Category Archives: Sew

Free Tee Review: Green Tee by Greenstyle Creations

A few weeks ago when we had a bit of a heatwave I made a few more free tees but I ended up wearing them and not taking any pictures. Well, now they have been through the wash and are back in the “to photograph” pile. So hopefully I can play catch up and get the reviews out to you soon. Let’s start with the Gree Tee from Greenstyle creations!

To recap, I am hoping to get through as many of the free tee patterns as possible (you can find the full list here) and let you know what I think of them. For each tee pattern, I review I will look at 4 different aspects of the pattern: the options available (including different looks and size ranges), how easy it is to get hold of the pattern, printing and assembling the pdf, and the instructions/construction. For each of these four categories, I will give the pattern a score out of ten. I will also give a score out of ten for my version of the pattern (including thoughts on the fit and overall impressions). So in total, each tee will get a score out of 50 making it really easy to compare these patterns.

Greenstyle Creations are a pattern company I have never tried before but they have been on my radar for a while as I often like to have a browse through and swoon over their activewear designs but as my list of things to make is already pretty long I have avoided buying any new patterns for a while. The free Green Tee pattern is however, a great way to try out this new-to-me designer without having to fork out for a new pattern. The Green Tee is a basic semi-fitted tee but there are lots of options allowing you to mix it up.

Options available 8/10

The Green Tee comes in 12 sizes labelled B-M. These cover bust measurements from 30-61″ which is one of the biggest size ranges I have seen so far. There are also a few different options to chose from; scoop or v neck as well as long or short sleeves.

Getting hold of the pattern 3/10

On the web page for this tee it comes up as $10 but if you join the Greenstyle creations facebook group there is a code to get it for free!
You need to ask to join the group and there are a couple of questions to answer to check you are legit! You then need to wait for your request to be approved. I made the request at 11 am on a Saturday morning (UK) and it took about an hour but there is no indication anywhere for typical times for this approval.
Once you have the code just add the Green Tee to your cart and go to the checkout. There you need to log in or create an account. Once you enter the code in the discount box the price of the pattern will come down to $0.00
You still need to enter some details but no payment info is required – you have to click on the “continue to payment” button, and then the “pay now” which can be a bit confusing. You will then get a link to download the files

 

Printing and assembling the pdf 4/10

The no-trim pages on this pattern certainly save a bit of time when assembling the pdf pattern – however, I found sticking them together to be a lot less accurate than some others I’ve tried as the printer always leaves a slight gap in the printing at the edge of the page and so getting the pattern lines to meet neatly is a bit trickier and so probably actually took me longer in the end as I had to spend more time lining the pages up!

The printed pages for this one do have page numbers on them but no other indication of which pages join to each other so you need to keep referring to the lay plan for that. Having said that, once I got towards the end of the pattern the page numbers on mine didn’t actually match up with the lay plan so I found I had to double-check the pattern pieces and how they looked like they should fit together!!

Instructions and construction 9/10

The instructions on this pattern are nice and clear and concise. I am a big fan of technical drawings in pattern instructions as it makes it very clear to see which seams get attached where. The top came together really easily and there were no surprises here.

Final Impressions 9/10

I went for the short-sleeved round neck option. I sewed it up in some DBP I had leftover from making a pair of leggings earlier in the year. I originally bought this fabric because it was on sale and I love the feeling of brushed fabrics although camo isn’t really my style. So to mix it up a bit I actually used the wrong side of the fabric as the outside of this tee to give it a much more muted colour scheme. To match with the sporty feel of the Greenstyle creations vibe I reverse cover stitched the hems and neckline. I made a size E at the bust and blended to an F at the waist and hip with no other adjustments. The fit is maybe a little looser than I had expected from some of the photos on the website but the general shape fits me well.

Total score 33/50

Thanks for reading this review of the Green Tee. If you want to know how this compares to some of the other free tee patterns out there be sure to check out my other reviews and the full list of free tee patterns available that I hope to conquer over the next few months!

Have you sewn up this pattern? What did you think of it?

Helen

p.s. to keep up with my makes as part of this #HSewsFreeTees project you can follow along on Instagram

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Green Tee by Greenstyle Creations. Free sewing pattern review
Green Tee by Greenstyle Creations. Free sewing pattern review

Fibre Mood Mira Dress

Hey Everyone, it seems like all I have shared for quite a while now is free t-shirt patterns so I thought it was time to share a “proper” make with you! The Mira dress by Fibre Mood is a little bit outside of my usual style but I have loved every single one that I have seen pop up on my Instagram feed so I thought that perhaps I should give it a try. I have actually been put off woven garments for a while as I always struggle with the fit and it seemed like so much effort to get it just right compared to knits.

For the past few months, I have been taking part in “Elevate your Sewing” an online sewing membership run by CL Hardie aka The Thrifty Stitcher. The Zoom classes together with the encouragement of all the lovely members have really given me a confidence boost in finding a good fit and mastering a number of sewing techniques. In the three months that I have been a member I have already seen an improvement in my sewing but especially in my confidence to diagnose and fix fit issues with my handmade garments.

Despite the flouncy style not being in my usual wardrobe repertoire I really like the shape. I have always struggled with summer clothes – I don’t like anything too short or strappy, but get too hot in my go-to jeans and t-shirts so this easy breezy dress looked like it might just fit the bill. I had 6 metres of viscose twill from Pound fabrics (3m in a green/black camo (ish) print and 3m of a plain bright blue) so I had plenty fabric to play with to get the fit just right. I do love my final garment but it certainly wasn’t easy sailing to get there. Read on to find out all the alterations I had to make (WARNING: Its a long one so strap in!).

