Friday, October 31, 2014

This week in patterns (31-Oct-2014)

Happy Halloween!

This post is a bit late in the day because I've been crazy busy at work this past week and haven't been able to have my usual lunchtime writing sessions. And, uh, there's been more interesting happenings in the sewing blog world this week than my little pattern recap posts. ;)

Onto the new patterns...

Simplicity - more Frozen costumes

Someone at Simplicity must have missed a big deadline because four days before Halloween, a new set of Frozen costumes appeared on the Simplicity website. These were not part of the set that showed up early in the app or on PatternReview. When Simplicity released the initial set, I was really surprised that they didn't include a pattern or views for Anna and Elsa's coronation dresses or adult versions of the costumes. Now I know why--they were simply still on their way. There's also a pattern for 18" doll (e.g. American Girl) costumes in this bunch, too. Still missing from this collection are costumes for Olaf and Kristoff, and in my mine, there should be a dog costume for Sven, too.

S0747 - Frozen Costumes for 18" dolls

Eva doesn't have any American Girl dolls yet but, I'm going to buy this pattern and stash it for when one or both of her grandmothers inevitably buy her an American Girl doll.
S0748 - Frozen costumes for girls - Coronation Day

I'm buying and stashing this one, too because I've always liked Anna's coronation dress. Plus, you never now when your daughter might want another dress from Frozen, right?

S0746 - Frozen costumes for women - Elsa's Snow Queen and Anna's Coronation dresses

So these are my two favorite dresses from the movie. I should own this pattern for that reason, right? Because I wear costumes so often, too.

S0745 - Frozen costumes for women - Anna's day dress and Elsa's coronation dress

At this point, I might as well buy this one to complete the set, right?


McCall's - Holiday collection 2014

M7058 - Misses' jackets and coats

This is a great-looking basic jacket pattern with the option of a hood! And you know that I'm all over anything with a hood.

M7057 - Misses' Vests, Jacket and Belt

Annnnnd here's a shall-collar coat that looks promising from the line drawing, but ugh, the styling for the photo shoot! This looks like a bathrobe in this fabric.


M7055 - Learn to Sew for Fun Misses' Vest and Cardigan

M7055 is a kinda cute easy cardigan pattern. I'm only pointing it out here because the illustration for View C (pictured below) reminds me an awful lot of Anna's cape from Frozen. Sure, it's not an exact copy, but I could see it as an "interpretation". Or maybe I just have Frozen on the brain.


M7045 - Misses' skirts

I predict that we'll see View D (the maxi skirt view) in Pattern Review's fabric stash contest next year at least once. Why? Because if you're using 45" wide fabric, this skirt will eat nearly freakin' 10 yards!


M7070 - Handmade Appliques, Trims & Instructions For Purchased Sweatshirts

 Ugh. And here's a pattern to re-fashion a couple of your old sweatshirts into a coat that Dr. Evil would wear, and then applique flowers all over it. This is why home sewing has an unfashionable reputation to many outsiders:

M7065 - Frozen costumes for 18" dolls

If you don't have access to Simplicity patterns but still want to make a Frozen costume for the American Girl doll in your life, McCall's can help you out:


By Hand London - Kim dress

So By Hand London pre-released another party dress, the Kim dress:

BHL - Kim dress
As I've mentioned before, I have zero need for party dresses these days, but in my younger, single life, I could see the appeal of this. I do have to wonder, though, should BHL maybe bite the bullet and just re-brand themselves as the "party dress indie"? Outside of the jumpsuit and the blazer, haven't all of the rest of their patterns been party dresses? I'm not trying to be bitchy, I'm just wondering why they don't just go ahead and embrace the niche that they're clearly leaning towards being.

Final Thoughts

My own picks out of this group are the new batch of Frozen patterns and McCall's 7058 (the hooded jacket/coat).

