Act like a lady: Sew Over it Kate Pattern Review

When I first became aware that indie designers used regular people to test their patterns I couldn’t wait to get involved- I just had no idea how.  I was also insecure and unsure that my skill level would qualify me.  Luckily, before too long Sew Over It made an open call for testers on Instagram and I responded with interest before I had time to chicken out.  I was so happy to be selected and always get excited when a new testing opportunity comes up.  This time around I had the  pleasure of testing a couple of patterns from the new Sew Over It Work to Weekend eBook by Lisa Comfort.

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I can never resist a shirt dress and as I had a dress in my sewing plans at the moment, I happily swapped it for Kate. She wooed me with her timeless vintage holiday vibe and the finished garment definitely did not disappoint.

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Pattern:  Kate is a classic shirt dress with a proper collar & stand, hidden button placket and cuffed sleeves that hit above the elbow.  Since the buttons end at the waist, there’s a concealed side zip under the arm to help you get in and out.  The skirt is made up of six panels and you have the option to leave 2 slits open at each side for a flirty detail.  As a bonus the pattern includes instructions to make both the top and the skirt as separate pieces- super versatile!

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Fabric: I made my Kate up in an absolutely delicious viscose linen from Sew Over It that I had in my stash.  The pattern called for 3.5 meters for my size but I was able to squeeze it out of the 2.5 I had on hand without too much trouble.  Kate is fabric hungry mostly due to the 6 panels that make up the skirt as well as her midi length.

Size:  I made my Kate in a size 10 which is my usual size for Sew Over It patterns that aren’t fitted around the hips.

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Fit:  I love the way this dress fits and I did not make any adjustments.  I am quite short waisted though, so next time around I’ll definitely take off about 5/8 inch from the bodice length.  If you look closely you can see that my belt is at my natural waist, but the seam line is quite a bit lower. 

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Changes:  At first I was skeptical about the midi length and my instinct was to shorten the pattern pieces before cutting.  In the end, mostly out of respect for Lisa’s design I decided not to.  I’m so glad that I trusted her choice.  I did find that on me the slits came up quite high, and I lowered them about 4 inches for modestly.  Other than that, this version is was made up exactly as the pattern is written. 

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Verdict:  This is one of those garments that makes me feel 100% myself when I pull it on.  I’m not particularly girly in my style and I love how the design softens the structure of a menswear-inspired top with drapey fabric and a breezy, feminine skirt.  Made up with this subtle geometric print in a natural palate it’s that easy, classic, understated piece I’ll be reaching for again and again. 

Sewing up Kate was not at all complicated.  If you’ve made a collared shirt in stable cotton, that experience will help as you work with a slippery rayon or crepe.  New techniques I learned were the hidden button placket and concealed under arm zip, both which were surprisingly straightforward.  Also if you’re in a time crunch, be aware that the hem and slits are all finished with hand sewing.  This results in a lovely soft, flowy hemline, but does take time.  I finished mine on the sofa during two evenings of Netflix.

I can’t recommend this pattern enough and I’m already scheming a set of matching separates for my next go ‘round.

xo April

Questioning limiting beliefs + a pair of wide legged trousers

If there’s one topic buzzing around social media the past few days it’s the verdict on Me Made May.  Did you stay true to your pledge or fall off the wagon?  What gaps did you identify in your wardrobe? How about the burnout from daily selfies?  For me, the challenge went quite smoothly, actually.  The unusually varied temps allowed for me to wear the gammit of my handmade wardrobe comfortably; 61 pieces of it it be exact!  Only problem was that a few days into it, I realized that I didn’t exactly feel stylish in the photos I was taking.  (p.s. you can read my quote about this in the June issue of Seamwork Magazine

I realized that for the fear of never making anything I don’t love to wear, I’ve been seriously limiting myself in the styles I choose to sew.  I tend to be stubborn and fiercely loyal to my ideas.  So with practicality standing guard, I shun most trends from the get-go and stick to a few basic (safe) styles I feel suit me best.  If I’m honest it has become just plain silly.  Recently on the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin, they discussed the idea of questioning the sometimes irrational beliefs that limit us, and it really rang true with me.  

That said, my sewing goal for the rest of the year is to step outside of my comfort zone and see how I can play around with new trends and adapt them to my current style.  I love a good hack, and since I didn’t even need to buy a new pattern to do it, I started off with a pair of wide legged Ultimate Trousers.  I loved the first pair so much, I decided to make a second and share them with you here. 

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Pattern: Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

Fabric: medium-heavyweight linen (blend?)  remnant from Michael Levine DTLA; 1 1/2 yards x56” wide

Size: I used my trusty altered pattern pieces that have seen my through 7 iterations of these trousers.  From what I recall, they are a 10 at the waist graded to a 12 at the hips. I also changed the crotch curve to a J shape at some point on the advice of Lauren’s post

For reference I am 5’5”; bust 35.5”; waist 28.5“; hip 39.5”

Changes:  For the wide leg hack I added 10 inches each to the width of the front and back leg hems and graded out to meet those lines starting just below the hip curve. I think I ended up chopping off 2 inches from the hem for a cropped look.  I also used the waist facings to make a narrow waistband and button tab.

Verdict: I love them! The combination of a lighter color + linen fabric does result in some inevitable afternoon bagginess in the bum, but because they’re quite fitted at the waist and hip I dont think it makes them unflattering.  Overall I feel super chic in these trousers and picture myself sailing around the Mediterranean in them.