Sunday, August 30, 2015

Last Week in Patterns (30-Aug-2015)

Oh hey, it looks like I managed to write roundup posts two weeks in a row! After a slow summer, it seems like seasonally releases for Fall are starting to heat up. In addition to this week's releases, we've had several designers hint that they'll be releasing new patterns in early September.
  • BurdaStyle Plus
  • KwikSew
  • StyleArc 
BurdaStyle: September 2015 Plus Collection - Metropolitan

We'll kick things off with what I feel is BurdaStyle's strongest Plus collection in a long time.  Most of these patterns actually have a fair amount of shaping and are also practical pieces for most women's lifestyles. This collection kind of feels like a throwback to the types of Plus collections Burda (back in its Burda World of Fashion days) used to release 5-10 years ago. Even better, there's no "Burda WTF?" piece in here where you're scratching your head wondering, "Who would make that???" Also, most of these pieces are styled really well, which hasn't usually been the case for recent BurdaStyle Plus collections. I LOVE how they styled that cape with the leather pants.

Basically, I think I need to hunt down a single copy of the September issue of BurdaStyle.

BurdaStyle 09-2015 #123A & #123B: Boatneck top and dress

First up is a shift top and dress pattern that's similar to Colette's ubiquitous Laurel pattern, but the Burda has more darts and shaping. The cute bow detail on the top view is a nice touch, as well.

BurdaStyle 09-2015 #123AB

BurdaStyle 09-2015 #123AB
BurdaStyle 09-2015 #133: Sailor blouse & #134: Knit pullover

I have no idea why these are two different patterns--I can't see a difference in the line drawing beyond the fact that one is a knit and the other is a woven. In any case, I like both of these for an easy, casual look. The white blouse version is particularly sharp, IMO.

BurdaStyle 09-2015 #133

BurdaStyle 09-2015 #134
BurdaStyle 09-2015 #131: Cape Jacket

I don't think I'm a cape person, but I would like to be a cape person if I could look like this wearing a cape.

BurdaStyle 09-2105 #131
BurdaStyle 09-2015 #130AB: Bootcut trousers

For pants, we have a perfectly acceptable pair of bootcut trousers. As this style appears to be making a comeback (finally), I've noticed that most of the bootcuts that I've been seeing "in the wild" lately have a somewhat exaggerated flare, like these do. I'm sure that many of us are sick of skinny pants, and are REALLY embracing the flare as it re-emerges. Interestingly, these pants have elastic in the back waist (probably to prevent gaping). The flared Burda Plus jeans from a few months back (which I purchased and are on my fall sewing list) also have this feature.

BurdaStyle 09-2015 #130AB
BurdaStyle 09-2015 #129: Long Blazer

This collection has the first traditional blazer that I can remember BurdaStyle offering in a plus collection in quite some time. I like the lapel on this one.

BurdaStyle 09-2015 #129
BurdaStyle 09-2015 #128: Midi Dress

Finally, my favorite piece in this collection is this midi dress with tons of seaming. The fabric choice in the sample doesn't really do it any favors, but check out that line drawing.

BurdaStyle 09-2015 #128

KwikSew Fall/Winter 2015

Can I re-use an overused meme here?

If you've noticed, I haven't been covering KwikSew releases in my pattern roundups. Since being acquired by BMV, their releases have veered more and more towards the "crafty" side of things that nothing interested me, so I didn't even bother to mention their releases. I'd stopped getting excited about "new release" emails from KwikSew several years ago.

However, I don't know if it's an anomaly, but this just-released collection from Kwik Sew actually has some patterns that adult women might actually find appealing! (Now, if they'd only bring back the old Kwik Sew pattern paper...)

K4139: Misses Jackets

I noticed shearling jackets and coats starting to pop up around town last winter, leading me to believe that these are starting to cycle back to being in style again. K4139 is a nice option for someone looking to create her own version of this look.

K4132: Misses' Dresses

This dress is my favorite pattern out of this collection. I've had several similar dresses from ModCloth pinned to a Pinterest board for months. I love the sweetheart neckline and all of the seaming on this dress.

