The Confident Stitch
I made a Colette Phoebe in Linen last summer, and finally had Bess take pictures of me in it! As you can see, summer is long-gone in Montana!
What I Loved about the Colette Phoebe in linen:
When Colette Patterns published the Phoebe Pattern, I knew I had to have one. I love the waist seam and the slightly a-line skirt. I also love the princess seam plus a dart for sizes 18 and up. Some of us need both a princess seam and a dart!
Colette patterns seem to be drafted for my shape, so I made very few alterations to this pattern. I found it a full in the upper chest, but that was easily remedied by increasing the width of the seam allowances above the bust.
Figure-Flattery (or not)
Let’s talk a little about figure-flattery. Even though I know high necklines make my large bust look larger, I still made this dress. Just like the old days, when I bought ready-made clothes and I wanted things to look good on me because they looked good on the models in the catalogues, I had hopes that a well-fitted high-neck dress would look good on me. I don’t think it does. Jane and Bonnie say it looks good, but I feel self-conscious about my bust. I need a scoop or V-neckline to minimize my bust. Someday I will learn. Meanwhile, I will wear this dress from time to time because I love the color, and I love everything but the neckline.
What about you?
Are you ever hopeful that a pattern will work for your shape, even though you know deep down it won’t?
Ruffle Hem Knit Top in Organic Soy Knit
Pattern: Katherine Tilton for Vogue 8691 Ruffle Hem Top
Description: Semi-fitted tops A, B, C, D have scoop neckline, neckband, princess seams, shaped, ruffled hemline flounce and long sleeves, topstitching and raw edge hem finish.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did look like the cover picture once it was all said and done!
Were the instructions easy to follow? In general the instructions were good, but they weren't very clear in regards to the different flounce options.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Bonnie liked all the variations and possibilities of combining different knit fabrics and ruffle hems. It's also a very comfortable shirt to wear and looks great on. She didn't like the full cut of the pattern in the hip area, and felt that the sizing was inaccurate - she had to go down a size despite checking her measurements against the finished measurements on the pattern.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Armhole alterations ( ), took in the sleeves. According to her measurements, Bonnie is a size 14, but she ended up cutting down to a size 12.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Bonnie would sew it again, but would probably make the view without the zipper, and decrease the fullness at hip and hem area.
Conclusion: This is a cute and comfortable top that has a lot of room for creativity. Bonnie would add the disclaimer though that with the modifications she had to made (and the sometimes vague instructions), this is not an "easy" pattern as designated by Vogue!
Whole-Cloth Quilt in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel Decision-Making Process
I love quilts filled with bamboo batting. They are just right: not too hot and not too cold. We had an old bamboo-filled quilt on our bed, but I did not made it big enough, so it just sat on top of the bed , not matching the blanket underneath. I wanted a new quilt, but I did not have time to make 250 flying-geese blocks. What to do? Make a whole-cloth quilt in Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel, of course! I let Fred select the fabrics. He picked our Mammoth Flannel in Crimson and Gold, Mammoth Flannel in Cobalt with Black and White, and Shetland Flannel in Redwood, so the quilt turned out a little masculine, but I still love it. I used 6 yards for both the top and the bottom: I sewed two 3-yard cuts together in the middle, matching the plaids.
I have not quilted a quilt for a loooong time, but I felt emboldened after taking the "Learn to Quilt" class here at the shop. Our teacher, Chris, advised us to pin our quilt layers together and use a walking foot. She also gave us a great hint: quilt at a 30-degree angle, and no one will be able to see if your blocks aren't completely square. The smart novice would have pinned her quilt sandwich and followed her teacher's advice. I am not a smart novice. I decided to use our basting spray, even though I have never used it before. Ugh. I found myself smoothing and resmoothing the layers on my hands and knees. And I ended up pin-basting a lot of the sandwich on top of the spray-basting. We have these great curved pins for sandwich-basting.
The quilt is far from perfect, but I love it. It matches the blue of our headboard, and the yellowish wood trim in our bedroom. The red binding adds a nice pop of color. Making a quilt entails A LOT more sewing than making a garment, but it goes quickly and the repetition is calming. I'm already planning my next whole-cloth quilt!!!
Merchant & Mills Strand Coat in Lana Bollito Wool Blend
Pattern: The Strand Coat by Merchant & Mills
Pattern Description: The Strand is a simple unlined coat for cutting a dash in the city. Lightweight and relaxed, it is designed for linen, cotton drill, wool, seersucker or 8-12oz denim.
Pattern Sizing: 8-18 (UK sizing). Bonnie made this version in a size 12.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It looked better!
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The pockets (both front and on-seam) are a little bulky.
