Sinclair Joanne Faux Wrap Dress & Top

Twirly dresses just make me smile!  As does Sinclair Patterns newest release, the Joanne Faux Wrap Dress & Top.  This is one of those patterns that I will make again and again.  The drafting is just so good.  It was obvious during testing that the design was a winner, because after sewing it up, I had to struggle to think of anything that I would change.  The only thing I could think of was to have the wrap swoop a little lower to get under the bust easier without causing pulling at the side seams, and that I would be comfortable with the skirt being an inch or two shorter.

Joanne1 angle

Other testers struggled to find anything to critique as well.  The dress just looks so good on everyone!  It will be hard for you to see the differences in my periwinkle dress (version 1) and my blue dress (version 2).  Very subtle changes were made to deepen the pleats a little bit so that the crossover was a smidge shorter at the side seams, and the skirt was shortened an inch or so.  There is also a midi skirt cut line, so if you want a longer skirt you’re good to go.   I literally couldn’t stop myself from twirling and swishing this skirt like a little girl! 🙂

Joanne1 blurJoanne full

Both of my dresses are sleeveless, because Florida is hot.  As in temperatures are still above 90*F in late September hot.  For that one month of winter that we get, I would really like to make a Joanne with sleeves.  Because there are options galore- short, 3/4, long and my personal favorite, a flounce sleeve!

Since the test went so well, Oxana (the designer at Sinclair Patterns) added a hi low peplum option and it is gorgeous!   She also added the shaped tie belt, which I love.  It really adds to the look of the dress and top.

Joanne tie

The genius secret behind having such a nice crisp bow?  The pattern tutorial suggests using knit interfacing.  If you’ve never used knit interfacing before, it’s a little different than the interfacing you use for woven fabrics.  It’s an open weave knit, so it still has some stretch, and you just iron it on the wrong side of your fabric.  Except you absolutely have to use a pressing cloth, or you will be spending some time cleaning your iron, and could ruin your garment with glue residue.  Due to the open weave of knit interfacing, the glue will spread when heated, and if you don’t use a pressing cloth, the sticky glue will get all over your iron.  Obviously, I am speaking from previous experience here! 🙂  The first time I ever tried it, I spent some quality time cleaning my iron after realizing that yes, you should read the directions included with your interfacing!  Here’s my pro tip: If you don’t have a pressing cloth, use a paper towel.  You will have to kind of peel your paper towel up after pressing, but the residue won’t come through the paper towel and it didn’t leave any paper fibers stuck to my belt.

My other tip for sewing is the same as I mentioned for the Sinclair Yasmin Dress blogged here.  Small pieces of Wash Away Wonder Tape are great for holding your pleats in place.  I also used a strip of Scotch Tape to ensure that they stayed in place until the side seams were stitched.

wonder tape pleatsscotch tape pleats

The Joanne is a pretty quick sew, and with all of the options, it’s bound to be a staple in my closet!  I’m envisioning a black or white rayon spandex hi low peplum top because it would go with literally everything!  And of course a couple more dresses!

Joanne sideJoanne back

I know I’m gushing, and probably oversharing photos, but the fit is great whether you look at it from the back or side.

Joanne1 twirl

I am grinning in every photo, and twirling in most of them.  It’s pretty obvious that I love this pattern!  During the release sale is the perfect time to buy the Joanne Faux Wrap Dress & Top pattern, as it is on sale for $7.99 through Wednesday September 25, 2019.  I hope you’ll check it out, and share photos of your makes!

I used Rayon Spandex from Phee Fabrics for both of my dresses.  It’s a substantial 13oz. fabric and works perfectly for this (and every other tank, top, and dress) pattern I’ve ever used it for.  The drape is perfect, and it has enough recovery to make excellent bands.

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission/credit if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, patterns, and fabulous fabric. ❤

 

Sinclair Yasmin Dress

A Few Tips For Simpler Sewing & A Peplum Hack

I was super excited when I was chosen to be one of the testers for the Sinclair Patterns Yasmin V-neck Dress with pleated accents.  I love dresses, and wear them all the time.  And let’s just say that the pleating and detail in this dress spoke to me.  When I saw the line drawing and tester call I immediately filled out the tester application!

Sinclair Patterns are rather unique in that their patterns come in petite, regular, and tall.  No more having to add a couple of inches to a skirt or dress so that it is long enough to wear without worrying about showing more leg than I want when bending, or climbing in and out of a vehicle.  Armscyes that are actually deep enough.  All the things that a tall sewist has to constantly adjust on a pattern are already figured out for you!

