Tuesday, December 18, 2018

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year with the 5 out of 4 Sydney Dress

It's the most wonderful time of the year! I love Christmas! Even though I love this season so much, I am not a big decorator or party planner, and I do not sew a lot of gifts. My traditions are a bit slower because I really love to take a step back, rest, and enjoy. Thanks to Amazon prime, I really don't even have to brave a mall. I may watch Home Alone and Elf a few times, bake cookies with my kids for the neighbors, and attend a Christmas party with family, but my one goal is usually to NOT do a ton. 

I did, however, make this one sweet girl happy by listening to her request for a maxi length princess Christmas dress! For today's blogpost, I will be reviewing the Sydney pattern by 5 out of 4 Patterns and talking about what Christmas means to me! Sounds fun, right!?

I had thought about taking a break from pattern testing for December, but this one sucked me in when I saw that it met exactly what Tabitha had been asking me for! I am so glad I obliged because it was rather quick to put together, and I had a lot of fun taking photos with her. 

The Pattern Review and Dress Details

The Sydney Dress has 2 skirt options and 4 skirt lengths. The circle skirt can be a peplum or knee length. The half circle skirt can be peplum, knee, tea, or maxi length. I made Tabitha the maxi length half circle, and I made myself the Tea length half circle. I initially planned the maxi for myself as well, but I would need to cut a half circle maxi on the cross grain to do so, and I really preferred my print on the grain. Thankfully, I could get a Tea length in my size when cut on the grain. 

The pattern can be made sleeveless or with short, elbow, three-quarter, or long sleeves. Since it is winter in my part of the world in a few days, I opted for the long sleeves on my daughter's dress and chose the 3/4 length for myself. 

The Sydney dress has 3 neckline options for front and back (V-neck, scoop neck, and jewel neck). That's right, you can have a V, scoop, or higher neck on your front or on your back, so there is a lot of mixing and matching you can do to get the look you want on the neckline. The bodice is intended to hit at your natural waist and is completely lined. I made the V neck front with the jewel neck band and made her the scoop neck front with the jewel neck back. 

Since the bodice is lined, you use clear elastic to stabilize the neckline. Due to the clear elastic, though, even if you use a lower neckline on the women's, you cannot pull it down to nurse in. So, the pattern has a nursing option where you pull up an over layer. The under layer has cut outs that come from the side and can be finished with your serger. I appreciate it not having boob circles and found it really easy to nurse in.

Our dresses took 3 yards each so they are quite the fabric hogs. They were so worth it, though, because I love the fullness of both of our skirts. 

Tabitha loves that her dress covers all of her legs so she can wear leggings underneath and be very warm. She is always sad in the winter when she has to put away all her girly summer dresses, and she never really likes to wear leggings or tights under shorter dresses. 

POCKETS! Of course, there are pockets!

I think this dress can be made elegant or casual. Everything came together really easily, and I think having so many skirt lengths really helps to make it work for whatever fabric amount I have or look I am going for. A lined bodice is a much quicker way to do a V neck than with a facing or with a neckband. 

I made an XS for myself and graded my bodice to an XXS a the waist and used an XXS skirt. For my daughter's I made a straight size 7 based on her measurements. For fabric, I used double brushed poly for both of our dresses, but you could also use stretch velvet, liverpool, cotton lycra, or rayon spandex. On Tabitha's dress, I love the way the stripes look on the sides and how easy these stripes were to match because of the way the print is. 

The Meaning of Christmas

I began this post with talking about how this is the most wonderful time of the year. I understand that the holidays might not be so wonderful for everyone, especially if you have experienced the loss of a loved one. A lot of my childhood Christmases greatly involved my stepmother, and when her and my father divorced when I was in my mid-20s, it really put a damper on Christmas for several years for me. I really had to refocus myself and my energy to enjoy it again. It helps that I now have little ones of my own to celebrate and create traditions with, but I will forever remember the place she held in my life and the example she set. She was a wonderful mother-like figure to me, and I especially think of her every Christmas. 

So now you are thinking, how could this be the most wonderful time of the year for me?! HA! Well, it is because I celebrate the miracle of Jesus' birth during Christmas time. Jesus' birth is the birth of my Comforter, my Prince of Peace. We wouldn't need comfort and peace if we did not live in such a broken world where things don't turn out as we expect. So, instead of filling myself full of expectations of how I wished things would go, I like to think about the miracle of finding hope and comfort and being made whole because of what He has done. 

I am still working out how this looks for me each year as far as traditions go. Do you have any favorites that you do with your family? I would love to hear about them!