K4133: Misses' Shirt and Dress

I know that the rockabilly/western shirt trend kind of came and went a few years ago, but I like the idea of the shirtdress view for this pattern, if you could pull it off without looking like you'd stepped straight out of 2009. Then again, I'm always a sucker for anything with princess seams and pockets.

K4138: Misses' Jumper and Jumpsuit

Finally, out of all of the Big 4, who would have guessed that KwikSew would have been the first line to offer a take on the overall revival that we've been seeing?  These aren't for me, but they're cute and would probably be darling on someone more youthful than me with the type of figure that can pull these off.



Estelle Ponte Jacket

As noted in their email newsletter, the Estelle Ponte jacket is essentially a coat version of their popular Harper jacket.

StyleArc - Estelle Jacket
I already own the Harper, which I succumbed to after seeing a few RTW versions that I liked around town. As much as I'm over waterfall openings, StyleArc seems to do them with less-overwhelming proportions (in the ones I've seen made up) than some of the other pattern companies. If I didn't already own the Harper, I'd be tempted by the Estelle.

Fulfillment by Amazon

StyleArc announced on Facebook that they're experimenting with Fulfillment by Amazon. They're initially offering four patterns this way, which will be offered as multi-size patterns (either sizes 4-16 or 18-30). These patterns will be eligible for Amazon's inexpensive shipping options and are Prime-eligible.

I think that this is a great option for people who don't want to deal with shipping from Australia, don't like taping PDFs, or people who want a multi-sized version of StyleArc's patterns.

Final Thoughts

I'll be checking our local Barnes & Noble for a copy of that September Burda. If that doesn't work out, does anyone want to sell me their copy? ;) :) Or does anyone happen to know if any shops around the Seattle area stock it? (I seem to remember seeing the occasional Burda at Nancy's Sewing Basket?) THIS is the type of collection that I think many people were hoping they'd rehash (if they were going to rehash) in that Burda Plus book.

Surprisingly, Kwik Sew even had a few patterns that I liked in their fall collection. I can't remember the last time I bought a Kwik Sew pattern--probably when Eva was a baby.

Next week should be interesting, too. Both Named and Grainline Studios have hinted that they have new patterns coming out in the first week of September.

What grabs you out of this week's releases?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Finished Project: BurdaStyle Plus - "Vintage Chic" shirtdress

If you follow the Curvy Sewing Collective, you might remember that I recently posted a review there of the new BurdaStyle compilation book of plus sized patterns:

Book Review: BurdaStyle Modern Sewing - Full-Figure Fashion

I don't want to rehash that review here on my personal blog, but I do want to go into more detail about the nice shirtdress that I made from the book.
BurdaStyle Plus - "Vintage Chic" shirtdress
This pattern has been around for a while in various formats, first appearing in an issue of BurdaStyle magazine back in 2013.

Dress pattern from the BurdaStyle Plus book

Here's where you can find the pattern with the differences noted for each permutation:
  • BurdaStyle magazine (print): August 2013 issue (Trace from the pattern sheet, and add seam allowances. Includes a separate blouse view.)
  • BurdaStyle download (Print and tape the PDF, then add seam allowances.)
  • BurdaStyle envelope pattern B6896 (Standard envelope pattern with comprehensive instructions and seam allowances already added. Includes separate blouse view.)
  • BurdaStyle Plus compilation magazine for Fall/Winter 2015, according to this preview. (Trace from pattern sheet, add seam allowances. Includes several new views for this pattern that have not been previously released.)
I chose to make up this pattern for my book review for a number of reasons:
  • I really liked the collar/neckline, which reminded me of the Colette Hawthorn, and I also felt that the Burda's multi-dart arrangement would be more large-bust-friendly than dealing with adding darts to the Hawthorn. I also preferred the larger-scale Burda collar. (I do however like the semi-circle skirt of the Hawthorn better than the Burda--I see a frankenpattern of these two shirtdresses in my future.)
  • I love, love, love my Marigold shirtdress and wear it nearly every wash cycle. I liked the idea of another throw-on-and-go woven dress. (Note that if the Burda book hadn't fallen into my lap, I probably would have just made up another Marigold.)
  • It was my favorite design out of the BurdaStyle Plus book, with the tunic that Tanya had made up running a close second.

