Monday, November 13, 2023

Style Arc Kennedy Puffer Pullover

Y'know how sometimes Pinterest or the algo torture you with the same images over and over? That happened to me with the Free People Pippa Packable Pullover. Just check out how much fun all these ladies are having, hiking and walking and living their best life.

Free People Pippa Pullover hack

After lots of digging for a close enough pattern, I settled on the Kennedy Hooded Top from Style Arc. It was basically the same except for a few minor details, like the curved hem and the addition of a hidden pocket (for packing). Additionally, Kennedy has an outer kangaroo pocket instead of a hidden one. 

Kennedy Hooded Top

After a few months of letting this pattern sit, I decided I didn't care about hacking the kangaroo pocket into a hidden one. It seemed like an awful lot of work for not much gain. I did, however, want to try adding a second pocket under the flap (otherwise, why is the flap even there?). I also changed the hem to a curved baseball hem, and added a curved extension to the cuff.

Kennedy Hooded Top

I have no process photos, no explanation for how I did anything. Sorry! Sometimes I make so much content that I have to just take a break from it and sew for fun. If you're looking for an in-depth hack, it's not here this time. (I have seen a similar pattern with the zip pocket through Project Run and Play here). 

Style Arc directions are notoriously sparse. These are were okay. I took a lot of liberties with the pattern and I'm confident in my ability to figure out a hoodie. If you've never sewn a placket or a cuff then maybe don't start here. But all the pieces went together well. 

Kennedy Hooded Top

Kennedy is suitable for knits or has SO MUCH ease. I followed the size chart but ended up taking off 1" from each side seam. You've been warned.

Kennedy Hooded Top

Kennedy Hooded Top

I chose a quilted nylon fabric that I bought at Jo-Ann's, of all places. They had a few different colors and you could buy the same fabric in a non-quilted version. At the time I bought (in the spring I think) they were running low on the un-quilted stuff in blue, so I bought some additional yardage in pink. I used the pink as the lining for the hood and the secret pocket. Everything else is lined with the solid blue.

Kennedy Hooded Top

The lining was necessary because the quilted nylon was not double-sided. The back side was simply the batting. The Kennedy is NOT DRAFTED WITH A LINING (only the hood is lined). I used my best judgement for how to cover the batting. In some cases it's underlined, some parts were fully lined, etc. Again, no full tutorial here. To finish the hem, I bound it with bias. 

Kennedy Hooded Top

I installed KAM snaps to the cuffs and white 1" Dritz eyelets on the hood. I haven't put any snaps on the placket because the KAM snaps looked too small. We'll see what kind of closure happens there (if any).

Kennedy Hooded Top

My hoodie is not packable like the Free People inspo, but I'm also not a backpacker, so probably it does not matter. It IS lightweight and I'm not going to count on it keeping me warm in sub-zero temps. Mostly the quilting/puffer aspect is A LOOK. If it keeps the wind off on a 50 degree hike, I'll be happy.

Kennedy Hooded Top

It seems like oversized, boxy or cocoon puffers/sherpa hoodies are all the rage right now. Will you be hopping on to this trend?

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

A Princess Bride Halloween

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

The Princess Bride is in my Top Five movie list (along with Goodwill Hunting, Lord of the Rings, Moonrise Kingdom, and a revolving door of comedies). I have wavy blond hair and a tall, dark and handsome husband, and I've wanted to do Buttercup and Westley costumes forever. My dream finally came true!

Buttercup Westley costumes

My youngest daughter wanted to be involved in the "family costume" so I told her she could be a miniature Buttercup if she wanted. She agreed, and yeah, it's pretty darn cute to see her paired with my husband.

Buttercup Westley costumes

My middle daughter took some wheedling, but she said she would dress up as miniature Westley once, for a Trunk or Treat event.

Westley costume

My oldest daughter is a tween and therefore too cool for us, so she did not participate. Give me another five years and I may convince all of them to be Vizzini, Inigo, and Fezzick.

I had a lot of fun making costumes and decorations for our Fire Swamp Trunk or Treat. I found a post on Pinterest of a Princess Bride party, and it gave me a lot of good ideas for our Trunk or Treat stuff.

Princess Bride Trunk or Treat

Princess Bride Trunk or Treat

Princess Bride Trunk or Treat

Unfortunately for us, the three judges had never seen The Princess Bride (how???) so of course we did not win. Their loss.

