Women’s Henley by Patterns for Pirates

p4p_henleyAfter being sick for over a week and doing little to no sewing I decided I needed a project today.  I wanted something new to me that I would really have to follow the directions for.  As I was going through my patterns and fabric stash I came across the Women’s Henley by Patterns for Pirates.  Luckily I had just enough fabric to get started right away!

The Women’s Henley is full of options.  You can chose from the henley style button closure, traditional neckband or a hood.  There are short and long sleeve options.  You can also chose how you finish your sleeve.  There are instructions for hemming, cuffing, using a button tab and even thumb hole cuffs.  The bottom of the top can be straight hemmed, curve hemmed, or banded.

The fit of the henley is a bit more relaxed than some of the other Pattern for Pirates patterns.  Even so, I chose to do a Medium this time.  My measurements put me in a small for my chest and hips and I usually just grade out at the waist to a medium.  Since this was a more easy wearing style I just went all over medium.  I do not feel like it was too big and will probably continue to make it this way.  I do think I need a petite adjustment above the bust as I am getting some wrinkles there.  Next time I will probably take off 1/2″ horizontally above the bust to correct for this.

Onto the construction…my pattern printed out pretty easily.  There are no layer options on my copy.  I believe this pattern has been updated to include them, but I have just never went back to re-download the pattern.  Even without the layers it is easy to follow the size patterns to cut out the size you need.  I print in black and white and have no issues deciphering between sizes.  The pages are clearly labeled so you know what page comes next when you are gluing them together.  I had my pattern pieces ready in no time.

p4p_henley_backI chose to do the placket neckline, button tab sleeves and the regular straight hem.  There is no pattern piece for the placket, there are measurements to cut this on the chart that is printed on the front shirt pattern piece.  I used knit for my placket and used a light interfacing on the back of it as the pattern instructions suggested.  Once the pieces were cut and my interfacing fused I was ready to get started.

First step was to complete my placket.  The first time I pressed my folds I did it the wrong direction (I put the shortest side vertically instead of horizontally!)  I quickly realized my placket was not matching the pictures and started over.  Second time was a charm.  I did not find the process of the placket difficult.  It ended up being difficult for me due to my fabric choice.  I had so much bulk to work with.  The bottom of the placket is just not as neat as I would like it to be.  I think next time I will use a woven fabric instead of medium weight cotton lycra to reduce some of the bulk.  Once the placket was in the rest of the process was the same as any knit shirt pattern.

The fabric I used for the top was from Print Knit Studios.  It is a very nice medium weight cotton lycra knit.  I used plastic Kam Snaps for the placket and the sleeve tabs.

Overall, I am very pleased with my new shirt.  I really like the fit of this shirt.  It is just enough ease to be comfortable but still have some feminine shaping.  Once I make my usual petite adjustments this pattern will become a staple for me.  Next time I will try out the traditional neckband and some short sleeves.


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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  One of my favorite parts of fall is Halloween because that means I get to sew costumes.  It is so fun to see how their costumes come alive from their original idea to the finished product.  This year we have Ash Ketchum and Lilo.14853292_10103270765037744_2453509553112901168_o

Let’s look at Lilo first.  To make Lilo’s shift dress I used a combination of two Jalie patterns.  I used the top portion of the Women’s T-shirt pattern 2805 and the bottom of the Women’s Maxi Dress and Shawl-Collar Shrug pattern 3246.  All the white leaves were cut from white cotton lycra knit, fused to the dress, and were appliqued to the dress with a zig zag stitch on my machine.  It sure did take a lot of time but the results and smiles were worth it!  The red cotton lycra knit and the white cotton lycra knit fabric were both purchased from Purpleseamstress.

14855954_10103270765032754_6263513498694398867_oI have used the Women’s T-shirt pattern many times in many sizes as my girls have grown.  It has become a staple for us.  The fit is slim, which means I don’t have to alter the pattern.  This was my first experience with the Maxi Dress pattern.  I did like the fit on my daughter.  I was afraid the siloutte would be to slim after seeing the picture on the pattern cover.  The finished dress had plenty of ease and still gave us the look we were going for.  The dress is a bit of a challenge for my daughter to walk in.  I was surprised a dress this long would not have some sort of slit.  I do believe I will add at least a small one before I sew it the next time.