Fabric and Notions Used


I used the following fabric and notions for this version of this pattern:
  • Homebody Tacks by Cotton + Steel. Purchased on sale from Craftsy. This is basically a higher quality quilting cotton--not something that I'd typically use to make a garment with, but it was on sale, I liked the print, and I think it worked fine for this shirtdress. Note that this fabric is only 44" wide. Post-FBA, my skirt piece did not fit on the fabric on the fold, so I lost some fullness from the front pleats to compensate.
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing (on collar and self-faced button opening) from Fashion Sewing Supply.
  • Buttons purchased from my local JoAnns.

Pattern Drafting, Sizing, and Alterations


This pattern is available in Burda’s standard Plus range: sizes 44-52, which equates to 39 1/2″ (100cm) bust and 41 3/4″ (106cm) hip through a 48″ (122cm) bust and 50 1/2″ (128cm) hip.

I started with a size 50, which was the appropriate size to use for my high bust with Burda Plus' D-cup bodice draft. From there, I made a 2.25" FBA, splitting and rotating the dart into the existing shoulder and waist darts.  I did end up doing quite a bit of pin-fitting and stitching, ripping out, and re-stitching the darts to get them positioned in a way that I liked.

Note that the skirt on this dress runs long. I ended up shortening the skirt by 4" from the original pattern piece. While I'm only 5'2" tall, I typically shorten skirts/pants by 2"-3", depending on the pattern.

Because my fabric wasn't wide enough for my post-FBA'ed front skirt piece, I had to take out some of the depth of the front pleats. You can barely even see the pleats in my photos. For future versions, I'll stick with making this dress out of wider fabric or will need to purchase extra fabric and add a CF seam.

I also made the following "design" changes:
  • Omitted the self-fabric belt
  • Omitted the self-fabric tie 
  • Shortened the full-length sleeves to short sleeves--this is partially because I ran out of fabric and partially because I was afraid that long sleeves on this style of dress would look frumpy.
Note that my "running out of fabric" issue is because I started off with less fabric than the pattern recommended. If you had the right length and width of fabric as recommended by the pattern, I think you'd be fine squeezing everything in; however, there isn't much wiggle room in the layout, etc.

Back view, or wow, I really need to get back to the chiropractor

Pattern Instructions


The pattern instructions in the book were a bit of a disappointment, considering that this pattern has been out in "envelope pattern form" for a while already. The book-version of the instructions was more comprehensive than your typical Burda magazine or download pattern instructions, but lacked illustrations in a number of places where they could have been helpful to a less experienced seamstress.

For example, the buttons and buttonholes are applied to a self-faced opening. The instructions and accompanying diagram would lead you to believe that you fold over the self facing twice to the wrong side of the bodice, which will leave you with an unfinished seam allowance at the top. Instead, you’d want to turn the last fold to the right side of the bodice so that you can get a nicely finished seam allowance when you fold the facing back right-side-out. I found few other oddities, too–mostly to do with the order of construction jumping around a lot, so I just used my own order of construction.


Final Thoughts

I'm pretty happy with the final dress, although I suspect that I'll continue to make some fitting tweaks. I've only had a chance to wear it once in the few days that it's been since I've completed it, so I'll decide what additional fitting tweaks I need with a few more wears.

Overall,  I feel like this is a nice shirtdress pattern for plus sized women, and if it interests you, Burda certainly has provided plenty of different ways to acquire it, whether your preference is tracing from a book or magazine, downloading a PDF, or using an envelope pattern.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Last (Two) Weeks in Patterns (23-Aug-2015)

While we only had a single pattern released last week, we had much more pattern company activity this week.

