January and February have been busy, busy sewing months for me - but also a lot of fun! Part of that included this pattern test for the ultimate cozy sweater dress - Jasper from Paprika Patterns - and its new collar!
I've really been enjoying my pattern test experiences lately. It's neat to be able to give feedback to help others, and it's cool that I feel that I'm at the level now where I can do so!
This pattern though, having already been released previously with different collar options, was really set to go!
One thing I did feel badly about - I have a serious swayback/large bottom issue. I was hoping it wouldn't be a problem (stretchy fabric, lots of ease in the pattern), but things did not go well, purely because of my body shape (and not the pattern). However, I'm happy to report for those that might have similar issues, that I was able to modify the dress, even after sewing it up, to fit absolutely perfectly. By altering the princess seams that join the side panel to the back panel, I was able to eliminate any excess fabric in the small of my back. Additionally, I lengthened the hem band by one inch to account for any missing fabric.
Another great thing about this pattern is that the Jasper Sweater/Dress is a relatively quick sew! I made it in an evening, and it would have gone a lot quicker if it hadn't have been for the pattern matching (which I did a pretty fantastic job on, if I do say so myself!)
I used an incredibly cozy sweater knit fabric from Fabric Crush, a local store here in Ottawa. I was happy to have the extra stretch around my bottom area, even though the pattern calls for sweatshirt knit (which has a little less stretch).
I also love the kangaroo pocket! I was worried, as it's right on the mid-section, that it would draw attention to it in a negative way - but that was not the case! It actually, I find, masks any food baby - which I field tested for quality assurance on SuperBowl Sunday!
This dress has become a wardrobe staple for winter for me, I can pair it easily with leggings, and it works really well for my "working from home" lifestyle.
I was scrolling through my Instagram late one evening, and I saw Gabriela post on Chalk and Notch's Instagram: A Call for Pattern Testers!
Excitedly, I rushed to complete the survey, and to my complete surprise and (literal) joy, I was selected as a pattern tester.
I've had the opportunity to test patterns before, but nothing this complex. The Joy Jacket is definitely an intermediate sewing pattern and I was excited to take on the challenge.
Taking my assignment very. seriously. I was determined to follow the fabric recommendations. There was a list of lots of American and UK stores with recommended fabrics (as well as one Canadian on the other side of the country), but I really wanted to support a local store for this one. The staff at Fabrications Ottawa had exactly what I needed. Initially, when I saw the tester call, I thought this might make a great rain jacket. However, when I looked at the pattern more closely, a drapier, lighter fabric was recommended. I decided to go with a Taupe/Beige Viscose Twill. They had a blush pink too, but I figured I'd get more wear out of the neutral.
For lining, again, the owner was incredibly helpful in recommending a dark denim blue Viscose Batiste. It's incredibly soft, and beautiful to work with. It's literally the perfect lining weight for this jacket. Again, deciding on colours was challenging, but I'm so happy with my choice!
When participating in a pattern test, you have a set time period to complete the project, take photos and provide feedback. It was really fun to collaborate with everyone in the Facebook group, see all the lovely things they made and different colour combos out there! It was also really neat to be able to provide feedback and help to make the pattern better - such a cool opportunity. That being said, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive - it really is such a fantastic, unique and lovely jacket.
I am looking forward to making another one, this time however not on a time crunch. This is definitely one of those soothing, slow-sewing projects that I would encourage you to give lots of time, space and patience to complete. I remember at one point my husband came in to ask how it was going - I hadn't even started sewing yet. There are lots of pieces, bits to interface - but again this shows Gabriela and her team's attention to detail which is showcased through the professional finish. Also- not a single seam allowance to finish! That's a win in my books!
I made View A, with a high collar and straight pockets. However, seeing everyone's versions of view B, I'm definitely going to give that a try too. Anyone have any recommendations on water resistant/proof fabrics that might fit the bill?
My two favourite features on this jacket are the shoulders and the collar detail. I have never seen sleeves constructed like this - in two separate pieces - but it actually creates a really nice fit and shape. Instead of boxy sleeves, they kind of contour your shoulders nicely. Almost like the princess seams of sleeves. Although the jacket is loose fitting, I find it's the sleeves that help it not seem "oversized".
