16 August 2015

StyleArc Marie Jacket Review

I've mentioned the Style Arc Marie several times to my bestie.  We've discussed it, picked it apart, compared it to McCall's 7199 (I do not like the back design lines of the McCall's), and compared online reviews. 

I received it as a birthday present (yay!).  Friends are the best!

What adjustments did you make?  And why?
The usual – sway back, drop waistline, shorten sleeves.

The unusual - 
1) Added pockets (maybe this should be moved to the usual?)

2) Shortened 4" at the upper hipline.  A quick flat pattern measurement indicated that this would be too long, as packaged, to suit my preferences.

3) Shifted the design line "bust dart" several inches up.  As others have mentioned, as drafted, it is much lower and has a sharper angle that the picture indicates.  I shifted it to where it looks like it does in the drawings, I find that more attractive for myself.  It would also be easy to toss it altogether if you so wish.

4) Shaping.  I'd read that the side seams were pretty shapeless, and a glance over the pattern had me agreeing.  So I took 4"? (if I remember correctly) out of the waistline side seams.

Pattern appreciation(s)?
This thing is pretty darn awesome.  Very comfy.

Pattern disgruntlement(s)?
I do not like that the "bust dart" (not really a dart) is very different in person than the artist rendering.  I'm glad I read about this in previous reviews, or I would have been surprised after making it up.  Not that it shows in my print, but still.

What body does this pattern fit (in your estimation)?
As drafted, it works best for rectangular figures, but it is easy to add in shaping.

Would you buy this pattern again?
Absolutely.  I see this being a staple.  Especially since I figured out pocket addition!  :)

Apparently Style Arc drafts for long armed ladies.  I took 2" off the sleeve length, but with my stretchy knit, apparently that was not enough.

This is made from a lightweight rayon knit.  Far too flimsy for this pattern.  So each body piece was fused, and the entire jacket body is lined with another light rayon knit.  

It is fabulous for spring/fall/light winter wear (heck, we are down south with winter temps averaging in the 60s F/15.5 C for the highs).

When I next make this, I will draft hem bands, rather than the suggested fold and hem.  Bands just give such jackets a better weight and hang in my opinion.

I wore it out for our shopping the other day: chestnut skirt, basic Tee, and sandals.  It was a bit warm in the high 90s F/32 C under the blazing sun.  But perfect for keeping comfortable in the grocery stores and library

Definitely another keeper!  I've found some TNTs in my mega stash, which is a nice feeling.

15 August 2015

Onion 5022 Knit Top Review

I've sought a built in cap sleeve tank pattern for some time.

This is the closest I have found to RTW options.

Onion 5022 is out of print as far as I can tell, and the closest option they currently have is Onion 5035.

What adjustments did you make?  And why?
The usual – sway back, drop waistline.

The unusual - 
1) Changed neckline because I prefer V necks

2) Narrowed the shoulder line (this pattern is wide at the shoulders, and I am not)

3) Added in shaping at waistline (and I did not add enough).

Pattern appreciation(s)?
Very simple, two pieces - one front, one back.

Pattern disgruntlement(s)?
These are made for straight bodies, so you have to add in your own curves if you want this to follow your contours.  More of a fit model versus customer body than actual pattern issues.

What body does this pattern fit (in your estimation)?
Rectangles, with wide shoulders.

Would you buy this pattern again?
It is OOP, unfortunately.  So I think the likelihood of finding this pattern is slim to none.

However, I would buy a similar pattern in a heartbeat.  I like the wideness of the straps that put this type of pattern smack dab between tank top and t-shirt.

This was thrown together in a couple hours using hemp knit, and I finished the armholes and neckline with a rolled edge binding. 

The photos show trial 2, I still have some shaping to do around the hip region, but I am pleased with the top.  It has gotten several wears already.  I need a closet full of simple, natural/neutral tops to pull on and go.  This is one of my options.  I continue to search through my stash for additional pattern ideas. 

14 August 2015

Simplicity 1318 Kimono Jacket Review

I'm drawn to kimono styles.  There is something utterly elegant about them.

When this pattern, Simplicity 1318 (view C), first appeared, I spent most of my time trying to talk myself out of it (not the best shape for you, no pockets, etc. etc.).  Honestly, I have enough patterns to keep me busy for life.  But I still bought this.  And added pockets, of course.

What adjustments did you make?  And why?
The usual – sway back, so it would follow the contours of my backside.

 The unusual - Added pockets, curved pockets.

Pattern appreciation(s)?
It is a fun jacket for throw and go.

Pattern disgruntlement(s)?
I do not remember any, except the usual refusal to include pockets.

What body does this pattern fit (in your estimation)?
This is a multi-body pattern for an easy jacket top.  It will best flatter the rectangular figure, but pshaw, who cares?  The only thing rectangular on me is my face.

