Category Archives: Pattern reviews

Pattern Review: McCalls 5591 + Butterick 6182

I am pretty sure I am in love.

McCalls 5591 & Butterick 6182 by Sew Maris

Bottom first. McCalls 5591, with pretty soft pleats and POCKETS, is definitely the fav skirt in¬†my closet right now. Add the fact that I made it from the leftover yardage from my crazy-linen-pants-making-marathon this summer makes me feel absolutely parsimonious. “Frugal” + “Maris” + “anything-related-to-sewing” are not normally combined in a single sentence. Oh, and did I mention all the fabric (black linen, white linen, and black stretch lace) was from my stash? That’s right. Extra points for frugality! ūüôā

McCalls 5591 & Butterick 6182 by Sew Maris

I made view A of the skirt so I could make good use of both pieces of leftover linen, and also get that classy hem band finish. Black and white is my favorite color palette anyway, so naturally this combo was my jam. I wore the heck out of this skirt over the summer, and loved it more each time I had it on. It is very Kate Spade, don’t you think? Polished, sophisticated, comfortable, feminine…..really, I can’t think of anything bad to say about this skirt. Except maybe the fact the pattern¬†is out-of-print now. Good luck with Etsy and eBay!

One issue was I didn’t have anything in my wardrobe that I thought was the perfect topper for this perfect skirt, tho. And¬†who wants a lonely¬†orphan skirt hanging in the closet?

My eldest DD owns a pretty black lace top, and I tried it on once my skirt was completed, just to see if the look/length/etc. were right. Yep, winner-winner-chicken dinner!

McCalls 5591 & Butterick 6182 by Sew Maris

I hemmed and hawed about which pattern I would use to try to re-create my DD’s top, and finally decided to hack Lisette’s B6182. If you check out the technical drawings on that pattern, you will see darts in the center front seam. I pinned those out, and set the front pattern piece on the fold instead of creating a center front seam line in lace. I did sort of just smash the tissue flat while I was cutting out the lace, which of course is not-great-patternmaking-practice, BUT. It was a knit, ladies! Definitely easier to break the rules with knits, and I took full advantage.

McCalls 5591 & Butterick 6182 by Sew Maris

I used bias strips of the leftover black linen to bind the neck and hem, and also cut the cuffs from the black linen. I already had a short black cami to wear underneath, and a couple of shoe options, so outfit complete. BAM!

I finished this outfit in July, and yes it is crazy that it took me so long to blog about it. But if you can find the skirt pattern, or are lucky enough to have it in your stash right now, MAKE.THIS.SKIRT! Then we can gush together about how great we lookit is.

Happy sewing!

Maris

Jalie 3353: Almost Instant Gratification

Sometimes all you want is a fast and easy-to-sew project.

You might need to fill a “hole” in your wardrobe, or maybe you want to use up a fabric from your stash. You could even be sick of fiddling with a complicated project that just won’t sew itself!

Jalie 3353 by Sew Maris

Enter Jalie Cocoon cardigan. Just 4 pattern pieces; front, back, sleeve cuff, and circular band. A few instructions that you barely need to reference (sew front to back at shoulder/sleeve seam, sew sleeve/side seam; apply cuffs, sew band pieces into a circle and attach to sweater) and this baby is done and done! Not even 1 hour of sewing time!

Jalie 3353 by Sew Maris

Cocoon sweaters are “in” again this season, and for a good reason. They are comfy, can be made from a variety of knit fabrics, and the shape can be adjusted slightly to flatter most figures. Oh and yes, they are a very quick sew!

While I do definitely like cocoon sweaters, I am not a fan of the styles with wide, batwing-ish sleeves. Too.Much.Fabric. The slimmer silhouette of Jalie 3353 works just about perfectly for my design aesthetic.

Jalie 3353 by Sew Maris

One thing. I did find the sleeves on this pattern to be a bit short and wide for my taste. After shooting these pix, I removed at least 3 inches from the lower sleeve circumference, and added a longer cuff to get the overall sleeve length I wanted. The sleeves was just too floppy, IMHO.

It is an easy pattern change Рjust remove an equal amount from the upper sleeve seam and the lower sleeve seam. I determined the amount to remove by basting first, trying on for fit, and then serging off the excess width.

