Monday, 26 July 2021

Waffle Patterns Arare jacket

 I am on a binge!!  

Well actually I started to feel very embarrassed that I had some patterns printed last year (the ones that had some incorrectly scaled pages in fact!) and had not used them yet.  It made me realise I should only buy and print patterns at the moment I want to make them.  It's really important in sewing to follow the crest of your enthusiasm - which was an easy thing initially and then for years I have gotten trapped in lists of things that had once peaked my enthusiasm but which no longer do.  

Anyway I got newly excited as I realised this jacket would be amazing in this polyester I recently bought.  Poly is not my thing, but flocked velvet spots on a burnt cinnamon background are my thing, so I had to compromise.  I did that by underlining the entire jacket with high quality rainwear nylon - it was one half of a nylon-jersey two face fabric but the two faces came apart in my prewash.  The underlining added a few minor complications. 

This, similar to the Azuki pants, was one day cutting and two days sewing, though there were also days in between dithering.  Jackets have an additional fear factor: the gizmos!  The drawstrings, the things that hold the drawstrings, the grommets, the zips...these are the things that, when done well, elevate the quality of the result, and when done in a make do fashion make the results seem very hand made.  

I chose size 38 and I am so grateful. The size chart might have convinced me to size down and it would have been a terrible mistake.  The 38 is very small.  I think because this is quite a narrow cut for a pullover jacket, and I somehow need heaps of room to pull things over my head in general - I absolutely get claustrophobic trying to put on narrow dresses.  So this fits but it's a tight pull on.  I would consider this a spring weather item - it's not warm, and it's not windproof but it probably provides some weather protection.


 The instructions are very good. I chose the welt pockets because I thought they looked nicer and they have a nicer finish, on the kangaroo pocket you end up with a kind of naked zipper under a flap that I dislike.  Of course the best ever option would be a kangaroo pocket with a handwarmer behind it...because you really need both a place to put things, and a place to warm your hands, in a pullover jacket.  

Construction with the zipper protector was very cool, but in a lightweight fabric I recommend interfacing the flap behind the zip because in my lightweight nylon it gets trapped in the zip rather than lying flat behind it.  I was able to source big grommets locally and they were easy to install.  The hood lace is a shoelace.  The wrist attachments are velcro.  And the hem lace is two pieces of elastic that are harvested from a mystery garment and saved, they just happened to barely be long enough.  I only had 2 toggles and one of them is very small but I managed to thread the two elastics through.

I was disappointed in the welt pocket instructions. I've made a few lately in a row and I have experienced really good instructions and expected these to be very good - in line with other instructions in Waffle patterns.  I haven't done enough to be able to do them without instructions, and I still need details. These instructions are horribly misleading as they don't clearly indicate the sew lines/the box of the welt pocket itself, etc.  Sometimes I think indie pattern companies try to reinvent the wheel by making New Clever ways of explaining things and the old way was totally sufficient and the new way sucks.  True here. So google other welt pocket instructions before settling into these.  


When putting together large pieces a few times my underlining and my outer fabric wrinkled separately, but really once you have done the pockets and the zip, everything else is just the usual putting together of big pieces.  It's such a beautiful finished garment with my underlining!!  The hood is spacious and I love the wrist adjustments.  The pockets are not super deep as they are limited by the hem of the jacket, but they are ok for handwarming.  Overall this does lack utility for me a little as there's no place to Put Stuff but I'm ok with that...I think I'll make a Landgate now.

Summary: size up a lot.  Be wary of the welts.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Helen's Closet Blackwood cardigan review

 I realised this would be a great match for my interesting sweater knit from The Fabric Store. I bought a lot of it and it's taking up a lot of space, because actually I'm not really sure what to do with it.  I wanted something simple and cozy.  Winter in New Zealand is cold indoors (even when outside is lovely) because this country was late to discover insulation and still hasn't discovered central heating.  

