Friday, May 06, 2022

The Power of Hope and Delusion - My Pattern Stash

Despite a belief that I've been good pattern-wise for the last few years (After the 100+ pattern purge of 2019*), I looked around and found I had accumulated a lot more than I thought.

Here's a tally of patterns I bought in the last six months at the same time that I had little to no motivation to finish my existing projects:

Vogue 1663 by Kathryn Brenne - This pattern is for the hopefully perfect knit bootcut pant. I've been wearing two pairs of Ponte pants I bought from NY & Co that match the pattern illustration. I originally thought I would frankenpattern this myself, but who was I kidding? The cut pieces are currently sitting on my ironing board waiting their turn.

Butterick 6858 - I bought this on sale (of course!) under the delusion that the pockets in the skirt and pants were functional. They are not. I should have taken the pattern back but I got lazy. Again, I thought I would draft the pocket pieces I  needed but I'm not that excited to make my own walking/workout pants. Now I have this pattern, does anybody want it?

Vogue 9361 - This pattern will hopefully fill my non-elastic waistband wide-leg pant needs and become a favorite.

Simplicity 9471 - A cute jeans-styled pant with great topstitching potential.

Butterick 6249 -  This is a great possibility for swishy mid-length skirts w/o an elastic waistband, my go-to lately. This has been on my wish list for years but a $1.99 sale caught me at the right moment.

Simplicity 8747 - This is a vintage skirt shape I've wanted for years. I finally bought it with a certain Halloween costume (and stashed fabric) in mind.

Seamwork Clarke Top - I've always wanted the True Bias Ogden Cami, I loved the flowing shape and the slightly curved v-neck but knew the narrow straps were not-bra-friendly. The Clarke has a similar vibe but corrects that issue.

Vogue 9299 - This pattern is one I kept talking myself out of buying (to recreate View B) until that same Halloween costume idea required a blouse just like View C.

True Bias Salida Skirt - This is another potential mid-length skirt for more structured wovens and with more jeans details. I already have stashed fabric ready for View A, the shorter slim skirt.

Simplicity 2406 (OOP) by Cynthia Rowley - My goal is to recreate this favorite dress (View C) that lives now as a top because the hips only fit me for a short time. I tracked down the pattern in a larger size and Joanns still sells the same fabric eleven years later!

Cashmerette Concord T-Shirt - I'm so excited about this pattern! After years of altering every t-shirt pattern to fit my new-to-me larger cup sizes, I decided to get some help from a professional. I can't wait to try this out! It is next in my queue. My dream is to have a wardrobe of sleek long-sleeved tops to coordinate with the bootcut pants from Vogue 1633 and trousers from Vogue 9361.

Cashmerette Rivermont Dress and Top - Yes, I bought even more professional help! My hope is this can become a knit sloper I can adapt to different styles. I have a Big 4 straight-sized sloper pattern (McCall's 7279) for wovens but this could simplify the process, boobs-wise. I will start with making a top from stash fabric as my muslin.

Do you ever feel that your stash of patterns and fabric grows because a part of your desire for a project is appeased or satisfied once you have them in your possession? Why else wouldn't we finish them all? 

Watch this space for actual sewn projects. I swear they're coming!

*Yes, they did leave my sewing room and my house but they are still in the trunk of my car! I want them to end up with interested sewists so I keep resisting dropping them off at Goodwill.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Vanilla Village Wench Blouse - Adrienne Blouse

Pattern: Friday Pattern Co. Adrienne blouse (2018) 

Pattern Description: Slightly cropped knit top with statement sleeves gathered at shoulders and hems with elastic.

Pattern Sizing: XS-4X, I cut out an XL, easing to size XXL at the waist and hips

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? As you see below, it looks exactly like it!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes! This was such a quick and straightforward top.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I fell in love with the neckline, the gathered shoulders, and the drama of those full sleeves.

Fabric Used: 57" Birch solid Modal blend knit (49% Modal, 45% Polyester, 6% Spandex) from Joann Fabrics, leftover plush back bra strap elastic from the stash, Dritz 1/2" braided elastic for sleeve cuffs, Gutermann 100% polyester thread in Ivory, #800.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I traced the bodice pattern piece into a full pattern piece, which made it easier to cut out.

According to my measurements, I cut this in the XL size (bust = 40" to 43"). I made a 1/2" full bust adjustment (FBA) using the instructions in the pattern booklet. However, I could have done more; I underestimated how much of an adjustment I needed. I was unaware that I had gone up a few (!) cup sizes to a DD. That was quite a surprise!

I had cut the XL for my measurements, but after trying on the sleeveless bodice, I decided to decrease the side seam allowance to 3/8" to cut down on the cling factor.

The pattern describes this top as "cropped." That is baffling to me because I felt it was long. I suggest that before making alterations to the pattern that you hold the tissue up to your body or compare to a favorite top. At 5' 4," I cut more than an inch off and it is still long enough to tuck into pants or skirts.

Those cuffs!

Those shoulders!

I removed 1/2" from the pattern's measurements for the wrist and neck elastic lengths. This was an improvement in fit that I learned from wearing my muslin which felt too loose.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, most definitely! This is a great pattern; all the examples out there prove how attractive and romantic it can be.