When you sign up for a pattern test, you’d better have some fabric on hand.  Testing obviously moves along quickly, so you need to be prepared to print and tape your pattern together, trace your size, cut your fabric, and get sewing.  Luckily, I had ordered some of the new rayon spandex ribbing from Phee Fabrics, and was smart enough to have ordered 3 yards.  I have a bad habit of usually only ordering 2 yards or less of a fabric, and when you are tall, that is not enough for a dress with a full skirt!  The ribbing has a luxurious feel, a pretty ribbed texture, and beautiful drape.  I knew it would look great sewn into a Yasmin Dress!

Call me brave, call me crazy, but I am not one for using cheap fabric for muslins.  Cheap fabric is generally a polyester blend, ewww!  I don’t like the feel of it, it’s unlikely to lay as nicely as quality fabric, it’s generally a pain to sew with, and it’s probably not going to be substantial enough or have adequate recovery for the type of clothing I like to sew, so I just don’t bother with cheap fabric.  That being said, you do run the risk of wasting nice fabric when you test.

This is the first time I’ve tested for Sinclair Patterns, and I have to say that I am very impressed with how thorough Oxana is.  She asked for our thoughts about the pattern before we even started.  I mentioned that I was interested in a sleeveless dress, since Florida is warm most of the year.  Other testers also commented that they would wear a sleeveless dress.  She added a sleeveless cut line to the pattern.  She asked for honest input and made changes as needed as tester photos and feedback came in.  Another thing you’ll notice about Sinclair Patterns is the way the garments are finished.  Just look at how pretty the inside of the bodice and waistband look.  The shoulder seams and waistband are enclosed, and the neck has a neat interior banded finish.

Yasmin inner back

The pattern itself isn’t hard, but the pleats are a bit time consuming.  Don’t worry- the tutorial is thorough, and I’ve got some tips to make the pleats a little easier.  Here’s my first tip: print the bodice front in just the size that you need.  I generally don’t print in layers, preferring to print all sizes of a pattern in case I want to grade sizes, or make the pattern for my daughter who is a much smaller size than me.  You need the pleat markings to be precise in order to get even pleats.  And when you’ve got lots of markings in 12 different sizes all in one general area on a pattern, you need to narrow things down!  So trust me when I say to print the bodice front in just one or two sizes if needed.

Tip number two: Wash Away Wonder Tape is your friend.  You still need pins to mark your pleats, but putting a tiny piece of Wonder Tape for your pleat to fold over and stick to, makes things easier.

Yasmin pleats

Tip number three: Scotch tape is surprisingly helpful.  Of course I didn’t figure this out until I sewed my second bodice and thought, “Hmmmm….I wonder if a piece of Scotch tape will hold the pleats better than the pins did so that I can keep the pleats even while sewing?”  The answer is YES!  It (and the Wonder Tape) definitely kept the pleats perfectly spaced and even while I sewed the bodice to the waistband.

Yasmin tape

Tip number four: Powernet is an awesome fabric.  If you follow my blog, or read my posts or comments on the Facebook sewing groups I belong to, you know that my love for Phee Fabrics powernet is strong.  It is supportive in bras, workout, and swim tops, makes a great accent on workout tops and tights, and has magical tummy smoothing powers in waistbands and swim bottoms.  It is recommended to use an athletic fabric for the inner waistband pieces of the Yasmin to help support the weight of the skirt, and lend stability to the waistband.  Since the Supplex I have on hand is destined for workout wear, I decided to baste some powernet to my waistband to give it the necessary support.

Yasmin powernet

Use plenty of pins to keep everything aligned, and sew with the powernet facing up.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that before, but when helping someone who was struggling a bit with powernet, I realized that some people may not even consider fabric stretch when they sew.  Generally speaking, you want anything smaller, or with less stretch on top while sewing, such as powernet, elastic, bands, or when easing pattern pieces together.  If your larger piece or stretchier fabric is on top, your presser foot will tend to stretch it out even more.

Summer in Florida is the rainy season.  But it will usually rain for a short time, and the sun comes right back out.  Not this week!  It rained for two days straight as I sewed, and rained all the next day as I waited to take photos of my dress.  Finally, the rain slowed down to a slight mist, and the sun started to peek out from the clouds.  My dress was all pressed and ready to go, so we quickly drove to the beach for some photos.

Yasmin frontYasmin back

The rain may have stopped, but there was plenty of wind to whip my skirt around!  I love the pleats at the shoulders and under the bust, and how the V-shaped waistband gives nice definition.  I used the gathered version skirt on my dress, and love the drape and comfortable ease of this dress.

