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5oo4 Meg

I love a knit dress. They are comfy, easy to wear, and so much easier to fit than woven. A good woven dress is worth the time to fit, but we don’t all always have that extra time.

The new Meg Dress from 5 Out of 4 Patterns is a wonderful balance between the ease of knit and the fit of woven!  Meg can be made out of so many different types of knits, which will give different looks and fits.  Virginia was looking for something a little more structured, we chose a ponte knit in this gorgeous teal color! (We picked this up locally at Fine Fabrics.)

The darts on this thing are the real killer.  Even with how well endowed she is, I only made small changes to the darts between our muslin and final dresses.  I shortened her front waist darts slightly. I think the next one I’ll shorten another cm or so.  

For her bust darts, I moved them down slightly and shortened them.  But I also sewed them slightly curved rather than straight.  This gives just a little more room where we found she needed it.  

Those are all the changes!  Zipper installation was straightforward and the beautiful metal zip gives it such a polished look.  Add some statement jewelry and her favorite heels and she is ready to tackle grad school interviews or a boardroom!

There are some super cute sleeve options included too! Virginia just wanted to keep it simple. Grab your copy of Meg while the pattern is on sale and share how beautiful you feel in this pattern!

Stephanie xx

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5oo4 Sandra Tunic

Every time I see a new test and desperately want to join in, I say, no…I don’t have time right now. I’m super swamped. Especially with holiday sewing upon me. But every time I tell the amazing women of 5oo4 this, I feel terrible and usually cave. I’m SO GLAD I did this time too!!!

This new pattern is lovely! It is a quick sew and absolutely perfect for the chilly weather so many of us are enjoying right now. (I am aware that not everyone enjoys it, but it is cold whether you like it or not, might as well enjoy it while it is here, then be even more excited when it leaves.) Plus, it comes in dress length too! So if you want a cozy holiday dress, this is a fantastic choice!!

Due to the aforementioned time crunch, I decided to sew for Virginia on this test. She is a straight size, no grading, in 5oo4 patterns, so prep takes less time! And she is always so happy to have me sew her something new, so why not? We dove into fabric and assessed the stash. I should really write a post about the stash. It is a bit ridiculous… Maybe in January, after the holiday madness. Anyway, back on track… She wanted something warm, and was leaning toward mixing fabrics. Since it is a tunic and she wanted long sleeves, it is a good thing she wanted to mix it up a little! We usually buy 2 yard cuts and this one takes a little more than that for the hood and the sleeves.

Thankfully, we had this lovely floral french terry from Fine Fabrics leftover from a shirt for our sister and it matched perfectly with some of the french terry we picked up when Sly Fox Fabrics had a bunch available for preorder! This is the magenta, and it is available for retail right now!!!

Virginia loves a v-neck. And I can’t blame her, as it is a really great shape on her. She also loves a hood, so this pattern really brought the features for her!! I absolutely adore this hood/v-neck combo. I love that it is a good depth, so it isn’t all up in the choking area, even with the hood!! The construction is fun, and it is a beautiful finished look.

That, in combination with the split hem, really move this top into a top spot on my to sew list. The other options we didn’t use, include dress length, v-neck with no hood, scoop neck, scoop neck with hood, crew neck, slim sleeve, and short sleeve! Little options that make a big difference in getting just the tunic you want!

Be sure to grab your pattern here during the sale and share all the beautiful Sandra tunics and dresses you sew up! Now I’m off to make another!!

Stephanie xx

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Frocktails and Patsy

When I heard Frocktails was coming to Atlanta, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to meet some local sewing people! Bought my ticket, gave a little thought to what I had in my closet that would be cute. Just let that sit in the back of my mind and start to get excited. Then, I got an update email from them that there would be a straight up red carpet and professional photographers. What?! This obviously means I need a sparkly dress. I don’t know why, but that’s what my brain tells me.

Now I’m on the lookout for a fancy dress that isn’t too fancy, so I can wear it again if I want. Something that won’t take too long to make, but is not something I already have in my closet. I polled a few friends and got suggestions on styles they’d put me in and ended up in a style I’ve worn on a few locations. Definitely didn’t step outside my comfort zone here, as suggested, but I am just a sucker for classic, vintage vibes!!

Off to Fine Fabrics to find something inexpensive but fabulous! A few more annoying texts sent to friends to help me decide. Turns out they have so many pretty, sparkly fabrics to choose from!! And I rarely explore the fancy fabrics aisles. (That’s the official name.)

Home again to start hacking the pattern! I started with the vintage, gorgeous, ridiculously fabulous Patsy Party Dress from Rebecca Page Sewing. This has been on my “wish I had a reason to wear it” list since I saw the first line drawing. NOW I DO!!! I used the free version, but the add-on pack is amazing. Seriously gives you every fancy look you could need for a strapless dress.

This pattern also includes all the info to give structure and support so if you want to go braless and still feel supported, you can. There is info on interlining and how to add boning. There’s a blog post on adding a waist stay for even more support. (Peeps! I wrote this one! You should check it out.) In my desire to just sew quickly, I wanted to totally skipped most of this. I did interline the entire thing only because the sparkles are a little sheer. I would have added the waist stay, but ran out of time. More on that later.