 

 

if you are just here for the pretty pictures …keep scrolling for some more of this beautiful dress

Version 1: Top length in green/black twill

Based on my measurements I opted for the size 38 and added a 1/2inch FBA (1″ total increase). This is a fairly standard adjustment for me so I was more than happy to make that change to the pattern before cutting any fabric. Somehow, figuring out which size I wanted to cut took me so much longer than usual as I was having a complete mental block on the fact that the measurements were only in cm!

I then went ahead and cut out the fabric and stitched up the top. I foolishly didn’t do any fitting as I was going as the loose flowy style of the garment seemed like it couldn’t really cause too many problems. The top came together really easily and there are some lovely finishing touches like the bias bound neckline and the slit in the upper back with a hook and eye closure so I had a lot of fun constructing the garment.

However, when I went to try it on I realized that the fit was not at all good! Strangely for me, the front fits me almost perfectly,  but it was the back where all the problems were. For starters, it was way too big – so much so that the hook and eye just won’t stay closed as there is no tension holding it. It gapes quite a lot where the back slit is and sags down quite a lot at the centre back with the weight of the gathered tier.

I found that taking photographs from each side is a really good way to assess the fit issues objectively. With a photograph, I can look at the garment and think about the problem areas without focussing on my body – which inevitably happens when you look in the mirror. Definitely, a fit hack I would recommend to everyone!

I started pinning out the excess and took 2inches out of the back width! Only then did the top start to sit a bit better on me. I actually took out the width from the centre of the shoulder seams all the way down to the bottom of the back bodice piece. You can see from the pictures that the shoulder seams are hanging over my shoulders by quite a way so this seemed like a good way to reduce both the back width and take some of that length out of the shoulder seams too.

To make this adjustment on the pattern I just cut the back bodice right down the entire length and overlapped by 1″ (2″ total removed across the whole back). To make the corresponding change to the front shoulder seam I did a narrow shoulder adjustment using the slash and spread method shown here. I took 1″ out at just the shoulder seam as I didn’t want to change the fit across the bust at all.

I was also finding I had very restricted movement in my arms as the underarm was really too low for me. To fix that I followed this video tutorial to lift the armscye by half an inch on the front and back bodice. This involved a corresponding change of 1″ on the sleeves.

So to summarize the fit issues and solutions I found for my first top:

  • narrow back – remove 1″ from back bodice vertically from the centre shoulder to bottom of the bodice
  • narrow shoulder – slash and overlap front shoulder by 1″ (front only)
  • restricted arm movement – raise armscye by half an inch on the bodice and 1″ on sleeves

Version 2: Another top length in green/black twill

After pinning out all these changes on my top and transferring them to the pattern I was hoping that my second version would be a success. I whipped up another top in the same fabric and this one was in fact wearable!

(Ignore the raincoat hung over the door – we had a bit of a downpour earlier and had run out of space to dry things!)

Looking at my photographs I could see the shoulders were sitting better and there was less gaping at the back. The horizontal lines were also sitting better but there is still some dragging down at the back.

I decided to wear this one around the house for a little while too, just to see how it was comfort-wise and if there were any areas I felt restricted. The top stayed on well and the hook and eye closure wasn’t falling open. It still pulls down a little at the back but not anywhere near as bad as before. I have a much bigger range of motion in my arms and overall the fit is a lot better. However, after my successes with the alterations, I decided I could make it even better as it was still not perfect.

Again I started pinching and pinning and looking as objectively as I could at the fit of the garment. I decided the back neckline was still a bit too loose and pinched out 2cm from each side (For this part of the fitting my brain had switched to metric so apologies for the change in measurements but I want to share everything as I did it). To transfer this to the pattern I added some darts to the back bodice neckline. I also narrowed the centreback some more by cutting the entire length of the bodice about 1 cm in from the centre back and overlapping it by 1.7cm

I then shifted my attention to the front. Although at first glance the fit seemed fine there was definitely some fine-tuning to be done. Now the shoulder was fitting properly it seemed like the front armscye was protruding past my arm socket so I pinched that out by 1.4 cm. To transfer this to the pattern I actually undid the narrow shoulder adjustment from the previous version. I then did an L shaped slash and spread from the centre of the shoulder seam to the bottom third of the armscye and moved this in by the 1.4 cm I had pinched out. I then readjusted the shoulder seam using the slash and spread method as before to be the same length as the back (approx 1cm smaller).

I also noticed the position of the shoulder seam was not right on my body. It was fine at the shoulder but angled toward the back of my neck so I marked my preferred position with pins. To make this change on the pattern I simply cut off a wedge from the front bodice at the shoulder corresponding to the line I marked on the top and stuck it onto the back bodice piece. (This step was particularly aided by the absence of seam allowances on the Fibre mood patterns – I imagine it could be trickier if you had to measure out where all the sewing lines were).

Finally, I decided the sleeves were quite wide (this was a style preference and nothing to do with the fit so I narrowed them by 1.4cm.

So to summarize the fit issues and solutions I found for my second top:

  • narrow back neckline- add darts to back neckline, 2cm width at neckline and approximately 6 cm in length angled toward the fullest part of the shoulder blade
  • narrow at centre back – remove 1.7cm from the full length of the back bodice
  • narrow front armscye – L shaped slash from centre shoulder to lower third of armscye. Overlap by 1.4cm (readjust narrow shoulder from the previous toile to accommodate this)
  • change line of shoulder seam by removing a wedge from the front bodice and adding it to the back bodice
  • narrow sleeves by 1.4cm

Version 3: Dress length in blue viscose twill

With all of my changes transferred to the pattern, I set out to make what I hoped would be my final version. I sewed up the bodice and had a quick try on to check I was happy with the fit. It seemed perfect so I decided to go for it and make this version into a dress.

