Provence Peacoat By Winter Wear Designs test

This past winter having moved I noticed that while the temperatures were no colder it was definitely windier especially at Captain X’s school, I longed for a great coat all winter but could find an RTW that fit my curves and I wasn’t that confident that a PDF pattern would either without substantial grading.  Enter Spring and the call to test the Provence Peacoat by Winter Wear Designs.

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Coming in sizes XXS-XXXL this pattern covers a great size range and there is enough ease for a warm layer or two to be worn underneath.

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This fully lined and fitted peacoat is a classic look and worth investing in some substantial fabric after creating a muslin, this baby will last for years.  I made mine out of  wool and lined it with satin, no freezing coastal breeze will get me through those layers.  Some of the other testers made theirs from fleece, denim, suede and drill, one even made a light weight lace version.

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There are a few option with this classic coat including three different lengths, a hood, back or waist bands, a belt and sleeve tabs, so you could make yourself a couple of different coats from the same pattern.  The jacket can also be worn with a full collar and lapel or buttoned up up the whole way.

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Detail 4 collar

Of course there are also welt pockets deep enough to put your keys and phone and to make things extra snuggly you could make the pocket bag from something such as fleece or minky.

Detail 2 pocket

The pattern taped together easily and the tutorial gives clear step by step instructions for finishing this coat beautifully.  It would be easy to be scared off making a coat such as this but it really is not difficult, though I do recommend making a fleece muslin first to ensure you fit is correct before cutting into expensive wool.  Included in the tutorial are instructions for fitting including lengthening or shortening the sleeves.  Plus there is a great Facebook group found here that are always keen to help.Detail 1

The days have started to heat up here in NZ so my coat is away waiting for next year, I do have plans though to make another probably in a waxed denim that I have in my stash and us the hood option ready for soccer season next year.

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You can find the pattern on sale today here..

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Jocole Blog Tour – A Spring Quick Top

Jocole blog tour

Spring has finally sprung here in NZ and it is time to start enjoying some new spring clothes, so the Jocole blog tour was a great opportunity to sew up a top I have been wanting to sew since I first purchased the pattern on its release last year!

Yip, tell me I am not the only one who buys patterns for me a never gets round to sewing them up for ages!  I have almost all the Jocole ladies patterns and have sewn up a few but not all of them yet, this Summer I plan to spend more time sewing for me as the Gingerbear Princess is off to school soon and so will be wearing a uniform.

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The quick dress and top really earns it name and is really beginner friendly.  I made the extended sleeve with contrast front yoke version and had it printed taped and cut out in 40mins and less than a hour later I was wearing my new top.

The pattern is so easy to tape together thanks to the grid lines in the background.  I chose to contrast the front yoke and leave the back in one solid piece using the boat neck cutting line.

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There are many more options for this top including a variety of sleeve and top lengths all neatly laid out in both the many line drawings and tester photographs.   You could set up a huge part of your wardrobe on this one pattern alone and have no two pieces looking alike.  I also like that a little bit of really cute or expensive fabric can co a long way if used in the yoke.

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The other great aspect of this pattern is that it can be made from either wovens or knits or a mixture of both.  I sewed this version in rayon and I love the way it drapes and feels lovely and cool as the days start to heat up.

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Jodi the designer/owner Jocole patterns writes awesome tutorials and they are definitely one of the ones I measure others against.  They are really detailed with clear digital line drawings but also have a “cheat sheet” option without pictures for those who are more confident.

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So pick yourself up a pattern or two here, using the tour discount code detailed below and check out all the other awesome items for adults and children my fellow bloggers have made.

Save up to 25% with Jocole’s Fall Blog Tour.
Your entire shopping cart, no restrictions.
Starts: October 15th 12:01am
Ends: October 26th 11:59pm PST.
Use the code “FallBlogTour” during checkout.

Jennuine Design Moto Jacket Blog Tour

When I saw Jenn post in one of my Facebook groups a month ago that she was looking for some bloggers to do a tour for her Moto Jacket I decided it was just the thing to pull me out of my sewing funk.  With it’s asymmetrical zipper, lining, welt pockets and knit collar I thought it would be cute in some old gold pleather I had seen at my local fabric store.

