Category: independent pattern designers

Here’s A Quick Way To Boost Your Self-Made Summer Wardrobe.

It’s sizzling hot here in southern Germany and I’ve little time for sewing. I’d much rather be cooling off in my local Freibad!

Fortunately, I was given a pattern multi-pack with all I needed to quickly give my self-made summer wardrobe a hefty boost. In one week, using half of the pack’s quick and easy patterns, I’ve managed to create all the garments below and still had time to hang out with my family.

How did I do it, you’re wondering?

Pattern Parcel #3
All made using Pattern Parcel #3

With Pattern Parcel #3, a collection of six indie-designer sewing patterns with enough variety to keep me sewing all summer.

I chose to make the Parcel’s simplest patterns –

  1. April Rhodes The Staple Dress.
  2. Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts (Pattern Parcel #3’s Bonus Pattern).
  3. Jenna Brand Jorna Dress.

Patterns that I could churn out as quickly as possible and which worked with fabrics I had in my stash.

With so little free time these days, my sewing philosophy is, make simple shapes with deluxe fabrics!

April Rhodes Staple dress.
April Rhodes Staple dress in 1m of 140cm wide Italian silk/cotton.
  • The Staple Dress – The April Rhodes Staple dress pattern is exactly what it says on the packet. A beginner-friendly, basic dress pattern that’s quick to sew and a useful wardrobe-filler.
April Rhodes Staple dress with side pockets.
April Rhodes Staple dress with side pockets.
  • Standard Version. I first made the dress following the original pattern.

Sewing notes – I made size XS, skipped the elastic waist shirring and French seamed everything, including the side-seam pockets. I understitched the neck and arm bindings.

April Rhodes Staple Dress in maxi length in Italian silk crepe de chine.
April Rhodes Staple Dress in maxi length in Italian silk crepe de chine.
  • The Maxi. To make the maxi dress, I extended the Staple dress pattern pieces at the side seams to my desired maxi-length and added side splits at the bottom of the side seams (next time I’ll make these longer).

Sewing notes – To stop the silk clinging, I cut out a replica of the dress (midi length) in viscose and made a lining.

Lining of April Rhodes Staple dress as maxi.
Lining of April Rhodes Staple dress as maxi.

I sewed the side and shoulder seams of the dress and lining separately.

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Then joined the dress and lining by placing the lining inside the dress, wrong sides facing and sewed the neck and armhole bias bindings to both layers, as if they were one.

Side splits at hem.
Side splits at hem.

I did French seams on both dress and lining and omitted the pockets and waist-shirring. I understiched the neck and arm bindings.

Waist casing and tie with beaded ends.
Waist casing and tie with beaded ends.

To cinch in the waist, I added a tie casing and tie with beaded ends.

April Rhodes Staple maxi dress back view.
April Rhodes Staple maxi dress back view.
  • Top Version – Using the Staple dress pattern pieces cut at about pocket length, I made a top using left-over fabric from the midi-dress.
April Rhodes Staple Dress as top in cotton/silk mix.
April Rhodes Staple Dress as top in cotton/silk mix.

Sewing notes – To get the most out of my border print fabric, I used the printed end of the fabric for the front of the top and the upper plain part for the back, neck and arm facings and hem bands.

April Rhodes Staple dress as top - back view.
April Rhodes Staple dress as top – back view.

I added hem bands by folding two fabric rectangles the same length as the bottom edge of the top lengthways and attaching them to the hem. It couldn’t have been simpler!

d&g top 2

  • Summer Shorts – The Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts, (Pattern Parcel #3‘s bonus pattern) are another straightforward and versatile make. These would be very on-trend in silk and the pattern could easily be extended to make full length pants.
Made With Moxie Prefontaine Shorts in Liberty print cotton.
Made With Moxie Prefontaine Shorts in Liberty print cotton.

Sewing notes – The pattern was easy to follow and clearly explained including detailed instructions for making welt, side and patch pockets. I made mine in size 4 and found sewing the waist elastic tricky, although I’m sure with practice this would get easier.

stripe jersey dress 3
Jenna Brand Jorna dress in bi-stretch cotton jersey.
  • The Jersey Dress – Finally I made the Jenna Brand Jorna dress, a simple dress with only four pattern pieces.
Jenna Brand Jorna dress back view.
Jenna Brand Jorna dress back view.

