Lady Skater Two Ways : A Kitschy Coo Lady Skater Dress Pattern Review

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IPM 2015 is drawing to a close, what a ride it’s been! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the constant stream of indie pattern inspiration from The Monthly Stitch this past few weeks and will definitely miss it when it’s over!

My last entry for Indie Pattern Month 2015 is the lady skater pattern done two ways – one as a boatneck peplum top and the other as a drapey lady skater dress. I’ve been eyeing this pattern from Kitschy Coo for over 6 months now, and IPM gave me the push I needed to finally make it up! It’s such a customisable design and so similar to some of my favourite RTW dresses, I knew that I could definitely stand to benefit from making a ton of these (plus it’s an easy and quick make too!)

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The peplum top was very much intended to be a wearable muslin. I raised the neckline by 15cm and narrowed the shoulders to 4 cm based on the recommendations in this post, but clearly I’m of a different shape from the original writer because the neckline was much much too high on me! (It may have something to do with my lack of boobage…) I ended up cutting off the finished collar altogether and rebinding it with a neckline binding that was half the width of the original pattern piece. It’s wearable as it is right now, but I think I will go back and cut the neckline a little lower again – it does feel a bit like I’m getting strangled sometimes… I will also definitely rebind the neckline again, there’s a little bit of puckering going on there, though not enough to stop me wearing it out!

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I’ve always had a problem with peplums on my pear shape. I feel that they only serve to accentuate my big hips as they flare right at the largest point of my lower body! This version, however, I can definitely get behind. For some reason, I feel that this top actually does work for me. It may be a combination of the shortened waist (by 2″) and the reduced flare in the half circle skirt (I used the skirt pattern as is, just shortening it to a length of 9″), but no matter the reason I’m quite loving it! I’ve worn it out (in public, imagine that!) twice already, once with shorts to a dinner date and another time to work with jeans and heels on casual Friday. I can definitely envisage myself wearing this a whole lot more once I fix the neckline issues.

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TLDR;

Pattern: Kitschy Coo’s Lady Skater Dress (Cap sleeve version)

Size made: Size 2 at bust grading out to size 4 at waist

Fabric used: Black ITY jersey from Spotlight

Alterations made:

– Shortened bodice length by 2″

– Raised neckline

– Narrowed shoulders to 4″

– Shortened skirt to 9″ to make a peplum top

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To me, this lovely drapey dress was the main attraction. It was my first time working with rayon jersey, and I did face a lot of difficulty during the sewing process because of how light and slightly slippery it was!

The advantage of using such a light fabric was that I didn’t need to insert clear elastic into the waist seam in order to the support the skirt. I did attempt to at first, but as I didn’t have clear elastic (or at least not the flat kind) and regular braided elastic caused the fabric to warp at the waistline, I just decided to leave it out altogether.

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This dress is wonderfully swishy and just the right length for me after shortening the bodice by 2″. The neckline on this version is raised as well, but only by 2″, and the shoulders have been left the same width as the pattern piece. The sleeves have also been lengthened by about 1.5″ to make a short sleeve rather than cap sleeve. On hindsight, I should have left the sleeve a little shorter as the print of this dress tends to be a little overwhelming in large doses, but I’m glad I tested out this sleeve length for future reference. Plus it’s a dream to wear, and a perfect length for church and for work #winning

TLDR;

Pattern: Kitschy Coo’s Lady Skater Dress (Cap sleeve version lengthened)

Size made: Size 2 at bust grading out to size 4 at waist

Fabric: Rayon Jersey from Sew Many Knits

Alterations made:

– Shortened bodice length by 2″

– Raised scoop neckline by 2″

– Lengthened sleeves by 1.5″

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All in all, I really like what I’ve ended up with! A peplum top that I actually think I look good in (though I will probably love it loads more once I nail down that elusive boatneck neckline) and a wonderfully draped skater dress perfect for summer and big-eating days!

I have a lovely length of Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery knit and I’m wondering whether to make that up as a Lady Skater dress (with a round neck / boat neck)  or as a Christine Haynes Marianne dress. I would love to hear what you guys think!

Flora in the Wild

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So with the outfit-of-the-day frenzy that is Me-Made-May done and dusted, we’ve officially (as of yesterday) moved into Indie Pattern Month and all the competitions that come with it! Indie  Pattern Month is an annual month of competitions centred on, you guessed it, indie patterns and is organised by The Monthly Stitch. To enter, you sew up a garment in line with the rules and post about it over on The Monthly Stitch blog – click here to see my entry!

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The By Hand London Flora dress has been on my to-sew list since I first started sewing – that’s almost a whole year ago! So when I decided to enter in the dresses competition, it HAD to be the Flora. This is by far my most involved garment to date and is definitely my current favourite – it’s got weird and wonderful Alice in Wonderland-ish paisley flowers, who can resist that?? To match the whimsical nature of the print, I decided that the futuristic Gardens by the Bay in Singapore would be the best place to photograph it, amidst the strange and exotic plants of the Cloud Forest dome. But enough of the chattering from me, keep on reading to find out all the juicy sewing-related details!

