Whit Reviews/// In a Haystack

Today I have a cool company to share with you and a discount code if it’s something you want to check out and try yourself! Kate from In A Haystack reached out to me about receiving a free monthly pack and talking about it here if I thought it was worth sharing. I’m not being compensated in any way and just generally think this is a unique business that some of my followers might be interested in!

What is In a Haystack?

In a Haystack is a digital sewing subscription created by researcher and sewing enthusiast, Kate. It’s a monthly collection of sewing curiosities and surprises sent straight to your inbox.

The packs are designed to inspire your makes, spark your curiosity, and introduce you to independent sewing businesses, wherever you are in the world.

There’s also an audio version of the pack for people who want or need to experience the pack in a different way.

What’s in the pack?

Every month, subscribers get a Haystack Pack straight to their email inbox. Packs are based on an intriguing theme and include a PDF sewing pattern (usually swappable), discount codes for independent fabric shops in Europe and North America, discounts for printing the pattern, interviews, stories, tips and tricks, plus more sewing knowledge and treats. There’s also a lovely online community of stitchers who are members of the pack.

This is really like subscribing to a magazine, it just happens to come in your email with clickable links and instant gratification. I enjoyed the interviews and tutorial in August’s subscription as well as the compilation of Instagram challenges. It seems kind of silly, but having the list of challenges with a link to all the hashtags was very cool and I had fun exploring new to me challenges and accounts.

I like that In a Haystack is a business that is really just connecting makers to smaller businesses and with other people that like sewing. It is an interesting concept and one that I think is worth being a part of.

If you want to learn more about In a Haystack, I will put all their links below. If you would like to try them out and receive 20% off your first month, use my code HAYSTACKWHIT

I would love to hear if you already subscribe to this service or if hearing about it made you try it out! Let me know your experience! And thank you Kate for thinking of me and letting me try out this very fun service.

Whit Reviews/// Just Patterns

I’m here today with my monthly pattern review! Every month I send an indie sewing pattern company a list of questions my readers helped me come up with and if they agree to answer, I buy a pattern and sew it up to share the whole process with you! Check out past reviews here!

This month I’m looking at Just Patterns. This French company makes chic but wearable clothes and I first learned about them when their newest pattern, the Claudia tank, was released fairly recently. Delphine is the owner of the company and she was delightful to interact with! Here are her answers to our questions!

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

I started sewing when I was in my teens. I was obsessed with the idea of recreating the garments that I couldn’t afford. However, unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have the skills or access to the resources that would have allowed me to make my dream wardrobe come true. I realized that the resources that would enable me to create the garments I was dreaming of, were not commonly available to home sewers. For the next 20 years, in parallel to studying and working at my day job, I read books, took pattern making and draping classes at fashion schools in New York and Paris, participated in the online sewing community and sewed a lot.

In 2013, I started a sewing blog (sewing tidbits) and I launched Just Patterns in 2017 during my maternity leave. It was initially launched with a friend working in the fashion industry but we split and I now continue on my own. The reason I sew and release patterns (to create my dream wardrobe) never changed, although the actual clothes have changed a lot since I was 14!

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

My sewing patterns are meant for dressmakers who are passionate about fashion, luxury ready-to-wear, and love detail-oriented sewing projects.

What level of sewer do you design for?

I design patterns for sewists who already know the basics of sewing. While it was not the case initially (and I’m still in the process of updating 2 older patterns), I now provide detailed and illustrated step-by-step instructions.

I do believe in empowering makers to up their skills and that each project is an opportunity to improve one’s skills. All patterns have a Resource Page, where I curate a list of tutorials and resources from the online sewing community. I also add specific tutorials and blog posts for inspiration and complex steps.

What is your price point and why?
My price point has evolved a lot since I launched in 2017. My initial idea was releasing patterns with minimal instructions at a cheaper price than most indie patterns (between 3$ and 7$ US). But, I quickly realized that not that many people had time or interest to sew with minimal instructions and that they didn’t mind higher prices if it meant detailed instructions. My new patterns (and the older ones I updated) are translated in French and in English, they have step-by-step instructions, an improved size range, pattern testers and editors are compensated. They are currently priced between 10$ and 14$ depending on the complexity.

