Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Jennifer Lauren Handmade Juniper Cardigan Pattern Review

Today I get to share with you this fun Juniper Cardigan pattern from Jennifer Lauren Handmade. I love to wear cardigans because the open front makes for easy breastfeeding access and Texas weather is generally rather mild so it works perfect for so many seasons. I was very excited when I was selected to review the pattern because I have been needing a slimmer fitting cardigan. This one fit the bill perfectly.

I chose this French Terry fabric from Sincerely Rylee because it is incredibly soft. I also loved the weight of it. Since I received it in a mystery box during her amazing Black Friday sale, I am not entirely sure of its fiber content. It has very good recovery, though, so it has a nice amount of spandex that makes it perfect for the negative ease in the bust of this pattern. To be honest, I initially was unsure of the fabric. I probably would not have ordered it if it was on a list of hundreds of other prints, but I think the softness of it won me over. Then, when it became a soft and squishy finished product, I was so happy with it. Sometimes, you just have to trust Darcey (the owner of Sincerely Rylee)! 

Now, let's get to the pattern review. 

(1) Pattern details. This is pdf pattern that has pages that need to be trimmed. I like this because my printer has been known to pull pages unevenly, and this helps me to get the pattern cut out just right. The pages are numbered so that you can easily keep them in order, which is really nice for me because I have been known to lose pages when cutting out patterns (because I cut out patterns while homeschooling the kids!) Also, she includes a nice layout of the pages to show which pages to print for each view. There are two views - a cropped length with 3/4 sleeves or a long length with long sleeves. I chose the long length. The sleeve has a saddle shoulder, which is a great design feature. If I make another, I would love to do a contrasting sleeve to show off this feature. The saddle shoulder is like a perfect marriage between a raglan and a set-in sleeve. Such a delicious feature!

(2) Fit. My measurements are as follows: overbust - 32 inches, full bust 35-36 inches (depending on the last time that I nursed, this could be more), waist - 28 inches, and hips - 36.5 inches. I made a size 10 but graded to a size 8 for the hips. I felt like the fit was spot on for me. I am 5'2" and did not shorten the sleeves or bodice. I really like where the length hit me as drafted and was very happy with the fit. It has the perfect amount of ease to be worn over a tank top or a long sleeve shirt without being too baggy in the arms.

(3) Construction and Instructions. The instructions were very thorough. I feel that a confident beginner who is very unfamiliar with sewing terms and fabric types could take this pattern as is and have a beautiful finished product. The pattern had notches so that everything matched perfectly. I really liked how she included instructions for interfacing the button placket so that it did not stretch. I did not attach buttons or snaps because I never use them on my cardigans. 

Would I sew this again? Yes, I would love to have several more of these in my closet. I particularly need some solid ones that coordinate will with many outfits. It can be so hard to force myself to buy solids because there are all these big beautiful florals and prints in the world. 

What did I not like about this pattern? Pockets!! She has a free add-on for patch pockets in her store, but I did not see it until after I had already made my cardigan. I felt they may break up the floral, though, so I never went back and added them. My next cardigans will have pockets! 

You can grab a copy of the Juniper Pattern here. Don't forget to also grab the patch pocket add-on here and read her blog instructions for attaching the patch pocket here

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.

Photo Credit: My sweet oldest daughter, Abigail. 

Disclosures: This post 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.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sofilantjes Vivax Dress Pattern Review

This past week I have been hard at work testing the Vivax top and dress pattern from Sofilantjes. I made my 9 year old daughter two dresses, and I just loved how both turned out.

Abby told me that they were both very fancy, and she has loved wearing them. The pattern can be made in a tunic or a dress and includes the option of a round flat neckline or a collar. There are also lots of sleeve color-blocking options. Both of the dresses I made have the round neck and are short sleeve in a size 10. 

The main fabric on the first dress is from the Idle Wild collection that released from Riley Blake several years ago. I bought this on Etsy and have had it in my stash for some time waiting on just the right project.

The pocket detail is probably my favorite part of this pattern. I always love how well written the instructions are in Sofilantjes patterns. It made the details of this pattern very easy to do.  

I went slow when putting on the turquoise blue part of the neckline and was so happy to see it layed so nice and flat.

Riley Blake Idle Wild Knit

My next dress is in a remnant that I found at Wherehouse fabric in Dallas. Abby is a big fan of cheetah print and was very excited about her next dress. She even wore her cheetah booties with it! 

I used black and pink solids for the binding and pockets. These solids are from Made Whimsy, who is definitely my favorite place to order solid fabric from.

I can't believe my little girl is already 9. She really enjoys baking and is making brownies while I type this blogpost up. She is not only a great baker, but she made coffee this morning and brought it to my hubby in bed when she woke us up to go to church. Amazing! Those sleepless nights when she was a newborn were worth every moment.