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The Pattern

By Hand London’s Flora Dress (Tank bodice with hi-lo circle skirt)

I found the pattern instructions very easy to follow, and coupled with the sew-along, is extremely manageable for a beginner sewist! The only pain was finishing the hem of the voluminous circle skirt – I used my rolled hem foot and even then it took ages (not to mention it got a little tricky at the side seams and centre back seams). Other than that, the construction went very quickly, even having to make slight fit adjustments to fix neckline gaping issues.

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I also loved the gentle shaping given by the knife pleats in the front and the box pleats in the back – I didn’t realise it at first, but a friend asked if the “wavy” effect of the skirt hem was intentional, and it dawned on me that it was due to the shaping from the pleats! (Rather an unimpressive revelation to have, but there it is)

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Adjustments made

– Small Bust Adjustment – I found BHL’s tutorial in their sew-along really helpful!

– Shortened the centre back of the skirt by 3 1/4″ and smoothed out the curve gradient. I still found the skirt a bit too long in the back and the curve gradient a tad too severe for casual wear, I would probably shorten the skirt a further 2″ the next time or try out the other skirt option.

– Removed 2″ total from the back neckline where there was gaping. On my next make of this pattern I’ll be sure to remove a total of 1″ from the front neckline as well.

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Fabric & Notions

Purple paisley lightweight cotton (only slightly heavier than voile), bought from Hong Kong for a mere S$5 (US$3.70) a metre! #winning

White voile for the bodice and a 22″ cream invisible zipper

I had actually bought a similar liberty-esque purple paisley print from Goldhawk Road (and was told that it was a William Morris – I still don’t know if the shopkeeper was telling the truth as the selvedge doesn’t mention it) with the intention to use that for a Flora instead. But lo and behold when I saw this alternative in a dingy Hong Kong roadside fabric store, I decided I liked vibrancy of this print a little more and snapped up 3m of this right away.

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I got such a humongous kick out of finally making up this dress – thank you Indie Pattern Month for the huge shove up my behind I needed to do it! Am really looking forward to showing a few more of my entries this coming month and fingers crossed I’ll have time to finish them all! Wish me luck!

Me-Made-May 2015: Days 25 – 31

… And just like that, all 31 days of May have gone by, and with it a whole month of celebrating me-made clothing! This week saw me keeping to my pledge (well, for the most part) and wearing at least one me-made garment a day for 6 out of the 7 days of the week.

Monday, 25 May 2015

A repeat of my Lindy petal skirt on Monday, I didn’t manage to get a picture of it as I was running late and… I had worn the exact same outfit pairing a couple of days before so I wasn’t too fussed about documenting it.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

I whipped out my denim pleated pencil skirt for one more last hurrah before the end of the month and paired it with a black RTW shell top. (I really need to start making more of these generic tops)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Way back in September last year, I sewed up a wearable muslin of By Hand London’s Sabrina dress, and due to all the fitting problems I had with it, I ended up hacking a lot of it up. (I was also a little too intimidated to attempt to remake the full dress pattern again – if you’ve been a regular reader, you’d have seen my hack of the Sabrina dress into a crop top here and here.)

The result is this dress I wore on Thursday, it’s got princess seams that are part of the pattern(still a bit too big in the bust) and a waistline seam that isn’t (from when I removed length from the bodice). It’s wearable, but it’s not my favourite because of the fit and the crummy $2/m fabric I used to make it. I can’t wait to get round to making a proper version of this dress so I can upcycle / bin this one!

That being said, if anyone has any tips from removing bodice length from a princess-seamed dress with no waist seam, PLEASE share them!! I would love to find out how best I should go about doing this!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Fridays at my office are casual business wear, and since I was already in a holiday mood for the long Vesak day weekend, I decided it was time to bring out the party workwear – the Itch to Stitch Emily Culottes. I mostly resisted wearing my pair earlier on in the month because I had gotten it into my head that the broadcloth I had used tended to crumple very easily (and crisply) and would leave lots of butt creases on my behind – a big no-no for client meetings!

As with the Sabrina muslin I wore on Thursday, it seems that it was all in my head (I tend to do that a lot). By the time evening rolled around I had realised that the fabric wasn’t creasing as crisply as I remembered and that any wrinkles that set in were quite soft and looked just like they were worn in from a day of wear. These culottes will definitely be joining my work wardrobe rotation!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Back to the good ol’ chevron skirt for the 2nd last day of MMM, plus a bright hot pink blouse for good measure. I guess my dog got sick of me wearing the chevron skirt because she’s clearly not impressed with it…

Sunday, 31 May 2015

This By Hand London Flora dress has been one of those projects that I started 3 weeks ago but has been left sitting on my sewing table while life caught up with me. But in view of the impending Indie Pattern Month and the indie dress pattern competition running in the first week, I took some time out to finish it off yesterday and this morning, and promptly wore it to church not more than 15 minutes after I had finished pressing it.