Here are the details on our costumes:

Adult Buttercup: Nina Lee Patterns Mayfair Dress. I hacked the sleeve and added two elastic casings.

Mini Buttercup: Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Practical Princess Dress. I hacked the bodice to copy the Mayfair Dress and hacked the sleeve (sleeve hacks are explained in more detail in my saved stories on Instagram)

Fabric for Buttercup dresses: cotton jersey from LA Finch Fabrics

Trim for Buttercup belt: Jo-Ann Fabrics (adult Buttercup is two pieces of trim sewn together to be twice as tall)

Buttercup head snood DIY

Adult Buttercup snood: hand-sewn by me roughly using this tutorial from YouTube, materials from Jo-Ann's

Buttercup boots Halloween

Adult Buttercup boots: Ebay (these were pretty comfortable but did scuff easily)

Mini Buttercup wig: Wal-Mart

Buttercup headbands: Amazon

Westley shirt: Amazon

Mini Westley outfit: all black stuff from home, belt made by me ages ago for a pirate costume

two Westley swords: Party City and Spirit Halloween

Westley head wraps: These are black stretch poly satin from Jo-Ann's. I found a similar one from Amazon and just cut the dimensions the same. I did not even bother to hem.

Adult Westley mask: Amazon

This will definitely be a Halloween to remember!

Buttercup Westley costumes

Planning a handmade holiday season? Stay organized with the Handmade Holiday Planner!

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Foxy Patterns Emma Trousers

If you've ever done pattern testing, then you've probably felt that feeling of "thank goodness I'm done with this, I can't wait to move on". But when I tested the Emma Trousers from Foxy Patterns, all I wanted to do was make a second pair! (And TBH, I had the same feeling when I tested her first pattern, the Madison Blouse.) Here is my first pair of Emmas!

Emma Trousers

The Emma Trouser is a high-waisted pant with front and back yokes. It is meant for non-stretch woven fabrics and it comes with two leg options (slim and ankle length, or wide and full length). There is a curved or straight waistband (!!) and it's available in waist size 23"-55".

Foxy Patterns Emma Trousers

Sandra at Foxy Patterns has dubbed these "trousers", but to me they are solidly in the "jeans" category, especially in the slim leg. The wide leg was added after testing, so I might change my mind if I sewed that view.

Foxy Patterns Emma Trousers

Please forgive me for making these in black. I know you can't see details and I HATE when people test sew in black. So yeah, I hate myself right now lol. I do not typically buy non-stretch denim, so this cut was all I had that worked. It is from The Fabric Store Online (super old) and it has a slight stretch to it (didn't affect my sizing I don't think).

Foxy Patterns Emma Trousers

This is my test pair, and so there were changes made to the drafting after I sewed these. Namely, the hip curve was lessened (I have already changed it on my pair) and the curved waistband option was added to the pattern. Working with Sandra is such a joy; she is SO receptive to feedback from all her testers and includes us in troubleshooting. I did use my own curved waistband pattern (more on that in another post) but when I compared mine to the pattern's they were very close.

Foxy Patterns Emma Trousers

I made a size 8 hip grading to a 6 in the waist. From what I could tell during testing, fit was pretty spot-on for a non-stretch pant. They are surprisingly comfortable too!

Foxy Patterns Emma Trousers
Beautiful floral lawn from LA Finch Fabrics

I did alter the order/method of construction for finishing the waistband. I much prefer to sew bias tape to the inner waistband facing and then secure from the right side with topstitching. 

Foxy Patterns Emma Trousers

Foxy Patterns Emma Trousers

My pants are also not hemmed yet, I want to wash them a few times to get all the shrinkage out.

Foxy Patterns Emma Trousers
This top is a cropped Kila Tank in hemp jersey

I made a second pair of Emma Trousers from a very stretchy light-wash denim from Cali Fabrics. I'll drop a photo here but please be aware that these are WAY WAY different from the drafted pattern, and should not be taken as an example! I'll probably share these in a separate post.

This top is a Donny from Friday Pattern Company

Congratulations Sandra on a great new pattern! I'm excited to try the wide leg version now, too!