Sewing notes – I made mine in size XS which is a snug fit on me! This was a straightforward make although I suggest tacking the neck facing to the inside side seams to stop the facing rolling out.

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Jorna Dress’s swing-ability and side seam chevrons (unfortunately out of shot!).

I was given these patterns to promote Pattern Parcel #3 and the children’s educational charity they donate to. However I was under no obligation to make these garments, I genuinely like these patterns.

Pattern Parcel #3 is only available for another two days so don’t miss out, choose your price and get it now!

buy button curves

Now I’m off for a swim!

I wish you sunny days and happy sewing.

Christine

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6 Signs You’re A Selfish Sewer

1. When invited to join Selfish Sewing Week and sew for yourself, you jump in without a moment’s hesitation. ssw logo final 350 px 2. You immediately clear your schedule – ignore messy house, overgrown garden and hungry children – and get stuck into sewing!

Make It Perfect Waterfall Blouse in organic cotton batiste and Burdastyle shorts in cotton/linen mix
#Selfishsewing Make It Perfect Waterfall Blouse in organic cotton batiste and Burdastyle shorts in cotton/linen mix
Yoke detail and gathering.
Yoke detail and gathering.

3. You choose a quick and easy pattern so you can double your selfishness and crank out two new tops at once!

Make it Perfect Waterfall Blouse front view
Make it Perfect Waterfall Blouse front view
Make It Perfect Waterfall blouse back view
Make It Perfect Waterfall blouse back view

4. You don’t skimp on fabric. You dive straight in with good designer stuff you’ve been coveting – because you’re worth it!

Cotton shirting by Italian designer Missoni
Cotton shirting by Italian designer Missoni
Waterfall Blouse shoulder seam
Waterfall Blouse shoulder seam

5. You take time to sew with RTW (ready-to-wear) details like French seams because your self-made clothes are investment pieces.

Summer pastels
#Selfish Sewing – Summer pastels

6. Finally you gloat about your achievements and boast about them to everyone (see Kollabora.com for more selfishness).

What are you selfishly stitching? Let me know in the comments below.

The Details

PatternMake It Perfect Waterfall Blouse digital download

Fabric – One metre of organic cotton batiste from Lebenskleidung and one metre of Italian designer Missoni cotton from Anita Pavani onlineshop.

Sponsor – Thanks Rachael from Imagine Gnats.

Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 and Dixie DIY Summer Concert Tee

Carnival must have worked its winter-banishing magic because cold weather seems far behind us now and the sunny spell has me itching to get cracking on my 2014 summer wardrobe.

As luck would have it, just as I’d begun excitedly daydreaming about patterns and fabrics, lovelies Jill (Made with Moxie) and Rachael (Imagine Gnats) approached me to get involved with the launch of Perfect Pattern Parcel #1! The timing couldn’t have been better and I couldn’t have been happier to lend a hand!

Perfect Pattern Parcel (http://patternparcel.com) is an initiative that supports indie pattern designers, donates to children’s education charity and supports the sewing community by offering great deals on patterns – we get to choose how much we pay for each Pattern Parcel! (See the bottom of this post for all the deets.) It’s a win, win, win all round!

perfect pattern parcel blog button

Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 includes five fantastic PDF patterns.

Parcel 1 Collage

For my first pick from the PPP #1 bundle, I went with the relaxed Dixie DIY Summer Concert Tee because, despite the good weather, I can’t prise myself out of my jeans just yet – I’m a Brit brought up in cooler climes who needs easing into summer – very gradually!

Dixie DIY Summer Concert Tee in Italian viscose jersey
Dixie DIY Summer Concert Tee in Italian viscose jersey

The Dixie DIY Summer Concert Tee pattern is a ‘loose fitting knit t-shirt with scoop neck and drop shoulders. Hem cropped in front and long in back. Cool enough for hot summer days and hip enough for a music festival.’

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We haven’t quite reached ‘hot summer days’ yet, so this is how I’m layering mine up in the meantime – with a self-made vest and jacket.

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I used a drapey Italian viscose from my stash to make this. The pattern suggests using almost two yards of fabric but my fabric was wide enough to need only one metre. Patterns requiring one metre or less of fabric are my absolute favourite kind, just perfect for using up remnants or expensive fabrics that you can only afford the tiniest bit of.