Yasmin hipsYasmin back US12

Since I still had some time before the pattern released, I decided to make the other skirt option.  Apparently I need to order some fabric, (says every sewist and fabric hoarder 🙂 ) because I didn’t have enough fabric for a knee length skirt, let alone a midi length.  So I decided to try a peplum.  I NEVER wear peplums.  But the flare of the skirt really spoke to me, so I had to try it.  I dug through my fabric and found scraps of floral that sort of matched the bit of rayon spandex and ribbing I used for the bodice and waistband.  I marked and cut the skirt at 13-1/2″ from the waist, and used a 1″ hem.  A smaller hem would be easier on a curved skirt, but I was just guessing at the length when I hacked the skirt into a peplum.  If I were short, I’d probably make the peplum 8-9″ long, and would probably cut it at 12″, no more than 13″ for my tall self next time.

Yasmin peplum frontYasmin peplum backYasmin peplum twirl

It’s such a fun look that I couldn’t help but twirl!  And I’m branching out and trying a new style of top.  That’s one of the fun things about sewing, sometimes you end up with a surprising, unexpected new style in your wardrobe.  Although the skirt I’m wearing is RTW, using a pencil skirt along with a peplum overlay would be another cute hack for this dress!

There are options for knee length, midi and maxi length in the gathered skirt version.  The elegant look of this pattern would look so beautiful as a maxi dress.  Since I also love the flared skirt, I guess I need to make another Yasmin Dress (or two)!  Once I order more fabric, of course. 😉

 

*Note: I recieved the pattern for free as part of the testing process.   I always participate fully when I test by submitting fit photos and commentary, offering constructive feedback on the fit, process, etc., comment on other testers posts, noting any fit issues, and applauding beautiful work, and filling out the survey to try and help ensure that the pattern fits well, and the tutorial is easy to understand and follow.

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing, patterns, fabric, and pattern hacking. 😉

The Staple Tank

Call It A Basic, Call It A Staple

You can call it a basic, or call it a staple, just know that you need the GreenStyle Creations Staple Tank in your wardrobe!  A few months ago there was a post on the GreenStyle Facebook page asking if there was a pattern you hoped would be designed.  Everyone was invited to share Pinspirations, photos, or whatever they wanted to convey their idea.  Some people envision something fancy or fashion forward, but I am a basic girl.  I shared a .gif from the Lara Croft Tomb Raider movie, you know the one.  Where she’s running through the jungle, and her tank top stays perfectly in place.  Her bra straps are covered, and the top looks perfect from every angle.  That is what I was looking for- the perfect tank top.

And Angelyn of GreenStyle designed it!  Can you imagine trying to design a top that fits XXS to 3XL, with all of the wonderful body shapes and heights that encompasses?  I was lucky enough to be on the pattern testing team, which means that I have sewn several of these tanks.  The pattern is a simple sew, and includes the option for neck and arm bands or bindings.  So if you love the clean look of bindings, you’ve got it.  If you do better at sewing bands, you’ve got that too.

layer whitelayer w cardi

It’s the perfect fit to throw on with a pair of shorts (in my case, Brassie Joggers cut at shorts length, made out of Phee Fabrics Supplex).  My bra straps are completely covered, and the scoop neck is a flattering depth, without being too high or too low.  It’s a slim enough fit to look cute tucked in, and you can layer it under another top, a sweater, a jacket, or cardigan.  I love my Sunday Cardigan(s), and even when they are made of a super lightweight or sheer fabric, the Staple Tank lays smoothly under them.

layer skirtlayer cardi

I love a dressy basic that looks great with a skirt.  The super soft rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics is the perfect weight to not be sheer and has enough recovery to make perfect bands (or bindings).  I need a Staple Tank in all the spring colors!   I can get dressed in minutes, throw on my cardigan, and look put together and ready for the day.  It’s definitely a staple in my closet!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

GreenStyle Studio to Street Top

Change the fabric, change the look!

I am always excited when I am chosen to test a pattern.  I don’t apply to test that often, and I only apply when the pattern looks like a style that I would wear.  You’re generally expected to make two or more of the item, so there’s no point in applying if it’s not something you want in your closet!

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a “trendy” person.  I tend to choose clothing that is classic, simple, and that I can wear for years.  My career wear leaned heavily toward suits, and dresses with a jacket.  Athletic wear now dominates my wardrobe.  I go to yoga class 4 (or more) days a week, so other than my weekend shorts, tops, and dresses, you’ll generally find me in workout wear.  Which brings me to the GreenStyle Studio to Street Top.