Fabric used: Lana Bollito wool/rayon blend in chocolate brown. The fabric was prewashed in cold water and laid flat to dry, which shrunk it quite a bit and gave it more texture. However, it has some stretch so the finished coat was more like a size 14-16. This is a great fabric to sew with – Bonnie serged the seam allowances, but the fabric really doesn’t require it.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Bonnie made the sleeves 2” longer. She also used a decorative seam tape to cover up the waistband seams.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes definitely! This is actually the second one she has sewn, and both times the coat turned out gorgeous and fit well.
Conclusion: Bonnie enjoyed sewing it. Because the fabric is someone bulky, she graded the seams more than was directed in the pattern. She recommends sizing down if using this fabric or any other fabric that has some stretch to it.
Bonnie has made a Grainline Archer Popover Top in Robert Kaufman Flannel for my daughter, Mairin. We purchased the Archer Popover Variation Pack from the Grainline website, and Bonnie followed along with Jen’s sew-a-long for the popover. Bonnie found the popover variation straight forward, especially with help from the sew-a-long.
Grainline Archer Popover Top in Robert Kaufman Flannel Pattern Review:
Pattern Description: The Archer Button Up is a loosely fitted button up shirt with long sleeves. View A has angled cuffs and a back pleat at yoke. View B has straight cuffs and a gathered lower back detail. The popover add-on allows you to easily convert the button up into a popover and add tower pockets to your sleeves to match.
Pattern Sizing: 0 to 18. Bonnie made a size 6 for Mairin. Grainline patterns work well for women with smaller busts (Mairin included). If you love the look of Grainline patterns, and you are larger in the chest, you will need to do a full-bust adjustment.
Did it look like the photo or drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Yes, but it is more generously cut on the side seams than it looks in the picture.
What do you particularly like about this pattern? Bonnie likes the many variations.
Fabric Used: Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel in Ocean. It was easy to work with. We made sure to wash and dry it before cutting out the pattern to avoid shrinkage later.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Bonnie lengthened the sleeves by 1 inch because Mairin is tall. She took in the sides because Mairin didn’t want the top to be too full, and she shortened the top by 1 inch, because Mairin likes her shirts boxy. She stuck with the original sleeve plackets, instead of using the tower plackets included in the Popover variation.
Our super-fine French fabric in a mod green, brown and white print, was great for the simple lines of a McCall's M6750 blouse in Mod Cotton Voile.
McCall's M6750 Blouse in Mod Cotton Voile Pattern Review
Pattern: Palmer/Pletsch for McCall’s M6750 Blouse (view C)
Pattern Description: "Semi-fitted shirts have raised neckline, fold-back facings, darts, shaped hemline and narrow hem. A: Sleeveless. B, C: Two-piece sleeves with seam opening and button cuffs. B: Three-quarter length sleeves. C: Long sleeves."
Pattern Sizing: B5 (8-16) or F5 (16-24). Bonnie made a size 14.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very. Plus, because it's a Palmer/Pletsch pattern, it includes alteration lines for a perfect fit.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Bonnie liked that the collar was part of the front and back bodice pieces, creating an elegant raised collar. The three sleeve options are also nice to add variety.
Fabric used: This fun designer cotton voile from France.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Bonnie thought the sizing seemed to run small. Normally a size 14 would be quite large on her, but for this top she only needed to take in the shoulders about ¾”, shorten the sleeves slightly, and lengthen the bottom hem by 1”.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! It’s a very versatile pattern with lots of customization options. The instructions for alterations ensure a great fit.
Conclusion: This is a flattering (and easy) blouse pattern that can be made up in a variety of ways.
I've been wanting to make a Merchant and Mills Top 64 in Brussels Washer Linen for ages. I love the little pockets on the front of the top, the raglan sleeves, and the simple lines. I decided to make this English pattern look like a baseball shirt because I am so international.
Pattern: Merchant and Mills Top 64
Pattern Description: The Top 64 can be interpreted as a workwear garment, an artist's smock, or a smart jumper. With in-seam pockets, it is Merchant and Mills' feminine take on the style and function of a fisherman's top.
Pattern Sizing: British sizes 8 to 18. I made a 16.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? Yes!
Were the instructions easy to follow? YES!
What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern? Like all Merchant and Mills patterns, I loved the drafting. Each piece fit together perfectly.
Fabric used: Robert Kaufman's Brussels Washer Linen in Purple and Black.
Pattern alterations or changes you made: I selected my size based on my bust measurement, and the bust and shoulders fit perfectly. The size 16 hip measurement was too large, which was easy to fix with bigger seam allowances. I narrowed the hip area by 3 inches.
I decided to make the sleeves a different color than the body. I’m glad I did – the contrast showcases the raglan sleeves and slims the body of the top.