From a lot of the pictures I’ve seen this dress comes up very short – which is not something I’d wear so I decided to go cautiously and add 1.5″ to the length of the first tier and tried it on. I then measured the length for the second tier (I went with 12.5″) to have the dress finish at knee length. As I was adding the second tier I decided to take out some of the fullness (approximately 8 inches) as it seemed like it was going to be very extra(!) and seeing as this style was already outside of my comfort zone I didn’t want to push it too far.

I am really pleased with the dress – it is perfect for summer. It is so light and breezy but I don’t feel like I have lots of skin on show which is my usual problem with summer clothes. It’s definitely a new style for me but I am pretty smitten and this colour is perfect. I often struggle to add anything bright to my wardrobe and when I do it is inevitably blue but when it makes me this happy I guess I’d be a fool not to!

If I had to pick fault with this final version I’d say I have narrowed the sleeves a bit too much and it feels a little tight on my biceps but that is such a minor thing compared to the changes I’ve made.

It has certainly been an experiencing getting this dress to fit but I would definitely say its been worth it – I’ve got a beautiful dress and I’ve learnt a lot along the way!

To anyone who has stuck with me this far – thank you. I hope this post has been interesting/useful for you. I’d love to hear how you’ve got on with the Fibre Mood patterns – I really like some of the other patterns but I’m concerned they will all need this much work!

Helen

 

 

ps. if you want to keep up with all my latest makes why not follow me on Instagram!

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Free Tee Review: Basic InstincT by SecondoPiano

I’m getting a bit behind myself with my free tee review blog posts, over the last few weeks I have sewn up a few different free tee patterns but finding the time to photograph them and write the review is proving tricky so you’ve got a few more on their way but for now, here is one I have photographed…The Basic InstincT by SecondoPiano

To recap, I am hoping to get through as many of the free tee patterns as possible (you can find the full list here) and let you know what I think of them. For each tee pattern, I review I will look at 4 different aspects of the pattern: the options available (including different looks and size ranges), how easy it is to get hold of the pattern, printing and assembling the pdf, and the instructions/construction. For each of these four categories, I will give the pattern a score out of ten. I will also give a score out of ten for my version of the pattern (including thoughts on the fit and overall impressions). So in total, each tee will get a score out of 50 making it really easy to compare these patterns.

Basic InstincT is a t-shirt with a relaxed cut and contemporary silhouette with a crew neckline.

 

Options available 1/10

The Basic InstincT comes in 5 sizes XS-XL covering bust measurements of 32-42.5 inches. The design is singular, in that there are no alternative options for different length, sleeves, or necklines. If you want a good simple tee then this might be it but don’t expect anything fancy from this pattern

Getting hold of the pattern 9/10

To get the t-shirt pattern you need to first subscribe to the email list for the SecondoPiano blog. You can find the sign-up box is here. I received an email back straight away asking me to confirm my subscription by clicking the link in the email. A few minutes later I received a second email with a link to download the pattern. This immediately downloads a zip file with all the contents you need to get going. So compared to some other patterns it’s a pretty simple and speedy process. The zip file contains separate instructions and pattern in both English and Italien.

 

Printing and assembling the pdf 2/10

As with all pdf patterns, this one has a test square that you should measure to check that you are printing at the correct scale. Unfortunately, this one is marked as 10x10cm and 4x4in print test – it can’t be both(!) as 10cm is about 3.9 inches. In my case, it measured 10cm exactly and somewhere around 3.9 inches so I had to assume it was correct and go ahead with printing the rest of the pattern. As this pattern also comes in Italian I am assuming that the cm is the correct measurement anyway as this is more common in European patterns but it is something to watch out for if you usually only measure in inches!!

The line to trim the sheet down when sticking all the sheets together was very faint and hard to see making it difficult to piece together the pdf pages. Also, the page numbers are marked on each sheet but there is no way to know without checking the lay-plan which pages should join together in which order.

However, compared to some other patterns the cutting lines were much thinner (but also dark enough to see) which makes for much more accurate sizing – when the lines are thick there can be a few mm difference in garment size whether you cut on the inside or outside of the line!

I have to admit a lot of the markings on this pattern were unfamiliar to me and I found myself having to look a lot at the key explaining the markings. Now, this is most likely my problem (not the fault of the designer) However, having made a lot of things from a lot of different designers it did surprise me somewhat – even down to the fact that some of the markings I thought I recognized meant something different here (such as a wavy line being used to indicate stretch direction when to me it initially sprung to mind gathering). I was also somewhat thrown by the stitching lines being marked directly on the pattern (as well as cut lines) – I thought these were another set of cut lines at first and nearly cut out the whole thing in completely the wrong size :(

Instructions and construction 2/10

I must have attempted to read the instructions for this pattern 5 times before I started making the garment and I still could not make head nor tail of them! The main set of instructions is a very short bullet-pointed list with the key steps, these are fine if you have made a number of t-shirts before and no what you are doing but they are rather minimal if you are a beginner. However, these instructions are hidden among pages of technical line drawings which I found very confusing and did not seem to match with any of my previous experience of t-shirt construction.

There is also a lengthy section on stripe matching. This pattern has quite a lot of extra markings on t which will supposedly help with this task. For me, they were just a lot of additional markings that added to the confusion of all the strange markings I was already unfamiliar with. I was also very confused by the instructions for stripe matching which would have you increase the depth of the shoulder (using a slash and spread method) according to the width of your stripes.  I think perhaps this method would allow you to get the perfect stripe-matched garment, so long as you don’t mind altering the fit of your t-shirt!

Luckily for me, I have made plenty of t-shirts by now so I opted to abandon the instructions and plough ahead on my own. Despite this haphazard approach, the t-shirt came together really well. Partly, due to the number of notches on this pattern which are plentiful! The only place I struggled was with the neckline because there were oh so many notches I think I must have marked the wrong ones and so couldn’t get them to line up at all so I just quartered it and inserted as normal!

