Maisa by Named in 3 Denims

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Finally, I can cross ‘denim jacket’ off my sewing bucket list! This amazing pattern is part of the Named SS17 collection, the Maisa jacket and I’ve had my eye on it since it was released.

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The photo on the pattern envelope is made from recycled jeans, and I orginally planned to do the same with mine, but I couldn’t find enough denim in the color palette I had in mind, so I used a few denim remnants instead, purchased at Mill End.

Here are a couple of the runway versions that inspired me to take on this project – the first is Dior. The second is Dolce and Gabana…love the patchwork.

I looked at several patterns – including the Style Arc Stacy, but ended up with the Maisa because of the oversized feeling it has. Also, it has two piece sleeves, and I love how the front of the jacket looks pieced.

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The instructions did not disappoint, but I did face a few challenges. 1. Sizing: According to the envelope, I was a size 6, but a when I placed the pattern pieces on my dress form, it was so big, that I cut a four instead. It’s great in the shoulders, but even the smaller size was way too big in the arms. I had to do some fancy maneuvering to get the two piece sleeves fit.

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2. Topstitching. There is alot, (which I love). Instead of topstitching thread I used double thread and my machine (Bernina) performed better. But the seams were so thick in some places, it couldn’t cope and the stitches were uneven. I posted a question on instagram and (Thanks remakeremodelrecycle and fauxgetaboutit) I received a couple of tips I will pass on. Pound the seams with a hammer and they will flatten, making stitching easier. Also, you could use a thinner fabric for the underside of the pocket flaps, cuffs to reduce bulk. I tried both and it worked – smooth sailing all the way.

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Be forewarned, there are no handpockets on the Maisa, a fact I should have noticed, but didn’t until I was done. I’m a big fan of pockets, since it’s pretty crisp around here in the fall. I wish I’d added some.

One of my favorite parts of this project – – Hammering in the buttons!

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In terms of sewing satisfaction, the Maisa project was a huge winner. It was time consuming, (probably clocked in at about fifteen hours with the buttons) but worth it, and I do love the intricacy of this pattern! I wear this jacket with jeans, dresses, and skirts, and the proportions make it perfect with them all.

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Another winner from Named patterns. What do you think of their new collection? Will it be on your wish list?

Happy sewing, thanks for stopping by!

Jersey and Fall: Two Variations

There’s nothing like Fall to get the sew-jo going, is there? At this time of year, fabric choices are at their best for me. The color palattes tend to be richer and more intense, which works best with my personal color palatte and there are more knits to choose from too.

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This jersey knit is great to wear, but the print is a bit out of my comfort zone.  For one thing, it has alot (!!) of circles all over it, which makes layout a bit tricky around the chest, if you get my drift. And it’s sort of…busy? But I loved the colors, so in a fit of inspiration, I drove back to Fabric Depot and took the plunge. I’m glad I did, because this print goes so well with the long cardigan I made last Spring (here). This cardigan is not a closet orphan, BTW. I wear it all the time.

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The dress above is simply a lengthened version of this tunic, made from jersey. IMG_3210

This cotton jersey is so fabulous to wear! And I love this Art Gallery print (Fabric Depot).

I’m such a fan of tunics because they’re so easy to throw on with jeans or leggings. When I finished this tunic, I decided I needed another version, pronto, so I lengthened the pattern by 8 inches and made a dress . The pattern is a new favorite: New Look 6435.

I wasn’t attracted to it at first because I don’t like the way it’s made up on the envelope – I’m not a big fan of the print on the bottom/solid color on the top. Somehow though, the pattern came home with me….

The fit was great without any adjustments, always a plus for me. New Look runs a bit big, so I always cut the smallest size. The shoulders fit me perfectly, even though I’m on the narrow side. It’s a fairly loose fit, so there’s a bit of wiggle room, making this an easy-to fit style for most figures. I modified the sleeves on both my dress and tunic by adding a bell cuff.

