Pattern Review: Julia Cardigan

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I want to like this pattern so much, but I’m just not sure. I’m still trying to figure out if I did something wrong in the construction or if it’s just a flaw.
The pattern is the Julia Women’s cardigan by Welcome to the Mouse House. The fabric is a made by rae print by cloud 9. This knit is divine feeling and in the end I’m wondering if my issues have more to do with the type and heaviness of this knit. It’s not sweatshirt thick, but it is a bit heftier and possibly this pattern is best with a lighter weight knit.

Overall this was a super simple pattern to put together. The directions are pretty darn good and there are photos all along the way to help. It’s not the most “professional” looking pattern, but after spending so many hours this year on adobe illustrator/indesign I’ve become sort of a graphic design snob. You have a couple of different options for the collar and I opted for the rolled collar without a hem. There again, with this thicker knit I’m wondering if that was the right choice?

My issue with the pattern is really just the fit and how it lays. I think if I made it again I would go a size down, a lighter weight knit and then maybe it would help with this bulge that seems to be in the hips area. I also think I would half the width of the collar – it just seems a little bit big when you get down the the back waist band.

It is a pattern that I would love another go at before I totally give it up.

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Pattern Review: Cheyenne Tunic

This shirt was such a long time making. The biggest hiccup in the whole process was the loss of my sewing machine for a month due to it being in service. I finally rescued it and with great joy was able to finally finish it. I do think in the end, making it so slowly was actually for my benefit. I figured out some mistakes along the way that I’m not sure I would have totally realized until too late if I hadn’t been forced to sew this shirt in so many small spaces of time.

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The Cheyenne Tunic pattern is by Hey June. I’ve made her Lane Raglan many times and love it so much. I was anxious to see how this tunic would come together.
I used one of the Hipster Grizzly Plaid flannels by Kaufman. I love the feel of this flannel and it hangs really well for this shirt. It did end up being a little bit harder to work with than I had thought, primarily due to the thickness. It’s not a super thin flannel and perhaps I might have done better if I would have made a muslin or even made this shirt first in a thinner cotton versus starting with the flannel.

Overall this is a very well written pattern. I ended up following the sew-along off her blog and it helped answer some questions that I had with the actual pattern directions.

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One mistake I did make was putting these arms tabs on the outside instead of the inside. I realized after I posted the picture on instagram (doih!) that these darn things come up from the inside and hook onto a button on the outside. Even though I had already completed the sleeves etc, I was able to take them off and restitch them on the inside. I did decide to only include one pocket on the front instead of the written two.

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I have never done plackets and cuffs before and I was super nervous about it. I’m still thinking that I did my cuffs backwards, but who will notice right? I did end up having to follow her directions on the sew-along and I watched a couple of other videos to help with sewing these together. I had a really hard time visualizing how they were supposed to work. But, yeah!, they all came together.

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I feel like the placket on the front went in pretty well and I ended up finding some buttons at JoAnns thankfully. Fit wise it’s a mix. The actual bodice fits me perfectly. The neckline is great and the shoulders are pretty square also. I’ve always got issues with sleeves and the sleeves area¬† little long on me. When I make another one, I’ll probably size down the sleeves actually and for sure make them shorter. I did end up shortening the cuffs a little bit when I was sewing, but I’d almost prefer them to be a little thinner than they are.

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Pattern Review: Syrah Maxi Skirt

My main sewing machine has been in the shop for going on three weeks so I haven’t even tried to finish the Cheyenne Tunic I was working on. I had a couple of knit projects laying around so I figured I would tackle those since they are primarily sewn on my serger.

First up was the Syrah Skirt by baste and gather. I’ve wanted to sew a maxi skirt for a while and this skirt pattern seemed to be perfect. There are many different options for lengths and seams. I also had nearly 3 yards of this random knit that I had purchased like a million years ago to “practice” on. This pattern uses a ton of fabric and in the end I’m SO glad that I made a practice skirt first.

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First I will say that this knit is not high quality. It’s from Joanns, but it’s probably going on 6 years old and really doesn’t have a nice hand to it. I do like that it’s a bit heavier and so I opted to make a version without the inner lining.

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I know that this is a fairly straightforward sort of garment to make, but there were a few directions along the way that I feel like she could have offered a more detailed explanation. This is a great pattern style to make if you are new to knits and if I were new to sewing I’d be a little frustrated and lost. Probably my biggest frustration was the waistband. There are two different options for the waistband, but she only shows one version (the more complicated ruched one) in the directions and then it’s implied that you do the same with the other version. But the pattern pieces are completely different looking so if you were new to this whole sewing thing (or not paying attention like me) you could easily sew the wrong sides.