I’ll have a post with more information on the Flora dress coming up tomorrow (plus an entry to the Dresses category of Indie Pattern Month) so be sure to come by tomorrow if you’ll like to read about that!

As a bonus, I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon in my brand new Flora taking in one of Singapore’s best attractions like a tourist – the two conservatories at Gardens by the Bay. Here are some iPhone snaps to entice you guys to come visit my sunny (and very, very humid) island!

All in all, I’m really glad I took the time to participate in Me Made May this year! (Thanks Zo!) I’ve gotten to meet some really lovely people both here and on instagram through MMM and have learnt a lot about my style and preferences. Here are my biggest take-aways that I will definitely be keeping in mind when I choose my next sewing projects:

1. I NEED more white button-up shirts and generic black A-line or pencil skirts for work. I have only one court-appropriate me-made garment (a black skirt)!

2. More tops! Some shell tops would be great and suitable for both work and casual wear – I’m thinking the Sewaholic Pendrell pattern view C? Also I could benefit from a smart looking cardigan / blazer that is comfortable for long hours in the office – the Grainline Morris blazer in black ponte knit anyone?

3. More dresses! I have way too many skirts, it’s time to make some dresses!

4. Sew all the knits – this month I fell in love with knit garments and how easy they are to whip up! There are a couple of Kitchy Coo Lady Skaters in my future, you can count on it!

PS. Am I the only one who has been buying patterns left right and centre? With all the discounts going on for Indie Pattern Month, new release sales and Memorial Day / Queen’s Birthday sales, I’ve found myself buying and researching new patterns every other hour! I’m currently deciding between True Bias’ Hudsons and Named’s Alexandria Peg Leg Trousers for a pair of woven slimline trousers for casual wear – if anyone has any input / recommendations for that do drop me a comment below!

Me-Made-May 2015 : Days 18 – 24

The last 7 days of Me Made May have been rather slow moving – I was down with food poisoning (curse you, half-off supermarket sushi!!) for a good 2 days and was in full-on black and white for a court day before that, so effectively I only have a 4 day wardrobe to share with you guys today.

Day 18, Monday

On Monday I bust out my beloved Itch to Stitch Lindy Petal Skirt again, paired with a sleeveless RTW button down top. I’m amazed how fast this skirt is becoming a staple in my wardrobe – I definitely need to make more up in a greater variety of fabric soon.

And in case you’re wondering why I’m posing so enthusiastically with a Vogue Patterns magazine, that’s because I went to check out the new (relatively) Orchard Library on Orchard Road in Singapore last Monday and discovered that they stock copies of Vogue Patterns Magazine and Thread Magazine! Hurray! Perfect for us in Singapore where delivery from anywhere else in the world costs a bomb.

The magazines are kept in these adorable pull out cubby holes in the wall, with the latest issues displayed in the front glass panel, which doubles as a decor feature! This is one idea I am definitely pinning as future home inspiration.

As it turns out, the library also stocks Japanese sewing books and some fitting books. I even managed to find copies of Gertie’s two books! Amazing. Be warned though, if you ever plan on borrowing books with patterns, you’ll have to check the patterns themselves out separately. Be sure to go down to the shelf on the third floor, under the staircase and find the corresponding patterns to the books – I didn’t know about this until someone pointed this out to me on instagram (thank you @oppknits!)

Day 9, Tuesday

Another day, another knit skirt – this is another new favourite that has entered my weekly rotation because of Me Made May. Another great thing about #MMMay15 ? Forcing me to rethink my outfit pairings – this chevron knit skirt was originally destined to be paired with a black top to play down the too-casual print, but in the spirit of Me Made May I decided to take a risk and wear it with this electric blue shell top instead. Judging by all the comments from the good people of instagram, it seems that I made the right choice.

Day 13, Saturday

Day 10 was a court day and days 11 and 12 were sick days, so you can guess how relieved I was to finally be out and about and getting back on track with my MMMay pledge on Saturday! Here I am in my Ray of Sunshine tulip skirt and a brand new mint-coloured pair of Nike Frees that I had just bought that day – I LOVE this combination, and they’re SO light! (… and so is my wallet after buying these shoes) It’s not my usual style, but hey, this month is all about pushing boundaries right?

Day 14, Sunday

Back into something more within my comfort zone for church yesterday in this cream RTW top and my soon-to-be-blogged bright orchid Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt. I kid you not when I say that I have been finding every opportunity to wear this skirt – to the theatre, to church, to the beach, I’ve pretty much done it all.