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Although I love the dramatic look of a big bell cuff, I chose a smaller version here so that the sleeves would fit easily under a cardigan. To add the cuffs, I just cut a seven inch swath of fabric, as wide as 1 1/2 X the width of the sleeve. I seamed it to make a circle, gathered one edge, then inserted it into the sleeves, right sides together.

This was a fast and fun sew and I love a pattern than can have two identities as both a top and a dress. I think this pattern is a winner!

I love how statement sleeves change up a style. But I worry that they’ll go out of fashion quickly and my closet will feel dated. Hmmmm, what do you think of sewing to a trend? Trouble, or true love? Future plans – – I’ve been loving all the denim on the runways this fall, so I’m going to attempt a Maisa jacket (Named clothing) and a Helmi shirt dress to wear with it. Stay tuned! What’s in your queue?

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

 

An Anthro Knock-Off

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When I saw this top in the Anthropologie, I fell in love with the denim blue checks, the side tie at the hem. But when I tried it on, the neck was so big on me, it fell to my shoulders like a cold shoulder top. Not a good look! And the long sleeves covered my fingertips. But that side tie, the color…Well, this is why I sew and keep an extensive fabric stash. As luck would have it, I just happened to have the perfect fabric right at home! Stash justified!

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My version of Anthro’s shirt is a hack of Butterick 6456, a pattern I made before, here.

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I used view D, but modified the front bodice by elminating the pleat. Then, to get the side tie look, I added a drawstring to the hem. I folded up the hem by 5/8″ to make a casing for a skinny tie that I made from fabric. The length of the tie is 1/1/2 times the circumference of the hem. Once the tie was inserted in the casing, it added a slight gathering at the hem.

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The fabric is a special piece of linen that’s languished in my stash for a couple of years (+), purchased at the Pendleton Outlet store a few years back (a bargain at $3.oo a yard). I’ve  been saving it for the perfect project. It’s the sort of linen I’m mad about; crisp, but not rough, able to hold a press, but not stiff. To get the long look of the sleeves, I just added four inches to the length of the sleeve before adding the bell.

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I like my new top and think it’s worthy of my long cherished linen. An added bonus is that this top was a bargain compared with the Anthro version, as I spent only $3/yd on the fabric! I think this top came in at under $20. It’s a rare but cherished moment when sewing is cost effective, am I right?

Some of my photos were taken in my newly painted living room. My sewing machine has been ignored of late because we’ve been doing the painting ourselves. Yes, we could have hired pros to do it, but I’d rather spend money on fabric (!!).  Let me tell you, there was a collective sigh of relief at my house this week when this project was finished.

Next up on my fall wardrobe wish list is a denim jacket. I’ve always wanted to make one, and there’s no better time than now.  I’m perusing patterns….there’s the Maisa by Named and the Stacy Jacket by Style Arc to name a few. Any suggestions? Happy fall sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

A Ruffled Top Done 3 Ways

Sometimes when you first meet a pattern, you can see so many possibilities. That’s the way it was with me and this simple pattern. I made one view, then couldn’t resist immediately trying another and….well, another. Three versions of one pattern…overkill maybe, but why fight it?

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When you have alot of children, you aren’t supposed to pick favorites, but I refuse to believe that rule applies to sewn garments too. The above version is my favorite, and as usual, it’s all about the fabric. Linen knit might be the finest fabric to wear on this planet. It’s like wearing pajamas every day, and easy to sew with too. The seams need to be overlocked to prevent unraveling, but otherwise it’s a dream with a perfect drape for this top.

When I pulled that linen from my stash, I happened on this white linen gauze that I’ve been saving for too long, waiting for the perfect project…very lightweight, and well, flounce-appropriate. So, as the song says, one thing leads to another.IMG_2120

Of course, my timing wasn’t so great on this summer-perfect make. As I’m typing this post, rain is pounding the deck outside. For once, I’m glad to see it  as we have high hopes the rain will put out the fire that is destroying our spectacular Columbia River Gorge. (Fingers crossed!!) I do expect we’ll have a few more days of warm weather though because I need to take this linen version out for a test run.

