Wednesday, October 17

Tabor V-Neck Pattern Review

I loved the look of this pattern from the moment it released and was so excited to make it. But then I made my super wintery version in August, planning for the colder months ahead and was depressed when it kept being too warm to wear it. But the temperatures have turned and I've been wearing it loads now! 

The Tabor V-Neck by Sew House Seven is a dropped shoulder, loose fitting v-neck t shirt and sweater with lots of sleeve, neckline, and length options. I made the sweater option with long sleeves, split hem and a thick chunky v-neck.

My fabric is a medium weight (but quite chunky) Telio cable knit from Fabric Dot Com. This denim color is out of stock but they have other colors available.  I turned it perpendicular to the grain so that the cables would run vertically, since typically cable knits do. The stretch was enough in both directions that it didn't matter. This fabric does have some drape, but this is probably about as heavy, chunky and stiff as you'd want to go with this pattern. It recommends fabric with a lot of drape, and not too much spandex (no more than 5%) so that its not too stiff. With the loose nature of it you don't want it to come off really boxy. Mine is quite boxy, especially because of pregnancy but still nice and wearable and perfect for cooler months. 

I did not make any maternity mods or add any length. I made it using my pre-pregnancy measurements and decided the length was good for when I'm not expecting so if I lengthened it now I would just want to shorten it later, which I'm far too lazy to do. 

I love that thick neckband, but if its too chunky or masculine for you the pattern has a thin neckband too and two different options for the v neck - I did the overlapped version. The side vents are my other favorite part. I have always loved vented sides and have added them to quite a few other patterns as well. I think I'll make this one again but maybe lengthen the back so its just slightly longer than the front, and in a thinner more drapey fabric. I love this sweater even in a chunky knit and wear it all the time. As the temperatures have dropped I find myself pulling it on as my go-to sweater. So surely I need to make another, right?

When I'm not pregnant and we're going into warmer months I'll make the other versions of this pattern but for now I'm enjoying my chunky, warm Tabor! Have you made one? 
What view is your favorite?

Monday, October 15

Sew Liberated Hinterland Dress Review

When my friend Sara (and Tori) announced the Hinterland sew off, I decided it was the nudge I needed to try another gathered waist dress. Its not my go to style - I've tried one and didn't love it - but do like it better on me when pregnant. So I decided to try it with some fabric in my stash. I made quite a summery version with this watermelon sandwashed rayon from Raspberry Creek Fabrics which is out of stock and grabbed these wooden (but washable) buttons from Joann Fabric and got busy. 
I made the cap sleeve, knee length version with a full button front. I decided since it has a loose fit and I want to be able to wear it after baby is born, to use my pre pregnancy measurements. Based off of my bust, that put me at a 14. I have found I fall in a larger size on this size chart than any other sewing pattern, so don't be alarmed if you do, too. Typically I need to grade out for my waist and hips but since this has a loose fit and gathered skirt I made a straight size 14. My only modifications were to shorten the bodice 1/2 inch and then curve it so its 2 inches shorter at the center front. I left the skirt the same so its a bit shorter in front, but subtle, which I like. Then I raised the neckline to the largest size. I don't need to worry about being able to get it on over my head since I have the button placket.

I obtained a closer fit on this dress because my current pregnant measurements are much larger than me pre-pregnancy ones. I have three more months to go and my bust is already 1.5 inches larger, I have no waist, and I'm sure my hips are larger too. So if you want a fit similar to this I'd try sizing down or try choosing your size off your high bust measurement instead. To be safe you could always muslin. I am pretty bad at muslining unless I'm making a wool coat, something fancy, or a big 4 pattern. But it is certainly always best practice.

The pattern calls for 11 buttons for the knee length version, but I decided thats not enough unless your shorter. It calls for 4 on the bodice and I always prefer 5 so that I can get them in the exact right spots, like at the apex to keep it from gaping. I did use the recommended 4 but I also shorted the bodice 2 inches at the center front to make the bump fit a little better but allow it to still work post partum. Even using 4 on the bodice, I used 12 buttons total. So just be aware of that going into this project. You may need more. 
Just a few other things to note:
-This pattern does not have layers, so if you are printing it at home you'll have to print out all sizes. Not a big deal but nice to have layers. 
-It calls for 3.5 yards of 54 inch wide fabric for sleeved versions but I only had 2 yards and had no issue getting it out of that. Granted I did the short sleeve but I also made a size 14.
-I did not muslin this and my darts are a bit low. That's pretty typical for me so you might not need to worry about that. They are also about an inch too short. I probably should have extended them, but its not a huge deal. 

All in all, the fit is really good on me and it works great pregnant. Obviously it won't work forever, but I don't need it to, as I made more of a spring/summer version that hopefully will work well after this little babe is born. And I did wear it to church the other day even though it was freezing. I just layered it up and it was fine!

