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The Confident Stitch

  • Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset in Designer Fabrics

    Bonnie made a colorful Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset with our designer poly knit and a Capri Linen knit. Bonnie made a colorful Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset with our designer poly knit and a Capri Linen knit.

     

    The cardigan of this twinset drapes perfectly! The cardigan of this twinset drapes perfectly!

    Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset in Designer Fabrics

    The Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset is a new pattern we carry in the shop, so of course we had to try it out! Bonnie loved the finished results and shares her review here:

    Pattern

    Angela Wolf Rachel Twinset

    Pattern Description

    “A sleeveless knit top with an open, drapey cardigan. The Rachel Twin-Set is super easy and fast to sew and is perfect for beginners.”

    Pattern Sizing

    XXS – 5X. Bonnie made hers in a size large.

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

    Yep!

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    For the most part yes, especially for the tank top. Bonnie thought the instructions for the cardigan were less clear, and two of the notches did not match where they were supposed to. The drawings also could have been more detailed.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    Bonnie likes that this is a flattering style for all figures, and is a quick and easy sew. She notes that this pattern runs a little small and is fairly fitted, so it’s important to check the finished measurements to make sure you pick the right size. 

    Fabric Used

    For the tank top, Bonnie used one of our linen knits. She made two versions of the cardigan: one in this poly ITY knit, and one in a Missoni Crush Knit in Candy.

     Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

     Bonnie added a little length to the tank top, and added 2” slits to the side seams at the hem. She opted to double top-stitch around the hem, neckline, and armholes. On the cardigans, she added extra ease to the sleeve cap for a better fit. She also lengthened the cardigans approximately 2”.

     Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

     Bonnie would sew this again – the tank top especially is quick to sew and versatile. Double top-stitching on both pieces gave it a professional touch! Although the instructions for the cardigan could be a little better, she highly recommends this pattern.

     

    The back of the cardigan has a nice seam detail. The back of the cardigan has a nice seam detail.

    Detail of the sleeve rouching. Detail of the ruched sleeve.

     

  • Sewaholic Crescent Skirt in Cotton + Steel Rayon

    The second Crescent Skirt, made in Cotton + Steel Rayon. The second Crescent Skirt, made in Cotton + Steel Rayon.

    Sewaholic Crescent Skirt in Cotton + Steel Rayon

    The Sewaholic Crescent Skirt is one of the first Sewaholic patterns I made. I finished two skirts in two very different fabrics, made a few mistakes, and learned a few things along the way. But the overall verdict? Love!

    Pattern:

    Sewaholic Patterns Crescent Skirt

    Pattern Description:

    “The Crescent Skirt is a gathered skirt with a fitted yoke. Your choice of a slightly gathered skirt, a fuller gathered skirt or a longer, knee-length skirt. Optional trim or contrast topstitching highlights the fitted waistband. A great addition to your wardrobe!

    This skirt is designed with a pear-shaped figure in mind. The fitted yoke waistband highlights a narrow waistline, gathers at the hip create a flattering silhouette. Slash pockets are easy to sew, and anything you put in the pockets is disguised by the gathering. Sizing is proportioned for a pear-shaped figure: smaller waist, larger hips.”

    Pattern Sizing:

    0 – 16. I made one version in a size 8 and one in a size 6.

    Review

    I first decided to make one in a Robert Kaufman Montauk Twill, to replace an old J. Crew skirt that finally wore out earlier this year. The fabric is soft, high-quality, and sturdy. It’s great for a skirt, but I have to admit it wasn’t the best choice for this pattern. I had a really hard time creating the gathers, because of the weight of the fabric, and I was afraid the lack of drape would create too much of a bell-shape effect. I ended up taking the side seams in quite a bit to tweak the fit and to make the skirt a little less tulip-y. Despite these issues, I like the finished result and wear it frequently!

    The Crescent Skirt has a pieced waistband, which is an ideal place for top-stitching. The Crescent Skirt has a pieced waistband, which is an ideal place for top-stitching.

    The second version I made in this amazing Cotton + Steel rayon, and it was a breeze. Because the first version turned out a little bigger than I expected, I made a size 6 (although my measurements correspond more with a size 8) and it fit perfectly! The drapey fabric was a much better choice for this pattern and gathered nicely.

    The rayon drapes much better than the twill! The rayon drapes much better than the twill! And who doesn't love a pocket?

