I’ve admired Sansahash’s cool patterns for a while now and when they put a call for new pattern testers to join their testing team I jumped in with an application. I was delighted to be invited to join the team! The first chance to test a pattern was for their Niva Leggings
A few people have expressed an interest in how I recently went about creating three animal themed appliqués. So here is a little insight into my very limited appliqué experience to give a bit of context, finishing with some of the steps I took to make my favourite piece to date
When Misusu Patterns called for testers for the DIA patterns a very special project immediately came to mind. I had never before sewn something for Marlie, my mum, nor did I have any photos of me, my daughter and my mother together. As it worked out I couldn’t test the ladies version, a trip to Romania got in the way (oh poor me!), but got my hands on the pattern as soon as it was ready, thank you Elles! Once the kids testing was done I got cracking on a sweater for myself and my mum.
Misusu Patterns have just released their updated DIA Kids Sweater and Tunic pattern. The size range has expanded and an amazing number of options added (I personally love the high-low hem option that has been introduced). And what’s more; Misusu has now released a DIA Ladies version!! It is their first ladies’ pattern and what a super pattern to start with!!!
This post here is all about the DIAs for my pair of divils – more on the ladies to follow!!
I was delighted to get the chance to test the new children’s version. I must, here at the outset, admit to previously having been daunted by the pattern; it looks a bit tricky. When you’re trying to squeeze sewing in around the busy routines of life sometimes a pattern that requires a little effort can feel like a step too far. But this is why I love pattern testing. You’ve got to make that extra effort. Any by goodness this DIA pattern is worth every bit.
If, however, you’re still daunted Misusu have added both a basic front, a simple diamond piece and a constructed diamond piece. So you can decide to jump in with the full constructed diamond option, or take it easy and sew some lovely simple sweaters with some great hem and seam shapes. Pattern perfection for sure!!!
Misusu’s patterns are incredibly well conceived and constructed. The tutorials are detailed and comprehensive and when you follow the instructions the pattern just falls into place. Yes without doubt the constructed diamond requires careful attention to keeping your seam allowances even, but other than that there are no difficult techniques at all. Just a little patience. Which, when it comes to sewing, it turns out I am developing!!
For my first test version I decided to jump in with the constructed diamond and puff sleeves on the high low sweater version. I used quite stable sweater fabric, a combination of a purple/aubergine sweater from Metermeter and a floral liberty sweater fabric from Guthrie & Ghani. The little puff sleeves are very cute, though I reckon would be more effective in a slightly lighter fabric. A pretty perfect fit from the outset and my little diva was delighted with her DIA!
We love CANDY!!
Next up I decided to go or the tunic length version, high low again, and this time used a combination of three contrasting French terry fabrics. The yellow and rust colours from See You At Six and the pink from Elvelyckan Design.
I love this bright candy coloured combination!! The tunic length is just great for those chillier days when an extra bit of cosiness is needed. Pretty damn stylish too!!
The last test version I made is perhaps the most perfect little sweater I have ever made; a high low sweater in a soft, light but stable double sided French terry fabric from Guthrie & Ghani.
The front of the fabric is a soft flat sweater finish while the “reverse” of the fabric is a pink looped finish. The stability of the fabric really helped achieve those perfect diamond points. I found it makes it so much easier to keep the seam allowances even and the seams lining up when there is not too much stretch in the fabric.
The high-low hem created by Misusu, isn’t just a simple hem on a slightly longer back, but a carefully detailed pieced waistband that results in an shape that works beautifully with the diamond theme. Subtly angled side seams meet those waistband seams delightfully. It is so satisfying when it all comes together at the end!!
Neon Diamond Maddness!!
I had finished my testing makes but No.2 was feeling a little neglected in the sewing stakes so I decided to make him a DIA. From his measurements I should have graded the pattern to make it narrower, as he’s a skinny tall chap. But with my pattern tester hat no longer on I was back in lazy mode and just went with his height measurement. So plenty of room for layers under this snuggly neon fleece DIA!!
I went with the straight waistband option for this one and used some neon polar fleece from Fabrics Ireland combined with French terry from Elvelyckan and See You At Six! You might need sunglasses for this!!! The grey ribbing was a little too heavy for the main fabric along the waistband, especially at the back, so ended up swapping it out for some lighter weight See You At Six ribbing.
A pair of DIAmond DIVILS
No.2 is madly in love with his sister. She tolerates him most of the time, but deep down loves him too. They have the craic together, that’s for sure.
As always there was a great atmosphere within the DIA Kids testing group and the quality and inventiveness of my fellow testers was incredibly inspiring!!! A huge thanks to Elles for having me on the team; it was super experience once again!! While I didn’t test the DIA ladies pattern, I did get my hands on it as soon as it was ready (thanks Elles!) and straightaway got to work on a very special sewing project… more of that in a later post.
This post goes live right in the middle of the madness that is the Black Friday/Cyber Monday long weekend. Misusu Patterns are holding a big giveaway over on Instagram and there is 25% off all their patterns from the 23rd to the 26th November 2018!!
When Olga Becker from Coffee and Thread asked if any of the Lana KIDS testing team would like to join a Lana Pattern Tour I put my hand up immediately! Anything to encourage a bit of selfish sewing and with such a lovely pattern how could I refuse!
