from Simplicity, based on the dresses that Anna and Elsa wore in that short. Has Frozen jumped the shark? And is this worse than Anna and Elsa costumes for a dog? (FWIW, my 3-year-old is currently more into Thomas the Train and minions than she is into Frozen.)

Simplicity 1094

Simplicity 1097

Final Thoughts

So when is the next McCall's sale at JoAnn's?

Scrolling through this post, I feel like a cat in a room full of laser pointers. This one! No,  I'm getting this one!

My picks for the week are the Endeavor (I actually have a voucher for a free pattern from Cake from my "house" winning a long-ago sewalong), the MimiG jacket from Simplicity, and a whole lot of the new McCall's patterns. Which are your favorites out of this bunch?