I write an annual report of my sales and the expenditures since year 1, so the evolution in my thinking and strategy are well documented. You can read the  2020 report here.

What is your size range? Why did you pick this range? What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on?

My current size range is French 34 to 56 (bust 31 1/2 to 52 3/4 – 80cm to 134cm). The range is broken up into 2: size range 34-46 drafted for B/C cup and size range 46-56 for a DD cup. Both are drafted for a height of 5’5/1m65.

I’m French and I initially did not pay enough attention to the size range so I established 34-46 as it was the “standard”. That was a mistake and I started improving the size range in 2019. All my new patterns (3 in 2020) are published in the new size range. An older one was already updated (the Stephanie Skirt), one is completing its second round of testing (the Linda Wrap Dress) and my objective is to update the last one also in 2021.

Ideally I would like to go up to a size 60 (bust 57 1/2/ 146cm). But my development/fit size is a 50 and I do not have access to a fit model in the higher sizes, so I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to guarantee the quality of the drafting. I do grade up at the request of customers.

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?

I do support Black Lives Matter. I published a diversity commitment in June 2020 and I updated it recently to include elements on racism towards Asian people and cultural appropriation. It’s visible on my website and social media. This commitment includes ongoing and future actions in issues like representation, marketing, cultural appropriation and transparency. I report on it annually as part of my income report.

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

I love sewing and can talk about it for hours. I actually just launched a sewing column where people can submit their questions and I have a lot of fun answering them! 

But I’m also managing Just Patterns alone, doing everything from drafting, grading, photography, to updating the website and doing the accounting. In addition, I still freelance in my day job field and I raise a 4 year old. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and might not be able to respond to customers on time. Sorry!

I appreciate Delphine’s thoughts and all the time she took in letting us get to know her. I purchased two patterns from her and sewed them up as part of my Spring Capsule!

First, I wanted to try the Claudia Tank. Now I knew going in that this pattern might not be for me, I wasn’t sure about this shoulder pad trend! I made the straight size 38 out of this cotton jersey knit and the fit is great. I appreciate the finishings and details that are in such a simple pattern but I quickly learned, shoulder pads are not my thing. I already have broad shoulders and this silhouette draws a lot of attention to them! I removed them and am wearing it as a tank, but I don’t know that I would make this pattern again. I am glad I tried something a little trendier though and appreciate that it was an affordable pattern that made the risk really low and worth taking!

The second pattern I made was the Tyra Tank and I was confident that no matter what, I liked this style of oversized t-shirt. I used the same cotton jersey but in a different color and again made a straight size 38. Both of these patterns suggest ribbing for the neck band but I just used self fabric and they turned out great. I did change up the neck of the Tyra because after sewing it I wished it was a little lower. Not a big deal and I would absolutely make this again. I’ve even seen people on Instagram talking about turning it into a dress and I think that would be an easy and fantastic hack!

I really enjoyed working with these patterns. There are detailed instructions for every step, the prices are incredibly reasonable considering all the extra resources provided, and I love clothes that are simple and beautiful with wonderful extra details added in!

Whit’s Reviews/// Style Sew Me Patterns

I’m here with this month’s Pattern Company Review, Style Sew Me Patterns!

I want to start by saying that even with a crazy month, Style Sew Me is a sponsor for the #BHMPatternDesigners challenge and Eryn the designer got hit by the horrible storm in Texas last week, Eryn delivered these answers to me right when she said she would. I’m actually the one that’s a few days late! I mention this because I have no doubts in saying that the customer service at this company will be top notch and if you reach out with any questions, Eryn is going to get them answered for you!

I had Style Sew Me on my long list of companies to review and when I saw her latest release with the Giselle Dress they got bumped right to the top. I love this dress! It is flirty and feminine and unlike anything I’ve seen out there. I wanted to make a Valentine’s dress and I told my husband the moment it is safe to go out for a date night, this is what I’m wearing.

I ordered a Crepe Leopard print from Melanated Fabrics (it’s out of stock but they have a lot of great prints!) and I liked the pink and orange together and that it kind of looked like lipstick kisses all over, fitting with my romantic theme. It was a pain and a half to sew with, but I think the end result is worth it!

I made a size medium after looking at the finished garment measurements and think the fit is pretty perfect. I didn’t make any alterations and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. I signed up for their newsletter as well and it seems like they offer a lot of great support. Techniques and tips, workshops, and a lot of inspiration to help you get a great finish with your makes.