I intended making myself a Lana Dress, as I could definitely do with a few more Me Made dresses in my wardrobe (I have only one!!), but ended up making a couple of casual tops that are immediate favourites.
First, I made a t-shirt using some of See You At Six‘s latest collection of fabrics. I wasn’t supposed to buy any more fabric when this collection came out, but couldn’t resist those flying geese on such a lovely shade of yellow.
I sized up to allow for the french terry fabric that has a little more body than the jersey fabric intended for the pattern. It’s a relaxed fit on me and the lovely soft fabric makes it nice and cosy. Honestly, it will get more wear next summer than over the winter months but already has had quite a few outings, layered up as necessary.
For Round Two I promised myself I’d make a dress, but then came across this lovely soft white sweater fabric in my stash and knew that it needed to become a jumper.
The sweater fabric came from one of my favourite Irish fabric shops Quilt Yarn Stitch and I married it with more of that yellow See You At Six ribbing and some striped organic cotton interlock from Fabwork Mills. Yellow, White and Grey. Yum!!
I used the ruffled short sleeve and hacked it to an extra long sleeve with a yellow cuff to keep it practical and cosy. Olga has actually added a straight long sleeve to the pattern that can be used by itself or with the ruffle piece layered over it, but I wanted just a gather to the main sleeve so gave it a go. Not perfect but I’m happy!! (Notice a pattern developing? I love a cosy top!) I added a waistband to finish the bottom.
I spent a while thinking about the arm fabric. You don’t often see a jumper with a different coloured sleeve and was worried it would look weird when it was made. I wanted to used the lighter weight fabric to avoid the sleeves being too bulky and love the soft white and soft grey combined with the yellow. I’m delighted I risked it!!
I must say I was delighted with myself heading off to the Knitting and Stitching Show the day after I made this sweater in my largely Me Made outfit. This sewing addiction of mine is so rewarding! Even if it results in a lighter bank balance and neglected household…
I’m so thrilled to have been able to join so many talented seamstresses on this pattern tour. If you check out @coffeeandthread over on Instagram you’ll see all the fabulous work. So very inspiring, and I love the comradery fostered in the Facebook sewing groups!
Over at Coffee and Thread there is a 20% discount on all their patterns for the duration of the Lana Pattern Tour, 5th -16th November 2018, code: ‘lanatour’; so well worth a visit!!!
A couple of weeks ago I spotted a call on Instagram for pattern testers to test a new children’s pattern being released by Coffee and Thread; the Lana KIDS Dress and Tee. It looked like a gorgeous little pattern, within my skill range and so I decided to apply! Low and behold I was selected. Yippee! Cue some more late night sewing…
I had admired their adult Lana Top and Dress pattern and it has been on my wish list for a while, so was delighted to get the chance to test a children’s version. I applied to test the Lana Gathered Dress version for my little No.3. and she measured perfectly for the 18 months size.
I must admit to being a little nervous at joining a testing team for a new designer. My experiences with Misusu Patterns testing have been wonderful and I was worried that this experience wouldn’t measure up. I am delighted that this turned out to be another great experience. Coffee and Thread are based in Chicago and the testing group was made up of lots of sewing folk who I had not encountered before, so a lovely way to discover new people. Olga was great to test for; super engaged and so very helpful with advice/suggestions. Very gentle in her admonishing of those of us who hadn’t pressed our seams (yes, that would be me, oops!)… and more than a few good sewing tips thrown in too!
There are always a few surprises when testing patterns and this was no exception. The construction of those lovely little sleeves was a bit tricky to master. And I was nearly pulling out my hair at one stage, but thanks to the great support and ideas from Olga and the other testers I figured out a good method and conquered them! This is why I do pattern testing. It’s a great way to push my sewing boundaries and to learn from the experience of others! The most useful tip was to stay stitch the corners of the shoulder and snip into the corners a bit before pinning the sleeve on, sniping in a little more if needed. I found I needed to be quite careful when serging this seam, pulling the sleeve fabric as needed to avoid grabbing too much fabric. It is so satisfying when you master a new skill!!
The pattern comes with three versions. A Gathered Dress, a Tee Dress and a Top. I tested the two dress options and love them both. It’s a relaxed fitting pattern and much of the focus of the testing was to get the fit just right; relaxed but not too loose.
I made a couple of gathered dresses for testing purposes early on. The first (as modelled by Gorilla here!) was in a lovely green organic cotton interlock combination and was a little too wide. The fabric is quite loose in weave, and so gave it an even looser fit.
The second (as modelled by the Gorilla’s beautiful friend) is the blue jersey version made with some lovely Elvelyckan Design jersey. A tiny bit long (not a problem for me – always happy for growing room!) was my only comment!
Next up I got stuck into a Lana Tee Dress.
This first version is made using the softest jersey from Quilt Yarn Stitch. I have a good bit of it left in my stash, and have used if for a few other projects. It has a lovely generous stretch, and is really very soft. And those clashing blue and green stripes are just super!
I love the dropped shoulder detail in this pattern. The curve to the shoulder is just perfect and ends with a beautiful fluttered sleeve. I think Olga had older girls in mind with this Tee Dress version – but my goodness it is cute on my little maggot.
I called into The Fabric Counter during testing and was seduced by this gorgeous flamingo print jersey. It is just perfect for the Lana Gathered Dress version.
