Writing again? And sewing? I try my best!

It has taken me sometime to start writing again, and even though I really want to be blogging at least once a week, life gets in the way and I don’t seem to be mustering the energy to do that as often as I’d like. But I do whenever I manage the time.

Today I’m printing the pdf version of The Afternoon Blouse & Shift Dress from Jennifer Lauren Handmade (@jenniferlaurenhandmade), which I will be testing. Yeay! I’m quite happy with this opportunity, and what it entangles. Not only that I’ve managed to produce a nice product and a fair review within the time limit she’s given us for the previous pattern, but that it forces me to keep making things and putting energy in something I really enjoy.

I discovered sewing a few years ago as a second thought, something I would like to do because I’ve seen people making things and they looked pretty. And then I simply fell in love with the whole process and can’t stop trying new techniques, new things, new fabrics, new gadgets… So now I use any opportunity I have to make something. Quite often for others – child, friend, husband… – and sometimes for myself. I need to make more for me these days, because I can’t seem to find anything interesting at stores nowadays – on my size or with my taste! The size needs to drop a bit – for health reasons, I’ve accepted my shape a long time ago – but the taste…

I guess I’m going in the direction of wearing only Me Made stuff. Cool!

Besides all that, I found out sewing is my Happy Place. I get totally zen when sewing and preparing fabric and notions to sew something. It centers me, calms me. It helps me to put things in perspective. And making things for others and myself make me even happier.

At the end of September I will be posting a review on the Afternoon Blouse. I haven’t decided if I’m going to make a Shift Dress as well or not, but I will definitely make a blouse. And will wear it around. Depending on the end result I might even make the dress too. We’ll see.


The Laneway Dress

Last month Jennifer Lauren from Jennifer Lauren Handmade invited some people to become testers for her patterns, since she’s trying to make them more known around and having them being tested for different sizes. I was fortunately one of those people chosen for the first pattern, the Laneway Dress, and was more than happy in trying this wonderful pattern I was dreaming about since it had been released. So here my review for the world to see, read and judge.

I’ve used an USA fabric I’ve bought in Brazil last February, 100% cotton, probably what most people refer to as cotton lawn. Really pretty.

I’ve cut the body as it was given on the pattern, size 24, cup D. It turned out too long for my short torso, since I’m quite short (1,58 cm) and most patterns are made for generally taller folk.

I usually don’t follow the instructions to the letter – yeah, I’m that kind of person! – but I’ve decided to do that this turn around since it was for a real pattern test and not just something I’d whip on a whim. I’ve shortened it 3,5 cm and it then turned fine!

The junction points came out almost perfect, but what really was the greatest kick was having pockets! Good size pockets, no less! And the neckline is just beautiful!

The one thing I’ve changed was the sleeve: how to set it in and the look of it. I don’t like gathered sleeves much, so I’ve made my own version of it: a small pleat. Since it wasn’t exactly planned that way, it didn’t end up perfect. But I love it anyway!

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So, to answer some of Jennifer Lauren’s questions about fit, instructions and the pattern in general, and what I would change:

  1. Easy to use. Finding the right size was actually easy.
  2. Instructions: if you follow them, you’re in the right way. Taking into consideration English is not my first language and that I’ve started learning to sew in Dutch, I think it was pretty well explained: clearly stated and to the point.
  3. Fit: I think it’s actually quite good. I might should have done a C cup instead of a D cup because I realise that in the end there’s more fabric loose around the boobs than it was supposed to be, but nothing that actually bothers me.
  4. Sleeves: I’ve changed it, just because I don’t like gathered sleeves. I wouldn’t change anything else.
  5. Will I make another one? Yes, definitely! With some crêpe de chine or silk. Or maybe wool. I still have some beautiful fabrics I’ve bought in New Zealand. 😉