Front 1

A unisex pattern coming in sizes 2 to 12 years, I did a straight size 4 based on the Princesses measurements,  usually she would be a 3 but she has had a bit of a growth spurt lately and as I always do (and you should too) I checked her measurements and selected the size 4.

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The pattern pieces went together easily (it has layers for those that use them) and the tutorial was clear and precise with digitally illustrated step-by-step pictures, it is even clearly broken down into steps to reverse the side of the zipper for boys.  The handy cutting layout and guide will ensure you get the pieces facing the right way.  Jenn has left no stone unturned in thinking of all the possible places you might need help from the cutting layout to shortening a zipper it is all there making this Intermediate level pattern very manageable for those confident beginners looking to increase their skills.

Back 1

My initial choice was to pair it with some pale pink knit, but then the princess got some new glittery black boots with old gold zippers so I switched it up to black.   I chose to do the sleeves in pleather too as it had a bit of stretch to it.   The pleather I was using was bit of pain in that the backing was a bit weak so I chose to forgo the pockets rather than chance the pockets getting over stuffed with ‘treasures’ my little transporter likes to carry around and ripping.  I also did a double row of stitching on all the seams for this reason.

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The trickest part was dealing with the pleather, this was my first time sewing a garmet from it an was glad I had a bit of a test run on some scraps first.  Make sure you have the right needle for the job, I used a leather needle, and used a roller foot for everything bar the zipper and added a layer of tape to the bottom of it to help it slip along the fabric.

Zip 1

I love the fact the jacket is lined and has facings and armhole binding to ensure it looks just as fabulous on the inside as it does on the outside.

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The Princess was in love with the jacket the moment she laid eyes on it and put on a fine show while having here pictures taken, we can’t wait to wear it out to a friends birthday this Friday.

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Jenn is having a store-wide sale to coincide with the tour.  Get 25% off with the code MotoTour.  She also has a giveaway happening at A Jennuine Life.

Thanks for visiting, please be sure to check out all the other cool Jackets on the tour they can be found here

Reyna Lay ma me mi mo Beri Bee Designs From a Box

Friends Stitched Together Sew Not Perfect Climbing the Willow Sew Shelly Sew

The College Seamstress Rebel and Malice Sew Cool for the Tween Scene Gingerbear

PenSeb&Rox Just Add Fabric Call Ajaire Create3.5

Project Destash Milk Monster Momma Miss Castelinhos All Things Katy

Terra’s Treasures Pier 7 Top

So you missed Bundle Up last week, don’t cry because the individual patterns are about to be released by the designers.  Due to a wee muddle up I ended up with an extra pattern the Pier 7 from Terra’s Treasures after the blog tour last week, so I got in touch with Terra to see if she wanted me to post a review prior to the individual release and clearly she said yes!

TT P7 front 4

Having had a shocker of a week full of an awful head cold it was nice to get out in the Autumn sunshine to take these photos (since it rained most of the week I was sick).

Having never made up one of Terra’s patterns before (though I must confess to a couple in the pattern stash, which will be made soon), I was really pleased with how easily the pattern went together and how clear the tutorial was.  Even better it covers a great range of sizes from 00-26.

TT P7 Back 1

One of the great features of the tutorial is the clear directions for doing both a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) and a Small Bust Adjustment (SBA) as the pattern is drafted for a B cup.  I have only recently begun to regularly do an FBA when sewing for me and like a muslin it really just needs to be done so much of the fitting can be sorted before even making the muslin.  Doing this adjustment means not only will the pattern fit nicely across the bust it will fit well across the shoulders and neckline, something you just can’t get in RTW.

TT P7 Back 2

I did the shirring at the waistline rather than the other option of an elastic casing, and realised I need to practice it more on my new machine.  I had it down to a fine art on my Bernina but didn’t think to do a trial run on the Janome.  So while hitting the elastic with steam did shrink it somewhat, it was not as much as expected.

