Thursday, November 26, 2015

FO: Skip Skirt from Sew by Pattern Pieces

A while ago I reviewed the Fun Tee, the first pattern released by Lauren of Sew By Pattern Pieces.  Anyone who has read that review will know that I kind of went a little fan girl over it.  Of course I jumped at the chance of working with Lauren again in testing her newly released Skip Skirt (and just quietly I'm still a little fan girl).  Once again Lauren's knowledge of the industry shines through in another fabulous pattern.
So the vital statistics of the Skip Skirt?  The pattern covers sizes 1-12y.  There are seven (yes 7) different views all of which sit on a nice yoke and include both gathered and non-gathered option, single or double tiers, and two different pocket options.  Not only that but the Skip Skirt also includes a leggings pattern as well, yes that's right another whole pattern is included.  The leggings come in 3 lengths and can be made either be attached to the skirt or separate.  And as if that's not enough, but wait there's more!  Yes that's right there's more, no you don't also receive a free set of steak knives but if you also buy the fabulous Fun Tee pattern (which you NEED anyway), then the skirt pattern is designed to fit seamlessly onto  the tee to make a dress (with any of the 7 views of skirt).  I've now well and truely lost count of all the possible combinations so let's just call this a full capsule wardrobe right there ;-).
The pattern comes with a full and comprehensive tutorial with clear illustrations for making all the possible options.  Not only does it have a comprehensive body measurements table but also a complete table of finished garment measurements so you can get a finished article which is exactly what you are after in terms of fit.  Alongside all this is a section on fabric selection and preparation, and more tips on getting a fabulous finish with knit fabrics than you can shake a stick at.  The pattern itself comes with layers option for printing and also a list of which pages are required for which of the pattern options.  What more could you ask for.

So what did I actually make.  First up is the single tier gathered skirt with attached knee length leggings.  The pattern includes instructions for a separate waistband for use when attaching leggings, or a fold down elastic waist.  The fluoro floral cotton lycra I used for the skirt DD found hidden away in my stash and begged me to make her something in it.  Although it is a cotton lycra, the skirt is also suitable for stable knits.  The leggings in this case are pin striped cotton/nylon, and a 4-way stretch is required for the leggings.

It was just a touch cold and windy when I took these so excuse the half frozen looking DD.  I should just make a quick note here on the fit on the leggings, these have been adjusted to the perfect fit and I love them.

This is DD's favourite skirt and she wears it all the time to school so the pattern is totally kid approved!

Next up on the cutting table was the unfathered version with patch pockets.  The pockets have a lovely gathered opening which is bound to give a gorgeous finish.  In this case I used a blue leggings style knit and finished the patch pockets with a honeycomb stitch in pink and the elastic waist and hem with pink twin needle.

To be honest I'm not sure which of these skirts is my favourite, they are both so cute on and the yoke sits so nicely on the hip.

And what is that super cute tee that I have teamed with both these skirts?  Why it's one of the many versions of the Fun Tee of course (told you that you needed that pattern too, and there's a bundle deal).

I really can't wait to have the chance to make up the dress version of the tee/skirt combo (just a couple of costumes to make before a school disco next week first).  

Finally once you have rushed off and bought the pattern then go and join the Sew by Pattern Pieces Sewing Circle group on Facebook (PS there may be a great Black Friday coupon code there) and share all your fabulous creations :-)  

Happy Sewing.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

First Japanese Sewing Week

I feel equal parts excited and terrified at being part of the very first Japanese Sewing Week.  If you don't know what Japanese Sewing Week is all about check out this post by Sara of Made By Sara, that not only explains it all but even tells you how to join the link party if you get inspired to start sewing.   There is also an amazing giveaway alongside this week long celebration, this can be found at the end of the post (see how I did that, you have to at least scroll through the hole post to get to it, lol).

So, Japanese Sewing patterns. I first fell in love with them several years ago when I bought a book second hand and then had to wait patiently for Miss M to get big enough to fit any of the patterns.  My collection has since expanded, but I am embarrassed to say that this is the first time I have found the time to actually sew from them.  This was partly due to sizing, partly due to time and partly due to be slightly terrified that my books were all in japanese.  I've sewn from french and german patterns before so how hard could it be right?  Actually not bad at all, I find the illustrations are excellent and with a bit of background sewing knowledge it's enough to get by.  

What did I choose to make?  We are heading into summer (supposedly) down here in NZ so I wanted to make something that Miss M would use throughout the summer months.  I love the clean lines and timeless styles of the japanese patterns, we aren't overly into layers of frills and bows here, so it suits me just fine:-)  

First up I chose some gorgeous shorts, with just enough frill to make them fun without being 'frilly'.  

