reviews

Morgan Boyfriend Jeans

Closet Case Files has just launched the Morgan Boyfriend Jean pattern so now I can finally talk about them! I was a pattern tester and since this pattern went through three rounds of testing I have a lot to say! These photos are of the first pair that I made, which was the second round of testing. I was on a deadline to finish them, so instead of using a contrasting thread for the topstitching I just used the same thread as I was using for the seaming. The result is a rather fancy looking boyfriend jean, which I really like! It’s fun to have something other than skinnies to wear going out and the rolled up legs work well with heels.

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As in almost every pair of pants I make, the legs are huge because they are graded up with the rest of the pattern and I have skinny legs. So I slimmed down the legs quite a bit from the hip down. I think as you get into the larger sizes you need a narrower leg otherwise they look baggy.  I also added an inch to the rise which I almost always do for pants to accommodate my curvy bum.

morganjean-3I did make a quickie pair of the final version that was basted together and some day I will take them apart and sew up them up properly with top stitching! I used a plain blue denim from Joann that will require a bit of distressing so they don’t look like dad jeans instead of boyfriend jeans.

morganjean-2If you’ve made the Ginger jeans then assembly will be quite familiar to you! The only big change here is the button fly and to be honest I will probably just do a zipper in any future pairs I like. I find button flys rather annoying and I’d rather insert a zipper than have to do 3 extra button holes. ūüôā

I bought this fabric on Amazon – it’s¬†12-Ounce Indigo Pure Denim Fabric, 2 Yards by 68-Inch Wide, by Kaltex America. ¬†It’s made by a Mexican denim mill and it’s a nice heavy weight. It’s pretty dark. I got it when it was under $22 but now it’s nearly $30.

Cashmerette Appleton Dress

I was on the fence about purchasing the brand new Appleton dress pattern from the new pattern designer¬†but not new blogger. Cashmerette. I’m not really one for wearing a lot of wrap dresses, but that’s partially because of gaping issues. ¬†However, ¬†this pattern is supposed to solve the gaping and Jenny and I have similar body shapes being top heavy and slim hipped, so if it works for her it might work for me. Also, no FBA? Hell yes!

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I decided to order the print pattern and missed out on the first print run, but mine still came very quickly. ¬†I traced off my size and the E/H front piece. ¬†I searched through my stash and found this cotton jersey I had purchased at Joann last year. I thought it was 100% cotton, but the noxious smells it let of when I ironed it on the cotton setting leads me to believe it’s actually a cotton/poly blend. I was definitely short of the fabric requirements, but since I was going for the 3/4 length sleeve I figured I had some room to fudge. I pretty easily fit this on my fabric.

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Sewing this up was a breeze. The only thing in the directions that slightly confused me was whether or not I needed to reinforce¬†belt holes on both sides. I did it on both, which was wrong but not an issue. The other thing I could have done a better job on was aligning my neckline bands to the bodice fabric. They are just slightly off and that’s Because I wasn’t totally sure how they should meet up. On the next version I will know better and so they will be perfectly aligned.

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Have I mentioned to you that I love my coverstitch machine? It’s definitely a non-essential machine, but it makes hemming knits so fast and easy! This machine easily contributed an extra 25% to the joy I have of sewing knits. I chose not to do any of the extra stitching to tack down the seam allowances around the neckline.

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After I sewed up the sleeves and side of the dress I tried it on over my yoga pants…and I was like “Whoa! This dress was looks awesome!” ¬†I did absolutely no changes to this pattern…I even hemmed exactly at 1.5″ and it was perfect. ¬†I will definitely be sewing this up in a nicer fabric (wool jersey?) than my crappy Joann poly blend.

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The only problem I have with this pattern is that the hem of left side of the dress (the under wrapped side) tends to hang down. I can pull it up higher on my chest to pull the hem up, but I might taper the hemline on that edge up a bit so it’s not an issue.

I wonder what pattern Cashmerette will release next?

 

Seamwork Nantucket Shorts

It’s been crazy hot in Portland lately, so I a pair of comfy shorts is right up my alIley. My friends over at Colette Patterns, also in Portland, must have been feeling the same thing because they released the Nantucket Shorts pattern in the July Issue of Seamwork Mag. This has just 3 pattern pieces and sews up quick.

