Muse Patterns Hipi Top

I wasn’t expecting to be able to fit in pattern testing this year, mainly because I’m determined to sew from stash so it depends on the fabric requirements. I also am determined to complete my #2019makenine.

When the call went out for this top, however, I decided I could definitely make time to try it out and could use fabric from stash. So, welcome Muse Patterns latest release, the Hipi top.

This is a loose-fitting top with seams running from the half-way along the shoulder seams to the hem. This side bodice also encompasses the sleeve, creating a batwing sleeve. There are two neck options, a crew neck and scoop neck. There are also two sleeve options, short and long and two hem options, a band hem or regular turned under hem. The loose-fit style means it’s possible to make this in a woven fabric.

I made the short-sleeve, crew neck version with the turned-under hem. The fabric is a navy cotton knit, left over from the navy Nina cardigan I made about three years ago! There was just enough to cut this out, although it was not fun. The fabric was way off grain, the sides curled so much making it difficult to line up the seams, as well as even just cutting out! The image below shows how off grain this fabric is. The red line showing the line and the green where it should be!

All being told, this went together very quickly. I managed to get it sewn up in one evening. 🙂 The main seams were all sewn on my overlocker. The pattern doesn’t ask for top stitching on the sleeve bands, but I couldn’t get them to lay flat, so added this step. I then used my double needle to finish the hem.

The details
Fabric: Navy cotton jersey knit, from The Fabric Warehouse in 2015.
Notions:  Thread and black tape for the shoulders
Pattern: Muse Patterns Hipi top, size 40, short-sleeved, crew neck version
Changes made:  None
Another one/Recommendations: I’ve made a number of Muse Patterns and this is another winner. So quick and easy to make up. The drafting as always is spot on. This is such a wearable top which I reckon is going to be a wardrobe winner. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. It’s also possible to get this out of minimal fabric if it’s non-directional. (I had 0.8m of 160cm wide fabric.) I’m already looking at my stash to see what I can make the next one in. Mm, thinks, merino, winter is coming.
There have already been some awesome versions of this on Instagram. Some with a mix of woven for the front and back and a knit for the side pieces. I have so many ideas now going around in my head for different versions to use up small pieces of fabric which for some strange reason I may have kept in stash!
As always the funds from the first week will be going to a local community/charity. For the Hipi top, they will be donated to the fund for the Christchurch shooting victims. A cause which is very close to our hearts here in NZ currently.

Muse Philippa

I’ve been pattern testing again! When Kat sent out the call for testers, I was there. I love Kat’s patterns and I felt the call to help a friend in need 🙂

IMG_9695This is Muse Patterns latest effort, Philippa, is described as “a pattern with many looks. A fitted style with three neckline options, cap sleeve or sleeveless choices, and two skirt lengths allows you to create styles suitable for anywhere. A sharp dress for the boardroom, a 1960’s mod-inspired garment, a casual skirt for weekends, or a cute top to throw on with skinny jeans for a dinner out.”

IMG_9686Such a choice! How does she manage to get so many different options in one pattern? I decided to go with a collared version with cap sleeves. The pattern just calls out for contrast side pieces, so I used a cotton sateen for the centre and sleeves and then used a black ponte knit for the side pieces and the collar. I’ve never combined a knit and a sateen together and it works! Just be careful not to stretch that knit too much around the princess seam!

IMG_9689Like all Muse Patterns the drafting of this pattern is great. The bust measurement is based on your high bust, so with this in mind, I cut a 40 B-cup and graded down to a 38 at the waist and hips. This is based purely on my measurements and the finished pattern measurements. This is standard for me for any fitted patterns for pear shapes. Otherwise I cut the longer version straight as is.

The cap sleeves are a double layer which means the seams are all enclosed. The armholes are bound with bias binding. The collar too is really easy to attach and the facing means that it all sits flat and tidy.

IMG_9733All seams I finished with my overlocker and then used purple Hug Snug to finish the hem, because… Hug Snug 🙂

IMG_9727The centre back has an invisible zip, which went in like a dream. I’m really happy with that. I did think while putting the zip in, if I didn’t have the collar, this dress would look really cool with an exposed zip.

IMG_9718I think the only thing I might do another time (really tempted to make another in check like the sample version!) would be to adjust the princess seam. It’s just a wee bit high for me, but this is a standard adjustment and doesn’t mean I don’t like this dress any less. As I said earlier, I cut this straight from the tin.