I am so thrilled with how these came together, a lovely simple sew and once I had worked out what the kanji symbols for back and front were we were all go.  I'm used to adding seam allowances so that wasn't an issue for me and they are clearly marked on the pattern illustrations.  I made these from a mystery light-mid weight denim that I found lurking in my stash.  It is lovely and soft and gives these a nice shape on. 
It was at this time that I learned that Tuttle was sponsoring this event and realised I didn't own any of their amazing pattern books.  My fabulous library came to the rescue and I will be adding this book to my christmas list, it's got many lovely designs in it.
I chose the stand up collar shirt, and decided to make this without the contrast for the collar and cuffs, and used a pretty vintage floral cotton that was hiding in my stash, I'm pretty sure this was gifted to me.
One thing I have noticed from the books I own is that the size measurements do vary slightly between authors.  Using the measurement tables in the books I made the size 110 for the shorts (with slightly shorter elastic) and the size 100 with 110 length for the shirt (I usually make a size 4 width with 5 length for Miss M).  The fit was perfect and I have fallen in love with this outfit, it's so sweet and girly without being over the top.

And this is what most of the photos looked like - sigh!

If by some miracle you have found this post without having followed the whole tour then what you need to do now is go and make a cup of coffee (or your beverage of choice), lock yourself away from all distractions and visit all of these amazing blogs!  The creations they have made for this tour are an amazing source of inspiration!

Plus if you like to win stuff (and who doesn't) then click here to entera Rafflecopter giveaway
A huge thanks to Sara for organising this tour and to Tuttle for sponsoring the first ever Japanese Sewing week.  I hope there are many more to come, I can see my pattern book collection growing exponentially after this last week.

Friday, November 20, 2015

FO: Railyard Scarf

This is another long time finished object.  In the middle of winter Mr A declared that he didn't have a scarf.  After pointing out the scarf that was in his school bag he told me it was itchy (to be fair it wasn't the greatest).  It was freezing and he walks to school most days no matter the weather so I got him to go 'shopping' in my yarn stash.  He chose some gorgeous Vintage Purls green sock yarn.  Now while I love VP yarn I HATE knitting scarves and the thought of knitting one in 4 ply nearly led me to distraction.  I did manage to talk him out of the plain rib scarf though and he chose the Railyard Scarf by Mary Keenan.

I must admit I was pleased with it once it was all blocked out and the boy was happy :-)  I reckon I earn lots of brownie points for actually knitting him a scarf though.

Monday, November 16, 2015

FO: Star Jersey

I have actually done quite a bit of knitting this winter but most of it has been tests for patterns that are yet to be released.  I did just realise though that I never shared this jersey that I recently finished for Mr A.
The poor child chose this pattern 2 years ago, he even came with me to the yarn shop and chose the colours for it.  I finally got around to knitting it this year.  Of course that meant he had grown half a mile and I no longer had enough yarn but thankfully a quick international yarn order saved the day - phew.

The pattern is from a Phildar  pattern magazine (Pitchoun Autumn/winter 2010) and it is design Pull #39-T10-052.  Because Mr A is tall and slim I made the size 4 with 8 length and mashed the sizes a bit around the armholes and sleeve caps, thankfully it all worked out in the end. The yarn is Cascade 220 sport and I'm really thrilled with how it has knitted up so nicely.
It's a while since I've done anything with colourwork so that was fun and surprisingly I didn't dislike doing the seaming as much as I thought I would (it has been ages since I last knitted something that needed seaming).

So here is the finished articles, it's not pink but a rich red, colour is more accurate in the modeled photos. 

The fit is lovely on him now so I just have to hope he doesn't grow too much before next winter!  The main thing is he loves it :-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

FO: Star Anise by Gracious Threads

I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to test the new pattern release for Jess of Gracious Threads.  I love so many of her designs and recently reviewed her Eclair Blouse.  But anyway the Star Anise Dress is gorgeous.  I love the simple clean lines and the slightly vintage look of this dress.  It is stylish but practical and I feel works well for both younger girls and tweens (it comes in sizes 2-12y).
As usual I made a mix of sizes for Miss M, with size 3 width and 5 length throughout.  This proved spot on for fit, with the waistband falling perfectly on the natural waist and skirt length spot on with no adjustments required.  There are many features of this dress that I love, the way the darts in the bodice and pleats in the skirt match with seams through the waistband for a continuous line is lovely and everything matched up perfectly first time.  The added detail of the fold back cuffs on the sleeves is also super cute.  In testing I did have a few issues with the cuffs being tight but that issue has been addressed and I feel was more of a problem for me due to mixing sizes in the way I did.  Next time I will check the measurements of the cuffs before cutting.  
The fabric I chose for our version is a vintage lightweight (almost sheer) cotton with an embroidered border.  I'm pretty sure my Mum bought this many years ago to make a dress for me, which makes this very special.  Due to the lightweight nature of the fabric I cut an entire second dress from white cotton and treated the two pieces as one throughout so none of the darts or pleats showed through.  
So here it is :-)