Jalie 3353 by Sew Maris

I plan to make this sweater again using a yummy, red bamboo sweater knit currently resting in my stash. This pattern is a great topper for  pants and a tee, and provides just the right amount of warmth. I think it is a keeper!

What do you think of this silhouette? Have you ever tried wearing or making a cocoon-style sweater?

Happy sewing!

Maris

Vogue 1043 Review

There are times when a pattern just calls your name.

Vogue 1043 by Sew Maris

You know what I am talking about. Those times when a pattern can transport you to a different life. In this case, one that does not include washing dishes or cleaning bathrooms.¬†But DOES include¬†wearing crinolines. ūüôā

Vogue 1043 by Sew Maris

I don’t really have that many occasions to wear a silk “party” dress. But at a recent ASG dinner we were hosting some lovely ladies from McCall’s Pattern Company, and had been asked to wear a garment made from any of the McCall’s family of patterns. Vogue is usually my McCall’s pattern company of choice, and since I had the black silk dupioni, Bemberg lining, pattern, AND vintage mother-of-pearl belt buckle in my stash, how could I resist?

Vogue 1043 by Sew Maris

This pattern is really an easy sew. I have only made one other vintage reproduction pattern, and found it to be easy to assemble as well. The one change I did make was to fully line the top, rather than applying facings. I decided not to line the skirt, because as usual I was short on construction time and needed to get.it.done. I may go back and add a skirt lining later, but those big ole almost-circle-skirts take a lot of fabric and I am not sure I want to use up my Bemberg lining stash for this dress.

Vogue 1043 by Sew Maris

I hand-picked the zipper in place, mostly because I was terrified to machine stitch over the folds of the tuck on the bodice. That just seemed like a hot mess waiting to happen. With all the texture on silk dupioni no one could tell if my stitches are even and consistently placed or not. Winning!

Vogue 1043 by Sew Maris

Love the sleeve gussets. A little fiddly to set in, but not that bad. Of course because I lined the bodice I got to do it 4 times instead of just 2. Serves me right, eh?

The one fitting/wearing issue with this dress is keeping the upper front edges of the bodice laying flat and smooth. Part of this issue I probably created myself by pulling the stay tape a bit too tight. You know me – if a little is good, more is better, right? I added a small section of boning to each side after construction (stitched to the seam allowance), but I don’t think it helped too much. Maybe more boning? This is a good application for body tape, which I did wear at the Sew Expo dinner. I will try it once without tape, and see how annoying it is before attempting to redo the boning. Talk about fiddly!

Vogue 1043 by Sew Maris

I.LOVE.THIS.DRESS.

Vogue 1043 by Sew Maris

I would love to make it again in a light cotton voile for summer. A Liberty fabric would be gorgeous, but would cost a fortune to make up.

Have you ever sewn a vintage or a vintage reproduction pattern? Do you consider “vintage” part of your style?

Happy sewing,

Maris

Pattern Review: Citronille Mia Tunic

I was over-the-moon excited to be included in the Sew, Mama, Sew Citronille pattern challenge, sponsored by Fiddlehead Artisan Supply. I first discovered these charming French patterns for children while traveling in Paris some years ago. Swoon!

Citronille Mia Tunic for Sew Mama Sew by Sew Maris

Citronille is more well-known for their sweet, classic children’s patterns, but they also have a selection of adult patterns (many based on the same design lines as the children’s patterns). I made the Mia Top, a classic-looking asymmetrical tunic. I used some grey and white ikat Japanese cotton from¬†my stash, because, well, evidently I can only sew black for myself. ūüėČ

Citronille Mia Tunic for Sew Mama Sew by Sew Maris

First off, a few things you should know.First, Citronille patterns are written in French. If you are not fluent (and I am not), Fiddlehead has done you a favor and provided a glossary of terms plus a translation of the pattern instructions so you can figure how to put these garments together. Thank you, Fiddlehead! Second, the instructions are rather minimalist. If you have ever sewn with Style Arc patterns, the “depth” of instructional information is similar for Citronille. If you are an absolute beginner, you might have a little trouble. The patterns themselves are simple with only a few pattern pieces, but the finishing details assume you have some sewing knowledge. Finally, there are no fitting alterations/adjustment lines included.¬†No biggie for me, and you can (should?) get this information from fitting books anyway.

