Recent Make/// M8174

Today I have my last summer make to share with you and it is in the running for my favorite make of 2021. The day of our 15th wedding anniversary Chris kissed me good bye and told me to be ready at 6pm because a baby sitter was coming and we had dinner reservations. I mean, is there any better gift?!

So I did what any normal girl would do and I made myself a damn dress.

I had M8174 sitting on my ‘to make one day’ shelf along with fabric and went to work. I made this dress in one day, start to finish from prepping my fabric to hemming the final piece! This is a simple make, especially when you make the strappy version, and I liked some of the details they included with the instructions.

I made the size 14 and ended up needing to take in the bodice quite a bit and should probably take it in more. Next time I would size down to a 10 in the bodice and keep the 14 for the skirt, this should be fairly easy to do as they are all separate pieces! It would mean a little grading at the top of the skirt or bottom of the bodice just to get everything attached smoothly.

I love that the bodice is fully lined and I liked the instructions for adding elastic to the waistband. This really helps the dress keep its shape and prevents the skirt from weighing down the top.

I also liked the assembly of the skirt. Basically it’s two front pieces that overlap and I love the ruching on the side. It could be a bit tricky assembling the skirt, keeping track of left and right can be confusing, but the instructions are crystal clear. Just take you time reading them!

I made this dress out of a gorgeous bamboo jersey from Blackbird Fabrics in the color ‘blood orange.’ This material is clingy- so keep that in mind with a dress like this. You’re going to be able to see any lumps or bumps from underwear and need to plan accordingly!

I am in love with how this dress turned out. I feel beautiful in it and it’s so comfortable. I paired it with gold heels for my date night but like it with more casual sandals too. I think the longer versions would be amazing for a beach trip and the knit makes it easy to pack!

The Hallon Dress

Last summer when the Hallon Dress by Paradise Patterns came out, I immediately fell in love. It is my favorite kind of summer dress, loose and flowy (dare I say nightgown adjacent?) and the back is just incredible. It’s so simple but makes a big impact and every version I’ve seen looks fantastic.

I bought this cotton double gauze in the color solid rust from Stylemaker Fabrics earlier this summer and only just now got around to sewing the dress. This gauze is gorgeous, so soft and drapes really nicely. It was a perfect match for this pattern.

I made up the size 6 of version A and ended up having to take it in a bit. Next time I will either do a straight 4 or maybe even sew a 2 in the bust and grade to a 4 everywhere else. I sewed this one up very quickly, you can watch me make it here!, and the instructions are top notch. Lots of detail for beginners and really clear diagrams for each step.

I will probably not get too much wear out of this right now but am happy to pack it away and pull it out next summer. I’m sorry it took me so long to get around to but am in love with the end result so it was worth the wait.

This was a fairly simple make but I’m happy to answer any questions I may have not covered! I have a few more summer sews to catch you up on next week and then I’m ready for all things fall!

Fun Summer Dress/// McCalls 8104

I have my latest make to share here today and I’m sohappy with how it turned out! I saw this fabric on the Stlyemaker Fabrics website back in the spring and just fell in love with it. It’s rare that I immediately know what I want to make with a print so I picked some up. It’s a Textured Voile Shirting and the weight is just perfect for warm summer weather.

I decided to sew it up as McCalls 8104, the Dawn Dress. I bought this pattern back when I knew I wanted to try and focus on shirt making a bit more. It is a full button up dress but I liked the neckline and that there was no collar. It makes it feel a little breezier and I thought the silhouette paired with this fabric would be a big win.

I made a straight size 10 with no adjustments and it fits perfectly. It is rare to have to make no adjustments so I am thrilled with how easy this was to sew up! I added teal buttons, also from Stylemaker, and I love how they work with the print.

I think this dress will get a lot of wear this summer as it’s equally polished and comfortable. The seaming of the bodice and cut of the neck works well with my smaller chest and I think gives me curves where I need them. I love it with sandals and it would look cute with a dressier shoe as well.