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Sew DIY Eva Crop and Sundress

July landed me solidly in two different pattern tests at the same time. The first was the Madison Blouse (not blogged yet, I want to make it again from the final pattern), and the second was the Eva from Sew DIY Patterns. All versions of Eva have a super cool lace up back that I love!

Eva Dress from Sew DIY

Eva can be a crop top, a top with a peplum, or a dress with a skirt and ruffle. Bust sizing is from 30.5"-60.5", with 3 cup options. My bust is 33" and I made a size 6 in an A/B cup. I used a double border rayon challis from LA Finch Fabrics.

Eva Dress from Sew DIY

Eva is interesting because there are only two pattern pieces, and everything else is a rectangle. There is a big ole chart that gives the dimensions of the back pieces, the skirt, the peplum, etc. There is also a page to print to fill in the dimensions for your size. These pages are clearly marked in the pattern with a big circle that says "print this page!". I loved it, I thought the pattern was well-organized.

Eva Dress from Sew DIY

I highly recommend making a muslin of the bodice. The pattern directions walk you through the process way more explicitly than I've seen other patterns do. Eva does have flexibility in the fit because of the back. The back has two side panels with an adjustable middle panel. The middle panel has elastic in the top, and a lace-up tie. 

Eva Dress from Sew DIY

The pattern directions are super clear about when to stop and have a fit check. You'll have plenty of opportunities to check the strap length, and to adjust the back panel elastic. The back panel can be tricky since it's, well, on your back, so if you have someone else to help that's a plus. I did it alone though!

Eva Dress from Sew DIY

All the work for this pattern is in the bodice. It's completely finished (except the hem) and then you can decide whether you want it to be a crop top, to have a peplum, a skirt, a skirt+ruffle...really you've got lots of options. Again, these pieces are just rectangles. IMPORTANT to note however; the pattern is drafted for a height of 5'10". This is certainly taller than average, and it's 6" taller than me. I had a chat with the designer (her name is also Beth) during testing about how to adjust the pattern for much shorter heights. I haven't seen a final draft of the pattern so I'm not sure if any of my feedback made it into the directions.

Eva Dress from Sew DIY

I wanted to use the border for my ruffle, so I ended up removing 5" from the suggested cut height to accommodate. The skirt portion I shortened by 1". I did not change the bodice length because I have a long torso. The waist seam hits at my natural waist, perhaps just a touch below due to the weight of the skirt pulling it down. If you have an average or short torso you'll need to adjust.

Eva Dress from Sew DIY

This is the perfect sort of dress to throw on and eat tacos. Pull your ties tight in the back on your way out, then eat a ton of food and let them out again. I am wearing mine here with a strapless bra. I found that the straps had a tendency to move around (due to tightening and loosening the tie) and my bra straps were always showing somewhere.

Thanks to Beth at Sew DIY for choosing me for her test, and for compensating her testers. I was not asked to promote the pattern in any way and all opinions are my own!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Why I Chose a Juki MO-2800

Have you ever gone to an animal shelter to adopt a kitten or a baleful-eyed dog and been like, "oh my gosh, this is such a big decision, I can't decide, and they are all so adorable!" That's basically what it's like to pick out a second tier sewing machine. 

It's so easy to find a beginner machine. Just go to Amazon and type in "beginner sewing machine" and boom, there's the Brother CS-6000i. Type in "beginner serger" and boom, Brother 1034-d. A gajillion reviews and YouTube videos and all the info you could possibly need. But picking a SECOND tier machine? That's like picking a kitten.

Last year, my Brother 1034-d got a little finicky on a paid sewing job, and I had to take it in to the shop. It was the first time it had ever been serviced. It's never quite been the same after that. Last week, I once again broke the timing on it on the last six inches of another paid sewing job. It's a $300-$400 machine, and it just did not make sense to sink $100 into it for service again. I tried fixing it on my own (I've got an Instagram highlight saved if you need info on the proper way to fix the timing) but honestly, it felt like a waste of time.

After it broke the first time, I knew its days were numbered and I needed to start looking at an upgrade. But I was completely overwhelmed with options. I've always had Brother machines, but I didn't necessarily want another Brother. People love to talk about their fancy Babylock sergers, but fancy doesn't always mean best. I also did not need a combo machine because I have a dedicated coverstitch.