In this post, we'll talk/pontificate about the following pattern companies:
  • BlueGingerDoll
  • McCall's
  • New Look
  • Simplicity
  • StyleArc

Not a new fact, just the opposite...  Does anyone know what's going on with BlueGingerDoll?  Abby's online pattern store has been down for several weeks, and her Instagram account is now private.

There's been no related announcement; hopefully, she's just taking a temporary break. Even if I didn't like every design, I did find that Abby has had a pretty distinct voice and some unique designs compared to other patternmakers. I hope that there isn't a serious issue causing the blackout.
McCall's Fall 2015 release

It's funny--most people were "meh" about the early Autumn release from McCall's, while I ran out and bought 3 patterns from it as soon as they were on sale. On the other hand, the online sewing community seems pretty in love with this release, and while I like a few of the patterns, I already have equivalents of many of the ones that I like in my pattern collection.

M7256: Misses' Coats

This coat is stunning. I already have a statement coat in my Leanne Marshall coat from last year, but I definitely see the appeal of this one. And on the other hand, it's a pretty close design sibling to the princess seamed Spearmint Coat from the seemingly dormant Lolita Patterns.

M7242: Misses' Laura Ashley Dress

When I think of Laura Ashley dresses, I think of dowdy elementary school teacher clothing. You know, like the dress in the line drawing below. But with the right fabric, you can see that this pattern actually had a lot of potential. So, this pattern is clearly all about fabric choice:


I really like these cardigans. It's a nice, fresh shape, and there are a lot of different view options. I'll be picking up this one on sale.

M7251: Misses' Plenty by Tracy Reese blouse

I kind of like this Tracy Reese blouse and appreciate the fact that there are two fairly different views:

New Look: Fall 2015 non-release

Instead of a release of new patterns for fall, New Look re-issued a small set of popular patterns from past years. Most of the patterns are only available in New Look's old, limited size range of 8-18 (most newer New Look patterns go up to at least a size 20). I'm not sure if this is a bad sign for the New Look line, or if they just didn't have a fall collection ready for some reason.

Simplicity: Fall 2015 release

The general consensus online has been pretty "meh" about this release. I agree, as far as the women's patterns go, although there are two patterns on my list. As is usually the case this time of year, though, there are a couple of fun kids' costumes in this release.

Simplicity 1012: Misses' 1960's Vintage Dresses

Love this design; no idea how I'd FBA this. I think this is a pattern where I'll admire the versions that everyone else churns out.

Simplicity 1012

Simplicity 1018: Misses' Knit Dress

It's a knit, princess-seamed fit-and-flare style dress. I predict that we see a lot of these made up on Pattern Review and around the SBC in coming months. This pattern is on my to-buy list, too.

Simplicity 1018
Simplicity 1016: Misses' Coat by Mimi G Style

Mimi G's aesthetic is not my aesthetic, but I like some of the patterns that she's released with her Simplicity line. The internet seems pretty split on this coat, but I really like it.

Simplicity 1016
This coat reminds me a bit of the coat that Suzy Bishop wore in Moonrise Kingdom, which I've always coveted:

Suzy Bishop in Moonrise Kingdom
Simplicity 1035: Girls' DC Comics Costumes

Having a superhero-loving 3-year-old makes purchasing this pattern a no-brainer. Eva particularly loves Wonder Woman and Batgirl. Even if she opts for a different costume for Halloween, I'll probably be making up those for her to play dress-up.

Simplicity 1035
Simplicity 1096: Childs' Minion Costume

I have a 3-year-old. Of course, I'm buying a pattern for a child's Minion costume. My only concern here is that the cover illustration shows actual Minions and not the made up costume, or even an illustration of the costume.

Simplicity 1096
Simplicity 1031: Dog Costume Coats and Hats

And last, but not least, there's a steampunk costume for dogs:

Simplicity 1031

StyleArc mid-month release (August): Agnes Designer Dress

This month's "designer" release from StyleArc (since this seems to be what they're doing with the mid-month releases now, rather than releasing really basic patterns like they used to at mid-month) is a panel-seamed dress with external Dior darts and square armholes. It's nice, and it's interesting, and it's a lot more wearable than some of their other recent "designer" patterns recently. I don't have a particular need for this dress, but I've got nothing to snark about here, either.