BTW, feel free to snark or gush over any of the patterns discussed in these posts in the comment section. And just because I happen to like or dislike a particular pattern doesn't mean that I expect everyone else to feel the same way. ;)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday drive-by (28-Oct-2014)

Just a few quick things today...

I finished Eva's Elsa dress for Halloween, but don't have any pictures yet. What I do have is a crappily lit video of her performing "Let it Go", right down to Elsa's gestures as she performs the song in Frozen:

It's not in this part of the video, but she even stomps her foot down right as Elsa does when she light up her newly-created ice palace. In any case, we're supposed to get a break in the rain tomorrow, so I'm hoping that my husband will be able to take a few good pictures then, and I'll likely do my "finished project" blog post a few days after that.

With Eva's Halloween costume finished, I'm moving on to some selfish sewing. Outside of my Slip-on Suzie, which is currently aging in the "magic dresser", I've barely done any sewing for myself this fall.  On top of that Trudy from HotPatterns has been on a major roll with her pattern releases in recent months, and I have about a half dozen of her recent patterns that I really want to sew, like, NOW. With that in mind, I started working on paper pattern alterations for the new-ish Wong Singh Jones Sakura Bomber Jacket this morning.

HP WSJ Sakura Bomber jacket
I'm going the wearable muslin route for my first version, as I don't anticipate a ton of fitting issues here. From flat-comparing the pattern pieces, I'll be doing some petite adjustments and an FBA. For fabric, I'm using a mini-houndstooth doubleknit that's been in my stash for ages and black ribknit from stash.

In future sewing news, I swung by Hancock on my way home last night to hit the Simplicity sale. I was hoping to snag some of the just-released new Frozen patterns (to be discussed in more detail in my Friday post), but they didn't have them in yet. Hancock did, however, have all of the other patterns from this most recent Simplicity release in stock. In what seems to be a fairly new thing, they had ALL of the new patterns from the current release in a cardboard display on top of the pattern cabinet. I did come home with the following new patterns:

The Leanne Marshall coat:

Simplicity 1254

The new New Look coat:

New Look 6325
And a new Simplicity/Threads blouse that I hadn't seen previously (it's not on Pattern Review) but that apparently is part of this release. It is available on the Simplicity website:

Simplicity 1279

Simplicity 1279
Shoulder shirring (aka "a way to avoid the Big Honkin Dart" for the large-busted), different cup sizes, and different collar options? That's a big "Yes" for me.

That's it for me for now. What is everyone working on this week?

Friday, October 24, 2014

This week in patterns (24-Oct-2014)

Argh! By writing a weekly post going over all of the new pattern releases in a week, you really do realize the sheer number of new patterns being released every week in the current sewing environment. In this week's post, we'll take a look at the new Colette pattern, see Burda go apeshit over scarf-shirts, and read as I try to convince myself that I don't need a pattern for skinny jeans.

By the way, those new Simplicity and New Look patterns from last week still aren't up on the Simplicity website yet!

Perfect Pattern Parcel

While not necessarily a "new release" on an individual pattern basis, but the folks behind the Perfect Pattern Parcel released Parcel #6 this week. This release contains several currently very popular indie patterns. The way the Perfect Pattern Parcel works is that you choose a price for the pattern bundle. If your chosen price is above a certain threshold, you get a "bonus" pattern, as well. These bundles promote indie pattern designers and provide donations to children's education charities.

Parcel #6 includes the following patterns:

Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren (not Jennifer Lawrence):

Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren
Hudson Pant by True Bias