You can grab a copy of the Vivax pattern in English here. It is on sale now through Tuesday at 4:55 p.m. CST (23:55 CET). The pattern is also available in French and Dutch.

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.

Photo Credit: My wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson

Disclosures: This post 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.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Martha Nursing Top Pattern Review

Nursing tops are a must have at the moment in my wardrobe so I spent this past weekend working on making some Martha tops. This is a pattern by Milchmonster that is written in German, and since I speak zero German, there was quite a learning curve for me. The files in the pattern contained an English translation, but the translation was obviously done by a non-English speaker and had zero illustrations. I am a very visual learner so I did better using the German instructions that had illustrations and using Google translator when I needed help with a word. Once I made one, though, they became quite addicting. If I had more time, I think a huge part of my stretchy fabric stash would have become Martha's last weekend. The pattern comes with so many more options than I had time to make, but I think my next one will be a short sleeve (or maybe the short puffy sleeves?) version without the pockets for our hot summers.

My first Martha top was made with a cotton lycra floral that I got from someone who was destashing some of her fabric in a local Facebook group - DFW sewing. I made this one with the nursing bodice included in the pattern and for the overlay I used the bodice piece that includes under bust darts. 

The bra I am wearing is my all time favorite nursing bra, made by Le Mystere. I love that this bra comes in large cup sizes for the smaller band sizes. Underneath my bra, I am wearing the best nursing pads. They are great for keeping my shirt dry! I leak a lot, and if I just think of nursing a baby, my milk may let down, which is not so great when out in public. Thank God for nursing pads. 

My next top was made with a half yard scrap that I got in a sale box from Simplifi Fabric. They are my favorite place to find organic fabric. You can shop their Canadian website, here, or their US website, here. I just love that I can make good use of scraps with this pattern, and I think that may be another reason it is so addicting! The black and white polka dot fabric I used for the coordinate is from Made Whimsy and can be found here.

After my first version of this pattern, I realized that I did not really like the way the nursing access was provided in the pattern. I changed the pattern to be a cross over under bodice, and this works so much better than the circle cut outs in the pattern. To make the cross over piece, I used the wrap part of the Made for Mermaids Mama Isabel front bodice and mashed it with the nursing bodice pattern of the Martha. The only part of the wrap bodice that I used was the neckline and triangle on the left of my photo.  

Also, having the under bodice the same length as the overlay means a wardrobe malfunction can easily happen if that under bodice droops down any. So, the next thing I did was take half an inch off the bottom of the nursing  under bodice because I did not want the under bodice to peak out the bottom of the overlay. I cut mirror images of the fabric, layed them out like shown, and basted the bottom part together. 

Finally, I attached the wrap bodice to my front bottom piece. Then, I placed the overlay on top of the nursing bodice and attached the front pieces to the back at the shoulders, sewed up the sides, and attached my bands. It works perfect. And now, I do not have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions!

I am loving these black polka dots. It is such a nice weight cotton lycra.

Pattern Tips

(1) Sizing. I had a hard time deciding on sizing because the pattern did not have a typical size chart with measurements. It suggested taking a well loved shirt and using that to help you decide. I ended up going with a straight 38 and really liked the fit. My current measurements are as follows: over bust - 32 inches; full bust - 35 after nursing and 36-37 before nursing; waist 28 inches, and hips - 37.5 inches. I used a stretchy cotton lycra for fabric so I would need to go up a size or two if I made a hoodie and used thicker, sweatshirt type fabric. 

(2) Bands. The pattern did not include pattern pieces or exact measurements for bands or for the long sleeve piece. The pattern recommends making the band under the nursing overlay the same measurement as the bottom of the nursing overlay. I did not believe that would work, so I made mine 2 inches less. My front bodice measured 16 inches underneath so I made the band underneath the front bodice 2.5 x 14 inches. The bottom of my shirt measured 40 inches when finished so I made the bottom band 6 x 35.5 inches. I made my neckband 20.5 x 1.75 inches (80% of neck opening plus seam allowance). I drew my own pattern piece for the long sleeves. If you have longer arms, you may need to make yours more than 8 inches. 

Out Takes

This photo session was crazy windy and rather sunny. I also had all 5 kids with me. Hopefully, you can see past my flying hair and squinting eyes. There are also a few good pics of me instructing my kids. Basic things like "Oh my! That stick you found is rather large!" "Please don't hit your brother with it!" "Run behind the camera!" and "Don't lay on the baby!" I am sure I am forgetting many catch mothering phrases, but you get the gist. Here are some of those out takes for your enjoyment - 

Which top is your favorite? The floral or the fun polka dots and lions (they are friendly lions right?). Have you made the Martha yet? Which nursing pattern do I need to try next? Here is my sweet little nursling, Hannah!

You can grab a copy of the Martha pattern here.

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.

Photo Credit: My wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson

Disclosures: This post 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.