Then, there was this lonely piece of rayon that I’d dithered about for months….

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Voila, a simple version was born, no flounce at the yoke, only on the sleeves. Three fun  and very wearable versions….Now, that’s what I call a great pattern!

I probably don’t need to tell you that this is an easy pattern since there are three versions in one blog post, LOL.  Simplicity 8454 may be easy, but it does have nice details, so it’s destined to be made a few more times before it’s time is done.

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I’m always looking for tops with sleeve variations that can take it from one season to the next and this pattern meets the need. It’s meant to be made from a woven fabric, but I just sized down to make it from my linen knit. The design element that attracted me to it was the yoke and flounce combo, but I like the simple version too, without the flounce at the yoke, and can imagine variations with lace at the yoke and sleeves. The flounce is very simply finished, and if you had a fabric that didn’t unravel, you could actually just skip the finish, and leave the edges raw…so easy!

I don’t think you’ve seen the last of this pattern on my blog. It’s just too fun to make! Have you ever made three versions of  a pattern one right after another? Do you love it or does it bore you? It’s a great way to get alot of sewing done because you have immediate feedback regarding fit on one version to try out on the next.

I find it so fascinating to see how just a change of fabric can make a pattern look so different! A slight change in drape and texture, and voila, a new look is born.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

Color Blocking and Statement Sleeves

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Is color blocking still a ‘thing’? I hope so, because here I go again. I suppose the good news is that, even if color blocking is clearly ‘out’, the statement sleeves on this dress are clearly ‘in’! I decided to color block this dress when I found a yard of poppy linen and navy linen in my stash, and since my goal for 2017 is to make a huge dent in said stash, I promptly decided to use it.

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This is my second make using New Look 6519 which qualifies this pattern as a true favorite (first is here).  It’s comfortable and classic, and with the addition of the wide ruffle on the sleeve, it feels modern too.

My only modification this time around was to make a very wide ruffled sleeve. I cut a wide (seven inch) piece of linen and made it as long as 11/2 times the diameter of the sleeve opening (version A). I folded it over, gathered it, then sewed it to the sleeve, so quick and easy. With this process, you can add a ruffle to just about anything!

Besides the self tie, I also love the slight v-neck on the back of this dress… so unique.IMG_1670

My only complaint about this dress is, as drafted, it’s a little short.

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I’m only 5’4″ and it’s almost too short on me, so if you’re tall, you might want to add a few inches to the length of the bodice. Other than that, this is an easy make. There are no sleeves to set in, you don’t need a back zipper, so seam it up and you’re good to go.

Does poppy qualify as a fall color? If so,this dress would be my first official Fall make. I think I love it, although I’m not really sure about the Navy/Poppy combination. I added the Navy band and ruffle to this dress to soften the bright poppy color, and I think it does that. However, I wonder if this color combo looks a bit like a uniform? I feel like I should be asking, “Do you want peanuts with your beverage? Thoughts? Would you pair poppy with navy?

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Color choices aside, this dress feels so good because of the weight of this wonderful linen. I know I’ll wear it, no matter what.

I would like to take a minute to thank all of you for the lovely, comforting comments about the loss of my furry buddy, Dustin. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, made easier by the knowledge that I have so many kindred spirits in the sewing community with whom I share much beyond sewing and creating. Thank-you for that!

I also wanted to give a quick shout out to two interesting challenges some of our sewing friends are participating in this month; the Fabric Mart Fabricistas Challenge, and the Pattern Review Sewing Bee. Check them out and cheer our friends to victory!  Also, in other news, the Sewcialist website is up again and they’re hosting a tribute month, another fabulous source of inspiration and fun.

Until next time, happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Tucks, Pleats, and Sewing through grief

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Hi all! It’s been a rough week around here. Dustin, our little buddy for sixteen years succumbed to renal failure last week. If you’ve visited here before, you may remember him from several photos. He loved to be in the middle of everything, and blog photos were no exception.