Now, let’s talk about the Mia top specifically. I was very attracted to this style because I love anything asymmetrical. It is just an edgier, more interesting design line to my eye.

Citronille Mia Tunic for Sew, Mama, Sew by Sew Maris

Here are a few things I noticed when I started working with the pattern.

  1. I was very surprised to see the front dart was the same size for all pattern sizes. Generally, the larger the garment size the larger the dart size, so that set off a little alarm bell in my head. I decided to just go ahead and try it as drafted.
  2. The grainlines were marked on each pattern piece, but notching was almost non-existent. OK, I know where things are supposed to line up, so I could deal with that.
  3. The pattern included a front, back, sleeve, front facing, and collar pattern piece, but no back facing. OK, no biggie, I drafted a back facing pattern in about 2 minutes.

The only pattern adjustments I made to the Mia top were for a forward shoulder and petite-ing above the waist, because I need those 2 adjustments on every pattern. Every.Single.One. Ready to cut out!

Citronille Mia Tunic for Sew, Mama, Sew by Sew Maris

Since there are only 5 (+ 1 back neck facing) pattern pieces, the cutting was fast and easy. I stitched the darts, then the shoulder seam, and then set in the sleeves. The instructions call for running an easing stitch first to help set the sleeve, but the Mia sleeve fits correctly into the armhole so I did not find this necessary. If this “no easing” technique is new to you, be sure to read over my How to Set in a Sleeve Without An Easing Stitch tutorial.

Citronille Mia Tunic for Sew Mama Sew by Sew Maris

When I went to stitch the side seams and sleeve seam (in one continuous seam), I discovered a pretty major drafting flaw. The front and back sides do not match up. By a lot; specifically¬†3/4 of an¬†inch. “Walking” the seamlines to ensure the lengths match is Pattern Drafting 101, so I consider this to be a major AND super-easy-to-correct pattern flaw that Citronille absolutely should correct. At this point, all I could do to my top was shorten the back to match the front. Depending on your preferred tunic length, you may prefer to extend the front and front facing pattern pieces to match the back length. At any rate, be aware of this¬†pattern flaw!

The rest of the pattern went together fine. I did not follow the pattern instructions regarding the collar + facing technique, because I detest the no-back-neck-facing-kludgey-collar-system. Truly. I hate it and never do the sew-one-collar-layer-then-stuff-the-seam-allowance-inside-and-hand-sew-the-opening-closed method. Far cleaner and easier to sew by including a back neck facing. Two minutes of pattern drafting solves this issue, and is well worth it IMHO.

The rest of the construction was easy. All in all, this top sewed up very quickly.

Citronille Mia Tunic for Sew, Mama, Sew by Sew Maris

Now let’s talk about fit and design. Despite my concern over the dart drafting, the¬†Mia Top¬†fit me very nicely, especially though the shoulders and armhole. There is good arm movement in this shirt, which is important in a woven garment! I think it fits well thru the bustline, but just barely. So if you are bigger than a C cup, beware. The fit through the waist and hip area was also just fine.

As for design, on my body I think it is just OK. It is a little too shapeless to be really flattering for me. Rolling the sleeves up helps, I think. Note that IMHO the overlap on the fronts is very odd; the extension is completely across the entire shirt front. This means that you are attempting to tie/button/snap the garment together in your armpit area. And just for the record, that is darn hard to do. The¬†Mia Top¬†would be much more wearable from my standpoint if it wasn’t so irritating to get into/close up properly, and reducing the front overlap would easily solve this issue.

Citronille Mia Tunic for Sew, Mama, Sew by Sew Maris

Despite the fact I think this top is a little “meh” on me, I definitely plan to sew some of the Citronille children’s designs. Maybe it was my fabric choice, or maybe they do not design for my body type. At any rate,¬†I definitely plan to sew up some of their¬†children’s patterns because I love, love, love many of their designs and my darling granddaughter needs a few of them in her wardrobe.

Be sure¬†to check out the beautiful things sewn up by the other bloggers in this challenge, who have all been posting this week‚ÄĒyou might just¬†fall in love with Citronille designs, too.¬†And don’t forget to enter to win a free Citronille pattern at Sew, Mama, Sew¬†next week!