After sewing a lot of more every day, meant to go with everything pieces, I am absolutely in love with this dress. It’s a statement and I feel fantastic in it! While I was prepping for this review I also picked up the Nikki Blazer and the Erin Oversized Dress. Check out all their patterns. I love the fun details and thought that go into these designs.

Here are the questions you guys helped me come up with and Eryn’s answers!

What is your design background? I am a self-taught designer. I draw inspiration from trends, body silhouettes, and the lifestyle around my ideal customer. 

When and why did you start making your own patterns? I began designing my own patterns in 2016 after a failed attempt at opening a clothing boutique. After the online boutique I partnered with went out of business and did not tell me, I was left with designs that I decided to convert into sewing patterns. 

Who do you design for? Who is your target audience? I design for the fashionable woman on the go who loves a touch of flair with her contemporary pieces. She is extroverted and her calendar is usually booked with family, friends, and organizational events. She enjoys being femine and carving out time in her day to take care of herself – even in the smallest way. 

What level of sewer do you design for? I design for the intermediate sewer, but provide supporting content that empowers a confident beginner to sew my patterns. 

What is your size range? My size range is XS-3XL, which is approximately a 0-26 in US sizing. Our size chart is available on every pattern’s product page of our website.

Why did you pick this range? I chose those size range to cover most standard and plus sizes. 

What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on? Our patterns are drafted for 5’7″ height, C cup, and a 8 inch hip to waist difference. In combination with size, we draft for curvier bodies with a bigger bust-waist-hip ratio.

Do you support Black Lives Matter? As a black woman owned company, Style Sew Me fully supports the pursuit of equal and fair treatment of black people. 

What are some ways that you are anti racist and inclusive in your company on a day to day basis? 
I am blessed to have a community of men and women all over the world and I use my platform to educate and empower without alienating. I use my platform to share content supporting inclusivity and diversity in many forms of conversations, including BLM, racial injustices, and simply sharing and uplifting the content from makers of all shades and sizes throughout the creative community. In our small Team Style Sew Me, we are made up of a variety of ethnicities and are located in different parts of the world. Any team member that comes on board with me, especially those who interact with our customers, are educated on conversations, terms, and events that shape the way we speak to our customers. 

I love it! Have you ever sewn a Style Sew Me pattern? I hope you’ll go check them out and have a look around if not because I think this is a fantastic company and one to have on your radar.

If you like these reviews I’ve started a Krofi account where you can leave a small tip that will go towards future reviews. I know it is a difficult time for a lot of people right now and am happy to do these reviews, but appreciate any support, whether through that account or just by sharing my reviews with anyone else you might think would like them!

I also have a Youtube video with this review if you would like to check it out!

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!

Whit’s Reviews///The Ilford Jacket

I am back with another Pattern Company review (check out my past one’s here!) and I am so excited to share this company.

Friday Pattern Company is a fairly popular indie sewing company, you’ve most likely at least heard of their patterns like the Wilder Gown and maybe you’ve sewn up a few of their patterns.

I really wanted to highlight this company after listening to Chelsea, the owner, talk about it on this episode of Love to Sew. I highly recommend giving it a listen! I found Chelsea to be so inspiring, on so many levels, but particularly on how she set up her business. From the get go she decided to make sure she had giving back built in to her business plan. Instead of saying, ‘when I make x amount of sales’ she immediately just took 5% off of the profits from each pattern and gave them to charity. I LOVE this. From the word go she decided to make her work about something bigger than herself. It makes me want to support this company, but it also makes me look at my life and see where I can build in giving back.

I also love how diverse her marketing is. From gender nuetral patterns, to showing different sizes, abilities, and races in all their marketing, Friday Pattern Company makes it clear that their designs are for everyone. I love that and I love that they are actively trying to make their sizing even more inclusive.

Here are the questions my readers helped me come up with and Chelsea’s answers to them. To see my thoughts on the specific pattern the Ilford Jacket, check out my youtube video here!

What is your design background? When and why did you start making your own patterns?I have been sewing since I was a child and went to school for fashion design. I always knew that the fashion industry wasn’t really for me and  in 2017 I started Friday Pattern Company. 

