Friday, November 16, 2018

Sofiona Designs: Fresh new Canadian design team

It is my privilege and honour to introduce to you a brand new design team.  They're two friends that live in Canada and are about to see all of their hard work pay off.  As you know I love testing patterns for different people, but this was my first time testing for a brand new company.   And because they're brand new this weekend is their company launch.  Very exciting things are happening including some great discounts and giveaways.  So head over to their FB Group page Sofiona Designs Fan Group, to check out the action.  First 50 customers get an extra 5% off!!!!

Check out these Fabulous Giveaways.

So now that you've joined the group and ready to look at their patterns, I'll show my mine.
  I tested the Railway Joggers.

I have to admit I didn't know what to expect.  Some of the other companies have been around for a while now, and have the whole testing thing down pat, and size blocks that work for them.  I was expecting to see a few hiccups or something, but nope!!!  The testing went beautifully.  They definitely knew what they were doing.  Super helpful and attentive, and the patterns, well they were so well written.  I tested the Railway Joggers, and they have some very unique features and pattern pieces.  The pockets especially are really nice, and the the instructions and construction was brilliant.  I was so pleased with how it all turned out.

The pdf file goes together easily, the pieces all line up perfectly.  And the sizing was spot on for us.  The first pair I just used this black cable knit fabric.  I wasn't sure how they'd fit so wanted to do a test pair first.  I did all the same fabric, so you can't really see some of the design features, but my model requested this fabric, and didn't want the color blocking on it.  I was impressed with how well they fit and how comfy they are.  She's not usually one for jogging style pants, prefers a tighter fit, but she wears these all the time. 

The second time I used this distressed stretch fabric, and I was dying to try out the moto feature on the legs.  We color blocked this time, and I did it on the pockets too, to make them pop a bit.  They're my favorites so far.  The sizing is just perfect on her!!!

I look forward to making many more of these, in all different sizes.  Actually I want some for me!!!!

Be sure to head on over to their FB Page, and check out the other 3 patterns They're all amazing too!!!!

Pattern Testers:

Here is blog post from another tester. 
She was asked to test the adorable and cozy  Arctic Fox Housecoat.


Monday, August 20, 2018

Mamma Can Do It -- Peplum Top -- Pattern Review

This months pattern test, was really fun, I got to make one for me, and the kid.  This is the Relaxed Fit Peplum Top & Tunic by  Mamma Can Do It. 


Unfortunately I didn't have enough fabric to make truly matching ones, YET!

Stay tuned for my next blog post about FBA's, on knit tops.  A must for anyone larger then a D cup.  Full Bust Adjustment-What every woman should know

I love how comfortable these are, and the stripes ended up looking kind of cool on the peplum.  I wasn't really sure how it would turn out. 

The kid loves it, and wears the 2 I made for her all the time, she thinks they're super comfy.


It's a super quick sew, 1 hour start to finish on my second one for her.  These are really easy to whip up, and comfortable.  They have a lot of options as well.

You can choose between short sleeve and long sleeve, and the 'skit' portion of the top comes in peplum or gathered, you can also choose to do a hi-low on either option.

The top/dress comes in three lengths top, tunic, and dress.  So many options to take you from spring to fall, and back again.

The women's comes in 3 skirt choices.  Gathered, circle or half circle.  I chose circle for my first fit test and felt it was a bit bulky, I did use a heavy jersey.  I added a larger FBA for my second one and a lighter fabric and used the half circle and LOVE how it fits.

Get your copy now while it's on sale Relaxed Peplum Top and Dress for girls

The women's pattern is here Relaxed Peplum Top Womens

And the Bundle, which is your best value is here. Relaxed Peplum top bundle

 Also check out my guest blog post on Mamma Can Do It's blog. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Full Bust Adjustment--What every sewist should know.

Nothing is more frustrating then working hard to make a lovely top for yourself and having it NOT FIT!!!  One of the hardest areas to get a proper fit is in the bust area.  When I first started sewing and buying patterns I assumed that if I used my full bust measurement then the pattern would automatically fit.  The problem I ran into was if it fit across my bust-line, it was WAY too big through the shoulders, neckline, and sleeve areas. If it fit through the shoulders, I'd get horrible pulling on the sides, the seam would go on an angle forward, and the front of the shirt would be much higher, because it has greater topography to go over.  It was really depressing. I'd double check my measurements, where did I go wrong????

What I didn't realize is that most patterns are drafted for a B or C cup.  There are a few indie pattern companies that design for a D cup, and a few others that have cup size options built into the pattern.  For the most part though this is not the case, and you really don't want to have to miss out on some amazing patterns just because you don't know how to make that adjustment on your pattern.