Final Impressions 8/10

Despite the difficulties with the instructions on this one I really like the fit and style. It also came together really quickly, helped by there being lots of notches on the pattern which can sometimes be lacking in other t-shirt patterns.

I decided to not try a stripy fabric for this one, despite there being a large section of instructions to help with stripe matching mostly because I was already overwhelmed by the complicated instructions and the unfamiliar markings on the pattern so I didn’t want to add something else to the mix. I did go with a contrast neckband though to add a little something extra to this otherwise very simple design.

My measurements put me exactly half-way between a small and medium across bust, waist, and hips which is unusual for me but a nice surprise. Based on the finished measurements I decided to go for the small as it is a relaxed fit and I think I made the right choice, perhaps a little more space in the bust would be nice but it’s certainly not a bad fit.

Total score 34/50

Thanks for reading this review of the BasicInstincT. If you want to know how this compares to some of the other free tee patterns out there be sure to check out my other reviews and the full list of free tee patterns available that I hope to conquer over the next few months!

Have you sewn up this pattern? What did you think of it?

Helen

p.s. to keep up with my makes as part of this #HSewsFreeTees project you can follow along on Instagram

Want to save this article for later? Pin this:Basic Instinct by SecondoPiano. Free sewing pattern review

Basic Instinct by SecondoPiano. Free sewing pattern review
Basic Instinct by SecondoPiano. Free sewing pattern review

Free Tee Review: The Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuti

phew! What a rollercoaster the last few weeks have been! SInce my last blog post (the review of the laundry day tee) I started feeling a lot better, went back into work for an hour or so a day as I built up my strength, managed nearly 2 weeks and then got sent home because of lockdown! I have now been working from home for nearly 3 months and I have to admit it feels like the new normal. Having been confined to my house due to illness for nearly 6 months prior to lockdown I am jsut grateful to have my health back and at least now that everyone is in the same boat I feel  far less isolated than before. For the first few weeks, whilst all of this was new I decided to get stuk into a meaty project and sewed up a pair of Dawn jeans but after that I quickly realised that what I needed int he lockdown was comfy clothes. So here we are, back on the t-shirts. The next free t-shirt pattern I have been longing to make up is the Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuti. This one is a bit of a cult classic in the sewing community – rarely a week goes by when one doesnt pop up on my instagram feed and I can see why. Teh shape of the tee is timeless and works looks great ina  range of different prints as well as plains. So Id ecided now was the time to get to making my own!

To recap, I am hoping to get through as many of the free tee patterns as possible (you can find the full list here) and let you know what I think of them. For each tee pattern, I review I will look at 4 different aspects of the pattern: the options available (including different looks and size ranges), how easy it is to get hold of the pattern, printing and assembling the pdf, and the instructions/construction. For each of these four categories, I will give the pattern a score out of ten. I will also give a score out of ten for my version of the pattern (including thoughts on the fit and overall impressions). So in total, each tee will get a score out of 50 making it really easy to compare these patterns.

The Mandy Boat Tee is a is boxy top with drop shoulders, which has a boat neckline. I’ve long been an admirer of Tessuti patterns but have never made anything of theirs so this free pattern provides the perfect chance to try out a new designer with none of the risks of splurging on a pattern only to be disappointed.

Options available 2/10

The size range on the Mandy boat tee is one of its biggest downfalls. It comes in just 4 sizes covering a bust size range of just 31 – 45 inches. THe boxy style does make up for the coarse sizes a little as there si no need for a fitted look anywhere and so a wide range of sizes are captured in each bracket. I terms of options, you get a choice of sleeve length: 3/4 or full.

Getting hold of the pattern 10/10

This is one of the easiest free patterns to get your hands on. The pdf version of this pattern is free on the website. Just add it to your shopping bag and go to checkout. You need to fill in some details but no payment information is required as the pattern is free. Confusingly, you do need to click “pay now” to place the order but as soon as you do a link will appear that you can click to get the downloads.

Printing and assembling the pdf 9/10

For the print test square on this one, it is a nice big 10cmx10cm box so plenty to room to check if your printer is even slightly out! My test box measured fine but it was on the very outside of the lines (which are quite thick), putting the pattern together was nice and straightforward – the edges of each page are marked with letters (rows) and numbers (columns) so it is really quick to see which page fits where. The pages did need trimming but the lines were very clear and everything lined up nicely when it came to sticking it all together.

Instructions and construction 5/10

Unfortunately for me all the measurements are only in cm and so it took me a while to work out which size I wanted as I know my measurements in inches off the top of my head but not in cm. Although, it did make me measure myself again rather than convert from imperial to metric so maybe there is something positive in that! I found the instructions reasonably clear but having made a lot of t-shirts I am fairly happy with the order of constructions and most of the techniques. I think for a new sewer or someone new to this type of garment these instructions would be a bit sparse. Also, the instructions in this pattern do assume you have an overlocker – of course there are ways to work around this if you don’t, but they are not explained in the pattern.

The only deviation I made from the pattern was to use my coverstitch instead of a twin needle for the neckline and hems. This did mean that there was a bit of switching over to do between coverstitch and overlocker as the pattern has you sew the neckline first before constructing the garment and then hem at the end. This was a bit faffy but in my opinion worth it – the finish is really neat.

Final Impressions 8/10

I am pretty pleased with this one. I really like the neckline – sometimes boat necks can sit a bit too wide on me and you get a flash of my bra straps now and again but this one seems to be just perfect! I think perhaps it has something to do with the little dart at the shoulder seam that you add right at the end, giving it a tiny bit more shaping.

Based on my measurements I needed to cut a size 2 but I was right at the bottom end of that size range. Seeing as there are only four sizes they are pretty big size ranges and I definitely think I could have got away with the smaller size, but it doesn’t look ridiculously oversized or anything – so I guess if you are unsure just go with your measurements but if you are not after a super oversized fell I wouldn’t be afraid to size down.

