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M4M Deanna

Holy Moly. I wasn’t planning on testing this top/dress, but when they’re lacking testers in my size, I’m terrible at saying no. Plus, my new organization means I’m not drowning in deadlines and I actually had a little extra time the week of testing! Crazy talk… Plus, I am SO glad to have jumped in!! Deanna has some beautiful options and I just love the fit!

You can rock an asymmetrical off the shoulder look, perfect slouch on top, while being more fitted through the hips, or this gorgeously large cowl, which is off both shoulders and so, so comfy. There are three lengths to choose from, but you can further choose the split hem, which is banded as either all short bands, all tall bands, or, my personal favorite, one of each for a beautiful hi-lo look. I can’t wait to make a few more of these to add some zazziness to my wardrobe. (Zazziness is totes a word and very applicable to how I feel right now.)

I thought this would be a bit complicated, but was actually a SUPER fast sew! Definitely something to whip up as a pick-me-up or even just before heading out. I love a nice, simple sew for those days where I’m either lacking motivation or have failed at a thing or two and need a win. When that simple sew ends with this stunning piece, that’s an extra win! The only part that is a little sad is it is a bit of a fabric hog when you are adding this lovely cowl. The asymmetrical option uses way less fabric, but the cowl is so worth it!!

I think the top/sweater option is super versatile.
Great for day-to-day wear, or a night out. Even a holiday sweater (next year’s comfy Christmas sweater maybe?). But the dress. Oh my, the dress. Made for Mermaids definitely has a history of assigning me dresses that I would never choose for myself and me immediately realizing I freaking love it. This is another instant win for me.

I always start these dress tests thinking, eh, if I don’t like it, I can shorten it or add some elastic to the side seams for some beautiful, easy ruching. But no need with this one! Worn just as the dress, it is screaming for a date night. But, add some tights and booties and it is super cute to wear for just about anything.

Or you can try it tied or scrunched up to tunic length with some leggings or jeans for a more comfy/casual look. This will definitely get a ton of shirt wear for me, as I am lacking date nights in my life right now. But I love having a piece that can be just what I need for any occasion, should my social life pick up. 😉

Dritz 9346C Lightweight Elastic, Clear, 3/8-Inch by 5-Yard
If you’re using a sweater knit with not so great recovery, I highly recommend adding clear elastic like this one to the shoulder and cowl seams.

Let’s talk fabric for a minute though. I used this gorgeous Sly Fox Fabrics double brushed poly for mine. I initially picked it because I was lacking long enough cuts of fabric and I grabbed the max four yards of this when it was a Sly Buy. I’m so glad I did!! I super love it! But, I definitely need to use some sweater knit for the PERFECT sweater …and sweater dress. Also, I’m thinking some ITY would be delightful as a top!

Whatever options you choose, I know you can feel gorgeous and just the right kind of fancy in the new Made for Mermaids Deanna.

Don’t forget to share yours in their Facebook group so I can check it out!! <3

Stephanie xx

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5oo4 Eleanor Cardigan

It is FINALLY FALL!!!!!  If the weather would catch up with the calendar, I’d appreciate it.  But, until then, I’m diving into my great stash of sweater knits.  We super stocked up last year and I’ve sewn so little of it!  This test was a great excuse to make some ridiculously comfortable cardigans out of some even more ridiculously comfortable fabric.

When I picked up with gloriously soft sweater knit from Sly Fox Fabrics, I had no idea what to do with it!  The coral was a bit more vibrant than I expected when I ordered it and it is very drapey and soft and I love it.  I’m so glad I bought enough for this tunic length cardigan.  It is a slightly dropped shoulder, making it extra cozy.  Plus, there’s an option for an EXTRA LONG SLEEVE!!!!  WHAT?!  Do you love squishing your hands up into your sleeves?  I know I do.  This sleeve is perfect for cozying up on the porch, on a chilly fall morning, with a cup of coffee and a great book.  (Dammit weather.  Cool down!!)  Plus these pockets are super cute. <3

Virginia also needed a comfy cardigan.  So she picked this great wide ribbed sweater knit from Sincerely Riley!!  In a beautiful grey, it is perfect for matching every outfit, ever.  She also picked tunic length, but I gave her the hooded option and the slimmer fit extra long sleeve, just because I could.

Now, there are lots of other options included in this pattern!  There’s knee and duster length.  Plus a regular sleeve length.  And a belt!!  Do you need a cozy robe cardi for lounging in the house?  This is PERFECT.  I have a couple on my to-do list for comfy cool weather, in house (but cute enough for outside) layers!  And, if you like to match your kiddos, there’s a girls’ version as well!!

Can’t wait to see what you do with these gorgeous patterns!

stephanie <3

 

 

 

 

 

This post contains various affiliate links.  Purchasing patterns using these links does not cost my readers more, but the designer does provide me with a small commission from any sales.  This commission helps to fund my fabric addiction and is greatly appreciated.