Now, I love the vintage strapless look of the Patsy, but I needed to add straps. I wanted sparkly, cagey, strappy delight and I wanted that to start from more of the sweetheart neckline. I also needed to do a full bust adjustment (the free princess seam FBA download is super easy to follow and worked PERFECTLY!) A quick muslin of the bodice to check the FBA is the perfect opportunity to start this hack.

I pinned the muslin to my bra (the one I’m wearing under the dress, so everything sits in the same place) and marked how low I want the sweetheart to sit. I didn’t want to lose the vintage feel, so I didn’t go cleavage low. I took off the muslin and used my french curve to ease that point into the side of the center front piece. I didn’t want to lose any bra coverage on the side either, so just drew a nice, smooth curve. Cut off this bit and pinned it back on. It was exactly what I needed!! So a quick transfer to the pattern piece and I’m good to go!! (Keep in mind seam allowance when you do this!! You’ll lose 1/2″ from the top edge.)

The only other change I made was adding the strappy goodness. I wanted straps on straps on straps! Straps for days! Interwoven and heading in unexpected directions. Just straps. I wanted them narrow, but not so narrow that I’d throw them across the room while trying to turn them right sides out. I cut strips 1 1/4″ wide and sewed with a 3/8″ seam allowance. The fabric is super lightweight and it was really easy to turn them. Eight straps later and I’m ready to ask Virginia for help in figuring out where to place them.

This process was…fun. I clipped them to the front where I thought I wanted them. Then asked Virginia to pin me into it (that back is hard to pin myself!). Small tweaks and another check, and they are basted on; then I’m ready to figure out back placement. I tried something I thought I’d like and hated it. Virginia to the rescue! She moved straps around and clipped them where she liked them, with many photos shown to me so she could adjust and tweak. After triple checking that they were interwoven correctly (pro tip, they’re not…don’t look too close), I sewed them in between my main fabric and lining. A really good press and deciding not to understitch, and my bodice is ready to be sewn to the skirt.

Why didn’t I understitch? Well, I find those straps make it difficult to get a smooth line across the entire front of the bodice. My machine tends to bump a bit when I get to that extra thickness, and I don’t want to be sad every time I see it, or take it slow and responsible to get it right. But I still don’t want my lining sneaking out. So what the hell choice is that?! Bad sewist!! I just cheated the lining to the wrong side. When I pressed, I pulled it down a scant quarter inch lower than it is supposed to be. Really, really good press here and pinned the lining lower than the bodice all the way down, and across the bottom. Why? You might ask. Because I’m cheating on the next step too.

The pattern has stunning finishes, inside and out. But, I’m looking for quick and dirty and this is just for me. So, I’m not doing the lining how it is suggested. I’m treating the entire bodice as one at this point. Sewed my skirt on, then attached my zipper, after adjusting the back to take out extra width since my fabric stretched out a bit during construction (this step is included in the pattern and is one of the most important ones to get the right fit. It is worth the extra time. Promise!). Usually the zipper would be sandwiched in between the outer and lining, so there is no way it sneaks out and is seen. But, I’ve got straps RIGHT THERE. They give me some coverage for a little seam allowance sticking up. I can serge the back edge, make sure to get that zipper tape fully secured, then, if needed (and only if needed), it can be tacked to the lining with just a few hand stitches. Then I won’t even need those straps as a just in case. Yeah, I’m lazy. But I just saved myself from hand sewing the bodice lining all the way around the waist. Calling it a win!

That’s it. The dress just needed a hem and it was good to go! I left it hanging to let it stretch out fully. Hemmed it and decided if it needed a waist stay. (Why not? It doesn’t take long.) It turns out I ran out of time for hemming though. The outer fabric needed to be hemmed by hand. It was just the prettiest option and it. Took. Forever. So my lining is currently unhemmed and I didn’t have time to add a waist stay. I finished the outer hem an hour before I needed to leave. Whoops! Still had to pick some shoes, and a hairstyle. Thankfully, I played with some lippie options and watched youtube videos to learn how to put stuff on my face earlier in the week. A little help from the sister and I’m off to Frocktails.

This event was really fun. It was cool to be in a place where everyone had this crazy, common interest. I met some awesome new people. Some from just around the corner, some a bit further away. Some brand new, but oh so impressive, sewists, and some ridiculously experiences sewists!

I did finally get to meet Jessica, from 5 Out of 4 Patterns! She lives not too, too far from me and we’ve never met! That was cool as hell! And the superstar Aaronica, who is as fabulous in person as expected!!

All in, it was a really cool night. My feet and throat hurt (I’m old, but the music was too loud), and I definitely had a slow start this morning, but it was a night I won’t soon forget! If you have a Frocktails event near you, I highly recommend making some time.