On to the Ash Ketchum costume.  This costume was not entire made by me.  I did purchase the hat online on Amazon since my embroidery machine will not take hats.  She is also wearing store bought jeans.  I did sew the shirt, pokeball and the fingerless gloves.  The shirt was made from the Bowling Shirt pattern by Scientific Seamstress.  I made an unlined version in a size 9/10 with the longest length.  I didn’t really do much to this pattern to make it look like Ash.  I made faux welt pockets by simply appliquing yellow rectangles to the front of the shirt and bound the bottom with yellow instead of hemming.  I also omitted the buttons and button holes since the character does not have them on his shirt.  I made a faux button tab at the neck that is not functional.

I have made several of these bowling shirts and they always come out great.  It is the perfect pattern for beginners and is a great way to use those busy character fabrics kids love.  I would measure your child before you start since sometimes I feel this pattern can run a bit short in length.  It is however extremely simple to add length to this pattern since the pieces are straight at the bottom of the shirt.

The pokeball was made from a free ball sewing pattern I found on the Stitches and Love blog.  To get the two seperate colors I cut 3 pieces of white and 3 pieces of red.  I hand stitched a black band around the center between the two colors and hand stitched the circles to the front.  It turned out to be a really quick and fun project!

The fingerless gloves were completely 11th hour improvisation!   I traced around my daughter’s hand, added ease and a seam allowance.  I sewed up between her thumb and hand and along the sides.  No hemming or any finishing.  They aren’t perfect, but work just find for a night of trick or treating.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween and I can’t wait to see everyone’s handmade creations!

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Jam Jam Sleepwear Collection by Love Notions

dsc00994I admit that I have had this pattern for quite some time now and am just getting around to sewing it up.  For some reason it is hard for me to use cute fabric on pj’s.  However, a few weeks ago my girls saw a very cute Pikachu print they had to have.  It was a thin poly knit that was a bit too see through for every day wear…especially for bottoms.  PJ’s were the perfect project for them!

The Jam Jam Sleepwear Collection includes a short sleeve top and choice of either shorts or capri length pants.  I made one of each pant length.  Sizing runs from 2t-14.  I made sizes 5t and 10 for my girls.

Printing the pattern was very easy.  This pattern features the layers option so you can print only the size you need.  There is also a great printing chart so you know which pages you need to print for your size and view.  I had both sizes printed and glued together in no time.

The pattern does not use very much fabric, which is always a plus in my book.  I was able to get both bottoms from 1 yard of the Pikachu print and both tops from 1 yard of yellow knit with plenty of left overs.  I will note that the back yoke does come to the front of the top.  So if you use a directional print like I did it will be upside down on the front!  Ooops!  Luckily the girls didn’t seem to mind too much.

The top fits the girls great.  The back is gathered at the yoke for plenty of wearing ease.  There is also gathering on the front at shoulder for even more ease.  I did find the rise in the pants to be a bit shorter than I expected.  I think this might be due more to the fact that my kids seem to pull up their pants to their natural waist.  Other than that there is nothing I would change.

For the front of the tees I hand drew the faces onto Heat ‘n Bond Lite.  I fused it to the back of some quilting cotton scraps and ironed them onto the front of the tee.  I used a tearaway stabilizer on the back and appliqued them onto the tee with a zig zag stitch on my regular machine.

I admit that sewing pj’s is a tough task for me, as I mentioned before I really hate using cute fabrics on them.  I am however so pleased with how these turned out and my girls love them.  I definitely think there will be more of these in our future.

I purchased the solid cotton lycra knits from Purple Seamstress.  The Pikachu knit was purchased from Print Knit Studios.  You can find the Jam Jam Sleepwear Collection here on the Love Notions website.


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Shenanigans all around!

5oo4_shenanigansskort_xs_sportyspice_1inshorts_leftFor the past few weeks there have been a lot of shenanigans in our house…Shenanigan Skorts that is.  This is the fantastic new pattern by 5 Out of 4 Patterns!

The Shenanigans Skort is available in both women’s and children’s sizes.  Each pattern includes 3 skirt lengths with two hem options (regular hem and flounce).  There are also several lengths of shorts for under the skirt.  I am a runner and have bought many running skirts over the past 8 years or so.  I always hate spending so much for them.  I was so excited to see this pattern being released and even more so when I saw a kids version was in the works as well.

5oo4_shenanigansskort_xs_sportyspice_1inshorts_backThe first skirt I made was for myself.  I made the shortest length “Sporty Spice” with no flounce.  The shorts under the skirt are also the shortest length.  I made sure to take current measurements before printing and was a little apprehensive to make an XS when I usually like to buy Medium running bottoms at the store.  I trusted the measurements and printed out the XS.  I appreciated that the pattern had both a printing chart and utilized the layers option.  There were not that many pages to print and they all fit together with ease.  I made my skort from a 1 yard cut of athletic knit fabric from Joann’s.  I had no problem fitting all the pattern pieces on the yard of fabric.