Would you buy this pattern again?
Maybe not.  I like the jacket, and have worn it a bunch this summer (great to pull on while suffering over A/Ced enviros).  But, admittedly, it is hard to drive in, because there is a lot of ease and the seatbelt can limit arm movement (may be best to NOT drive in this!  Ha, ha).  So maybe, but maybe not.

Another rare print that is me.  It feels very fungal/lichen-y.  This is a knit that may have come from fabric.com, but I do not remember exactly.  It has aged in the stash for a couple years, and my memory for fabric purchases finally crumbled under the staggering weight of excess yardage.

13 August 2015

McCall's 7026 Sports Jacket Review

I was drawn to McCall's 7026 sport jacket because of the dropped back hem (I do not like cold air blowing on my sweat soaked back), thumb holes, and the princess seams. 

What adjustments did you make?  And why?
The usual – sway back, drop waistline, drop bust apex, shorten sleeves.

The unusual - 
1) Reshape hood for closer fit.

2) Remove front yoke design line, my print is busy enough.

3) Lengthened the front and back at hem by 1.5 inches

4) Reshaped the pocket (I despise pockets with flat bottoms that run perpendicular to the opening, great way to lose contents in my opinion)

Pattern appreciation(s)?
This fit much better than I expected.  The design lines actually fit the body well.  I usually expect to futz and fiddle with big 4 patterns to get shaping.  Not necessary with this one.

Pattern disgruntlement(s)?
The included hood would have been useless.  I took a close fitting hoody and redrew the hood to hug my head, not flop.

What body does this pattern fit (in your estimation)?
Shorter gals with waists.  I do not think this would work as well for straighter bodies.

Would you buy this pattern again?
Yes.  Because of the multiple pieces, this is quite miserly with fabric ... considering that it is a jacket.  I have not seen that many I would prefer to this option.

This is my "muslin," made from a rayon knit that probably came from Hancock's many years ago.  I wanted to use up the print and decided to sacrifice it for this pattern.  It turned into a wearable piece after inserting the zipper and trying it on.  Wow, it fits!  :) 

I sewed this while listening to China Mieville's "Kraken" ... a super strange audiobook.  The two, book and pattern, are forever entwined in my mind.  Entwined, ha, ha, like the Kraken god tentacles!  Ha, ha ... (hysterical laughter) ... ha, ha ...

12 August 2015

Jalie 3461 Eleonore Review

I have succumbed to the siren's call of jeggings.

I've casually sought a straight leg, super stretchy fabric pant pattern for several years now, and realized that Jalie's 3461 Eleonore might be the answer to my prayers (same as several StyleArc patterns).  Mostly because jeans are the piece to wear down here, but it is far too hot to do so ... and they never fit anyway. (And it is super easy to remove the jean design lines from this pattern if you just want a basic stretch woven pant.)

Unsurprisingly, Eleonore snuck into my cart while placing a recent Jalie order.

What adjustments did you make?  And why?
The usual – sway back

The unusual -
1) Widened the legs by 1" ... except at the lower thigh, where it jumped to 2.5" or so.  I am not the fit model!

2) The side seams near the waist were warped to the back, in a funny U shape.  I straightened that out in the second trial.

Pattern appreciation(s)?
Gush, gush, gush.  These are comfortable, move with me (I can practice handstand with these), and have a great crotch curve for those of us blessed in the glutes department.

Pattern disgruntlement(s)?
Um ... well ... I had to add my own pockets.  Jalie gave us patterns for fake pockets, why not give us the option for real pockets as well?  (grumble, grumble)

What body does this pattern fit (in your estimation)?
Bootylicious gals with average size legs.

Would you buy this pattern again?
Heck yes.  I'm planning an entire stable of these puppies. 

Leg Width and Ease - The muslin of these did fit, but I found them tight.  I assumed the tightness was due to my muscular calves, which measure 16" around (the pant was 15" in circumference from knee down).  I've never found a skinny (nor usually even a straight legged) RTW pant that fits.  They ALWAYS sausage my calves, which feels and looks weird.

I proceeded to measure upper thigh, lower thigh, and calf to compare body to pattern.  And lo and behold, I found out that my lower thigh is much larger than the pattern!  I am proud of my muscles, and this was an interesting experience to find out where their bulk rests (at least compared to the Jalie fit model).  Apparently my vastus medialis are more developed than some.

From crotch to hem, I widened each seam by 1/4" ... except for the lower thigh, which I widened by a bit over 1/2".  This brought the pant from negative ease to 0% ease.  I am not a fan of skintight.

Sway back - I chose to take my sway back adjustment out of the pant back, rather than out of the yoke.  I preferred not to narrow the jean yoke. 

Fabric - A bengaline from Hancock's.  I ordered grey (muslin), orange, and brown.  Perhaps the bright color fashions finally caught up with me too?