I learnt a new sewing tip during the course of this testing. I’ve made dresses with gathered skirts before but this was the first time a pattern called up adding a 15mm strip interfacing to the bottom of the bodice where it meets the skirt. And it works a treat! It prevents the bodice rippling along this seam and keeps it lovely and neat looking!
The pattern calls for the use of a knit fabric; jersey or similar. As we are settling into autumn here in Ireland I decided for my last version I would use some sweater fabric for another Tee Dress. And what a super fabric it is! Oh my, those colours! It’s a Liberty sweater fabric I bought from Guthrie & Ghani, a UK based fabric shop. I splurged a little and bought it with a sweater for myself in mind, (I’m thinking another Bel’Etoile Isa Sweater) and think I’ll have just enough left after eating into it a little here…
I was concerned that the heavier weight sweater would make the dress a bit too constricting, but I needn’t have worried, it fits great and No.3 was well able to run about and hunt for conkers in it. Combined with some Elvelyckan Design ribbing for the neck band and the ruffled sleeves it’s pretty much perfect.
I’ve really enjoyed making the Lana Dress versions and suspect No.3 will get a lot more in the future – along with some Lana Tops! I might even have to embark on some rare mum and daughter twinning too and invest in that adult Lana pattern for myself!
A huge thanks to Olga for inviting me to join the testing team! I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Lana KIDS Top and Dress is released today, 2nd October 2018, and it is on sale for the duration of the week of release (2nd October till 9th October 2018) and can be snapped up here for $6.50, instead of $9.00 after.
Back in July I was thrilled to be invited to join the Bel’Etoile International Pattern Tour. I had purchased two of their patterns earlier in the year but never got around to making them, so this was the perfect kick in the bum to try them out! Here’s how I got on…
Over on Instagram today (3rd Sept. 2018) I’m hosting a giveaway of one Bel’Etoile pattern – so go check it out for a chance to win!
At the same time I was also lucky enough to have spent a day walking from Shannon to Limerick with “Walk While You Can“, a charity walk travelling the length of the country to raise awareness and funds in aid of Motor Neurone Disease research. I decided to take advantage of being family-free on the other side of the country. So the next day I undertook a mini road trip home via Tuam to visit Quilt Yarn Stitch, and then on to Kells to visit Dress Fabrics. It was a great excuse to go visit the real life shops of two of the best online fabric shops based in Ireland.
I didn’t go crazy buying fabric, as my stash is getting a little out of control, but had hoped to use some Irish sourced fabric in the outfits I made for this tour.
In Quilt Yarn Stich I had to close my eyes to all the lovely printed jersey fabrics. I just can’t let myself buy more till I’ve used up some of what I have. I did fall for some lovely white quilted stretch sweater fabric and some cream/white solid sweater fabric too. Quite what I was doing buying white to be worn in a household with three small children I don’t know… (but I’m very glad I did!)
ISA, ISA, ISA
The first item I made was the Isa Dress and used some of that lovely quilted sweater for the front and back panels. This is the first Bel’Etoile pattern I bought back in April. I was drawn to the cool v-shaped colour blocking options. It also has lots of fit options to it – Sweater, Cropped Sweater, Sweater Dress and Dress.
I went with the dress option and, despite loving the v-shaped colour blocking potential, I decided that the quilted fabric provided enough texture. I paired it with some soft pink French terry from Elvelyckan Design that I’ve had in my stash for a while. The combination of soft colours and textures worked out just great!
The fit is lovely and relaxed with plenty of room for climbing about. It will be prefect in autumn/winter paired with some leggings/tights.
We managed to get away from the lads for a bit while on holidays in Castlegregory, Co. Kerry a couple of weeks ago and No.3 really enjoyed collecting stones on the beach – she was delighted to discover the big patch pockets the dress offers!!
Next up I decided to make the Lux Dress, well, two Lux Dresses! As there is now a women’s version as well as one for children! (During the blogtour, anyone who buys the Isa or Lux pattern, gets a free copy of the women’s pattern!)
So No. 3 and I were to get some matching gear for the first time! It occurred to me as I was finishing the Lux Dress for me that I hadn’t sewn a dress for myself in 10 years!! Not since one of my brothers’ wedding! Think I need more now!! I’ve pretty much lived in my Lux Dress since I made it.
For both dresses I used some lovely soft organic cotton interlock from Fabworks Online, a UK based online fabric shop that sells a lovely selection of organic cottons. A finely striped one for me and a whale patterned fabric for No.3. Beautifully soft.
The pattern calls for either a decorative surface positioned elastic waistband, or a concealed one using shirring elastic. I had neither so added in a casing for some normal 1″ elastic I had in my sewing box. I went about it arse-ways for No.3’s dress but learnt from that and improved the technique for my own, so was a much easier undertaking.
The little cuff sleeves are designed to be turned up, but I didn’t sew them up in either dress. There is also an option to hem the armhole, think I’ll try this for me next time. I will sew mine up, but I do like how they form little sleeves on No.3’s dress when left folded down.
I was a little concerned at the waist position – my narrowest point is a good bit higher than the pattern’s elasticated waistband – so it wouldn’t necessarily be the most flattering, but I decided to stick with the pattern for this first attempt and see where it led me.
