Camimade patterns

Earlier this year I met Camille of Camimade patterns.

‘Camimade is an independent sewing pattern company, designing minimalist and timeless sewing patterns, on the lookout for a more contemporary sewing.’

Clairesews had organised a fabric shopping day at Goldhawk Road while I was visiting London and that’s where I met Camille. Thank you Claire for a wonderful day/s as we did venture to the V&A Museum the following week.

Back to the Camimade story.

Cami was looking at gorgeous silks as we were fabric shopping and it was only after I started to follow her instagram account that I saw how lovely her designs were. Then there was the call out to pattern test so I agreed to pattern test.

Feuillage: shirt and shirt dress pattern:

This is a relaxed style pattern and it’s versatile – shirt or shirt dress option.

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Here’s the shirt flat lay style.

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What you can clearly see is the finishing details of the split sleeve. During testing Cami made some adjustments to the pattern and it now fits together easily.

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I made both the feulliage shirt to go with the Ecorce pants. Go to Cami’s website to see her beautiful photos. She looks stunning in these pieces.

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My photos are my usual look. Nothing special but super comfortable.

The front vents in the shirt version I made are best left closed. That’s my personal preference. When I wore this shirt with the front vents open I didn’t feel comfortable. Now I do with the front vents closed. I added a strip of black powermesh to sew these vents shut. Powermesh doesn’t fray so it was a good fabric choice.

Ecorce: Trousers and capri pants

This pattern is high waist and semi-fitted – perfect for humid Summer days in Sydney.

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These are super easy to wear and a bit bigger than I should wear because I lost some weight at the time. The winter weight loss was intentional.

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Oh my goodness the back vent at the hem is awesome. Maybe because it makes these super easy to wear from a practical point of view.

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The fabric I’ve used is very stiff hence the bulges you can see on this side view photo. This was a test version and I wear these pants for housework. The wearable toiles do get used.

What I love about these trousers are the leg shaping. There is room for my cyclist thighs to I don’t have to make any further fit adjustments.

 

The usual pattern adjustments I did make was to lower the back crotch and shorten the front crotch. That’s just how I’m shaped and I’m so pleased I learnt how to make these changes.

Once I tried these on again after losing a few kilos, I unpicked the waistband and easily took out the fullness that I had gained during the Winter months. That’s what made me realise this is a good pants pattern to have when your weight fluctuates so much. The seamlines are great for sizing this pattern up or down.

 

A sharing community

After blogging for 11 years, there are people I’ve kept in contact with and over the years though sharing our sewing experiences and this has given me a sharing group of friends I truly treasure.

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#sewover50 @sewover50

The #sewover50 @sewover50 team asked me to write this post to encourage you to blog if you’re not sure about blogging about your sewing life. If you haven’t seen the #sewover50 @sewover50 team, have a look at their hashtag on instagram. There are now over 24,000 posts for this international team of 3 ladies who started this hashtag and the group now has over 12,000 followers.

About blogging

Going back to the reason for this post about blogging.

Blogging for me is about documenting my sewing experience so I can go back to the post and make sure I do a better job on the next version of the same project. Readers have the benefit of looking at my blog posts and possibly gaining my insights to make their future project better that I’ve created. My most embarrassing posts were the first ones. ‘You gotta start somewhere.’

All the opinions for each of my blog posts are my own and I’ll always show you what I did to make the project work for me. A pattern or project idea are a starting point.

Sponsored posts

Yes I am sponsored by Minerva Crafts every month. Prym consumer have generously provide me with their sewing tools to use and test. From time to time other online fabric companies and indie designers will contact me to collaborate with them. I’ll do this when their projects fit in with what I’ll realistically use and when I have the time to fit them in. I love pretty things but I have to be able to wear them more than once.

Pattern testing

I’ve pattern tested for Fehr Trade, Pauline Alice patterns and sometimes for Tuesday Stitches and I check the English translations for Sacotin patterns. Overtime, Melissa, Pauline, Vero and Erin have become friends that I enjoy supporting.

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I approach every pattern as a new experience and read all the instructions as a sew. When I pattern test I don’t assume any prior knowledge because I’m being asked to pattern test as a newbie. To be honest, through testing patterns I can give my feedback so that the pattern is the best it can be for others who actually pay for the pattern. You don’t want to pay for a pattern that is poorly drafted or poorly written, so I use this opportunity to be constructive.

