My Winter Module/// The Bottoms!

Today I have the bottoms for my winter module and they are both pants! I’m sewing up this module using only Fibre Mood patterns and will be recapping my whole experience in a couple of weeks.

First I have the Bea Culottes in this slub texture linen. I made the size 38 with no adjustments and am really happy with the fit. I had planned on lengthening these, but due to just a complete brain fart ended up having to cut them to the intended culotte length.

Which actually, I like! These are the most comfortable pants ever and I will be styling them like I would a skirt. I wanted to play with a more monochrome look and paired them with my Nikko turtleneck and I love how it looks.

I like the drape of these pants and they were pretty simple to sew up. The waist band is interesting with the buttons, they just open up completely to get in and out of, and the pleats are pretty in the front with darts in the back for shaping. I will wear these throughout the spring I’m sure!

Ok next is kind of boring, but oh so comfortable and completely wearable. The Benita Trousers are just wide leg elastic waist pants and I sewed them up in a couple of hours start to finish in this stretch cotton corduroy.

These are so basic but I think I will wear them a ton. It’s basically like wearing corduroy pajamas? I lengthened them and worried I should have lengthened them more, but actually this will work well with winter boots and keeping my pants out of the snow.

I’m wearing them with my first and favorite Toaster Sweater. I am warm, cozy, and still look put together. This is fashion in 2021 I think?!

I am always on the look for pants options that aren’t jeans and I’m happy to add these two to my closet! I’ll be back next week to share my topper and then my winter module is complete.

My Winter Module/// The Tops!

Today I’m sharing my three finished tops for my winter module! I’m using only patterns from Fibre Mood and I’m gathering all my thoughts and tips on using this magazine and will be sharing them in a few weeks. Let me know if you have any questions about Fibre Mood and I will either answer them or find an answer for you!

I’m going to go in order from least to most favorite and that means we will be starting with the Glory Top. I sewed up the size 38 in this beautiful Atelier Brunette Rayon and it was a dream to work with. I love the details of this pattern; the sleeves, that placket on the shoulder, and the gathering around the yoke.

However, I don’t really love how these details all look on me. It feels like a lot happening at my shoulder and the sleeves are too short. I have learned that I need to lengthen these patterns as most of them turned out too short. I will try and wear this as I love the fabric, but was a little disappointed with what the silhouette looks like on me.

The second top I have is the Bonnie. I love the color and texture of this crinkle cotton and and I sewed the size 38 with no modifications. This is a simple top and I loved the details of the sleeve and the side neckline. Again, it is too short, but I think the sleeves don’t look bad at this length. The directions for the pleating detail at the sleeve were pretty abysmal and it took searching other makes online to figure out that I just needed to sew them up like normal box pleats. Once I got it sorted out, I do love how they look!

I have it paired over a turtleneck here because I loved how they styled it in the magazine. I like how it looks and think it makes it more wearable for cold weather, but it does cause wrinkles. On its own, that isn’t a problem! I wasn’t sure while I was making this one, but it is incredibly comfortable and I can see myself wearing it a lot.

And my final top is my absolute favorite, the Alice Pullover. I made the size small in this gorgeous bamboo french terry. I would wrap myself in this fabric and just live in it every day if I could. It feels so luscious! This is a really simple pattern, I think I sewed it up in a couple of hours. But while it on the surface seems like just a sweatshirt pattern, the deep V in the back and the wide neckline make it so lovely. It reminds me of something I would wear in a ballet class, I love how it highlights your neck. I’ve been wearing it quite a bit and just love it.

I’m pretty happy with all these makes and it was easy to find pieces in my closet to pair them with, and that’s really the point of this module. Yes, they will all work together, but they need to easily fit into my wardrobe. I like that all three of these tops are different from anything I own and that Fibre Mood is able to take seemingly basic designs and add unique details.

Pattern Haul!

Over these past few months I’ve collected a few patterns, both newer and vintage, and I thought I would share them here with you before I organize them and put them away with the rest of my pattern collection. I haven’t been buying a lot of commercial patterns recently, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on why I purchase when I do and what I plan to make with it.

First up are these vintage patterns I picked up from the Etsy shop Blue Tree Sewing Studio. The top two are 70s patterns and I loved the sleeves on both. The collar in the first one might scream too much vintage for my taste, but I think that would be easy to rework. The wrap top would look just as stylish today as it did then in the right fabric.