Hudson pant by True Bias
Julia Cardigan by Mouse House creations

Julia Cardigan by Mouse House creations
Syrah skirt by Selvage Designs

Syrah Skirt by Selvage Designs
Zsalya blouse and top by Kate & Rose

Zsalya top and dress by Kate & Rose
Odette Dress by BlueGingerDoll

Odette Dress by BlueGingerDoll
I think that these bundles are a good, cost-effective way for new sewists to get some variety into their pattern stashes. I haven't bought any myself yet due to a combination of either already owning at least one of the patterns and generally not being interested in most of the other patterns. Case in point for this parcel--I already own the Odette dress pattern and have similar patterns to the others that I like. For example, instead of the Hudson pant, I own the HotPatterns F&F trackpant (which I made and love for a running-around-on-the-weekend pant) AND the StyleArc Shelby sweatpant, which was a freebie a few months back. The Syrah skirt appears to be very similar to McCall's 6966, which I made this past summer. The Julia cardigan is similar to a recent Jalie cardigan, and you could even make the case for the Bronte top having similar design elements to the Jalie sweetheart top. Finally, there's just no way in hell that I'm letting that Zsalya top/dress get anywhere near my ginormous bust.

Colette Patterns - Dahlia Dress

Unless you were completely away from or avoiding the online sewing world this week, you know that Colette Patterns released their new Dahlia Dress earlier this week (officially on Tuesday, with a sneak peak/pre-order option on Monday).

Colette Patterns - Dahlia dress
The Dahlia Dress has the option of elbow-length sleeves or no sleeves (with bias straps) and either a straight skirt (with a few waist gathers) or a gored straight skirt. I think that a sleeved version with the gored skirt is calling my name. As others on Pattern Review noted, this dress has a nice retro vibe without looking too twee.

If you're curious as to what this looks like made up, Sophie-Lee at Two Random Words has posted her take on the sleeveless version.

I will say that I'm surprised that this pattern doesn't include a lining option, given that the recommended fabrics are either lightweight/sheer, such as voile, or wool. Sure, it'd be easy enough to draft your own for many of us, but given that this pattern is rated "beginner", the pattern pieces and instructions would be a nice inclusion. Also, for me, that side zipper is a no-go. Giant boobs + t-rex arms mean that I'll be moving the zipper to the CB on this one when I make it up.

Oliver + S - Fall release

While I'm planning to use these weekly posts to concentrate mostly on womens' patterns, but given the popularity of Oliver + S patterns, I'm including their two new fall patterns in this week's post. Oliver + S patterns are available in both PDF and print versions, but I'll be discussing in terms of PDFs, since that format is my personal preference for children's patterns.

First up is the Carousel dress, a cute woven every-day dress with pockets and a ruffle option:

Oliver + S Carousel dress
It's cute enough, but at $16.95 for a PDF download, I'll probably take a pass on this one.

Now, on the other hand, I really love the other pattern, which is cute, unique, and practical. Here's the Lunchbox tee + culottes:

Oliver + S Lunch Box tee + Culottes
It's probably not a huge surprise that Liesl released a girls' culottes pattern, given that she just released a women's culotte pattern last month. These would be a great choice for my girlie-but-needing-to-climb-on-EVERYTHING daughter. The accompanying t-shirts are cute enough, would be a quick sew, and give both long and short sleeved options.

Given that we're heading into the cold part of the year, I'll probably hold out for a sale on this one and download it with the intention of sewing up a few outfits from it in the spring.

BurdaStyle Plus - November 2014

Burda was all about scarves with this collection. You get two variations on the same built-in scarf top/dress pattern plus a third pattern that's basically a rectangle dress with a scarf added on.

Jersey Dress with Scarf - 11/2014 #124

I could swear that one of the European pattern mags had this same design out a few years ago. I can't remember if it was Burda, Burda Plus, or maybe even someone like KnipMode or La Mia Boutique. Maybe someone with a better memory than me knows where I've seen this before? In any case, here's the dress with the built-in scarf that comes up and around. There's also a sweatshirt with the same feature in this collection.
BurdaStyle Plus - 11/2014 #124
Bow Neck Dress - 11/2014 #126

And here's the other scarf dress. This one has the scarf detached. Neither dress has any shaping outside of bust darts:
BurdaStyle Plus - 11/2014 #126
Fitted Sweatpants - 11/2014 #128

I'm going to be blunt here. I can't decide if these are the stupidest or most brilliant garment that I've seen. On one hand, it's a sweatpant with a fly front. On the other hand, it's a sweatpant with a fly front. Don't miss the yoke, too. Remember that episode of The Simpsons from way, way back where they let Homer design a car? I kinda think that this pattern is the Homer Simpson Car of sweatpants. Someone in Burda was probably thinking, "Sweatpants are big right now! Let's put every pant-related feature we can think of onto this one pattern!"