Anybody who said that they didn’t need a bright purple, borderline luminous hollyburn skirt clearly didn’t know what they were missing. Now, can I get away with one in vermillion orange…?

PS. As most of you can probably tell, I failed at getting enough garments in time to make the Wardrobe Challenge ): But no fear, because that just means that I’ve got a lot of delicious makes in the works and possibly a few entries in the upcoming Indie Pattern Month over at the Monthly Stitch! I am really excited, I just hope I can find the time to finish them all!

Me-Made-May 2015 : Days 11-17

Phew, time sure flew by quick! We’ve now just passed the halfway mark of Me-Made-May 2015 and I must say that it’s going a lot better than I expected. MMMay was a bit of a challenge this week as I had a prescribed uniform of black and white (court attire – kind of boring) for several days this week, and over the weekend had a wedding to attend in Kuala Lumpur (i.e. out of the country), all of which I didn’t have any me-made outfits appropriate for the occasion.

Well, less talk, more pictures, I’ll get a move on with showing you what me-made garments I wore this week!

Day 11, Monday

Once again, I started off the work week with my yellow coco banana top – I’m starting to feel that I should make another one of this with a bit less flare in the waist to hip portion. I really like the fit in the shoulders and the bust, but it’s a little too flared to be suitable for tucking into skirts and pants.

Day 12, Tuesday

On day 12 I took my brand new, freshly hemmed chevron knit pencil skirt out for a road test and found it hugely satisfying! If the number of comments and likes on instagram are indication it would seem that a lot of people liked it too! The best part? It cost all of S$7 (US$5.30). The pattern is the skirt back of the free Itch to Stitch Lindy Petal Skirt (minus the waistband) which was used in cutting out both the skirt front and back of the chevron skirt without any fitting changes. I got the idea from this Delia Creates tutorial, but decided against using the pleated pencil skirt for it because the pattern is made for woven and I didn’t want to have to fiddle about with picking and tracing a new size (the Lindy Petal Skirt is made for knit materials).

Day 13, Wednesday

Wednesday was a court day (for which I don’t have much appropriate me-made clothing), so I “cheated” by wearing me-made pyjamas instead! Here I am in my Seamwork Magazine Savannah camisole made from bargain bin pinstriped poly cutting out my first ever BHL flora dress in the hopes that I could get it ready before the weekend. (I couldn’t.)

Day 14, Thursday

A court day yet again, but this time I managed to sneak in a me-made self-drafted skirt. I made this skirt right when I started sewing, but completely learnt nothing from the process as I was literally just doing whatever my teacher told me to do without understanding what interfacing, understitching, facing, darts etc were. It was my mistake as well I suppose, as the teacher I had signed up with dealt mostly with experienced sewers and was a lot better at drafting than dealing with beginner sewists. She was lovely though, so I may go back to take some drafting lessons eventually!

That being said this skirt seems to sit far too low – it hangs at the hip rather than the waist or high waist. I’ll need to see if I can rectify that…

Day 16, Saturday

That’s right, I missed Day 15 ): this was because it was another court day without me-made garments, and because I was knocking off work and hopping right into a car to drive into Malaysia, I wasn’t able to wear any me-made items or take any pictures.

On Saturday though, we woke up early, bright eyed and busy tailed, to get some time in playing the Escape Rooms at Berjaya Times Square and getting our hair done in time for the wedding that night. My me-made garment of the day was this Megan Nielsen’s Eucalypt Tank in cheap aztec cotton. 

Day 17, Sunday

And last but certainly not least, my Tessuti Pattern’s Ruby Top in pineapple print for the last of the weekend trip and the long 5 hour drive home! These pictures were taken at the National Monument for Malaysia’s fallen soldiers in KL. The place was so serene and beautiful, I highly recommend coming in the morning so you get the light hitting the monument from the side – gorgeous!

(Also, check out those waves in my ponytail – I got a blow-out the day before and my curls lasted all of 2 hours ): still, those waves are pretty nice imo)

And that’s all for this week, thanks for reading!

I also posted a little caption on last Monday’s instagram picture on what me-made-may means to me and how I feel about it! Read it below and let me know if you agree!

 

Me-Made-May 2015: Week 1 Round-up

What an eventful 10 days it’s been! If you’ve been following my blog or my instagram, you’d undoubtedly have noticed me hashtag #MMMay15 , heard about my Me-Made-May pledge or seen me wearing my me-made outfits over the last 10 days.

Before MMM I didn’t use to wear my handmade garments a whole lot, even though many of them were wardrobe staples or could easily be worn on a daily basis – I seem to be more of a “cake” than “icing” person in that sense. Maybe it was a lack of confidence in my workmanship, or perhaps I felt that certain makes didn’t fit me right, I’m not quite sure anymore. All I know now is that since the 1st of May I’ve been wearing at least one me-made garment a day and have been loving it! If the last 10 days have been any indication, I think MMM is going to be a roaring success in helping me to get over my me-made clothing insecurities and in proving to myself that a handmade wardrobe is most definitely achievable!