The bottom two are both from the 90s and I love all the tops with the first one. I thought there was a fun variety and I think the matching sets with those pants would be great pjs/lounge wear when the weather gets warmer. The romper on the right, well I might have had that as a child honestly, but I love it. I love the shorts version and if you can look past the dated floral prints, I think the shapes still work for today.

These pants from 1985 I picked up on an Instagram destash sale. I love the pleats and those pockets. I think the cropped version would be so cute in a linen in the summer. And check the girl on the left, I cannot get over the styling from head to toe on this one!

I’ve had so much fun sewing for my kids lately that I am always on the lookout for good children’s patterns. I thought M6275 would be a great wardrobe builder for my daughter and goes up to a size 14. B6654 is just a pretty dress with a matching mini me. Both of these I picked up when they were on a pretty big sale.

Another pattern I picked up on sale was M8085. I’ve been eyeing this one since it came out last year. It’s a really simple knit dress but when it was so cheap I couldn’t resist it. I live in these kinds of dresses in the summer and I think the version with sleeves would get worn a lot in the spring and fall.

From the most recent pattern release I bought M8148 as I fell in love with both of those shorts versions. I like that this is a Learn to Sew pattern and features welt pockets. I’m hoping to make these in the spring. M8177 is one that I need you to look past the wild 80s styling! I love the shapes of all three dresses and think these would be so cool and comfy in the summer.

Have you bought any patterns lately? I love looking at style lines from the past and today and always get inspired looking at patterns, even when I don’t end up buying any of them. I try to add to my collection in thoughtful ways and am excited to sew some of these up soon!

My Winter Module: The Dress!

Last week I shared my Winter Module plans and I’m happy to be back today to share my first make of this collection, the dress!

This is the Daniella Dress from issue 12 of Fibre Mood. I have a lot of thoughts about working with patterns from this magazine and I’m working on compiling them to put into one blog post. Please let me know if you have any specific questions, about this company or working with sewing magazines in general, and I will answer them for you.

I sewed up the size 38 (though called a size 10 some places in the magazine?!) out of this cotton modal jersey knit in the color ‘desert rose.’ This is a really simple sew and came together very quickly. This is a basic dress but with a few interesting details that I think elevate it a bit.

I love that the turtleneck is a little oversized and the sleeves have a small puff detail to them that’s trendy but not too in your face. I really love the long cuff and gathering of the sleeves. It makes for a very pretty, drapey look.

This fabric is a little more clingy, be aware of that if you decide to sew with a modal, but I’m not unhappy with the fit of the dress. I think this would be a great work from home option if that’s something you are having to do. Incredibly comfortable but you’ll look put together on any zoom calls you have.

I’m happy I started with this simple dress to give myself some time to figure out working with Fibre Mood. I’ve already worn it with my thick leggings and boots and I loved how it looked!

Make That Look///January

I love looking at ready to wear clothes, either in stores or on the runway or even in movies, and seeing if I can recreate those looks myself. It always sparks my sew jo and is a fun creative challenge! I’m hoping to have one of these up on a monthly basis, January’s just took a little longer than expected due to shipping delays and then a huge blonde moment from myself! Let’s see what I got up to, shall we?

The Inspiration:

When I was looking for inspiration I was looking for something comfortable. Something that I would actually wear right now but maybe with a twist, but I wasn’t on the hunt for super inspirational or designer wear. I found this layered long dickey sweater dress from Tibi on Shopbop and thought it fit what I was picturing in my mind. I thought it looked chic and cool in the pictures but also would be easy enough to throw on with cosy leggings and use it as lounge wear.

The Fabric and Patterns:

I found this cotton sweater knit on Minerva in the color old green and thought I could start with the Linden sweatshirt as a base. I liked the color of the original just fine but I saw this color and fell in love! I love the new Minerva site that let’s you see other people’s projects with specific fabric. I knew this was a little heavier than the inspiration, but also would be warmer and more wearable for where I live.

I pulled out the Nikko dress by True Bias to use as a guide for length and where I wanted the splits in the side to be. In theory, this simple pattern mashing would have worked perfectly and should have been a very easy sew. However. I made a really stupid error that kind of changed the project completely.

Making It:

My Linden pattern is one of the very first patterns I ever bought. Now when I cut out a pattern, I just cut right into my size. I guess new sewist Whitney did not do that and traced the size she needed. I didn’t think about this at all and just used the pattern pieces as they were. I have no idea why I didn’t notice the number 18 as I was cutting. I have no idea why I didn’t stop and think about why the Nikko pattern was so much smaller than the Linden. And I have no idea why when I sewed it up and it was a giant sack on my body why I didn’t think- huh this is the wrong size- instead of hacking away and trying to fix it.