Harper took these pictures (in like 2 min tops so I’m glad some of them turned out!) and told me the dress was ‘pretty cute mom!’ so I will take that as high praise!

Sewing My Spring Capsule/// M8085

Moving right along in making my Spring Capsule using the guide from Everyday Style! Today I have my first dress to show you and I have to say that initially I was not too sure about this one. However I wore it Sunday and I like it so much more! So maybe not my favorite thing every, but incredibly comfortable and easy to wear.

The Capsule Piece: The guide calls for an easy day dress and I immediately thought of a t-shirt dress. Something that looks put together but is comfortable and covered up enough that I can chase a toddler on the playground. I love easy dresses when the weather gets warmer and they really become staples in my wardrobe.

The Pattern and Fabric: This pattern is M8085 and I made version B. There are a few options with length and sleeves but it is a pretty basic pattern. The fabric is a Double Brushed Poly knit. I don’t wear a lot of prints but I thought this might be one that would get worn since it’s a color I love and the floral print is a little more abstract.

Details: This is version B in the size medium with the bodice lengthened one inch. I ended up taking in quite a bit in the bodice and really wish I had just made the small. This came together really quickly and honestly I think you could sew up something similar without a pattern at all. Find a tank or t-shirt you like and attach a few rectangles to it.

The pattern does call for stay tape in the shoulder seams and next time I would probably add something to the waist band too as that is a heavy seam and it pulls quite a bit.

I was a little underwhelmed with the details of this pattern. With such a simple make I was hoping for a bit more effort in the finishings, but the hems are just turned under and there’s nothing super special about it. I would never pay full price for this one, there’s just not a lot to it?

How I plan to wear it: This is going to be a throw on with white sneakers kind of dress! I could also layer it up with my denim jacket. This will never be a fashion forward type of garment, but it will absolutely get worn and I think it turned out pretty cute!

Mini Me/// Burda 9304

Today I have a quick, cute little dress to share with you. I like putting these here, even if there’s not a ton to say about them!, in case you find yourself looking for kids’ clothes to make. I hope you enjoy!

This is a classic little girls sundress, Burda Kids 9304, and it comes in US sizes 6-11. I chose version A with a fully lined bodice, gathered skirt, patch pockets, and ties for straps. I’ve had this pink gingham in my stash for years and was happy to use it up for this breezy summer dress for my daughter. I bought some yellow buttons (her favorite color!) to add a fun detail and sewed up the size 11 pretty quickly.

It’s not warm enough to wear this out yet (hence the no pictures!) but soon I hope to get a picture with her and her brothers. I made them little bow ties out of the scraps!

I did have an issue with the button hole foot on my machine so I ended up just closing the skirt together and sewing the buttons on top for decoration. It works out fine, I’m not sure what was going on but I’ve made buttons on another project and it worked again.

Happy to have this fabric out of my stash and my daughter is very happy with her pretty new dress!

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!

Last of the Summer Sewing

I have what will be the last of my summer sewing to share today and it’s a remake of a dress I never shared, so today you get a two for one!

This is a McCalls pattern that came out at the end of last summer. I picked it up because I loved the loose, swinging vibe mixed with these amazing sleeves. I made my first version right before we moved out of a poly crepe and I never really got to wear it much. When I put it on for these pictures I realized how great it was and am going to try to throw it into my nightgown adjacent attire rotation.

ACS_1304

For the second dress I knew I wanted to lengthen the bodice and I made it a size smaller. I had *just* enough fabric (that is the theme for this summer apparently) so the sleeves are a little shorter and the skirt is a little narrower, but I love these changes. I think it’s a bit of a different vibe from the first one and it’s so comfortable to wear.

ACS_1302

I’ve been seeing this dress pop up on instagram quite a bit lately and I think it’s because it’s a very simple make, I got it sewn up in one nap time!, and it’s loose and cool while still being cute. Perfect for throwing on in these hot final days of summer when we’re all mostly still at home!

I think the maxi version of this dress with the flutter sleeves would be gorgeous in a floral print for spring next year so I may keep that in mind when I’m looking at fabrics. Now that the bodice fits pretty perfectly, I might sew this up one more time. Sewing a pattern multiple times is a little unusual for me, so that’s how you know I love it!