StyleArc - Agnes Designer Dress

Final Thoughts

What patterns grabbed you from this past week's releases? I think I'm about the only person in the SBC not buying half of that McCall's collection.

Also, has anyone heard anything about BlueGingerDoll?  Given that we've been starting to see a bit of a slowdown in some indie pattern releases, I'm starting to wonder if we're starting to see the indie pattern bubble begin to leak a bit.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Finished Project: True Bias - Mini-Southport Dress

I didn't write a pattern roundup last week because the only new pattern was the mid-month StyleArc release. I think I need to re-think the weekly roundup when we're going through a slow period, like mid-summer.

Anyway...I finished this dress about a month ago, but I was just finally able to get pictures on Eva this past weekend. Sewing this dress was pretty uneventful, so this is going to be more of a "look at my cute daughter" post than anything else.

I know that people (validly) complain about the lack of sewing patterns for little boys, but to be honest, there's a lack of practical patterns for little girls as well. I'm always on the lookout for casual dress patterns for my 3-year-old. While I haven't jumped on the Southport bandwagon myself (being somewhat concerned about the gaping armholes that I've been seeing in just about everyone larger than a B-cup), I really like the style of the dress and thought that it could make a good casual dress for Eva. I snapped this one up when it was first released and on sale for $6.

True Bias - Mini-Southport dress
It's an awfully cute everyday dress for a little girl, isn't it?

Eva loves it and asks to wear it every wash cycle. Her only complaint is the lack of pockets, but that will be easy enough to remedy in future versions.
True Bias - Mini-Southport line drawing

Fabric and Notions Used


I used a cotton poplin from Liesl Gibson's old Lisette fabric line that she used to have with JoAnn's. This fabric has been in my stash for a while; I bought it either when I was still pregnant with Eva (but knew I was having a girl) or possibly when she was a newborn. I used a coordinating fabric from the same line for the waistband and bias tape facing on the arm and neck openings.

The buttons are generic white buttons purchased from JoAnns'.

mini-Southport: Detail shot


Pattern Sizing and Alterations


This pattern is available in True Bias' girls' sizes 2T-10, which maps to heights of 33"-57" (84-145cm).

Eva's current height of 36" puts her at the bottom of the range for a 3T, which is what I sewed for her. The final dress is a little roomy on her, but not sloppily so, and she'll be able to wear it for a while.

Pattern PDF Assembly, Drafting, and Instructions


The PDF went together very smoothly. I didn't have any issues with lines not lining up or figuring out what pages went where.

The instructions were very nicely detailed, I thought. I've seen that a fair number of people online have had trouble with figuring out the Colette Aster's self-faced button band. I believe that the mini-Southport uses the same technique, but the instructions for the mini-Southport were very clear, I thought.

The only issue that I had with this pattern is that I felt that the recommended 1/2" single fold bias tape created a lot of bulk in the shoulder area. On a small size like a 3T, the armholes are pretty small and tight curves. I think that for my next version of this, I'll experiment with either flipping one set of facings to the outside (armhole or neck) or drop down to a 1/4" bias tape and trim the seam allowances accordingly. (Note that I made my own bias tape for this dress.)

mini-Southport - Back view

Final Thoughts

It's a cute dress, was an easy sew, and Eva likes it. It's a nice little pattern, and it goes together well. If I do any more unselfish sewing this summer, it will likely be another version or two of this dress.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Finished Project: HotPatterns 1191 - Fast & Fabulous Trilogy Top, Tunic, and Dress

*sigh*  This is not my best finished project. This top is a lesson in why you should always make a muslin:

My top is not unwearable. In fact, it's comfortable as heck, but I blew the FBA on this one (yes, you read that right--*I* blew an FBA on something. It happens.) It just has some awkwardness that makes me a bit self-conscious to wear it outside of running around on a weekend.