    Detail of the yoke and gathers...and this amazing rayon! Detail of the yoke and gathers...and of course the swishy-soft rayon!

    The instructions for the Crescent Skirt, as with all Sewaholic patterns I’ve used, are clear and easy to follow. The zipper intimidated me a bit, but their method makes for a clean finish all the way around and doesn’t require any hand stitching. I loved the flattering fit of this skirt, with the yoke and the drape around the hips. Add the top-stitching detail and it’ll look extra professional!

  • The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt

    The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard

    Close up of The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard Close up of The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard

    Back of The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard Back of The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt in Wool Jacquard

    We wanted to showcase our gorgeous 2-sided wool/rayon blend, and decided The Sewing Workshop 8th Avenue Skirt would be the perfect vehicle. I was super excited about the fabric, so Bonnie made the skirt for me. Yessss!

    Pattern Description:

    Fitted, slightly flared, below-waist skirt has a narrow bias waistline binding, darts, a bias side panel with shaped hem and a left side seam zipper. View A is knee length. View B is above ankle.

    Pattern Sizes:

    US 6 to 22. We made it in size 20, which I thought (hoped) would be way too big because The Sewing Workshop patterns for the upper half of the body tend to be roomy. My hip measures 44”, most of which is tummy, and the size 20 (which calls for a 45 ½” hip measurement) was little snug. You may want to size up with this pattern.

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    Yes, the instructions were easy to follow. Bonnie decided to make the side hems from the “wrong,” or contrasting, side of the fabric, so she drafted her own pattern pieces for the side hems, which was the only confusing bit.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    Linda Lee, the owner of The Sewing Workshop, is a stellar hemmer. This skirt has straight hems, mitered corners, and a curved hem. Linda includes detailed instructions for all of them – If you’ve never sewn a curved hem or an asymmetrical miter, this is a great pattern to start with!

    Fabric Used:

    Bonnie used our Reversible Jacquard in Black and Gray. The fabric is half wool, half rayon, and I pre-washed it in my machine on delicate, which worked just fine. From now on, I’ll be able to wash it the same way and save on dry-cleaning costs! Bonnie enjoyed sewing with the fabric. It pressed easily, and wasn’t slippery.

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

    Bonnie only changed the side hems so they would contrast with the rest of the skirt.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

    Yes and Yes. I love the flowy-ness of the bias-cut panel. I want to make the shorter version for summer!

    Conclusion:

    The Sewing Workshop patterns are all amazingly well-drafted, and this skirt is no exception. I  love the design lines, and this skirt will look great in so many fabrics – rayon challis, I’m looking at you for summer!

  • Grainline Willow Dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes

    Close-up of Grainline Willow Dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes Close-up of Grainline Willow Dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes

    Grainline Willow Dress Back Pleat Grainline Willow Dress Back Pleat

    I made a Grainline Willow dress in Kaffe Fassett Stripes in preparation for a class on how to make it. No one signed up for the class, which could have been because the weather is still cold in Missoula, or because I finished the sample two days before the class was to begin. Either way, I will offer the class again. The Willow is an easy, loose fitting top or dress, which makes it a great introduction to basic garment construction for beginners.

    Pattern Description:

    The Willow Tank Dress is a versatile and reliable staple for all warm-weather seasons. It is fitted at the shoulders and falls into a relaxed fit below the bust. The Willow is unfussy and can be made into a dress or a tank top. Techniques involved include sewing a straight seam, darts, hemming, and applying bias facings.

    Pattern Sizing:

    US 0 to 18. I used size 18 for the front, and size 14 for the back.

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

    I think it actually looked better than the pattern envelope because I was able to add some shaping to the sides.

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    Yes, especially with Jen’s photo tutorials on the Grainline Studio website.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    I liked the drafting, the instructions, and Jen’s method for applying bias facings. I always use her method. It works every time. Here’s the link so you can, too.

    Fabric used:

    A woven stripe designed by Kaffe Fassett. I loved sewing with it. It pressed like a dream and was soft yet stable. I think I need to order some of Kaffe’s shot cottons for the shop now that I know how nice his wovens are for making clothes. As you can see, the stripes went horizontally on the bodice and vertically on the skirt, adding to the fun!