Michelle Morris of That Black Chic
Sherri Sylvester of thread riding hood
Tenille Brien¬†of Tenille’s Thread
Ari Green of Max California
Marisa of thirtynine
Sara Johansen of the Sara project
Natalie Strand of Vegetablog
Diane Reafsnyder of Gator Bunny
Jessica Wright of Willow & Stitch
Sara Homer of Now Try This
Kelly Donovan of Craftree

Sew Mama Sew Fiddlehead Artisan Supply
“Sew Mama Sew are offering a chance to win a Citronille pattern of your choice, pay them a visit!”
Happy sewing!
Maris

Pattern Review: Davina Dress

It’s no secret; I love Itch to Stitch patterns!

Itch to Stitch Davina Dress by Sew Maris

I was lucky enough to help test her latest design, the Davina dress. ¬†Pretty, feminine, classic, great fit‚ÄĒshe pretty much hit all my buttons.

I sewed up my version in an ITY knit from my stash. This pattern requires a knit with a high stretch factor (at least 75%), and great recovery. This pattern is extremely fitted thru the bodice, so if you decide to use a fabric with a lower stretch factor you really should go up a size.

Itch to Stitch Davina Dress by Sew Maris

Wow. Someone didn’t even hem her Davina dress. I do normally hem my knit dresses, even though it is not required since there is no raveling. But this dress was barely long enough for my taste, despite adding 3 inches to the skirt length, so I opted to be daring.¬†My mother is seriously rolling over in her grave. ūüėČ

Itch to Stitch Davina Dress by Sew Maris

Such a great, twirly, half-circle skirt. Love, love, love!

Itch to Stitch Davina Dress by Sew Maris

There are loads of¬†sleeve length options, and¬†when I originally sewed this I tried out the medium short sleeve. Notice my version as pictured has no sleeves‚ÄĒfor 2 reasons.

One, sleeveless knit dresses are more  practical for me, since I find them more comfortable with a cardi over a bare arm rather than wrestling the sweater on top of sleeves.

Two, the one thing I wasn’t crazy about on this pattern was the armhole fit when the¬†sleeve¬†was¬†inserted. Maybe you can see that the armhole does not sit directly over the shoulder line. Super pretty design line for a sleeveless dress, but not so great IMHO with a¬†sleeve. I do have fairly broad shoulders, so maybe it is my personal fitting issue, but if you make the Davina Dress (and I hope you do!), this is an area to pay attention to.

Itch to Stitch Davina Dress by Sew Maris

I love this dress so much I plan on making another one very soon, in a solid jersey knit. The pretty gathers on the front bodice don’t show up well in my print version, and that + the circle skirt are my two favorite features of this pattern.

Right now you can buy the Davina Dress for 20% off, + also enter the raffle on Kennis’ web site to win a free copy of this pattern. If you are in the market for a fresh, feminine new dress pattern (duh, who isn’t??), then I hope you give the Davina a try. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it, too!

Happy sewing!

Maris

Style Arc Allison Skirt

Swingy. Classic. Feminine. Fast-to-sew.

Style Arc Allison Skirt by Sew Maris

What’s not to love about Style Arc’s Allison Skirt? I made this skirt up in a cotton/lycra knit I had in my stash. Double win! Used a pattern + fabric from my stash!

Style Arc Allison Skirt by Sew Maris

There are 2 inverted box pleats in the front and the back, so another bonus: easy dressing because there is no difference between the front and back side of the skirt!

Allison Skirt-1-5

I love this pattern, and plan to wear the heck out of my¬†skirt. One skirt pattern piece, and 1 waistband piece. Even with the fiddly pleat stitching on a soft knit, this skirt is a definite fast-sew. It is swingy and comfortable, and the narrow waistband (about 1/2 inch finished) is comfy but doesn’t scream “big ole fatty elastic waistband for old people.” Yeah, I’m a little sensitive about that one. ūüėČ

My one reservation is the weight of the fabric + the topstitching that secures the pleats in place. If you have not ever ordered Style Arc paper patterns from Australia, they include actual fabric swatches glued to their patterns, so you can tell exactly what fabrics they recommend. My fabric is a dead ringer for their sample swatch.