  1. The Women's Sydney pattern is available HERE.
  2. The Girls' Sydney pattern is available HERE. If you put both in your cart, you will get a coupon for $2 off. 
  3. The fabric for Tabitha's dress came from Knitpop. I won it in an auction that they have in their Facebook group. 
  4. The fabric for my dress came from Wherehouse Fabrics Dallas.
Thank you for reading my post today. I hope you have a Merry Christmas!! You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook. If you want to take a look into the things that inspire me, you can follow me on Pinterest. You may also follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Disclosures: I received this pattern for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. This post also may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you, and it gives me money to buy more patterns and fabric!  Any and all opinions expressed are still my own.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sofilantjes Eximia Sweater PDF Pattern Review - More Mommy and Me Sewing

I have noticed that I gravitate towards certain pattern companies. I have had way too many successes with their patterns that I secretly wait (and hope) that they come out with a certain style that I would love to add to my wardrobe. Sofilantjes is one of those. Her drafting is always so perfectly done that I know I can use my good fabric (even during testing) and enjoy what I am sewing!

I am so excited about today's post because this is exactly what happened. I have wanted a tulip style nursing top for some time, and Anne Jacobs (Sofilantjes' designer) drafted just that! The Eximia comes in women's and girls' and both patterns have 3 lengths included - the crop, the tunic, and the long version. The sleeves come in long or 3/4 length sleeves and are finished with a cuff. The pattern has a drop shoulder and is drafted for thicker more stable fabrics (like French terry, sweatshirt fleeces, etc.) with at least 30% stretch. 

This photo collage was not supposed to be a lesson in photography, but you can see how much lighting really effects a photo (and even the color of my hair and skin!) even after editing. The point of the collage, in fact, was to show you the different lengths on the same body. Since I was able to make all three lengths, maybe this will help you decide if you have a favorite or one that you know you would wear the most. 

I was able to make one cropped Eximia for my middle daughter. She was not interested in any length, but this one, and she begged me to let her wear it as a top (without an undershirt). Let's just say that I agreed to let her wear it with her unicorn hairbow instead. 

I love when one of my kids volunteers for me to sew something for them because it is a good excuse to take photos together! She seems to make the most appearances on my blog because she repeatedly says yes to testing calls. She thinks I buy too much pink, though, and has requested that I add more purple to my fabric stash. Thankfully, my friend Aimee just sent me home with some purple fabric the last time we got together. 

I think my favorite length of the three lengths on this pattern is the medium. It is just long enough that I don't have to wear a shirt underneath (if I don't want to), and I am still completely covered. If it is a windy day, though, I probably should wear an undershirt! 

This pink fabric is the rose pink French Terry from Knitpop. It is a great weight for this pattern. It is thick enough that I am warm enough to not need a jacket on most days and not too hot in most buildings. (I live in Texas so this may not be true for you!) 

The medium and long lengths come with POCKETS. I will forever love and wear a garment more just for the simple reason it has pockets. 

Sizing and adjustments. The sizing on the women's Eximia is based on your upper bust measurement. I made a size 34 in all three of my sweaters, but on the medium and long length sweaters that I made, I graded out to a 36 for my waist and hips. On the cropped length, I did not grade, and just made a straight 34. I made no height adjustments because my shortness is not in my torso. (I am 5'2" for reference.)

The cropped view is a great top length, but you have to realize that you will see the shirt/underlayer you are wearing underneath. So, use a fabric that will coordinate well with what you plan to wear as an underlayer (or you can always just show your belly button, if that is your look!)

I am wearing my top with my Greenstyle Chelsea pants from my last pregnancy (blogged about HERE). I need to (remake) these because I am no longer this size. I still really love these pants because this ponte feels so nice and I love the shape they have, but they really need to go in the "to-fix" bin because I keep having to pull them up! 

Last, but not least, is the long length. This one may be my second favorite because it will work so well with leggings and boots this winter and keep me warm. I used a really thick French terry on this one. 

When we are having milder weather during this winter and spring, I will probably wear this as a dress, but I will definitely need to wear some shorts or tights of some type just in case the wind catches it!

Thanks for reading today! Which version is YOUR favorite? I am wondering if my favorite will change as I notice myself gravitating to one more than the others! I am still not tired of making this pattern because right now I have a 4th planned, and I can't wait to show it to you once I have a chance to make it!

  1. The Eximia pattern for women can be found HERE
  2. The Eximia pattern for girls can be found HERE. Both patterns are also available in French and Dutch. 
  3. The fabric for the rose pink sweater is French terry from Knitpop. You can find it HERE.
  4. The fabric for the other two sweaters came from the Dallas Fabric District on Perth. One came from Steve at Super Textiles and the other from Wherehouse Dallas. 
I hope I have inspired you! You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook. If you want to take a look into the things that inspire me, you can follow me on Pinterest. You may also follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Disclosures: I received this pattern for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. This post also may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own.

Photo Credit: My friend Aimee took the photos of my cropped sweater. My daughter Abigail took all the other photos. 