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I sewed a size medium and while the length and fullness of the skirt are fine (and kind of fun!) the waistband was HUGE! I had to take it in at least 3-4 inches from the pattern piece. And even still it’s not quite as snug as I’d like it.

Overall, it’s a good pattern and would be good for beginners. That said, I would sew slowly or use some crappy knit to sew your first one just to get the fit right.

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Sewing: Part Review – Part Tutorial

So my girl child has started swimming and she has been needing a good swim bag desperately. I looked around for something to buy and then I started looking into bag patterns. I found a tutorial that I thought would work and even better it had a built in “wet bag” so I went for it. I ordered some canvas cotton material and this past weekend I got to work.

This is the tutorial that I used. Now, the tutorial does mention that this bag is big. But honestly – this bag was big. Think Ikea bag. It was too much and I was so frustrated. I checked the dimensions on my cutting mat and it seemed like a good size, but really it was too large. I spent the next few days taking the bag back apart and today I shrunk it down and finished it up. I made a few modifications along the way so I thought I would share them.

This is the original bag. It’s really hard to tell how big it is, but there is a giant bag of fabric sitting inside of it – like a trashbag size bag. I’m telling you this bag was super big.

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REVIEWS AND CHANGES

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For fabric, I used a cotton canvas for the print and instead of using a nylon I used PUL fabric, which is mostly used for cloth diaper covers. I wanted to use something that was more waterproof than just nylon so I splurged and spent a little more money for that. The wet bag, the lining sides and the lining bottom are all with the PUL.

First off, here’s my dimensions:

front/back panels 20×18
side panels 18×7
bottom panel – after quilting cut 20×7

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For the bottom, I actually left it the original size from the first bag and decided to quilt it to make it a little more hefty on the bottom. I sandwiched a thin piece of batting between two layers of the canvas and just quilted lines about a half inch apart.

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I am super glad that I did this extra step because it gives the bag a good shape for the bottom. I kind of wish I would have quilted the sides too, but I’m not about to take this bag apart again!

Construction wise, the biggest change was how I did the bottom compared to the instructions.  The instructions tell you to stitch up the 4 panels and then sew the bottom on and then sew the last side together at the end. I tried that the first go round and it ended up super wonky. The second time, I sewed all the sides together, leaving me with a rectangular box shape and then sewed the bottom on starting with one of the short sides.

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I added a pocket on the other inside with sections. I decided to make a larger pocket with divided sections for her glasses, goggles and hair ties etc versus just one pocket.

So there we go. Honestly it was a great lesson in what I just wrote about for Seamwork Magazine. It was crazy how confident and powerful I felt after taking this thing apart that I’d super failed at and piecing it back together successfully. It was a great way to cap off the day.

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Pattern review: Camas Blouse

I’ve been an instagram follower of Thread Theory patterns for a while now and when she posted a picture of the Camas blouse it immediately jumped to the top of my “to sew” list. I knew I had the perfect fabric in my stash to use.

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My mom brought back a bunch of quilts from her time in Oregon last year with her family and one of them was really falling apart. But, this blueberry print fabric was on the back of one and I knew right away that I was going to salvage it for something. Enter the Camas blouse. This fabric is super thin and silky; probably from years of washing. I cut it off the back and worked pretty hard to figure out how to make it work with the yard and a half that I had.

I ended up having to use some knit scraps for the sleeves and one of the yokes and some white kona for the inside facings – but in the end it all came together.

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The bulk of this came together really nicely. Thread Theory has done a sew-along for this pattern and I highly, highly recommend using that as you sew. I read through the pattern directions, but there is nothing like seeing real-life pictures as you sew along. The yokes were a little odd putting them together, but they were pretty easy to figure out in the end.

My biggest hiccup came with the facings. I messed up I don’t know how many times, putting the first one on upside down and just struggling with trying to figure out how they fit together. Even using the photos from the sew-along and the illustrations in the pattern directions I still had to fumble through it until I got it right.

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My outside facings were also shorter than my inside ones – no clue what happened there – so I had to fudge a little bit and add some extra length. You can’t tell because of the print and I could have just make my blouse shorter, but I really liked the length that it was at. I only did a 1/2 inch hem too because I loved the length.

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I used some pearl snaps I got from Hobby Lobby (and I don’t recommend them) and I love how it turned out. This v-neck is a little lower than I had thought it would be and while I was hoping I could get away without having to wear anything under it, alas it didn’t happen.

Overall, this is a great pattern and a great shirt. I’m anxious to try another one maybe all out of knit or maybe even a cotton voile. I would recommend this as an advanced beginner. Except for the facings issues, it really is a great blouse to stretch your sewing skills on.

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