But. Those pleats. I feel like the weight of the pleat, stitched down to that pretty flimsy knit…..I¬†dunno. Seems like an opportunity for a big ole hole to develop, right?

I will definitely make this skirt again, but I¬†plan to¬†stabilize the WS of the¬†skirt front and back with a fusible stay tape before adding the¬†final topstitching. Since I did not have this wonderful foresight on version #1, at this point fusing a bit of stay tape at the ends of the “V” just *might* help prevent a disaster. I also might try a light-weight ponte, so the skirt has a bit more stability/structure. I am planning¬†to¬†make a track-style jacket out of ponte in the near future, so if I can remember I will¬†experiment with the scraps to see how¬†pleats will behave in that fabric. Too thin, too bulky, always looking for that “just right” fabric!

Style Arc Allison Skirt by Sew Maris

Cutest little photo-bomber ever, huh? She likes to get in on the action, plus see “Nana-made” garments up close. And talk about why she didn’t get a new outfit, too. ūüėČ

This skirt will definitely¬†become a basic in my wardrobe. I have about 10 tanks and¬†¬†T’s that will go perfectly with this skirt, and plan to give it a test drive on my upcoming trip to Italy.

What about you? Have you ever sewn a Style Arc design? Have you tried the Allison skirt? What is on your sewing machine right now?

Happy sewing,

Maris

Sewing Circle Tote Review

My version of the massive Sewing Circle Tote bag is finally done.

Sewing Circle Tote by Sew Maris

Let’s be clear: there will not be a repeat performance. Way.Too.Much.Work. I already bitchedaired some feelings about this bag in a previous post, but I have more to add now.

Oh, this bag¬†will definitely hold loads of sewing goodies, and likely even¬†be very handy to transport things back and forth to sewing retreats. Though this cute black and white print tote of similar dimensions might do the job¬†just as well. ūüôā

Sewing Circle Tote by Sew Maris

Sometimes we sew things for reasons that cannot be explained. Especially to husbands, friends, and frequently even to ourselves. It SEEMS like a good idea. It WILL be cute, or useful, or possibly even perfectly suited to the task.

But sometimes the process is not worth the outcome. That’s my take on the Sewing Circle Tote. Just.Not.Worth.It. The hassle of handling so many layers of cotton canvas, denim, quilting cotton, webbing, and more¬†offset both the cute factor and the potential functionality of this bag, IMHO. Oh, I will use it. I might even like using it. But I could have spent $35 + zero effort and gotten approximately the same amount of schlepping capability. Albeit minus some exterior & interior pockets. ūüėČ

Sewing Circle Tote by Sew Maris

As for construction and drafting, I had some issues¬†that were irritating. The “large pocket” side of the lining¬†(on the left in the image above) was not the same length as the opposite “small pockets” side of the lining. It was enough off that I had to do some ripping and re-stitch. I broke 2 needles and bent a third getting the lining attached to the exterior bag. If step number 82 (where the lining bottom is sewn to the bag bottom) had¬†read “Stitch the lining to the exterior only¬†between the handles” instead of “It doesn’t have to be pretty” I don’t think any needles would have been ¬†harmed. And extending the short handles¬†1 inch above the upper edge of the bag (step 85) is a complete waste of time, as I ended up cutting them even with the bag edge¬†anyway. I am also not a fan of Elizabeth’s method of making her pockets. It works, but in general I prefer seaming +¬†pressing over pressing + topstitching in place. My 2 cents on that.

Have you made anything recently that exceeded the enjoyment:effort ratio? Tell me your story!

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

Pattern Review: Snapdragon Studio’s Weekend Rambler Skirt

Snapdragon Studios asked me to review their Weekend Rambler Skirt pattern recently, and I decided this was a great opportunity to make a cute skirt for my DD to wear to work.

Weekend Rambler Skirt by Sew Maris

She selected a purple Guatemalean ikat cotton from my stash, which was a nice weight for the skirt. The pattern suggests cotton, linen, wool or corduroy, and I think any of those would work equally well, as long as the wool was fairly lightweight.

