pattern testing

Flint Wide Leg Pants

Flint Wide Leg Pants

Last fall I had the opportunity to test the newest Megan Nielsen pattern, the Flint Wide Leg Pants. I was excited to try them out because it’s a style I’ve been curious about but never worn. And it turns out I like them quite a bit! They’re fun and swishy to wear, and I think they create a really cool silhouette.

Flint Wide Leg Pants

Flint Wide Leg Pants

They remind me of ’20s-era Oxford Bags, as well as this super-stylish David Bowie (and fam) photo shoot:

David Bowie, the pop star and song writer, whose wife Angie three weeks ago presented him with a baby boy, which they have called Zowie. *** Local Caption *** retromusic

The fabric I used is a poly-blend suiting from Style Maker Fabrics. Michelle kindly helped me pick out an appropriate fabric, and I think the weight and drape is perfect for these kind of pants. I’m always wary of polyester, but this fabric feels great and looks high-quality.

When I was testing I wasn’t sure if the pants were meant to be full-length or cropped. I cut them out as-is and they were definitely long enough for full-length pants on me. I figured I’d wear those more than cropped pants so that’s what I did. It turns out they are supposed to be cropped, and the pattern pieces have been shortened by 2″ in the final pattern, although if you’re around my height – 5’4″ – you’ll probably need to shorten them more than that.

The pants ended up being just a smidge too big, which was probably to be expected since my measurements are a bit smaller than the size I made. I do wish Megan Nielsen would expand their size range – only having five sizes is a bit limiting.

Flint Wide Leg Pants

Flint Wide Leg Pants

The pattern was really straightforward to construct and didn’t take too long at all. I think it would be a good intro to pants-making since it’s a looser fitting style and there’s no fly zip to deal with.

My favorite thing about these pants is the cross-over opening! I’d never seen that feature before. Basically, the left pocket opens up enough that you don’t need a zipper to get in and out. You can’t really put anything (other than your hand) in that pocket, but you still have a fully functional right pocket. I also love the look of the release tucks!

Flint Wide Leg Pants

Flint Wide Leg Pants

Flint Wide Leg Pants

Overall I’m pretty happy with these pants, and it was fun to try out a new style! I’m working on another new style of pant for me right now – the Style Arc Sadie. I’m using some gorgeous tencel from Blackbird Fabrics, so fingers crossed they turn out!

<3 Lindsay

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

This winter I had the opportunity to test a design from the new Named collection, and I chose the Ansa Dress, a modern and feminine cocktail dress!

I think the style lines for this pattern are so interesting! The raglan butterfly sleeves, the waist pleats, and the curved bust panel are all really fun elements that I’d never sewn before. It’s an untraditional take on a cocktail dress and I love that about it. The waist pleats are my favorite element – they provide the perfect amount of shaping and visual interest. And the lack of a waist seam means this dress is seriously comfortable!

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

As usual with Named patterns, everything came together really smoothly. I had a few suggestions for the instructions and they were all incorporated in the final pattern – it’s nice to see that Named really cares about the feedback process! The only pattern alteration I made was to shorten the dress by 2″. I probably should have shortened the bodice above the bust as well, as there’s some extra fabric there. I’ve come to realize lately that I often need that adjustment, but I haven’t gotten in the habit of doing it yet.

The fabric is a stretch silk satin that I picked up at Les Coupons de Saint Pierre a couple years ago. It was a three meter cut, so I still have enough left over to make a blouse – I’m thinking another Melilot! It’s really nice to wear and wasn’t too difficult to sew. It does show creases and puckers pretty badly though, which is especially evident around the zipper at the back. Ah well, I’m not too worried by it!

One thing I am really pleased about is how neat my neckline binding turned out. That’s a skill I’ve definitely improved on lately!

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress - Named Patterns

Have you added any of the new Named patterns to your queue? I have the Reeta midi shirt dress on my list, and I also love the look of the Ronja dungarees!

<3 Lindsay

Quinn Shirt

Quinn ShirtOver the summer I had the opportunity to do some pattern testing for Named. I tested the Augusta Hoodie for their last collection, so I was really excited to be asked back. Laura and Saara are super nice, and I can tell that they really take the feedback into consideration and make changes accordingly. I chose to test the Quinn Shirt from the New Black collection.

I love sewing button-down shirts, and this was a great opportunity to try out some new techniques. The french cuffs, overlapping collar, tower plackets, and rounded button stand were all things I’d never attempted before. I think Named always really nails the details in a way that makes their patterns both flattering and fashion-forward. You can tell that even little things like the pleats at the back yoke and cuffs are well thought out and perfectly placed.

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

An intermediate-level sewist should have no problem making this pattern. I found the instructions easy to follow, and the collar instructions in particular are some of the best I’ve come across.