///Pattern Detais////

Pattern and version made: This is M7969 and both of these are version A

Size and alterations: The leopard print is a size small, no alterations, and the newest version is an extra small bodice with alterations to the skirt and sleeve made to work with limited fabric. I also lengthened the bodice about an inch and a half, and I prefer where this one hits me.

Fabric Used: The animal print is a poly crepe I got from Blackbird last year and this version is a gorgeous Atelier Brunette rayon challis I picked up from Stylemaker Fabrics. 

Final Thoughts: I love this easy dress, especially for summer. Simple to make with fun details that keep it from being too basic. I prefer a little tighter fit in the bodice, simply because the wrap can feel like it’s loose and opening which isn’t ideal, but otherwise love the drafting of this dress. Would recommend this to more beginning sewists has it has no closures and the sleeve is easy to install, even with the gathers, since it is raglan style. I also think you get a lot of bang for your buck with this pattern as all the versions have a very different feel to them.

 

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!

ACS_1296

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.

ACS_1297

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.

ACS_1299

///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.

A Possibly Finished Dress

I sewed up this dress last weekend and can’t decide if it’s finished or not. I’ve seen this dress all over instagram and I’ve seen iterations of this style everywhere. It’s a great dress to make in cool summer fabrics and just trendy enough with the tiered skirt option.

I bought this eyelet knowing I wanted to experiment with this fabric this summer, either in a skirt or as a dress. I love it combined with this pattern but just didn’t have quite enough for that second tier piece. This means this dress ended up a little shorter than intended and is what makes this only possibly finished.

I added a strip of fabric to give me a little bit of more coverage, but I’m not sure how necessary it is? I also don’t know if it’s too short or just shorter than I was planning/what I usually wear. I’m debating whether or not to buy more fabric and add a third tier. If I do that I will get enough to make my daughter a little matching dress too as she loved this fabric when I showed her!

What do you think? I am also considering buying a coordinating plain fabric and making a little slip dress to wear underneath. Right now I have a nude slip that is fine, but I think a matching color in a cool cotton would be lovely.

ACS_1293///Pattern Details///

Pattern and Version: M7948 version C with D sleeves

Size/adjustments made: straight size 10, no adjustments needed. I did finish with bias tape rather than a facing, simply because of the fabric. I also left out the pockets for the same reason.

Fabric: This Circle Dot Embroidered Cotton Eyelet in Olive from Style Maker Fabrics

Final Thoughts: A simple, breezy summer dress that I could absolutely see myself making again. I did not have enough fabric however, and am stuck on what to do (if anything!) with this dress. Love the sleeves and it’s very simple to make. A beginner to sewing would have a lot of success with this trendy pattern.

Stripes, Stripes, and More Stripes!

ACS_1273

If you’ve been following me through my Conscious Closet journey you know that I really tend to wear more solids and not many prints. I had this fabric in my stash from at least a year ago and wanted to make something out of it, push myself a bit out of my comfort zone. I happened to be cutting this out while listening to the episode of Love to Sew on pattern matching and figured now was as good a time as any to play with the print a little bit. This was the result!

ACS_1274

I love this dress! I had just enough fabric for it and it’s a great summer light weight cotton. I need to replace the snaps as these are too heavy for this fabric, but otherwise it turned out perfectly. ACS_1277

Pattern Details:

Pattern: B6674, version A (minus the self made belt as I ran out of fabric!)

Size/Adjustments made: I made the size 12 in the A/B custom cup sizing. I did have to take in the sides a little, but the fit out of the envelope was really great on this one.

Fabric: This striped voile that I can’t remember where or when I bought it, but you can find it here!

Final thoughts: I love the shape of this dress and was very happy with how I French seamed the inside. It fits so well and I liked playing with the stripes. However I made the mistake of using snaps (just because they were in my stash!) that are not the right weight or size for this light weight fabric. I plan on finding some smaller, lighter snaps and taking the time to change them out.