Thursday, 23 June 2022

Itch to Stitch Lemont Top Sewing Pattern Review

Sewing patterns with interesting details always appeal to me, so it's no surprise that I bought and made the Itch to Stitch Lemont top not long after it was released.

In some fabrics Lemont could look like a fairly ordinary woven top, but hopefully the gingham that I've used here helps show off some of its more interesting features. The top has princess seams and dolman sleeves, with the sides of the front and back bodice and the sleeves all being formed by one single large pattern piece. The sleeves are gently puffed - they're gathered both at the shoulder and into a little bias binding hem band. The neck is also finished with bias binding.

The pattern has regular and full bust pattern pieces, and comes in bust sizes from 3118" (smallest regular bust size) to 63" (largest full bust size).

All the binding and the slip-on style of the top means that you don't need any notions other than thread - there are no fastenings, no interfacing, and there are pattern pieces for cutting the bias binding for the sleeves and neck from the fabric. 

You would need to consider the style of the top when picking your fabric - the way the side panels/sleeves are cut means that you can't use directional prints because either the front or back side panel would end up with the print running upside down. You'd also need to have something that works well on the bias, because the side panels end up being on the bias where they meet the centre front/back panels. I think it's a style that works particularly well in ginghams/plaid/stripes to show off the style lines.

I've made a few Itch to Stitch patterns now (read my Glenelly top review here and my Kalispell dress review here) and the instructions have always been excellent. The same was true for the Lemont top - the instructions are detailed and easy to follow, with clear diagrams to accompany them. I didn't have any problems while I was sewing my top. 

It's rated as a beginner+ pattern, which I think is fair - it's not a complicated pattern, but you might want to have a couple of simple patterns under your belt before you try this because of dealing with fabric on the bias and the gathering into the sleeve hem band.

I made the size recommended for my measurements (size 10, regular bust) with my standard lengthening adjustment (I'm 5'9" and lengthened the top by 1.5"). I think it worked out nicely - the fit is comfortable without feeling oversized.

The fabric I used is a yarn-dyed cotton gingham that I bought from Simple Life Fabrics. It's a lovely quality cotton, and as I mentioned above I think that gingham works really well for this pattern.

All in all, I'm really pleased with my Lemont top - it was a breeze to sew and I think it will be lovely to wear this summer. I'd happily recommend the pattern if you're looking for a simple but interesting project!

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Seamwork Benning Dress Sewing Pattern Review

A couple of years ago my wardrobe was mainly made up of fitted-bodice/full-skirted knee-length dresses, but these days I tend to favour looser and longer styles. The Seamwork Benning dress that I have to share with you today falls firmly into the latter category!

The Benning dress has a V-necked bodice with grown-on short sleeves and a two-tiered gathered midi-length skirt. It also, importantly, has pockets! The dress has a relaxed fit and is available in sizes from 32" to 54" bust.

Benning is rated as being a beginner level pattern and I think that's accurate. With no fastenings, no sleeves to set in and a relaxed fit, there's nothing too complicated about the pattern. 

As with all Seamwork patterns, the instructions are also very detailed so should hold your hand through the sewing process. Personally, I didn't have any problems at all and found sewing the Benning dress pretty straightforward and relaxing.

My measurements put me in a 10 at the bust, and 12 at the waist and hips and I followed that sizing for the bodice. 

I made a couple of adjustments - my standard lengthening of the bodice (in this case by 1.5") and I also lowered the bust dart by an inch. That's not an adjustment that I usually have to make, but the bust darts seemed abnormally high on this pattern and looked quite odd when I made a toile. Lowering them by an inch solved the problem. 

As I mentioned above, I blended out to a 12 at the waist for this version, but if I make the Benning dress again then I'd probably take out that extra at the waist and just use the size 10 waist as I have got quite a lot of ease at the waist in my dress.

It's not exactly an adjustment, but another slight change I made was to use the size 16 skirt pieces instead of the 10/12. The skirt on the Benning isn't that full in comparison with some other patterns (even the bottom tier of the skirt will fit on 45" wide fabric for sizes 00 to 16) so using the skirt pieces from a larger size of the dress just gave me a bit of extra fullness.