Conclusion: I love this pattern and how it looks. I made the right size and alterations this time, and I will definitely make it again. I already plan to make some in print fabrics like so many of the examples I've seen on the internet. I would also love to make a dress version in a stretch velvet or velour.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

The Sea and the Soil - Style Arc Bob Woven Pants

Pattern: Style Arc Bob Woven Pants (2019)

Pattern Description: A uniquely balloon-shaped pant with an elastic waistband and inseam pockets.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 4-30 (32"-61" hips) There is 7" of wearing/design ease between body measurement and finished garment measurement. Ideally, I would choose a size 18, but I printed this pattern months ago, so it was a size 16.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? 

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, I thought so. Style Arc is known for sparse instructions; they do not hold your hand. However, in this pattern, they also split the construction steps into two places: the written instructions and the multi-color illustrated ones on a separate sheet. Only by reading them both do you get the complete process. Other than that, the instructions are adequate if you're an intermediate sewist but may be frustrating if you are a beginner. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the shape of the legs; they give the pants a modern vibe.

Fabric Used: Pair A) An old cotton/polyester sheet, Dritz 1-1/2" soft waistband elastic, Gutermann 100% polyester thread in no particular color; Pair B) 2 yards stretch cotton poplin in Chocolate from Fabric Mart, c. 2014 ($1.99 a yard!), Gutermann #100 polyester thread in Charcoal, #125, and Dritz 1-1/2" soft waistband elastic.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: For the muslin (A), as I was dealing with a smaller size than I would have liked, I changed the seam allowance to 1/4" and crossed my fingers. In the end, I might have been okay with 3/8", but it saved me some stress. In my second pair (B), I chose to throw caution to the wind and sewed a straight size 16 with the recommended seam allowance.

Attaching the waistband elastic

I liked the instructions for the waistband, which allow for equal distribution of the elastic and eliminates the possibility of twisting. However, I regret following those instructions on the muslin (A) because it denied me the option of adjusting the waist, which came out 1/2-1" too loose. (Actually, I think I used the size 18 length for the elastic, oops!) I like the technique; however, I suggest that you try on and adjust the elastic before you attach it to the waistband and the pants.

I read in other reviews that people were changing the pocket draft because the pockets were floppy. I understand that, but I feel that the pattern addresses that issue if you follow all of their instructions. The only sewist review I've read that understood the instructions the same as I did was Sewslowsarah. Hi, Sarah!

The illustrated portion of the instructions

Anchoring the pocket direction

In my second pair (B), I used the shorten/lengthen line to remove 1/2" in length. My blue pair were long enough to make the ballooning sides collapse on themselves; you can clearly see the shape in a slightly shorter length.

Hand sewing the inside waistband

Another change was how I handled the waistband for B. I decided to follow the first few steps of sewing the ends together and folding and pressing them in half. However, before attaching the elastic, I sewed one edge of the waistband to the pants. I then laid the elastic loop inside the fold and stitched it on with a wide zigzag stitch. From that point, I needed to either slip stitch the other edge to the pants or stitch-in-the-ditch. I chose to hand stitch, of course.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, In fact, it was only a week before I cut out the second pair; I have never done that before! I also want to try them in a thicker fabric like corduroy and a fabric with drape like a rayon.

When I wore this ensemble to work a coworker thought I looked like Han Solo. What do you think?

Conclusion: These were better than I expected. I will be making more!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

So Easy "Element" Top

The first of these simple tops was achieved with a yard of black gauze, a Pinterest pin, some trial n' error, and a very patient woman (me!).

I found this example from

My first top started as a simple length of 44"/45" fabric folded, selvage to selvage. I held it up to my body and decided how wide I wanted it to have short sleeves. I estimated an opening for my head, though initially cutting it too small. I enlarged the neckline with a 1/4" hem folded twice; so 1/2" in total. For this first one in black windowpane gauze, I measured and cut directly on the fabric with much trepidation.

The draft work included determining how the cut-on sleeves should be shaped. I choose a 9"-10" vertical opening. At first, I was going to simply sew the sides up to that measurement and leave it at that. However, there was too much bulk.

My inspiration for the shape

I then looked at pattern images and diagrams on Pinterest and cut a shape similar to the Easy Tee from Mishi2x Designs (see above). I started at the hem and cut up at an angle and tapered it about 2" at the armscye.

The pattern piece 

The final garment measurements:

It measures 23.5" long, 13-1/2 sleeve and to center, 11-1/2" wide at the bust line, 13" wide at hip, with 9-1/2" wide neckline (a 1-1/4" drop in back, 2" in front) and 10-1/4" deep armscyes. It turned out perfectly.

Sewn with a 1 /2" seam allowance everywhere, I achieved the following final garment measurements:

52" wide at shoulders, 52" wide at hip, 44" at underarm, 10-1/4" deep armscyes, 23.5" long, with 10" wide neckline (a 1-3/4"2-1/2" drop in back, and 2 -1/2" 3-3/4"  in front.)

After wearing my original make for months, it was time to make more. This time I drew out an actual pattern. I named it Element, and it only takes 1/2 to 2/3 yards. I had a little less than needed for the next two, so the "sleeves" didn't have enough to hang over my shoulder and instead stuck out a bit.


Materials: Galleria Good Nature Bubble gauze in purple gumdrop (100% cotton) and a blue and green watercolor floral textured crepe (100% polyester), both from Joann Fabrics.

These were definitely the heavy workhorses in my wardrobe this summer, and many more will be made in future summers.