I chose the 3/4 sleeve option and in truth, it is more like bracelet length on me so I probably could have shortened the sleeves a bit, although I’m not mad at it. I think it would have been a different story had I gone with the full-length sleeves as I’m certain they would have been way too long. However, as the pattern does not contain any finished measurements its all guesswork unless you want to get the ruler out and start measuring the pattern pieces – but for a free pattern I really didn’t think it was worth it!

Total score 34/50

Thanks for reading this review of the Mandy Boat tee. If you want to know how this compares to some of the other free tee patterns out there be sure to check out my other reviews and the full list of free tee patterns available that I hope to conquer over the next few months!

Have you sewn up the Mandy Boat tee? What did you think of it?

Helen

p.s. to keep up with my makes as part of this #HSewsFreeTees project you can follow along on Instagram

Want to save this article for later? Pin this:Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuti. Free sewing pattern review

Mandy Boat tee - Tessuti. Free sewing pattern review
Mandy Boat tee - Tessuti. Free sewing pattern review

Free Tee Review: The Laundry Day Tee by Love Notions

Who’s ready for another free tee review? I know its been a while since the last one but my sew-jo came back and i’d been tucking in to some meatier sewing projects after a long break due to illness. However, now we are all in lockdown and working from home is the new normal I have realised that comfy clothes are going to be my go-to wardrobe for the foreseeable future and lets face it in times like this we all need to find comfort where we can – so I whipped up a new free tee and now I can let you all know what I thought!

To recap, I am hoping to get through as many of the free tee patterns as possible (you can find the full list here) and let you know what I think of them. For each tee pattern, I review I will look at 4 different aspects of the pattern: the options available (including different looks and size ranges), how easy it is to get hold of the pattern, printing and assembling the pdf, and the instructions/construction. For each of these four categories, I will give the pattern a score out of ten. I will also give a score out of ten for my version of the pattern (including thoughts on the fit and overall impressions). So in total, each tee will get a score out of 50 making it really easy to compare these patterns.

The Laundry Day tee is semi-fitted at the bust with a flare at the bottom and has set-in sleeves. Love Notions are another new-to-me pattern company so I love that they have a free pattern available to try them out!

Options available 10/10

The Laundry Day Tee (updated version from January 2020) comes with three neckline options- scoop, v-neck & cowl as well as five sleeve lengths- tank, short, elbow, 3/4 and long. You also get to choose from a regular tee shirt length, tunic length & dress. The tunic and dress lengths have an optional high/low hem. This means there is a whopping 75 different combinations possible from this one pattern! There are also 9 different sizes available (overbust size 31″-55″) all available both with and without a full bust adjustment included (for those whose full bust is 4″ or more bigger thant their overbust).

Getting hold of the pattern 5/10

You need to add the laundry day tee to your shopping cart. first. You then need to join the Love Notions Facebook group (they are really quick to approve new members, although you may need to wait a little while). In the announcements section of the Facebook group you can find a discount code. Just copy that code into the coupon code box at checkout. You then need to fill in your billing address but no need to add any payment information. You can then choose to download either the print at home file or the copy shop print file.

Printing and assembling the pdf 3/10

There is a set of instructions listing only the pages you need to print for each version. It is good to stick to this as the pattern comes with two different sets of sizing (one standard and one with an FBA included). So if you print the whole lot you will get both of these for all sizes available as well as all the instructions and that’s a lot of paper!

The pages are no trim which saves a lot of time you just line the edge of one page up with a line on the next and stick it down. You do need to be careful that there are two different lines you could line up with – a solid line if you have printed on letter paper or a dashed line if you print on A4 paper (like me!). The only thing that i found a little confusing when sticking together this pdf is that the pages are numbered rather than given coordinates (eg B3 indicating the second column third row). This means you do need to pay attention to where the pages go when sticking them together by following the plan in the instructions rather than just jumping straight in.

Note: After assembling the pattern I realised something had gone wrong with the vertical alignment. All of the pages in each row were aligned nicely but there was a jump in between each row. I trimmed the bottom off each page and it lined up nicely so be warned – i don’t think this pattern truly is a “no trim” pattern.

Instructions and construction 9/10

The instructions in this pattern are nice and clear with line drawings to guide you. The drawings make it super clear which is the right/wrong side of the fabric and where exactly stitching lines should go. There is also some brief instructions for lengthening and shortening as well as a link to a nursing hack.

Sometimes you just have to twirl!

Final Impressions 10/10

This isn’t my usual style of t-shirt – I usually go for something much lass flared and tend to avoid the tunic length but I have already worn this so much since I made it. It is the perfect throw-on garment for during this lockdown! I made the tunic length with a scoop neck and 3/4 sleeves and tend to just throw it on over a pair of leggings and it is the most comfy outfit without looking too much like pyjamas. The fabric is a cotton jersey but it is very thin so I’m not sure how much I will wear it out of the house but for now that is not a problem!! I really love the FBA included in the pattern and it actually fits me really well, it is a little loose but it is in keeping with the style.

Total score 37/50

Thanks for reading this review of the Laundry day tee. If you want to know how this compares to some of the other free tee patterns out there be sure to check out my other reviews and the full list of free tee patterns available that I hope to conquer over the next few months!

Have you sewn up the Laundry Day tee? What did you think of it?