I was debating between this and the Driftless cardi by Grainline.  There are more blogs about the other one, I suppose because the pockets give people more to talk about.  I thought for my thick fabric this pattern was a better choice.  There aren't that many blogs...because there's not much to say.  It's a really easy pattern.

Sadly in this case this pattern did not take up heaps of fabric! I made size 6, and I have about 1.5 m left (out of 3 m) after cutting this out.  It was straightforward.  I paid good attention on the pockets, and whipped it all together on my overlocker.  


 I think others have noted that this cardi is meant to hang open without the fronts coming close to each other.  I could put a button right about at waist height if I wanted a way to get it to stay secured there - it does come all the way around at waist level, but not higher or lower.  There are maybe 6 cm of space at the chest, slightly less at the hips.  As long as you want an open cardi I can recommend this. The sleeves are relatively narrow but not too much, I have big muscles and would struggle to wear long sleeves under this, but with tank tops it's great.  Though itchy. 

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Forget me not patterns iris tee review

 Being a connoisseur of tshirts, I couldn't let this one slip past me once I'd noticed it.  

I printed the A4s, you can use layers, which was nice. There were an average number of empty sheets.  I did get annoyed that every single pattern piece seemed to barely cross onto an almost blank sheet which leads to lots of small floppy bits when you are using the taped together piece.  The pdf instructions are crosswise - landscape style in the pdf which drives me crazy, but for a tshirt I only needed them to instruct me on the sleeve pleats so I didn't need to scan around through the pdf.  The instructions are neatly laid out with good drawings, so that's a star for this pattern company.

I made this in size 32 which was just a tiny bit smaller than my measurements, but the final measurements of the top convinced me it would be the best fit. For the first version I decided despite having never done so before, that I should size up the sleeve. I cut the sleeve and armscye of 34.  Sigh.  It's fine.  But that was really unnecessary.  There's added puffiness in the sleeve and it is a bit loose.  It ends up that those pleats add a lot of space to the sleeve.  

On the pleats: no matter how many times I made them I ended up with an uneven bottom edge.  On all 4.  I cut it even which then leads to a tiny rise in the sleeve at that point.  Maybe this is why there's a sleeve binding!  I also on principle don't like unfinished edges floating around in my makes, and the unfinished bottom pleat edge can't really be finished in any way.  The SA is 1/4" which is nice for waste reduction but again - on an item that you need to be able to manipulate to create a new feature, you lose flexibility with that. Also, how do you stabilise the shoulders when the SA is 1/4"?  I have run out of seam tape but my seam tape was definitely just under 3/8" so I prefer that.  The pleats make the sleeves more roomy.  I was sort of musing on that and on drafting of sleeves when you are adding volume - but the no-pleat sleeve is nicely drafted, so whether there are possible improvements to the sleeve with the pleats is a question far beyond my expertise.

Version one is hemp jersey from Blackbird fabrics.  It's a bit thick and spongey feeling and has a lot of stretch.

Version 2, I reprinted the sleeve and went to a straight size 32. This fabric is from Mood, and it's a lightweight, almost shiny cotton (blend?) jersey.  Maybe there's some silk or rayon in it.  It's thinner with an average amount of stretch. 


The fit of that was so convincingly amazing that I made a plain tee as well.  I added a pocket which I think I put a bit too low oops. I avoided the hem on the sleeves by cutting the sleeves on the fold so they are double thickness.  This fabric is also from Mood, it's the jersey half of what was supposed to be jersey lined rainwear nylon.  The two separated in the wash and I used the nylon on another project.  I love this top!  I think I've found something just about as perfect as the Renfrew for a simple, fitted tshirt.  


So after I made these, I wondered if the pleats would drive me crazy. I've been wearing these tops to work and I don't notice them at all.  They stop looking quite so orderly and cute - they puff out a bit and the area above the pleats just billows, so I guess I'm a bit lukewarm as to whether I like them, but I definitely like all three of the tops and the basic tee fit is stellar - so that counts as success.  I think maybe the longer sleeved shirt with the pleat would be quite nice as if it did puff out it would be bracelet length, but I don't need anything like that in my wardrobe so I didn't try it.

