Patrones #347 – Magazine Review

patrones-1As I mentioned in my last post, I picked up a copy of Patrones magazine in Barcelona. I’d heard of it before, but didn’t really know what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised with how modern and fashionable a lot of the patterns were.

And at 40 patterns for 5 it’s a great deal!

The main drawback is that the patterns only come in three sizes. So a bit of pattern grading will be in order before I can make anything up. As with Burda, the pattern pieces are nested on sheets that you must trace off and add seam allowances to. This is more work than I like to put into a pattern before even getting to the muslin stage, but for 13 cents a pattern I think it’s worth it. The pattern instructions are fairly brief (and in Spanish, of course) so I guess this will be a test of how far my sewing skills have come!

patrones-2You can see an overview of the patterns here. The lace and day to day collections are my favorites.

patrones-16The first eight patterns are party dresses. And of those, this dress and jacket are definitely my favorites. I think the frayed silk edges are really pretty, and the back is gorgeous. However, with 23 pattern pieces and a gazillion seams, it’s certainly not for the faint of heart.

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patrones-3Another gorgeous back here. Not so crazy about the front bodice band thing though.

patrones-4This look reminds me of something Taylor Swift would wear. They’re both really nice pieces, and I would love to have that exact blouse. All those pleats are a bit intimidating though.

patrones-5I really like the pants here. Those center front seamlines remind me of the Jamie Jeans. The lace top is also very pretty.

patrones-6I love this dress! If I can find the right kind of lace I definitely want to try this pattern out.

patrones-7Three really solid pieces here: buttondown, blazer, and pleated pants.

patrones-8I’m not sure if I’ll ever have an occasion to wear lace pants, but I do like the look of these ones. The camisole top is really nice and will also go on my list if I can find the right fabrics.

patrones-9This peplum top and skirt would work well as a set or as separates.

patrones-10Not sure about the top, but I’m intrigued by the shorts. They’re kind of hard to see here, but they have an interesting fold-over waistband, pockets, and pleats in the front.

patrones-11Really cute shirt-dress, although I probably wouldn’t make it in lace. Side-note: I need those shoes.

patrones-12The plus-size section was a bit underwhelming. Seven fairly basic patterns, with the sleeveless blouse being my favorite.

patrones-13There are also four first communion dress patterns that are rather pretty. They would also make good flower girl dresses.

patrones-14The magazine includes a knitting pattern for a baby cardigan and a crochet pattern for the cardigan above, which I rather like.

patrones-15There’s also a “sewing school” section that has step-by-step instructions on how to make this satin nightgown.

So overall I was pretty impressed with this magazine. In general, the patterns are much more wearable and fashionable than what I’ve seen in Burda lately. Definitely worth five euros! Of course, I have yet to make any of these patterns up, so I’ll have to see how that goes before I can form a definite opinion.

Have you sewn a pattern from Patrones magazine before? Any tips or potential pitfalls you can warn me about?

<3 Lindsay

Paris & Barcelona

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Last week I traveled with my family to Paris and Barcelona. My husband and I met up with my parents and brother in Paris for a few days, and then Nathaniel, Tommy, and I continued on to Barcelona for a few days more.

I absolutely adore Paris. It’s funny, when Nathaniel and I first went to Europe a few years ago we didn’t think we’d particularly like Paris – we mainly just wanted to go there for the museums. But something about the city, the culture, and the people really resonated with us and it ended up being our favorite of all the cities we visited. So on this our second trip, our expectations were pretty high. And happily all were met and exceeded once again. I honestly think we could live in Paris forever and never tire of it.

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Lady Skater and Cooper Backpack – the perfect traveling outfit!

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On this trip I knew that I definitely wanted to bring back some fabric, so I did a bit of research before we left and made a list of fabric stores. I put them into Google Maps along with their operating hours to get a nice visualization of their locations, and I’ve included it here in the hopes that others will find it useful too! Unfortunately the day when I had the most free time (Sunday, before our traveling buddies arrived) was also the day when all the fabric stores were closed.

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The famous 6 story Marche Saint-Pierre

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Browsing at Les Coupons de Saint-Pierre

I did still manage to visit a couple fabric stores though! Les Coupons de Saint-Pierre was #1 on my list and it did not disappoint! They have piles of pre-cut 3 meter lengths, or “coupons”, of fabric for you to wade through, all organized by fabric content. If you’re like me and only speak un peu de français no worries here. Everything is clearly labeled with price and fabric type and there’s no need to awkwardly try to communicate how much fabric you want since everything is pre-cut. They had a really great selection of silks (soies), wools (laines), cottons (cotons), linens (lins), and leather hides (cuirs). They also had a large selection of cheap synthetics, which I have to admit I didn’t really look at as I’m more of a natural fiber girl.

Note to my American friends: The dollar’s very strong against the euro right now, so if you’re contemplating a trip to Europe now is a great time to go!