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Greenstyle Power Bra

A well-fitting sports bra seems like it has evaded me for years. I can't just walk into a department store, grab a small, and walk out with a bra that fits. If I fit my cup size, the band and shoulder straps are way too big. If I fit the band, the cups are squishing me and are too small. For a sports bra to really fit me correctly, I need the measurements to go beyond small, medium, and large and include a band size and cup size. I have found a few that fit the bill, and they were all white, had no fun features, and were rather expensive. 

I have wanted to make my own for quite some time now, and I am sooo glad that I finally have! I have made 5 over the past several weeks while testing out the new Greenstyle Power Sports Bra pattern, and bra number 6 is just a few steps away from being finished as well. Today, I am going to share 3 of those bras with you and review the pattern that I have been obsessively making. 

The Pattern

The Greenstyle Power Sports Bra covers band sizes 28 to 46 inches and cup sizes A through H. It comes with 3 back options: racerback, strappy cross back, and a strappy U back. It has an optional pocket and adjustable strap for the racerback. The front neckline has the option of a mid neck or low neck cutline. The larger band sizes come with optional extra side boob coverage. All back options come with optional NURSING access. Even with all these options, I felt like the pattern instructions were very straightforward and easy to follow. 

I can't get over the fact that I was able to sew a sports bra that fit me so well and that I can nurse in!!

Selecting size. You do not use your regular bra size to select the size to sew on this bra. The band size is determined by your underbust measurement, and your cup size is determined by how much bigger your full bust is than your underbust. The underbust measuring part is easy. The full bust part, however, was harder for me because I am nursing and it fluctuates throughout the day. I learned that the most accurate full bust measurement for me in determining my cup size for this bra was measuring my full bust with a well fitting SPORTS bra on. My measurements when wearing my supportive regular bras were too big and not helpful. 

Adjusting the straps. The pattern has markings for all 4 straps on the strappy back version so that it is easy to place them. I suggest trying them on with each bra and removing length from the straps until you have the perfect fit. Also make sure that you like exactly where your straps ended up. It is so much easier to try it on and make sure that you like it, than rip out stitches when you finish (ask me how I know!). The great thing about making the nursing option on the pattern is that you can wait until the very end to check strap length. I noticed that I removed a different amount of length on some bras, probably due to the different fabric that I used. 

Two of the bras that I made for this post have nursing clips in them so that they are very easy to breastfeed in. I really wished I would have had this pattern when my baby was a newborn! I would have made all the comfy lounge bras from my scraps while I was pregnant.  

I paired all three of my bras in the photos with Super G tights (I blogged about those here). I think it is pretty awesome now I can make one to match each of my pairs of athletic tights! 

Clear Elastic. The Power Sports Bra uses clear elastic to stabilize all the main seams. I found that the clear elastic is NOT Optional. Both of the black/white bras above were made according to the pattern, which means that I used the 1/4 inch clear elastic as recommended in all the seams. It really makes for a supportive bra, and it also means that I have to use nursing clips to be able to get access for nursing because I can't just pull the neckline down comfortably.

On the next bra I want to show you (the orange bra), I did not use nursing clips and did not put elastic in the seams. The neckline pulls down easily, which means that I will not be running in this bra. It will be for lounging or lower impact activities like a good long walk. 

Straps. Another lesson that I learned when making the bra was that my favorite method for sewing the straps is the one shown in the instructions. The instructions have you sew the straps with a zig zag on your sewing machine, leaving about 1/8 of an inch to the right of the clear elastic. This allows you to put the seam on the back when you turn your straps right side out. It also made the straps lay much flatter. Also, DO NOT leave out the clear elastic in your straps or your bra will have no support!

On this orange bra, I used my serger and fed the clear elastic right into the seam. I felt that they were more tube like and not as professional looking as I would like. I shot a video of me sewing the straps on bra number 6, so send me a message if you need more info, and I will load it onto youtube. 

To say I am excited about my new bras is an understatement. I hope you were inspired by my post and get the courage to sew a new sports bra for yourself as well!!
  1. You can purchase the Power Sports Bra pattern HERE. It comes with layers so that you can easily print out just your size instead of ALL the sizes that are included in the pattern.
  2. You can find the Super G Tights pattern HERE
  3. The tank top I am wearing in some of the photos is the Xpress tank.
  4. All of the fabrics in this post came from Wherehouse Fabrics Dallas, except the orange and pink supplex. They came from my sweet friend Aimee! 
  5. I bought my clear elastic on Amazon HERE.
  6. I bought the nursing bra clips from Simply by Ti HERE.
You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook. If you want to take a look into the things that inspire me, you can follow me on Pinterest. You may also follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Disclosures: I received this pattern for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. This post also may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own.