Monthly Archives: October 2016
Our wonderful seamstress, Bonnie Thompson, made The Sewing Workshop Stella Top in our pink bamboo knit. The fabric is a technical charcoal-bamboo and polyester blend that wicks moisture away from the body -- making it great for long underwear. But, it's also reversible and gorgeous, so Bonnie correctly thought it would work well for this top.
The Sewing Workshop Stella Top Pattern Review:
The Sewing Workshop Stella Top, available in our shop here, can be made out of knit or woven fabric. Bonnie's pink fabric is a two-way stretch, so we think it's perfect for a pattern drafted for both knits and wovens. A four-way stretch fabric would likely lead to an overly large Stella Top.
Bonnie lengthened the pattern to make it more of a tunic than a shirt, and she lengthened the sleeves. She warns that "wrist length" sleeves are shorter than long sleeves -- be sure to check the sleeve length before you cut out your fabric.
Bonnie loves the pattern, and we love it on her! She especially liked the flat-felled seam and the neck cowl. She also created cuffs for the hems to showcase the wrong side of the pink bamboo knit fabric. Not much of the wrong side shows on the cowl.
I am so excited that we have the Cashmerette Appleton Dress Paper Pattern! Jenny has designed six patterns for curvy women in the past year, and I'm sure she has more in the pipeline. Sizes range from 12 - 28, with cup sizes C - H. Woo Hoo! Here is the link to our pattern.
Based on my hip and bust measurements, I cut out a size 12 with cup size G/H. The size 14 with cup size G/H would have been better. You can see in the photo that the skirt wrap is pulling to the side. Next time I will cut out the size 14! (And, there will definitely be a next time.)
Using the sewalong on the Cashmerette website made sewing the dress a breeze. The fabric I used was The Confident Stitch Organic Soy and Cotton Knit in Navy and Organic Soy and Cotton Knit in Loganberry, which were both easy to sew with and super comfortable to wear.
Extra Steps lead to success!
A few minutes of hand stitching can set things up for success. I wanted to sew the hems of this dress with the coverstitch machine, which meant stitching from the right side without being able to see if I was catching the hem. So, I hand basted the hem with our Japanese fine silk basting thread from the wrong side, which allowed me to see the stitching line from the right side, and get a perfect cover-stitched hem the first time. The silk thread slipped out easily after I stitched the hem.
I recommend this pattern with only one caveat -- It has negative ease in both the bust and the hip, meaning that the final bust and hip measurements will actually be smaller than your bust and hip, so you may want to size up, or at least be honest with yourself about your measurements (a lesson I need to learn over and over again!).
Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in Beige Woven Striped Fabric Pattern Review:
Bonnie created a lovely Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt in our beige woven striped fabric. The Liberty Shirt is one of Kate’s favorite patterns, and many of our customers love it! Now Bonnie is a convert, too. She really liked the French seams and the clean-finished mitered corners. She also loved the unique, slightly ruffled collar, and how the diagonal lines enhance striped fabrics.
The Liberty Shirt can be a flowy shirt, a jacket, or even a vest. As with all Sewing Workshop patterns, it is impeccably drafted. It also runs a little large.
We all love Bonnie's fabric choice -- the striped woven was easy to sew with, and it created a hefty-yet-flowy jacket.
Bonnie made a size medium. She liked the fit everywhere but the shoulders. She was surprised that the shoulder seams extended beyond the end of her shoulders, so she pivoted the armscye 1.5 inches, making the top of the armscye land at the point where her shoulder meets her arm. Kate doesn’t mind that the shoulder seam extends a little past the end of her shoulders. Just be aware that you may want to move the shoulder seams a bit. Bonnie also shortened the sleeves by 1.5 inches, while Kate lengthened them by 2 inches (yes, she's tall).
Bonnie would definitely make this shirt again, and Kate has already made three of them (all in size large)!
Bonnie, our seamstress, whipped up a Colette Laurel Dress in Brussels Washer Linen for herself a few months ago. She made Version 3 – the one with the bell sleeves. It turned out great.
You can learn more about Bonnie on our About Page, but I want to say a few words about her here. When Bonnie owned Custom Fashions here in Missoula, she was everyone’s favorite tailor. I am new to Missoula, but my husband Fred has lived in Missoula on and off for the past 40+ years, and although he is not the tailored-made type, he knew I had to get Bonnie to help out in the shop. After making Missoula look great for over 20 years, she now sews for herself and the shop mannequins. Her workwomanship is precise, and she knows which of our fabrics work for all of our patterns. We will all learn from the clothes she makes. Triple win!
Bonnie's Colette Laurel Pattern Review:
The Laurel was Bonnie’s first Colette pattern, and she has some tips for sewing the Laurel and Colette patterns in general:
The pattern was a little wide and a little short for Bonnie. She suggests checking the finished measurements before cutting out.
The bust darts are a little long – be sure to check dart placement before sewing them. Bust darts should not be noticeable, and they should stop approximately 1 inch from your apex. In Fit for Real People, Pati and Marta say, if you are very small busted, a dart can come to within ½-inch of your bust point. If you are full-busted, it should stop 1-to-3 inches from the bust point.
Also, each sleeve bell is cut out of 2 pieces of fabric, and a seam is sewn along the bottom of the bell. The Brussels Washer Linen is a mid-weight fabric, and Bonnie felt the seam made the bell a little bit heavy. A good solution would be to either use a lightweight fabric for the inside layer, or to use the pattern pieces to create a new piece that could be folded along the bottom, instead of seamed.
Instead of a zipper, Bonnie made a key-hole opening in the back. She can still get in and out of the dress. If you’re intimidated by zippers, this dress could work for you!
All in all, Bonnie is very happy with the dress, and working with the Brussels Washer Linen. Make sure to wash it and dry it before you cut out your garment – it does shrink!
If I had to pick my one favorite pattern (which I would hate to do), I would choose the McCall's 6355 dress and top pattern. I have made it so many times out of so many fabrics. I use it instead of a sloper pattern in my learn-to-fit bodices class, so my students can create wearable projects.
Here is my McCall's 6355 dress pattern review:
Pattern Description: Semi-fitted top and dress with optional front and back vertical darts, self-neck binding and optional invisible side seam zipper.
Pattern Sizing: 16-18-20-22. I made a size 16.
Did it look like the photo? Yes, it did.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. Not only does this pattern have the Palmer/Pletsch alteration lines already drawn on it, but also Patti Palmer wrote the instructions herself.
What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern? I love this pattern. The alteration lines make it easy to make any changes. I can keep or remove the vertical darts for a loose or tight fit. I don’t have any dislikes.
Fabric used: Designer Ikat Canvas with Rainbow Stripe from The Confident Stitch.
Pattern alterations and any design changes you made: I did a 5/8” full-bust adjustment, and a ½” broad-back adjustment.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is my second McCalls 6355 dress, and I’ve made 4 or 5 McCalls 6355 tops, so YES!
Conclusion: This is a winner of a pattern. It can be made loose or fitted, long- or short-sleeved. It can be a dress or a top. The shape is universally flattering, and yet I have trouble finding ready-made dresses or tops with the same shape. I used a black-striped Ikat from The Confident Stitch for this dress, and it was easy to sew with. I made the stripes vertical so I wouldn’t have to match them, and to make the dress more slimming: Win-Win.
Have you made this pattern? What is your McCall's 6355 dress pattern review?