Who do you design for? Who is your Target Audience?I don’t really have a target audience as I hope that anyone who feels inspired by my designs feels welcome to sew them! I love that I have a very diverse customer base. 

What level of sewer do you design for? I always keep the beginner sewist in mind when I design. I love designing things that are accessible for someone who is just getting started. A lot of my designs are also somewhat modular and hackable so that more experienced sewists can use them as a jumping off point.

What is your price point and why?My PDF patterns range from $12-16 and my printed patterns range from $18-20. This is in line with the industry standard and the price that I need to charge to support myself and my business along with the charities that the patterns benefit.

What is your size range? Why did you pick this range? What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on?I am in the process of updating my size range. When I first started Friday, my sizing was XS-XXL (up to 46” bust). Once the company grew I added more sizes up to 4X (up to 54” bust). And then I felt that that wasn’t a large enough size range so I am now bringing all of my patterns up to 7X (up to 60” bust). Different patterns have different additional sizing options. Some have multiple lengths, some have multiple cup sizes. The height that my block is built on is 5’6”.

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?I do support Black Lives Matter. 5% of the proceeds from all of my patterns go to charity with each pattern benefitting a different charity. Most benefit charities that support marginalized communities like the ACLU, the Trevor Project, the Loveland Foundation, RAICES, and more. Beyond that I make sure that all of my marketing and social media reflects the inclusivity and diversity that is at the heart of Friday Pattern Company. 

Is there anything else you would like people just discovering your company to know?Friday Patterns are designed to be fun. I believe strongly in the transformative power of the joy that comes with learning to sew your own clothing. If you’re sewing with a Friday pattern I want you to have fun and feel inspired to express yourself! 

Thank you Chelsea for taking part in this series! I knew going in that Friday Pattern Company patterns were worth spending your time and money on, but I hope this post proved it. I can’t wait to see what this company does in the years to come!

Whit’s Reviews/// Greenstyle Creations

Every month I choose an indie sewing pattern company, buy one (or more!) of their patterns, sew it up, and review it for you. Along with my thoughts on the actual pattern, I reach out to the company and ask them a few questions that all of you have helped me come up with. My goal is to help us all find smaller companies that are doing the work to promote sustainability, inclusivity, and allyship within the day to day runnings of their companies.

Today I’m happy to talk about Greenstyle Creations. I found this company over the summer and was so happy to find a source for activewear and performance wear patterns. I shared everything I made to build up my workout clothes Monday if you want to check out that post here!

I decided to make two of their patterns as well as buy some of their fabric (yes they sell fabric!!) I made the Power Sports Bra and Cavallo leggings, and not just once! I made multiple sets to all mix and match! To see all my thoughts on these patterns, check out this video! In short, I love them and have been wearing them non stop. So many great options and details and the instructions take all of the scariness out of making your own activewear.

I reached out to Greenstyle on a Thursday afternoon and by that evening I had their full reply and a discount code. I would say that I can definitely recommend them for customer service after that experience!

To find out more about Greenstyle, please read their answers to our questions below. I highly recommend this company and if you want to go support them, you can use discount code GS15WM to get 15 % off all sewing patterns from now until October 31st. Happy sewing everyone!!

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

I actually have a degree in mechanical engineering. I have been sewing since I was about 5 years old and always love creating my own clothes.  I started making patterns about 8 years ago when the PDF patterns were just getting started. 

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

I design mostly adult patterns with a few kids patterns here and there.  I love to design athleisure and technical performance patterns.  

What level of sewer do you design for?

We have everything from beginner friendly patterns to intermediate.

What is your price point and why?

our patterns range from $6 to $14.  The prices reflect the options and size ranges available

What is your size range? Why did you pick this range? What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on?

Our older patterns are from XS to 3XL but our new patterns (starting 1 1/2 years ago) are different and sized alphabetically  from B to M so from a 32″ hip to a 62″ hip

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?

At Greenstyle we support sewists of all abilities, backgrounds, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, races, religious beliefs, and nationalities. We stand behind our message of inclusively, and during these difficult times, we stand with our Black sewists and all others in the Black community.

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

we have a very active and supportive FB group and we would love to have your viewers and listeners join our group.

Thank you Greenstyle Creations for taking the time to be a part of this series!