IMG_9722The deets
Fabric:  Black floral cotton sateen, I think from Fabric Warehouse 2015, black ponte double knit from Spotlight, 2015.
Notions:  Thread, interfacing and an invisible zip.
Pattern:  Muse Patterns Philippa.
Changes made:  None.
Another one/recommendations:  I definitely recommend this one. There are so many options, a dress, a blouse, or a skirt. The blouse or skirt will actually be great stash busters. I made the longer dress using contrast fabric and used 1.3m of 120 wide for the main and .8m of 100cm wide ponte for the contrast. I’m tempted to try the blouse version and use an exposed zip… I’ve got it in my head now 🙂

IMG_9693First worn:  Mm, I’ve only worn it for these photos so far, which was yesterday afternoon on Te Ahumairangi hill behind the house, since I only finished it just before getting these taken. I reckon it won’t be long before it does get worn though 🙂 This dress will see me through the coming winter with boots and a jumper underneath.



Muse Tahi

Happy first birthday to Muse Patterns!

I’ve been testing again! When Kat first mentioned this pattern combo to me, I was there. I love shrugs and I thought this one would be great to go over my concert dress to replace the very old tie front cardi I was using. As for the seam detail on the skirt, I was sold, please let me test, please, please!

The shrug
This is great for stash busting, it uses such little fabric and is so easy to put together too. That easy that I forgot I was testing and completely forgot to read the instructions – oops!

I made the version with 3/4 sleeves. Honestly it is the simplest thing to make. Stitch the shoulder seams, insert the sleeves, sew up the side seam and sleeve seam in one go, hem the sleeve cuffs an then attach the binding around the raw edges and away you go!

I used less than a metre of fabric. My version gapes a bit at the back of the neck and the binding seems to be tight at the bottom of the back. I think this is really my fabric choice, trust me, trying to find notches cut in this fabric is nigh on impossible!

Now wearing this over my concert dress, I ideally would need to pin the front of the shrug to the straps on my dress, since it’s a strappy dress. I can’t be showing skin to all and sundry in concerts. I don’t have a photo of this yet. However, with anything else I love the shape. I think it looks great over everything else. At most, an additional inch on the front would be good, but anything more than that is getting in the realms of FBAs and SBAs. As it is, this style suits everyone.

The details

Fabric:  Black fluffy fabric received from a swap from A Charm of Magpies, one of our WSNB-ers
Notions:  Thread and some cotton tape to stabilise the back of the neck.
Pattern:  Muse Patterns, Tahi Shrug, size 40
Changes made:  None
First worn:  For photos here at Truby King Gardens in Wellington with the Tahi Skirt and a Belcarra made in June.

Another one/recommendations:  This is a great pattern, definitely recommended even if you just want something quick and easy to make up. I’ve a feeling more could be on the cards for me. It comes with four different sleeve options, to cover all seasons. I’ve just taken mine away on holiday and it was worn every evening out!

The skirt

Ok, so the skirt. Those seam lines on the front, they were what drew me to this pattern. Just look how simple yet effective they are. I made this out of minimal fabric and even my pattern placement required quite a bit of pattern Tetris. I had to place the centre seamed piece at 90 degrees to the grain. It was just not possible any other way. Oh, and before you ask, the plain simple A-line skirt just wasn’t an option!

To be honest I love how this shows on the final skirt. I reckon it was an inspired choice!

I thought the corner seaming detail on the front would also be really difficult but no, follow Kat’s instructions and you’ll be fine and dandy. Honestly, they are so easy, it’s frightening just how easy they are.

The problem I had was with the zip… Due to the lack of fabric I decided to omit the centre back seam and use a side seam zip. Silly girl I forgot Kat has said all seams bar that centre back seam are 3/8ths. You try putting in a lapped zip with 3/8th seam allowance! Fortunately after ripping the zip out I realised that I’d cut too large a size and could easily take in 5/8ths seam allowance. Zip woes averted! It’s still not perfect because I played around with the seam afterwards to get the skirt to fit but I was testing the pattern and was uncertain of my size. I cut a size 40 if that helps, since I’m between sizes. So I went up a size as I thought it would be quite fitted.

The instructions are really clear, I even followed the instructions to the letter for the zip. This is something I’d normally just go, lapped zipper, ok I know what to do!

I’m also shorter than Kat and ended up cutting about an inch and a half off the bottom. Personal preference for length also intervened.

This is going to make a great casual skirt in my wardrobe. I’m working out what I could use to make a fancy posh one, perhaps something floaty which needs lining in the long flared version?