5oo4_girlsshenanigansskort_10_highwaist_midthigh_strongposeI found the directions very clear.  I first tackled the shorts.  There is a gusset included with the pattern.  I was a little nervous about how it would go in.  It turns out it was very simple.  I am glad I used it because I do find it very comfortable while wearing.  I hemmed the shorts on my coverstich machine.  Next I put the skirt together, easy peasy.  The hem turned under nicely and was stitched on my coverstich.  Finally I put the waistband in.  That was all she wrote.  This was a very quick sew!
5oo4_girlsshenanigansskort_10_highwaist_midthigh_frontThe second skirt I made was for my oldest daughter.  She fell in love with some black and grey athletic fabric I had used a few weeks ago for some workout leggings.  I had just enough left for her skirt and waist band.  I used black swim wear knit for her shorts.  For her skort I went with the midthigh length.  She said no to the flounce ruffle, which was ok by me since I was really short on fabric.  She really loves this skort.

dsc00982The third skort was just sewn up this weekend.  We had a birthday girl in the house this weekend and were planning a surprise trip to Walt Disney World.  I whipped up a Shenegans skort with knit cotton lycra for her to wear to the park.  I made the mid thigh length and used the flouce ruffle.  I really love how it turned out.  It was very comfortable for her to wear all day in the hot sun and for the car ride there.

Overall, I am very happy with how all three versions of this pattern turned out.  We have spent a lot of money at Target over the past few years buying women’s and girl’s running skorts.  I am so happy to have found a pattern to make them myself that fits just as well.  I have tried mine out on a 5 miler so far with no irritation.  Next I am hoping to try a longer version with some french terry for a non-workout skort for wearing out to the ball field  this season.

Right now 5 Out of 4 Patterns is having a shop wide sale of 20% off with code GIRLSSKORT, good through Sunday Sept 25.  So hurry and get your copies while they are on sale!

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Solis by Sofilantjes

dsc00747While everyone else in the US is transitioning to fall, Floridians are still embracing their tank tops and flip flops.  It is still reaching 90 degrees every afternoon.  That why I am still sewing for summer.  One of my favorite girl’s dress pattern from this summer was the Solis dress by Sofilantjes.

The Solis is a knit dress or tunic pattern sized from 12m to 14yr.  There are two skirt options with the pattern.  The first is a pleated skirt with pockets and the second is a full circle skirt.  The bodice is close fitting with a unique raceback style back.  I have made both versions for my youngest daughter in size 6.

dsc00745Once you have your pattern downloaded the fun begins!  The Solis pattern uses the layers feature and has a printing guide.  This makes it so easy to only print excatly what you need.  The pages all fit together perfectly.  In no time I was ready to pick out my fabric.

For my first try I made the pleated skirt option.  I only had a small amount of the bow fabric left.  I was able to get the entire skirt from half a yard of fabric!  For the bodice I was able to use scraps of solid cotton lycra knit from other projects.  The solid fabrics all came from Purple Seamstress.  The bow fabric is also medium weight cotton lycra knit and was purchased from Print Knit Studios.  I know many people are intimidated by pleats, but there is really no reason to be.  The pattern pieces from the skirt are very clearly marked.  dsc00979The smaller sizes have 4 pleats on the front and back while the larger have 6.  Once you have them folded and basted you just treat the skirt like any other skirt.  The bodice is fully lined and the side bodice seams are fully enclosed..  This is perfect for adding appliques to the bodices because your child won’t have to have the scratchy back side of the applique against their skin.  Be careful to follow the order of the bodice construction.  The back panel of the racer back has to loop around the neck band before it is sewn into the seam!

dsc00977Most recently I tried out the full circle skirt option.  It is hard to believe how quick this version works together.  I used a directional interlock knit from Print Knit Studios for the skirt.  Because it was a directional print I added a seam to the sides of the skirt.  If you do go this route be sure to add your seam allowance while you cut it!  The bodice was once again made form cotton lycra knit scraps from other projects from Purple Seamstress.  I chose to do a rolled hem on my serger for the skirt edge.

Because a few people have asked, I just wanted to mention that my appliques here are not done on an embroidery machine.  I trace the pictures out on heat n bond lite and cut out each color of fabric seperately.  I then zig zag around each piece to make the applique on my regular machine.  Maybe someday I will do a blog post on applique to explain it further.

I am very pleased with the outcome of both versions of the Solis dress.  I love the simplicity of the design and the different looks of each skirt option.  The bodice is ideal for applique or heat transfer vinyl designs.  If you are heading or staying in warm weather or heading off to a warm weather vacation, you can’t go wrong with the Solis Dress.