Organic cotton ribbing used for neck and sleeve bands
Organic cotton ribbing used for neck and sleeve bands

I used an organic cotton rib knit for the neck and sleeve bands. I made the sleeves into bands instead of hemming them because I’m a bit lazy and it just seemed easier. I sewed the hem of the tee and topstitched the neck and sleeve bands on my regular sewing machine using a zig-zag stitch and a jersey sewing needle. I used my overlocker for all the other seams, but you could also easily make this top using just a regular sewing machine, provided you use a jersey sewing needle and a stretchy stitch such as zig-zag.

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The beauty of this pattern is that it takes no time at all to whip up. In fact, once you have your pattern cut out, you could have this sewn up in the time it would take you to watch an episode of ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’!

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I made mine in the smallest size XS. I lengthened the front piece by about ten centimetres and the back piece by about seven centimetres and took in each side by a couple of centimetres to cut some of the fullness. It’s still pretty roomy but that’s the breezy nature of this tee. I also lengthened the neck-band to fit the neck opening because my fabric isn’t very stretchy.

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It’s a relaxed fit but I’m sure that as the weather heats up, I’ll be glad of a bit of ventilation and of course, it’ll be perfect for when I’m hanging at the summer music festivals!

(BTW – if you’re wondering why I’m jumping around like a fool in these pics, it’s because I’m really uncomfortable posing and in reality, I’m rarely still for long. So I set the camera on self timer, put my favourite tunes on and had a little dance party! Don’t know if it improved the photos, but at least I had more fun!!)

To get your mitts on this and the other patterns in this parcel, head over to Perfect Pattern Parcel now and name your price! But hurry the sale ends on March 21st 2014.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a fabulous giveaway to celebrate the launch of this worthy venture, with some really great prizes, so don’t miss out!

Thanks so much Jill and Rachael for bringing me on board for this launch. You picked a cracking set of patterns for this first Parcel, I was spoilt for choice about which to make first! And I now feel all virtuous for helping out in aid of such worthy causes that are also dear to my heart! I wish you lots of success with your new venture!

Readers, I’m in very fine company for this blog tour, so go and check out the other bloggers’ sites and see plenty more reviews of these fabulous patterns –

One Little Minute | SeamstressErin Designs | One Girl Circus |casa crafty | the quirky peach | Kadiddlehopper | Sew Caroline | Groovybabyandmama |Fishsticks Designs | the Brodrick blog | verypurpleperson |sew a straight line | Adventures in Dressmaking | true bias | Idle Fancy | La Pantigana | Crafterhours | Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts | Max California | SewBusyLizzy | la inglesita | Diary of a Chainstitcher | four square walls |Lauren Dahl | Sewbon | mingo & grace | Dandelion Drift | VeryShannon | Sanae Ishida |buzzmills | Sew Jereli | Figgy’s | Froo & Boo | a happy stitch | Disaster in a Dress | Things for Boys | mama says sew | sew Amy sew | Made With Moxie | imagine gnats

About Perfect Pattern Parcel:
Put together by two entrepreneurial makers driven by their internal voices and one self-taught hacker with an “if you build it, they will come” mentality, and Perfect Pattern Parcel was born. We are passionate about supporting independent designers in their craft and fostering a community of makers to grow. Our mission is to offer high-quality pdf sewing patterns written by indie designers while supporting children’s education.
About Donors Choose:
Donors Choose is an organization that matches up the needs of teachers and their students for specific projects with willing donors. The funds raised from each Pattern Parcel sale will go to help K-12 students in minimizing educational inequality and encourage a community where children have the tools and experiences necessary for an excellent education.
About Parcel #1:
Pattern Parcel #1 includes sewing patterns for women that are modern classics, featuring both flattering silhouettes and garments that are comfortable to wear. From a new little black dress to weekend play wear, the patterns in Parcel #1 have got you covered.
Support Indie Designers
Independent designers create patterns that are innovative, imaginative and in line with current style trends. Their patterns encompass a broad range of sizes and fabulous “out of the envelope” fit because they’re thoroughly tested by real people. With detailed and well-explained instructions, these patterns often teach as you sew. Independent designers are approachable, providing support, suggestions, publishing additions to your favorite designs, and hosting interactive sewing events. When we are patrons of indie designers, we are supporting small, mostly women owned, businesses. We are developing the community around us. We are helping to making dream come true.

