Friday, June 22, 2018

Greenstyle Havana Dress PDF Sewing Pattern Review

Over the past few weeks, I have been having so much fun sewing up the newest pattern by Greenstyle Creations - the Havana! While sewing, I have been swaying my hips, dancing around, and singing because the Havana song is definitely stuck in my head. It is the perfect name for this pattern! I LOVE the vibe of this dress. It screams "take me on a date to the beach," and yet, I feel like I am wearing secret pajamas while wearing it. As you can expect in any Greenstyle pattern, you have so many options that you are sure to find something that you will fall in love with and make over and over again. I have already made four different versions that I get to show you today. Also, keep reading to the end to get a few tips on working with shifty fabric and getting on point bias.    

Havana Version #1

Options. The Havana Dress and Top pattern comes in 3 views. View A, shown in my first dress, is a racerback. View B has a lace up back with a gathered short or maxi skirt. Finally, View C is a low scoop back with straps that can be crossed in the back or tied as a halter. The pattern has cut lines for a top version, a short dress, or a maxi. Also, you can do the View B gathered skirt with the View A and C back options. 

Fabric. The Havana pattern is drafted for lightweight woven fabrics. Think flowy, drapy, soft woven fabric with no stretch. This is not a pattern to use quilting cotton for. I used rayon challis for all of the versions that I sewed during testing. The dress shown here was made using Sly Fox Pocketful of Posies in black. This fabric has wonderful drape, and I love how it flows when I walk. 

Sizing and Adjustments. The Havana pattern comes in sizes XXS to 3XL (full bust 32 - 47 inches). I made a straight size XS, which is exactly where my measurements put me. I am 5'2" (with shoes on and standing tall!) so I removed some length. I still left it a bit long so that I could wear heels or flats with it. 

Breastfeeding Access. The pattern includes the instructions to finish the binding on the shoulders so that it is a closed loop. However, I added 12 inches to the measured binding for this view so that I could have extra strap to tie at the top. This gives me easy nursing access.  

POCKETS!! Yes, pockets make me so happy. This dress has pockets in all versions (except the tank top of course)

Havana Version #2

The next version that I made is a tank top View A. I love this easy top. It took me less than 3 hours from printing to finish to sew this. I made several stops to nurse, get snacks, respond to Facebook, nurse again, and you get the picture. I sew slow. This will get so much wear this summer with shorts and sandals! I think I need to make at least 4 or 5 more of this version. 

Havana Version #3

The third version of the Havana I made is a gathered skirt with the low back of View C. The key to the low back is to let it be LOW. If you try to tie your straps up where it covers your bra, you will have lots of gaping in the bust. I had not made my straps quite long in enough in this version (the pattern was since updated with longer strap lengths) so I added straps to the back bodice, crossed them, and tied them at the shoulders. I also could have just tied it as a halter around my neck.

The back of this dress is stunning and looks fabulous with all those cute bralettes that are popular or as a swim cover up.

Havana Version #4

Lastly, I made a View C dress with a regular (non-gathered) skirt. I took a little bit more length off of this one when adjusting for height, so I added a facing to the bottom so that I did not lose much more length. I think the length is perfect now and love how this dress turned out. 

Tips for bias binding. To apply the binding, you first sew the binding's right side to the wrong side of the seam. Pay attention to your seam allowance when applying it to the wrong side. If you use a 3/8 inch seam allowance it will be really hard to wrap it around to the front and have enough to tuck under before top stitching. Use a quilters 1/4 inch seam allowance and you will have pretty binding. When applying it, stretch it on the curves. This is a slight stretch and helps it to sit nicely. And press!

Tips for working with SHIFTY fabric. A lot of the fabrics that are perfect for this dress are not the most cooperative to work with. Don't skip out on pressing. In fact, use starch. The more starch the merrier. Starch will make the fabric easier to cut and less likely to move all over the place on you.

You can grab a copy of the Havana Pattern here

Which version are you going to sew up? I think my next version will be a knit tank top. I plan to size down for my knit version like the pattern suggests and am excited to see how it will turn out. 

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: 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. I also received the rayon challis fabric that I used for dress number 1 from Sly Fox fabric for free.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, June 21, 2018

George and Ginger Summer Blog Tour

I really enjoy the sewing community that I have gotten to know mostly through Facebook groups and Instagram. I also have a lot of fun when I get the opportunity to join in the community through a blog tour! Today I am one of your stops on the George + Ginger Patterns Festival Fever blog tour, and I am so excited to share with you what I have been working on! Kristi, the designer behind George + Ginger, is designing a Festival Collection of patterns this summer, and Molly, who is hosting this blog tour, asked us bloggers to make a special outfit using George + Ginger Patterns to show off our festive side. 