My first step was to search serger reviews on Pattern Review. I saw a lot of highly rated Juki machines. I went down the Juki rabbit hole and found three not-beginner sergers that were "reasonably priced" (in quotes because this is entirely subjective) between $1000-$2000 USD. Considering I made a $300 serger last 10 years, that price range seemed pretty acceptable.

I called the nearest Juki dealer, who is about an hour away. It also happens to be my favorite "local" shop, which carries high end apparel fabrics, indie patterns, sashiko supplies, all kinds of good stuff. They had the three machines I was considering available as floor models for me to try.

I went to The French Seam and spent some time with the owner reviewing these three machines:

Juki MO-1000

Juki MO-1000, retail $1300

Juki MO-2000

Juki MO-2000, retail $1500

Juki MO-2800

Juki MO-2800, retail $1600

First impressions of all three machines: way better than my Brother. Each one had fantastic stitch quality. All three had air threading. The variety of stitch options was pretty much the same. 

The 1000 and the 2000 were almost identical in function, except that the 2000 has an LCD display to give you all the stitch settings without you needing to pull out the manual. 

The 2800 was the mack daddy of them all. Bigger machine. More space on the bed vertically and horizontally. Optional table add-on (didn't get it...yet). And one very, very important feature: a knee lift.

If I had never used a knee lift before, I probably would've been fine with the 1000. But I've been spoiled with the knee lift on my regular machine (Brother PC-420). I've tried to use other machines without a knee lift and I can't do it anymore. The knee lift is like a third hand when you're sewing. Would you pay an extra $300 for a third hand?

Turns out, I would. The MO-2800 should last me many years, and thinking about $300 spread out over a decade...yeah. Of course get the knee lift.

It is also quiet(er), and easy to thread, and it doesn't shake my sewing table. It's sturdy and sews beautifully. Of course, I'll update after more time, but for now I am thrilled with this machine!

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory

There are a few sewing patterns that have achieved Platinum status. Ginger Jeans. Vogue 9253. Hinterland Dress. Ogden Cami. And the Zadie Jumpsuit!

Zadie Jumpsuit

If you haven't already made this pattern, you've got it on your list. It's one of those patterns that every time I see one, I think, that looks great on that person and I need to make one! But it wasn't until the Social Sewists at Workroom Social had a sewalong that I finally did it!

Disclaimer: I've been freelancing for Jennifer at Workroom Social for a few months. I have free access to the Social Sewists network and Jennifer purchased the Zadie pattern for me. That said, I was not asked to write or talk about the process and this is not a paid post.

During the Zadie sewalong, I attended as many of the live Zoom sessions as I could. I also appreciated that they were recorded, and I could watch them back later. Social Sewists is hosted on an app/website called Mighty Networks, which is easy and fun to use (no Facebook required). All the Zadie classes are neatly organized in one place.

Social Sewists on Mighty Networks

The session on choosing a size for Zadie was SO SO SO helpful! Jennifer walked through different student measurements, compared them to the size chart, and discussed how the amount of ease might look depending on which size that person chose. 

Zoom session on choosing a size

I'm pretty sure everyone has heard that sizing on Zadie can be hard to nail down, which is what has always intimidated me about the pattern. But after the sizing session with Jennifer, I felt totally ready to start.

My measurements are 33-28-38. According to the chart, that would put me at an 8-10/12-10/12. There is 5 1/2" of ease in the bust, 7" of ease in the waist, and 8" of ease in the hips. That's...a lot. Many people in the class expressed concern about the dreaded saggy-butt look.

A Sewist's Notebook

I decided to muslin a size 6 (the smallest size) in the bodice and an 8 in the hips. Note that this is one full size down for each area (waist and hips I'm between 10 and 12). I have a long torso despite only being 5'4", so when I make a jumpsuit I do like to check where the waist is going to hit me. The pattern is drafted for 5'7" but spoiler alert: the bodice length was fine with no adjustments. If you have a short torso, definitely check that.

I highly recommend a muslin of the top with one pant leg. That's a weird thing to say, and mine was totally by accident (lack of fabric) but the one leg ended up being super helpful! Here's my single crappy photo that I took:

Zadie Jumpsuit

You can see here that the crotch curve is crazy deep. You do need the crotch to be low enough that you can sit down, but this looked bonkers low. 