Helen

p.s. to keep up with my makes as part of this #HSewsFreeTees project you can follow along on Instagram

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Laundry Day tee - Love Notions.  Free sewing pattern review

MIY MARCH 20 – WEEK 3 – Refashion It

Wow, what a week! I went from being at work on Monday to setting up my home office on Tuesday to feeling like the apocalypse has now begun! The time has gone by in such a whirlwind and I have to say the love in the online sewing community has been phenomenal. Everyone is taking the time to make sure the small businesses we know and love are supported through these trying times, people are giving each other a platform to find new sewing friends and most importantly everyone is being so kind! In fact, the week has been so overwhelming I almost completely forgot about this weeks MIY March prompt. However in true Keep calm and carry on spirit I really wanted to write this blog and take a few minutes for myself to return to normality.

This week Portia Lawrie is guest hosting and asking us to think about refashioning. This is not something I have done a lot of as I tend to not really buy anything new and the old clothes I do have (from before I made my own) tend to be well worn and i love them the way they are. However, when I did a bit of an overhaul of my wardrobe last autumn I came across a couple of things that I loved for one reason or another but just did not wear them so I sat down and thought about how I could refashion them to get the most out of them.

The first was my Phoebe dress (pattern by Sew Over It). When this pattern first came out I fell immediately in love with it – it looked like the perfect staple for my work wardrobe. However after I made it up I just didn’t like the shape of it on me. The blouse had too much fabric in the front. So I cut it apart and added some elastic to the skirt waist – now it gets load of wear and I will use the fabric from the top for pocket linings or some other small project.

My Phoebe dress that just didn’t feel right…maybe too much fabric at the front?

…so I chopped the top off and added elastic to the waist to make a very well worn pencil skirt

 

The second item was a dress that was my absolute favourite during my uni days. I bought it from a small independent shop in Sheffield (circa 2006) and wore it on many a night out. Unfortunately, the dress is so short I cannot even imagine wearing it out of the house anymore. I decided to turn it into a tunic so I removed the shirring elastic from the waistline and gave it a really good press to get the fabric to lie flat again and now I have found a whole new love for this forgotten garment.

My favourite dress for a night out at uni and a photo of what I can only assume was a very serious reconstruction of grease lightning

 

The refashioned version of my dress minus the shirred waist makes for a lovely tunic, perfect for pairing with jeans and a cardi – oh how times have changed!

 

In fact, now I am working from home this look has become my uniform – weirdly it contained no memades at all other than this refashion. I don’t know if it is the old familiarity of the shop-bought items from my uni days that I find comforting in this difficult time or if I just really need to make some proper jeans!!

Have you refashioned anything? How did you find the process? was it a small tweak like mine to make an old item wearable again or a complete overhaul of a garment into something completely new? 

Helen

 

 

 

p.s. want to keep up with my latest makes? Head on over to my Instagram for all the latest makes and in-progress shots!

MIY MARCH 20 – WEEK 2 – Sharing and Caring

This month I’m taking part in MIY March. This is an annual challenge from Wendy Ward. It started out as a daily photo challenge on Instagram but this year Wendy is slowing things down and there are weekly prompts to get us all to slow down, think, write and read.


If you missed my blog post for week 1 you can catch up and read it here but now let’s get stuck straight in with week 2! The theme this week is sharing and caring and there are 4 key topics that we are addressing:

  • where to source materials
  • sewing tips
  • looking after our me mades
  • treasured textiles

So let’s dive straight in!

Where to source materials

This is one I’m still struggling with a little as I’d love to buy sustainably produced fabrics made with only those fibres that are least damaging to the environment, however the big barrier there is always price. Unfortunately, cheap fabrics often tend to be the most polluting and are produced with little care for the environment. Instead I often tend to aim for a halfway house of buying deadstock or end of line fabrics. These are fabrics that have been produced for fashion in high quantities to produce a particular range of garments and inevitably there is an overstock – they are then often sold on for home sewists to buy. These are slightly better environmentally as they were already in production and the fabric you are buying would otherwise be wasted. However, they are not without their problems – Kate from Time to Sew wrote a great blog about this which is worth a read. 

Another great source of fabrics is through fabric swaps – sometimes these can be hard to come by but if you can find one it can be a great way to both clear out your stash and find some new gems!

Sewing Tips

For me, the best tips are those that will help you create a garment that will last well and stand up to the tests of time.

The best tip I could give would be to discover your own personal style – once you have that sussed you can make clothes that you will want to wear over and over again and not just throw out with the next change in fashion. For me, this was easier said than done – the things I like to look at and sew are not necessarily what I like to wear and finding a good middle ground was tricky. I have to recommend the love to sew dream wardrobe worksheet though as I found this invaluable in defining my style and helping me to understand the colour, fabrics and silhouettes that I reach for every morning when getting dressed.

Looking after me mades

Once you have poured your heart into making a dream garment it is essential that you look after it if it is to last a long time. For me, the first step in looking after my makes comes when it is time to do the laundry. Washing clothes causes the fibres to deteriorate which is not only bad for the longevity of the clothes but can lead to water pollution as microfibres from the fabric are washed away with the dirty water. I make sure to really ask myself if my clothes really need washing every time I go to throw them in the laundry basket. If the answer is no I spritz a little freshening spray and hang them to air (my favourite is Soak flatter by the way).

If, despite my best efforts, my clothes end up damaged I do my best to prolong their life by repairing. Lately, I’ve become a little bit obsessed with visible mending – I love that it allows you to tell the story of your clothes and celebrate the fact that you have mended them rather than discard them at the first sign of wear. My favourite repair is my sashiko jeans but I’ve even got round to darning my socks!

Ripped jeans patched up and mended using sashiko stitching

Ripped jeans patched up and mended using sashiko stitching

Socks fixed using a visible meding method - grey socks and bright pink darning

Socks fixed using a visible mending method – grey socks and bright pink darning

Treasured textiles

I’m not really one for sentimentality so I don’t really treasure textiles for that reason but those that have both function and beauty have a special place in my heart! In particular, this blanket I crocheted a few years ago. Unfortunately, some of the granny squares are starting to unravel so if anyone has any top tips for fixing that then I’m all ears!

