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Friday, September 14, 2018

Sew a Little Seam Women's Linden Shorts PDF Pattern Review


I am a chino shorts kind of girl! Every year in late spring, I stop by the Gap, Old Navy, and Target and buy myself several 5 inch Chino style shorts to rotate through all summer. Sewing shorts and woven pants with zipper flies, belt loops, and welt pockets just intimidate me to be honest. I would look into the insides of my favorite pairs and just marvel at the pockets, bias tape, zipper finishing, and all the little details. 

This year was a little different; I just could not bring myself to buy chino shorts. I knew I needed to get over my intimidation and just make some. It also helped that when I spied into this year's selection at Target that they only had high waisted jean shorts and a few 3 inch inseam chinos. Whew! They didn't even have what I was looking for. 


Well, last month, I tackled the Greenstyle Taylor shorts, which was my first official pair of handmade zipper-flyed woven shorts, and it gave me so much confidence. They were surprisingly rather quick to make, and the instructions were so straightforward. I seriously made three in a week in the middle of all my other testing and sewing commitments and have worn them nonstop and have gotten so many compliments for them. I blogged about them here if you are curious. 

Then, I saw the testing call for the Sew a Little Seam Linden shorts for women a few weeks ago. The designer, Kelly Ballou, included photos of the insides of her shorts, and I literally gasped. They had all the inside finishings of my store-bought chinos. The difference in these and the Taylor shorts is that you need to be prepared for MANY pattern pieces. You have facings, welt pockets or patch pockets, topstitching guides, back yolk options, bias tape, belt loops, coin pockets, flat felled seams, skirt options, jeans options, knit comfort options...   I am not even sure I named all the options! This is not a quick pattern, but it is so worth it! It took me at least 3 days to sew up one pair, and that includes several really late nights (some with a seam ripper in hand).  


Another challenge for this pattern for me was fabric choice. I really had to force myself to sew basics. On my pretesting pair, I used a bright apple green and instantly regretted it. They are the perfect most comfortable shorts fitwise, but they are in a color that I don't often wear. I used my least favorite fabric first since it was a pretest, but looking back on it, I should have jumped for the capsule basics first. The seams on the pattern are 5/8 inch, which gives plenty of room for fit adjustments if you need to make any (I did not need any!!) 

If you are going to invest this much time in a project, use fabric you know will coordinate with a lot in your wardrobe. For pair number 2, I chose a navy twill that goes with so many tops in my closet. I know navy is not terribly exciting, but I learned my lesson from my first pair (keep reading and you will get to see my bright pair too!)


I love how professional the welt pockets are on this pattern and how deep the front pockets are. 


Here are the BEAUTIFUL insides. I made my own bias tape to finish the inner waistband on both pairs of shorts I made. The pop of pink and orange just makes me happy, even if I am the only one who will see it.  


Next up, I made a mini skirt. I used velveteen for it and used the jean style option with a back yolk. I did not use the jean patch pockets, though, and opted for welt pockets again. 


The jean style option on the pattern has a back yolk and curved front pockets. You can also do a coin pocket to make it look like traditional jeans. On the jean-style waistband, you topstitch around to finish and have a inside waistband piece that is the same size as the outer. On the chino shorts, you have bias tape to finish the inside and stitch in the ditch around the outside of your waistband to secure it.


The skirt feels a little short for chasing kids, but I think it is the perfect date night skirt. I can't tell you how excited I was to recreate my favorite J Crew skirt!! 


I love how soft this fabric is and how the welt pocket turned out! I have been saving this velveteen for the perfect skirt pattern! I have a few other prints in this velveteen so I may need to make more of these skirts!




My favorite part, of course, are the details on the insides. I did not do the flat felled seams everywhere on the inside of the skirt. After doing the flat felled on the yolk, I realized how thick this fabric was and decided to finish the rest with a serger. 


Last, but not least, is my bright apple green pair that I made in pretesting. I have actually been wearing them a lot. They are just so functional and comfortable that the green may just be growing on me.


Sizing

I made a size 0/2 based only on my high hip and full hip measurement. My waist and thigh measurements were actually in the next size up, but I did not take those measurements into account. If my high hip and full hip measurement were different, I would have need to grade accordingly. I felt the sizing was perfect on this pattern. If you are using a stable knit, you may need to size down. 