The pattern is the HotPatterns Fast & Fabulous Trilogy Top. My issues with this top have nothing to do with the pattern and everything to do with me approaching this quick pattern with a sense of overconfidence and getting burned by that. (For me, this seems to happen far more often with projects that should be quick, instant gratification sews.)

HotPatterns - Trilogy top
And yeah, I'm aware that the sun was distractingly bright and that there are obnoxious shadows in these photos. I took these at 7am one morning during one of our recent heatwaves, and the sun was already eye-searingly bright at that hour. Given that I'm starting to get a backup of unblogged projects, I didn't want to hold up this post any longer to re-take photos of a top that I'm not crazy about.


How I messed up


Before I go into my actual review of the pattern, let's talk about how I messed this one up. My pattern alterations and design changes on this one were like following a Choose Your Own Adventure story where every choice you make is wrong, sending you deeper and deeper into the cave of doom, to where you finally meet your end at the hands of some many tentacled beast, and have to go all the way back to some choice that you made on page 6 to correct the thing.
  1. By not making a muslin, I completely erred on where the bust point of the pattern was. I took a look at the armscye of the pattern piece, guessed that the bust point should be somewhere a little below that, and plotted my FBA lines accordingly. In reality, I needed the bust point to be quite a bit higher than this, and so the fullness that I added for my FBA ended up getting added too far down the bodice to be of much help for me. I had to add a gusset at the side seams to make this top wearable in the bust.
  2. I decided that I didn't want a bust dart on this top; there isn't one in the original design, and I've also had iffy experiences with wearing bust darts on loose-fitting tops. I hate going to the bathroom at work, looking in the mirror, and wondering how the heck my bust dart wandered all the way over to wherever it's currently sitting.
  3. If I needed an FBA (which I did) but didn't want a bust dart, I needed to rotate that dart somewhere. To me, the obvious position for dart rotation was the deep pleat at the shoulder that's both there for design and shaping. However, when I rotated my dart there, the already large deep pleat became HUGE. I panicked and decided to gather the pleat instead. Unfortunately, I didn't place the gathers well (I went off the pleat markings) and my double gauze, which handled the gathering so well in my recent peasant blouse, was too thick for the excessive amount of gathering that I introduced.
All of these mis-steps contributed to the awkward garment that you see pictured. I cursed myself a bit over my misuse of my somewhat pricey double gauze for this one. At least I've got a super comfortable top to wear around the house or maybe as a pajama top now, though, right?

Anyway, on to reviewing the actual pattern...

HotPatterns - Trilogy top
No, my version does not look like the pattern envelope. Nor does it look much like the vision in my head (where I'd already swapped out the deep pleat for shirring):

Trilogy Top sketch

Fabric and Notions Used


I used the following fabric and notions for this project:
  • Kobayashi double gauze fabric (cotton) in "plum" purchased in person at local shop Drygoods Designs.
This pattern required no notions, including interfacing or closures.

Pattern Sizing and Alterations


This pattern is available in HotPatterns sizes 6-26 (32"-52" bust).

This particular pattern isn't as loose an boxy and you might think from the line drawing. I started with a size 18 for my neck and shoulders (my typical HotPatterns starting size). By doing a flat pattern measurement/comparison, I determined that I'd need a 2" FBA on this top. I rotated the dart into the shoulder pleat and converted the pleat to gathers (bad choice, BTW).

To make up for setting the bust point too low (and therefore losing out on the ease that I needed at the fullest point of my bust), I added a gusset at the top underarm.

Finally, I doubled the yoke so that it was self-faced. Why? Because it just feels weird to have a single-layer shoulder yoke.

HotPatterns Trilogy Top - back

Pattern Instructions


HotPatterns don't have super detailed instructions, but this is a pretty easy pattern. The cap sleeves and neckline are all finished with a self bias binding, so that was a nice touch to have instead of using a facing.


Final Thoughts


Meh. Obviously, I'm not thrilled with this one. I don't feel like it's the pattern's fault, though. A fair number of people in the HotPatterns Facebook group have made this up, and it's looked really nice on everyone; however, they were not overcome by a Cascade of Bad Decisions when they made up their versions.