 

Helen

 

 

 

p.s. want to keep up with my latest makes? Head on over to my Instagram for all the latest makes and in-progress shots!

MIY MARCH 20 – WEEK 1 – Getting to Know You (& your wardrobe)

This month im taking part in MIY March. This is an annual challenge from Wendy Ward. It started out as a daily photo challenge on Instagram but this year Wendy is slowing things down and there are weekly prompts to get us all to slow down, think, write and read.

Week 1 of MIY March is all about introductions so here’s a bit about me for those who don’t know me:
I’m Helen and I love to sew and create a handmade wardrobe that fits me well and makes me feel great! By day I’m a research scientist interested in sustainable agriculture (if you want to learn more about that then the best place to find me is on twitter @hmetcalfe1) but when I’m not at work you can usually find me sewing or knitting or hopefully when I am a bit better (I’ve been very sick the past few months) playing the saxophone in a big band or out running with my running group!

Helen is smiling at the camera with her hands hooked into her jeans pockets. She is wearing a black and white micro-striped Peak t-shirt

My black and white Peak tee by Wendy ward is one of my most worn memades!

To get us started on our MIY March journey Wendy had asked us some questions about our sewing and handmade wardrobe so here goes:

Why is sustainable sewing important to you?

As I said before, my day job focuses on the science of sustainable agriculture and so my mind is always wandering into the realm of sustainability. I’m always looking at numbers and figures related to how much we produce and the impact of that production on the environment. It is hard to ignore the undeniable fact that we are, as a global population, currently living way beyond our means. With this in mind I try to live every part of my life in a more sustainable way and this includes my clothes. By making my own clothes I can choose the colours, textiles, and prints that I love and get a perfect fit – all of this means I am much more likely to wear the garment time and time again, rather than wear it a few times and then move on to the next trend to come along.

Helen is stood looking towaard the camera with her hands in her pockets. She is wearing blue denim SOS pants, a blue ogden cami and a grey knee-length kinder cardigan

My SOS pants are a wardrobe staple – finally i found the perfect pair of skinny jeans! and they pair wonderfully with my favourite cardigan!


What are your main motivations for sewing and making?

I love clothes. I love finding beautiful fabrics and seeing them turn into 3D garments. I love the process of construction. I love the creative outlet whilst at the same time still having the guidance of a pattern to follow. I love having clothes that fit well. I love having clothes that make me feel great. 


Why are you taking part in MIY March?

I really like taking part in challenges like MIY March as it provides a fantastic opportunity to get to know lots of different sewers and learn about their motivations and creative process. I also enjoy the way it allows me to explore my own sewing and hopefully learn something new about my self along the way.

 


Share with us your most worn and least worn makes, it’s not a naming and shaming exercise, but a collective journey of discovery.

For me, my most worn makes are always the basics: my SOS pants, black pencil skirt, black/white stripe peak tee and grey kinder cardigan get a lot of wear as I can mix and match them with other things according to my mood. If I fancy something bright and colourful then these provide the perfect backdrop, otherwise if I am feeling in the need for a muted palette I can pair them together to suit my mood. At the moment, whilst ive been at home sick, I’ve been getting a lot of wear out of my me-made leggings and comfy jumpers too.

Helen is sat cross legged on the end of a double bed. She is wearing a black Rowan jumper and turquoise pegleg leggings

My Patterns for pirates pegleg leggings and my Rowan jumper by Wendy Ward have been wardrobe staples whilst i’ve been home sick – they are just so comfy!

At the other end of the spectrum, my least worn makes tend to be the brightest and loudest prints. When I first started sewing I picked out fun and vibrant fabrics, often quilting cottons, as I was drawn to the prints and colours and the idea that I could sew things unlike anything you could find on the highstreet. However, after a few garments like this I began to realise that this was not my style and most of these fabrics are not that comfortable to wear (comfort is very important to me!)

Do you think about the sustainability of your sewing or have certain makes that you wear over and over again? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Helen

 

 

 

p.s. want to keep up with my latest makes? Head on over to my Instagram for all the latest makes and in-progress shots!

Free Tee Review: The Reagan Raglan by Bella Sunshine Designs

Let’s get stuck in with another free tee review? I actually finished this tee a while back as I batch sewed it together with my Hemlock but somehow completely forgot to take photos or write a review…oh well, better late than never!!

To recap, I am hoping to get through as many of the free tee patterns as possible and let you know what I think of them. For each tee pattern, I review I will look at 4 different aspects of the pattern: the options available (including different looks and size ranges), how easy it is to get hold of the pattern, printing and assembling the pdf, and the instructions/construction. For each of these four categories, I will give the pattern a score out of ten. I will also give a score out of ten for my version of the pattern (including thoughts on the fit and overall impressions). So in total, each tee will get a score out of 50 making it really easy to compare these patterns.

 

The Reagan raglan is a semi-fitted raglan tee and it was honestly never on my radar before I started compiling my list of free tees but its certainly one to watch out for!

Options available 10/10

There are 16 separate sizes available (overbust 30″- 59.75″) all with and without a bust adjustment already done for you (for full bust more than 3″ bigger than overbust) making it a whopping 32 different sizes available! Not only that there are also lots of styling options available too. You can choose from a v or scoop neck, and long or short sleeves. there is also the option to make it in top, tunic or dress length. In total that gives 12 different combinations and a really good size range.

Getting hold of the pattern 4/10

First of all, you need to join the Bella Sunshine Designs PDF Patterns Facebook group (they were really quick to approve me as a new member, although you may need to wait a little while). In the announcements section of the Facebook group, you can find a link to the Reagan Raglan. This will take you to a different version of the website where this pattern is listed as free. You can then add it to your cart and download the pattern.