Day 1

I spent the labour day weekend on a beach holiday in Bintan with a group of friends so what could be more appropriate for the occasion than my beloved Tessuti Patterns Pineapple Ruby Top! This is one favourite that I always reach for on casual days.

Day 2

Still in Bintan, Indonesia, and this time spending the day lounging by the pool and on the beach. My garment of choice was a self-drafted kimono throwover made of some kind of polyester that I picked up in Walthamstow last summer.

Day 3

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The beach bumming continues in my as-yet unblogged Seamwork Savannah Camisole made from some kind of shiny slippery (I think poly?) fabric that I got from some bargain bin in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong. Also featured today is Mr Fabulous (LOL he’s going to kill me for that one) because it happened to be his birthday that day.

Day 4

Back to the daily grind in my yellow Coco Banana Top (Tilly & the Button’s Coco Top in a yellow double knit) to the amusement of my colleagues. For context, I hardly ever wear colours at work – I mostly stick to a neutral palette of black, grey and navy – I guess this is another positive consequence of MMM!

Day 5

Throughout the last 10 days I’ve become acutely aware of the lack of work-appropriate tops amongst my handmade collection – this is the latest addition which has yet to be blogged. For Tuesday I opted to wear my new Sewaholic Pendrell Blouse in view A made from a cobalt blue and purple bird print chiffon, underlined with navy cotton lawn. I made this originally for the April The Monthly Stitch challenge, but have put off blogging about it because it doesn’t feel right. This is one make that I’m not loving – for one I put in one of the sleeves wrong, and for another I feel like the sleeves overwhelm my frame. I’m more used to clean cut sleeves or normal sleeved tops and generally tend to avoid frilly or ruffly sleeves… I’ll have to think about this one, but I’m quite convinced that I’m going to end up taking the sleeves off and changing it to a View C instead – what a pity!

Day 6

Hump day in my denim Delia Creates’ Pleated Pencil Skirt! This was one make that I did up but never wore to work (although that was the intention of making it in the first place!) because I felt that it didn’t fit right. I don’t know what gave me that impression because when I put it on again this time it fit like a glove and is by far the most comfy pencil skirt that I own! I suspect it has something to do with the pictures I took – lesson learned: don’t just rely on pictures to assess fit, and if you do, for goodness sakes stand still and stop twisting about!

Day 7 and 8

Confession time: I wore this skirt two days in a row because it was JUST SO COMFY. Also, because I had a client meeting on Friday and the outfit I had had in mind for casual Friday was just too casual for it. This is the new Itch to Stitch Lindy Petal Skirt which I just blogged about earlier this week! I’ve had a ton of really nice comments about it already so if you like it too then be sure to head on over to Itch to Stitch and download the pattern – it’s free!

Day 9

Saturday is by far my favourite day of the week – no work and Monday is a whole day away, what could be better?! Plus I usually spend some part of my Saturday with either of 2 cell groups I attend and it’s always great to spend meaningful time in fellowship with friends and God. For Day 9 I wore my Tulip Skirt made from some unidentified navy cotton fabric that feels of a similar weight to broadcloth. It’s also embellished with adorable double yellow buttons that I scored at Portobello Market last summer, and yellow topstitching (both of which were suggestions by Fiona over at Fiona Makes, thank you!). The general feel of the skirt is just a little too twee for my taste, so I’ve hardly worn it since making it. Again, I’m so glad for MMM because wearing it for a full day yesterday revealed just how comfy it is!! You can definitely count on seeing more of this skirt pattern on the blog in the future.

Day 10

Happy Mother’s Day to my momma and all other yummy mummies out there! For church and Mother’s Day lunch today I wore my refashioned / altered crop top and a teal midi skirt I bought in Hong Kong. I ended up regretting not wearing something with an elasticated waistband after being faced with this mountain of food:

Doing Mother’s Day brunch right – GO BIG OR GO HOME #hokkienmeecoma #orhluahmadness #thehuens

A photo posted by jessiehuen (@jessiehuen) on May 10, 2015 at 12:35am PDT

And that’s the round-up of week 1! If you’d like to see what I’m wearing for the rest of Me Made May then be sure to follow me on instagram (@jessiehuen) or to check back here every Sunday! Fingers crossed I’d have come up with a better photo taking routine so that I can stop awkwardly begging friends to take them for me (I’m not going to have many friends left at the end of this…)

SEWN // The Itch to Stitch Lindy Petal Skirt Pattern Review

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Disclaimer: I was given the Lindy Petal Skirt free of charge for pattern testing purposes…. which is actually irrelevant in this case because all you lot can get it for free too! Anyway, my point is that all views and opinions in this post are my purely my own – I just love it this pattern that much! 