On Pattern Review I’ve reviewed over 480 patterns and have been a contest manager four times. I try to use the review template so that if you’re looking for a specific piece of information, you can quickly scan the review and find what you’re looking for. Sometimes I’ve added different subheadings because the pattern had something more that I want to tell readers about. Other times, I’ve removed the template subheadings because I’ve already covered that point.

This year I’ve started to co-host That Sewing Blab, and it’s been a good learning curve for me. I’ve never seen myself being a live interviewer but sewing is my hobby/focus so I’ve enjoyed working with Dawn on the show.

Why blog

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Blogging can be a bit overwhelming when you first start out. I was sewing with local sewing friends when I started blogging so I had people to soundboard with as I developed my blog. There are a bunch of questions you might struggle with when you start blogging:

Do I have anything to contribute?
Is my post worth reading?
Does this post read well?
Are my photos helpful?
Is this blog post just a piece of fluff and not worth reading?
Have I missed anything out?

If technology isn’t your friend and you want to start blogging, ask people you follow about starting a blog. I’ve gone from a decent blog on Blogger and then had to move my blog to WordPress because of the Google glitch I just couldn’t figure out.

To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out how to make the most of WordPress without dipping into my pocket.

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There’s the issue of disclosing any affiliate links you include on any recommendations you suggest to people who follow you. The Fair Trade Commission have lots of good information that you need to be aware of and practice. These rules apply across any social media platform including Instagram, Pinterest, facebook, twitter…etc.

There are also rules about protecting people’s privacy.

Within Australia there are a few issues that are on the horizon, so keep an eye on how the ATO will start to treat ‘income’ earned through social media.

Influencers, sportspeople and celebrities to be slugged by ‘Instagram tax’

Taxation of income for an individual’s fame or image paper:

Remember that sharing on anything on a social media platform is a record so be mindful of what you’re saying/writing.

Blogging was huge up until twitter/Instagram started to grow a few years and I know the sewing community has become a bigger group with all aspects of sewing covered through these platforms.

What I love about blogging

Now for the fun stuff about the benefits of blogging, if you still want to create a blog.

Through blogging, I know that I have patterns that I can go back to again and again and they get adjusted as I put on weight or take off the weight. My blog is my library of sewing notes that you have access to.
Through blogging, I have friends globally and I can meet up with them when I’m away from home. When I’m home, I can still talk to a good handful of people globally and have a laugh.

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Through blogging, I send out reference material to people from time to time to people who ask about ‘xyz’ adjustment for their sewing projects. I’m happy to share the resources I’ve bought and continue to use.

My general rule of thumb about blogging technology is, if I’m stuck with a technology issue, there will be someone out there who has already resolved the issue I’m struggling with. You are not alone when it comes to technology issues. There are also online communities that have already documented the technology challenges you’re dealing with.

Being over 50

Since sewover50 started, I never thought much about being this age and the challenges many people face and are facing. As I’ve already mentioned, I watch my weight fluctuate and sewing allows me to ensure I have clothes that fit, no matter what weight I’m at. The sewover50 team have written a lot about the lack of visibility ‘after 50’ but being a short person, I’ve always been ‘invisible’ so I’m used to making myself seen and heard, when I want to.

The hot flashes are a daily challenge but I make it a fun 60 seconds of sweating. Yes I do make it fun because I never know when it will happen or how long it will last.

For instance, I have a pink cd cover on my desk that I used as a fan when my body temp skyrockets. When I’m on a plane, I fan myself with the airline magazine. If I’m at a restaurant, I fan myself with the menu.

While I’m going through this crazy period of life, I really love running in the cold even though I use a puffer to breath properly when the air is less than 8C. When I’m running in hot, humid conditions, I look like I’m workout harder than anyone else.

The other symptom I’m enjoying is waking up during the night. This becomes my time to plan new projects, cut out fabrics, hand sew or simply chat to you all who are awake when I really should be asleep.

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Want to try it?

If you simply want to document your sewing projects and allow others to share what you’ve learnt, have a look at blogging as a starting point. Some people love Vlogging more once they try it.

I recommend you try blogging or vlogging and see if you enjoy it.

Once it becomes a chore, rethink what makes you happiest and follow that.

Romero by Pauline Alice

There are so many amazing clothes I see many sewists create using African wax prints. I bought a few pieces when I visited the LA fabric district a few years ago. Since then I’ve dabbled on a few projects to see how I can incorporate these prints into clothes for my size and shape. I did buy one piece in NY during the same visit.

So far I’ve used these fabrics for a top, a dress or two and more recently a skirt.