I’ve got to say I do love the dress. The only adjustment to the pattern I made was to lengthen it by 7cm, as I’m 178cm tall . It is incredibly comfortable and while it’s very casual looking here, another fabric selection would make it so much dressier
This means nothing to me… Oh Vienna!!
Oh , but it really does mean so very much to me to be able to sew!! Next up I made a gorgeous little Vienna Dress for No.3 (the lads were really starting to feel left out!) using some lovely denim from Dress Fabrics and some quilted pink fabric from Fabrics Ireland.
I had picked up a remnant of a lovely soft denim when I went to visit Dress Fabrics’ garden party. It was such a relief to arrive at Maeve’s sheds! I had been driving all day and was greeted with tea, sandwiches (thank you to Maeve’s mum and sister!!) and best of all lots of beautiful fabric! Once again I resisted buying too much, but it was so good to see the fabrics up close. Buying fabric online is so very easy, but it is hard to know exactly what you’re buying. It was wonderful to have a good look around and now to be able to trust in the quality of everything she stocks! I got some lovely yellow French terry and some designer fake suede scuba fabric (not sure what to do with that, but couldn’t resist!) too.
The Vienna Dress is a more formal, structured “pretty” pattern than the Lux or the Isa. The little capped sleeves, and the ruffled seam to the front are lovely details. It calls for a zipped back, but I have never done a zip (!!) so instead added 3 lovely wooden buttons. Zips are on my list of things to learn to do, but hadn’t built up the courage at this point!
I’ve no idea what the pink fabric is! I bought it from TWI / Fabrics Ireland to line a coat that I made earlier on in the year and had a bit left over. It is quite thick and has a lovely bouncy quilted texture and is very soft. I wasn’t sure how it would work but am delighted with the result.
I love the contrast in colour and texture between the two fabrics and the buttons add yet another layer of contrast. It really is a very pretty pattern!
There are so many amazing Bel’Etoile outfits made as part of this blog tour by some terribly talented seamstresses (sewers? sewists?) and I would really encourage you to check them out over on Instagram. Just search for Bel’Etoile and you’re sorted!!
Thanks a million to Isabel from Bel’Etoile for inviting me to join the tour and to Tina Eklund Philp for making the introduction!
Misusu Patterns’ FREEkin’ Sewing Challenge!
Head down to the end of the post to see details of the TWO special giveaways I’ll be hosting today on Instagram with thanks to Misusu Patterns and Madeline de Stoffenmadam as part of the FREEkin’ Sewing Challenge socialmedia tour!!
It has always been a pleasure to engage with Misusu Patterns. I’ve done a couple of rounds of pattern testing with them and I love the warm, generous attitude that Elles Lanfer promotes within the testing groups. Within the testing group there is a shared goal; to help perfect a great pattern and there is always an atmosphere of collaboration and enthusiasm. So, when Elles put out a call for bloggers/”inspirators” to help inspire others to take part in the “Misusu FREEkin’ Sewing Challenge” I applied immediately.
Please check out Misusu Patterns’ blog with details of the challenge and – links to the blogs/Facebook/Instagram posts of all my fellow Inspirators.
Around the same time as this got going See You At Six released their latest fabric collection and I got well and truly sucked in by the gorgeous patterns and colours. I hopped online to Madeline de Stoffenmadam, who stock See You At Six along with an amazing selection of tempting fabrics, and ordered gorgeous rusty brown giraffes, bright yellow painters, some dusty blue cotton lawn and some plain solids/ribbing to match the others. You see them in featured in pretty much all of the outfits I made for this project. Think I got a little obsessed…
The challenge involved is to make an outfit using Misusu patterns, at least one being one of Misusu’s free patterns and, before getting stuck into some hopefully inspiring sews, I had a pair of birthday pressies to make for two boys. They’re the same ages as my No.1 and No. 2 so did a bit of practice with some easily bribed models on hand to test on. And as seems to happen often these days I didn’t want to give them away…
I used the Rowan Tee pattern and a simple hack introducing a seam along the back giving a few more options for playing with colour/pattern/texture. My two lads enjoyed modelling them!
And did you notice the placement of that giraffe on No.2’s top? Entirely luck that the giraffe ended up where the pocket could sit with perfection!
I love the relaxed fit of the Rowan Tee – it looks just right even when there is plenty of growing room. Growing room; always a must when you spend time and love making something for your children. Just before the beginning of the challenge Misusu Patterns released an updated version of the Rowan Tee with adjustments to the fit and a long sleeved version! She also expanded the size range – it now goes all the way to size 13-14/164!. I’ll get years of fun out of this pattern!
On Your Marks! Get Set! Go!
First up for inspiration time was a long sleeved Rowan Tee for No.1, in French terry, so more of a sweatshirt version than a t-shirt, paired with a pair of Misusu Alex Pants. The great little pockets on the front make these a really lovely pair of tracksuit bottoms. It was my first time sewing the Alex pattern and really enjoyed it. No. 1 was delighted with them! He’s really starting to care about what he wears and loves a bit of coordination, so the matching ribbing was appreciated!
I didn’t want to try and wrestle with pocket/pattern placement on the front of the sweater so used solid yellow for the arms and back and relocated the breast pocket to his right arm (he’s a lefty). You can’t really tell in the pics, but I used ribbing for the back yoke that I introduced and solid yellow to the rest of the back.