I know I seem to be excited about pretty much everything on this blog (I promise I am a lot calmer in real life), but this new pattern release by Itch to Stitch is just something else. If you’ve been following my Me-Made-May exploits over on my instagram (@jessiehuen), you’d have seen that I’ve been surprisingly successful with keeping up with my pledge this week. What you haven’t seen is the daily struggle to pick out a me-made garment to wear that ISN’T this new skirt because I’ve been dying to wear it all week! I finally caved this (yesterday) morning and wore it to work, but didn’t post a picture since the pattern hadn’t launched yet. Well… it has now, so I can gush about it to my heart’s content and post a gazillion unnecessary photos of me in it now!

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The Lindy Petal Skirt is a knit skirt with an elasticated waistband and a beautiful petal shape. It is super easy to sew up (took me less than 2 hours from cutting to hemming), it feels like I’m wearing a t-shirt on my bum and it’s so forgiving on my bootylicious behind and overabundant muffin top. Plus, Kennis drafted it bearing in mind that it could be a work wardrobe staple, which means that it’s a completely office-appropriate length! You guys, it was absolute love at first sight – THIS PATTERN AND I WERE MEANT TO BE. (Kennis can vouch for this – I sent her an overenthusiastic e-mail expressing my eagerness to be a pattern tester). And that’s not all people, as if this pattern wasn’t already sounding amazing enough… it’s free. Oh yes, it’s completely F.O.C., so really, you guys have no reason not to try this miracle of a pattern.

I sewed up a straight size XS, although my measurements put me at an S for the waist and an XS at the hips. It’s very comfortable even though the waist is supposed to be a size too small, I suspect this is because the pattern has you cut the elastic to your ACTUAL waist measurement, instead of a fixed “XS” waist circumference. I also shortened the skirt by 2.5cm (I’m 5′ 3″ for reference) and it hits quite a bit above the knee, and is just about borderline acceptable for work. I will definitely be sewing up my next version in the original length as I think I could benefit from a tad more coverage in the front.

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As for fabric and notions, I used a black double knit for this version and 2″ (5cm) wide elastic. The pattern actually has you use 1.5″ elastic, but my local haberdashery only stocks 1″ or 2″ elastic so I didn’t have a choice in the matter. A word of caution though, I used 1″ elastic at first and it was much too narrow – so much so that half the waistband was unsupported and tended to fold in on itself. On Kennis’ advice I switched out the 1″ elastic for 2″ elastic and I must say that it’s a lot more comfortable. As a result of my wider elastic the waistband is significantly narrower than it is supposed to be (based on other testers’ photos), but it works fine so I’m happy to leave it as is. Just be aware that if you can’t find 1.5″ elastic then generally it’s better to go with a wider elastic than a thinner one!

I can’t speak for the finalised pattern, but based on the tester version, the pattern instructions are extremely clear with illustrations, as is typical of Itch to Stitch patterns. The only problem I had was with hemming the ‘petals’ of the skirt – but that was more my misunderstanding than a problem with the actual pattern itself. Also, I believe that Kennis may have put in a little clarification to ensure that you guys don’t make the same mistake as me (oops!).

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All in all, I would say this pattern is highly manageable and suitable for beginners. It’s also super versatile – I’m already planning up a couple more in black ITY for work, as well as a couple in chevron and polka dot prints. If you can’t wait to sew it up either then drop by Itch to Stitch’s website and get it asap!

Oh, and as an update for what to expect for Me-Made-May, I’ll be posting a round up of my outfits every Sunday here on the blog, but to see what I’m wearing on a daily basis be sure to follow me on instagram! Trust me when I say I’ve had an incredibly productive (sewing-wise) week and I can’t wait to show you guys all the new things I’ve made 😀

 

Culottes Convert // The Itch to Stitch Emily Culottes Pattern

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I’ve always straddled the line somewhere between tomboy and girly girl, so it’s little surprise that growing up culottes were my favourite thing ever – a skirt that allows me to climb over railings and won’t expose my granny underpants whenever a gust of wind comes my way? YES, PLEASE. Sadly, culottes went strictly out of fashion in my teen years and eventually were eliminated from my wardrobe… UNTIL NOW.

I’ve been watching the culottes trend with great interest since they first started emerging in high street fashion last Spring, and while I was convinced that wide-legged, midi length trousers were going to be a fashion disaster on my short pear frame, I really wanted one. Needless to say, when Itch to Stitch Patterns put out a call for pattern testers for the Emily Culottes, I jumped at the chance. Thankfully, Kennis decided to allow this rookie (me) into her team of experienced pattern testers and the rest is history. You guys, I love these culottes SO MUCH and I hope you’ll give the pattern a try so you can love it as much as I do!!

