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.

Sandbridge Skirt – Pattern Test for Hey June Handmade!

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Ever since Adrianna mentioned she was working on a denim skirt, I swear I had been checking and rechecking my email for the testing call. And when it finally came, I rushed to reply “YESSSS” never mind that it’s summer with two crazy kids around, I even had my in-laws, and my husband’s brother’s family staying over!!! Who in their right mind would agree to test? but it’s a Hey June pattern! and every single pattern test that I’ve participated in for Adrianna, has helped me level-up in my sewing skills. I have learnt so much from her patterns, and her patterns are designed and explained such that you can dive into them with blind faith, even if you think you’re in over your head. That is exactly what I did with the Sandbridge skirt.

I printed, cut and proceeded to sew reading every word of every sentence in the tutorial and what do you know I ended up with a denim skirt! with pockets! bartacks and topstitching! and a real fly with zipper! all in one attempt! So gratifying I tell you!

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Okay now that I have finished fangirling (almost) here’s some details: The Sandbridge skirt is a casual raw-hem skirt which come in two lengths, mid-thigh and just above the knee. The pattern does include instructions for a regular turned up hem as well. It includes traditional five pockets, a functional zipper fly, back yoke, and belt loops. Recommended fabrics for the Sandbridge skirt are stretch or non-stretch bottom weight fabrics such as denim, corduroy, twill, velvet, or sateen.

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For my sandbridge, I chose a medium weight non-stretch denim from JoAnns, and made a size 2 with some minor adjustments. I took out 2″ from the back yoke and waistband. Adrianna has a sew along on her blog, and it is incredibly helpful in understanding and altering the pattern to get you the perfect fit.

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I took an entire week sewing this in really short stretches because family… but it actually comes together rather quickly, and I enjoyed all the top stitching. My edge-stitching foot got used and loved a ton, seriously it is easy as pie getting uniform double top-stitched lines when you use it.

I only wish my machine could have handled sewing the belt loops but after 3 wonky attempts, I chose to leave them out and the rivets, my next one (yes there is a next one in the works) will certainly have those extras.

You have to check out all the amazing tester versions here! so good! so professional! Grab a copy of your pattern here (Not an affiliate link, I am just being helpful)

Happy Sewing!!!

 

 

Farrah Dress and Top – Pattern Test for Chalk and Notch Patterns

Another amazing pattern release by Chalk and Notch Patterns. The Farrah dress is beautiful, and feminine and ruffly. It comes in two distinct views one – super cute version with ruffle sleeves and a super stylish version with a front ruffle. Both have a high-low hem with side slit detail. I made both versions and love them both and I think view B is slightly quicker to sew.

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As with all of Chalk and Notch patterns, this pattern is expertly drafted and very well explained. What I love most about Gabriela’s patterns even more than how well they are drafted and how beautiful every one of the design features are, is the fact that sewing with chalk and notch patterns give me immense sewing – satisfaction (is that a word?) Whether it’s the plackets and neckline on the Top Knot Romper, the pleat and french seams in the Cascade Maxi, the neat finish on the neckbands of the fishtail Kimono or the curved ruffle on the waterfall Raglan, these are details that I have genuinely enjoyed sewing and garments that I’m proud of.

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The Farrah pattern is all that, beautiful mitered hems, fully lined yokes, neatly finished armholes making for a pleasant sewing experience not to mention the fabulous looking garment you get to wear after that!!

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When I first saw the sneak peak of the pattern that was to go into testing, I knew I would use this special piece of fabric for that top. Here’s a story behind this fabric – My parents like to send me packages every once in a while. No matter how much I insist that I don’t NEED anything, those packages keep coming in year after year. Packages all the way from India which my dad meticulously packs with rolls and rolls of tape, filled with an assortment of home-ground spice mixes, pickles, home-made sweets, little fabric dolls for my daughter, toys and knick knacks for my son and even shirts for my husband (so he doesn’t feel left out I suppose 😀 ) and above all FABRIC, lots of fabric! Every piece of fabric in that package is special to me, I know how my mom must have ran her hands over that fabric several times, I know how she must have held it in the light to make sure it’s a shade I’d like, I know how much she must have second guessed herself wondering if i’d like it or totally hate it. The thing is I have always loved that fabric, I have always found meaning in using it to make something for my daughter. When I told her how much I loved the rayon challis (Top Knot Maxi) she’d sent me but I was not bold enough to wear a color like that, I know she must have searched high and low to find a similar fabric. So when they sent this navy chevronish rayon challis, I knew this was going to be for ME and for me it became!!

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Enough about my mother, lol this should have been a mother’s day post! Back to the pattern. Even though it was the ruffle sleeves that I loved on first sight, I just had to try view B too and I am so glad I did ‘coz I LOVE this front ruffle version in top length a lot!

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There’s a gusset under the arms, can you see that? (I hope not 😉 The notches and markings on the pattern pieces are just perfect! everything lines up so well! And don’t you love the slit hem? I just love that detail!

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So there’s my two Farrahs! You can get the pattern on sale now at the Chalk and Notch Pattern Shop as well as at the Upcraft Club. Don’t forget check out all the amazing Farrah versions at the Chalk and Notch Website and on instagram with the hashtag #farrahpattern.

Happy Sewing!!!