I didn’t need to lengthen the sleeves and I’m six-feet-tall, so others may need to shorten the sleeves considerably.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, definitely. We have so many fabrics that work for this shirt! I want one in plaid flannel, lightweight wool, tencel...The Top 64 works on its own as a shirt, but can also work as a sweater-like second layer.
Merchant and Mills patterns fit my body and my lifestyle so well. This top looks great with jeans, which combined with the wash-and-dry ability of Brussels Washer Linen, makes it a welcome addition to my wardrobe.
The Clare Coat from Closet Case Files is a great pattern that can be made up in a cozy wool, a lighter-weight twill for spring, or this mid-weight appliqué denim. It has beautiful structure and a flattering fit. It's a great starter coat if you've never sewn one before!
Pattern: "Clare Coat" from Closet Case Files.
Pattern Description: "The Clare Coat is a chic cool-weather staple. Featuring raglan sleeves and an unstructured A-line silhouette, Clare is a great introduction to the joys of coat making."
Pattern Sizing: 0-20. Bonnie made a size 12.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow? There are a lot of pattern pieces because it is lined, but the Clare Coat has a really nice design.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Pattern does not include finished garment measurements, which makes sizing somewhat difficult, but it does stat that it's designed for a woman 5'6" tall.
Fabric used: This fabulous stretch denim appliqué. It has a fairly wide plain border, which was used for the bottom and the cuffs.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Bonnie added 2" to the length below the original pocket placement on the pattern pieces. She also did not fully interface the front or side panels, and narrowed the collar width by 1" so it didn't overwhelm her. She also changed the pattern layout to accommodate the appliqué design and the plain border.
Would you sew it again? Absolutely! It is a great coat pattern, and the fabric is easy wash-and-wear!
Bonnie made this classic raglan-sleeve sweatshirt using a woven plaid flannel cut on the bias. Paired with some bamboo rib-knit cuffs and binding, it's the perfect marriage of sweatshirt and lumberjack button-up!
Pattern: Grainline Studio's Linden Sweatshirt
Pattern Sizing: This pattern comes in sizes 0-18. Bonnie made this version in a size 8.
Pattern Description: "The Linden Sweatshirt gives a modern update to the classic sweatshirt. Featuring a relaxed fit, raglan sleeves, and a graceful slightly scooped neckline, this sweatshirt is perfect for fall layering."
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelop once you were done sewing with it? Yes!
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. Because the instructions are for a knit, they call for 1/4" seam allowances. Bonnies used a slightly larger seam allowance with the woven fabric.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The Grainline Linden is really a very simple pattern, even when using a woven fabric instead of a knit. She also like that it had some slight shaping--the cut wasn't too full.
Fabric Used: Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel in Adventure Bonnie used an extra 1/2 yard of fabric to cut the pieces on the bias and to allow for pattern matching. She made the cuffs and bindings (neck and bottom) in a navy blue bamboo/cotton rib knit.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Bonnie added 2" to the hem so it was a slightly longer in the torso.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, definitely! Bonnie would sew it in a knit or a woven again.
Conclusion: The Grainline Linden Sweatshirt is a great basic pattern with lots of options for customization. The fabric is very easy to work with and the finished look is cute and contemporary!
The Morris Blazer is a deceptively simple pattern that results in a polished but comfortable blazer you can dress up or down. The quilted knit is a unique fabric that is wash-and-wear! This blazer will definitely become a wardrobe staple...
Pattern: Grainline Studio Morris Blazer
Pattern Description: "The Morris Blazer is the perfect mix of casual and cool. It will quickly become the go-to garment to complete any outfit. With a mixture of drape and structure, bracelet length sleeves, and gentle shawl collar, it looks great dressed up or down. It works up well in fabrics with stretch, making it comfortable on top of everything else!"
Pattern Sizing: Pattern includes sizes 0-18. Bonnie made this version in a size 6 graded out to an 8.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelop once you were done sewing it? Yes.
Were the instructions east to follow? For the most part, yes. The instructions for attaching the bottom facing get a little confusing. (Luckily, Grainline Studio has a sew-along for this pattern, available here.)
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The finishing details are really nice and add a polished touch to the blazer.
Fabric Used: This soft quilted knit in navy. It has some heft and a little stretch, making it comfortable and flattering.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Bonnie added 2" to the sleeve length (the pattern is for "bracelet"-length sleeves). This fabric was thick enough that she did not use interfacing. The back center seam is nice for making adjustments to fit.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! It'd be nice to have one in the black quilted knit as well!
Conclusions: Bonnie recommends checking the shoulder width before sewing in the sleeves, and trim excess if necessary -- the shoulders tend to run a bit wide. Overall this is a great pattern that makes a classic blazer that'll never go out of style!