I’ve stopped by the grocery store on my way home from yoga class on more than one occasion.  While it generally doesn’t bother me to walk around in workout wear, stores in Florida, and grocery stores in particular are cold.  They seem to keep the A/C cranked down towards refrigerator level.  While I appreciate that they are trying to keep the food fresh, I don’t like freezing while shopping.  So the Studio to Street Top is perfect for popping on after class, looking “put together” and completing your errands in comfort.

My measurements put me in a size Large, so per testing guidelines I made a size Large, adding 1″ to the length to account for my height.  For my first test version I used some rayon spandex from JoAnn Fabric that I had in my stash.  I chose the V-neck split-band bottom with a crew neck back. (This pattern has so many great options!)

sts v1It could have been the super stretchy fabric, but the size of this trendy style felt a little too slouchy for me.  (Hey, I lived through the ’90’s already, the Flashdance look just isn’t my personality!)  So for my next two tops I sized down to a Medium.  That, and using high quality fabric, was just the change I needed to fall in love with this top.

Winter white rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics is the perfect fabric for the V-neck, split-band front, full length V back version.  It’s a trendy, yet classic top that fills a hole in my closet.  I can throw it on over my workout wear to run errands, and it’s long enough to cover my “assets” if I want to wear it with leggings.

sts necklace

The pattern has sleeve options to cover all seasons.  Long sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, short banded sleeves, or you can just hem the sleeve openings.  Since it’s usually warm in Florida, I decided to go with the banded sleeves for my third version.  I wanted a dressier top that I could wear to church or out to dinner.  Circular knit from Phee  Fabrics gave the V-neck, deep V back, full length top the perfect element of dressiness.   It’s super comfortable and breathable, with just the right amount of sexiness.

sts turq msts turq m deepv

The deep V back looks sexy (but can be worn with a regular bra!)  Or you can totally change the look by wearing a fun strappy bra (hello, Power Sports Bra!)  I will wear this with skirts, shorts, or thrown over my yoga wear all summer long.

I didn’t make a cropped version because it isn’t my tall girl style.  But a cropped sweater knit version would look adorable on my daughter or one of my nieces who live in colder climates!  With so many options (hmmm, I didn’t make a crew neck front yet..) and clear, easy to follow directions, the GreenStyle Studio to Street Top is a pattern worth owning.  Using different types and weights of fabrics will give you so many fun styles it will become a staple in your closet!

As an interesting side note, both the skirt and Super G Tights are made of Phee Fabrics Supplex.  Obviously it is my favorite fabric for workout bras, tops and multiple styles of bottoms!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!


	

GreenStyle Power Sports Bra Workout Top Hack

How I Made A Good Bra “Workout” Better

I was lucky enough to be one of the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra pattern testers.  As soon as I made my first Power Sports Bra, I knew that I was eventually going to hack it into a workout top.  I like pattern testing.  It gives you a chance to try a new pattern, give your feedback on the fit, construction, and pattern directions.   At the end you get to show off your beautiful creations, so you feel like a model wearing something that you made.  I like the fit, style and multiple options on the pattern, and knew that it would make a cute workout top!

I used gray Supplex from Phee Fabrics for the bra portion of my top.  Since the bra needs to be comfortable, supportive, and able to withstand sweaty workouts, your fabric needs to be moisture wicking with good stability and excellent recovery.  Supplex is my go-to fabric for workout wear.   I used tricot for the body portion and straps because it comes in fun colors, and is also moisture wicking and abrasion resistant.  It is important to use powernet when making a bra.  The support and smoothing provided by powernet is, in my mind, essential to achieving a high quality finished product.  An added bonus is that I don’t have to use bra cups when I use powernet!  It’s that good at keeping “the girls” in place.

Omitting the band, I cut out my bra per pattern directions, as well as cutting a layer of powernet for all the bra pieces.  I trim the powernet about 1/8″ smaller on all sides (which is much easier if you have a rotary cutter).  Doing this will cut down on the bulk in your seams.  I then baste the powernet to my lining pieces, and treat them as one piece moving forward.

top cutOther than the straps, I sewed the bra together per pattern instructions.  While I love the look of the double straps, they are more time consuming to construct.  So I still cut out four strap pieces, but used them flat (as main fabric and lining fabric) rather than as double straps sewn to each shoulder.  I used powernet in my straps rather than adding elastic.

top strapsOnce you’ve sewn your main and lining pieces together along the top, try the bra on, adjust the straps to length, then push the straps through the openings and stitch.

top strap finishTo avoid bulk, be sure to trim the seam allowances at the back strap openings on an angle before turning the bra right side out.  It’s important to press as you sew.  It helps everything lay more smoothly, and gives your projects a more professional finish.  See the difference pressing makes between the left and right straps in the photo below?

top press

Now you’re at the part where you would normally add the band, but are instead going to make it a workout top.  I used the GreenStyle Lille Tank as the tank portion of my workout top.