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Two Cheers for Made for Mermaids Women’s Avery

This top was so cute, that even with my stupid sprained ankle and not really being ready to jump back to sewing, I threw my name in the hat to test and hoped with all hope that I’d be chosen.  Clearly I was, win.  And dang did sewing hurt.  Worth.  Every.  Minute.  (Don’t worry.  Mostly healed now.  Also back to sewing too much.)

I LOVE unique pieces.  I’m trying really hard to step back from testing the same thing over and over.  I just find it difficult to be genuine and thorough while recommending something when I already have a great pattern for.  Please don’t misunderstand!  I’m not trying to say anything bad about any designer at all!!  Just because I’ve found the perfect basic tank pattern, doesn’t mean that pattern works for everyone or has the options everyone is specifically looking for!!  So, I hope designers keep releasing all these beautiful patterns until everyone has exactly what they need and want (read: never stop!!!  MAKE ALL THE PATTERNS).  But for me, if I already have a similar pattern, why test when I’ll have less enthusiasm?  The designer deserves more.  So does anyone reading my promo posts or blog.

But LOOK AT THIS BACK!!!  I don’t have anything like this!  So much potential!!!!!!  It is so simple, but just fantastic!  (Say fantastique with a French accent.  It’s better; I promise.)  When we started, I was pumped to tackle such a complicated twist (pun intended) on a basic tank.

Like any good tester, my first step is always to read the instructions from beginning to end.  Every.  Damn.  Word.  Usually more than once, just to make sure I’m going to sew the way the designer wants me to sew.  (This is also one of my favorite ways to learn new techniques.)  This initial read made me so damn happy.  The twist is super easy!!!  It makes sense and isn’t complicated.  Construction is clear and I wasn’t going to *need* wine to make it through.  (This, of course, does not eliminate wine from being consumed in the sewing process in any way!)

To jump topics here, I have also been meaning to sew more solids.  I LOVE PRINTS!!  Dots and stripes.  Florals and geometrics.  BRING.  THEM.  ON.  I wear them on top.  I wear them on bottom.  I mix and match them.  I just can’t get enough.  This means I always need some solids to pair with them.  Always.  I’ve had this green mystery knit for quite some time (pretty sure it is rayon spandex.  Too lazy to do a burn test and don’t really care).  Whatever it is, I loved it so much, we bought the rest of a bolt when Hancock Fabrics was closing.  I used a smidgen for this lovely Made for Mermaids Mama Sommer last summer.  (GO PACK GO!!)  But, this meant I had quite a bit left over and wasn’t sure what I wanted with it because it is quite lightweight and I wasn’t filling my closet with rayon spandex just yet.  This lightweight fabric was exactly what I needed for Avery.  Win!!

This was possibly the fastest sew ever.  I think it was faster than my usual simple tank.  I truly was expecting at the very least, the first one to take a bit of time.  Four or five hours maybe.  But, Avery went from a stack of pages to this gorgeousness in about two hours.  TWO HOURS!!!  Quite a bit less the second time (no gluing, since we wear the same size in M4M).  And only about an hour for the third.  (I imagine this is about as quick as it will get for me.  There are only so many steps that can be quicker with practice.  Also, I’d bet it’ll actually be closer to two hours each sew unless I’m making multiples in one sitting.)  So, if you’re looking for cute, unique, and you have limited time, check out Avery!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I loved it so much, I had to make one for the sister.  She looks amazing, as always.  I do love it in this wonderful Sly Fox Fabrics Brazen single brushed poly.  The extra structure hangs so beautifully.  I definitely want to try Avery in an athletic fabric.  I think the structure would be lovely and it is so fun for workouts!  (Cute workout clothes are my favorite motivation to actually go to the gym.  Anyone else use this technique?)

 

 

 

 

Have I mentioned that I have amazing friends?  We recently traveled home to celebrate the Fourth of July (check out our matching shirts!) and had to leave our kittens for an entire week.  We’ve never left them for this long and were nervous about it.  So, a couple amazing friends made time to swing by our place and check on these cute jerks.

I wanted to say thank you and the best way I can do that is give them my time and fabrics.  One sitter loves black and red and sleeves.  So, I went with the Patterns for Pirates Slim Fit Raglan and this lovely striped French Terry from Fine Fabrics (an amazing local place).

 

But, our other cat sitter loves tanks and unique pieces and peacocks.  This fabric seemed a subtle peacock inspired print.  Could be flowers.  What do I know? (Don’t tell anyone it is called Teal Rose, ok?  Definitely Peacock-y.)  This tank was perfect for her!!  We gave it to her the other night and she tried it on immediately!!  <3  Best reaction ever.

Do you need the Avery?  Are you going to sew it up?  Don’t be intimidated by the fancy twist!  Check it out and let me know what you think. 🙂

stephanie xx

PS: Virginia and I both paired our tanks with Made for Mermaids Mama Lexi shorts, because we are living in them these days.  They are ridiculously comfortable and I talked about them a ton here.  My tank is tunic length.  Virginia’s is top length.  The peacock tank is the curved hem.  (BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!)  Just in case you needed more.  It also has a dress length option.  Do remember that the sisters like us to show off our legs, so it is a short dress.  I’m not complaining.  They forced (ok…assigned) me to sew dress length so often, that I’m much more comfortable showing them now.  I’m not perfect, but I am me and that is perfect enough.  <3

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DIBY – Bravado Flare Add-on

I’m back with another DIBY pattern! This time I will try to refrain from gushing too much (see my DIBY Helen post for thoughts on the designers behind DIBY). But I am SOOOOOO excited to be talking about these jeans today.