BurdaStyle Plus 11/2014 #128
Square Neck Jersey Dress with Darts - 11/2014 #127

With almost every collection this past year, Burda Plus has included some sort of fitted sheath dress with seaming or darts and a square or similar neckline. They even managed to shoehorn one into this collection of loungewear. I'm starting to wonder if this silhouette is Burda's argument against us plus sized sewists complaining that nearly everything in their plus range is oversized and shapeless. "No look, we give you a sheath dress in EVERY issue!"

BurdaPlus 11/2014 #127

Closet Case Files - Ginger Jeans

Heather from Closet Case Files of Bombshell swimsuit and Nettie bodysuit fame has jumped off the deep end of the pool with her first woven pattern release, the Ginger jeans:

Closet Case Files - Ginger jeans
I actually really like the looks of these jeans--the highwaisted, skinny version on someone else, and the mid-rise stovepipe version on just about anyone, including myself.  Unlike a lot of indie pattern releases lately, this pattern does fill a void for a classic pair of skinny jeans--a garment that's been ubiquitous in RTW for a while but nearly completely absent from sewing patterns. (The only two that I can think of are the Jamie jean from Named and the Sandra jean from StyleArc, and of those the Named are only available in a limited size range and have that leg seaming that not everyone likes.)

Some of the pattern testers already have their posts up. I like this version from SuzyBee:

SuzyBee's Ginger Jeans

There's also an option to buy a denim kit, which contains enough denim, rivets, and other notions to make two pairs of jeans. The kit retails for $109, which is a bit steep for my own budget, but certainly less than the cost of two pairs of high end RTW jeans.

I don't own and haven't tried any of CCF's patterns yet--the style of the Nettie isn't for me, and while I like the looks of the Bombshell, it offers no boob support and doesn't come in my size without serious re-drafting. This is the first pattern of CCF's that has seriously tempted me. Honestly, I'm even tempted on buying the whole kit, even though that would put me over my sewing budget for the month.

HotPatterns - Metropolitan Fontaine Cardigan-Jacket

 In my stash, I have a houndstooth doubleknit from Gorgeous Fabrics that I've had for a few years. I love the print, but I haven't been able to make up my mind as to what to use it for. I also have some of the black faux-leather/neoprene that Gorgeous Fabrics had a while back, which I bought with the intention of using it as a trim or sleeves. This piece has also gone unused while I waffle as to the "perfect" pattern for it. I shall waffle no more; HotPatterns has released a cardigan-jacket pattern intended for mixed media, such as mine. Introducing the Metropolitan Fontaine Cardigan-Jacket:

Fontaine Cardigan-Jacket
I like that this is a basic-but-not-too basic piece. I'm completely over the whole waterfall-front cardigan thing at this point (I think I made my first version of one back in 2009?), so I also like that this is an open-front cardigan but without the waterfall feature that most open-front cardigan patterns have. You could create different looks with this one both with mixing your fabrics, or with doing a solid version and contrasting top-stitching.

Final Thoughts

This is my fourth pattern re-cap post. Early in each week that I've done this, I've wondered, "Am I going to have enough to write a whole post about? Oh well, it won't be a big deal if there are only 2 or 3 patterns." And then by Friday morning, I'm scrambling to get a late release or two into the post and find that I've got quite a long post by the end. I started writing these posts because I don't really see the point in starting new threads about pattern releases on Pattern Review any more and also didn't want to be peppering my other posts with, "Hey, did you see this new pattern now?", but I love patterns and love talking about them. If you can't tell, I am fascinated by the explosion of new indie pattern companies in the past few years. Some of these designers will stick around and grow, some won't, and I'm sure that some of these designers will have absolutely spectacular meltdowns on social media in the meantime.