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

    Because I am six-feet-tall, I added two inches to both the bodice and the skirt. I also cut out the front in size 18 and the back in size 14 (a lazy-woman’s full-bust-adjustment!). My mash-up worked well – I just needed to pay attention to make the armholes match. I also kinda forgot that the back was a couple of sizes smaller than the front when I was pinning the fabric to fit, and pinched the same amount from both the front and the back. I should have kept the back seam-allowance at one-half inch, and only taken in the front. Now, the back is a little tight, which I know I can fix, but I’d have to undo the bias binding on the armholes (eye roll). I also made a four-inch sash to wear around my waist for days I want a little more definition.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

    Yes and yes! I am looking forward to making myself and my daughters Willow dresses for the summer, and making myself a few new tank tops!

    Conclusion:

    This is a great beginner dress or top pattern because of the great instructions, lack of fitting issues, and no sleeves!

  • Merchant and Mills Top 64 in Plaid Flannel

    Merchant and Mills Top 64 Front Pockets Close up of the inseam front pockets on the Merchant and Mills Top 64 in Plaid Flannel.

    Side view of Charlotte in Merchant and Mills Top 64 in Plaid Flannel Side view of Charlotte in Merchant and Mills Top 64 in Plaid Flannel

    Bonnie made the Merchant and Mills Top 64 in plaid flannel, and my daughter, Charlotte, modeled it for us.

    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’ take on the style and function of a fisherman’s top.

    Pattern Sizing:

    UK 8 to 18

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

    Bonnie felt the actual pattern was much fuller than the photo suggested. Bonnie made a size 8 and graded out to a size 10 in the bust.

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    Yes.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    Bonnie loved the pattern, but suggests checking the finished measurements to account for the fullness. You may want to size down.

    Fabric used:

    Plaid flannel in red and green from The Confident Stitch. The fabric is sold out, but any of our plaid flannels would work great. Bonnie enjoyed sewing with the fabric, but the plaid matching was challenging.

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

    Bonnie added one inch in length to both the bottom front and the bottom back. Bonnie is 5’ 2”, and the top looks like a tunic on her. Charlotte, our model, is 6’ tall, which is why the top doesn’t look overly long on her! Bonnie eliminated the front and back center seams so she didn’t have to match plaids in those spots. She cut the bottom front and bottom back on the bias, and used the selvedge as trim on the bottom and the neckline.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

    Bonnie loves this pattern, and the many ways to vary it. Kate made it in two colors of Brussels Washer Linen Blend and blogged about it here.

    Conclusion about Merchant and Mills Top 64 in Plaid Flannel:

    Both Bonnie and Kate will sew this pattern again!

  • Closet Case Ebony Dress in Rayon Knit

    The Closet Case Ebony Dress is flowy and flattering in a rayon knit. The Closet Case Ebony Dress is flowy and flattering in a rayon knit.

    This dress has SWING! This dress has SWING!

    Pattern:

    Closet Case Ebony Knit Dress & T-Shirt 

    Pattern Description:

    “An elegant basic featuring a fluidly draped silhouette, the Ebony Tee is a versatile wardrobe staple you’ll want to wear every day.

    Make a swingy knit dress or modern cropped top, with your choice of scoop or jewel neckline, and long or 3/4 sleeves. For the ultimate leggings companions, make an Ebony tunic, with a cascading hem and short raglan sleeves. All necklines are finished with a knit band.”

    Pattern Sizing:

    0 – 20. I made mine in a size 6.

    Ebony Dress Review:

    The Ebony Dress & Tee pattern is the latest release from Closet Case Patterns, and one I was super excited to see. I love anything “fit and flare,” and that’s exactly how this dress turned out.

    The pattern comes in three lengths (dress, tunic, or cropped top), with a variety of necklines and sleeve options. I made the dress length, with a jewel neckline and full-length sleeves, and used this Designer Rayon/Lycra Tie-Dye Knit in Stone Blue and White. Normally I wouldn’t use such a lightweight knit for a dress (hey there, lumps and bumps!), but since this dress is so full, it was a great option. I think a more stable knit could risk the dreaded tent shape, but the rayon drapes beautifully.

    I love that the dress is fitted through the sleeves and upper chest, and gathers fullness on the way down. It’s both flattering and ridiculously comfortable. I’m not very tall, so I shortened the length all the way around by about 1.5” so that the dress would fall above the knee in the front and just below the knee in back. A word of warning: the sleeves fit well but are on the small side. I was relieved that my fabric had lots of stretch, otherwise they might have been too constricting!