TT P7 detail

I love the pintucks, I thought that sweet detail was going to be lost in the pattern and colour of the fabric though in looking at the photos it actually shows up really well.  A lightweight fabric is definitely the way to go in this top, it feels soft, cool and comfortable, just perfect for hot and sticky Summer days.

TT P7 Front 3

 

I left off the sleeves since I will be laying this with a cardy as we are moving into Winter and bound them with bias binding, though if I make it without sleeves again I will probably extend the neck facing into a shaped facing.  I appreciated that the tutorial had you anchor the facing discretely in the pintucks.  It can be a little embarrassing if you have rushed out the door and not looked in a mirror only to find part of your facing was flipped out (please tell me I am not the only one this happens to).

The next version will be in a solid voile to make the pintucks pop even more.

Grab your copy of the pattern next week here.

Bundle Up Blog Tour Post 2 – Greenstyle Jillian

I so appreciate all the compliments received on the blog and on Facebook about the lovely dresses in my previous post, I love that you could all see how good I felt in them – Thank you.

Now for part two of the Bundle Up Tour…

Please accept my apologies for the photography of the Captain, he took plenty but failed to use the auto-focus very well in many – that saying, you get what you pay for, well there is a reason for that 😀

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When I first saw the pattern options for the blog tour I was attracted to the Greenstyle Jillian’s outer tank as a way of adding an extra layer over my close fitting tops, you know, a way to cover the parts that you want covered without adding a super warm extra layer.

Jillian Front 2

A simple straight forward pattern to put together the outer tank is a really quick sew with just few easy well-documented and illustrated steps.  I made mine from a lightweight poly 50% stretch knit and changed it up with a wide, stretch lace bottom band. I recommend considering a fabric that is the same on both the right and wrong side as due to the nature of this top the interior is exposed at times.

Jillian Detail

I particularly like that while there is a looseness to the fit in the front the closer fitting (but not tight) racer back means it isn’t constantly slipping and sliding like other loose fit tops I own do.

Jillian Back

There are several other options included in this pattern that can be worn together or separately including a sports tank, bandeau and bra in sizes XXS-3XL.

Jillian Front outtake

No show without the Princess

This is the first Greenstyle pattern I have sewn up though I must confess to having a couple of others in the “stash”, I was really pleased with the experience and am looking forward to sewing up a Laurel soon.

Don’t forget all the other wonderful bloggers posts this week OR the fact that there are less than 48 hours left to Bundle Up and get a great price on a variety of ladies patterns.

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Bundle Up Blog Tour Post 1 – The Dress Post

Just in time for Me Made May the opportunity to take part in the Bundle Up blog tour came up and what a hard time I had choosing what to make!   

For those of you new to the concept Bundle Up is that a group of designers release new patterns as part of a bundle in which the more pattern you chose to purchase the cheaper each pattern becomes.  A great way to build a pattern stash.

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So what do you do when you can’t choose … sew up three items of course!

Today’s post will cover the dresses I made, with another post to follow in a couple of days.

First up is the Jocole Shift Dress.

Jocole front 2

Jodi’s patterns are always so simple to put together, matching up perfectly is simple with the the grid background. I also love that along with illustrated instructions there is also a single page sheet with only the step by step instructions on it.

Jocole front 1

Not only is the pattern easy to put together it comes in a great range of sizes XS – XXXL which means if like me you are a size or two smaller one one half of your body it is simple to frankenpattern.  Even better it is designed for wovens AND knits.

Jocole front 4

I first made a muslin (trust me ladies do this step it will make all the difference in how you feel about items you make for yourself) in a cotton and worked out my fitting adjustments detailed below.  My final dress was made in a mid-weight wool blend since we are coming into Winter and along the way learned a valuable lesson that in spite of both fabrics being stable the cotton had a little more give over the bust which fooled me into thinking I didn’t need a FBA.

Jocole front detail

I made a couple of fitting alterations with this dress.  The first being a 1″ swayback adjustment to sort out the pool of fabric at my lower back cause my pear shape, then a 1/2″ full butt adjustment which sorted everything out.