Printing and assembling the pdf 5/10

This pattern does need trimming in order to assemble it. I took off the right and bottom edge of each page. You can then just line it up and stick it together. The only thing that I found a little confusing when sticking together this pdf is that the pages are numbered rather than given coordinates (eg B3 indicating the second column third row). This means you do need to pay attention to where the pages go when sticking them together by following the plan in the instructions rather than just jumping straight in. (I accidentally ended up with one page in completely the wrong place and had to peel the sellotape off and try again!)
For cutting out/tracing each size is labelled on the lines making it easy to doublecheck you are following the right line. At some parts where there are a lot of lines close together, this can make it a little tricky to see what’s going on though.

Instructions and construction 9/10

There are lots of helpful bits and pieces included in this pattern like how to grade between sizes or adjust for length as well as some tips for sewing with knit fabric. The instructions are nice and clear with line drawings to show each step of the construction making it really easy to see which is the right or wrong side of the fabric and exactly where stitch lines should go. This was actually my first time sewing a knit v-neckband and it went so smoothly because the instructions were so clear. I had convinced myself I would have to rip it out at least twice and was quite scared at first but I actually had no troubles at all!

Final Impressions 10/10

For this t-shirt, I opted for the t-shirt length, short sleeves and v-neck as I actually don’t have any v neck tees so it was a nice change and a challenge to try my first v neckband. I made it up in a cream and navy stripy jersey from Pound fabrics. The neckband and sleeves are a navy jersey from Minerva (leftover from my Joni dress. I absolutely love this t-shirt. I have struggled to ever find a raglan design I like, let alone love. The included FBA in this pattern worked like a dream and it fits really nicely. I don’t usually go for v-necks but I do actually like it on this design, it certainly feels in keeping with the design. Overall I am really pleased with this one – even the stripe matching is spot on!!

Total score 38/50

 

Thanks for reading this review of the Reagan Raglan. If you want to know how this compares to some of the other free tee patterns out there be sure to check out my other reviews and the full list of free tee patterns available that I hope to conquer over the next few months!

Have you sewn up the Reagan Raglan? What did you think of it?

Helen

p.s. to keep up with my makes as part of this #HSewsFreeTees project you can follow along on Instagram

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HsHandcrafts reviews the Reagan Raglan by Bella Sunshine Designs

Reagan Raglan by Bella Sunshine Designs. Free sewing pattern review

Reagan Raglan by Bella Sunshine Designs free sewing pattern review

Sewing Book Review: Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward

There are so many new sewing books being launched right now, in fact just this week I received my copy of Work to Weekend by Rachel Pinheiro and after a quick flick through I have to say it looks pretty good. But today, I am here to review a book that was released in January – Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward.

I already owned Wendy Wards last book on knit fabrics and really love the care and detail that went into it so as soon as I heard about her new book I jumped straight online to pre-order and I have to say it didn’t disappoint.

 

For a lot of us when we first start sewing we focus on outfits and garments for special occasions, after all, if we are going to put all that effort into making something it has to be outstanding and a one-of-a-kind celebration piece? Wrong. Those are the pieces that get worn once and then languish at the back of our wardrobes never to be worn again. This book celebrates the realisation that a lot of sewers make when they have a few “special” garments under their belt and they decide that if they are going to make their own clothes they want them to be seen and worn every single day. The garments in this book are all good quality everyday basics that can be mixed and matched to create an everyday wardrobe.

One thing I absolutely adore about this book is that these clothes can be made to suit anybody. I don’t just mean in terms of the style which can be mixed and matched with different fabrics, colours, textures and prints to suit your individual style. Actually, these clothes are also designed to suit any size or shape!

The projects in this book aren’t designed with men or women in mind, but with both, either, and neither. This is simply a book of clothes for people, people of all sizes, ages, genders, because good quality clothes that you can make for yourself shouldnt be restricted to just one narrow group.

It is this philosophy that makes this book stand out from all the other sewing books out there – you are given the freedom to choose and make whatever clothes you want irrespective of your size or shape. There is a lot of debate at the moment in the sewing community at the moment about inclusivity and this book goes some way to addressing not only that but also celebrates diversity of all kinds (you only have to take a look at som of models used in this book to see what I mean). Wendy’s instructions guide you step-by-step in how to adjust the pattern for a number of different needs including lengthening and shortening, grading and bust adjustments.

So, onto the patterns: as the book focusses on basics you would be forgiven for thinking there would be not much to see here, but actually, the beauty comes in the number of variations shown for each pattern. By showcasing how you can take one simple pattern, say the Felix sweatshirt and taking you through a number of variation (tunic, hoodie and jacket) you quickly realise that the possibilities are endless.

I decided to keep it simple for my first make from this book and opted to make a simple black sweatshirt, sticking to the basic pattern. I started with the smallest size (32-34″) based on my upper bust measurement (34″) and graded out to a 36-38″ at the hip. I shortened the bodice by 1″ and the sleeves by 1.5″. I then did a bust adjustment following the detailed instructions to add 3″ across the bust (1.5″ on each side).

The construction was super easy and the instructions were really clear. Before adding the cuffs and the waistband I tried it on and shortened the bodice a bit more (taking more off the front than the back as for me the length added during the bust adjustment was too much).

All in all, I really love this book and my new sweatshirt is a perfect everyday addition to my wardrobe. It is super comfy made up in a black Ponte Roma and I am sure it will get lots of wear.

Have you sewn bought Wendy’s book? What did you think of it?

Helen

p.s. to keep up with my latest makes you can follow along on Instagram

I bought this book myself and all views are my own.

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HsHandcrafts reviews Sewing Basics for Everybody by Wendy Ward

TSewing Basics for Everybody - reviewed by HsHandcrafts

Book Review: Sewing Basics for Everybody by Wendy Ward