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. ❤

 

Mashing Patterns To Suit Your Body And Style

People sometimes comment in Facebook sewing groups that they can’t find a pattern that they like, or they want a certain style for the top, but a different look for the bottom.  Do you have patterns with certain elements that you absolutely love, and wish that you could mix and match them with elements from a different pattern?  Have you ever tried mashing those patterns together to give you a new look?  I find myself mashing and hacking patterns all the time.  It’s generally a good idea to make the pattern as designed at least once, to judge how it fits and looks on you.  Once you know how it fits, it’s easier to start playing with your patterns.

A pattern mash can be something as simple as using the contour waistband you love from your favorite workout pants on a different pants or shorts pattern.  I use a modified version of the Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs contoured waistband on P4P SOS Pants and it works great, blogged here.  Mixing and mashing sports bras with workout tanks can really personalize your gym wardrobe.  Like using the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra and mashing it with the body of the GS Lille or Jillian Tank to make a workout top.  It’s always fun to turn a top into a dress, like using the Stitch Upon A Time Aushui Tank and mashing it with the skirt of the Calista Bra, Top, Tunic & Dress.

Sometimes your mash will require a little bit of adjustment in order to work.  Like tracing the armscye from a pattern onto another pattern to ensure that the sleeves you want to use will fit the jacket, top, or dress.  Sometimes it’s a matter of making your best guess as to what will work, then trying it on and adjusting from there.

That was my  experience with last week’s pattern mash.  I wanted another new dress, and loved the flared skirt from the Sinclair Yasmin Dress.  Temperatures are still in the 90’s here, so a strappy dress seemed in order.  The Stitch Upon A Time Water Faery Twist & Swim Top (blogged here) fits well, so I figured that mashing the plain front version with the Yasmin skirt would make a super cute dress.  And I think it does.  But it took a little bit of basting and trying on to perfect my fit.  I knew that the V-shaped waistband from the Yasmin wasn’t going to line up with the bodice of the Water Faery, so I cut out the crop length Water Faery body to use as a waistband.  Since it’s technically designed as a swim top, the body is quite fitted, so that it won’t float or ride up when you go in the water.  Since I don’t plan to swim in my dress, I want the waistband fitted, but not too form-fitted.  Since I’ve been known to bake (and thoroughly enjoy indulging in) apple crisp this time of year, I decided to size up one on the “waistband”. 😉

Knowing how a pattern fits, and taking note of any changes you make to the pattern really helps the next time you make it.  When I made the Water Faery into a workout top, I narrowed and lengthened the straps and liked it, so this time I knew that cutting out strips 3″ wide & 14″ long would give me the perfect finished size.  Sewing up the bodice (which is an inner and outer layer of Phee Fabrics Tricot, with a layer of powernet sandwiched between) and straps was pretty quick and easy, and the fit was spot on.  Since I hate seam ripping, I just basted the “waistband” pieces together, and tried it on.  It was too loose under the bust.  So I graded the front waistband piece from my measured size at the top, and somewhat straight down, rather than angling in which gave me more of a rectangular rather than tapered shape.  With the width figured out, I stitched the side seams together and basted the outer waistband to the bodice, right sides together.  Then I pinned the inner waistband to the inside, effectively making an enclosed waistband.  It’s easier for me to keep all of the layers perfectly lined up by basting one layer on before pinning on the other layer and stitching everything together.  Before folding the waistband pieces down into place, I zigzagged 1″ wide elastic to the seam allowance, using the length recommended for my size in the Water Faery pattern.  This ensures that the waistband and skirt will stay down under the bust.

Then it was time to determine how long the waistband needed to be.  I wanted the flared skirt to start right at the natural waist.  Starting the flare at the narrowest part of the body gives the illusion of an hourglass shape.  My natural waist is quite high, pretty much right at the bottom of my ribs, well above my belly button.  It was surprisingly easy to find the perfect spot.  Since the waistband also had powernet sandwiched between the layers, it was definitely going to find the narrowest point for me!  Literally just bending side to side, forward and back, caused the waistband to roll up to the height of my natural waist.  I used my hem gauge to take note of the fact that the waist seam needed to be 1″ up from the bottom of the waistband in the back and on the sides, tapering to 1-3/4″ up in the center front.  Since I prefer using 3/8″ seam allowances, I trimmed 5/8″ off the back waistband pattern piece.  I used a ruler to taper from 5/8″ at the sides to 1-3/8″ at center front on the front waistband pattern piece.  Then I very carefully matched up the side seams of my bodice,  lined up the bottom edges, pinned the bodice together so that the center front and center back were on the two outside edges, and used my rotary cutter to trim off the excess fabric.