Today was their first wear out in public, but certainly not the last.  I appreciate that these go together lightning fast.  And they were almost comfortable in our high 90s temps.

This is a Mary Poppins pattern, practically perfect in every way (at least for me).

07 May 2015

"Tina Givens" "Drennon Tunic" Review

Tina Givens Drennon Tunic is an open side, slit to waist, knee length (on me) tunic covering.  The pattern is free from her website, and is a more streamlined introduction to her patterns (compared to some of the other reviews I've seen).

It would be great for a pool coverup as well.

This is my "toe in the water" dip for the looser fit/lagenlook style that is gaining popularity.  It was made from an old white cotton sateen sheet, dyed with fiber reactive dyes from Dharma Trading Company.

 I think I need to lose another 2" in length in the back so it will hang properly.

I made a small, which fits up to a 44" bust.  I'm generally around 36" give or take.

What adjustments did you make?  And why?
The usual – sway back.  Being that this is such a loose fit item, I did not fiddle with any other adjustments.  In the future I would make a much greater swayback adjustment.

The unusual - 
1)  I did add an inch to the skirt length when cutting.

2)  Sliced off a triangular section of hem at each bodice side. 
The biggest problem I had with the pattern was with the side seam of the bodice and where it meets the waistband.  It was really puckering and sloppy as originally sewn to pattern.

So I unpicked, tried it on, and pinned the pieces where I thought they should go to hang properly (see photo below).  Then I used a fabric marker to indicate the new seam line on the bodice pieces, and transferred that to the pattern.

In the end, I sliced off the pieces that make the bodice so unique and unusual in the flat pattern.  And it fit much better.

Pattern appreciation(s)?
It is free, and a fairly quick sew.  I spent more time making and sewing binding than I did on any other part of this tunic.  (And her binding length recommendation is generous, especially for size small.  If you are short a bit of fabric for the binding, don't sweat it too much.)

Pattern disgruntlement(s)?
You have to use your imagination with the line drawings, and be ready and willing to change it up.  I think this is a fairly well known "issue" with Tina Givens designs.  These are not for by the book sewists who have to follow the directions as written and never stray.

As depicted in the drawing, the tunic laps back over front - which I found to be rather unflattering.  So I switched the lapping to front over back, which controls the loose flipping of the back bodice on my bodyshape/style.  Much better.

What body does this pattern fit (in your estimation)?
This is a little harder to answer.  Himself said the pictures make me look shorter and wider than I really am. 

I think the skirt needs to be either shorter or longer for me.  Especially as worn with an A-line skirt that causes additional width at the knee area.

Would you buy this pattern again?
I'm not sure.  My wardrobe is in flux at the moment.  Depending on the direction I take with it, I can see either several more Drennon's in my future, or none.

I believe we should all step out of our comfort zone from time to time, and this is one of those patterns for me.  It could lead to some interesting results!

06 May 2015

Seborrheic Dermatitis Update 3 - Autoimmune Protocol

I have had highs (practically clear) and lows (how many flares must one person survive?) since last update.

I started using a honey mask before bed, guessing that "maybe" the anti-fungal properties of the honey would get rid of the last of my issues.  And I was looking so good, that I started adding food back in following Paleo Mom's book and website.


And then I had a mega-flare.  So I may have problems with the following foods:
tomatoes (fresh, cooked may not be a problem) (ugh!)
soybeans (I can adapt)
cinnamon (ugh!)
sugar (ugh!)

And this is how my face typically looks.  A bit of breakout "flare" response, little redness.  People still tell me I have beautiful skin ... and I just ... die ... every ... time!  THIS IS NOT BEAUTIFUL. 

Okay, okay.  I should not take out anger on ALL my skin, when just a bit of it is ugly.  Perhaps.

I have started using Stonybrook Botanicals Unscented Hand & Body Lotion on the SD areas rather than my oils from winter.  I got a bit crazy with the oil usage, and I believe that led to one of my mega-flares.

As to food, I'm still cooking more than grabbing for the processed foods.  But it will be an easy road to trip back to bad habits.  So I make a strong attempt NOT to buy what I do not want to be eating.  And my weekly cart is still filled with as much produce as processed foods, and most of it is for Himself.

I continue playing around with topicals and food combos in my journey to turn this off.  

I went lotion free for a while, but that led to as many issues with dry skin as too much oil.  So, lotion as needed.

I have ordered some sulfur ... maybe I also have a micro-nutrient deficiency?

The saga continues ...

Closing on a positive note, my sun sensitivity does not seem nearly as bad this year.  Did I fix that immune issue?

15 April 2015

"Choosing Raw" by Gena Hamshaw Cookbook Review

Gena Hamshaw's "Choosing Raw"

Is there an index?
Yes, by components and ingredients.