Weekend Rambler Skirt by Sew Maris

I constructed the pattern as designed, with one exception. I used a Petersham ribbon to finish the waistband edge, rather than the facing that was provided in the pattern. No real reason, I just thought this finish treatment would be simple and a bit quicker to construct than a waistband facing. I also serged all the seams as the fabric was on the ravelly side.

Weekend Rambler Skirt by Sew Maris

Pattern Design: B

Cute, fresh, and modern-looking skirt design. With the interesting yoke and skirt seamlines there is plenty of opportunity to create a unique garment. Since I used a stripey, ikat fabric, I was able to¬†place the yokes on the crossgrain to create some visual interest. My my DD requested some leather accents too, so I used a faux leather fabric for the pocket, and she ended up loving the finished skirt. I agree with her‚ÄĒI think my version definitely turned out cute!

WeekendRamblerSewMaris-1-6

The Weekend Rambler is designed to sit below your natural waist, and the suggestion for a “waist fitted skirt” is to select a smaller size. Hmmm. My very subjective reason this pattern rated a B for design is because I personally really dislike skirts that sit below the¬†natural waist‚ÄĒthey slither all around my body‚ÄĒand that just¬†drives me nuts. A lower¬†waistline is OK in pants (for obvious reasons), but I think it works less well in a skirt.

Also, there are no darts to improve/fiddle with the waistline fit of this skirt. The shaping is handled by pushing the darts into the yoke, but a “real” dart would help those who have more differentiation between waist and hip circumferences.

 

PDF Download: B+

All was well. I think PDF downloads are very successful for simpler patterns such as this. The less assembly/aligning the better, I say!  I thought the button alignment mark was a cute touch, although on a download with more sheets of paper to contend with some kind of numbering scheme is helpful to make sure you are matching pages correctly. I had no problems with this pattern, though.

WeekendRamblerSewMaris-1-4

Pattern Drafting: A-

Overall this pattern fit together well. The one exception was the pocket area.

Weekend Rambler Skirt by Sew Maris

In the above image the pattern pieces are layered with the pocket on the mat, then the front yoke in the middle, and finally the¬†back yoke on top. You can see the front yoke (middle pattern piece) is missing an alignment notch, and I also found the drafting¬†to be slightly off in this area. The pocket and front yoke¬†don’t line up perfectly after construction with the back yoke; although some of the extra length¬†on the side of front yoke is handled during construction¬†by the pocket lining seam. The discrepancy is not large, but I did have to do a little fiddling to get this part of the skirt¬†lined up and looking smooth. Probably didn’t help that I was trying to match the stripes too.

With the one exception noted above, each pattern piece fit properly to its intended mate.

WeekendRamblerSewMaris-1-7

Pattern Sizing: A-

I¬†only have a sample of 1, but the basic fit dimensions of this pattern were pretty good. I used the size small¬†which corresponded best¬†to my daughter’s measurements, and graded the waist just slightly larger.¬†I could have done a muslin and fiddled around to get a slightly better fit for her body shape, but in general the fit¬†worked out quite well.

WeekendRamblerSewMaris-1-9

Pattern instructions: C

Sigh. Many indie pattern makers today write their instructions in a conversational tone, rather than a more technical, instructional format. Personally, this drives me batty. Too.Many.Words. Small sentences. Short words. Bulleted lists. Numbered lists. It is all about clarity.

Many less experienced sewists seem to prefer more words, but IMHO¬†it just obscures the critical information. My ideal pattern instructions would be a simple numbered list of steps/short instructions for the experienced sewists, and possibly accompanied by a “wordier” set for those with less sewing experience. That should keep everyonemore people happy, right?

Also, visuals. There are only a few hand-drawn pictures in this pattern. I think the quality and number of visuals could be increased dramatically, which might also reduce the need for so.many.words. ūüėČ

Weekend Rambler Skirt by Sew Maris

<begin rant> And one more complaint that applies (I think) to every pattern I have every read. Why don’t they suggest applying strips of fusible interfacing to the seam allowance¬†before inserting the zipper? Stabilizing the fabric really helps with a smooth zipper insertion. Now that would actually be a useful piece of information in instructions. <rant over>

WeekendRamblerSewMaris-1-5

Overall: B

I¬†like this skirt pattern, and think it has some¬†interesting design lines to “brighten up” the¬†A-line skirt silhouette.