He’ll soon outgrow the pattern size range for the Alex Pants (expand it Elles!!) as this is the biggest size (5-6/116). It’s a little big on the waist, and I added a couple of inches to the length. That all important growing room box ticked!
While I have greatly enjoyed the pattern testing I’ve done it’s rare that I would aim to make anything to fit my children perfectly. When testing a pattern you have to try for a perfect fit in order to fulfil the brief but, as I’ve said, I usually aim for a little big so that they get more than a couple of months out of something I’ve spent care in making. Most everything I’ve made for this inspirator project has a bit of growing room included.
Giraffes for the animal lover…
Next up was back to a giraffe Rowan Tee for No.2, this time paired with Misusu’s new Summer Olli Shorts. Both are free patterns!! The Olli shorts (or pants) pattern available through the Misusu Patterns Sew and Tell Facebook group. So join up to get it!
After the luck of the pocket placement in the first round of birthday Rowan Tees I deliberately made sure the giraffe would be well placed in this version. I went with the same fit and simple hack of adding a yoke to the back.
The Olli shorts is a great little pattern (you’ll see it appear throughout the outfits made for No.3) with an elasticated waist and deep side pockets. I knew immediately that I’d need to make No.2 a pair in the lovely yellow linen I got a while back from The Fabric Counter. He loves yellow! I used the same fabric for the Rowan Tee pocket to bring the outfit together.
If there’s one thing that No.2 loves more than animals it’s his little sister…
… and she loves him too, though gets a little fed up with his overwhelming “affection”.
Row, Row, Rowan your Boat
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream… cliche I know but No.3 got the Rowan Tee treatment too so seems appropriate. This time with added gathering to a curved seam at the back. I also lengthened the back hemline for a high-low look. I love how the gathering gives extra width and air to the fit. The gathering and high-low hem also make it a little dressier.
I made a draft of this top that wasn’t quite right but with some great feedback from my fellow inspirators in our Facebook group I think I nailed it. I dropped the mid-back seam position, curved it and also kept the gathers more in the central part of the back. Love the collaboration you get in these lovely Facebook groups that Elles facilitates!
I think the French terry fabric works so well with this Rowan Tee. It is so soft and cosy while the gathers add airy lightness that we have really needed with the hot weather of late. I paired it with those super Olli Shorts again, this time using a lovely zebra printed cotton fabric I’ve had for a while. A bit of a safari theme running through…
I’ve been only dying for an excuse to make another Louise Sweater for No.3. It’s up there with my favourite patterns. Some of the first sewing photos I took using the dSLR were of this lovely Louise Sweater on a very little No.3. It still fits with room to spare about 8 months later! Rumour has it Misusu might be preparing an adult sized Louise… Oh I would love one!
So, back to the challenge. The second outfit I made for No.3 included the Olli shorts again and this time coordinated with the Louise Sweater. I love the diagonal line to the side seam and the ability to use sweater and woven fabric together. See You At Six fabric got some use again in this one! In hindsight I would probably have used the giraffes for the front panel as a bit of added pattern would have been good. You live and learn!!
The Olli shorts are a really lovely pattern. There is an option for a buckled strap at the back and another for a tied bow to the front. Most of the shorts I made for No.3 included the bow option. It really dresses the shorts up. For this version however I thought I’d try adding a ribbed waistband.
I love to see my little girl in shorts. They are so practical for exploring and running around. When graced with such a big round belly skirts often end up under her arms, so shorts are practical and just plain perfect!
All MAXed Out!!
I thought I had finished up all my projects for this Misusu FREEkin’ Sewing Challenge but then decided I’d go for one last outfit and stretch my sewing skills!
I decided to try two techniques I’d never attempted before and one that is a little tricky. This time round I went with a Max Tee paired with, yes, you guessed in, some Olli shorts! I had made one Max Tee before – this lovely green and blue striped one for No. 1. Those front corners are that tricky technique mentioned above – but they are sure worth the risk/effort!
Misusu patterns come with really excellent, clear tutorials. They have always given me the confidence to give the trickier parts of any of their patterns a go. And, touch wood, I’ve always managed to pull it off! Long may that last!
So, first new technique I decided to try – embroidery! I’d never done any embroidery but had seen some amazing examples on Instagram – in particular the work of @defnegunturkun and I thought I ‘d give it a go. Nothing as fancy as the examples I’d seen; I started with the basics.
The Max Tee is designed to be used with woven and jersey fabrics together. So the woven bib was a perfect spot to try some simple embroidery stitches. The corner angles on that bib are a little daunting but having made a few other outfits I was happy to take some risks this time round.
I googled “embroidery stitches”, got myself an embroidery hoop and also some embroidery thread and was all set. I decided to keep it simple and at first embroidered little flowers and petals using a “Detached Chain Stitch”. I then got some confidence and decided to infill with some “French Knots”, a little more tricky.
The second technique I had never tried before was sewing a button hole! I’ve always avoided it. When I realised I had only one snap fitting left in my sewing box I knew I was going to have to bite the bullet – and so glad I did!
Not perfect, but so very close! And along with those two very neat corner junctions I was delighted with the result!
The other adjustments I made to the original pattern were to 1) shorten the sleeves and add a ruffle to the top the shoulder, 2) a gathering to the back yoke seam (I’m in a bit of a gathering mood it seems) and 3) a slightly longer hem to the back to give another high-low look.
