I’ve been struggling to find time to sew recently, with a job and a toddler rushing around me constantly. Exhausted is just half of it! But I jumped at the chance when Jasmin was looking for pattern testers for her latest sewing pattern, The Daphne …
Tag: Pattern testing
The Helene Selvedge Jeans pattern has been a long awaited one. Over lockdown I watched Anna Allen’s Instagram posts closely as she shared pair after pair of amazing jeans, she was making herself. I knew she was planning to release them, but as usual wanted …
The Anthea Blouse is here!! Again I have taken part of the pattern testing process for Anna Allen Clothing’s newest garment – the Anthea Blouse. A versatile pattern that comes with 2 different versions, dress and blouse and 2 sleeve lengths. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I love Anna Allen’s patterns, they are just beautiful. They are easy styles that always have different views and are easy to hack and adapt. Also, her Instagram always has such lovely inspirational pictures it’s hard not to want to make them straight away. You can read the previous blog post here featuring the Pomona pants, which I also helped test.
My sewing has generally improved so much due to testing patterns, by reading the instructions carefully and following along step by step. Being pushed into different techniques and styles I might not necessarily pick for myself.
I’m currently 6 months pregnant, so when I was asked to test, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to. But this pattern is quite free sized at the waist and hips so wasn’t a problem.
Anthea Blouse Process
As I’m pregnant and the waist and hips are free sized, I decided to just go based on bust size. My usual bust measurement in about 34 inches but pregnancy has increased that to 37 inches. That would put me at a size US10 based on my measurements. But I always like to look at the finished garment sizes. This has 7 inches ease around the bust and as I didn’t want it too oversized, I went for a US6.
After viewing all of Anna Allen’s versions on her Instagram I decided to go with a 100% Linen that I bought from my local fabric shop. Also, who is enjoying going to actual real life fabric shops!! I have found a similar linen available online here. I don’t often sew with linen and this checked version didn’t seem very like me, but I fell in love with it.
The Anthea blouse came with quite a few techniques that I usually avoid, bias binding, button holes and set in sleeves. I decided to follow the pattern step by step, to help with testing. But also, to make these techniques less of a chore.
Firstly, you stay stitch the neckline and fold over the centre fronts to create the button stand. You are supposed to add interfacing, but I don’t often do this as I’m a bit of a lazy seamstress. Then the sides and shoulder seams are sewn and finished. The neckline is then finished with a bias binding strip. The pattern instructions tell you to just use the strip and press it as you go, and although I followed this technique, I think next time I will pre-press it. It’s a little less fiddly this way. After this the sleeves are gathered on the upper and lower edges, with two lines of basting stitches. Before pulling the gathers in you finish the sleeve seams, this is where I messed up and overlocked my basting tails into my seams. Some unpicking later I was able to gather and attach my sleeves and cuffs.
These are the most dramatic sleeves I have made before and I was dubious if they would suit me, But I absolutely love them!
Anthea Blouse Adjustments
I didn’t need to make any fitting adjustments to the Anthea Blouse. I have made quite a few Anna Allen patterns before so know the sizing pretty well. The only adjustment I made was to add 7 inches to the hem, so it was more of a tunic, rather than a blouse. This works really well for me over my maternity leggings.
Would I make it again?
When I started making it, I wasn’t sure if the pattern was for me, or if I would just end up with one for the test. But not only did I end up with a garment I loved I really enjoyed the process. I enjoyed being careful and slow with my binding and sewing my buttonholes. I especially love the statement sleeves. I’ve been styling it in different ways, layered over maternity leggings and dresses as well as tied.
The pattern is available now, you can purchase it on Anna Allen’s Website
I’d love to hear if any of you make the Anthea Blouse or Dress – send me links in the comments
If you enjoyed this blog post, be sure to subscribe up on the right, you’ll then get not so regular updates from me. It really helps me create great content; I can’t do it without your support.
Thanks for reading
This week I have been lucky enough to test the new Dayo Blouse pattern for Sewing Patterns by Masin. As soon as I saw the shout-out on Instagram asking for testers I jumped at the chance. She is fairly new pattern designer, but she already has the beautiful Belen bodysuit available. So I was excited to see what she was going to do next.
Enter the Dayo Blouse/Dress pattern…I love the look of it, with the beautiful sleeves and tucks at the neck. I just couldn’t imagine wearing it, or it suiting me. Regardless of this I was excited to test it, and see how it turned out.
I decided to pick this beautiful fabric from my stash. My mum informs me was all the way from Thailand. My dad brought it back as it was left over after working there. I love inherited fabric! It is a fine cotton voile with lurex spots, which is semi sheer and drapes beautifully. My interest in sustainable fashion means I like to work with natural fabric whenever possible.
This pattern comes with two options, the Dayo blouse or the Dayo dress, I chose the blouse as I don’t think I could pull off a full cream dress.
I checked the measurements and went for a straight size small with no adjustments. I decided not to toile it as I thought the fit looked quite forgiving.
This pattern was simple to put together and I made the whole garment in an evening. Because I was testing the pattern, I had to follow the instructions correctly which meant no short cuts. Normally I attached the open sleeve to the arm hole and then sew up the side seam and sleeve all in one so I don’t have to ease the sleeve in and make sure the seams match up. But this time I did it all correctly and I’m glad I did as it made me realise it wasn’t as hard as I remembered. I used ready made binding rather than cutting my own, but you can see the slightly darker colour through the fabric, so I will change it at some point.
Another technique I really enjoyed was shirring, I hadn’t done it in years, probably since university. Therefore, I’m glad instructions that came with the Dayo blouse were clear and easy to understand. It was a bit of a fiddle at first getting the tension correct and the waist shirring is a bit of a squeeze to get over my chest. Turns out I love shirring; I can’t wait to add it to all my future sewing projects!
Here are a few tips for shirring the Dayo Blouse has taught me
- Always test it out, every fabric is different so try a few lines of a scrap piece of your fabric first
- Hand wind the bobbin, so as not to overstretch it.
- Set the stitch width wide as the fabric gathers between the stiches, so it will create more gathers
- Pick the right fabric, the lighter the fabric the more effective the shirring
- Know your tensions, a tighter tension on the bobbin means tighter shirring.
- The more rows of shirring elastic you sew the tighter your gathers.
As you can see I decided to use the wrong side of the fabric on the sleeves as that side is extra sparkly and I love the contrast. When it was all finished, I actually love it so much. Even though the waist frill doesn’t suit me, the sleeves are incredible and for a blouse that I didn’t think I would like it was such a great surprise to be so in love with it!
The pattern has just been released and you can purchase it here
Thanks for reading