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These are very loose and comfy. Perfect for a summer day, but they are also super baggy on me. Not sure I will ever wear them out of the house, but I do love changing into them when I get home from work!

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I didn’t do any intentional pattern matching, but it worked out pretty well!

SIZING

Like most Colette/Seamwork patterns this is available in sizes 0-26. ¬†My waist measurement was between sizes so I went with my hip measurement, which led me to cut a size 20 instead of an 18. I wish I had cut the 18 because maybe these wouldn’t be so tent-like. However my reason for choosing the 20 over the 18 was the finished width of the 18 was my actual hip size and I thought these needed more ease.

In general, though, you should go with your hip measurement since the waist is cinched in by the drawstring making it very forgiving.

ADJUSTMENTS

I made 2 adjustments to these shorts. The first was to add 1″ to the rise. ¬†I am high waisted and pretty much every pair of shorts/pants I make needs to have a higher rise so this is standard for me. ¬†The second adjustment was the add 3/4″ to the length of the shorts. I like shorts that hit more at mid-thigh than upper thigh. I compared the inseam to another pair of shorts I recently made, and realized I would prefer these to be a bit longer.

FABRIC & FINISHES

Then pattern calls for lightweight wovens like chambray and I love me some chambray. Especially the Kaufman Chambray line! It’s lovely! ¬†Since I already have a Hollyburn skirt made of the Chambray dots fabric, I decided on the¬†Kaufman Chambray Dobbies Grid in Denim. This pattern only needs 1 yard of fabric so the cost was just $9!

The pattern calls for 1/4″ cotton cord for the drawstring but I just used the fabric selvedge. These chambray prints always have really neat striped selvedges! Luckily it’s the same on both sides so I carefully cut each one off. I stitched them together – giving me a 2yd drawstring. Then I folded the fabric under twice and stitched for a neat looking drawstring. I even love the fuzzy edge on it!

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After I competed the shorts I realized I didn’t really like the way the drawstring ruffled the waistband. It added bulk in an area that I really didn’t need it! So I opened up my waistband seam and threaded a piece of elastic through just the back of the waistband. This allows the fabric to gather into softer folds, which I think looks better. If made these again I might just omit the drawstring and put all elastic or do a true elastic/drawstring combo and just have the drawstrings come out at the front.

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STYLE

These are definitely casual/cool shorts. I wear them with a ribbed tank of a fitted t-shirt to balance out the bagginess.  Mostly I wear them around the house, but these would be great for the beach and with flip flops.

WHAT I LOVE:

  • Comfy shorts
  • Quick and easy to make
  • Only uses 1 yard of fabric

WHAT I DON’T LOVE:

  • Too baggy
  • Tightening drawstring creates bulky folds

WOULD I MAKE IT AGAIN?

I could see making a few pairs of lounging around or as sleep shorts. I will probably size down next time i make them or see if I can figure out how to make the legs a little slimmer.

 

Burda 7494 Dress

I’ve had Burda 7494 in my stash for years. ¬†I’ve always loved this pattern with the slight cap sleeve and the peter pan collar. The problem was that it only went up to a Size 20 and I was sewing a larger size at the time. Then I took the Palmer/Pletsch Fitting class at Fabric Depot and I learned that I was a Size 18 (with an FBA). Rejoice!

When my friend Alexis asked me to be the godmother to her daughter, I volunteered to sew a baptism gown (post on that soon!). So of course I also needed to make myself a new dress! I was so excited to finally use this pattern.

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SIZING

This pattern is offered in sizes 8-20.  I used size 18.

ADJUSTMENTS

The primary adjustment I did was a 2.5″ FBA to the princess seams in the front. I also did a 3/4″ broad back adjustment. ¬†I also added width to the skirt to match the width of¬†the adjusted bodice. ¬†I also followed Julia Bobbines’ advice and swapped out the pleated skirt back pieces for the darted skirt lining.

I had purchased some luscious bemberg lining but since the dress fabric was stretch and the lining was not, I chose  to omit it.  I also chose not to use the peter pan collar. When I tried the dress on with the collar, it just looked a little too sweet for me.