Schooner Tee and Dress – Pattern Test for Jennuine Designs

Last week, we got to test the Schooner Tee and Dress by Jennuine Designs. I love Jenn’s patterns. I find them unique and one of a kind! The Schooner Tee is exactly that, the design is quite genius. It has adorable dolman sleeves with ruffles. The A line tee and dress come in regular and high-low hem options along with inseam pockets. Such a simple and cute pattern, you’ll want a closet full of these tees.

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To check fit, I made a top in rayon jersey, it turned out beautiful but for my dress version, I used a ponte knit so the flutters would be more pronounced.

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Don’t you love how those flutter sleeves stand out? I got the fabric as part of a destash sale, and love the floral print on her.

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I used a coral cotton spandex for the neckband. The pattern includes two pattern pieces for the neckband based on stretch percentage that is very helpful in getting that neckband to fit well and lay neatly. I completely forgot about the inseam pockets until my daughter suddenly discovered them during the photoshoot and that’s about the only picture I managed to get.

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Needless to say, its an adorable pattern, and a really quick sew!

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As soon as my husband saw this dress, he told me she’d need a few more now that we can actually get out and hang at the park, spring weather and all!!!

The Schooner Tee and Dress is currently on sale for only $5 hurry, get your copy and start cranking them out by the dozen!

The Naples Dress and Tunic was one of the first patterns that I’d tested for Jenn and blogged about it here. I cant believe how much older she looks now 😀

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Scarlett Moto Skinnies – Pattern Test for Laela Jeyne!

This was one pattern test I didn’t actually jump in nor was I planning to! Jeans and top stitching and fitting adjustments were not something I felt ready for at this point. Somewhere in my vague sewing plans, jeans were going to be part of 2018. But when Marisa really needed testers in my size, I figured I’d at least try and if it didn’t work, it didn’t work! but work it did! Even my first quick and dirty muslin showed so much promise, I revved up to sew my final pair in denim french terry! And that my friends is how I sewed up my very first pair of skinnies – The Scarlett Moto Skinnies*

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I want to talk about my fabric first. I don’t know what I was planning on making when I ordered this Indigo denim french terry from LA Finch fabrics because who orders only 1 yard of denim? I was just intrigued by the name and obsessed with all things french terry at that point so might have ordered it. Good thing too because it’s sold out now! This is a fabric I super recommend!

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When it arrived, I realized the yardage was way too less for pants so it just sat there. When my muslin turned out so well, I was determined to make my denim FT work for this pattern. Using super tetris skills, I was able to get all the moto pattern pieces and the contoured waistband (with lining) in 1 yard! ONE YARD!!! (it was over 60″ wide) Sometimes being short is not so bad 😀 especially when you take out a whopping 4.5″ in length!

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The Skinnies* as the name suggests are snug fitted, ankle length pants that can be made both in plain and moto style. The moto front involves some piecing, pleating and top stitching details that are a little bit labor intensive but not at all difficult. I made these on my regular sewing machine with denim needles and denim top stitching thread in blue. I was worried my poor generic Singer machine would die on me, so I did go slow especially on all flat felled seams but it worked just fine. Once you’ve got the front legs done with all the moto pieces attached, pleated and top stitched, it goes relatively fast, well! as fast as flat felling denim fabric on all seams including a four point crotch seam can go! You can definitely skip that step and just serge your seams from inside,. That is another option that is included, which I think would work great with a fabric like stretch twill but for denim, taking the effort to flat fell all seams definitely contributes to the overall look.

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After my last not-so-creative back pocket top stitching on my daughter’s denim shorts, I made up this loopy curvy design for my back pockets. Using a piece of chalk, I drew on one pocket and transferred the design to the other pocket, and then topstitched with a narrow zigzag stitch.  I’m pleased with how they turned out 🙂

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So are you ready to give these a go? There’s a pants fitting guide E-book included to address all your fitting adjustment concerns. The woven waistband option has an invisible side zipper, or you can skip the zipper and do the knit waistband option instead. There’s a plain front option you can choose without all the moto pieces to get a well fitting pair of skinnies. As far as pants go, this is as easy at it gets, its a step above leggings but not over complicated like jeans. You can get the pattern here* , available in sizes 00-26, can be printed in layers with a copy shop file also included now for only $7.75 USD.

Trevi Top – Pattern Test for Hey June

Yay!! Have you seen the Trevi top yet? Isn’t it Ah-mazing?!!! I fell out of my chair when I got the email asking if I’d like to test this pattern. Like to? whaaaat?!! of course I’d love to. Adrianna’s patterns are one of the best out there! I blogged about my love for my Union St tees and Lane Raglans here, and I am yet to blog about my Cheyenne tunics hopefully soon but today I couldn’t be more excited to share my Trevi Top with you!

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The Trevi top and Dress pattern features high cut shoulder straps and a full button down back.  The pattern (which is also layered) also includes a separate front piece with a darted full bust adjustment for sewing cup sizes above C. It comes in sizes 2 – 22, in both top and dress lengths and construction steps for french seam finishes and a beautiful bound neckline. The insides of this garment are something you can proudly display!

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This floral rayon challis from JoAnns was great to work with. It has a lovely drape, but still presses well, so getting crisp button plackets, a neat looking bias bound neckline and a nice curved hemline was easy and smooth.

One of the many things that have me excited for spring is the ‘light’ Oh how I have struggled with lighting in my pictures the last few months! So yay for spring and for all the Spring weather Trevi tops we are all going to sew! yes we are! 😀

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So many gorgeous tester versions here, I am loving all the beautiful dress versions and can’t wait to make one for me soon! The Trevi top and Dress pattern is currently on sale!

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!