The fabric I used for this dress is a lovely double gauze that I bought from Like Sew Amazing - sadly it no longer seems to be in stock. It's a really pretty shade of blue and is beautifully soft. I think this is a really good fabric for the Benning dress - it's nice and floaty and wearing the dress feels a bit like walking about in a cloud!

I think my Benning dress turned out nicely - it was fun to sew, and it's so comfy to wear. I think it'll be really nice in hot weather - which is scheduled to be heading our way in a day or two, so I'll be able to test out my theory!

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Waves and Wild Kinjarling Dress Sewing Pattern Review

It's been a while since I sewed a new favourite dress, but I think that the project I have to share with you today may be just that! Here's my Waves & Wild Kinjarling dress...

The Kinjarling is a relaxed pull-on style dress with short grown-on sleeves. It has three length options (below the knee, calf and full length), two necklines (round or soft V-neck) that can be finished with either a facing or a binding, in-seam or hip pockets, and two different optional waist ties.

I used the round neck (with the facing), calf length skirt, in-seam pockets and no waist ties.

The pattern comes in bust sizes from 28" to 57" and hip measurements from 33" to 63", and there are separate full bust bodice pattern pieces.

The pattern is rated as being for intermediate level sewists, but I think adventurous beginners would be able to tackle this pattern too - there aren't any fastenings, you don't have to set in sleeves and there's really nothing particularly tricky involved. I think it would also be relatively easy to get a good fit because of the relaxed style.

The instructions have a good level of detail and I found them easy to follow where I used them. I did deviate from the instructions as they have you sew the whole front and whole back and then join them down the side seams to form the dress, whereas I sewed the whole bodice and whole skirt and then joined them at the waist. I don't think there's anything wrong with the method from the instructions, I just personally prefer the process I used.

The instructions have you use French seams on all the seams apart from the waist. I do like French seams because they give you a really nice finish on the inside of a garment, but with the fabric I used I found that the seams around the pockets ended up a bit bulky so if I make this dress again (a very definite possibility!), I'd probably just use French seams on the bodice and use regular seams for the skirt.

I didn't have any problems making my Kinjarling - it was a nice relaxing sewing process!

The size recommended for my measurements (currently bust 38.5", waist 33", hips 43") is L and that's the size I made. The only adjustment I made was to lengthen the bodice by 1.5", which is a normal adjustment for me (I'm 5'9"). I think the fit is good - it's relaxed as intended (and as needed being as there are no fastenings), but it's not too oversized so doesn't feel at all baggy or shapeless. 

The fabric that I used for my Kinjarling dress is a Nerida Hansen cotton that I bought a little while ago from a shop that has since closed. I've been very tempted to try various Nerida Hansen fabrics for a while as they're generally great prints, but they're not cheap! I managed to pick this one up at almost 50% off, and I'm glad I finally got to give the fabric a try. It's an excellent quality cotton and the print really is lovely. 

The Kinjarling is a great pattern for showing off a statement fabric like this as there aren't too many seams to break up the print.

As you may have guessed, I'm quite a fan of my Kinjarling dress. It was easy and fun to sew and it feels lovely to wear. On its first outing it got a number of compliments from strangers and that's always a good sign, isn't it?! Something tells me this might be the first of many versions that I make of this pattern!

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Emporia Patterns Cassie Dress

Here in the UK, we've just enjoyed a beautifully sunny Easter bank holiday weekend and that gave me the opportunity to wear my newly finished Emporia Patterns Cassie dress for the first time.

Cassie is a loose-fitting dress with options for a t-shirt style bodice with grown-on short sleeves, or a tie strap bodice. It has a gathered skirt that can be made with two tiers for a roughly knee-length style or three tiers for a full-length maxi dress. It's a pull-on dress with no fastenings, so it's a fairly simple project.

It's available in finished bust measurements up to 49" (tie strap bodice) or 50.5" (t-shirt bodice).

The instructions for the dress seem to be fairly easy to follow, although I have to admit that I ignored them and did my own thing. The instructions have you sew the entire front and entire back of the dress, then join the front to the back at the shoulders and all down the side seams. I decided I'd rather construct the bodice and the skirt separately and then join them together. I don't know that either method is necessarily better, the method I used is just what I'm more familiar with doing.