The details

Fabric:  Tan coloured cotton drill, a remnant from Evans of Masterton, April 2015, I had 90cm of 150 wide!

Notions:  Thread, metal dress zip and waistband stiffening

Pattern:  Muse Patterns, Tahi skirt, size 40, which I took in.
Changes made:  I removed the centre back seam and put the zip in the side seam, and shortened it. 

First worn:  To Fabric-a-Brac here in Wellington, with my Belcarra, made in June. Photos here in Truby King Gardens

Another one/recommendations:  Like the shrug, this is another great pattern from Kat. The drafting and the instructions are really great. The corner seaming is so much easier than it looks and it’s just so effective. I certainly quite like the idea of something long and floaty… Just check out that maxi floaty version on the website.

Kat gave me this pattern for testing purposes. All comments and opinions are my own.

Felicity goes on a picnic

I’ve been pattern testing! When the call went out for testers for this dress from my fellow kiwi, it sounded like it was perfect for me “a breezy summer dress with a gathered neckline, all-in-one yoke pockets on your choice of a gathered or 3/4 circle skirt and finished off with bias binding at the neckline and armholes.”

Having not made one of Jennifer’s patterns up before I made up a muslin of the bodice. I cut a 16 and it fit straight out of the box! My luck was in!

My initial thought was to use a floral fabric, this dress would look beautiful in a floral cotton lawn. Unfortunately my luck wasn’t in here, there was nothing in my stash. I ended up using this navy/white gingham and chose a navy blue for the bias binding.

If you have never made up any of Jennifer’s patterns, you need to. You’re in for a real treat. They are really well drafted. I think we’re past the days of pages not quite matching when you cut and tape together, so that certainly isn’t an issue. The cutting layout is clear. The instructions are really clear too. The only part I found a bit difficult was inserting the lapped zipper following Jennifer’s method. I honestly don’t think this would be an issue for many. I’ve been sewing lapped zippers a particular way for nearly 20 years, my mind just couldn’t remove my method and let me concentrate on the pattern instructions. I will say I’ve tried the instructions since on a different dress and all was good – my mind must have been having an odd day. I think Jennifer is also planning to do a photo tutorial for her lapped zipper method on her blog in the near future. All the other instructions are brilliant with great illustrations and wording in a logical order and I followed these to the letter.

The gathers for the front are gathered to a paper template, knotted at each end of the gathers and then the binding attached at a later stage. I think when I first made it up, I didn’t knot the ends in the correct place. My neckline was really saggy, not helped when I added the bias binding made from a fine cotton voile from stash.

So, I unpicked the bias binding, unpicked the gathering threads and restitched the gathers again, ensuring they were pulled a bit tighter than the template to allow for loose knots. I then attached a thin piece of fusible interfacing before reattaching the bias binding. Since testing the neckline has been raised slightly, so it should all be good now.

I love the pockets on the skirt, the drafting here is great. They are just made from a single piece of fabric folded in half. I decided to add binding to the edges of my pockets, before basting them to the waist and side seams of the skirt. I decided the gingham was a bit too much with the changes in pattern direction and this binding really helps to soften that. I really like how this turned out. It wasn’t difficult to do.

My fabric was only 90cm wide, I was determined to make the circle skirt version, so I actually put a seam down the front of the skirt. Can you see the seam? Nope, neither can I – I am the master of pattern matching…

The details…
Fabric:  Navy blue/white gingham cotton from Fabric-a-Brac, October 2014, navy cotton voile from stash for the bias binding. I think I used about 3.5m of the 90cm wide gingham.
Notions:  Thread, a small strip of interfacing and a dress zip

Pattern:  Jennifer Lauren Vintage Felicity dress
First worn:  Actually to cocktails with the WSBN, but worn here for a picnic in Otari Wilton’s Bush
Changes made:  I added binding to the pockets and inserted the zip differently.
Another one/Recommend?  I love this dress and I’ve actually worn it so many times already.  My fabric choice was perfect. I love how the bodice and neck sit and I’m a sucker for a circle skirt, even in the windy Wellington wind 🙂 It’s a really simple pattern to make up and really quick for instant gratification. Jennifer drafts her patterns for a D cup which is perfect for me, although my girls don’t sit quite so high and if I was being really honest I could give myself a wee bit more space lower down in the bodice. This is a standard adjustment for me, so anyone else, you’ll be fine. I don’t know if I’ll make another one, I’ve a pile of patterns waiting to be made up, but I’m not saying never, since I love the style and shape of the dress.