Whit Review/// The Navigator Pullover

I have my second pattern company review to share today in my new series where I dive deeper into indie sewing companies. My hope is that as a community we can lift up smaller companies that are doing the work as allies and find new companies to support!

Today I’m going to talk about Love Notions. Now this is a new to me company, I only started hearing about them this spring. I know a lot of fellow sewists that make and promote their patterns all the time so I thought I would give them a look.

At first glance I really appreciated the diversity of patterns. There are a lot of great womens and mens patterns as well as childrens and I like that so many are pretty gender neutral. The size range is pretty large in all of these different patterns and I love the price point. There are also regular sales on patterns. I scooped up quite a few this summer when they had a big $5 pattern sale!

The value in these patterns feels really great as well. I chose to make and review the Navigator pullover, which covers sizes 2T to 16. For five dollars this kind of great staple is just incredible! I will be making my kids these pullovers for the rest of their childhoods!

The instructions are clear, there are a lot of resources available to learn new techniques, and I thought that while the patterns I made were basic, they all have clever construction details that make your finished garment look really professional.

I made both my son and daughter a Navigator pullover and I just love how they turned out. In fact I love them so much I bought the women’s and men’s version of this pattern to make for my husband and me!

Cozy, simple, but with great style lines, this pullover is something that will be worn on a daily basis here in Colorado. I made the version with the collar, there is also a hood option, and I think you could have a lot of fun playing with colorblocking and add some details with the zipper and pocket lining.

I used a lightweight sweatshirt fleece that is really perfect for this time of year and I chose the colors based on my kids’ houses at Hogwarts! That may have won me mom of the year!

My only disappointment in doing this review is that Love Notions never got back to me after I reached out to them multiple times on multiple platforms. I admit that leaves a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, I understand that small businesses may not have time to answer the questions I’ve put together and I certainly understand that everyone’s lives right now are a more upended than usual, however I would have appreciated an acknowledgment of my correspondence.

That being said, this company seems to have a clear mission statement (that you can see here) and everything from their sizing to their testers to what they showcase on their social media feed leads me to believe that this company does in fact practice what they preach!

Because of what I see from their presence online, I think I can safely recommend this company to my followers that care about racial justice, sustainability, and the environment. I look forward to hearing from Love Notions someday and will most definitely be sewing their patterns again!

I purchase these patterns on my own and all thoughts and opinions are mine. I receive no compensation from these posts.

Whit’s Reviews/// The Lima Dress

I am very excited to start what I hope will become a monthly series here on my blog and Youtube channel! I am purchasing and making a pattern from an indie pattern company and sharing the thoughts on my process. Along with looking at the pattern, I am sending the designer a list of questions that you all helped me come up with and sharing them here!

Full disclosure, my intention going into these reviews is to be positive. While I will absolutely offer any critical feedback or struggles I have, you will never see me drag a company. I will always reach out to the designer for any issues I may have and will let you know about them as well as their response.

I have a running list going of companies I hope to review, but please leave any that you know and love and want to get more love or any that you’ve been interested in trying!


Today I am looking at Kosedo Studio  and reviewing the Lima Dress. I saw Sew Natural Dane post her dress earlier this summer and was intrigued by the sleeves. When I saw that Black Makers Matter was featuring this dress for the month of August (go check them out as they have a sew along and a coupon code!), I moved some things around to hurry up and get this dress made. Go check out the hashtag on Instagram to see some lovely versions and how this pattern looks on different bodies.

I reached out to Vanessa, knowing she was very busy this month, and she was so kind in her response and sent back the answers to the questions quickly. While I didn’t need customer service, I think this speaks to how quickly you could expect to get a response if you needed it! Here is what she had to say about her company!

What is your design background?

Creativity runs in the family; I grew up watching my mother sew and my father draw. I remember getting my first handwheel sewing machine for my 5th birthday; I fell in love instantly. Over the years, you could find me playing with different patterns and sketching designs. I always knew I wanted to study fashion design. On my journey to becoming, I studied fashion tailoring and fashion product development.  

 I took my first steps into the fashion industry about 15 years ago as a design assistant but quickly found my way to pattern making and fit technology. 