Jocole Back 1

Overall I love the style and how quick it is to put togther – well unless you choose to do a Hong Kong finish on your seams that adds a little time but makes a dress feel pretty special.  Being and unlined shift the neckline and armholes are enclosed with bias binding, and I couldn’t go past this cheeky black and white polka dot in my stash.

Jocole detail

I am looking forward to making another in a ponte for this Winter.

Next up was the Violette Field Threads Ginger Misses.

Now many of you will have seen the adorable children’s version that has been around for a few years, well now you can have one too.

VFT front 1

In sizes 0-16, I recommend checking your measurements as with any pattern, because my initial though was that this pattern was not for me, but on checking the chart it was!

HURRAH!

Not only that I knew I had the perfect polka dot rayon waiting for just such a vintage style dress, so I accented it with some red quilting cotton also from my stash, another HURRAH for stash-busting!

VFT side

The Ginger Misses is a deceptively simple sew and oh so much fun to wear, once it is on all you want to do is twirl.

VFT twirl 4VFT twirl 1VFT twirl 3

I did make a couple of changes, the first being turning the halter into regular straps (a personal preference of feeling more secure and very easy to do), the second being an invisible zip and the third enclosing the waist seam rather than leaving it exposed.

VFT back 1

I loved making this staring down winter it made Summer feel closer and I can’t wait to wear in a few months time.

VFT detail

So check out the stops on the blog tour and be sure to Bundle Up before the 8th of May.

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Come back soon for a review of the Greenstyle Jillian.

Little Kiwis Closet Bow Back Beauty

Oh what a beauty she is!

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Once again I was fortunate enough to test the Bow Back Beauty for Little Kiwis Closet, and once again I love it!  So much so we are all working on convincing Lydia to try making it in woman’s sizes.

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Aside from the stunning bow feature on the back Lydia once again provides you with more options than you can poke a stick at seriously so many designers would release this as separate patterns or multiple add-ons, not Lydia.  In this pattern you can make so many different versions that you have all your seasons covered.

Options included are:

Bodice length
~ natural waist
~ hip length
~ Onesie option too!!! (in sizes nb-4years)

Back options
~ bow
~ plain

Skirt style
~ peplum
~ dress
~ hi-low

Sleeve type
~ sleeveless
~ short
~ short with cuff
~ long fitted

Sizes nb – 12 years

I am all about value for money when purchasing a pattern so here is another bonus – you can just make a plain envelope neck top or onesie for the boys in your life also.

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One of the testers even put the bow over the plain back for those of you in places that see several feet of snow many months of the year, so no exposed backs in the depths of winter!

 

Photo by Carrie Collier

Photo by Carrie Collier

Made from knit this pattern can be a great stash buster or scrap user.  Yet another reason I think Little Kiwis Closet patterns are great value; they can provide a showcase for those really cute but oh so expensive patterned knits (the Rockstar Raglan is great for this too).  Don’t be scared of knits, this confident beginner pattern will hold your hand every step of the way and there is always the LKC Facebook group to help.

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By the way the bow can also be made from a woven.

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As always the pattern is easy to put together and there is a cheat sheet for those that only want to print specific pages.

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I have made three versions of this so far (one was a pre-test so the pattern was a little different) and the Gingerbear Princess loves them all.  My pre-test dress was from a thinner, soft, stretchy poly cotton, the sleeveless version from an up-cycled t-shirt and stretch lace and the plain long sleeved peplum from a wool/poly sweater knit.  On my cutting table I have an Elsa hi-lo version planned plus some merino versions ready for winter (I have a few other things to finish first so maybe for Kids Clothes Week).

 

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Plain back side

 

Go on grab this pattern now here – it is on sale for the next 24 hrs

 

Sisboom Carolina Mae Test

I have been busy sewing this Summer but not getting around to blogging.  Just before Christmas a call went out in the Scientific Seamstress Lab Group on Facebook asking for a few more curvy testers to get their new Carolina Mae pattern just right.