In any case, the big temptations for me this week are that Dahlia dress,  Ginger jeans,  Fontaine Cardigan-jacket, and maybe the Oliver+S culottes for Eva when the weather warms back up. Do any of these patterns grab you?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Process: Simplicity 1233 - Elsa dress from Frozen

As I think I've mentioned about a half dozen times over the past month, my daughter adores the movie Frozen, and like many, many other little girls wanted to be one of the characters from the movie for Halloween. The funny thing is that every time I asked her, she'd change her mind as to whether she wanted to be Elsa or Anna, so I made the executive decision to make her an Elsa costume, figuring that would have the greater "wow" factor to a 2-year old.

Both Simplicity and McCall's have released their own versions of patterns for the already-iconic dress that Elsa's coronation gown transforms into during her performance of "Let it Go". From comparing the line drawings, the only difference that I can see between the two versions is that the Simplicity version has decorative trim at the waist seam and yoke seam. Even though the "real" version of the dress lacks this trim as far as I can tell, I went with the Simplicity version because, hey, it was the "officially licensed" version.
Elsa from Disney's "Frozen"
I started working on Eva's version of this dress about a week ago. I have to say that I'm quite impressed with the Simplicity pattern so far. Whereas I've seen complaints about the McCall's version running very large, when I pin-fit the bodice to Eva for the Simplicity version, it appears to be slightly on the roomy side of being true-to-size. The skirt is quite long, but obviously, hemming a skirt is much easier than having to take in 5-6" of excess ease throughout the dress (as some reviews have mentioned doing with the McCall's pattern).

Here's what my version looked like before I attached the cape:

Elsa dress in-progress, pre-cape attachment
And close up to get a better view:
Close up of the Elsa bodice
Because I can't leave well enough alone, I am making a few changes to the pattern:
  • I'm lining the bodice because the wrong side of the sequined fabric I'm using seemed like it could be scratchy. Actually, what I did is a hybrid between lining and underlining. I stitched the side seams of the bodice on both the sequin and lining fabric, then basted the lining to the sequin fabric. I would have love to have done a traditional lining with everything clean-finished, but because I hadn't completely walked through the construction in my head, I'd already constructed the cape at that point and would have had to rip out French seams from the cape side seams in poly organza. Yeah, that wasn't going to happen.

    "Guts" shot of the Elsa dress
  • While most of kids' costumes you see show a solid satin skirt on this dress, the "real" dress's skirt has something sparkly going on. I found an iridescent organza at JoAnn's and overlayed that on the satin skirt. While this doesn't have the ombre look of the "real" dress, I prefer this look to a solid skirt.
  • Rather than applique'ing snowflakes onto the cape, I found a fabulous glitter snowflake organza on Etsy that I'm using. (It appears to be sold out now.) Yes, my house is now covered in glitter.
  • I'm using a narrow hem on my serger on the cape, yoke, and sleeves.
  • I'm undecided on what to make the yoke and sleeves out of. I have the pieces cut both from the glitter organza and a white chiffon. I'd love to just use the glitter organza, but I'm a little concerned that it might be a little stiff and uncomfortable for Eva, even though it would look fantastic. I'm currently leaning towards lining/underlining the organza with the chiffon.
The pattern is well-drafted in that so far, all of the seams and notches have lined up perfectly. The construction methods are pretty sound, as well; they have you use French seams on the sheer portions of the costume. 

Here are two shots of the dress after I attached the cape:

Elsa dress with cape
Close-up of the Elsa dress with cape
I may swing by Hancock on my way home from work in another attempt to find a light-blue chiffon for this dress, in which case I will likely underline the snowflake organza for the yoke with the chiffon, and just do the sleeves in the chiffon. I feel like just going with the white chiffon is too much contrast. Plus, I don't want to use just chiffon in that yoke--with all of that fabric between the lined bodice, lined skirt, and cape, the dress is starting to feel a bit heavy.