 

Such a character, and he always had something to say. He loved jumping on my sewing table and rolling around on the pattern pieces, hilarious! He was such a presence in our lives. Needless to say, his loss has been really hard.

Grief is such a miserable state to be in.  You want to get on with it, but you just can’t. Simple problems become hard. It wasn’t a week for big thoughts or new inspiration. It was a week for repetitve tasks, simple things. I found some comfort in the task of sewing pleats.

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Pleats are mindless, a bit tedious sometimes, but very calming to me. You just mark, pin, press and sew. It didn’t bother me at all that this Cynthia Rowley dress/tunic has forty pleats. But catch me at another time, and I might feel different!

I do love Simplicity 8414. Cynthia Rowley’s designs for Simplicity are always winners.simplicity-dress-cynthia-rowley-miss-pattern-8414-envelope-front

I wanted to make the dress with the ruffle, but then ran out of fabric so I settled for tunic length, which worked out quite well since the Pattern Review tunic contest is just winding down!  I might just get my entry in on time. My fabric is striped cotton shirting (Fabric Depot), that turned out to be perfect for this pleated design. The stripes became reference points that helped me to sew the pleats precisely. And there are alot of them! They give the sleeves their bell shape and the front and back bodice some fit that makes this dress flattering.

 

This pattern is time consuming, but not too hard. The trick is to mark the pleats clearly so that you can sew them precisely.  BE forewarned though. The fit of the dress is very loose. I cut an extra small and the fit is still roomy.  But to me, that’s what tunics are all about, comfort! My only complaint about this make is that the fabric wrinkles easily. Every time I move, another crease is born. I’m not entirely opposed to wrinkles, really. It’s just that sometimes you want to look crisp.

This is a fun pattern and it reminds me how much I enjoy sewing designs with pleat detailing. I can remember how taken I was once with the designs of Albert Nippon. Here’s a Vogue pattern he designed in the 80’s. Lots of pleats!

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Sewing as therapy….Do you find detailed sewing comforts you too?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

DIY Street Fair Kimono and a Cold Shoulder Tee

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Summer is winding down, but there are still plenty of opportunities to attend street fairs, farmer’s markets and wine festivals. Since Street Fairs are great places to get your inner bo-ho on, I’ve taken to wearing kimonos over my standard jeans and tees on my excursions.

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A kimono is such a great wardrobe soldier. When you toss one on, you immediately add style to any outfit!  But the best part about kimonos is that they are so fun to sew. You can use just about any fabric with a good drape to make a show stopping topper. And, because kimonos have front bands and sleeve bands, you can play around with contrasting fabrics to make the look your own.

For my kimono, I used a tried and true pattern, Simplicity 1318, view C with a great high low hem. Lightweight fabrics work best for this look, so I used a sheer cotton lawn I purchased last year in that fabulous fabric store I found in Budapest (see this post). It has a fun geometic print that I took some care in placing on the pattern.

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I love this kimono pattern so much, this is my third make (I’ve made it twice before, here and here). The only modification I made this time was to lengthen it by three inches so it would be long and flowy.

 

 

 

 

 

Because I am committed to reducing the number of wardrobe orphans in my closet, I also made Simplicty 8337, a cold shoulder knit top to go with it.

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This pattern is fabulous! It has several different views, all with a look of their own. I love the cut of the bodice. It’s slightly loose but not too blousy. The v-neck is a winner too.

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Some notes on this pattern:

  • I used a lovely rayon knit with two way stretch that I found at Fabric Depot. You need a good amount of stretch for the cold shoulder sleeve to hug your arm and not sag.
  • The pattern is generously sized. I was able to cut a XS and had room to spare.
  • Also, please note, there is a seam down the front, which is a bit unexpected in a tee. It’s was likely added to the pattern to accomodate the ruffle version and the v-neck version. It doesn’t bother me on my solid color tee, but you could elimnate that front seam pretty easily if you wanted to.

Both patterns are keepers, if you ask me!