I love Sisboom/Scientific Seamstress patterns, the Jamie was one of the first PDF patterns I ever made and it remains one of my favourites today.  If you want a pattern that fits, is well written and drafted in all sizes, has an amazing Facebook group and patterns for any member of your family; these are the ones you want to buy.  Men’s, Women’s and children’s patterns, from teeny tiny children all the way through to plus sized adults are all found here.  These are some of the best value patterns out there and the tutorials are fantastic.Front 5

So after that declaration of love you just know how thrilled I was to be called upon as a tester.

I was soon to find out the behind the scenes magic of just why these patterns are so amazing – THE PATTERN IS NOT RELEASE UNTIL THERE IS A GREAT FIT FOR EVERYONE!  That’s right, this pattern has been over 6 months in the works to ensure it is just right.  When the plus sizes were not meeting the desired standard Carla did not say close enough is good enough, she opened up a whole new test group focusing on these sizes in order to get the fit just right.  Of course there are big differences in an individuals body shape within the same size so there is great advice about fitting and choosing the right size in the pattern – a muslin is well worth the time and effort too and can make the difference in a item looking “Becky Home Eccy” to quote Michael Kors.

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This pattern has so many options, sleeves, ruching, length of skirt as well as varying necklines to suit all tastes and best of all no FBA required as the bodice caters for cup size!  The bodice fits beautifully, in fact I plan to use this bodice with a circle skirt and if I am really game (and find some inexpensive fabric) match it with the Mummy version of the Peppermint Swirl.  So you can see how making a muslin can provide you with an endless variety of of gorgeous dresses year round.

For future dresses one change I would make would be to press the bodice lining and stitch it separately to the skirt enclosing the gathers withing the seam.

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I would rate this as an intermediate pattern however and adventurous confident beginner could tackle this as the pattern holds your hand the whole way, never done darts or a zipper no fear this pattern shows you how.

I love how this dress makes me feel, and the compliments I receive when I wear it so you can be sure I will make more.

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So now I have declared my adoration for Carolina Mae go and make one for yourself, you can find the pattern here and the oh so awesome Facebook group here.

Apple and Fig Kiji Kimono Test

Front 4I was stoked to get to test the Kiji Kimono from Australian designer Apple and Fig as I could see how versatile it would be in my wardrobe, and a great chance to show off those fabrics that I feel on me would look way too much on their own.

Coming in sizes XS to XXL this cross over sweater is suited to multiple seasons having the following options

  • Three sleeve lengths:
    Short, Half, Full
  • Three neck options:
    Scoop neck, Collar, Hood

And the bonus is that it is a fabulous maternity/breastfeeding piece, talk about bang for your buck.

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The pattern pieces fit together beautifully and the tutorial is well written with illustrations.

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I am looking forward to the cooler weather to make a long sleeved version.

You can find the pattern here.

LKC Fancy Flounce Skirt

This pattern, the Fancy Flounce Skirt  by Little Kiwis Closet has been months in the planning and I was so happy that Lydia chose to share this baby with me in the early stages.  I love testing a pattern for a designer that isn’t willing to rush something through and wants to get it ‘just right’ before release.

Front 4

If your little one loves to twirl they are going to love this lined skirt with it’s rolled edge flounces and soft knit, elasticated waistband.

Twirl 1

Taking about 3 hours to cut and sew (about 3 Gilmore Girls, my latest sewing watch), this advanced beginner/intermediate pattern has only one thing that may cause difficulty and that is the rolled edge which requires an overlocker/serger.  However if you do have an overlocker/serger this is the pattern to haul it out on and learn how to use it.

Detail 2

For all it looks complex there are very few pattern pieces to print and as always Little Kiwi Closet patterns match beautiful and the tutorial is easy to follow and explains things beautifully.  The pattern covers sizes 6months to 12 years, I made the size 3 with a size 2 waistband for the Princess who has just turned 4.

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The Fancy Flounce will make a fabulous seasonal/holiday skirt, one of my tests was a Christmas version though the Princess was not in a photographic mood that day (also this is an earlier version that has less flounce.  I think I might make one up for Easter.  The flounce reminds me of the onion domes on St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, a place that is most definitely on my bucket list of places to visit.

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You can get the pattern here on sale for the next 24 hours at 15%