How is everyone else's Halloween sewing going? What costumes are you making for yourself and/or your kids?

Friday, October 17, 2014

This week in patterns (17-Oct-2014)

It's Friday again, so it's time for a rundown of the week's pattern releases! We've got a mix of indie patterns and a new release from one (two?) of the Big 4 in this week's post.

Note that as of right now, the New Look and Simplicity releases aren't up on the Simplicity website yet; they're only visible on the Simplicity app and on Pattern Review. Because of this, the links for these patterns in this post go to the appropriate pages for these patterns on Pattern Review.

Muse - Gillian Wrap Dress

The Gillian Wrap Dress is the second offering from new New Zealand pattern company Muse. (The Jenna Cardigan was their first pattern, released about a month or so ago.)  Just when I thought that I'd seen just about every design variation possible for wrap dresses, along comes this retro-inspired version. The Gillian Wrap dress has the same shoulder ruching detail that several views of the Jenna Cardigan has. I like that they included an option to sew this as a top and an option for long sleeves. So far, I'm really liking what I've been seeing from this new company; both of their patterns have had quite a few options, so that you're getting a lot of bang for your buck per pattern.

Muse - Gillian Wrap Dress

Grainline Studios - Linden Sweatshirt

Jen from Grainline Studios, who brought you the popular Archer blouse, Alder shirtdress, and Scout woven tee released a new pattern on Sunday--the Linden Sweatshirt.
Grainline - Linden Sweatshirt

The Linden has raglan sleeves and can be sewn either as a long sleeved traditional sweatshirt or as a short sleeved crop top. Personally, I'd probably go for one of the lower-priced alternatives from the Big 4, such as Simplicity 1317  or McCall's 6992, which are both raglan-sleeve sweatshirt patterns that could be used to create the same look as the Linden and have larger size ranges.

Paprika Patterns - Jade Skirt

Paprika Patterns is a new pattern company (another one!) started by a Dutch woman living in France. The Jade skirt is a knit pencil skirt with a really cool pleated detail on the front. It's available in two lengths--mini or knee-length. For now, it's only available in sizes up to a 41.5" (106cm) hip, but they say that they'll be expanding the size range into three more sizes at the upper end of the size range soon. Going off their size chart, that should put the upper hip size in the mid-40's in inches.  They're offering the pattern as a pay-what-you-want PDF download, at least for the time being.

Paprika Patterns - Jade Skirt

I'm not planning to blog every new pattern from every new pattern company, since it seems like every time you sneeze, there's a new pattern company. However, I thought that this skirt was unique and really cute and wanted to share it. The funny thing is that I don't even recall how I originally learned about this company; I think that someone blogged about testing a pattern, which lead me down the rabbit hole of checking out the company and signing up for their email newsletter, and then I forgot about them. In any case, I really like the skirt and may give it a try when they release their expanded size range.

New Look - Holiday release

Related companies Simplicity and New Look both had new holiday releases this week. A few patterns jumped out at me for various reasons.

New Look 6338 and 6339

This collection includes two new tweens patterns a top/skirt outfit and a maxi-skirt. My daughter isn't at this age yet, but I know that there is a serious dearth of patterns for kids of both genders in this age range. Neither are frumpy and both patterns appear to be age-appropriate for pre-teen girls:

New Look 6338

New Look 6339
New Look 6325

The only women's pattern that grabbed me was this coat pattern with options for an asymmetrical hem and asymmetrical zipper. Two views even include that rare option in women's patterns: a hood.

New Look 6325
The more that I think about this one, the more I like it. Sure, it's boxy and has no shaping, but that's an easy enough fix if it bothers you. 

Simplicity - Holiday release

Love it or hate it, this new mini-release from Simplicity was anything but boring. How many of us complain that the Big 4 offer slight variations on the same patterns with each release? This release felt like a big "F- You!" to that complaint.