This time I’ve used this fabric for the latest pants pattern by Pauline Alice patterns.

When I’ve bought African wax prints they come in 6 yard lengths. 6 yards is just under 5.5 metres. That’s a lot of fabric for me to use as I tend to make fitted clothes.
With this print, I made a top using New Look 6000.

I’ve worn this top quite a bit because it’s so striking.

Without getting too caught up in the print, this fabric works really well using the Romero pants pattern.

The pattern requires lots of big buttons and again I’ve used buttons from my stash.

The pant leg width is fairly wide for my size but they’re not overly wide.


That’s the beauty of Pauline’s designs. She understands what works for her size and that’s fairly similar to what works for me too. Everyone’s pattern base is different and that’s something I’ve very thankful for.

While I thought this outfit would be very loud, I love how it’s cohesive and doesn’t quite swallow me.

The fun part about this pattern is that when my waist increases or decreases, I’ll simply resew the buttons to fit.

Technically, I’ve done a sway back adjustment and lowered the centre back seam so that it follows my curves. I’ve also lowered the centre front seam because that works for me.

I’ve left the pockets as they were designed. They work just fine.

PS: I only need to undo 3 buttons on these trouser when I dress myself.

I have pattern tested for Pauline Alice patterns from time to time and I’ve enjoyed her designs and the effort she puts into her instructions.

You have to see what Pauline has just launched on her Instagram and website.

Cheers for now.
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Anneli test projects

Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2018 treats you well.

Below are two test Annelis for Summer. Anneli is a double front dress and tee pattern by Named Patterns.

Both fabrics are stash fabrics that had no project attached to them. Now I’m happy to have used them for this pattern.

The seams are 1cm wide.
The double front isn’t too fussy after all. I wasn’t sure if the double front would look too heavy but it actually drapes nicely.
This is now a Summer fav worn with Grainline Maritime shorts on weekends.

This dress version was perfect to use this big, flowing jersey print.
Cutting this out in ‘dress length’ wasn’t the challenge.
The cutting challenge was the making sure the print design ran on the outer front dress piece and not be hidden on the under layer.
I cut the back dress piece out first and then I cut out the upper front dress layer.

This dress with its amazing print worked.
The arm finish and neckline finishes were also important during the cutting stage. Once I cut out the main dress pieces, I cut out the bindings so they matched the dress.
Sewing (cutting) is my super power, as you can see. All the colours lined up.

The back is basically black with a bit of colour.
So I think I’m set for the next Summer bbq that comes my way.

I’m still enjoying prosecco and a spot of sparkling rose to celebrate the New Year.

The next version will be an all over-print so you can judge for yourself if you’re ready to make your own Anneli.
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Hot spots

I made this cute blouse using a Pitt Trading remnant. I’ll use this pattern for some silk fabrics sitting in my stash.

The long story:
It’s no secret that I love remnants and the challenge they bring.
It’s also no secret that Pitt Trading has lots of remnants from local designers throughout the year and my stash has a few of their remnants waiting to jump into my sewing queue.
Enter Winter and Vogue 8906. When I first started sewing tops for work, the easiest thing to whip up is a knit top that is cosy for Winter. They become wardrobe staples as they’re quick to make and need minimal fit.

While knit tops are fast to make, I wear them like crazy and these tops constantly need replacing.

This year I’ve been working with silk fabrics and I’m becoming more confident with silks. I adore how silks feel in any weather. They’re also easy fabrics to manipulate.

Silks also come in lots of styles but they come in an array of gorgeous colours that suit me. I recently bought some yummy silks fromSelective Fine Fabrics in Brisbane that I desperately want to use.
Vogue 8906 seems like a great pattern for blouse-weight silks. Drapey fabrics work best for this blouse. I read a few reviews and I realised it would be very sensible to test out View A in a remnant.


This ‘white on blue’ spotty poly remnant looked me square in the eye and said, ‘Go on. Make my day.’ So I did.

I cut out the 12 and did a forward shoulder adjustment but I kept the top length as is. Packed up the pieces and moved on to other projects.
Two months down the track I made time to sew this blouse up. The seam allowances and hems are overlocked and there’s no pattern matching.

The pattern neckline too high for me so I recut the neckline down by 3cm and it just sits nicely without it choking me. That’s what a test version is for – tweaking the pattern before you work on the ‘good’ fabric.

Now I can confidently use this adjusted pattern again.
But my mind has now wandered to thinking how this top would look as a dress.
Stay tuned for an update on how the dress version turns out. 