The collar detail is also one of my favourite things. I love top stitching, and I love the "V-Effect" of the collar with the top stitching detail. Really unique and well thought out.
Here are some other helpful tips that are not listed in the instructions:
- Watch your seam allowance. Unless specified, the seams that I worked with were 1cm or 3/8 '' - but on a couple of occasions it was 2cm. This is in relation to the sleeves and shoulders. I caught the first one, but the 2cm seam allowance is also used when attaching the facings together - don't miss it!
- Especially with my viscose batiste, it was really hard to tell which was right side, and which was wrong side (is there a right side and wrong side?). Although I made extra careful as I was sewing, I still ended up with two of the same sleeve (instead of mirror images). Womp womp.
- Especially with your lining pieces, keep your sleeves, and lining front, separate and attached to your pattern peices until you use them. I say this, because unlike the outer shell where it's quite evident which piece is the front, the front lining actually looks a lot like the sleeve pieces. Keep them separate until you're ready to go and you won't have that moment of panic!
I really enjoyed sewing this fantastic pattern, and hope you do as well. Can't wait to see everyone's creations! Let me know if you have any water-resistant fabric suggestions!
As I'm participating in a blog tour, showcasing some fantastic patterns and fabrics, there are also affiliate links. All the opinions are my own, and I'm only referring you to things I've tried and liked. Happy sewing :)
Hi Everyone! For those that might be visiting my blog for the first time, I'm Trish, a sewist from Ottawa Canada! Welcome to my crafty corner of the internet.
New to the blogger world, I was so excited to be given the opportunity to participate in the "Get Ready for Spring" blog tour hosted by Lo from Seams Sew Lo and Ellie and Mac Patterns!
From the patterns I really wanted to showcase a flowy, spring top - and the women's Be Flirty top pattern was perfect for the occasion! As an experiment, I've sewn up both views of the pattern, in two different fabrics, so that you can see the differences between them and how different fabric choices can affect the outcome.
First up - The Loose Fit View!
For this pattern I chose a dreamy and bright 10 oz Cotton Bamboo Jersey from Sew Lovely Fabrics Canada. I was super happy when this fabric arrived. I find with bamboo, it can be a bit dicey ordering online because sometimes it comes very thin or too "springy" for my taste - however this fabric was a dream to work with. Its very smooth, has a nice weight and soft hand. The colour was so vibrant!
The loose fit version I think will be perfect for warmer days. I wanted something bright and breatheable so I think I will get a lot of wear out of this when the weather warms. I will say - I think the fabric might have been a bit structured for this top, but it's still lovely. I think for the loose fit version of this top, you should maybe opt for something a bit more drapey.
Version 2 - The "Tight Fit Version"
My next version was the "Tight Fit" version, and for this I had to use a spring-time floral! I received this fabric for Christmas from my mother in law from Girl Charlee fabrics. I think the drape of this fabric suited the pattern a little better, but it was definitely thinner and finer. The only adjustments I made were to take in the pattern a little bit at the waist seam (about a half inch, each side) so that it was just a bit more fitted. I found otherwise it was sticking out at the sides a bit funny - I think this was due to the bulk/looseness of the seam, with such fine fabric.
I almost feel like an elegant ballerina in this top!
It was an interesting study in how different fabrics can make a pattern look and act so differently. With the bamboo cotton with more structure, I think I would prefer the more fitted view, and would have shortened the neckband just a bit. I'm happy I chose the view I did with the finer fabric, as I think the bulk of the seam might have been a bit tricky with the looser view. The neckband fit perfect.
As you can probably tell, it started snowing when we were taking these photos... sigh... I'm looking forward to Spring's arrival and getting the chance to wear these out and about with the tulips and daffodils! Only a few more weeks now...
What are you planning for your springtime wardrobe? I'm excited to be participating in Seamwork Magazine's "Design your Dream Wardrobe" series starting the 19th - Have you signed up yet?
Join Us On the Tour!
Please visit all the stops on the Get Ready for Spring Blog Tour featuring Ellie and Mac spring sewing patterns (35% of right now), hosted by Seams Sew Lo. Do no forget to enter the giveaway below too!
Self-taught sewist, Knitter, Crocheter, and all round crafty person from Ottawa, Canada.