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Now that I’ve made this kimono pattern three times, I think it should enter a special category in my pattern stash;  the pattern Hall of Fame, don’t you think? Hmmm, I might have to put together a special post to honor that category :).

Do you have any three-time winners in your pattern stash? I’d love to check them out!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Easy, breezy – – the Kalle Shirt Dress

I didn’t set out to become a fan girl of Closet Case Patterns, but that’s what seems to have happened!

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After making Closet Case’s Charlie Caftan twice (here and here) and loving it, I decided I had to give Heather’s other patterns a try. I chose the Kalle, although at first glance, it didn’t seem to be the pattern for me.  The pattern envelope drawing wasn’t that appealing to me to be honest.

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I do admire Heather’s design. The pattern is a great contemporary update of the traditional shirtdress. There’s so much to like about this pattern. The sleeves are cut as part of the bodice, which makes construction a breeze. You can make choices to modify the pattern to fit your mood; a hidden placket versus a regular placket? A band collar or standard collar? It’s all up to you.

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As luck would have it though, my concerns about the style were realistic. The fit is very loose and boxy, which meant that even the smallest size was a bit much for me. Here’s my first version. I thought I’d figured out how to make it work, when my husband said, ‘hey, great fabric, BUT isn’t that dress WAY TOO BIG?” (Gutsy guy, don’t you think?)

IMG_0629 2After snarling a bit, and explaining to him that ‘this is the way it’s supposed to look’, I took a snap shot of myself. Darn, if he wasn’t right!! It looked big, but not in that, ‘oh, i just picked up my boyfriend’s shirt from off the floor’ way. So, I went back to the drawing board, adjusted the side seams, and smiled about the whole thing.

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My fabric is Cotton and Steel from last season (Fabric Depot), and the cotton is really nice…not too stiff or heavy, but it isn’t as flowy as rayon or silk would be. I mention this because I believe my fabric choice contributed to the boxy look I experienced before my modifications. I think the Kalle would be great in a soft linen, or maybe a rayon or silk.

Besides taking in the side seams, I also modified the length of my Kalle. I didn’t think I would love the look of what seemed to be a exaggerated high-low hem. So I added 3 inches to the front. It is still pretty short on me, and I am 5’4″. Not sure what it would have looked like if I hadn’t lengthened it, LOL!

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With those modifications, this dress is now in the category of ‘love’. It will likely move quickly into my shirt dress hall of fame. It’s fun to wear, and fun to sew….there’s something so satisfying about sewing a shirt – the placket, the collar, even the button holes are so gratifying. It’s almost as good as the smell of a new book when you first open it, don’t you think?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Charlie Caftan #2

This new Charlie might be my favorite!

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When I made this version of the Charlie Caftan, I thought to myself, Hey, I might as well get rid of the rest of my clothes because is the only piece of clothing I will ever wear.

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This dress is so well designed (Heather of Closet Case Patterns), I just want a million of them! The Charlie is comfortable and easy to wear, but this yummy fabric pushes it to another dimention. This silky rayon (Fabric Depot) has the movement this long caftan needs to make it feel breezy, yet enough body to hold the shape of the deep v-neck. (If the fabric looks familiar to you, that’s because I used it for this dress a few months ago, yet I still had enough left for this long Charlie, LOL!)

I’ve made the Charlie before here, so I knew it was a fun, three-hour sew. But I also knew there were a few adjustments I needed to make to the pattern.

1. I applied the front inset to the bodice instead of inserting it.

2. I raised the front panel by an inch and a half because it sat too close to my waist.

3. I took out some of the gathers in the front bodice by reducing the width of the front panel by 1 1/2 inches (and it’s still plenty full.)

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4. I made my ties  45” long, so that I can tie them at the front instead of the back. (This is just a bit of fussiness on my part. Back ties bother me when I sit down in a hard backed chair.)