Throughout the years, I’ve developed designs as a garment technician for famous highstreet brands. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world visiting and working with different garment factories. After witnessing firsthand the environmental and socio-economic impact of the fashion industry, I wanted to help get us back on track.

Sustainability has become a core pillar of my personal life; I hope by teaching people to sew, they’ll develop more respect for the skill and the time it takes to create a single piece of clothing (what we in the industry refer to as, slow fashion). 

When and why did you start making your own patterns? Who do you design for?

My brand targets curvy women, women that love feminine style, bold colors, and prints. 

 What level of sewer do you design for?

The current patterns are for the intermediate level sewist. However, I want to have patterns with different skill levels so that the sewist’s talent will increase each time a pattern is finished and then move on to the next level of pattern. The degree of difficulty charts show you the skills my pattern requires.

What is your price point and why?

Due to my unique sizing system, it has taken a lot of time to develop the patterns. I currently have 3 standard sample sizes and 6 additional sizes.  I believe you should be able to make the pattern by only looking at the illustrations, so extra care is put into the details of the illustrations. I do provide all the sizes, Copyshop option, all sizes in separate layer and seam allowance options for at home printing. 

What is your size range? Why did you pick this range? What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on? 

The size chart is developed with the curvy body in mind, length 168cm (5ft5) and Cup size B/C till G. The Kosedo size chart is unique in that sizes don’t grade up from a small size 6 to a 24 US. I grade in small groups of 5 sizes. I always sample and fit the middle size of each group and grade up and down only 2 sizes. This means that at the moment we have 3 sample sizes. Block sample sizes are A4 EU38/US6/UK10  B4 EUR47/US15/UK19 (due to the grading the size falls in-between sizes) C4 EUR54/US22/UK26. Developing patterns in like this achieves a better fit as we can make adjustments according to the size groups instead of having consistent and standard grading.  

Why I developed a unique size chart?

In my mind, indie means uniqueness, thinking outside the box, representing minorities and making decisions based on my own values and beliefs. Instead of following the mainstream. I follow my own fashion sense and style. As an independent designer I work closely with the sewing community to serve their needs; and the community has curves.

 I always found it strange that the fashion industry targets and develops clothes for only one body type; women with straight bodies, no hips, that don’t have many curves. I always said that when I started my own fashion business, I would make sure my brand was more size inclusive. When I started my business, I developed a unique size chart for my patterns because I didn’t want to start from a sizing system that didn’t recognize women like me with curves and a sway back. 

 The mainstream sizing systems also don’t take into account smaller women with fuller breasts, hips, and booty. The fashion industry seems to think that only plus-size women have curves. My clothes, patterns, and unique sizing chart offer solutions are designed with curves in mind. I’m surrounded by curvy girls everyday, in fact, I’m a curvy girl myself and it’s about time that there is a sizing system created to be inclusive. 

Do you support Black Lives Matter? 

Yes, of course, as a black woman living in the Netherlands who has worked in the fashion industry, I know very well what racism is. It gives me hope that we are now having well needed conversations. It’s important to me that my children live in a world where they can be themselves. 

What are some ways that you are anti racist and inclusive in your company on a day to day basis?

I am really intentional with everything I do in my business from the models I work with to the illustrations I make and my sizing system. I specifically make patterns with curvy women in mind as the industry often excludes us.


Don’t you love her?! Here’s what I want to say about this pattern (I will list nitty gritty details below like always). It is obvious when making this pattern that Vanessa loves to sew. The attention to detail makes the process so enjoyable, I loved making this pattern as much as I love the result. She states her commitment to including curvy women in her patterns and the care with her sizing chart makes that clear. There are a lot of options and so much information to help you find your size. The drafting of this pattern is beautiful and I got a really great fit on my first try along with a dress that has beautiful finishes. I will absolutely be making this pattern again and would love to try the maxi version in a drapey fabric.


///Pattern Details///

Pattern: The Lima Dress by Kosedo Studio in the shorter version

Size/adjustments made: I made size A6 and did take in the bodice a bit, would probably size down to A4 next time

Fabric: Soft washed linen in solid spice from Stylemaker

Final thoughts: I love the bodice of this dress so much that I have plans to work with it again, either to hack or add different sleeves. While not a beginner pattern, I would say that Vanessa’s instructions are clear enough for anyone wanting to expand their techniques and learn a few new skills.