I was going to make a pair of white linen Ollis to go with this and then thought “Are you crazy? White linen shorts for a 19 month old?” Thankfully I regained my sanity and made a grey chambray pair. It’s a lovely soft lightweight chambray from Quilt Yarn Stitch and far more practical that white linen! There’s actually a little pink and green fleck in the fabric, but it doesn’t really show in the photos. Love that little front bow!
Thank you! That’s it for now!
There was a super gang of inspirators tasked with coming up with some inspiring outfits for the Misusu FREEkin’ Sewing Challenge – and there are some amazing and inventive hacks to be discovered! Check out Misusu’s blog with links to all their Instagram accounts! I’ve loved seeing all the work as it’s be created and hope you have enjoyed seeing my projects!
I should let you know that Misusu Patterns are offering 15% off all their paid patterns during the course of this challenge and have all their free patterns available to enjoy too! You’ll find the discount code on Misusu’s blog post.
Don’t forget the Misusu Pattern Giveaway!!
Over on my Instagram profile on 5th August 2018, I will be giving away the chance to pick one paid pattern of choice from Misusu Patterns. You’ll see all the details of the giveaway at my Instagram account, @incompletestitches. All the other “Inspirators” will be hosting similar giveaways on their day of the social media tour so there are lots of opportunities to win!
When I realised I had used so much fabric sourced from Madeline de Stoffenmadam I got in touch with them to sheepishly ask if they’d be interested in sponsoring some fabric for my giveaway. I was thrilled when they said they’d love to! So for all you sewing enthusiasts based in Belgium and The Netherlands they have kindly offered the chance to win 1 metre of the See You At Six “Painted” French terry fabric in Sulphur Yellow – as used in this Rowan Tee:
You’ll see all the details of this bonus giveaway on the 5th August 2018 over at my Instagram account @incompletestitches – just remember you’ll need a postal address in The Netherlands or Belgium to be eligible for this one!
(All the links are included entirely due to my love of the fabric/shop/pattern. I think it is great to be able to give a shout out for all those talented, committed people who help me enjoy this sewing lark as much as I do!)
Thank you for joining me on my stop on the social media tour for the release of the Misusu Piper Tank Top pattern.
(Please check out the gorgeous work of all the other testers – links to their blogs/Facebook/Instagram posts can be found on Misusu’s blog page; here.)
Piper! Pick your Pattern!
My previous, and only, experience of pattern testing (I’m a newbie to all this), the Doris Skirt by Misusu Patterns, was a super one. It was so lovely to be part of a group effort to assist in the perfection of a great pattern. The group was full of talented, inspiring seamstresses with a wonderful atmosphere of support, sharing and generosity. When I saw the call for testers for a new Misusu Pattern I jumped at the chance to be involved and I am delighted to have been selected.
This time round the pattern to be tested was the Piper Tank Top. A versatile pattern suitable for boys and girls with lots of options for different versions. And boy did I get sucked into making lots of them… This post is pretty long, so get a cup of tea, or else just have a browse down through all the lovely Piper Tanks I thoroughly enjoyed making.
Perfecting the pocket? Well, nearly…
I don’t know if it’s the architect in me, but I find the construction of Misusu Patterns’ really enjoyable. There are always carefully considered details and interesting diagonal lines. The Piper Tank is no disappointment! When I signed up for this test I was thinking, ah yes, a nice simple pattern; this will be a breeze… And I was right to a certain extent, but I was also happily surprised to find lots of options to the pattern that would allow me to stretch my sewing skills.
I had never attempted a patch pocket before, and this patterns calls for a lovely little pocket on the left front breast (and 3 variations now in the tutorial!). It requires topstitching. Topstitching that will remain very visible. This has always put me off pockets in the past. Well, not any more!! As you’ll see, every version I made included a patch pocket, (or a decorative patch) and each one turned out great! Such pocket success inspired me to add a pocket to a pair of shorts I had in the mill, and I even stretched to using a double needle on that one!! Mightily adventurous for me! I’m guessing there will be pockets on most everything I sew from now on!!!!
As I said, the Piper Tank pattern comes with a host of options for the construction of the back panel. The highlight for me was the “penguin” version of the pattern that has the neatest, most satisfying construction to the bottom hem that I’ve had the pleasure to sew. A little tricky looking at first glance, but it comes together sooo very neatly…
The first Piper I attempted, and although I struggled a little to control the loosely knitted fabric, turned out beautifully. It wasn’t the easiest fabric choice, but its challenges were offset by the forgiving texture that hides a multitude of flaws! I used a zigzag stitch for the bottom hem and, though you can’t tell without very close inspection, I ended up having to sew over the hem twice.
The pocket stitching ain’t perfect, but I’m happy enough to have missed out on perfection when the end result is as gorgeous as this!
It is light and soft and perfect for the astonishingly hot weather we’re having here in Ireland at the moment.
I paired this version with my first attempt at Misusu’s Culottes Tutorial. With the penguin back and the slight A-Line cut of the Piper Tank these culottes work perfectly. The fabric is a cotton double gauze fabric I purchased from Madeline deStoffenmadam at the same time as the stripy fabric – and the colour match is almost perfect. I love the contrast in textures afforded by the double sided nature of the Piper Tank fabric and an additional texture with the double gauze is lovely.