This fabric base is a cotton sateen. It is a twill weave that is incredible for chino shorts. It is soft, has a great weight, and is easy to work with. I think if I use it again, I will get the maize or magenta colorways because they coordinate better with my wardrobe. 


These shorts are so comfortable! Instead of buying a stack of chino shorts at the end of next Spring, I am just going to need to add a few more of these to my collection. I will also get a lot of wear out of them this fall. Texas falls are still really mild, and on a chilly day, I can wear a button up or sweater to keep my arms warm. 


Those insides though...


Resources - Patterns

1. The Linden Shorts/Skirt Pattern can be purchased here. There is a coupon code to get a discount on the pattern through the rest of September. You can find that code in the Sew a Little Seam Facebook group.
2. The top that I am wearing with my Blue shorts is the Toaster Sweater #2 by Sew House Seven.
3. The top that I am wearing with the velveteen skirt is the 5 out of 4 Camilla that I blogged about here
4. The top that I am wearing with my green shorts is a slimmed down Sewholic Renfrew top (which was my first V-neck that I made several years ago before I knew about PDF patterns!)

Thanks for reading my blog, and 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.

Resources - Fabric

1. The Navy 6 ounce twill came from Imagine Gnats
2. The quilting cotton that I used for lining the Navy shorts is Juliana Horner Rosette.
3. The velveteen is Anna Maria Horner velveteen Innocent Crush Maybe
4. The quilting cotton that I used to line the velveteen skirt is Anna Maria Horner True Colors Filigree in Coral
5. The Green Twill is Free Spirit Cotton Sateen in Apple. 
6. The quilting cotton that I used for the lining of the green shorts is Anna Maria Horner Field Study Raindrop Poppies
7. The zippers came from Wawak


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.






Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Greenstyle Kids Slope Tank


I have had a little secret that I have been so excited to share with everyone... Greenstyle has just released a FREE pattern for kids! The Slope Tank is a unisex tank for kids ages 3-14 that is a quick sew and a wardrobe staple! 


The Slope tank was originally the "Lacy Slope tank." It was recentlyretested and updated to include: layers, bands to finish the arms and neck, and to have a straight hemline in addition to the sloping hem of the original pattern. I really like how the updates turned out and that I have such a versatile tank to sew for all of my kids. 

During the updating of this pattern, I made a Slope tank for my 7 year old daughter and for my 4 year old son. The 7 year old measured for size 7/8, and I made hers according to the pattern. My 4 year old measured a 3/4, but since his height was too tall for that size, I added 1.5 inches in length to his. 



I used cotton lycra for both tops for the main fabric and the bands. Besides lengthening my 4 year old's top, I made no other adjustments to the pattern. The pattern is drafted for a non-developing child. If you have a preteen or teen girl to sew the tank for, I would use the over bust to determine the chest measurement rather than full bust and do an FBA if necessary.

 

Tabitha is modeling her tank with the girl's strides pattern. She plays tennis every week so these are perfect for this fall. She loved them with her unicorn tank. 


The Greenstyle girls strides pattern comes in sizes 2T to size 12. I made the capri version with the cross cuff and just love how these turned out. She can't wait to wear them to play tennis in. I used Simply by Ti dritex, which is perfect for athletic wear.


My 4-year-old, Aaron, lives in tank tops. When he was only 18 months, my friend Aimee made him a Dr. Suess tank top, and he wears it ALL. THE. TIME. He will even try to go find it in the laundry. It is so tiny on him now, and I still have to remind him that it doesn't fit. I need to take the plunge and take it away for good. He was so excited when I told him I was testing out a tank top pattern. This one fit him so perfect and is exactly his style. I even let him pick fabric.  He picked a cute Euro Knit from Jumping June Textiles.


I love how excited and cooperative the kids were to take photos this day. I got a big workout chasing Aaron around for photos. I took them to a big open field and just let him run. 


Tabitha gives her outfit the thumbs up! Little brother likes it too, I just caught him mid-sentence while he told me he was hot and ready to leave. 


Resources

You can grab a copy of your free tank top pattern here.
The Girls Strides pattern can be found here.
The Simply by Ti Dritex can be found here. I used the silver and candy pink on her leggings. 

Thank you so much for reading my blog! 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.

Disclosures: 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.



