Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Love Notions Coda Quilted Jacket Test


When I saw this design, I realized it meshed with my focus on making more versatile pieces in 2023. I wanted to make a polka dot version to emulate a jacket one of my business colleagues has but I couldn't find any prequilted polka dot fabric. (And I'm a bit impatient so I didn't want to quilt polka dot fabric myself.) Someone suggested using a quilted bedspread. GENIUS! I found this beautiful golden yellow bedspread with a circle quilt pattern - so ALMOST polka dots! My mom's favorite color was yellow and she loved traditional quilted bedspreads so this has an added sentimental angle to it. 

I was tempted to use deep purple as the accent color (because it's MY favorite color so "Mom + me") but recognized that navy is more practical from a wardrobe standpoint. I used purchased double fold wide binding in navy and navy buttons.

This jacket went together so quickly!! I made a size small and the only alteration was to shorten the sleeves by 1.5" (typical for my T-Rex-ish arms.) Some of the other options included a collar or hood and lining. Once I saw some of the other tests with a hood, I plan to make one with the hood.

I can't wait to wear my jacket to work tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Pattern Test: Love Notions Legato Jeans

Who likes shopping for jeans? Yeah... me neither. So when I heard Love Notions needed testers for their new jeans pattern, I thought it would be a great opportunity to create a custom fitted pair. And I did! I first made a muslin in a stretch camo print. They fit pretty well except the rise was too high. 
For my next pair, I chose a lightweight stretch denim and opted for the petite sizing. 
On to my final pair, for which I used a medium weight stretch white denim (or maybe simply twill?). By this time Tami, the Love Notions designer, had tweaked the fit in various ways and it was almost perfect. It had just a wee too much fabric below the seat so I took the crotch seam in just a bit and I now love the fit. More details about my various versions 👇🏼 
Muslin #1 - Camo stretch twill
My first pair was regular rise with full seat. They fit pretty well although the rise was too high. I struggled a bit with the zipper application but Tami prepared a video and added some addition written instructions and illustrations . Very helpful for future attempts!

Muslin #2 - Lightweight blue stretch denim, petite rise, full seat
Petite rise corrected the height but alas, I neglected to take into account that the lower rise meant I needed a longer waistband. These might look like they fit well and they did! Except I couldn't breath. 😆  After switching between topstitching thread and regular thread a bunch of times, the lightbulb went on that I should break out one of my other machines for dedicated top stitching. DUH!! I decided to finally use my Featherweight 221 (acquired at least 5 years ago) and was very proud of myself as I googled to figure out how to adjust the tension and fiddled with it until I was happy with how it looked. It worked great on the blue denim using topstitch thread and a jeans needle. Subsequently used it on the final version.
Initial attempts:

Final version: medium weight white stretch denim / twill; standard rise and flat seat

Initially, I cut halfway between full and flat seat but turns out flat seat was just fine.

Some of the fitting photos for final version:

Conclusion, the weight and amount of stretch of your fabric will impact the finish. Start with a bit of extra ease in the crotch and side seams to allow some flexibility in fit and BASTE first! You can always take in the seams to get the perfect fit.

Stay tuned for the next version…

Monday, October 24, 2022

Pattern Test: Designer Stitch Phoebe

I was very excited to test Designer Stitch's latest pattern - the Phoebe top and dress. It has a vintagey vibe and is quite versatile.

 Description from pattern:

The gorgeous new Phoebe Top or Dress is the epitome of VINTAGE STYLING but with a modern twist!

Featuring a fabulous front circular neck opening held by a 2 piece shirt collar the Phoebe can easily transition from a work day through to drinks and dinner after work.

I styled a business version but Phoebe can also be a sexy evening dress or a casual summer dress.  Constructed from a stable knit plus a woven for the collar, you are only limited by your imagination. I loved all the other versions created by testers!

I started with the top to check fit and thanks to the eagle eye designer Ann Grose, we perfected the fit to be used in my dress. The top fits well enough to wear but I really love the fit of the final dress.

As you can see in this first photo below, the upper bodice was too snug so I added some width and also re-positioned the dart a bit upward to accurately point to the apex. I had enough fabric to recut the front so the last three photos reflect the alterations. I still had a wee bit of pulling so for my final, I added just a smidge more width.

I highly recommend this pattern to create a unique look. I included a link below if you're interested in purchasing the pattern. It's on sale now to celebrate the new release.

Link to Purchase Phoebe Pattern

Friday, August 26, 2022

Relaunch of Love Notions Olympia Dress

One of my favorite makes last year was the Love Notions Olympia. What's not to love? It's a flattering silhouette and goes together in a snap. So when they asked for testers for a relaunch, I threw my hand up in the air! I was thrilled to be selected and went on to make not one, not two but THREE Olympias.

My first one was a maxi. Truthfully, I am not a maxi dress fan (I always feel like a little girl playing dress up) and every time I've made one in the past, I've worn it once and then, chopped it, turning it into a knee length dress or gave it away. But not very many people were doing maxis and I found this perfect 4 yard piece of venezia fabric  I had received in a bundle so VOILA! Version 1 was born. I included pockets on this one. This is my "Girls Night Out" version (as evidenced by the glass of wine!)


My second one was the version I was assigned - knee length dress with 3/4 sleeves. Perfect for me as I had already intended to make another sweater version of the original pattern! This will become a work staple for me when the temperatures cool down. I skipped the pockets on this one (GASP!) to avoid extra bulk at my hips.