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This was my first time using an Itch to Stitch pattern, and straight off the bat I found a whole lot of things I like about it. For one, the pdf pattern allows you to print in layers – this means that you can print a single size to piece together; or you can print as many sizes as you like to grade between! Another plus are the great instructions included – I had no problems at all following the instructions (and trust me, I followed them for every step, because I wouldn’t have known what to do without them). I especially like the invisible zipper insertion technique which I had never employed before – it got me my first perfectly aligned waistband across a zipper!

I opted to make the simplest version of the Emily Culottes possible ie. no pockets, waist tabs or waist tie, no lining and shortened by only 1.5cm, as it offered a classic, clean, almost tailored look that I was looking for. If I make this up again (and I’m sure I will) I’d probably attempt the welt pockets – seeing all the beautiful welt pockets by the other pattern testers have really whetted my welt pocket appetite!

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I made up 2 versions of the culottes – first the white in shot cotton, then the navy in broadcloth. As you can see from the white version (above), the shot cotton ended up wrinkling really easily and you guys, these wrinkles WILL NOT COME OUT. I have tried to press the life out of this thing, but the wrinkles will not budge… so I suppose this make is destined for the refashioning bin.

As for the navy broadcloth version – is it an exaggeration to say that it has made me a complete culottes convert? (Alliteration, yeah!) It does wrinkle when I sit, but it irons out easily and is a lot less wrinkle-prone (and cheaper) than the shot cotton I used in the earlier make.

For the navy version, I cut and sewed a straight size 2. This resulted in the culottes sitting at the natural waist, but due to my long torso and short legs, I wanted it to sit at my high waist instead. To do this, I took out about 3/4″ from the centre back seam and redrew the curve back into the original crotch curve.

A word of caution: the waistband is cut on the bias, which means it can stretch out a LOT if you’re not careful. This happened to my white pair, which caused it to sit on my hips rather than my waist! Kennis has helpfully written up a couple of posts with some helpful tips on handling the waistband here.

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I think this is a really versatile pattern which is easily customisable according to your personal style. I tend towards a more classic silhouette and due to my height, prefer a shorter length (knee-length). Despite this, I can easily imagine this pattern being lengthened to make true midi culottes, or shortened with an added pleat to make a pair of mid-thigh skorts. If you’re worried about whether or how these culottes will / can work for you, then remember to swing by here next Monday for a post on the different ways I’ve styled these culottes for my petite pear-shape!

In the meantime, Kennis is having a sale on this pattern for US$9.60 (U.P. US$12) here! She’s also giving away a copy of the pattern for free so if you’re a giveaway lover (I know I am) then be sure to enter the giveaway here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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And now I leave you with this wannabe-Vogue accidental-mohawk shot for your viewing pleasure. Come on now, any garment that lets you get THAT much movement in whilst still looking somewhat classy is a keeper amirite?

Pineapple Party // A Lucky Pineapple Ruby Top

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Yes I know, I’ve gone and neglected my blog again for almost the whole month of February. I have a good reason this time though! The last 4 weeks have been a solid month of celebrations – beginning with my birthday and Valentine’s day, and peaking with the Chinese New Year. The Lunar New Year is the main annual celebration in the Chinese culture, with whole host of traditions that can seem equal parts amusing and confusing. My family in particular loves to “lo hei”, which involves tossing the yusheng (a salad) for good luck – the higher you toss, the better your luck that year! … Except my relatives seem to have made it a matter of family pride to turn every lo hei into a legitimate food fight – if you follow me on instagram you would have seen the carnage (warning: turn down your volume – there is a lot of screaming involved):

It so happens that today marks “Chap Goh Mei” or 元宵节  ( the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations), so what better time than the present to share with you guys my favourite (and luckiest) new year outfit this year!

Chinese New Year is a time for new beginnings, and more importantly, new clothing, so I wanted to make it a point to sew up a new outfit befitting of the occasion. Enter this pineapple-print cotton polyester from Spotlight:

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Pineapples are considered by the Chinese to be an auspicious icon to have around the house during the new year as the hokkien name for pineapple is “ong lai” which sounds similar to the hokkien phrase for “luck” and “coming”. The opportunity to usher in the new year with an ultra-lucky handmade pineapple top? YES PLEASE!

The moment I saw this fabric, I knew that Tessuti Pattern’s Ruby Top would be a perfect match for it. Simple and classy, yet casual and a perfect complement to denim shorts, I thought the pattern would help to downplay the ridiculous-ness of wearing a gazillion pineapples on one’s chest… AND IT DID. I even wore it to work and only got one snide “wow you’re lucky today”-esque comment.

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You guys, I LOVE this make, especially for the new year festivities! In fact, my boyfriend had to ban me from wearing it too many times as I wore it to 3 different gatherings over a 4 day period… a bit obsessive, I will admit.

I really like the high neckline and cut in armholes of the pattern, I think it just makes it that much more current and formal than a regular tank top. In a solid coloured voile or chiffon I could easily imagine wearing this to work on a regular basis! I also love the way the pattern is designed to fit in the bust and swing down past any unsightly bulging bits – perfect for wearing to a buffet or a big dinner.