    Overall it was quick and fun to make. The instructions are clear, and the Ebony dress is full-cut enough that the fit is forgiving. I would definitely make it again in another rayon knit, such as this gorgeous Rayon/Lycra Knit in Wine, and I’m planning a tunic-length version in this flowery French knit. The cropped version is very cute and in style – but I’ll leave that to someone who is braver than me!

    Close-up of the high-low hemline. Close-up of the high-low hemline.

    The bound neckline is easy to add and gives a nice finish. The bound neckline is easy to add and gives a nice finish.

  • Sewaholic Renfrew Top in Soy Knit

    Close-Up of the Hem Band on Jane's Sewaholic Renfrew Top in Soy Knit Close-Up of the Hem Band on Jane's Sewaholic Renfrew Top in Soy Knit

    Jane in her Sewaholic Renfrew Top in Soy Knit Jane in her Sewaholic Renfrew Top in Soy Knit

    Cowl Close-Up of Jane's Renfrew Top in Soy Knit Cowl Close-Up of Jane's Renfrew Top in Soy Knit

    Back of Jane's Renfrew Top in Soy Knit Back of Jane's Renfrew Top in Soy Knitf

    Pattern:

    Sewaholic Patterns Renfrew Top

    Pattern Description:

    “The perfect basic tee! The Renfrew Top is a fitted knit top with sleeve and neckline variations. View A has long sleeves and a scoop neckline; View B has short sleeves and a deep V neckline; and, View C has a dramatic cowl neckline and three-quarter length sleeves. Mix and match any of the sleeves with any of the neckline options for unlimited possibilities!”

    Pattern Sizing:

    0 – 16. I made a size 6.

    The more I sew, the more I love Sewaholic Patterns. The founder of this company, Tasia St. Germaine, drafted these patterns for women with a pear figure – that is, women who carry their weight through their hips and are proportionally smaller through the waist and chest. Women like me!

    It’s the ultimate comfy knit tee, which makes it a great wardrobe builder, and fits oh so perfectly!

    The Renfrew Top can be customized dozens of ways: make it in a scoop or V-neck, or try the cowl to dress it up a bit. Sleeves can be short, three-quarter, or long. All versions use a waistband and a cuffed sleeve, which makes finishing easy. (Super easy. I literally made four of these shirts in one week.)

    Although the pattern calls for stable knits, I found that just about any knit works well. Slinky rayon knits made a nice light-weight T-shirt, while the soy/cotton blend worked great for a slightly heftier cowl-neck version. I used this sweet Japanese gauzy double-knit to line the cowl of one of my Renfrews, which added a cozy pop of color and design. I even made a short-sleeved basic black wool jersey version – a bit scratchy, but great for winter layers!

    Just a few months ago I swore there were things I would never sew – underwear, jeans, and T-shirts, for example. But with patterns like the Renfrew Top, I’m changing my tune. Sewing wardrobe basics is incredibly satisfying – they fit perfectly, sew up quick, and last forever!

    I highly recommend this pattern, especially for women who are pear-shaped. I just recommend you copy your size onto some Swedish tracing paper first, because this is a pattern you’ll use again and again.

  • Merchant and Mills Strand Coat in Cloud 9 Bark Cloth

    Merchant and Mills Strand Coat in Cloud 9 Bark Cloth Pretending my Merchant and Mills Strand Coat in Cloud 9 Bark Cloth is warm enough in -10 degree temps!

    Merchant and Mills Strand Coat in Cloud 9 Bark Cloth Yes, I always walk my dogs in a dress and my Merchant and Mills Strand Coat in Cloud 9 Bark Cloth

    Pattern Description:

    Lightweight and relaxed, The Strand has side seams brought to the front and features handy side pockets. The waist seam has an inseam pocket. The sleeves are set in and sport elbow darts, while the front fastening is created by inseam hooks and eyes.

     

    Pattern Sizing:

    UK sizes 8 to 18. I started making this coat in size 12 as a store sample, but I didn’t have time to finish it, so I asked our seamstress, Bonnie, for help. She had the GREAT idea to make the seam allowances smaller so the coat would fit me (I’m usually a size 16 or 18 in Merchant and Mills). This pattern has plenty of ease, so we could “make it work” in size 12.

