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!

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!

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!

My Fall Module/// McCall’s 8145

Today I have my first top from my fall module to share with you! You can find my topper and 2 bottoms here if you would like to see the whole collection.

I haven’t been purchasing many big four patterns this summer as I’ve been trying to support and promote indie companies that are outspoken allies. However I really liked a lot of things in the McCalls and Vogue fall release so when they went on sale I made a couple of purchases.

This top, M8145 , looked like a fun one to add to my stash. It’s a knit faux wrap top with a thick band around the waist and very dramatic sleeves. I am in need of more separates and liked the idea of view B in a sweater knit for the fall. I like that it’s comfortable and easy to wear but is still a little extra.

I sewed up the size 12 in this Plush sweater knit in solid paprika from Stylemaker Fabrics. I admit I’m not one hundred percent impressed with this fabric. It has a synthetic feel to it and after working with all the other fabrics in this module, I can really tell a difference. I do love the color however, I will just make note that this specific fabric isn’t for me in the future.

This was a really simple sew, I filmed my process here!, and I like the end result. I’m going to make note that if I sew it again I would like to lengthen the bodice a bit and maybe take in the band some too. I find that it does ride up and as it’s already right at my natural waist, it can show more skin than I want if I’m not careful.

I do love where the wrap hits though. Sometimes wrap tops can be really low cut or feel like they are gaping open. This one stays closed and I like how high up it is. I feel covered up (and warm!) but it’s still cute.

And these sleeves! I love these sleeves so much. The cuff is nice and thick so everything is secure and out of your way but you still get all the draaaahhhmmmaa of the sleeves. There is a version with the sleeves uncuffed but I don’t understand how that would be even remotely practical as this is a lot of fabric! Just something to note if you’re thinking of making this up.

This top is a little out of my style comfort zone, but I think making it in such a rich solid fabric means it will get a lot of wear. I loved making this top from start to finish and am really pleased with how it turned out!

My Fall Module/// Blackwood Cardigan

Today I have the topper of my fall module. You can see my two bottoms here and here if you want to catch up!

So this is one make that I’m a little unsure about. The pattern itself is lovely and I love this color and the fabric, but I’m not completely sure a cardigan is something I will wear a lot. It’s not the best choice for a topper with this specific module as it doesn’t fit over sweaters, but it was a case of having everything to make it and wanting to try it out.

All that being said, I do love how it turned out! And I’m going to try and find ways to wear it with other pieces from my closet. Maybe this weight will be a great layering piece and it turns out I am a cardigan person? We shall see!

I bought this pattern, the fabric, and all the other supplies from Needle sharp subscription box a few months ago. I’ve talked about Needle Sharp before, but it really is a great box to have everything you need for a project! If you’re looking for unique gift ideas for the sewists in your life, I recommend checking out her shop.

The pattern I chose with this box was the Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet Patterns in this yellow cotton knit. This is my second time making a Helen’s Closet Pattern and they are just the best. Her instructions are so clear and in depth and I appreciate that even with simple patterns there are lovely details and finishing touches. I would recommend any new sewists to check out her patterns as I think you would have great success with them!

So how’s that for a review? A garment that is lovely but I’m not sure I’ll wear? Very happy to have this pop of yellow in my closet and I will challenge myself to reach for it in the coming months.

Workout Collection Reveal

As I’ve been diving deep into my closet, I’ve noticed a pretty big hole, my workout clothes! Everything I own is at least a couple of years old and it was time to get some more leggings and sports bras. I decided to spend the past two weeks making my own!

I chose 5 fabrics that could all mix and match in various ways and got to work sourcing patterns. I wanted to make clothes for actually working out but also things that were comfortable for lounging around in and things that could work for hikes and walks.

My first two makes are these Seamwork Mel joggers and this Greenstyle Creations Power Sports Bra. I’ve made these joggers before and they are a quick, cozy make. They are perfect in this light weight mustard cotton spandex french terry I picked up from Surge Fabrics. I loved the color and thought they would be warm enough for fall and to layer up in winter, but not so warm that I could actually sweat in them when we do our at home workouts.

I knew this fabric wouldn’t be the most supportive so I thought this racerback version of the bra would be a fun option, and it is! Perfect for lounging or walks and again, you know I love this color.

My next set is another version of the Power Sports Bra paired with the Cavallo Leggings. This green poly/lycra fabric is also from Surge fabrics and I didn’t have quite enough for all the details I wanted, so I dug in my stash for this gray performance wear fabric. I’m so happy because I ended up loving the color blocking even more than if it were all green! This bra is the strappy u back option with an 1 inch band. The leggings have the slanted pocket option and the ultra high rise waist band.

My final set is another Power Sports Bra and Cavallo Legging, this time in this beautiful fabric I bought from Greenstyle Fabrics. I loved the colors and the play on an animal print. The only difference in this set and the last one is that the bra has a 2 inch elastic band and the straight back.

I wanted a couple of layers to throw over the sports bras or tank tops and t-shirts and I decided on one light weight and one thicker. This pink heathered baby french terry is from Surge and I sewed the Uvita top from Itch to Stitch using the add on pattern. I added the hood, cuffs with thumbholes, kangaroo pocket, and bottom band. This pattern sewed up really quickly and it’s a great weight for layering in Colorado weather.