I was so excited to join the blog tour, and immediately knew what I wanted to make, but I could not think of anything festive that I do. HA! My idea of a good party is to sew and drink tea and maybe invite some friends to come swim with me. I already write a lot about my sewing so that is not new to you. After much thought, I remembered that every year my family and I go to our HOAs bash at the end of July. Our HOA sure knows how to party so it is a ton of fun. They start the day with a car show (boring for me, I skip this part). Then, they have swimming, volleyball at the beach club, and next, they bring in the bounce houses, climbing walls, food trucks, snow cone stands, games, and lots of outdoor activities. Once it is evening, there is a concert on the lawn, and once the sun goes down, we have fireworks over the lake. It is a full day, and the entire family just has a blast. I also bring a handmade quilt or two and a baby carrier for wearing the baby all day. 

I chose to make the George + Ginger Slash Tunic as my George + Ginger Pattern to wear for the day of festivities I am looking forward to in July. I had been eyeing this pattern since last year when I was pregnant and couldn't wait until I was semi-back to normal so that I could make this top. Since I am breastfeeding, I modified it for easy access to nurse in. I made two tops: a practice one with invisible zippers (to make sure I even like it with zippers!) and a striped one with exposed lace zippers. I love the look the exposed lace zippers give this top!! 

It was actually a really easy "hack" to do. The pattern has 1/4 inch seam allowances throughout, except the princess seams. It is like Kristi knew that I needed more than 1/4 inch for my zipper dreams. On the princess seams, the seam allowance is 1/2 an inch so that you can hem the open bottom of it in one step. There are markings on the pattern for where your seam needs to end and the open part begin. Since my zipper was 14 inches, I moved that mark up 14 inches, and put my zipper immediately underneath where my hem began. I did not want to mess with stripe matching and inserting a zipper, though, so I put the stripes vertically on the front of the bodice. My friend, Aimee, actually suggested this to me when I was telling her that I really wanted to make the top in stripes. Thanks, Aimee, for the suggestion! It saved me so many tears. 

Speaking of Aimee, we are both on this blog tour and got to take our photos together. Aimee made a gorgeous top in Liverpool for her stop on the blog tour.  

The fabric that I used for this top is a yarn-dyed striped cotton lycra from Made Whimsy. You can find them here. It is a pretty stable and nice weight cotton lycra so it made it pretty easy to do the zippers. 

My zippers came from Hobby Lobby. The exposed brass is so fun! Before beginning my project, I ironed a 1 inch strip of fusible knit interfacing to the wrong side of where the zippers were going to be installed. Then, I followed the pattern instructions for sewing the princess seams (except moving my hemming mark up by the length of my zipper). After hemming the princess seam with a quick zig zag, I used my zipper foot and installed the zippers from the wrong side and then topstitched them again on the right side. 

My sweet nursing baby! Gah. I feel pretty done having kids, but photos like these bring ALL the feels. 

Do you like the exposed zipper look? I did my first trial run using invisible zippers on random fabric that I had found on the remnant tables at the local fabric district. This top turned out really nice too, and if you prefer invisible zippers, then, this might be the hack for you. I ironed the 1 inch strip of fusible knit interfacing on both sides of the zipper and carefully marked where I wanted the zipper to begin and end. You will need a 12 inch zipper (for the daring version) or a 14 inch zipper (for the regular split version).

When I first started on this top, I have to admit that my zippers were not quite invisible. After looking at what I had done wrong, I realized that when I was putting the zipper in, that I had not quite pushed the teeth to the side and sewn under the teeth. I used my invisible zipper foot and carefully pushed the teeth out of the way, and it turned out perfect. I can't tell you how excited I got about this silly zipper becoming invisible. 

I purposefully put the zipper in upside down since this one has a non-separating closed bottom. I wanted to be able to fully open the seam of the shirt when I nurse. 

Caught the fever? Check out all the amazing looks in the Festival Fever line up!
And special thanks to our tour sponsors!
Boho Fabrics | Sincerely Rylee | Wandering Willow Design | Aurora Designs

That's it for now, and 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: I received a copy of this pattern for free so that I could participate in the blog tour.