From Penguins to Petals
For my second attempt I went with the Petal version of the pattern. Once again there was an unusual element to the pattern that I enjoyed getting to grips with. The curved hem makes it a little tricky to get the hem to sit flat. The pattern includes a great suggestion to adjust the differential tension on your serger to make the fabric pucker a little; assisting the curve to sit flat. I tried, and I failed; however even a failed attempt looked great from the outside!
I’m not one to let a hem beat me, so I tried the technique once again with another Piper Petal, this time in a more stable jersey fabric; it worked perfectly!!
A pair of Pipers for a couple of Pranksters
At this stage the two lads were getting a little jealous of all the sewing I was doing for No.3. So for my next versions I decided to make a penguin version for No.1 and a straight backed version for No.2. In both cases I used the optional back yoke. It’s the perfect place to use a contrasting fabric/play with the direction of fabric. The penguin version is brilliant for playing with pattern too as it just cries out for using the diagonal line of the bottom hem.
You’ll have noticed that Elvelyckan Design‘s fabric keeps popping up here. It’s a company that produces beautifully patterned fabrics with a lovely range of colours, in gorgeous soft jersey, interlock and French terry (what they call “college”) fabric. Unfortunately their shipping costs to Ireland are very expensive (they are based in Sweden) unless you order quite a lot of fabric. The positive side to this (oh there’s always a positive to HAVING to order lots of fabric) is that I waited till I had a few pennies to spend and splurged on a big order with lots of narwhals, waves and solids. No.2 loves “swimmers” (his term for any water borne creature) so the narwhals were his cup of tea. No.1 is getting very grown up in himself these days and the waves caught his attention. He’d love to be a surfer…
All the Piper Tanks I made have a slight A-Line shape. It was suggested during the testing phase that a straight version might be useful for a more boyish look. Elles Lanfer (the exceptional designer and person behind Misusu Patterns) introduced this option to the pattern, so all bases are well covered! I used the A-Line version for all as I think it is very subtly A-line and works great for the penguin especially, but is perfect on my boys in all versions.
One thing I didn’t mention with my Version 1 is that the pattern matching of my back seam got the better of me. I could blame the late night sewing or the tricky fabric, either way those diagonal lines just didn’t match up. So for my last Piper Tank I went back to the lovely soft stripy fabric I had used before and was determined to master matching those stripes…
I also wanted to use that double gauze fabric to make a patch pocket and use the option for a yoke to enjoy the contrast between the front and back faces of the fabric and play with the stripe direction. This is what Misusu patterns are so perfect for!
No.3 had been more than a little under the weather for the previous few days but she has taken to this modelling malarkey like a pro and managed to give me a few smiles…
I’m a little tired after all that sewing, but definitely not tired of the great pattern that Elles has come up with. Suitable for pretty much all levels; the Piper Tank has simple options for the beginner and interesting details to give the more experienced sewer something to enjoy. And for those of us in the middle, plenty to prompt us to push our boundaries.
I’m so grateful for having been given the chance to get involved in pattern testing again. It was another super opportunity to engage with and learn from the talented bunch of seamstresses and to stretch my sewing skills again. With the added benefit that my family are now well and truly kitted out for what continues to be an incredibly warm and dry summer!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post, or even just having a browse! The Piper Tank Top Pattern can be purchased here!
( Please also visit my fellow testers’ blog/social media Piper Tank Top posts here!)
UPDATE! A special birthday Piper…
Between writing this blog and setting it to publish I made a very special Piper for a friend of No.1…
A couple of weeks back No.1 finished his first year in school. He had met one boy from his class in our local park a couple of weeks before and they bumped into each other as they walked into school on their first day. They have been firm friends all year.
No.1 showed him the space alien that I had made from a drawing of his last year and his friend asked me if I could make him something too.
So I suggested he draw something and I’d figure out what to make. This gorgeous little drawing of a ladybird holding hands with a snail is what he came up with. It is such a sweet little drawing and is evocative of the lovely friendship the two boys have built. Who knows if they’ll remain friends as they grow up, and I hope they do, but it’s been lovely seeing them enjoy life together in this past year at school.
Friend’s birthday was coming up and I had conveniently just finished testing the Piper Tank so I decided I would make him one and try my hand at an applique. I had put a decorative patch on one of the tanks I had made for No.3 during the testing process so thought I could make a similar badge for Friend and that way replicate the scale of the drawing.
I made only a few adjsutments to the drawing; I simplified the number of legs the ladybird had and I added a swrl to the snail’s shell, just to make it a little clearer that it was a snail. Other than that, I similified the ladybird’s spots a little and was good to go!
I ironed bondaweb on each piece of fabric and assembled both animals separately by ironing their component pieces together. I then top stitched it all before fixing them to the patch and the patch to the front of the tank. I was surprised at how easily it all came together and was delighted with how well it represented his original drawing.
I went with the penguin back version of the Piper Tank – the shape reminded me of the ladybird’s shell. No.1 excitedly modelled the tank for me and was sure that his friend would be delighted.
No.1 is a little taller and broader than his friend, so I made the slightly smaller of the two sizes of Piper Tanks that I had made him during the testing phase and hoped for the best.