Have you ever sewn a Snapdragon Studios design? Have you made the Weekend Rambler Skirt? I’d love to hear what you think of this pattern. And yay for indie designers!!

Happy sewing!

Maris

Vogue Fall 2014 Pattern Collection Review

Hands down, Vogue has always been my favorite pattern company of the “big 4”. I have made countless garments, primarily from the designer collections, over the course of¬† my sewing¬† life. Like many of the rest of you, I feel that the designs offered by Vogue today are not as engaging as they used to be “back in the day”. Especially the designers. Pierre Cardin, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Albert Nipon, Valentino, and many others were truly inspirational.

The Vogue Fall 2014 collection was released last week. Should I be excited about half of the designs to call the collection a winner? Ten percent? One of the problems is Too.Many.Patterns. Do we really need a new fitted blouse pattern in every collection that is stylistically equivalent to 90% of the other fitted blouses in the Vogue catalog? NO. We don’t. Vogue: quality over quantity. Please.

Grumbling aside, let me get on with the patterns that made me say, “Ohh, I want to make that!”

V1411

Sandra, I love the seam lines on these fitted pants. Thank you! Fresh and interesting, but not weird. I don’t need any more weirdness on my lower half; got plenty of my own going on below.

V1407

Love.Just LOVE! Thank you, DKNY! (this is my fav)

V1408

While it is not so visible in this all-dark fabric, there are some really pretty seam lines here too. The pattern calls for a ponte knit fabric, and I could totally see this dress as a comfy, pull-on, “go-to” dress that gets loads of wear.

V1414

Love that in a silky soft georgette or charmeuse. Very pretty blouse, and Lladybird‚ÄĒI like the boob flaps!

V1417

I actually love the drama and asymmetrical design lines of this top. But I can’t envision where I would wear it. No place where I might eat food, as I would drag the sleeve through my salad dressing for sure.

V9043

I want. My DGD NEEDS this coat. Well, not really, but it is stinkin’ cute.

V9042

And this is how I like little girls to look. Not like mini-adults, and not smothered in a pile of gaga-gag-me ruffles. This is adorable, and my DGD is getting this dress for pre-school.

Now we start getting into more questionable territory. For me anyway. Of course, style is personal, and I don’t expect Vogue to design only for my taste. It would be nice, but I don’t expect it. ūüėČ

V1405

Umm, maybe. But those kimono sleeves are tough to wear unless the fabric choice is spot on. I’m gonna pass.

V1404

Could work. But there is a huge amount of structure in this garment, and that could spell B-I-G–Y-E-L-L-O-W–T-E-N-T walking down the street. Check out the stitching on the hemline tho. Purty.

V9029

Cuz we don’t have enough princess-seamed blouses in our pattern collection.

V1416

Serious spaghetti-sauce-mopping-sleeves. And WAY too much fabric everywhere. No. Just NO.

V1410

Is that a trapezoid? Who looks good in that shape?

V1409

I think Morticia traded in her usual black garb for an even less attractive garment here. This looks like it was made from someone’s remnant scrap heap. From the 60’s. Blech.

V9041

I just read that the runway silhouette for men is narrow and fitted. This is not. And utterly non-appealing.

There are more patterns, but usually the only ones that catch my fancy are the designers. All of the endless options and basic designs are minor variations that have been done many times before.

What do you like in this collection? Do you sew Vogue patterns often? I am definitely going to pick up a few of these new patterns. How about you?

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

Pattern Review: Happiness Halter Playsuit by Lisa Lam

I was recently asked to participate in a blog hop for Lisa Lam’s new pattern release for children. Say what? Make up a cute outfit for my DGD, take some photos of her adorable self, and write a review about my favorite 2 year-olda new children’s pattern? Oh yeah,I am all in, baby!

Let’s start off by checking out the extreme cute-ness of the Dance with Me Dress and Happiness Halter Playsuit patterns. So.Stinking.Cute.

 

LL_Dress

My DD was dying for me to make the Happiness Halter Playsuit. The pattern includes variations for a top and a dress, but I only made up the darling little romper. I even had the perfect fabric for it in my stash. A Japanese cotton print of teeny little doll figures that I bought in Hawaii this spring specifically for DGD. All had to do was buy a bit of plum-my Kona cotton to make the ruffles and binding and I was good to go on this project.