My final top is made out of this gray cable quilted knit from Surge and it is warm and cozy. The pattern is M7874 and I love the seam lines on this top. Another easy one to sew up but I think the details on this make it look ready to wear.

I loved sewing this little module and I know I will get a lot of use from these items. I was intimidated to try activewear, but honestly it was all fairly simple to make! I will have a more detailed review of Greenstyle Creations to share with you Wednesday, but if you’re interested in trying some of their patterns, they have offered my readers a 15% discount on any of their patterns! Just use the code GS15WM at checkout!

Kid’s Fall Module Part Three Finished!

I am finally at the end of my month long sewing of kids’ clothes! All three children now have great pieces to mix and match with stuff they already have and practical things to layer up as the weather is turning cooler.

Today I have my daughter’s module to share with you! Just for a brief recap, a module includes one topper, two pants, and three tops. The idea is everything can be worn together and also works with what’s already in her closet. You can see my two year old’s module here and my older son’s here.

For my daughter’s topper, this is one you’ve already seen! It’s the Navigator pullover by Love Notions patterns. I have an entire post about this (read it here) but this has proven to be such a useful layering piece in her wardrobe already. We’ve had cooler mornings and warmer days and this is just the perfect weight. I used this sweatshirt fleece and it’s yellow, her favorite color!, for house Hufflepuff!

For her bottoms, I realized she really had a hole in her wardrobe when it came to pants that aren’t jeans. So I decided to make her a pair of denim leggings and two pairs of joggers.

Those leggings are from this issue of Ottobre magazine. I know it’s hard to see in the picture, but there is a pleating detail on the knee that elevates these a bit and I hope will also make them last a little longer. This stretch denim was in my stash and I had the perfect amount for these leggings!

The mint joggers are another Ottobre magazine pattern and this fabric is a soft knit from Art Gallery. I love the color and she loves how soft they are, but they are a little thin. These will work more as leggings but the legs are pretty narrow so I think that will be fine!

The mustard yellow joggers are the True Bias mini Hudsons and I made them out of this gorgeous knit. These are definitely thicker and will be able to be worn on cooler days and it would be easy to fit long johns underneath if she wanted an added layer for warmth!

And finally, we have her tops! I love how all of these came out and how great all the colors in this whole module work together. All three are from Ottobre (I put that subscription to good use this month!) and all sewed up really quickly.

That owl fabric is from Art Gallery and I had some leftover from a failed project. I was so happy to use it and love the light pink rib knit with it.

The tunic is another Art Gallery (their knits are just so lovely to work with!) and I liked using that mustard yellow for some contrast.

This periwinkle sweat shirting is so soft and this oversized sweatshirt will get a lot of wear. I made the top of the size range, I think it was an Ottobre 123?, and I wish I could have gone higher. I may be on the hunt for an indie version of this pattern or try and draft it up. I can see her wanting to wear more of these!

And there we go! The final kid’s fall module is done! I have loved working on these. I know that my sewing skills have gotten better, I’m a whiz at pants now!, and most of these did not take much time so it was really gratifying to be able to finish a garment in one session.

I’m ready to get back to me though! I will be back Saturday with some workout gear I’ve been sewing up and a great discount code so you can get sewing some for yourself!

Three Tank Tops

These past few months I’ve noticed a change in how and what I sew. Lockdown and not being able to pop into a store whenever I want meant that I got creative with the supplies I had on hand. I’ve gone through all my thread (even if it didn’t exactly match) and my fabric stash has gotten very low. I have been taking my time (no rush because there’s no where to wear the new clothes) and really considering what I want to make. Will it be something I love? Something I reach for again and again? Now that I’ve started making purchases I take the same consideration into what I buy along with examining the companies I’m giving my money to. I hope that when this dark time in the world is over, I keep these philosophies with me and remember that there were some benefits when I didn’t value convenience above all else.

These three tank tops are a result of needing some basics for summer and using the last of these rib knits that were in my stash. I’ve sewn up the terra-cotta and blue fabrics this year and had just (and I mean just!) enough left to eek out a tank top. The purple was a remnant I bought from Blackbird Fabrics some time last year. I’m not sure the color is great on me, but I think I can layer it up and get a lot of wear out of it as it’s very soft and cozy.  I am not huge on crop tops, but plan on wearing the terra-cotta tank for working out or sleeping in and maybe as an under layer with other tops.

I already owned this pattern from Seamwork, the Julia tank, and it’s very simple, just two pattern pieces. I wish they included the pattern for the bindings, but it’s not hard to cut out on your own. I made up the size small and found all three to be really big on me so if I make this again, I will size down.

The construction is easy, and while not the most exciting of makes, tank tops are things I wear all the time and I know I will wear these often.

Have you found that the pandemic has changed how you approach the seemingly small things (like hobbies or more mundane tasks) in your every day life?

Pattern details!

Pattern: Julia tank by Seamwork

Size/modifications: Small, had to take in on the sides after making

Fabric: bamboo rib knit from Blackbird Fabrics, mine were all scraps but click here to see their entire selection

Overall thoughts: Simple pattern, I don’t know if it’s the best tank out there but if you’re looking for a looser fit it’s definitely an easy one to reach for.