Anna dress sew-a-long and YoSaMi news.

A quick update of what’s going on here at YoSaMi.

First up, preparations are underway to join in with the Anna dress sew-along hosted by, By Hand London.

Here’s my little helper today, assisting with hand washing some silk twill fabric by Italian designer Etro that I snaffled up from the Anita Pavani Stoffe webshop, as soon as the new autumn designer collection hit the virtual shelves. It’s a lovely deep red colour and I really love it.

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I’m planning on making another midi-version of the Anna dress because I think that’ll get most wear. I’ve already got the pattern cut out but I think that I’ll reduce the seam allowances to only one centimetre this time just to give a bit more ease to the bodice of the dress – it’s a bit too snug for my liking! I’ll also make it a bit more autumn appropriate by adding three quarter length sleeves which are now a viable option thanks to the By Hand London sleeve drafting tutorial which has been included in the sew-along resources. I’m looking forward to trying this out.

I’m a bit late with my preparations because I’ve just returned from a family trip around Europe. We literally travelled far and wide and high and low and I did lots of research into European resources for the home sewer and textile designers.

Here’s just a taste of where we got to:

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From mountain peaks to world famous cities and relics of ancient cities, to lakeside towns to turquoise seas, we literally saw it all.

I also stopped by Munich Fabric Start, the international fashion industry fabric trade fair and caught up on the coming fashion fabric trends and talked with some interesting companies at the forefront of the European fashion industry..

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I visited a leading Italian textile design studio and interviewed the owner.

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I visited various fabric factory outlets and bought copious amounts of fabric and took a suitcase full of my recent makes so that I could photograph them. I’m hoping that the pretty backgrounds will distract you from my poor modeling!

I’ve collected some great resources and I’m looking forward to sharing it all here with you as soon as I’ve caught my breath!

Have a great week,

Christine

My first By Hand London Anna dress!

I say my first because this will definitely not be the last!  I love the Anna dress pattern! I feel like it was made just for me! The slash neck, the nipped in waist and gentle A-line skirt, all details that I love.

Unfortunately there are not many patterns that really flatter me. I have a natural ability to make most things hang unattractively like sacks. Clothes that look absolutely gorgeous on other sewers tend to look atrocious on me. So what a joy to find something that, dare-I-say-it, may actually suit me and fit me too!

So without further ado, I present to you my first and hopefully not my last Anna dress.

By Hand London Anna dress

Like others have said before me, I have so many more versions of this dress already planned. I’ll be joining the online sew along from By Hand London this month to make a silk version. I have a lovely silk twill from Italian designer Etro that I’ve just bought from the new autumn collection of Anita Pavani online (www.naturstoff.de) that is destined to become my next Anna.

back view of dress

For this dress, I used a black cotton eyelet batist fabric (also from Anita Pavani online) lined with a fine white cotton batist. I don’t tend to wear black and I’m probably the only woman not to have a little black dress in my wardrobe so I thought that that ‘LBD’ gap ought to be filled. I liked this eyelet batist as soon as I saw it and thought that if I underlined it with white it would lift if out of total blackness.

Anna dress - black cotton batist

To do the lining, I simply omitted the neck facings and cut all of the dress pieces out of the main black fabric and the white lining fabric and sewed them up as two seperate dresses and then sewed them together at the neck edge and then turned the while lining dress to the inside. From then on I treated the two dresses as one and hemmed both together.

hemming detail

I made my dress in size six with no alterations other that adding the lining. It’s really easy to make and sews up relatively quickly even though I did French seams on all seams.

French seams

This was the first By Hand London pattern that I’ve tried and I’m impressed by this new pattern company. The packaging of the pattern is so attractively done and I thought that the inclusion of the ‘By Hand London and Me’ made-by tag, that has been proudly sewn into the back of my dress, gives the final product a satisfyingly professional finish.

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I also loved the credit card sized fabric suggestions card. What a practical and thoughtful addition that is! You can slip that into your purse when you’re out shopping for fabric and away you go! No effort required and no need for scribbling on scrap bits of paper that get lost in your bag in amongst the nappies, the wetwipes, half-eaten apples and doggy bags. Not with By Hand London, you’re all efficient and organised with a card, explaining exactly what you need. I guess that’s what happens when you have women running a company! All details attended to!