And here’s what I ended up getting:

photo 21. Black cotton sateen with tiny tan dots. 10 for 3m. I’m planning on making a Kaisla Blazer, and maybe some shorts if there’s enough fabric left over.

photo 42. Silk twill. Red squares on light blue background. 20 for 3m. I’m thinking this will be my birthday dress. Maybe a Belladone with contrast piping around the waistband?

photo 33. Dark purple silk crepe de chine. 40 for 3m. I’m not sure what I’ll do with this yet, but it was too gorgeous to pass up!

photo 1The only other shop I was able to get to was Lil Weasel. It’s a very cute little store that stocks high-end fabric and pretty trimmings. I bought a little bit of this Atelier Brunette print I’ve had my eye on for a while now. It’s a nice voile weight fabric, so I’ll probably make a tank top or some other summery thing from it.

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I also found some Merchant & Mills gear at the Paris Uniqlo!

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View of Barcelona from the Sagrada Familia

I didn’t visit any fabric stores in Barcelona, but I did enjoy the Gaudi masterpieces all over the city. I picked up Patrones magazine at the airport and was pretty impressed with it. There are quite a few patterns in there I’m interested in making up and I think the samples are styled well too. This post is getting pretty long so I’ll do a full review later.

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Sagrada Familia – absolutely gorgeous

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Mosaics at Parc Guell – I think some of these patterns would look fantastic as fabrics

It was an excellent trip! Although unfortunately it didn’t cure my wanderlust at all. I’m already plotting a return to France and a trip to Japan, although I don’t know if either of those will be possible anytime soon!

Have you been fabric shopping abroad? Know of any cities with particularly good fabric stores?

<3 Lindsay

Jamie Jeans, Take 2

Jamie Jeans

Success! My first pair of Jamie Jeans had some fit issues, so after I finished them I knew I’d want to try again. Unfortunately, this was at the height of summer, and after I finished those Jamies I ended up not wearing jeans again for about three months (the downside of Texas weather). Then, last fall, the Ginger Jeans pattern came out and my blogroll was suddenly filled with jeans, reminding me of my forgotten Jamies. And while the Ginger Jeans pattern is definitely tempting, I would have felt guilty buying it before attempting to get to the bottom (no pun intended) of my fit issues with the Jamies.

Jamie Jeans

Jamie Jeans

So thank you, thank you Heather for this jeans fitting post! I thought my fit issues stemmed from some kind of crotch length/depth problem, but this post made me realize that the main alteration I needed was actually a thin thigh adjustment.

For reference, my measurements match Named’s size 34 exactly and I’m 5’4″. These are the adjustments that I made to the original pattern before cutting out my fabric:

  • Thin thigh adjustment – 3/8″ at front inner thigh, 1/2″ at back inner thigh
  • Shorten legs – 2″ (In retrospect, this was a bit too much. Next time I’ll only shorten 1″)
  • Flat seat adjustment – 1/4″
  • Sway back adjustment – two 1/2″ darts taken out to contour waistband

After basting the jeans together I still had some some excess fabric through the crotch/thighs, so I took them in another 1/2″ at the outer thighs, tapering to nothing at the knee. This seems to have done the trick, because now the fit is pretty perfect!

Jamie Jeans

Jamie Jeans

I also used Heather’s tutorial for the fly zip and it was awesome! Definitely the best fly I’ve ever done.

This was my first time using top-stitching thread… and I’m not really sure why I never had before. It’s really easy to work with, and I think it makes my jeans look a lot more professional. Same with the jeans button. This pattern doesn’t call for rivets, but I think I might add them on my next pair. Metal hardware always ups the “wow” factor in my opinion.

Jamie Jeans

Jamie Jeans

And finally, an historic milestone: as I took these pictures I realized that for the first time ever I was wearing a totally me-made outfit! In addition to my Jamie Jeans, I’m wearing a Rigel Bomber, a Phlox Tee, and, due to my recent bra and undie making adventures you may have seen on Instagram, a Florence Bra and Geneva Panties. That just leaves the socks, and I’ve decided those don’t count! :)

It’s a pretty cool thing we do, sewing our own clothing. And I love that there’s always something new to learn.

Has anyone else been sewing jeans lately? How was your experience with fitting?

<3 Lindsay

 

Augusta Hoodie

Augusta Hoodie

Yay! Named‘s new spring collection is out, so now I can finally share with you my Augusta Hoodie! A few months ago Named had a call for pattern testers in their newsletter, and I was lucky enough to be picked. I had the chance to preview their new collection and choose a pattern to test. There were a lot of tempting options, but I went with the Augusta Hoodie both because I knew it would fit in well with my wardrobe and because the pattern had a lot of interesting details to try out.

Testing took place over the Christmas/New Year holidays. I was afraid that if I ordered fabric online I wouldn’t get it in time to meet the testing deadline. So, with expectations appropriately low, I went to JoAnn’s. The recommended fabrics for this pattern are sweatshirt jersey or knit fleece. As expected, the selection at JoAnn’s was uninspiring (I’m so not into those ’90s-style saturated colors), but I did manage to find two shades of gray sweatshirt fleece. I threw in some white ribbing, pre-made piping, and brass snaps and I was ready to roll.

Augusta Hoodie

Augusta Hoodie

I match Named’s size 34 measurements exactly, so made up the pattern as-is with no changes. The fit is spot-on, save for a little tightness through the shoulders.