Is there a Contents/Chapter section?
There's a LOT of non-recipe pages in this cookbook.  She has a huge beginner/how-to section.

What is the “Beginner’s Intro” volume?
94 pages, or 34% of the book is the introduction, including a Q&A section.

To her credit, I did find the 21 day meal plans, starting on page 83, interesting.  For those people who are organized enough to create (or desire to start creating) and follow such, this gets you off to the right start.

What is the presentation like?
Many recipes have full page+ color photographs.  Only a few recipes cross to the next page, which indicates some careful editing.

Comments -
She does have 4 recipes listed under winter squash, but only one could be raw.

And I would guess that half the recipes have nuts or seeds as an ingredient, so it seems as (or no more) nut heavy as any other of the titles I've explored.

Ultimately, this is a transition to and learning how to cook vegetarian/vegan and incorporate raw food.  If you have other cookbooks, especially with any vegetable centric leanings, you already have many of these recipes.

If your library were wiped out tomorrow, would this make your cannot live without immediate re-buy list?
As my goal is a completely raw cookbook, I will not be purchasing this title.  

However, if you are just starting out, and have no cookbooks, this is a starter option.

Recipes -
Raw Carrot Falafel, pg 188

Falafel is not extraordinarily tasty, and neither are these.  But they make a great addition to salad and a bit of tahini drizzled on top turns this into a flavorful and texture-ful meal.

They are easy to shape and keep in the fridge.  

Himself commented that the falafel is not to his taste and not crunchy.  Which I interpret as, "This is not a potato chip."  

Rosemary Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, pg 198

Except for the fact that I ate this on a chilly day, and would have preferred more warmth in my mouth, I loved this recipe.  

She includes some ingredients that I rarely see in Cauly mashed recipes.  And these give the dish a creamy, more flavorful experience than is typical.

I will keep this in rotation.  I think the miniature humans in my life would like it also.  Maybe I need to test it?

Raw Vegan Blueberry Ginger Ice Cream, pg 240

A banana based ice cream, I was short a banana and chowing down before realizing I'd mishalved the recipe.

However, I do find the halved banana recipe a bit, um, banana-y.  It would be a great dessert for those who love banana flavor.  For me, it is OK.  

11 March 2015

Butterick 5928 Peplum Jacket Pattern Review

The peplum trend finally caught up with me, several years post its most recent reveal.

There's just something about the lines in Butterick 5928 that called to me, rather loudly.

I was drawn to the soft collar folds and swooshy back peplum, on a jacket that was fairly short in front (a good length for me).  I hemmed and hawed, and finally caved at the last Butterick sale I ran into.

I tossed the long sleeves on the peplum body, as I generally do not wear vests and would reach for a jacket instead.


What adjustments did you make?  And why?
The usual – sway back, drop waistline, drop bust apex, shorten sleeves, shallow chest adjustment, narrow shoulders.  I used a size 12 upper front bodice and size 14 elsewhere.

The unusual - Added a hem band (to bring up lining and weigh down the hem), added additional back shaping to conform to sway back, and narrowed the peplum by 9" total.

Upon muslining, I realized the peplum back was seriously floofy for me, so I pinned out 9 inches total.  Much better.

Fashion fabric is a toned Cadet Blue plain woven wool purchased 10+ years ago from a since closed fabric shop in Humble, TX.  It is nicely aged.  Lined in a burgundy with teal accent tie silk (I really do not like working with shreddy silk, ick.

I have more hand sewing in this jacket than in any other apparel sewing project EVER - hem band, sleeve hem, neck dart, and collar are all catch stitched to hold them in place for washing.  

All in all, the hand sewing was not as dreadful as I remember.

This turned out to be a good test run for the tailored jacket I have planned Butterick 4610 ... assuming I can ever get that danged armscye shaping properly adjusted.

Once I have everything all together and have sewn  the lining slit closed, I try it on and realize I've folded the pleats to the wrong side.  Ugh - this is what happens when you sew late.  Open it back up, rip out the stitching and fight it into the proper position - very difficult to do now that everything is sewn together.  Next time, I'll just draw the proper direction directly on the interfacing. 

And it is done.  My goal was to have a fun jacket.  Mission accomplished.

Pattern appreciation(s)?
Everything lined up fairly easily.  It is a straightforward design.

Pattern disgruntlement(s)?
I still despise Butterick's symmetrical armhole and sleeve cap.  Who is shaped that way?

I do not understand why you would want the lining to go to the hem.  In my experience, you end up with lining peaking out, not an attractive visual.  So, I added a band myself.

What body does this pattern fit (in your estimation)?
Pear shapes and anyone wanting to create shaping for the upper body.

Would you buy this pattern again?
Being a standout design, and not particularly in my daily wheelhouse, I may not make this again.  But if I needed another, yes, I would rebuy the pattern.