Saler jacket test

Here’s my test Saler jacket from Pauline Alice

Test Saler jacket and Simplicty 2154 1960s pencil skirt.

Fabric

I chose this pink poly fabric because I love the colour although the fabric quality is average. However this fabric was easy to mark up, interface and sew. This fabric was especially easy to set in the sleeves – bonus!
I love this colour fabric because it’s not my ‘usual’ colour choice.

The back of this pattern is a bit wide as you can see so I’ll tweak that in a future jacket.

Pattern adjustments

Here are the usual adjustments I check and adjust on my projects:

  • sleeve length and upper arm width (shortened the sleeve length)
  • front and back bodice length (ok)
  • sway back adjustment (adjusted)
  • bust, waist and hip width (size 10 (38) bust and the rest is size 12 (40) )
  • forward shoulder adjustment (adjusted on shoulder seams and sleeve cap)
  • neckline (ok)

As this jacket has welt pockets, I checked to pocket position and pocket depth. Why would anyone check pocket depth? I’m short so if I lower a pocket, it will end up in the jacket hem. I’ve done this before so I’m conscious of it happening again and again, as I’m not getting any taller.

This is the jacket prior to it being professionally pressed.

I lowered the welt pockets by 5cm. I then lowered them again on the pattern. They were a bit high for me. 


The instructions were easy to follow and the pocket bag pieces matched perfectly.
I interfaced the outer pocket flap without seam allowance.

This is the back view so you can clearly see the buttons on the sleeve.

These buttons are from Addicted to Fabric – $4 for the lot in two sizes.

Published pattern

When I pattern test I follow the instructions as written to identify any issues that need to be fixed. Pauline does a clean sweep of all her pattern test feedback and then adjusts her patterns. 

The pockets were lowered on this jacket because of our feedback. The published pockets are an additional 3cm lower than the pattern I’ve adjusted so I think this is a more comfortable spot.

Skirt

There was just enough fabric left to whip up a pencil skirt using Simplicity 1407 but there wasn’t quite enough for the back pieces. 

From the remnant fabric resulted in the back pleating.

Hence the pleats at the hem line. Now called a ‘design feature’.

I feel quite confident to make up another jacket in the future,

Sugar Plum sweetness

Prints, ponte, organza and good old Sunsilky lining. This was my starting point – to test Sugar Plum.

Top fabrics – grey ponte and printed cotton stretch woven. Front fabrics – sunsilky lining and silk organza.

Lolita Patterns
Before my US trip, the girls wanted me to test Sugar Plum. The instructions and tags for each pattern piece were really helpful. The tags come as part of the pattern and these helped me focus on getting this dress done without stressing out about timings or which piece was what.
The girls also kept me in the loop regarding any amendments while the testing group kept testing to the original Sugar Plum deadlines.

Their patterns are multi-size. That’s a big tick for me. Multi-size means I can adjust the size as my weight changes and I can sew this dress for any member in my family.


Prints and plains
Mixing fabrics is always a stretch for me but when I did this for this pattern test, it paid off.




I used my overlocker/serger to roll hem the ruffle edges. There were 22 ruffles to roll hem. I’d classify this as a yoga stretch for my skills. The way the ruffles turned out were pretty and feminine.

Busting the stash
The print and organza were from The Fabric Store bought at our February Sydney Sewer meetup. The ponte from Spotlight. No remnants were harmed this time:) I use remnants a lot. And I used my new turner tools that I bought in NY with Kyle.

Dress features that were worth the effort
Front ruffles – I used the rolled hem setting on my overlocker (score)
Neckline ruffle collar – again I used the gather stitch option on the overlocker (happy dance)

Buttonhole loops – the turner tool from NY was worth buying (investment notion).
Using a stretch woven with ponte fabric – comfortable and doesn’t crease. Gail agrees that ponte is a good work fabric.
Cute styled lined sleeves – winter turned a bit summer the day I wore it to work.

The zipper at the back worked at dream to help this dress keep its shape over time. 
Lining the bodice – Again a lined blouse feels tailored and comfortable.
The button tab – this stops any peekaboo accidents.

After making practical winter pieces, a bit of pretty sewing was something I craved to do.

This dress is designed to be a professional work dress so I wore it to a presentation. The ladies loved it. I was chuffed. Mission accomplished.

If you’re interested in making your version of Sugar Plum, go to Lolita Patterns and take advantage of the discount before 10 October. There are a bunch of great versions Amity has made that you have to see.

I have plans for a ‘deep purple’ version. Join the sewalong and share your version.