Once I had realized my mistake, the dress was much shorter than I intended. I went ahead and fixed it, finished the top, and honestly am happy to have it. It’s just nothing like the original that I intended it to be.

The Result:

Here is my finished make! It’s basically a tunic sweatshirt, but I do love this fabric and it’s very wearable. I styled it up with skinny jeans and booties, with my Pietra pants and thrifted loafers, and with warm leggings and thick socks to give you an idea of how I plan to be wearing this!

I wanted to share this make as a reminder that we all make goofy errors sometimes and projects don’t always turn out like we hoped. That’s just how it goes whenever human brains and hands are involved! Like I said, I am happy with my make, I just wish I hadn’t spent so much time and problem solving on what turned out to be a very simple error.

Whit’s Reviews/// 5 out of 4 Patterns

I have my first pattern company review of the year and it’s a good one! A few people recommended I look at 5 out of 4 patterns, and I’m so glad I did. At first glance I thought, ok, lots of basic knit patterns for the whole family. But upon closer inspection I realized that each pattern is full of options and that these basics are fantastic building blocks for your or your kids’ or your partners’ wardrobe.

I decided to sew the Candy leggings (these also can be made into yoga pants) out of this loud tie dye knit I picked up from Fabric.com. I made the size small and the fit is pretty perfect. I decided to make the Taylor Racerback tank to go with the leggings so I could have a little lime green party outfit. This is also the size small and I’m debating on where I want to hem it. At first I thought it was too long, but after wearing it I kind of like it. I’m going to actually work out in it before I make a decision.

What impressed me with making these patterns was the amount of options for each pattern. The leggings have multiple waistband options, options for a gusset or half gusset, as well as two different options for color blocking or not. The tank can have a gathered back piece, can be an aline dress or a swingy dress. The instructions are fantastic and really clear to navigate with all the options (sometimes I think this isn’t done well with companies and all the options can get confusing). They have an active Youtube channel with sew alongs, a Facebook group, and a membership to help support you. All of that to say I think there is a lot of value in these patterns and I loved that I could get bundles of both of these patterns and will be making my daughter both of these patterns soon.

Ok, so I loved so much about my experience sewing these patterns, but what is the company like? I’m so happy to share Jessica’s answers to our community questions and I think you will love her answers as much as I do. Please enjoy!

What is your design background? When and why did you start making your own patterns?

I am self-taught. I started designing patterns in 2015.  At the time, I was breastfeeding twins and there were very few breastfeeding-friendly patterns on the market. So, my first pattern was the Knot Your Average Shirt and Dress.  I also have a few personal fit issues and loathe shopping, so designing my own clothes was a win-win.  I got to design patterns I wanted to see in the world, but the act of sewing helped calm my anxiety. 

Who do you design for? Who is your Target Audience?

I am very much the girl next door and I design for the practical family.  We may not be flashy, but I love being able to make my children comfortable clothes that fit them.  For myself, I really like the sporty-relaxed look, so I aim for crossover pieces that can be anything from a sports bra to swimsuit to a summer dress.  (Those are my favorite!)

What level of sewer do you design for?

5oo4 has patterns for every level of sewist. I am passionate about helping sewists improve their sewing and encouraging them to sew outside of their comfort zone.  We try and create an experience where they are comfortable pushing their skills to the next level.  We do this through a combination of a Basics line that focuses on new sewists and then encouraging them to try new things through sew-alongs, video tutorials, and our membership, the 5oo4 Family, is the ultimate place for growth. 

What is your price point and why?

For the first time in 6 years, we raised our prices this January to $12 per pattern (and $10 for our Basics line).  All of our patterns include projector files and layers, plus TONS of options.  Most of our women’s patterns include FBA bodices (and we’re updating the ones that don’t) and we have a lot of patterns with both maternity and nursing options included.  We do not offer add-on packs, we pack our patterns with tons of options instead!

What is your size range? Why did you pick this range? What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on? Do you have plans on expanding or changing this range anytime soon?