     

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

    Yes, it did, except that we made it a smaller size so it wouldn’t be too voluminous. It is too tight for me in the bust, but I like the look of it unclasped.

     

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    Yes, they were. Carolyn is a precise pattern drafter, which makes her designs fit together easily. The instructions are brief but ample with helpful line drawings.

     

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    We liked how well the pieces fit together, and how easy the instructions are to follow.

    Carolyn at Merchant and Mills likes her garments to be very loose fitting. Because I’m six-feet-tall, I don’t like clothes to add volume to my width or my height, so I’m happier with this coat in a smaller size. Bonnie also made a Strand Coat out of Lana Bollito Wool for my daughter, Charlotte. See blog post here.

     

    Fabric Used:

    Cloud9 Timewarp Bark Cloth in Loop Navy – a very easy fabric with which to sew. The fabric is great for home decorating projects, and for clothes because it is the same weight as canvas, but drapier. It has a visible loose weave that makes it fall gently from the body instead of straight out, like a canvas would. We have even seen some great bark-cloth dresses.

     

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

    We created some extra room to fit my size-16 body into a size-12 pattern. Next time, I think I’ll make the Strand Coat in a size 12 with a full-bust adjustment so it won’t be too big, but it will clasp over my bust.

     

     

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

    Yes, and yes. The pattern comes together easily, and can be altered to fit many body types.

     

     

    Conclusion:

    Because Montana is a place with extreme weather, before I started sewing again as an adult, I considered lightweight coats silly. I would need to wear a heavier coat on top of a canvas coat nine months of the year, so why bother? Now that I own a fabric store and can sew anything I choose, I love the idea of a lightweight canvas coat: it spruces up any outfit, and makes me feel ultra-put-together. This is a great pattern and a great wardrobe basic!

  • Seamstress Erin Electron Layette in Organic Soy Knit

    Baby Connor modeling his Seamstress Erin Electron Layette in Organic Soy Knit Baby Connor modeling his Seamstress Erin Electron Layette in Organic Soy Knit

    Baby Connor modeling his Seamstress Erin Electron Layette in Organic Soy Knit Comfy Connor in his Seamstress Erin Electron Layette in Organic Soy Knit

    A few months after my daughter’s boss had a baby boy, Seamstress Erin introduced her first layette pattern. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make the Seamstress Erin Electron Layette in Organic Soy Knit. Of course, Erin the scientist and seamstress, named her first baby pattern the Electron Layette.

    Pattern Description:

    Erin describes the Electron this way: modern, full of personality, and gender-neutral. The pattern includes: drop-crotch pants that easily fit over both disposable and cloth diapers; a V-neck cardigan with snaps; a knotted cap; and a drool bib.

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

    It looked even cuter, given the cuteness of my model. He is chubby enough that the drop-crotch pants look like regular pants on him.

    Were the instructions easy to follow?

    Yes. Erin did a beautiful job explaining and illustrating every step of the Electron Layette, from fabric selection to pattern assembly, to cutting out and sewing with knits. The drool bib, pants and hat are beginner level. Erin categorizes the cardigan as Advanced Beginner, and with her detailed instructions, I think she is correct. The cardigan is a small version of an adult cardigan, however – be aware that it has set-in sleeves, facings, and other challenging bits.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

    I loved the instructions. The snaps were a snap using our snap-setter tool, which Erin recommends. I couldn’t make the little tiny pockets look good, which was probably a deficiency in my sewing rather than a deficiency in Erin’s drafting.

    Fabric used

    Organic Soy Knit in Navy and Ruby Red. I found both fabrics easy to sew with. I used a walking foot to feed the top and bottom layers evenly, and used a narrow zig-zag stitch.

    Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

    My only design changes were to color-block the hat and the cardigan.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

    Yes and Yes! I really want to make Connor another outfit, and I should get going before he grows much more.

    Conclusion:

    This pattern is a great introduction to sewing with knits, especially with Erin’s instructions. The pants and bib and hat are all super easy. The cardigan is a little more complex, so take your time and read the instructions well.

  • Colette Phoebe in Linen

    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.

    Colette Phoebe in Linen Kate pretending it's not below 0 degrees Fahrenheit in her Colette Phoebe in Linen!

    What about you?

    Are you ever hopeful that a pattern will work for your shape, even though you know deep down it won’t?

     

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