I don’t believe any major changes were made to the pattern after I tested it, although the instructions were updated in a few places to be more thorough.

Making the button cuff links took a couple tries to get right, but I think they’re pretty clever. You just stitch some thread through the buttonholes for looks, and then attach the two buttons together with elastic thread. I would like to get some real cuff links, but the button ones are certainly cheaper, especially when you need four!

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

I sewed my normal size 34 with no alterations. I think next time I’d shorten the arms by 1/2″. There’s also some drag lines/tightness at the upper bust when the shirt is buttoned, especially when I move my arms. I think I may need to go up a size at the bust and then do a SBA?

The fabric is a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton in “lichen”. Shot cottons, like chambray, are woven with different colored warp and weft threads, in this case green and blue. I think it gives the fabric more depth and makes for a really pretty effect.

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn Shirt

Quinn ShirtConclusion: I love this shirt! And I’ll definitely be making this pattern again. I like that it’s a bit more fitted than the Archer, and I love all the cool details. Button-downs are definitely a fall/winter staple for me, so it’s great to have a new pattern to add to the arsenal.

Have you sewn anything from the New Black collection yet? The Sloane Sweatshirt and Olivia Wrap Dress are both on my list for this fall! I also think the Isla Trench Coat is gorgeous – I can’t wait to see some more versions of it pop up!

<3 Lindsay

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Recently I had the opportunity to test Dixie DIY‘s new pattern – the Bonnell Dress. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dixie a couple of times at Austin sewing meet-ups, and when I saw she was releasing this dress as a pattern I was super excited!

I love the silhouette of this dress. The cut-outs are not only fun, but combined with the waistband they really help create the illusion of a small waist and hourglass shape. The bodice and waistband are lined, so the cut-outs have a clean finish, and the dress looks great inside and out.

Description of the Bonnell dress from Dixie’s website:

The perfect summer dress! Sleeveless dress has bodice darts, jewel neckline in front and V-neck in back, waistband, gathered skirt with side seam pockets, triangle cutouts at bodice side seams, and a center back invisible zip.

And, guys: I love this dress. Seriously. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. Lately a lot of my sewing has felt more like a chore than a hobby. I’ve been making some boring house things like curtains and pillows, as well as fulfilling some sewing requests from family members. And even the stuff I’ve been making for me isn’t exactly fun to sew. Like my last pair of jeans turned out great, and I’m really glad I made them, but the sewing itself wasn’t that fun. So this dress was exactly what I needed for a breath of fresh air. Sewing semi-fitted cotton garments is definitely my favorite type of sewing. Button-up shirts? Yes. Love them. And making this dress definitely had a similar feel.

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

I never used to wear dresses much, but I’ve been making more of an effort lately. And while I have a few casual jersey dresses, I didn’t have a single casual woven dress. Once I knew I’d be making this pattern, I took some time to really think about what type of fabric to use to make this dress as versatile as possible. Chambray is one of my favorite fabrics, both to wear and to sew with, so I finally decided on this lightweight Kaufman railroad chambray. I thought a print would be too busy, but a solid would be too boring, so I compromised with this striped fabric. Neutral, but still interesting.

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Before sewing, I did my standard 1/2″ SBA to the bodice. I made a size 0 for the bust and hips, graded to a size 2 at the waist, and the fit was perfect.  My hem is 3/8″ longer than called for because I only turned it up once instead of twice. I’m 5’4″ and think it’s a good length, so if you’re taller you may want to lengthen the skirt a bit. I also machine-stitched the waistband down rather than doing it by hand.

The original neckline was a bit too high for me, but I’m someone who doesn’t like to have clothes touching my neck. After trying the bodice on I decided to lower the neckline by 1″ at center front, grading back to the original line at the shoulder seams. This is an easy change to make during construction, so if in doubt I’d just cut the piece out as normal and lower it later if you feel like you need to. Of course you could always do a muslin first if you’re not as lazy of a seamstress as I am!

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Nothing major changed with the pattern after I tested it. I made a few suggestions about small issues, and they were all incorporated into the final pattern. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow, and there’s a tips section in the beginning with extra info if you need it.

Also, the printed pattern is just 16 pages, which I really appreciate!

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

I’ve already worn this dress a handful of times, and I know it’s going to get a ton of wear this summer. It fits both my style and my lifestyle perfectly, and I’m so, so happy with it! I could tell almost from the instant I started sewing that it was going to be one of my favorite dresses, and I’m glad it turned out exactly as I envisioned it!

After I finished this dress I had some good sew-jo going, and I made another dress and a kimono to wear to a wedding and a rehearsal dinner this past weekend. If it ever stops raining I hope to have them photographed and blogged soon!

Are you doing any summer sewing?

<3 Lindsay

I received a free copy of the final pattern in exchange for testing. All opinions are my own.

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