Photo Credit: My awesome friend, who is such a wonderful photographer, Aimee Wilson.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Striped Swallow Designs Into the Blue Swimsuit Pattern for Women and Girls

As I have been sewing swimwear over the past few months, my oldest daughter has been asking me to make a swimsuit for her. It is such a nice feeling when my kids still enjoy wearing the creations I make them and specifically make requests! When I showed her the pattern for the Into the Blue suit, she loved the design and quickly picked fabric out from my stash. I signed up to test the pattern for the women's and girls' suit and am excited to show you what I have made for us today. 

Pattern Details: The Into the Blue Swimsuit pattern by Striped Swallow Designs is a one-piece swimsuit. The pattern comes in girls sizes 2-14, women's sizes XS to XXXS, or as a bundle. I love the design of this suit! I feel it is very modest for us both and yet has the cutest details. The bottoms have a high waist and lots of coverage. The swimsuit is fully lined. The women's suit has optional cups for the bodice, but I did not use cups in my suit because I felt the support was plenty. 

Fit. The Into the Blue Swimsuit pattern has the greatest details for choosing size. I rarely wear one piece swimsuits because, despite being 5'2," they always feel too short on me. I love the modesty of them, though, especially when I am entertaining family and friends at our pool. Mandalynn Soileau, the designer behind Striped Swallow, gives the best fitting instructions so that all body types can rock this suit. In addition to the standard bust, waist, and hip measurements, the pattern gives trunk girth measurements for length and bust radius for cup size with specific illustrations on how to grade the pattern to fit well for each measurement. 

This little sweetheart is 9, and she just brings so much joy to me and everyone in our family. I thought it was so special to get to do a photoshoot with her!

To cinch the middle of the bodice, the pattern has two different styles of ties as well as a band. It is such a cute feature.

The Back: The swimsuit has the option for a full coverage back or a back cut out. I made both of our swimsuits with the back cut out. 

This past weekend my husband and I celebrated our 12 year anniversary by hosting a few of our closest family and friends at our house for a fajita bar and pool party. My daughter and I both wore our Into the Blue swimsuits the entire day and got so many compliments! I also love the look on people's faces when they ask where you bought your swimsuit. "You made this with a sewing machine!" Why yes I did. Thanks Mandalynn, for the awesome pattern! 

You can purchase the Women's Into the Blue Swimsuit pattern here and the Girls' Into the Blue Swimsuit pattern here. They also are sold as a bundle that can be purchased hereThe release sale for this pattern is now through Friday, June 22nd 11:59PM CST. Use the code "intotheblue" for $2 off on the single patterns or bundle.

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog. I hope I have inspired you and can't wait to see what you make out of this pattern. 

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: I received both swimsuit patterns for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.

Photo Credit: my wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Sofilantjes Solis Dress and Tunic PDF Pattern Review

Today I am excited to share with you the new dresses that I have been working on! This is the Solis for Women from Sofilantjes. Do you have a dress that makes you feel like I do in this photo? I feel the joy my children do when they squeal with delight. I was also laughing because my neighbor caught me twirling outside in a dress. HA! The Solis is a dress that I have wanted for some time now! After releasing the girls version of this dress, Anne Jacobs, the designer behind Sofilantjes, received many requests to design this dress for women. I am so happy that she listened because I seriously am in love with this dress. I made three versions during testing and have 2 hacks for NURSING to show you today. 

The Empire Waist Discreet Nursing Dress

The Solis pattern works for women with full busts that measure from 31.5 to 49 inches. It has 2 bodice options - an empire bodice or a natural waist bodice. This first dress is the empire bodice with a gathered skirt. The natural waist bodice additionally allows for a circle skirt or a pleated skirt. All views have optional pockets. 

The back of this dress is just genius. It works great with a racerback bra and keeps me so cool. 

Fabric. This first dress was made with a cotton lycra from Art Gallery called Powder Bloom. You can find it here. It is part of the Indie Folk Collection by Pat Bravo. For the bodice lining, back strap, and neck straps on the dress, I used pink cotton lycra from Made Whimsy.

Fit AdjustmentsI removed 1 inch of length from the skirt of the dress for my 5'2" height. I did an FBA on the bodice. I was slightly excited and terrified at the same time to do my first FBA. I normally am smaller chested, but thanks to nursing, I needed an FBA for the perfect fit. I loved Anne's instructions because the FBA that I did for all three dresses made me feel like a pro. It was very easy to do by just following her fit guide. 