There are lengthen/shorten lines on the pattern piece right through the hip line. Typically, you see those lines across the legs, so it was kind of weird that it was in the hip. As if the designer KNOWS that the crotch is too deep.

On my muslin, I pinched out 1 1/2" across the hips/crotch and made sure I could still move and sit down. I could, so I made the change to my paper pattern and got to work on my final version.

Zadie Jumpsuit

The fabric I used is a Barbie-pink washed linen from LA Finch Fabrics. While I love the color, and the fabric is very soft, it is sort of sheer. I ended up pairing a light pink bodysuit with the jumpsuit and it eliminates any issues with the fabric being see-through.

Once the fit issues are handled, the pattern comes together crazy fast. For a jumpsuit anyway. The directions are good and I had no issues with assembly.

Zadie Jumpsuit

Last weird thing about this pattern: the cross-over in front. I never understood how it worked until I had the pattern in hand. It's hard to explain in words, so check out this Reel I made showing how it ties and unties. It weirds me out a bit to have the center front cut all the way down to the crotch, but once again, the bodysuit underneath keeps everything locked up nicely.

Zadie Jumpsuit

I only had two yards of fabric, so I couldn't make the full leg version. I would sew this again to make the long pants. Maybe in a dressy fabric for a fancy jumpsuit.

If you're interested in learning more about the Social Sewists, you can read about it here. I could not believe how much I learned from one simple video about choosing a size! This is not an affiliate link, and I do not receive anything for sending you over there. 

Are you on the Zadie bandwagon, or still running to catch up? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Payton Track Shorts

Indiana humidity is no joke. If you don't live in the Midwest, then I don't know if you can understand what it's like to swim through air. On these kinds of summer days, all I want is the smallest amount of clothing possible. May I present a solid winner in that category, the Payton Track Shorts!

Payton Track Shorts
Top is a Kila Tank. Or maybe a Durango.

I've been on a bit of a mission to find a pattern that you would call, well, booty shorts. I tried the Koko Shorts (for wovens) and I chose the wrong size. I was about to try that pattern again when Loni @havinsewmuchfun sent me a link to the Payton Track Shorts. They looked amazing and I bought the pattern, and sewed it up, ASAP. Payton is available in hip sizes 34"-61". There is also a children's version.

Payton Track Shorts

Lemme tell ya. These shorts are freaking awesome. I desperately wanted something that would hug my butt cheeks and let me pretend that I was 18 again (except I never dressed like this when I WAS 18). Since they are a knit they are so super stretchy and comfy. 

Payton Track Shorts

I had just received a bundle of fabric from iSee Fabric that contained some juicy maroon waffle knit, matching rib, and some cream rib knit. I used the cream rib for a Sommar Tank and had just a teensy bit left over. I live in a university town (the university that I attended) and our colors are cream and crimson, so these two fabrics work especially well!

This is my second time sewing with this waffle knit, and even though I adore it, it does not like my serger. I used a zig-zag on my machine for most of the seams.

Payton Track Shorts

The way these shorts are constructed is weird and interesting and unusual. I'm not sure I can even describe it, but whatever way I was imagining beforehand, I was wrong. Follow the directions and there will be a moment when it clicks.

Payton Track Shorts

There are a TON of options in the pattern as well. Mid-rise and high-rise (mine are mid), elastic or contour waistband (I chose elastic), three inseams (mine are shortie, there is also 3" or 6") and a variety of side panel designs. I went with the pocket on the side, but it was tempting to make the retro stripe version.

Payton Track Shorts

Sometimes patterns have so many options that it's confusing, but Petite Stitchery added a page that breaks down the choices and makes it simple. I think this is only my second pattern from this company and I thought the directions were great.

Payton Track Shorts

I did have some bunching along the front crotch (camel toe) and ended up messing around with the crotch curve quite a bit. It's been deepened from the pattern. I find that crotch depth in tight-fitting knit pants frequently gives me this camel toe problem. I'm not sure if it's me, or if that's just how people draft. You can see in the photo above that even after messing with the curve, it's not perfect.

I only wear these shorts around the house, but since I spend a lot of time at home anyway they spend a lot of time on me! I would make them again in a longer inseam for wearing around town.

And now, I will finish with a photo of my butt because it makes me laugh, and ~for science~ so you can see how revealing the shortie option is.

The End

Newsletter sign up