Stephanie xx

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5oo4 Mambo No. 5

Holy skirts, Batman! I love when designers give a little bonus to sewists. This bundle is definitely a fantastic bonus as all the waistbands are interchangeable! What a fun way to completely change the look of each skirt!! I’m going to talk about all the skirts in this bundle, so sit tight and prepare to enjoy!!

All of these skirts are intended to sit at the natural waist, but the joy of sewing means you can really where them wherever you’re comfortable. Just keep in mind that moving up or down will mean changing up where the hem sits too! If you prefer your skirts a little lower rise, and you want a mini length, you’re definitely going to need to take up some height. Super easy, just don’t forget!

There is one skirt in this bundle that isn’t new. Good news! It is a freebie!! Luna is a classic circle skirt. She has a knit or elastic waistband option and a couple of lengths to choose from. I didn’t sew up the Luna in this batch of skirts because I already have a couple circle skirts and really wanted to highlight this new ones. But if you’re in the market for a circle skirt, this freebie is a great choice!!

Let’s start with Monica! Monica is a gorgeous pleated skirt. When we started, I honestly thought this would look terrible on me. Pleated skirts on these hips. Pssshh. I admit I was so wrong. This is one of my new favorite skirts!! I’m loving the wide pleats and the contour waistband. There is also a super cute tie available!! Plus, it can be anywhere from mini to maxi!

My Monica is made from some mystery knit from Fine Fabrics, here in Atlanta. The right side looks like hacci, but the wrong side looks like cotton lycra. So it is probably a cleverly printed sweater-look CL. Either way, it is a lovely mid-weight, with great recovery! I paired it with a basic tee with some flair, that I already blogged about here, and am thrilled with the outcome!

Erica, sweet Erica. I kept it super simple for this one and chose the most basic waistband. If you want less sweet, the lace up option adds a good bit of sass to the skirt! Erica is a classic half circle skirt. She is everything I want in a skirt. A little bit of twirl, the perfect fit, and this knee length is perfect for all things!

I used a wonderful liverpool from Sly Fox Fabrics for this skirt. So fun and happy, plus I love me some liverpool. And I paired it with this top from testing forever ago that apparently I haven’t blogged about. Remind me to do that. Another Sly Fox Fabric though, with more stretch lace instead of neckbands. I’ve already worn this outfit to work and am completely in love with it!

Rita is a fantastic pencil skirt with some great options! Obviously, you can go completely classic, as I did. But she also comes with fun seam lines, which continue on up to the waistband! I went for Regular Rita all the way, with the plain waistband, but decided to try the mini length! I haven’t worn a mini skirt, probably ever. BUT I LOVE THIS!!

Paired with this great tie front top, I feel cute and sassy and ready for anything. I used a wonderful ponte for Rita, and of course, always love ponte for fitted skirts! It is smooth and beautiful, and forever comfortable! Be sure to take care of your ponte, because it can pill pretty bad if you wash or dry it on super hot, or with abrasive stuff like jeans. But with a little care, Rita in ponte will give you a fun skirt that is timeless!

Now Tina. Oh, Tina. I stepped outside of my comfort zone again with Tina and these suspenders. Definitely not a look I’ve ever tried before (maybe as a kid, who knows?) Tina is an a-line skirt and she sure adds some fun waistbands to this collection! I chose the cross front, which gets a little lost in my plaid, but trust me that it is fun! You can also choose a scoop front!! And there is a super cute ruffle you can add to the bottom!!

Tina is made of some sort of double knit, also from Fine Fabrics. It is luxuriously soft, with a wonderful spandex content, so the recovery rocks. I paired it with this great shirt, all tucked in and showing off those suspenders!

Now I think you need a little bit of Monica in your life. A little bit of Erica by your side. A little bit of Rita is all you need. A little bit of Tina is what you see. 😉 (I’d apologize, but the song has been stuck in my head for weeks.) Don’t forget to grab your free Luna and check out the entire bundle here!

Stephanie <3

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5oo4 Escapade

So, I tested this pattern way back in the way back and I just adored it. Super cute and a surprisingly quick, considering it looks complicated. I just love the two tanks I made. I’ve worn them dozens of times and I’m a little disappointed in myself for not going back to make more (isn’t that always the way).

A few weeks ago, Virginia and I were powering through some new swimwear before we went on vacation and I suggested the 5 Out of 4 Escapade as a swim tank for her. It comes with full bust adjustment options, provides really great support, even without adding all the extra foam cups and whatnot, and has the thinner straps she has been asking for. Perfect!! She freaking loved it!! Plus, we got to use this kick ass “cereal” fabric I found at Fine Fabrics.

Now that she loves it, what a perfect pattern to pair with this gorgeous fabric!! We picked it up from So Sew English, and it has been in her stash forever. This print is just exactly right for this dress!! I hadn’t made the dress and now I’m a little jelly! Doesn’t she look stunning in this?

The halter ties, the ruched front, the subtle flare. *sigh* Perfect for fall, as it is still too hot to exist outside here, and as it cools down, will be wonderful under a jean jacket!

Is it my turn for another Escapade yet? 😀
Stephanie xx