Simplicity 1256, 1257, 1258, 1259

First up, Simplicity introduced a new line of modular garments under the label "Multi Taskers", and each pattern envelope includes 3-5 knit pieces that can be mixed and matched as part of a capsule wardrobe. In each of these wardrobes, there's 1-2 pieces that can double as a second type of garment, for example, a wrap piece that can be worn either as a shrug or as a sarong-style skirt. Although this group of patterns aren't exactly my style, I think it's an interesting concept. I'm sure that we'll see others in the sewing community make some creative outfits with these patterns.

Simplicity 1258

Simplicity 1258
Simplicity 1251

If you're looking for a new twist on a hoodie, Simplicity 1251 features a pointed hood and tattoo-style applique. This one had me scratching my head a bit, but I'm going to guess that it's knocking off a designer look of some sort that I'm not familiar with--it's too distinctive of a garment for that not to be the case. It's not my cup of tea, but I think that the applique is an interesting design element.

Simplicity 1251
Simplicity 1261

As much as I sometimes enjoy sewing Eva and myself tops or dresses out of the same fabric, I don't think I'll ever have a need to sew the whole family matching animal ear hoodies:
Simplicity 1261
Simplicity 1246

If you're a Game of Thrones fan who has really procrastinated on getting started on your Halloween costume or just want to get a head start on next year's Comic Con, there's a new (unofficial) Daenerys Targaryen costume pattern:

Simplicity 1246
Simplicity 1254

Finally, my absolute favorite, favorite pattern out of this collection (and out of just about any recent collection that I can think of) is this coat pattern by former Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall:

Simplicity 1254
What's not to love about this? That big hood looks so cozy whether up or down, a zipper instead of buttons, and princess seams with in-seam pockets.
Simplicity 1254 - Line drawing
I had planned to get started on a new winter coat for myself and was planning to use another pattern, but I may very well switch gears and go with this pattern--I think it's a little more practical for our weather and will be a bit more flattering than the pattern I had originally chosen.

Final Thoughts

I have to say that although this was a small holiday collection, kudos to Simplicity for having some  unique designs in this release, even if they're not for everyone. On my "must have" list from this week are the Muse Ginny dress (actually, I already purchased it to get the new release discount after Debbie hinted at giving it an endorsement), and the Leanne Marshall coat (Simplicity 1254). I suspect that I'll also probably pick up New Look 6325 the next time that I'm in JoAnn's or Hancock because when you live in Seattle, you can never own too many things with a hood.

What are your picks from this week?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Finished Project: StyleArc - Slip-on Suzie

Yes, I changed the template for this blog. I wasn't feeling the old template any more but haven't had time to mess around in the CSS, so I'm using this template for now. It might very well change (either a big change or subtle changes) again in the near future.

*sigh*  When am I ever going to learn to listen to my gut when it comes to sewing projects? Once again, I rushed through a making a garment because I wanted to be done with it so that I could sew something else, and once again, I made boatloads of errors with an easy pattern that resulted in a garment that I'm probably not going to wear very much.

Back when it was first announced, I was super excited to participate in the Curvy Sewing Collective's first sewalong--a "wrapalong" for wrap dresses. I pulled candidate patterns out of my stash and pre-washed fabric. I envisioned not just one, but several wrap dresses to be made for the sewalong. The sewalong officially started on September 29th, when my mom was in town, and when my mom left a few days later, I realized "Oh shit, it's October!" "October" meant that I really needed to get cracking on my daughter's Halloween costume, which was important enough to me that I didn't want to leave it up to the last minute. This project loomed over my head the entire time that I worked on my wrap dress. Like many, many other little girls this year, Eva is going to be "Elsa" from Frozen for Halloween, and Elsa's dress is a bit more complicated than my typical knit top or dress projects. I was both nervous about this and really wanting to dig in to my Elsa dress project.