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Scrap Busting and Sewing Zipper Pouches


I love a good scrap busting project. Before I ventured into the world of making clothes, I made a ton of bags. Bags are such a fun project I could make in an hour and give as a gift. I made them for cloth diapers, for carrying baby food and items in when we were out and about, for vitamins, for snacks, for extra clothes, for crayons.... Bags come in handy!

Recently, I have been using the Greenstyle Creations FREE zipper pouch pattern to make up a few bags. This pattern comes in sizes Small, Medium, and Large and uses zippers sizes 5, 7, and 9 inches respectively and is such a fun, simple sew! 



Fabric Notes

My favorite fabric to make an all purpose zipper pouch is cotton canvas or home decorator fabric and linen/cotton blend decorator weight fabrics. It really gives the bag a nice weight and sturdiness that just does not feel homemade. I use quilting cotton for the lining, and I also will use quilting cotton for the main fabric if I have a fun print that I just have to use. If I am making a makeup bag, I use laminated cotton for the main and lining. If I am making a bag for mama cloth, cloth diapers, or the pool, I use a quilting cotton or canvas main/outer fabric and use PUL fabric for the lining to store wet items, and I add a zippered pocket with a normal quilting cotton lining to the front of the bag to keep clean items. Would you want to see how to add a zippered pocket to the front in a future blogpost? 

Interfacing is everything. Not only do you want to use the nice woven fabrics for your main fabric, you need a nice interfacing. If I am quilting the main (think Vera Bradley style bag), I like to use fusible fleece or I will spray glue some batting or fleece onto my main fabric before quilting. If I am not quilting, I use a featherweight or lightweight interfacing. You can give your bag even more structure with heavier interfacing, but I don't like to use interfacing that is heavier than the main fabric. 


Shortening the Zipper

I always buy a ton of zippers when I order. I seem to always find a use for them and like to have them on hand for a project. Since I order in bulk, I don't often know what size I will end up needing and have to shorten my zippers. A zipper is measured from stop to stop, so you do not want to cut off a total length of 5, 7, or 9 inches or your zipper will be too short! 

To shorten your zipper, apply your zipper tab to the end of the zipper where it closes. Close your zipper. Prepare your zipper tab for the remaining end and lay that tab on top of your zipper to where your length from one stop to the next is the exact zipper length you need. Then, cut the zipper at the back of that zipper tab, where my finger is pointing. Then, apply your zipper tab to the end, and voila, you are done. If you are dealing with a metal zipper, you will need to remove zipper teeth where you are sewing so you don't break your needle when you apply your tab. Plastic zippers do not require any extra work. 

Free Zipper Pouch Pattern

Details

When I first started making bags, the one area I never quite felt like I mastered was the zipper tab. Sometimes my bag would completely eat my zipper, and I never understood why. Well, this pattern gives you a perfectly clean and finished zipper end (that is not bulky!) It is completely beginner friendly and will keep you from scratching your head as to what went wrong when your bag is finished. 


The bag features an optional loop for carrying. If you are using a fancier fabric, leather, etc., you can easily add hardware to the loop. Maybe this will also be in a future blogpost.... 



This 9 inch bag is perfect for substituting as a clutch when I don't want to carry my big purse around. It fits everything I need to run errands or run into the gym. 


The 7 inch bag is also a great size for using as a clutch or to stuff in my purse to keep my lipstick and a few essential oils from getting lost in the bottom. I need to make another one in this size so that my son can keep his toy cars in it and carry them around. 



The 5 inch bag also fits so nicely in my purse as a catch all for small things that land on the bottom. It also fits nicely in my 9 inch bag to keep it more organized.


Resources:

Tiger main fabric: Tula Pink Eden Crouching Tiger in Sapphire 
The light blue triangle fabric: Leah Duncan for Cloud 9 Organic Canvas Lines and Shapes Penmarks.


If you have followed my blog for long, you will know that I also love to make quilts. I have a caddy in my sewing room of quilts in progress. On one of the shelves, I keep quilt shapes that I cut out for previous quilts that did not make the final quilt. (I always cut too much out for quilts!) I love how these look on a bag! This is a 9 inch bag that I made before we perfected the zipper tabs. I love how cute and fun it is made out of old quilt blocks! This one truly was a scrap-buster!




Thank you so much for reading my blog! 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.

Disclosures: 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.