One thing I would recommend is to stay-stitch the neckline - this isn't mentioned in the instructions, but it will help to stop the neckline stretching out, particularly as this ends up being sewn as one of the last steps if you follow the instructions. I also interfaced the neckline facing, which isn't mentioned in the instructions. 

Personally, I also always find it better to sew two or even three lines of gathering stitches - the instructions only tell you to sew one.

I thought that the pattern/instructions were a bit lacking when it came to the measurements. They only give the finished bust measurements, with no body measurements at all and no waist/hip finished measurements. To some extent this isn't a problem because the waist and hip are loose-fitting so the measurements aren't crucial here. However, I think it would be beneficial if some guidance were given on how much ease you should aim for at the bust, and personally I would have found some extra measurements helpful.

My bust measurement is 38" and I made the size 16 (which has a finished bust measurement of 41"). 

I also made a couple of fitting adjustments. I lengthened the bodice by 2", which is fairly standard for me (I'm 5'9"). I also added two waist darts to the back bodice - when I made a toile there seemed to be too much fabric at the back compared with the front and the darts helped to fix that. I think they removed a total of about 4cm from the back waist.

As you may have noticed from the photos, I also added pockets. Because pockets are important!

The fabric that I used for my dress is a lightweight denim/chambray from Croft Mill. It's a pretty print and a really nice quality, especially for the price (£7.50 per metre). I think it works fine for this pattern, although I think I might prefer the dress in a fabric with slightly more drape (that's nobody's fault but my own!). 

Overall, I'd say that I like my Cassie dress but I don't love it - not every dress can be a favourite after all. Similarly, I think that the pattern is alright but it could be better. At the end of the day though, it's a really comfy dress and I like the floral print so it'll definitely get plenty of wear - not a roaring success, but definitely not a failure either!

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Closet Core Patterns Core T-shirt

When you finish sewing a pattern for the first time and immediately cut out a second version, that's a fairly good verdict isn't it? That's what I've just done with the Core t-shirt, a free pattern from Closet Core Patterns.

The Core t-shirt is a classic crew neck t-shirt. It has a slightly boxy silhouette and comes in two lengths (semi-cropped and hip length) with two sleeve options (short or three-quarter), as well as optional features of a patch pocket and a back neck and shoulder binding. For both of my versions, I've used the semi-cropped length with the short sleeves and added the shoulder/neckline binding. 

It comes in two size ranges - 0 to 20 (full bust 31" to 46") and 14 to 32 (full bust 42" to 60"). 

The pattern was fun to sew. The instructions are really detailed and I found them easy to follow. I have made a fair few t-shirts before so was familiar with a lot of the steps, but the neckline binding was new to me and that was also no problem. You do need to be precise and take your time with that step, but as long as you follow the instructions you shouldn't have any trouble.

The binding is actually one of my favourite things about the pattern - it gives a really neat finish to the neckline, and as a bonus is a perfect place for adding a pretty label. The two that I've used here both come from This Is For Makers - I'd definitely recommend their labels as they're excellent quality and come in lovely designs.

I made a size 12 at the shoulders/bust blending out to a 14 at the waist hip. They're the sizes recommended for my measurements and I think the fit worked out nicely. It's boxy as intended, but it's not at all baggy. I added 1.5 inches to the length of the semi-cropped version - I'm about 5'9" so lengthening patterns is very standard for me.

The fabrics that I've used for my t-shirts are both coincidentally left over from making pyjamas last year. The paler pink geometric flowers originally came from Simple Life Fabrics, and the brighter pink with the ladies printed on it I'm pretty sure came from Sew Totally Me. I really like both fabrics, so I'm glad that I've been able to squeeze a second project out of them!

As I've already sewn two versions of the Core t-shirt, it's probably no surprise to hear that I really like this pattern. It's enjoyable to sew and comfy to wear, with a really nice fit. If you're on the lookout for a classic crew neck t-shirt, I'd definitely recommend giving this one a try. Thank you Closet Core Patterns for the great free sewing pattern!