Our women’s size range is XXS – 5XL. Our main block is a size medium and our plus size block is a size 3XL. We use a B-cup for our regular bodices and a D-cup across all sizes for our FBA bodices. As for height- the easy answer is to say 5’7″, but we really push our sewists to understand that one person’s 5’7″ is NOT the same as another person’s, so please don’t focus on height. We have an excellent resource on our blog about why we educate sewists in this area.  Our men’s size range is XS – 6XL.  Our kids’ size range is 0-3months – 14. We aim to be as inclusive as possible and are working to update our older patterns (that stop at 3XL). 

Do you support Black Lives Matter? What are some ways that you are anti-racist and inclusive in your company on a day to day basis?

Yes, I support Black Lives Matter. I am vocal in my support. As a company, we monitor and deal with hate speech and/or racist comments. We have an open dialogue in our groups and encourage education.

Is there anything else you would like people just discovering your company to know?

We are also supportive of the LGBTQ+ community and welcome testers to test any product they would like to wear. We do not aim to exclude any portion of the community. 

We are hoping to diversify our testing pool this year. If you or a loved one would like to be a part of our tester pool, we welcome inquiries at info@5outof4.com.  

Pretty great right? Go check out 5 out of 4 patterns. There are pictures of all their patterns on all types of people, sizes, ages, I just love it. And after sewing two of their patterns, I can honestly say I love this company too! If you are wanting to add some great knits to you or your kids’ or your partners’ closet, start with them. 5 out of 4 patterns gets the Whit Makes seal of approval!

Mini Me Sewing

I had so much fun sewing for my kids last year that I’ve decided to try and make it a monthly thing. Seeing how fast they are growing, I don’t think this will be an issue!

This month I made my daughter a comfy tie dye sweatsuit. I used the Hudson Minis (I’ve made these now multiple times for all the kids, my husband, and for all of our Christmas pajamas!) for the bottoms and sewed a straight size 10.

The top is a Sloane Sweater from Love Notions in the size 10 with the kangaroo pockets and hoodie options added to version B in a straight size 10. I think this is a little roomy on her, but for a sweatshirt I think that’s fine and she can get more wear out of it.

This fabric is a Telio Rayon Blend French Terry from Fabric.com and it is lightweight but very soft and cozy. I love that the tie dye is a little more subtle (wait until you see my make tomorrow! Tie dye galore!) and she loves the color.

This make took me a couple of hours this weekend and the second it was off the sewing machine she had it on and only took it off when I forced her to bathe! I would call that a success.

I will absolutely keep making these patterns and highly recommend for comfy, functional kids’ clothes that have a lot of options for making different versions.

My First Coat! A Review of V9136

It’s here! My first coat! I am so happy with how this turned out and it has got me motivated to try more coats. I have had this pattern, Very Easy Vogue 9136, in my stash for awhile and it was a great first coat pattern to sew. It is very oversized, drop shoulders, patch pockets, and no lining. I love, LOVE, the collar on this coat and all the drama it brings.

I read a few reviews before getting stated and everyone said to size down, so even though my measurements put me right at a medium, I made the size small. I think it was the right call as it is still oversized but not too overwhelming. I did shorten the belt in the back by about an inch so that it would cinch in a bit more, but other than that I made this pattern exactly as called for in the instructions.

I bought this boiled wool blend coating in the color turmeric from Stylemaker Fabrics over Black Friday and was unsure if it was the right weight. In the end I think it works, but this coat could absolutely hold up a more substantial, thicker wool. I also think this coat would benefit from a lining and I don’t think it would be hard to do.

The construction of this coat is fairly straight forward and honestly it is a relatively simple make. I took the time to make fabric covered buttons and I love the look of them. There was much debate (online in reviews and in my house!) on the placement and number of buttons. This is an asymmetrical coat and the one button floating there bugs some. The solution has been to just add one more button above it. I didn’t do that, but it was a hot topic on the review boards.

The only part of this coat I don’t love is the back yoke facing. I didn’t have enough fabric (story of my life…) so I used a cotton in my stash. It is fine and no one will see it, but the self fabric would make the insides as pretty as the outsides. It’s also why there is a seam in the yoke, but that doesn’t bother me at all.

Other than that, I am very proud of this make. I didn’t know if I’d love the dropped shoulders but I will say this silhouette makes wearing a coat with sweaters and bulkier tops very practical. It is warm and cozy and I look forward to wearing it all winter long!

Like I said, this is a great beginning coat and it has got me revved up to keep going and try some new techniques. Next month I have a lined rain coat coming up and then a blazer after that. I think near the end of the year I may try another warm winter coat. I don’t know that I would ever make this particular pattern again any time soon, simply because it is just such a statement coat, but I do think it would work in a lot of different fabrics.