There were a few minor irritations as I made this pattern. I felt the inset instructions could be improved, but there is a how-to tutorial from Heather, so maybe the issue is more about me :).   Also, the pattern steps aren’t numbered, so it’s easy to lose your place, a minor flaw that likely bothered me because I was in such a hurry to see this long version of the Charlie!

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There are some great Charlies out there in the sewing community, and here are a few of my favorites: here, here and here.

My conclusion? You can never have too many Charlies in your life. I’m in love with this pattern and will likely make another. However, I think it’s time to sew with our upcoming cooler temperatures in mind. I’ve been trying to figure out how to modify the Charlie to make it compatible with Fall. I could lengthen the sleeves I suppose, but I’m not sure that would look right with the caftan style. I suppose I could just leave them ‘as is’ and plan on wearing a tee or something underneath for extra warmth. Hmmm… Thoughts? Can you style a caftan for fall?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

My Mini Wardrobe with Indie Patterns

IMG_0340Hi All! Indie Pattern month is winding down over at the Monthly Stitch. The last challenge was to create a mini wardrobe from Indie patterns and I decided it was the perfect motivation to pull out the lovely Indie patterns I’ve been meaning to try, but haven’t. After looking at my patterns and my fabric stash, I decided the theme for my wardrobe would be ‘layers’ and transitions, as I wanted my mini wardrobe to take me from summer to fall.  To make my outfit, I combined the Orsola dress by By Hand London with a Modified Alder Shirtdress by Grainline Studios, and topped it all off with the Sapporo coat by Papercut Patterns.

First up the Orsola dress. I love this design!

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The dress pattern was a dream to sew. The instructions are spot on and the sizing was perfect too. Since this was my first BHL pattern, I wasn’t sure if it would be true to the displayed pattern measurements, but it was, Hooray! The bodice is lined which makes for a nice clean finish on the inside.

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I love the way it wraps in the back.

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I made it from a lightweight cotton print, and lined it with rayon. The drape is really nice in this fabric, but I can imagine it would be perfect in rayon, silk or linen (I’ve already purchased linen for another one.) If you hate darts, beware!!  This pattern has eight! But the good news is there isn’t a zipper, LOL!! One word of caution…you must commit to the length of the dress right away as the hem is faced. I love the detail of the dip in the hem. I think this style would be flattering on anyone!

Next up, is a shortened version of the Alder shirt dress in blue linen. I shortened the pattern so that it would function as a jacket or topper.

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Using the Archer pattern sleeves, I modified by adding a sleeve to the Alder without a cuff so that it would look more like a little jacket ( I rolled them up in this photo as it is so….hot here.) I left off the collar, and used only the collar band. I also took out a little of the fullness in the peplum so that it would be a little less puffy of a silhouette. I love this linen – and I know I’ll wear this new Alder constantly as a topper, or just with my jeans.

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Last, but definitely not least is the Sapporo Coat by Papercut patterns.

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I’ve been eyeing this one for awhlle and IPM was the perfect excuse to jump right in. I made it from linen and lined it with rayon. This pattern is definitely a departure from my usual style, but I love the cocoon shape, a new obsession of mine!

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It’s a very unstructured look, so there is ALOT of ease in this pattern and I do mean a lot. I cut the size XS, and ended up taking in the side seams even more to get it to fit. I love the construction of this coat – the collar is built in and the sleeves are faced so that you can roll up cuffs if you want.

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The pockets are my favorite part of the design and I love the slouchy look they give the coat. Be forewarned though. There’s isn’t a mechanism for shortening the bodice – so I tried a quick muslin to make sure it fit. If you love this style, go for it! The construction of this jacket was really pretty easy! This is my new favorite coat and I know I’ll love it for fall. I might try it again in a wool blend or cotton boucle’.

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Phew!! I’m really glad that Indie Pattern month only comes once a year!  I do a crazy amount of sewing as there is just something about seeing everyone’s makes that just inspires me to jump right in! I’m really glad I tried new patterns this year. I love By Hand London and Paper-cut Patterns and I’m loving the results and the styles. Have you tried their patterns? If so, any recommendations?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!