Adding the skirt was super simple, sew up the two side seams, match center points and side seams, pin all around, and stitch.  The most time consuming part was pinning up the hem.  I finished the hem with a simple zigzag stitch.  And Ta Dah!  I have a brand new fun and flowy dress!  Because I used powernet in the bodice, waistband, and straps, and elastic under the bust, I didn’t need to add swim cups or wear a bra with this dress.  And I’ve already had two random strangers ask me where I found such a cute dress.

 


WFY side

See how the seam where the skirt is attached runs perfectly parallel across the back?

WFY back

Laughing while modelling your makes is half the fun!

WFY hair

And of course I had to twirl!  Whenever you make a twirly skirt, you can’t help but twirl!

WFY wind

This pattern mash was a complete success, and something I’m bound to make again.  After sewing it, I realize it’s probably pretty close to the Water Faery Retro One Piece dress option, and that’s ok, because it looks like a great pattern.  Since I already own the Twist & Swim Top, and would never wear a one piece, I don’t feel like I have to buy the pattern just for the dress option.  (Although if you’re not yet comfortable with pattern mashing or hacking, it is a great option).

One of the best things about sewing is being able to personalize patterns, mixing and mashing, and hacking them to suit your body, and your style.  Are you ready to try a pattern mash?

 

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 mashing and hacking. ❤ 

 

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. 😉

Sewing for Men

Man Up!

Do you sew for the men in your life?  I used to sew cute shirts, shorts, and pants for my son when he was little, but haven’t made him a thing in over 25 years.  I made my husband a bathrobe a good 15 years ago, but that’s it.  I sew for myself and my baby granddaughter all the time, and have made quite a few things for my daughter.  But the men in my life seem to get left out, until now.

I decided it was time to let them be the beneficiaries of my makes.  Since my husband now funds my fabric and pattern budget 🙂 and tolerates all the time I spend sewing, he deserves something nice.  My son was kind enough to help me finish setting up my website (as I am definitely not a technogeek) and deserved a reward for his help and patience.

So I decided to make my husband and son Sinclair Patterns Men’s Kai Tee Shirts out of Phee Fabrics rayon spandex.  Wow!  Normally I am not a fan of rayon spandex.  It’s not that I don’t love the softness of rayon spandex, but generally speaking it is not a fun fabric to work with.  It’s thin and flimsy.  It gets all wrinkly.  It stretches and gets bagged out of shape.  It’s slippery and a pain to sew.

Since I really like Phee Fabrics and have always been impressed with their quality, I decided to give their rayon spandex a try.  Wow!  It is so much nicer than your typical rayon spandex.  It’s way more substantial (13 oz.), has beautiful recovery, doesn’t come out of the dryer as a wrinkly mess, and even makes great bands on your tees.  I am using their rayon spandex for all kinds of makes now!

My next question was what pattern to use?  Some of my favorite “go-to” pdf pattern companies have shirt patterns, but most of them seem to be raglan sleeve styles.  Also, my son is tall, and my husband is not.  It’s not that I’m not used to having to lengthen patterns, since I am tall, but really, who wants to use their precious sewing time having to adjust their pattern?  Enter Sinclair Patterns.  Their patterns come with height options!  Regular, Tall and Short.  How amazing is that?  So I bought, downloaded and printed off the Men’s Kai in Tall and Regular.  Traced off my husband and son’s sizes and got to sewing.

J KaiD Kai

The shirts came together quickly and easily, and the neckband lengths in the pattern were perfect.  I don’t know about you, but I always wait until I have my shoulder seams sewn together to cut my neckbands.  I measure the opening and calculate the appropriate length, and frequently have to make longer bands than a pattern suggests.  It drives me crazy, but I have been burned too many times by a tight, gathered looking neckband to trust most patterns.  The Kai pattern neckband was perfect on both sizes.  It makes me confident that I will have the same success with their other patterns.

Kai biceps Kai side

 

All that was left to do was photograph my makes.  Getting my guys to agree to be photographed took a minute, but they had fun at my quick photo session.  And I snuck into a selfie, since who wouldn’t want to be photographed with these two cuties?  So give new patterns and fabrics a try, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!  Happy sewing!

Kai group