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Mama Ella by Made for Mermaids

dsc00932Yes, still sewing for warm weather here in Florida!  After spending 30 months in New England (not like I was counting or anything) I have been in deserate need of tank tops this summer.  I have made maybe 6 Essential Tanks (Patterns for Pirates) and was starting to wonder how I could change things up right about the time Mama Ella was released.  What drew me initially to the pattern were all the variations on the back neckline.  It was just an added bonus that the lengths included a dress and a tie front option as well.

This was the first women’s top pattern that I have made from this pattern designer.  I was a little unsure on how the fit would be.  After downloading the pattern I pulled it up on my computer to review the pattern layout.  The one thing that bothers me about this designer is the lack traditional size names.  Instead of being a Medium or a number you are given a color.  And I can not remember my color for the life of me.  If I don’t write it down I ended up back at my computer checking again each time.  My measurements put my chest and hips into “purple” and my waist into “blue”.  I printed out both sizes with the layers option and graded out for my waist and back in again for my hips.  I shortened the length of the top by 2″.  I also lowered the armhole by 1/2″  and recalculated the arm bands.  These are my usual alterations for tank tops.

dsc00934I went with the top length with a straight hem and the higher back for my first try.  I used some very soft cotton lycra jersey from Print Knit Studios that worked out perfectly for this top.  The entire tank easily fit on a one yard cut with some to spare.

While reviewing the instructions, I decided I didn’t want to use the binding technique that was used.  I do not like the way a binding feels under my arms for tanks.  I cut my bands just the same as the pattern and sewed them as traditional bands instead.  I was able to attach my horizontal back band before top stiching around the neckband.  I was very pleased with the outcome.

Just out of curiosity I compared my Ella Tank to my Essential Tank that I know fits well.  The Ella is a bit wider than the Essential Tank.  It is not however as drapey as the Free Spirit Tank (also by Patterns for Pirates) or the Laundry Day Tee (by Love Notions).  This was a relief since neither of those tops really work for my body.  The Ella was similar enough to the Essential tank that I made the same pattern adjustments to the length and underarm for both patterns.  I also would like to note that the higher of the two backs was plenty high enough for wearing a regular bra and not have the band show.

I was so pleased with my new Ella tank.  I already have my next one planned.  I am saving some Riley Blake knit for a ruffle version next.

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Tessa by Modkid

dsc00960It is always such a pleasant experience doing a pattern test with Modkid.  I was very excited to have another opportunity to test her new pattern Tessa.

Tessa is a jogging suit pattern.  Included is patterns for both the top and the pants.  The top is similar to a traditional crew neck sweatshirt at the top.  The bottom hem features a unique pleating pattern and is slightly raised higher than the back.  The pants have inseam pockets and are a cropped length.  They are designed to hit mid calf.  This pattern is designed for your heavier weight knits.  Sizes 2t-12 are included in this pattern.

dsc00957Printing the pattern was a breeze.  I always appreciate how Modkid creates her pdf pattern pieces.  You don’t have to fit together a giant sheet of paper that takes up your entire living room floor.  You can simply cut your pieces out as you go and tape or glue them together individually.  This is how I was able to cut and tape my pattern together in the carpool line last week!  All the pattern pieces are clearly marked with notches for lining up your pockets and where to fold your pleats.  Both the front of the top and front of the pants have pleats.

I made the size 10 for my oldest daughter.  The top is made from cotton interlock that was purchased from Joanns.  The pants are made from stretch french terry from Purple Seamstress.  All the bands were cut from knit ribbing with lycra.  The drawstring is cording I pulled out from another pair of pants at the last second!

dsc00953The pattern sewed up very quick for me, just an afternoon of sewing.  The directions are very clear and easy to follow.  The lack of hems is perfect for anyone who is new to knits or who has a phobia of hemming knits.  I would also like to mention that I made no alterations to the pattern except for shortening the elastic in the waistband.  Even though her waist is significantly smaller than the size 10 in the pattern, the pants do not look too bunched up with a shorter elastic…which can sometimes be a problem.

Overall, both my daughter and I are very pleased with our Tessa jogging suit.  She has been wearing hers around since I finished them and it is still in the 90’s here so that should say a lot!  We will surely get a lot of use out of this set this winter when our temperatures cool off a bit.

The Tessa will be available for the next 24 hours for 40% with the coupon code TESSA2016 in the Modkid Etsy shop.  Hurry and get your copy and start sewing for fall!

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