 Check out the #hinterlandsewoff hashtag on instagram to get all the hinterland dress inspiration! This Dress has tons of options, (sleeve lengths, dress lengths, button placket or not) and people have done loads of hacks so you'll defiantly want to see them all!

Friday, October 12

How to add a snap front to a baby pattern

I don't give handmade gifts often but when I do, they are inevitably baby gifts. Sewing baby gifts is quick, easy, fun, and satisfying as everything is cuter in miniature. One of my go to baby gift patterns recently has been the Harem Coverall by Brindille and Twig. It has no closures and goes on and off through the neck. I love this pattern, but sometimes you just want some snaps, especially on the small sizes, to make those frequent diaper changes easier. I am a pattern hacker at heart and don't feel the need to buy a thousand patterns if I can get what I want with a simple tweak. Adding a snap front placket is one of those simple tweaks. I've gone through this step by step which might make it look more complicated than it is, but seriously, sooooo easy. You could do this hack to any pattern that has a solid front. So lets get started.

[(And PS since you all know I sew may more than I blog, I decided the only way this (requested) tutorial post would make it to the blog was it if I did it super low key - Tiahna style. So enjoy all my iPhone photos, no backdrops and and my dirty ironing board cover - you're welcome:)]

1. Using the harem coverall or another pattern of your choice, cut out all your pieces as instructed except the front. For the front, instead of cutting one on the fold, cut two mirror images and extend the center front by 2 inches. Notch the center front of your original pattern on the neckline and crotch so you know there the center front is supposed to be.
2. Cut two strips of fusible interfacing 2 inches wide to run the length of the center front. You could use stretch interfacing for this since the fabric for these type of patterns is a knit, but I chose a light weight woven interfacing because I don't want the fabric of the placket to stretch as that would allow the snaps to rip out. Fuse your interfacing.

3. Fold the raw edge back 1 inch, wrong sides together. Press. Repeat to other side. 

4. Fold back again, so the fold of your placket meets your center front notch. 
5. Take your two front pieces to your sewing machine and topstitch down your placket with a 7/8 seam allowance. I use the walking foot on my machine to do this to keep the fabric from shifting. 

6. Assemble your shoulders, sleeves and side seams per pattern instructions.
7. Before sewing up the crotch seam, baste the bottom of your front plackets together. Then sew the crotch seam, and any cuffs or hem as instructed in the pattern.

8. Because the neckband will now have an opening in the center front, we need to finish the short edges. Sew or serge the short edges, flip right side out, and then attach the neckband like normal. We'll be folding it down again to form a binding, but if you want you could just do a true neck binding. The instructions for that are great in the free Durango Tank pattern by Hey June. I have made several more of these little outfits with a true neck blinding since making this one. I just tried it this way so you wouldn't need a new neckband piece. 

If your wondering if you can just so a regular neckband, I don't think so. I tried that and the snap ripped out, even when the neckband was interfaced there. Its not strong enough to withstand the pulling of the opening of the snap. If you want to so use a regular neckband piece, you can, but you shouldn't put a snap in it. 
9. Fold your neckband down so the fold of the neckband is facing down, covering your neckband seam. Edge stitch in place.

10. Then its time to apply the snaps. The best snaps for baby clothes are ring snaps. I got this set off of amazon for only 10 bucks but the most recommended from others are snaps and the snap setter tool from Snap Source. I'm really happy with this set though as it comes with pliers to set the snaps instead of having to hammer them. They work perfectly every time for me. This set comes with 10 rings each in 10 different colors and then a whole bunch of plain silver ones. 

Following the instructions with your snaps, install them along your placket. I decided to do 5 and spaced them accordingly. For reference, this is a 0-3 month size outfit. 

And you're done! Let me know what other patterns your use this hack on! And share photos with me on instagram, I'm @ammonlane.

Friday, June 1

York Pinafore Pattern Review

I have never blogged a garment this quickly before - its a miracle! Considering how unsure I was this morning that I could even make it fit me the way I wanted, its crazy thats its on the blog already. But moving on from that - lets talk York!
The York Pinafore was released last week from Helen's Closet. It has two different necklines: crew or scoop, and two different lengths: mid thigh or knee. It has two pocket options, a kangaroo pocket or large curved patch pockets.

I made a size large with the crew neck and knee length. Then I drafted my own angled pockets to use instead. (I chose that shape because I think angles break up curves nicely. The curved pocket accentuates the curve of the hips and the angles and straight lines mitigate that.) I used a medium weight bleached chambray from Raspberry Creek Fabrics that is amazing and sadly, sold out. There are lots of other wovens there that would work great, though, especially the linens.