And just to prove that it is totally play worthy ;-)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

FO: Fun Tee from Sew By Pattern Pieces

I must admit that I do love testing patterns but I am often a little hesitant to test for a new designer, I guess mainly because you never know what you are getting yourself in for in terms of both the pattern itself and the testing process.  So when I applied to test this tee shirt pattern I really wasn't too bothered if I got chosen or not.  Well now I am soooooo glad I was and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to review this pattern.  While I received a free copy of the final pattern all the opinions within this review are my own and I receive nothing for writing this post ;-)

So let me introduce you to the Fun Tee from Sew By Pattern Pieces.  First of all it is so nice to have a new designer on the block who has a really strong (as in 20 years strong) background in the industry, and this shines through in every aspect of this pattern.  How many tee shirt patterns are there out there? Loads.  How many girls tee patterns do you need?  Just this one really!  The Fun Tee covers sizes 1-12y and has 4 different sleeve options, short and long plain sleeves, short puffed sleeve and the simply gorgeous princess sleeve.

Ok so what sets this pattern apart, firstly the detail that went into the testing process, attention to fit was amazing and the thoughts of testers were carefully considered and acted upon, woohoo!  I have yet to make any tee that fits my DD as well as this one around the sleeve and across the shoulder (look I even took pictures to prove it!), to be honest I don't think I realised other tees didn't fit well until I made this one.  (and look at how nicely that neckband sits!!

When you buy this pattern you get so much more than just a pattern and tutorial, you get all of the following:
  • Full measurement charts for both body measurements AND finished garment measurements, this means that not only can you work out what size you should make but also decide if you want to size up for a more relaxed fit.
  • Detailed information on how to adjust the perfect fit you desire (including clear line drawings on how to do this properly via two different techniques)
  • Extensive tips for sewing with knit fabrics which are worth reading through even if you have been sewing with knits for years.
  • Information on how to calculate the stretch of your knit before you start, and then consequently what adjustments you may need to make to get the fit you want from the pattern.  This is something that was discussed a lot during testing and ALL that information is there for you.
  • Plus of course a full and clear tutorial for all versions of the top with simple to follow line diagrams, including instructions for printing your pattern and layers feature for those who prefer to use it.

So onto some of the results.  I made two tops for DD, and from the size chart she is a size 3 with 5 length.  This first I really used as a muslin for size, and it's made from remnant of stable knit I had in my drawer for years (it probably came from Mum).

As you can see with fit was spot on, there is even a nice amount of length there for this child who is growing like a weed right now, and this plain long sleeved version makes not only a great basic tee but a fabulous winter pj top too :-)  

The second version I made I used a cotton/lycra fabric throughout with 50% stretch.  For this one I chose to do the princess sleeve and the only other alteration I made was to cut the size 2 neckband instead of the size 3 so that it sits nicely.  This is DD's absolute favourite top right now, she absolutely loves it and who couldn't love that sleeve.  

Over the years I have lost count of how many different tee shirt patterns I have tried out, everything from various pdf's, older paper patterns, magazines, the lot.  I am thrilled to say that this one will replace all of those for a simple girls tee pattern for many years to come.  I don't often make patterns more than a couple of times but this will be one of the exceptions to that rule.  I am so pleased that I discovered Lauren's patterns now and I look forward to seeing what she will come out with in the future. 
Finally if you join Lauren's facebook group, she will soon be releasing a free flutter sleeve add on for the long sleeved version of this pattern. So go pattern shopping and start sewing :-)

Friday, October 2, 2015

FO: Eclair Blouse by Gracious Threads (and GIVEAWAY)

Well I am still alive I just haven't been blogging (to state the obvious).  I have been crafting a bit and will catch up on a few things over the next few weeks but for now I want to share with you all this fabulous new pattern release from Jess at Gracious Threads.  I fell in love with this lovely summer top when I saw the pics, so nice to see something with a point of difference and I love the exposed zipper.
The Eclair Blouse is a woven summer top with exposed zip and bias facing at neck, armholes and hem.  It is fitted through the waist and has cute side vents at the hem which allow for easy movement even with the slightly longer length.
I let Miss M choose the fabric and I think it came out really cute.
The exposed zip and bias facings make this a pattern recommended as intermediate but I found the notes in the pattern very clear to follow and there is a link to a video to help with the zip.  I love that the zip has a zip guard as well to stop making any contact with the skin.
For Miss M, I made the size 3 with 5 length and the fit is spot on!  Fitted but not tight, and she loves it.  I love the modest length over leggings and the curved hem, total cuteness.

To celebrate this new release I have a copy of this pattern to give away.  Simply comment below with your favourite feature of the pattern and who you would love to make one for (and don't forget your email address so I can contact the winner), and I will draw a winner via at 8pm on October 9th.  

In the meantime if you can't wait then go and buy it here and check out all the other awesome patterns Jess has on offer :-)