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

Pattern Design: A+

Love.These.Designs. Really cute, fresh, and modern-looking. Personally, I love the “ruffle restraint” in Lisa’s design aesthetic. ūüėČ

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

PDF Download: D

I downloaded the PDF version of this pattern to get started. I immediately saw there were no alignment marks on the paper, which made matching up the pattern pieces super annoying. I managed to do it pretty successfully (noticed one error during construction), but that is just plain bad form nowadays. Make it simple for folks. This issue could make this pattern a non-starter for beginners, or at least those new to PDF downloads.

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

Pattern Drafting: A-

This pattern fit together well. With the one exception noted above, each pattern piece fit properly to its intended mate.

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

Pattern Sizing: A-

I think it is spot on, tho I only have a sample of 1. My DGD is tall and slender for her age, so I made the size 3 and cut slightly shorter elastic to tighten up the halter top back and waist area. No fit issues for our little skinny-Minny gal.

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

Pattern instructions: B-

I am not sure how much of my issue with the instructions was because of different sewing terminology between UK sewists, and US sewists (errr, or maybe just me!), but I found some of the instructions unnecessarily verbose and confusing, and some were just wrong. Also, I detest flipping between sections of instructions as Lisa has you do. I know, I know. It saves time, paper, instructions, but it is annoying. <rant over>.

In step 3 of making the straps and ruffles, it says “Choose which ruffle trim you’d like as the underside layer and zig-zag stitch along the raw top edge to prevent fraying”. Two issues: 1) too word-y. Both ruffles are supposed to be the same, and people automatically pick the “best looking” to be most visible, no need to specify that kind of instruction. Also, 2) the ruffle trim is cut on the bias and bias does not fray. Maybe I am being picky, but who needs the additional bulk of a row of zig-zag stitching when it is totally unnecessary?

In step 6 of making the ruffle, ” Match the raw top edges and stitch with a 5mm (3/16 inch) seam. See Photo 5. Fold the binding back over the neckline (at the same time concealing the ruffle raw edge). The binding centre crease should butt snugly up with the neckline raw edge. Pin/clip the folded binding in place and stitch the binding to the RS halter-top neckline close to the binding bottom edge. Stitch on the right side.” All this to tell you to make a case with the neckline binding for the front neckline elastic.

Now, I think less is definitely more when it comes to written sewing construction information. Small sentences. Short words. Bulleted lists. Numbered lists. It is all about clarity. BUT. Lisa’s pictures are superb and you could mostly put the garment together just by looking at the pictures. That is why I gave the instructions a B‚ÄĒthe pictures totally saved the day. And as I mentioned, this could be a stylistic difference between US and UK pattern instructions.

Happiness Halter Playsuit review by Sew Maris

Overall: B+

I love this Happiness Halter Playsuit, and will definitely make up the Dance With Me dress for DGD sometime in the near future. One small change I will be making to the design is adding buttons/buttonholes to criss-cross the straps in the back rather than tying at the nack. Too fiddly for a 2 1/2 year old who needs to get to the potty quickly!

The Lisa Lam Sewing Patterns Collection is available now from the team at Stitch Craft Create as a printed copy of the patterns plus instruction booklets. Both the Happiness Halter Playsuit and the Dance With Me dress are also available as a PDF download from Amazon.com if you prefer that delivery method.

But wait! Leave me a comment about this cute pattern and one lucky reader will receive a printed copy of the pattern for FREE! Unless I decide to keep it for myself. -)

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

 

JUNE:

Fri 27th ‚Äď A Spoonful of Sugar

JULY:

Tue 1st ‚Äď Pistons and Polish

Mon 7th ‚Äď Kitchen Table Sewing

Tue 8th ‚Äď Follow the White Bunny

Wed 9th ‚Äď Kitchen Table Sewing

Sun 13th ‚Äď A Stitching Odyssey

Mon 14th ‚Äď Sew Maris

Fri 18th ‚Äď Scruffy Badger Time

TBC ‚Äď Angharad Handmade

TBC ‚Äď House of Pinheiro