Studio Calicot Boreale windbreaker, the tragic review

 WELLLL I think we could say this pattern is a total fail.  Too bad, I was looking forward to my oversized windbreaking jacket with cozy pockets...noticed there are really not many pictures of this online and I was hoping to triple the number haha.  

 I used a fleece lined softshell from Ansje Handmade. It made the pattern more stiff than it would be otherwise, but worked out fine overall. 

I did a lot of reviewing of my implementation once I got halfway through the pattern and realised it was miniaturised.  Sadly I did NOT notice until I was halfway through sewing it up - which has been a real lesson to me.

My pattern: printed on A0 by my local pattern shop.  I print a lot of patterns with them, and this one was in the middle of a pile that were printed all at once...

So why did my resulting product end up sized to fit an 8 year old?  LITERALLY? 

The seam allowance is 4/8".  This offered me the first hint of something being off, because this pattern had a really LOT of notches, and many seemed to be SA notches at 3/8".  But the pattern instructions said 1/2", and I did follow the instructions.  I didn't have problems with things lining up, there were too many notches, but in places you need them, they were there. In retrospect the alarm bells going off about the discrepancy were reasonable!

Yeah you guessed it. My print shop did a fail.  And I did too, because I assumed it would be great and I didn't check the size box for scale prior to cutting it out.  In fact, it took me *3* messed up patterns to realise that my print shop was at fault. 

Here she is: she loves her new jacket. 


I made a cute but tiny jacket, left off the ties because at that point I just wanted to finish it for its future 8-yr old owner.  It's a straightforward, simple pattern.  Obviously check the sizing square when you make your patterns!  I used my dream fabric for this and it's sort of burst my bubble regarding this jacket.  I have 2 more jackets to make this winter so hopefully I'll have better luck with them! 

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Waffle patterns Azuki work pants

 Waffle patterns!  A company that makes gorgeous patterns, with unusual details, and fantastic instructions.  Every time I've made something from Waffle, it's been epic.  So why have I not made them all?  I suppose they do seem complicated, and that can sometimes be daunting.  These pants definitely seemed daunting!  So many pockets! The fly!  And then I realised I could use these two separate 1m pieces of fabric and I became totally keen to overcome all and make them right now.  I allocated a weekend.  

 Chose size 38 because in non stretch fabrics I didn't want them too tight, I could maybe have done a 36 if I were using a lighter weight or a stretchy fabric.

The blue is a "duck egg" canvas from Miss Maude and the brown is Japanese denim, also from Miss Maude.  The denim, in my defense, was for shorts.  But I have no excuse for why I bought a single meter of the canvas, as I was probably hoping to make Persephone pants with it and they need 2 m. I really liked the colours together but I also wanted to be careful not to turn these into clown pants.  I thought long and hard about how many pockets to use, and how to use the pockets to blend the colours.  The side tool pockets were tempting - and I definitely had enough fabric, but I was also a bit impatient and didn't want to faff around with too many little details, so I didn't do them.  The front leg pocket is supposed to have a flap, but I thought that was dumb.  Instead, I lengthened the pocket about 2" towards the inner leg, and added a zip to it with the sort of zip welting technique.  There was a bit of mucking around to get it to work (Note: always make the zipper-hole smaller than you think you need!) but it's fully functional.