I might tackle this pattern again some day (fixing the errors, of course), but for now, I'm putting it aside and starting on a different project.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Last (Two) Weeks in Patterns (9-Aug-2015)

Apologies for the skipped pattern roundup last week. I was finishing up the FINAL class in the project management program that I've been chipping away at over the past three year, and dealing with a Project From Hell at work that has entered crunch mode in its weeks prior to release. Frankly, I haven't had time to blog. Gah. I'm sure that many of you hate "I'm so busy" posts, but in my case, it's really been true. I have three finished unblogged projects (one photographed, two not...although one is a test pattern, so I won't be able to blog it for a bit), which is very unlike me--I typically blog a project within a week of finishing. So, I should hopefully have posts about the HotPatterns Trilogy Top and True Bias Mini-Southport dress (for my daughter) coming when the dust settles a bit.

To make up for my lack of blogging, I'll be covering two weeks' worth of releases in this week's post:
  • Colette's Seamwork Magazine
  • HotPatterns
  • Itch to Stitch
  • Sew Independent Pattern Bundle
  • StyleArc
With the Perfect Pattern Parcel apparently dead for 2015, we also saw the announcement of a new pattern parcel/bundling of indie patterns:

Colette Seamwork: August 2015 Issue

August's issue theme is "vintage", and the issue's new patterns are a two-piece vintage-inspired swimsuit and a summer dress or beach coverup.

Reno swim top and Dakota swim bottoms

I guess these are okay. I appreciate the fact that the top looks like it might have some more support than other swimwear patterns, but on the other hand, I think it's probably pretty telling that the model used for these shots is fairly small-busted. I mean, it looks like you could add an underwire into that top pretty easily, on the other hand, halternecks suck when you're large busted.

The bottoms are fine--they're your pretty standard retro swim bottoms, as far as sewing patterns go.

Colette Seamwork: Reno top and Dakota bottoms
 Mojave Dress/Coverup

I like this as a swim coverup or as a wear-around-the-house dress on a hot day (and trust me, with the summer we've been having, I have a definite need for those). The prints that they used in all of the samples sort of obscure the design lines on this one, so you have to look at the line drawing. It's got princess seams and doesn't rely entirely on ties for shaping, the way a lot of coverups do. I wouldn't feel weird wearing this if I had to pop into a convenience store to pick something up on the way home from the pool. 
Seamwork - Mojave dress
HotPatterns: Metropolitan Chimera Cardigan-Jacket-Vest

Years ago, I made and loved HotPatterns Riveria Cardigan-Jacket--a knit jacket pattern that was pretty groundbreaking in its day. Its trendy cropped/shrunken design felt pretty dated to me after a couple of years, though, and I've been holding out hope since then that Trudy would release a similar pattern in a more updated style.

Enter the Chimera Cardigan-Jacket, which is a boyfriend-style jacket designed for stable knits like ponte. Given my general excitement at the boyfriend-style jacket and cardigan looks that appear to be roaring back into style for fall, I was super stoked to see this pattern released. Yeah, I hit "order" on this one as soon as I saw it. Expect to see several of these along with several Muse Jenna and Sophie cardigans this fall. I'm envisioning my first version of this jacket in a black ponte with black faux-leather trim.

HotPatterns - Chimera Jacket-Cardigan
Itch to Stitch: Carey Top

The Itch to Stitch Carey top is a loose-fitting doman sleeve top designed for knits or wovens. It has a ruching/drawstring detail on the sleeve.

Pullover woven tops like these, made up in a drapey or sheer fabric, have been all over RTW for the past few years, and most of the sample versions by the pattern testers look pretty cute on the testers. The drawstring is also a nice touch. This top reminds me of the sort of Big 4 pattern that I'll sometimes make up when I don't want to deal with fitting and just want an instant gratification project. If it were to turn up in a bundle that I purchased, I might consider making it, but I have enough patterns along this line that I'm not particularly tempted to purchase this one.