The original Bravado pattern came out a few months ago and I desperately wanted to buy it, along with the other three jean patterns they released. They looked AMAZING!!! But, they also didn’t have any pictures of people my size on the website. Since this project is a bit more time intensive than most, my feed also wasn’t suddenly flooded with everyone making them. So, I hesitated just a bit too long and missed the sale. Boy, do I regret that!! These f***ers are AMAZING!!!!!!!

 

I spent a good bit of time altering the pattern to fit and making a muslin. Actually, that part was more time consuming than these amazing pants I ended up with. I HIGHLY recommend you read through the full instructions at least once before you even print the pattern. I mean actually sitting down, with as few distractions as your life can have, and full on focusing on the instructions. I read every single fit tip, possible issue, and alteration suggestion before I even glued my pattern together. This pattern also taught me that I’ve been adding length to my bottoms wrong! I’ve been splitting it evenly, but it turns out, I’m all thigh (insert thunder thigh joke here…) and have very little extra height below the knee. Anyone want to feel weird about their shape, but also end up with jeans that fit for realsies? Make these!

Ok, ramble over. I graded between sizes for EVERY spot. High hip, hip, thigh, knee, and calf. It can be a lot of grading. It. Is. Worth. It. I promise. Then I adjusted for height. See above for the weird feelings that brought on. But, I cut out a quick muslin out of liverpool and the fit was perfect!!!!!! I was so pumped to cut into my denim. Plus, this step eliminated all nervousness about wasting the good stuff. I should mention here, the good stuff was bought directly from DIBY and it is freaking gorgeous! This is the most fantastic quality stretch denim I have encountered!! Wow.

Now, getting back to it, I must admit, this project did take a bit longer to sew than many of my current projects (even longer than swimsuits!!), but it isn’t due to difficulty! There is just a lot of topstitching, and ironing, and switching colors (or machines, if you have multiple). All in, from cut to finish, I probably spent a good 8 hours on these suckers.

Now, you do need the original Bravado pattern AND the Flare Add-on to achieve this amazing flare. But, the Bravado has a bootleg and flood option, and the Flare Add-on has this flare and a slim flare option, so it is amazing variety!! Now, if you are so sold on these jeans that you want all the options, check out the Bespoke Jean Bundle. This one has the Bravado, the Dauphine Skinny Jeans, the Walker Shorts, AND the Augusta Motos!! It is a fantastic deal!! Plus, there is a freebie for some fun stitching options for your pockets!! I used one of them and had trouble deciding with all the cute choices. 🙂

I so hope you’ll share your DIBY jeans, regardless of the type you sew, with me! I’d love to see them!

stephanie xx

***This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my fabric habit if you purchase using my links. This doesn’t cost you anything at all! So, win/win? Thank you!***

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DIBY Helen

20180526_132003I have recently had the great pleasure of joining the DIBY team of testers.  And I need to share a confession.  When I first learned DIBY existed, I thought it stood for Do It Beautifully Yourself.  Everything I saw from them was so gorgeous!! Assumptions were made.  Oopsies.

Obviously, I’ve become much more familiar with them and I have to say, the design team at DIBY appears to strive to give their customers the best possible fit on every pattern they release.  I love that!!!  I typically only test more than once with designers that seem to actually care about a pattern working for every body and size that they draft for.  If they’ll let me, you’ll be hearing a LOT about DIBY in the future.

20180526_131731The Helen.  This dress makes me feel just lovely!  I could not be happier with the fit or the time investment to get there.  I’m a little taller than most patterns are drafted for (5’8″), so I added height where appropriate and just love how it nips in at the waist and blouses over just a touch!

I also love this single brushed poly from Sly Fox Fabrics!  It drapes just perfectly AND is cool and comfortable for these humid summer days! (This is Vivid in Teal, which they are out of.  But!!  They do still have Vivid in Olive and it is just as gorgeous!!!)
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I also ADORE that this doesn’t have elastic in the waist casing.  I can distribute the gathers to my heart’s content.  Sometimes, I like them evenly gathered.  Other times, I focus the gathers more at center back.  It also means I get exactly the tight fit I’m looking for!  Sometimes elastic is just a smidge loose and I look frumpy.  Or I overindulge at dinner and it feels a little restricting.
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There are some super cute options available with this pattern.  It also includes some amazing customization for fit!  If you are scared of a FBA on knit patterns, this is a great starting point!!  The detailed instructions are so, so clear!!!  I truly think anyone can tackle them!

So, pick up your pattern DIBY Helen and share with me just how beautiful you look in this dress.  (This is an affiliate link.  If you click it, then purchase the pattern, the designer thanks me for sending you there with a small commission.  It costs you nothing extra!)

Stephanie xx