I literally used a Lille tank that I had made previously, but never wear because I didn’t do a good job on the binding.  Since it was just taking up space in my workout wear drawer, I decided to upcycle it by cutting the top straight across below the arm openings.  The extra length gave me the opportunity to add ruching to the sides.

top bodyThe Lille body was wider than my bra.  If I were making the body out of Supplex, and wanted it more fitted, I would have slimmed the top of the body a bit.  Since I was going for a drapier fit with ruching, I just matched up my quarter points and eased the body to fit the bra.

top to braI could have added a band with elastic on the inside at this point, but wanted to try something else.  I used 3/8″ swim elastic cut to fit me at the snug yet comfortable length (just like you would trial fit the wider elastic in the band).  I overlapped the elastic and stitched it together making a circle.  Then I matched up my quarter points, and zig zagged the elastic to the seam allowance.  After that, I flipped the seam allowance toward the bra, and top-stitched it in place.
top elasticTo ruche the sides, I cut two pieces of swim elastic a couple of inches shorter than my side seams.  I zig-zagged the elastic to the side seams and ta-dah, instant ruching!
top backWhen I go to the beach to get photographs in my makes, sometimes silliness overtakes me.  But we’ll just say I was jump testing the workout top to ensure that everything stays in place!

top jumptop laugh

This workout top passed the jump test with flying colors! 😉  Working out is more fun when you wear cute, comfortable, me-made outfits.  🙂

Happy Sewing!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

Not Really Famous

Email “Fame”

Imagine my surprise when I opened the 5 out of 4 Patterns newsletter email and saw myself at the top of the page!  Being the slightly dorky person that I am, I of course had to forward it to my daughter so that she could share my excitement.  And she didn’t laugh at me, but rather commented, “That is super cool!  Do you get to test the cardigan pattern?  My black and gray cardigans both have holes :-(“.  Hah!  So either it really is cool, or, my slightly dorky genes were passed onto my children.   Let’s go with it really is cool.  As a side note, my husband thought it was cool, so again it really is cool or our children are doomed to slight dorkiness due to both parents!

The reason the collage of me appeared on the 5oo4 newsletter is because I was one of the testers for the new Lola pattern that was just released.  If you haven’t tried independent pdf pattern companies, you are really missing out!  There are wonderfully talented pattern designers in the world and some of them have discovered that they can sell pdf patterns online.  They have Facebook groups and sewists around the world join and ask and answer questions about the patterns, post photos of their completed projects and hacks, and discuss all things sewing.

Facebook pattern and fabric sewing groups are the best!  I constantly see comments like, “I just joined this group and this post thread was the first thing I saw.  I think I have found my people!” or “I have to share this here because you guys will understand how excited I am about…”.  The groups are filled with supportive, funny, and generally down-to-earth people.  If you are scoffing at this and wondering how many people would actually join a Facebook sewing or fabric group, you might be surprised to learn that Patterns for Pirates has over 100,000 members!  Yes, over one hundred thousand.

So, back to the pattern testing.  Designers will sometimes post a tester call in their Facebook pattern group and you can apply to be a pattern tester.  You apply online, supplying your current measurements and answer the questionnaire about your sewing skills or style, etc.  The patterns have been drawn up and tested by the designer  themselves, but they want to test and see how the pattern works on multiple sizes, different body types, etc.  You are expected to make a muslin (a practice garment) to check for size and fit, and provide comments, photos and constructive criticism about the pattern and directions as written.  The designer reviews your photos and comments, makes any changes to the pattern and tutorial directions and then the testers make at least one “final” garment and submit styled photos to the designer.  When the pattern is released you share the approved photos and promote the new pattern.

It’s kind of fun to do, but because there is a time frame, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort as scheduled.  I am not a fast sewist and tend to be a perfectionist, so I put a lot of pressure on myself when I test.  You provide your own fabric, and do not get paid, so pattern testing isn’t for everyone.  But I like to stretch my skills and try new patterns so I think it’s fun and interesting to do.  And you do receive the pattern for free once you’ve met all the requirements.

To answer my daughters question above, no, I was not chosen to test the cardigan pattern. 😦  But I did pick up on your hint that you’d like me to make you new gray and black cardigans! 😉  If you haven’t tried independent pattern companies and Facebook sewing and fabric groups, check them out!  Maybe they’re your people too!