It was a full 2 days of work, with the cutting being a previous day, so 3 including pattern piece management.  Incidentally, I finally figured out a dilemma that had plagued me this week: why my patterns were wonky.  The print shop had printed single pages wrong.  I figured it out because the pocket page was wrong and I had it to compare to the other pages.  I've since dropped by the print shop who are so understanding and we are going to come up with solutions to make it not happen again - but on my side it was a serious fail of taking responsibility and measuring the square box *every time!!*

I was sick on the weekend I made these but I managed to slowly make my way through, aided by how awesome Yuki's patterns are.  Everything is clear. The fly instructions were, somehow, as always, different from -all the other fly instructions ever- (why are there infinite ways of making a fly?) but they produced a perfect result.  I didn't switch to my new-old Bernina until after the sewing machine had birdnested up the waistband, but anyway the Bernina gave me easy hems and a buttonhole, which my sickly Pfaff can't manage.  

And to my shock they fit!  Pretty well! 

I took these with me on a trip away and convinced a friend who is good at photography to do a bit of a photo shoot around his house.  He has lots of jungly nooks and was entertained enough to get creative. 

After wearing these pants around for a day, although the waist is a tad too high, they scrunched down nicely and the fabric has started to stretch a bit.  I don't think I can call these high sophistication, but they are down my usual alley as sort of intrepid urban and the color scheme matches most of what I own (except for the pinks.)  This has also led me to look harder at Waffle patterns and I think I might attempt another pair of her pants now that these were such a good success. 

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Ilima or Hallon, by Paradise Patterns, a review

Basically this low gathered back is what I was talking about here. (However in my dream vision there would be more tiers of gathered ruffles...)

With a great sigh of the inevitable, I put aside all thoughts of making jackets the week this came out. I bought the pattern the day I found it and picked it up from the printer the next day.  My muslin is size 4, B cup, and shortened 1" through the upper bodice lines (to ensure the back won't be too low.)  I made one stupid mistake in cutting my armhole bindings shorter, but in fact they aren't involved in the bodice shortening, obviously, and I had to recut.  I cut the dress as long as my fabric let me, and with no plan to add the bottom ruffle. 

I'm not entirely convinced by the angled bias bindings - on one side it meant that the edge wasn't fully covered, but when I put the armhole bias over it, things were fine.  It also doesn't match the pictures in the instructions, and the lengths are not consistent with the length you need- I ended up with a lot of excess to cut off.  The fabric is a lightweight silk cotton. The front neck feels too high - but that might be fixed with the bodice being longer.  The darts are about an inch too high. The drape of the front is very straight compared to all that gathering in the back.  

Verdict: don't need that shortening. Got busy with life and didn't carry on with the wearable version for a few months, at which point summer was so long gone.  Ugg season.  Oops.

Made a version according to the pattern in rayon/linen blend.  Maybe I should have started by following the pattern without any changes?  This pattern takes quite a lot of fabric, more than you might think because the back is really wide, so this pink was also the only thing I could find that I had enough of and was willing to experiment with - I had some other tempting fabrics but not enough of them.  I kept the 1" shortening near the hem but went back to the basic pattern otherwise.  I still disliked how the bias lengths are not the right length for size, they are just standard lengths, so you end up trimming a lot off the ends.  

I took a bunch of pictures on my phone without a bra, though I guess the bra is useful as a marker of how much lower the dress hangs without that adjustment.  Obviously the back looks better without. The front, not so much.

My friends all seem to think I should keep this dress for myself but it's the middle of the winter and freezing so I suspect it will wing its way over to Arizona.  I'm not actually super keen on the fit as is. My friend Regina has a higher tolerance for ruffles than I do.  Plan is to: 

shorten 6".  It's just too dramatic

add pockets, duh

Wedge a bit out of the side back above the gathering, to bring it up enough not to show my waist but without modifying the fit of the front and arms.  Though it's nice the pattern included a way to shorten through the back, in the end you need to be really short for that to work, because it changes the front quite a bit.

I have some lovely textured grey rayon that will wait until October or so when wearing backless dresses again makes some sense.  Overall this pattern is ok.  It's not a super high quality pattern.  You follow the instructions and you will muddle through and get a pretty good result, but to take it to the next level you need to think a bit for yourself.  (Pockets!)