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I’m really happy with my Anna dress and think it’s such a versatile and universally flattering pattern that everyone should make at least one of them!

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Am I the last person to make this dress? Are you joining me for the Sew-Along? I hope to see you there.

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt MN2202

After seeing several striking versions of this wrap skirt on sewing blogs including the wonderfully colourful version by www.lladybird.com, I succumbed to ordering the Megan Nielsen Cascade skirt pattern.

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Megan Nielsen is an independent fashion designer who has branched out into selling garment sewing patterns for home sewists. This is the first of her patterns that I’ve tried and so far I’m really impressed.

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The Cascade Skirt is described by the designer as a ‘full wrap skirt with a graduated hem and attractive cascades along the hemline.’  It’s aimed at novice sewers and is perfect for every day but also dramatic enough for special occasion wear.

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The pattern itself is well packaged in a bulging envelope with a velcro closure, which includes an instruction booklet and a multi-sized pattern made from sturdy paper. The instruction booklet is really comprehensive and covers everything you need to make the skirt from the recommended fabrics and tips for their pre-sewing preparation to cutting layouts and sewing directions including how to make a lining if using a very sheer fabric. There are also suggestions for how you could customise the skirt by altering its length and adding layers.

At the end there’s space to sketch out your own ideas and record all the details of your make in a pattern log, such as the fabric used, size, modifications etc.  This is really useful and a thoughtful addition for people with sieve-like memories like me!

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I decided to make the version with the front tie and found this cotton/silk blend batiste in the Italian designer section of Anita Pavani Stoffe online shop www.naturstoff.de. The pattern suggests lightweight fabrics with lots of drape so I thought this colourful batiste was perfect for this pattern, with the added bonus that it is machine-washable – a definite must for me especially as I’m around little kiddies all day!

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The fabric was a dream to sew but in full sunlight it’s quite sheer – as you can see in the above photo but I decided against a lining because I wanted to retain the fabric’s floaty nature and with the cotton content you can’t really see completely through it so I’m not being too indecent!

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The main body of the skirt was super quick to make – it only has four pattern pieces and is really straightforward, with only two seams to sew.  I did French seams as recommended in the pattern.

My one sticking point with this skirt was the narrow hem which I really struggled with at first. The sewing instructions explain how to make one but I have a narrow hem foot so it should have been simple for me – right?!

Wrong!!

I’ve had two babies and many sleepless nights since I last used my narrow hem foot and I find that lots of things pre-babies have just been erased from my memory! It’s as though I had a mental re-boot when I gave birth so that I could become a mindless nappy changing, bottom wiping and feeding machine. Has anyone else experienced this? Anyway unfortunately the knowledge of how to use my narrow hem foot appears to have been one of the things that ended up in the trash bin of my brain!

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I turned to my trusted friend Google and found ‘BrianSews Hemming Foot Tutorial’ on YouTube which was the perfect remedy.  What set this online tutorial apart from the others that I came across was that it was long enough to get the full gist of what I needed to do and also showed how to do a narrow hem using the specialist foot on a curved edge which is what makes hemming this skirt tricky.

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After watching this, I realised that I’d had too high expectations of my little gadget and had expected the foot to do the hem all by itself and I didn’t appreciate how much continuous manual manipulation of the fabric was required from me to correctly feed the fabric into the foot. As I pushed the fabric through the foot it kept popping out again and refused to roll over. Once I’d figured out why this was happening, hemming became a lot easier.

The key to a successful rolled hem seems to be taking care to keep the width of the fabric being fed into the gap in the narrow hem foot roughly the same width as the gap. When it’s narrower the fabric tends to pop out of the foot and enough fabric doesn’t feed in for it to be able to roll over itself as it should. Once I’d practiced a bit, it worked a treat – well almost, the finished hem isn’t perfect but it’ll do for a first attempt.

Overall I’m happy with the final result and it was a light and breezy skirt to wear when it was baking hot here this summer.  I would like to make another version with a level hem but that’ll have to wait its turn in the sewing queue.

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To wrap this wrap review up, I’ll leave you with this photo of me and my dog – don’t you think that it looks like we’re about to be abducted by an alien spaceship!

Wishing you a happy sewing weekend!

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