Stressing out over both needing to and wanting to work on Eva's Elsa dress, I elected to go with the simplest (faux) wrap dress pattern that I had in my stash: StyleArc's Slip-on Suzie. In StyleArc's words, "This is a fantastic fake wrap dress, it is easy to make and wear, just slip it on. You have the choice of a cap sleeve or a long sleeve, so it’s suitable for all seasons and occasions." The description is accurate, you couldn't ask for a much easier knit dress than this.

StyleArc Slip-on Suzie
Let me walk you through the comedy of errors that I experienced while I made this dress:
  • After I'd already had my heart set on using this pattern, I pulled the pattern out and discovered that the pattern was a size 20, when my measurements currently put me in a StyleArc size 22. I'd apparently ordered it about a year and a half ago during the 5 minute window when I'd lost some weight but before I'd regained it. Lesson learned: On a single size pattern, check the size before you get your heart set on making it if you're in a rush.
  • I figured that it wasn't a big deal to grade up one size, but when I went to grab my pattern tracing paper, I'd discovered that it had been toddler'ed and that I didn't have anything suitable to do my alterations with. Lesson learned: Make the trip to JoAnn's or Hancock and pick up some replacement paper while waiting for your replacement roll or paper to arrive.
  • When cutting out my fabric, I decided to fudge my upsizing by cutting out an extra large seam allowance. Unfortunately, when I went to sew the side seams, I discovered that my eyeballing effort wasn't very accurate and one front side seam was several inches shorter than its corresponding back side seam. To fix, I had to shorten the entire dress by another 2".  Lesson learned: Don't eyeball adding to the side seams.
  • The 2" of extra shortening probably wouldn't have been an issue if I hadn't already shortened the dress by 4" via altering the paper pattern. You see, I'd had it in my head that reviews of this pattern said that it ran really long, so I decided to shorten the skirt by 4" right off the bat. If I'd actually had the patience to read through the reviews again, I would have found that I'd mixed up the length issues of another StyleArc wrap dress--the Kate dress, with the Slip-on Suzie. Most Suzie reviewers made minimal adjustments to the length, whereas the Kate was the dress that ran really long. Lesson learned: Re-check any pattern reviews before cutting your fabric.
  • Because I hadn't made/worn one in a while, I'd also forgotten how set cross-over styles like this bisect right across my boob, rather than going under it because of how large my bust is. Yes, I know that this avoidable with a large FBA, but I'm not convinced that the neckline going under the boob is any better of a look when you're my size. Other surplice style necklines are a much better look on me.
The end result of all of this is that I ended up with a dress that's too short and too tight, and this all was completely preventable if I hadn't acted like I was in some sort of sewing race to complete it. 

Here's the line drawing for the pattern:

StyleArc Slip-on Suzie line drawing


The fabric that I used is an ITY jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. I bought this cut to use specifically with this dress because I wanted a dress with a larger scale print, and I knew that this simple pattern would show off the print well.

Pattern Sizing

Considering that the dress I made was a size too small, I'd say that the pattern fits true to size. One size up, had I actually graded properly, would have been perfect.

Pattern Instructions

This dress has minimal instructions, as is often the case with StyleArc patterns. However, it's such an easy dress that a fairly beginning sewist could probably successfully tackle this pattern. Here are a few notes about the instructions:
  • There's no binding or facing for the neckline. (In some reviews, I see that some people drafted their own binding.) You just stabilize, then flip and stitch. 
  • The instructions have you sew the side seams then set the sleeves in in the round. I ignored this and did my usual order of construction for knits where I set the sleeves in flat and the sewed the side seams/sleeve seams all-in-one. I was a bit surprised to see this from StyleArc because while their instructions are usually minimal, they also usually follow standard practices.
So, that's about it for this project. I've already mentally moved on and have started sewing my daughter's Halloween costume. I'm using an organza with glitter snowflakes for the cape portion, and now our entire upstairs is covered in glitter. I think that's still far, far better than manually appliqueing snowflakes onto the cape.