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FABRIC & FINISHES

I had a difficult time finding the right fabric for this dress, since I was looking for a stretch floral print.  I ended up picking up this floral stretch twill from Fabric Depot.  Up close the dark blue almost looks like denim.  I liked using a heavier fabric because it allowed me to omit the skirt lining. I also like that it helps smooth out some lumps and bumps that you get when wearing such a fitted style.

I used bias tape to bind the neck and armholes.  All seams were finished with the serger.

STYLE

I think this dress is pretty versatile thanks to the fabric. With heels and jewelry it looks pretty fancy. Not quite cocktail dress but I’d definitely wear it to a daytime wedding. ¬†However with a cardigan and flats it’s also suitable for work or more casual wear. ¬†For the baptism I mixed it up a bit and wore a cardigan and heels. ūüôā

WHAT I LOVE:

  • The bodice is very flattering
  • The slight cap sleeves
  • The tapered skirt

WHAT I DON’T LOVE:

  • The pleating in the front is not the most flattering. It accentuates my tummy.
  • The pleating also sticks out a little which makes it look like there should be pockets there. This would actually be okay with me if there were pockets, because I love pockets!

WOULD I MAKE IT AGAIN?

Yes. I think this dress is super cute and I kind of want one just like the pattern photo! It’s a black dress with small white polka dots and I adore polka dots!!

Denim Hollyburn Skirt

It seems like the rest of the blog world is finally discovering the awesomeness of the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt. ¬†I made this one up at the end of last summer¬†and this skirt immediately became a wardrobe staple for me. It’s the View B length.

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SIZING

Hollyburn is a Sewaholic Pattern which means it’s designed for pear shapes..which I definitely am not! However it was very easy to tweak the pattern to accommodate my lack of a waist. ¬†When sewing pants or skirts¬†Sewaholic patterns you definitely want to pick a size that fits your hips and then adjust the waist. Waist adjustments are generally the easiest. ¬†In my case my hips fit a 16 but my waist was bigger.

ADJUSTMENTS

I figured out the difference and used the slash and spread technique to make the waist larger. ¬†In order to calculate this you need to take the difference, let’s say 2″, and divide that by 4 to get 1/2″. This is how much will need to be added to the front and back skirt pieces to get a total of 4″. ¬†This does slightly distort the half circle shape but with such a small adjustment it’s not noticeable. ¬† You’ll also need to add to the waistband. This is cut on the fold so just add half of your waist difference (2″/2 = 1″) to the end of the waistband piece. ¬†If anyone is interested in seeing how this was done, leave a comment and I will do a post with some photos.

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I’ll let you in on a secret. I was lazy when I made my adjustments and only added to the front pieces. See how my side seams and pockets are too far back? Oops. Don’t worry – I fixed this on my next version ūüôā

FABRIC & FINISHES

The fabric for this skirt is a lightweight denim I picked up at Joann.  To keep with the denim look I used a jeans zipper on the back. I like seeing the slightly exposed brass zipper.  I finished all of the seams with self-made bias strips and a Hong Kong seam finishes.

hongkong

 

STYLING

This a style that requires tucked in or cropped shirts. I’ve found that leaving something untucked just looks frumpy as it squashes down all the fullness around your middle. ¬†I’ve been thinking I need to make some Closet Case Files Nettie bodysuits to wear with this skirt! In the meantime I wear it with my silk Tucker blouses for work and with slim fitting JCrew t-shirts or tank tops for more casual settings.

I think this skirts has a slightly 70’s vibe that works great with chunky platforms or sandals. ¬†View C is a shorter flirty version that would be very contemporary and festivalwear-like in a girly floral print.

Reasons I love this skirt:

  • Fit n Flare style makes me look like I have a waist
  • Great pockets
  • Dressed up denim works with everything from fancy silk blouse (in my photos) to a basic tee or tank
  • Easy to follow pattern

Reasons to not love this skirt:

  • Waistband can be a little constricting. I¬†think I wear too many knits these days and expect everything to be stretchy and comfortable
  • Adjustments needed to make waist fit. (This is expected with a Sewaholic Pattern).

Save some $$$

One last note on this pattern. ¬†It’s based on the lovely Sewaholic Lonsdale dress. ¬†I own both patterns so I compared the skirt pieces and they are totally identical! So if you like the Lonsdale too, just buy that pattern and you can make both! All you’ll need to do is make your own rectangular waistband pattern piece, which you can base off of the one on the Lonsdale.