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Look at the amount of room I have to hide a muffin top under there! 

Did I mention how neat the insides of my top are for once? I have the pattern instructions to thank for this.

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I sewed up the Ruby pattern exactly as prescribed in the instructions, and it took me about 4 hours from cutting to hemming. It would probably be a lot faster if not for some unpicking I had to do! I did deviate from the pattern instructions slightly though:

– Tessuti’s instructions have you use vilene shields which are meant to prevent the neckline and armholes from stretching out. As I haven’t been able to find them anywhere in Singapore, Fiona advised me to omit the vilene shields and just stay stitch instead.

– The instructions provide for the keyhole back to be closed with a button and thread loop. Tessuti has helpfully produced a tutorial on how to create the thread button loop, but I decided against it and opted for a hook and eye closure instead (easy way out as usual, whoops!)

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– The pattern has you cut out bias tape using your main fabric to finish the neckline and armholes, which I did. However, I didn’t like how the print on the bias tape clashed with the direction of the print on my main fabric, so I opted to turn the bias binding under and top-stitch it down (kind of like the method employed in Megan Nielsen’s Eucalypt Tank).

I can’t wait to make this up in the dress version – I’ve already got the perfect leopard print chiffon for it! I’ve also got a hack planned for this beauty of a pattern, well done Tessuti!

OH and did I mention my brand new and very first pair of Swedish Hasbeens, bought through the Amazon sale that had the sewing community gushing for days (I have Heather Lou to thank for the tip-off). I’m still in the midst of breaking them in, but goodness, they are SO COMFY despite their height. To the wonderful swedish hasbeens-obsessive sewing community and instagram, THANK YOU, you guys just keep on giving and giving.

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Coco Banana // Tilly & the Buttons Coco Top Review

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When I was about 8, I had a friend who had a “Copabanana” phase. This means she sang that one line from Barry Manilow’s Copacabana – “At the Copa, Copacabana” over and over again, but as “Copabanana” instead of “Copacabana”. Clearly it was annoying enough to scar me for life, because I still accidentally sing the wrong lyrics today. So when I sewed up a yellow Coco Top last December, the natural choice of name was “Cocobanana”. #sorrynotsorry

I’ve briefly mentioned in an earlier post how fast and easy the Coco pattern is to sew up, but I never in a million years dreamed that I would be able to sew it from cutting to pressing in 4 hours and still find that I had done a decent job on finishing the hems. As some of you would have seen on my instagram, I rushed out this baby in a single afternoon between sitting for an exam paper and hightailing it to the airport to catch a flight to Hong Kong.

 

 

But let’s start from the very beginning shall we? I first saw the Coco when I became interested in sewing early last year and discovered the existence of sewing patterns (you’d be surprised how many people think all homemade garments are drafted by the sewists themselves!). Being very much a pear-shaped lady I didn’t think the A-line shape of the top would work for me as I felt it would accentuate my already ginormous hips, much in the way peplum tops do. Even after sewing it up in my size and trying it on (with the jeggings above), I wasn’t convinced it wasn’t a good match for my body shape. It was only after getting a second (and third!) opinion that I decided to leave it as it was and test it out on my Hong Kong trip.

And how I loved it on that trip. I loved how fitted the top is – the armholes are a good fit and the sleeves are slim and makes my very un-toned arms look thinner than they actually are. Even the bust area needed no SBA! The only thing that I might change is to take a wedge out of the neckline as it tends to gape a bit (would that be a narrow shoulder adjustment? I’m not sure of the terminology).

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In terms of outfit combinations, I knew it was a keeper when I tucked it into a pleated skirt I had and it looked like a great basic fitted/ structured tee that wasn’t too boxy for my liking. While I do still have misgivings about pairing my Cocobanana with jeans, after reviewing the photos above I feel it just about passes the shorts-matching test. I’m pretty sure this pattern is going be one of those that keeps on giving – and I haven’t even made up the dress version yet!

On to construction – like I mentioned above, the top came together in no time at all. The instructions were clear, helped along with Tilly’s sew-along on her blog, and I loved that the sleeves were sewed in flat, it’s SO much easier for beginners. Since the recommended fabrics are low-stretch knit fabrics, like ponte knit, that means it sews up more or less like woven fabric – none of the pesky problems that come with lighter weight jerseys, hurray!

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As for alterations, I sewed a size 2, grading out to size 3 at the waist and hips. It was the first time I tried any sort of alteration on paper before sewing up my muslin and I found this pattern really easy to grade and to blend between sizes. In addition, I referred to Tilly’s tutorial to create this summery short sleeved version of the top.

Like I said before, I would most definitely recommend this pattern to anyone, even a complete beginner! I really don’t think it matters that this pattern is for knit fabrics, the instructions are so clear that it shouldn’t be a problem at all.