This style was a risk for me, and I don't take many style risks when it comes to sewing. I have a pretty rigid set of parameters for what I like but lately I was wanting to try something that is just *barely* outside my comfort zone and that could potentially work for me with a few tweaks, and that I might just end up loving. I think I was just feeling pretty blah about my wardrobe even though its really practical for my life. I was just wanting something different. So I got the York pattern three days ago and sewed it up the same day. 

I was most hesitant about the cocoon shape, and I was right. I wasn't a big fan if that shape as it accentuate hips. I've already got plenty of hips going on and don't need any accentuating of them. So I took some of the width out at the curviest part off the side seam, kind of straightening it out a bit. It helped. It wasn't perfect yet but certainly better. I was still struggling with loving it because I didn't really have anything to wear with it. I am not huge into knit tees and you definitely need to wear something fitted under this.
So today I whipped up this sized down Union St Tee from Hey June in plain white cotton lycra from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. I sized down one size in the bust and 2 sizes in the waist and hips to get a nice fitted tee, perfect for layering. I also think the Durango Tank (free) or Nikko Top would look great.

I then drafted my own little shoulder ruffles. Since this pattern draws attention to hips, I wanted to broaden out my shoulders to make me look more proportionate. The shoulder ruffles are cut on the fold so you don't end up with an unsightly raw floppy edge or a hem. Its also means the ruffles are two layers thick, which makes them nice and stiff and crisp, which I love. It was exactly what I needed to start really loving this pinafore. I did go back in one more time and remove some more width at the hips, straightening up that side seam.

All I can say now is - I love it! These photos were taken tonight after a full day at the children's museum and a picnic of fried chicken while playing at the park with my two littles. This park includes a river, crazy steep hills, a kids water feature, lots of bark and even more stairs so thats saying something! (And also probably says a lot about these shoes haha)

I think all I would do differently on the next one is make my pockets wider because once I removed all the width from the side seam I lost some space in my pockets. 
Result: Seriously great pattern that feels so summery and chic yet its fast and easy to sew and so functional even to a mom of a young kids. Love it!

Sunday, April 22

By Hand London Sarah Shirt

I feel like this pattern does not get its fair share of love in the sewing community. For how beautiful and on trend it is right now I feel like spotlighting it. Especially as its a favorite of mine:) The Sarah Shirt is by By Hand London and one of their rare patterns that isn't a dress. This is definitely one my top three blouse patterns ever! Possibly my favorite. Followed by two totally different styles of tops, being the Cheyenne tunic by Hey June and the Hadley top by Grainline Studio.

This blouse is basically a huge square with beautiful details. Is that a good enough description? Its a swingy top thats roomy, airy, but very refined with its all its special details. It has a back yoke with a pleat, and a pleat in the front on each side where the yoke meets the front bodice. Its got two collar options, rounded or pointed (I do the pointed one) and lots of small buttons up the front. 

There are also two sleeve options. I've made both the long sleeve with a cuff and button and the short sleeve with a little folded cuff, seen here. There is no collar stand on this pattern so its not even that difficult to make for a button up, and there's no true button band either. It's just an extension of the bodice folded back on itself. Although I will admit that is my least favorite part of this pattern. I find a true button band much easier and less fiddly to sew and sometime I might hack this so that it does have a true one. It would be worth the time investment for me because I know I won't stop sewing this pattern for years. It works so well for my style and goes with everything. I can wear it with jeans, skirts, and shorts. Since its so roomy, (though fits perfectly in the shoulders) anything with a closer fitting silhouette on the bottom goes great with this. I have mine paired with the Pirate Pencil Skirt - which is a free pattern that surprisingly fits great with zero alterations which is unheard of for me with bottoms, even stretchy ones.

This is one is made in rayon challis from Raspberry Creek Fabrics - same fabric as my McCalls 7380 shirt dress, do you believe my obsession now? Rayon is my all time favorite fabric, but I will say I do have to iron it all the time. Definitely wrinkles pretty badly. But thats never stopped me from sewing with it. I made another in poly crepe from Blackbird Fabrics and its amazing because the extra weight behind the fabric gives it incredible drape and it doesn't wrinkle! So its basically the top I bring anytime I have to travel so there's one less thing I have to iron upon arrival.

I made a straight size 12 and only had to make one adjustment to this pattern. Usually I have to make several but on this all I did was a broad back adjustment to give my back some extra room so I could move my arms more. I didn't do that on my first one and but needed it. (This tutorial is what I used, and she is my favorite for all fit adjustments you may need. She taught me my method for sway back and forward shoulder as well.) I am 5 foo 8 and did not add any length. Its not too long not too short, and its probably better to err on the short side with this pattern considering how swingy it it. Too long and it would look like a tent;)

 If you're on the hunt for a beautiful blouse pattern that can be worn a million ways, go with anything, and still be quite large and airy in the bodice, this is definitely one you should try!