First Make of the Year!

This week has been a little crazy (and listen, I wrote this out before the crumbling of democracy yesterday…) The kids are home for a buffer week before going back to school and most of my days have been spent helping them with science fair projects (note to self; I never ever ever want to be a science teacher). I did get to slip in a few hours for some sewing, look at me actually making my resolutions happen!, and I’m happy to share my first make of 2021 with you.

This fabric has been in my stash for a few years now and I could just never commit to a project. It’s a gorgeous floral print, but the fabric was really narrow and that limited what it could be. I got in my head that it would make a beautiful Wilder Gown so I started cutting it out and realized I didn’t have near enough fabric (so maybe I haven’t changed much in the new year?) I decided to push ahead though and see what it would look like at a tunic length.

I… kind of love it? And I actually think I might wear it more than a full length dress?

This is the size medium and basically it’s the bodice from the dress with long sleeves and whatever was left of my fabric. It’s very loose and flowy (read comfortable) but the beautiful fabric makes it feel like I dressed up a little bit. I have it paired here with skinny jeans and I imagine that is how it will probably get worn. Easy for getting on the ground and playing with Sam but cute enough to run out and…. do whatever it is that people did in the before times?!

This pattern is hugely popular in the sewing world and I feel like the last person to make it! It is a really easy sew and I get why people are obsessed with it. You know I love nightgown adjacent, and this feels like exactly that. If you were newer to sewing and looking at this pattern, I would highly recommend it. If I can get something cute out of it with way less fabric than it calls for, I have all the faith in the world that you could make something cute for yourself! Plus fitting is easy and drama level is high. What more could you ask for?

How I Plan Projects

The other day someone asked me on Instagram how I plan for projects. Specifically, how do I make fabric purchases (I was showing some things I bought during Black Friday sales) and make sure they actually get made into something and not sit around in my stash forever.

This got me thinking about how my planning has changed over the years, and specifically how much it has changed this year. I used to make monthly plans, maybe with a big picture idea of what was coming up, but mostly I would plan a few projects at a time.

This meant I ended up with some random makes at the end of the month and not always in love with everything. Or the inspiration I had would fade and I no longer was interested in sewing with a certain fabric or pattern.

After thinking on it a bit, I realized that these are the things that have really helped me as far as planning my sewing and then loving what I made!

Evaluate your Closet

I really can’t stress enough how helpful reading The Conscious Closet was for me this spring. Taking the time to consider your closet- what colors you wear, patterns you like, shapes you feel good in, and what you actually put on your body day after day- can really help you plan for projects that turn out being things you love. It can also help you evaluate fabrics quickly and easily. I can see a gorgeous floral and appreciate it, but know that it would either sit in my stash or closet lonely and sad because I don’t actually wear that many florals. Really knowing your style, even if it’s evolving, is important in planning out makes.

Set Parameters

I only buy as much fabric as I have room for. Right now I am sharing an office with my husband and I have a cube shelf and 2 of those cubes are designated for fabric. I have two cube storage boxes that are tucked away in a corner that have some more of my stash or cuts that can be used again and that is it. I just don’t have room for anything else and it helps me not get side tracked with looking at fabric stores online.

The same is kind of true for my pattern stash, although I will fully admit the cabinet holding printed patterns is bursting at the seams!

You can also look at budget. Decide if buying fabric all at once for the year during sales makes sense to you or is it better if you have specific projects in mind and only buy a few yards at a time? Whatever it is, have some guidelines for yourself to keep you from dreaming and buying and actually make sure that you’re sewing too.

Think in Groups

The biggest game changer by far this year has been that I now think of sewing in collections or modules. Narrowing down patterns and looking at how pieces can be worn together means I end up with really wearable clothes. I also find the process of planning this way to be a lot of fun and it keeps me inspired. When the weather changed and I was looking at fall I didn’t get distracted by anything else, I could focus in on what I needed or wanted in my closet and had a lot of fun planning and making from there.

Will there always be a dress like my birthday dress that takes hold of me out of nowhere and I decide to make on a whim? Yes! At least, I hope so! That is a joyful part of creating that so many of us are always searching for. But those are special makes and I would rather have one or two fabrics waiting for those moments than a towering stash of fabric I don’t know what to do with.

I have a fun idea for my sewing in 2021 and I can’t wait to share it with you soon! I would love to hear how you plan your makes or how you keep your stash inspiring.