Pattern Modifications: The Solis has pattern markings to show you where to gather the skirt in the center of the front and back. I think the front gathers are super cute when you are pregnant, but for my postpartum body shape, I prefer more even gathers. So, on this dress I ignored the markers on the pattern for gathering and just gathered it evenly. I also modified the bodice so that I can nurse in it. The empire bodice is very easy to modify for breastfeeding. The modification that I used is perfect for those who want to be more modest while nursing. 

Empire Bodice Nursing Hack

(1) Follow the pattern instructions for assembling the bodice and skirt. However, make note of your lining fabric. If the wrong side of the lining is not pretty, you will not want it to show when you lift up the front overlay to nurse. To get the pretty side out, when you attach the bodice to the lining, put RIGHT side of front/back to WRONG side of lining (normally you would do right sides together so that the right side of your lining faces your skin). 

(2) Once your bodice and skirt are assembled, attach the skirt to the lining of the bodice only. This will leave you with the ability to pull the front overlay of the bodice up and down. 

(3) Finish the bottom edge of the top overlay. Measure around the entire bottom of the overlay. Take this measurement and multiply it by 90%. This will be the length of your band. I cut the band's width at 2.5 inches. Sew the short ends of the band right sides together. Quarter the bottom of the overlay, and attach the band much like you would a neckband. Match raw edges and sew. 

(4) Try your dress on, preferably with the bra you plan to wear with it. Take a marker or chalk and mark where you would like to have slits or cut outs for your underlay. Remember that a little goes a long way with stretchy fabric so you can always go back and cut more out later if you did not cut enough, but you can't add fabric back if you cut too much. 

Alternative: If you do not like the look of bands, you can make your bodice main front and back pieces an inch longer and keep the lining pieces the original length, sew 3/8 inch elastic to the wrong side of the overlay with a zig zag stitch or serger, turn the elastic under, and hem.

The Natural Waist Bodice TWIRLY Nursing Dress

I absolutely love this dress! It has a full circle skirt, a fully lined bodice, and feels so good to wear. I used a circle skirt panel from Smoogie for the skirt and mustard cotton lycra from Made Whimsy for the bodice front and lining. I used a different nursing hack for this bodice that is for those who would prefer to pull down rather than lift up. It is not as modest, but I actually prefer this hack the most.   

Pull down nursing hack for any bodice option

(1) When assembling the bodice, you will need to lengthen your neck strap by 3.5 inches. I did 4 inches, and ended up not needing quite that much length. Once you have lengthened your neck strap, iron a fusible scrap of interfacing on each end of the neck strap like this. 

(2) Sew the neck strap long ends together as instructed in the pattern. However, you will not attach the neck strap to the bodice. Instead, fold the raw edge to the inside and sew down each end of the neck strap like this.

(3) Apply a scrap of interfacing at the top of the each shoulder on the bodice. Finish the shoulder ends of the bodice. Again, do not sew the neck strap onto the bodice here. 

(4) Turn your bodice right side out. Attach the neck strap to the back. Sew it down at the top so that it does not come out when nursing. This is what your bodice will look like, except you will have sewed it down horizontally across the top.

(5) Put the neck strap underneath the shoulder top and apply a snap or button. Try it on to make sure you like the snap or button placement before applying. Finish the rest of your dress per pattern instructions. 

I love this method. You do not need to cut holes out of your lining. You can use a cool button, a constrasting snap, or a snap that blends into your fabric and no one will know the cool feature of your dress. As you can see, this nursing mod shows more skin than the other, but this is my 5th baby to nurse, so maybe I have lost some of my modesty? Anyways, you can look away if this bothers you :)

The Tunic 

This version of the Solis is the empire bodice with tunic length skirt. This was my first make in testing. I wanted to make the pattern as written first to make sure everything worked for me and give good feedback to the designer before making any modifications. No modifications were needed (except my usual height adjustments of 1 inch out of the skirt) It is a complete winner, and I will also be enjoying this tunic in our hot weather.  This one was made with a navy cotton lycra with lime polka dots from Riley Blake, and the lime bodice lining and back straps came from Made Whimsy

You can grab a copy of the Solis for women in English here. It is on sale now through Sunday 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 If you want to take a look into the things that inspire me, you can follow me on Pinterest.

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.

More Back Views!! Isn't Solis so pretty!