Chai Shirt and Dress – Pattern Test for Itch to Stitch

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When I first started sewing for myself, I used to upcycle my husband’s shirts. I’d start by removing the pockets and then cutting out the collars. For a really long time, I actually saved all those collars because their construction was quite intriguing! How one went about achieving a crisp collar with such a neat finish on both the inside and outside was beyond me. And how exactly did the shirt, collar stand and the collar come together? I did unpick one collar one time to try and understand what was going on but that didn’t go very far.

Fast forward three years and I am sewing for myself a fitted shirt dress with plackets, darts and a collar – a crisp and beautifully finished collar. It never gets old, that feeling of accomplishment when you have conquered yet another milestone, does it? So here I am, sharing another small triumph in my sewing journey  with you – The Chai Shirt and Dress!

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If you’ve seen my earlier blog posts on Itch to Stitch patterns (Arenal Top, Newport Top and Anza Dress) you know how much I admire Kennis’s patterns. Not only are her designs tasteful, but her drafting skills are extremely refined and professional.

The Chai Shirt and Dress  is yet another amazing Itch to Stitch Pattern. It is a classic fit and flare button down shirt dress, with a full placket and collar. A fitted waistband, along with gathered bust darts make this pattern both elegant and unique.

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The pattern already comes with pattern pieces for different cup sizes, so the only minor fit adjustment I made was shortening the bodice by 2″. On hindsight,  I feel like shortening it by 1.5″ might have been enough because the waistband ended up a tiny bit higher than the intended design, not that it would stop me from wearing it 🙂

Kennis’s instructions are as always beautifully detailed and well-illustrated. Sewing the collar was as effortless as sewing the sleeves or hemming the dress. In fact, I hadn’t even realized till I’d finished sewing most of the dress that I had seamlessly tackled what are usually considered the intimidating steps in sewing a shirt dress. That says much about the quality of the tutorial! It might have been helped by the fact that I was able to get in three uninterrupted hours of sewing without little people’s constant demands for food and entertainment.

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For quite some time, I have been meaning to try this Tencel fabric that has been popping up everywhere, so when i came across this Tencel Chambray from La Finch Fabrics, I ordered it and immediately found use for it in the form of my new Chai Dress. I am happy to report that not only is this fabric lovely in texture and drape, it is also easy to work with. Usually nice drape equals hard to align grainlines and shifty fabrics, but this one is neither. It was incredibly easy to work with!

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The Chai Dress is currently on sale until the end of this week. If you have been considering a shirt dress, this is an incredibly great pattern to start with. Don’t let the collar or the buttonholes intimidate you! Check out all the gorgeous tester Chai Dresses and Tops here.

Happy Sewing!!!

*If you buy the pattern through one of my affiliate links, I get a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you and you will help support my blogging adventure. Thank you.

Anza Dress – Pattern Test for Itch to Stitch Patterns

I am so excited to finally be able to share my Anza Dress with you. It is the third Itch to Stitch pattern I am testing (You can see my Arenal tops here and my Newport Tops here) and I am still in awe of Kennis’s impeccable drafting and fine tutorial. The Anza dress and Jumpsuit has many details like pleated pockets with flaps and buttons, curved pockets, an elastic casing along with a drawstring. It is certainly not a quick sew by any stretch, but makes for a very enjoyable sew! Isn’t that why we all sew?

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I was too chicken to try the jumpsuit which by the way looks fabulous on everyone I saw!

Here are the Anza Jumpsuit & Dress features (sizes 00 – 20) cited from the Itch to Stitch website:

  • A, B, C, D and DD Cups

  • Unlined, relaxed jumpsuit/dress cinched by elastic and drawstring waist

  • Pleated breast pockets with buttoned flaps

  • Integrated, cuffed sleeves

  • Front-buttoned V-neck

  • Side pockets on both the skirt and the pants

  • Knee-length shirttail hem on dress

  • Ankle-length, elastic hem on jumpsuit

  • Layers feature (print only the sizes you need)

I used a soft cloud 9 organic fabric called Rain walk Tumble Navy that I got at my local Spool fabric store. They also have an online store if you want to check out their collection. The fabric was amazing to work with, soft and crisp! part of why I enjoyed sewing all the pleats, pockets and bar tacks 😉

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While I shortened the bodice by 1″ I did not consider shortening the skirt which I realized does make a big difference to the final look. The dress is meant to fall just above the knees. I hope to trim and redo the hem sometime soon so I can wear this dress everywhere! It is extremely comfortable to wear and based on fabric choice can go anywhere from casual to dressy.

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I love Crystal’s two tone Anza Dress so much, it’s made from vintage Kimono fabric, amazing right? I wanna make one like that!

Head on over to the Itch to Stitch website to see all the tester versions of Anza dresses and jumpsuits, and grab this pattern while it’s still on sale!

Happy Sewing!

Newport Top – Pattern Test for Itch to Stitch Patterns

I have only ever tested and tried two of Itch to Stitch patterns, and can I say I am a fan?! Kennis’s pattern drafting is exceptionally good and instructions top notch. But my favorite part really is how well the garments lay. Both my Arenal tops are among my favorites and something that I always reach for when heading out. But enough about my wardrobe, today I am so excited to share my Newport Tops with you.

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The Newport Top is a relaxed style sweater with subtle details like a wide boat neck, envelope fold shoulders and a soft high-low hem. It comes in regular long sleeve and 3/4th length flute sleeves. This neckline is what drew me to this pattern when I first saw the call for testers.

One of the things that I have started to obsess over as I have progressed in my sewing journey is how clean the garment looks from inside. When designers pay as much attention as they do to include steps to enclose seams, which side to press a seam or how to finish off the raw edges, and notches! (I love notches), it makes sewing that project that much more enjoyable for me. Even in the most straightforward looking pattern, I like to follow the instructions exactly as written even when I am not testing that pattern. So a well drafted and well written pattern albeit a simple basic pattern is something that I will love forever lol! But I digress yet again! Anyway I love the Newport Top pattern for all the reasons stated above 🙂

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The fabric I used is actually an ombre heathered knit (Nicole Miller line from Jo Ann fabrics) but the color gradient went from grey to black horizontally instead of vertically (that is weird right?). As I was cutting into my fabric, I realized I was going to have a grey left side and a black right side 😦 So I shifted the pattern pieces around to use only the grey part of the fabric, thankfully it was a bolt end with some extra to play with so it turned out fine. I can’t help but think though, this top in ombre going from grey to black (top to bottom) would have been really really cool, oh well!

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I love the color and the texture of this fabric!

While I loved the muted look of the grey sweater by itself, my hands were itching to add something to that gorgeous wide yoke. I settled on french knots just because I love how much texture they add to a garment without ever being too much. I briefly contemplated adding confetti-like brown, mustard and beige french knots but ended up choosing metallic silver instead because sparkle! 😀

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I just randomly kept adding the french knots until it seemed like enough, sorry not very helpful but I did try the top on a couple times to gauge where I wanted them to end at.

Needless to say, I absolutely love how my Newport top turned out – fit, color and the french knot detailing!

I made one of the earlier versions during testing in a sparkly ivory french terry from Joann fabrics, and while the neckline has obviously changed a bit, I love this version as well so here goes some more pictures!

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So if envelope flap shoulders is something you’ve been wanting to try, Newport Top pattern is a great one to start with. This layered PDF pattern comes in sizes ranging from 00 – 20. It is currently on sale for $8.00 USD (regular price $10.00), sale ends Sunday March 19th.

Happy Sewing!