No.1 was very excited to be giving this to his friend and thankfully it got the thumbs up from his friend too!! My plan for world domination begins with dressing all the children in my son’s classes…
(All the links are included entirely due to my love of the fabric/shop/pattern. I think it is great to be able to give a shout out for all those talented, committed people who help me enjoy this sewing lark as much as I do!)
I love yellow. I love green.
Ask me my favourite colour and I’d be hard pressed to choose between yellow and green. Both are bright, joyful and fresh.
Luckily I’m not the only one who loves these colours; No.1’s favourite colour is green and No.2’s favourite colour is yellow. I got a great run of green clothes over the past few months out of an emergency purchase of green fleece from Fabrics Ireland paired with yellow jersey/college fabrics from Elvelyckan Design. My favourite of the lot is this wonderful Origami Sweatshirt by Misusu Patterns.
When it comes to clothing for myself though, I’ve a fairly red complexion and yellow isn’t always the most attractive colour on me, however much I wish it was. I was lucky enough recently to find a shade that is perfect for my beautiful No.3 and that I can also just about get away with wearing.
The Fabric Counter in Stoneybatter has stocked up on a beautiful range of linen fabrics (and now it seems they have a web-shop up and running too!!), and the shade of yellow is just beautiful. A soft, mustard yellow is how I’d best describe it, though that certainly doesn’t do it justice. I bought three metres of the linen with a couple of projects in mind…
The first project was a little pair of culottes for No.3. She has finally started walking so I felt safe that the bum wouldn’t be torn out of them immediately. The linen is a medium weight and I am hopeful that it will take a fair bit of wear and tear.
Upright and on the move!
As soon as I saw the fabric I was reminded of a gorgeous pair of yellow culottes I had seen made in Brindille and Twig’s new Culottes Pattern by Tina Ekklund Philp. She makes gorgeous clothes and has one super stylish mini with great attitude! Her culottes were paired with B&T’s new Cropped Sweatshirt (a super cosy looking version of that!); a perfect match. So I was armed with inspiration and a plan…
I bought the two new patterns (because I need only the tiniest excuse to purchase a new pattern) and got to work.
The culottes were super easy to make, though took a bit longer than expected. I didn’t have yellow thread for my serger, and didn’t really want another colour muddying the beautiful colour. So I finished all the seams with a zigzag stitch and it produced a very neat finish, if a little slow. The pattern really is super easy. Made of only two pieces it couldn’t be easier to put together. It calls for 1″ elastic, but I only had 3/4″ elastic, and I think I will happily use that in future. Super easy to pass through the casing width called up in the pattern and perfectly adequate.
I’ve been using knit fabrics a lot of late and it was a pleasure to be sewing with a woven fabric that was so straightforward to handle. It also doesn’t wrinkle as much as I expected it to which is a huge bonus!! My serger is noisy, very noisy and I found it lovely and relaxing to be using the much calmer animal that is my sewing machine.
Now I had to figure out what to do with that cropped sweatshirt pattern I had bought…
With another straightforward pattern it seemed like a good time to stretch my (very limited) applique skills a little. Well, test them out anyway. I’ve only done some really basic applique in the past and was a little daunted by anything other than a very small area. I went into Hickeys on Henry Street in Dublin and asked for a product called Bondaweb. I wasn’t really sure if that was the right name, still amn’t, but they seemed to know what I was talking about and suggested some double-sided iron-on stuff. Boy it worked a treat! It really kept the applique stable and in place as I sewed. I also bought my first water erasable pen to draw the shapes. Wow, that stuff really works too! A damp cloth over the whole thing and the blue marks just disappear!
I decided to cut up a failed sweater I sewed for myself a few months back. (I had made the “Shirt Catrin” by Schnittchen Patterns out of a lovely red sweater and it turned out perfectly on my first attempt. It gets worn almost every week. My second version however in a heavier weight grey fabric was a bit of a disaster. The weight of the fabric made it far too bulky and sloppy looking.) I chopped it up and used it for No.3’s Cropped Sweater.
Another easy pattern. Unfortunately I banjaxed the sleeves a bit, partly due to the thickness of the sweater fabric. My serger did not appreciate having to work so hard. In the end I cut them off the next morning and just serged on some cuffs that I shaped a little to make a kind of cap sleeve.
I have a little stash of Elvelyckan Design fabric solids that I invested in a while back, including some yellow and dark blue “college” and ribbing, I went with a dark blue waistband and sleeves and a yellow neckband.
Fishy, Fishy, Fishy!
I’ve been wanting to applique some little fish onto clothing for a while. (I’ve used them on soft toys I’ve made before; I love having the little fish hide on the back of the toy!)
I cut out seven little fish from some blue fleece and hand stitched an eye on each. In the end I decided on three little fellows jumping out of the blue waistband sea with an asymmetric yellow sun shining down from the neckline. And oh it turned out great!!
No.3 knew exactly what was called of her when I put the culottes and sweater on. She immediately went to stand by our brightest, cleanest wall for some pics. And in fairness she was pretty patient for such a little chicken! She loves the fishy!
Both patterns are perfect for the disconcertingly beautiful weather we’ve been having over the past few weeks. Airy and light, and super comfortable to wear.
For the second project I decided to attempt to make some wearable yellow clothing for myself… next blog coming soon!
(All the links here are entirely due to my love of the fabric/shop/pattern. I think it is great to be able to give a shout out for all those talented, committed people who help me enjoy this sewing lark as much as I do!)