I thought I was done but then another tester posted a white version that I loved and yet another tester posted a swiss dot version that I loved so what's a girl gonna do?  Make a white swiss dot version with short sleeves for wearing on a Saturdays to run errands. I love the look of this one but it's a smidge too sheer for my comfort so I'm going to whip up a "slip" using some nude fabric and the Love Notions Luna pattern.

This was my original version that I made in January 2021:

This pattern goes together quickly and depending on the fabric, you can get a lot of different looks. All three are size small with A cup. I added a bit of width in the back to accommodate my broad back. My tip would be when you get to the step in which you attach the back bodice to the collar that you baste and sew slowly. Then, you can attach via serger for a clean finish.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Love Notions Patterns Luna Loungewear Relaunch - August 2022

If I'm gonna continue testing patterns, it appears that I should start blogging again! 

I was happy to test the relaunch of the Luna Loungewear pattern. I tested the knee-length nighty. My first version was a size small using a lightweight rayon knit using fold over elastic (FOE) for the neck binding, armhole binding and straps. The length of the FOE was a bit short in the first version but it still turned out very wearable!

For the second version, the suggested length for the FOE was lengthened and it worked much better for me although honestly, I would probably go a wee bit longer in the next version.  The following picture illustrates that my right shoulder is a bit higher than the other and it didn't occur to me to shorten the elastic on the left side. I didn't notice it when I was wearing; only in the photo. Oopsie!

The instructions couldn't be any more clear and this is a quick sew! I can't wait to make up a PF set with a cami length and shorts. If you're not a fan of FOE, a fabric binding is also an option. There is also the option to add a shelf bra. I skipped that for jammies but I would love to make a cami with the shelf bra to be worn during the day.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Miette Sweater and another knit dress! (V8871)

I finished this dress a couple years ago but just wore it again today with a sweater I just finished and remembered how much I love this pattern! I've made it a couple times and it is such a flattering shape. Details for dress and sweater below:

Cutting time: 15-20 minutes
Sewing time: 3 hr

Lowered neckline by 2.5"
Seam binding on neck rather than narrow hem

Fabric: ITY; source unknown

Link to pattern: Vogue 8871

Line Drawing:

Pattern: Miette
Yarn: Knit Picks Capra; Colorway: Celestial; Content: 85% Merino Wool, 15% Cashmere 
More details on Ravelry 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Party Dress (New Look 6243)

See full review at Pattern Review: Review Here

Pattern: New Look 6243
Silk dupioni purchased on 2010 Chicago PR Weekend from Fishman Fabrics. It was original intended for a mother of bride dress but my daughter picked a different fabric for this one. It was my first time sewing with this fabric and it was a DREAM! It does fray A LOT though (see review.)

Stretch lace for bodice inset from FabricMart

Poly Lining from stash for skirt

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Split Neck Top (Jalie 2682)

This is a very popular Jalie pattern and I can see why. It's easy to sew and looks great in both lightweight knits and heavy knits. 

Pattern: Jalie 2682
Fabric: slinky watercolor print (don't remember where I bought it)
Size S grading to T at hips 

Animal Print Tunic (V8634)

I made this tunic twice before (here and here) and still wear the polka dot one a lot! The pattern (Vogue 8634) is out of print.

I made this version back in the winter but forgot to photograph it. We had a cold spell last weekend that allowed me to wear it again and had my son snap a couple pics.

Fabric is a sweater knit from Banasch in Cincinnati.

StyleArc Issy Top

I loved this pattern and gave it a go over the weekend. I struggled with the draping directions but I'm ok with how it turned out. My PR review is shown below.

Pattern Description: From StyleArc site: This knit top can be made long-sleeved or sleeveless. The clever neck drape gives this top a distinctive look, while the angled rouching at the side seam is flattering across the front. This fabulous design can be worn casually or dressed up. Link to StyleArc Issy pattern.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I decided not to do the asymmetrical hem. So I redrew the hem at the highest point.

Pattern Sizing: I started with a size 8 but graded out about an inch on each side at hips. I wasn't sure how that would work out with the gathering at sides but it seemed to work fine.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn't think the draping instructions were clear and I'm not positive I did it correctly. I'm ok with how it ended up though. I rated this pattern difficult because I think a beginner would have trouble with the draping instructions.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I have some pulling at the shoulders which makes me think I didn't do the draping correctly. It's not that visible due to the fabric design.

Fabric Used: An ITY purchased from Fashion Fabric a few months ago.

How long did this take: It took me about 3 hours to sew this top. I spent a good 30-45 minutes trying to figure out the drape.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is a cute one and I think I see more in my future!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Knit Dress (M5974)

It's easy to see why this was a Best Pattern of 2010 at PR. The pattern goes together very easily and is quite flattering. I'll be making more work dresses from this pattern. I finished this dress months ago (I'm thinking last fall!) but never got around to taking pictures although I have worn it many times.

My coworker and I had some fun on the fire escape today!


Pattern: McCalls 5974 (out of print)
Fabric: ITY from Gorgeous Fabrics.
Fitting Adjustments:
Cut size 10 at bodice; took in additional 1/2" on each side.
Graded to 12-14 at hips but then took 3/4" off each side.
Cut 2" out of skirt as some of the reviews indicated the skirt was very full.
2" hem; just above knee.

I can't recommend this pattern enough.