Itch to Stitch: Carey top

Sew Independent Pattern Bundle

So, this entry isn't so much a specific new pattern release, but it is a pattern-related announcement.  Remember those Perfect Pattern Parcels that grouped together a bundle of indie patterns for a discount price that were all over the SBC last year? That particular bundle series appears to have died, with the website not having been updated since 2014. Now, we appear to have a new indie bundle, being lead by Mari from Seamster patterns.

To me, this bundle is quite a bit more tempting than any of the Perfect Pattern Parcels were, although that could be because I only own the Muse Melissa dress out of this bunch and have been teetering on the fence of a few of the others. In this bunch, you've got two fairly-established-as-popular patterns in the True Bias Sutton Blouse and the Sew Over It trousers, and then after that, a mix of older and newer patterns.

Sew Independent Bundle
Like the Perfect Pattern Parcel bundles, you can choose how much you pay for your bundle, with the option of "unlocking" certain additional patterns at different price points. The most expensive price point is $38 (USD) and includes 11 patterns, so it's a quite a nice deal if you think you'd make a lot of these.

This bundle includes the following patterns (clockwise from top left):
  • Sew Over It: Ultimate Trousers
  • Sew House Seven: Mississipi Ave Dress & Top
  • Lolita Patterns: Sugar Plum Dress
  • True Bias: Sutton Blouse
  • Jennifer Lauren Vintage: Cressida Skirt
  • Waffle Patterns: Blouson
  • Dixie DIY: Bonnel Dress
  • Muse Patterns: Melissa Dress & Blouse
  • Seamster Patterns: Sorrel Dress & Top (New)
  • Blueprints for Sewing: Saltbox Top (New)
StyleArc: August 2015 release

StyleArc went very casual with its August 2015 batch of new releases. On one hand, these are largely "fine", on the other, none of them particularly excite me--or for the ones that might, I already own a similar pattern.

Courtney top

The Courtney is the same sort of boxy pullover top that it feels like we've seen a ton of from StyleArc in recent months. It's fine--the seaming at least adds some interest--but I feel like we've seen some version of this top six times in the last six months.

StyleArc - Courtney top

And on a side note, if you're going to name a pattern the "Courtney", shouldn't it be a babydoll dress of some sort?

Joni Knit Track Pant

The Joni is a perfectly functional-looking knit trackpant. It does have the current style of the knit cuffs and the wrap-around side seam that I've been seeing lately. But it's a trackpant. I don't really have anything else to say about it.

StyleArc - Joni Knit Trackpant

Sabel Boyfriend Cardi

We've been seeing a lot of boyfriend cardigans popping up in recent pattern releases. I suspect that this style will be big in the fall, and I, personally, look at it as a welcome change from the waterfall-style cardigan that's been so ubiquitous for the past 5+ years. I'd possibly be tempted by this one if I didn't already own the SBCC version of a boyfriend cardi.

StyleArc - Sabel Boyfriend Cardi
Mary Shift Dress (August freebie)

The freebie this month is the Mary Shift Dress--a raglan-sleeved woven shift dress. I'll admit that from the line drawing, I'd assumed that this was a shift dress for stable knits until I read the recommended fabrics--which makes sense, given that StyleArc has correctly drafted a shoulder dart into its raglan sleeve for this. This dress could be a cute basic, but there isn't enough shaping in it for me to be tempted.

StyleArc - Mary shift dress

Final Thoughts

So, I already ordered the HotPatterns jacket, and I keep going back and forth on the pattern bundle. Ironically, I'd probably be more tempted to pull the trigger on that one if I didn't already own the Muse Melissa dress, even though that's the only pattern out of this group that I already own.

I also like the StyleArc boyfriend cardigan, but between the SBCC Cabernet and new HotPatterns jacket, I think I'm covered for boyfriend-style toppers. I actually like the Colette Mojave a lot as a coverup, too, although I've got so many plans for other projects that a swim coverup is way down on my priority list.

How about you? What do you think about the new bundle? Were you previously a fan of the Perfect Pattern Parcel bundles, and how do you think this one compares?