My favorite details are the piping and the snaps. They’re both easy to do, but I think they really elevate this pattern and make it look a bit fancier than your average hoodie. This was the first time I’d used snaps, so I was really pleased to find out how easy they were to install. My husband and I had an assembly line going where I would set them in place and he would hammer them in.

Also, I’m wearing my new Jamie Jeans in these pics – to be blogged soon! The fit is much better than my first pair.

Augusta Hoodie

Augusta Hoodie

Augusta Hoodie

Construction was fairly straight-forward. If you can handle a welt pocket then you should be good to go. The one part I got confused about was how to attach the hood. However, the instructions have been updated to be much more detailed in the final version, so I don’t think that should be a problem anymore.

I don’t believe there are any major differences between the testing pattern and the final pattern. The pockets originally had a welt facing that was attached to the pocket piece, but it looks like they’ve been combined into one piece for the final version. That shouldn’t really change anything, but it does mean that the insides will look a bit neater since that extra seam won’t be visible.

I really like the way the top-stitched welt pockets look, but I have to admit they’re not very practical. My hands are on the smaller side, and even they can hardly fit in there. I’m also not a big fan of all the visible guts on the inside, but I don’t think there’s really a good way around it. You could potentially add a lining, but then you wouldn’t get the soft fleeciness against your skin. And the facing does give a nice, clean look from the outside.

Augusta Hoodie

Augusta Hoodie

Overall I’m very happy with this pattern, and the Named girls were a pleasure to work with! Augusta is a really clever and interesting hoodie/jacket hybrid, and, as expected, I’ve already gotten a lot of wear out of it.

Make sure you take a look at the rest of Named’s new collection – there are a lot of great patterns to choose from! I really love the Asaka Kimono, especially in the sample fabric they chose. It’s definitely on my to-make list for the summer!

What are your favorites from the new collection?

<3 Lindsay

Faux Fur Jacket + Free Pattern!

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I am a faux fur convert. I had my doubts while buying this fabric, cutting it out, and all the way through construction up until the finishing stitches. But the instant I put on the finished jacket I fell in love.

I first got the idea to make a faux fur jacket back in September, when I saw an Altuzarra for Target jacket (seen here in my fall sewing plans post).

For the pattern, I just wanted a simple, boxy shape with no darts etc., so I decided to draft one myself. The pattern is just three pieces, so it’s a very quick sew! And after I finished my jacket I was so happy with how it turned out that I decided to offer it as a free pattern! It’s been graded to sizes 0 – 18, and I’ve illustrated some instructions and included tips for working with faux fur.

This is a great basic, boxy jacket pattern that you could alter in any number of ways. It’s perfect for showcasing faux fur, but it would work with any other medium-to-heavyweight fabric as well. I didn’t add any closures because I like the way it looks open, but you could definitely add some fur hooks or a zipper if you’d like. Available for download right here!

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

Where to buy faux fur? I recommend fabric.com – that’s where I found this “snow leopard” fur. It’s super soft and plush and it doesn’t have that weird plastic-y feel that a lot of faux furs have. They seem to have a pretty wide selection of faux fur, and they do free returns, which is a nice bonus. For the lining I used my favorite – rayon bemberg – and I love how luxe it makes the jacket feel.

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

Sewing with faux fur really isn’t much different than sewing any other fabric. The main difference lies in how you cut it out.

  • Because fur has a nap, you’ll need to pay close attention to the grainline of your pattern pieces. The fur should lie smoothly and in the same direction on all pieces.
  • I like to use a sharpie to draw the pattern pieces on the back of the fur, and then use my normal fabric shears to cut them out, making sure to only snip through the backing and not the fur itself. You can also use an exacto knife for this part, but I found the scissors easier to use. When you’ve finished cutting, gently separate the pieces from the fabric and then tug around the edges to pull off any loose fur.
  • I definitely recommend using a walking foot if you have one, and increasing your stitch length to about 3mm. A universal needle should work fine.
  • The thicker your fur, the harder it’s going to be to use pins. Wonder clips are great for sewing with faux fur or any other thick fabric. You could also try using clothespins if that’s all you have around.
  • Personally, I don’t trim the fur off the seam allowances before I sew. Instead I just use my fingers and a comb to tease out any fur that got caught in the seam.
  • I wouldn’t recommend ironing faux fur – I’m pretty sure that could quickly  lead to a melting mess. I just finger-pressed the seam allowances open.

I’ve found that faux fur hides a multitude of sins – so don’t worry too much about precision! The best thing to do to prepare is to sew a few scraps together and figure out what works best for you and your sewing machine.

And speaking of scraps, this trapper hat pattern (also free) would be great for using up your faux fur scraps! I made two of them for x-mas presents this year.

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

Faux Fur Jacket

So would you ever wear faux fur? I find something about wearing it really fun and confidence-boosting. If you do make your own faux fur jacket be sure to leave me a link below! Hopefully it’ll make this long winter a little more enjoyable.

And if you know of any other good sources for faux fur, I’d be curious to know those as well!

<3 Lindsay