Monday, April 9

Spring Sewing - McCalls 7380

When Spring starts showing up what do you start dewing? For me its dresses! This dress, McCalls 7380, is quite possibly me new favorite make ever. The pattern itself is definitely a new favorite. Its a Melissa Watson design and comes with the Palmer/Pletsch fitting guides so you can get a great fit. Its out of print but McCalls is having an out of print sale right now and you can get it for less than $4!

The pattern comes with a sleeveless option as well as the sleeves I did here. It has a hidden placket, and this was my first time doing one. I found the instructions confusing on my muslin but by the time I got to sewing this one it was totally clear. It also has a little elastic casing in the center back this gives great shaping and mobility. I sewed it correctly on my muslin and then accidentally sewed the casing to the outside on this one...but was too lazy to change it haha. 

I made several fit adjustments to mine. I made a size 16 based off my bust. I did a sway back adjustment, as is usual for me. This pattern has all the adjustment lines included on the pattern and has instructions in the pattern so its super easy. I also altered the armscye a little but not really enough. I should have added 1 inch to the bottom of the armscye, which would raise it up. It comes down too low for me. I also added 3 inches to the skirt to make it knee length and then got rid of most of the steep curved hem, lenghtening the sides, giving more of a subtle curved hem.
My fabric is the most beautiful rayon challis designed and sold by Raspberry Creek Fabrics. They just released another line of rayon challis that is glorious as well. Its a little bit sheer for an unlined dress but I didn't want to line it so I just wore a slip. 

I have another dress with this pattern planned in rifle paper co rayon because as I said, this is obviously a favorite. 

Tuesday, February 20

Joy Jacket Love

Its here! I know you've all been anticipating this pattern release as much as me. Its been all over Instagram for weeks and is already taking the sewing world by storm.

The Joy Jacket has the most beautiful story about how it came to be, but I'll direct you over to Emily to hear the story, as its hers, after all. Gabriela of Chalk and Notch did an amazing job at bringing this to life. Its the perfect spring jacket and layering piece for nearly every season. I also noticed there is definitely nothing else like this in the indie pattern world. There are a few casual jackets out there, but not one like this. Its lightweight, drapey, soft, so comfortable to wear and matches everything.

Also remember in this post where I said I had no more gaps in my wardrobe? Wrong. I have exactly zero casual relaxed jackets. None. Lots of hoodies and wool coats (thanks to January and the coat making party) but nothing in-between. 

The Joy Jacket is a relaxed fit casual jacket with two views. One with a collar and square patch pockets, and one with a hood and slash patch pockets, though the pockets are interchangeable between views. It has optional cording at the collar/hood and at the hem, which can be threaded through grommets or button holes, or left off completely.

Its perfect made in rayon or tercel twill, something with just a little bit of weight and lots of drape. I used a 5 oz rayon twill I found at SAS fabrics warehouse in Phoenix but its the same rayon twill I have bough elsewhere. I usually buy mine from Fabric Genie on Etsy. They have tons of colors, fast shipping and I've loved my fabric from there. The shipping is more than a lot of places but the fabric is so cheap it kind of evens out. Fabric dot com has some here, Style maker has lots of tencel twill here and Raspberry Creek Fabrics just got some fabulous rayon and tencel twill in as well!

 Gabriella is also stocking hardware kits to make your experience making the Joy Jacket easier. Getting the right grommets was a bit tricky during testing and mine are actually quite large, but I don't mind them. I think they add a bit more of a casual sporty vibe and thats just fine with me. But she'll be sourcing a more traditional size for a jacket and zippers in lots of beautiful colors. So be sure to check that out.

So now for the stats:

I made a size 12 graded to 14 at the hips. I also did a broad back adjustment but I'm not sure it was entirely necessary in this pattern since it is relaxed. But Gabriella has a really easy way to add width if you do find yourself needing one. Simply add width through the back armhole seams (making less severe of a curve but starting and ending at the original points on the pattern) since its a raglan. Easy peasy! I am 5'8" and added no length. It fits great exactly as it comes.

I will say its not exactly a quick sew but not incredibly long either.  So worth it and it will easily become one of your favorite makes!

Can you tell we're fans??? (PS for reference, the navy and grey jackets are rayon twill, the pink is a more stable poly rayon twill from Raspberry Creek and the teal is a a poly rayon twill from Style maker.)

I'm planning more, as I could use this every day in Utah, even in summer in the evenings occasionally. I can't wait to see what you guys make with it and I hope you've been busy sourcing fabrics so you can get stared right now!


Now for some extra fun, a GIVEAWAY! Follow and leave a comment here to win a copy of your own! Follow me on Instagram and like and comment on this post as well for more chances!! Closes Thursday at midnight and winner announced Friday!