So what measurements do you use???  Well the best way to get a proper fit all over is to use a 'high-bust' measurement.  You put the tape above the breasts, under the armpits, and this is going to give you a great idea of your 'frame size'.  If you're larger then a D cup then this is going to make a huge difference in fit for you.

There are a ton of different Youtube and blog posts on how to do FBA's.  Most of them include some sort of dart.  If you're making a fitted woven pattern, then for sure you should do a proper FBA with darts, BUT knit fabrics give you a bit of leeway.  I don't really want a dart on my knit, and it's not as fussy.  There are a few ways you can go about adding more room, just where you need it.  Depending on your cup size, you might only need to do one, or you can split the difference and do both if you're larger.  Here are 3 methods you can use, just see which one you like better.   I apologize for my horrible paint skills, but hope the graphics help. 

"Grading FBA"  The easiest one is grading.  You simply mark the pattern that fits for your shoulders and arm, waist, and then the bust-line, and you merge the lines on the side.  This works fine if you're only going up 1 size or so.  Anything more then that and you might have a problem getting the line on the side smooth, and now you're starting to affect your sleeve size.  If you decide to use the 'grading' method you HAVE to remember to add the same amount you graded out, to the front part of your sleeve pattern.  Otherwise you're sleeve will be too small and you'll end up with those dreaded gathers and be all upset.

"Pivot FBA" : I think this one is probably a better choice, because it preserves the neckline and arm scythe.  What you do is lay your pattern on a large piece of paper.  You want to trace the front fold, and then up through the neck and shoulder area.  Then you need to decide how much you want to add to the side.  A general rule is 1cm per cup size over B cup.  So if you're a D then 2cm's out.  My problem is that I wear an H cup.  so this can really throw off the shape of a top.  (That is why I like to combine the pivot method with the slash method I'll describe below.)

Once you've marked how far over you need to move your side seam you hold on to the top corner of the sleeve and slide the bottom part over to meet that mark, and draw in your arm scythe, now it's the same size for the neckline and arm.  Then you hold the underarm corner and straighten the pattern out till it's parallel to the front fold line, or if you don't want a little added room at the waist you pivot it so that the bottom of the waste lines up with the original front.  Now when you look at the pattern you can see there is more room, but it's mainly in the bust area, not all over.  You'll also see that from the angle you've added a bit more length to the front as well. 

"Slash FBA":  This method is pretty fast and easy as well, and can be combined with the other methods or used on it's own.  Basically all you do is cut your pattern horizontally right through the bust-line.  (usually about an inch below the armpit). And then you just slide it down how ever much you need.  Remember knit is forgiving, you might have to try a few different times to get your right fit.  One way is to try on one that is too small, and see how much shorter in the front it is then what you would like, and you can add that length right at the bustline, instead of at the hem which will give a better shape, and more room for your breasts.   If you only spread it about 1/2" or so you can probably get away with just stretching the side of the back to line it up, any more then that you really should either gather just the top 3" to fit the back side length, or you can cut a gentle swoop up the side to keep it the original length.

  I wear an H cup and added 1.5" to the front of my pattern with the slash method, and I also pivoted out to the side about 1/2".   Do the pivot or grading part first, then do the slash if combining.  This fit great!!!
There is a bit of trial and error, sometimes the methods change depending on the pattern and size of FBA you need to do.   Play around with it, and I hope you have luck.  It's nice to be able to have tops and dresses that fit!!! 
This is the  Relaxed Peplum Top Womens with half circle skirt from Mamma Can Do It. 

Check out my review on the pattern here Momma Can Do It -- Peplum Top -- Pattern Test

Check out this same post over on Mamma Can Do It's Blog

Monday, July 2, 2018

SLPCO Patricia -Knit add on Pattern Test.

                            One of my favorite aspects of sewing is pattern testing.  It's so fun!!!

I think one of the main reasons, is because I don't pick it, it's like a grab bag, you never know what it might be.  Several times I've tested a pattern I don't think I would have picked out on my own, and I end up LOVING it.  There have a been a few patterns I wasn't as fond of, but I try to be honest in my reviews.  Getting the pattern for free is a nice bonus as well. 

This review is for the Patricia Knit Bodice add on, from Simple Life Pattern Company.  This is a supplemental pattern to the "Patricia’s Boho High Low Top & Dress." which was originally written for woven only.  If you buy the Original and the add on, you have both options.  You can also do a knit top, with woven skirt as well. 


These two are my daughters current favorites.  She absolutely loves how comfy knits are.  Up until recently most of her clothes have been with cottons, so she is enjoying the change.  I will be making more of these in the future, there are several different options.


The first one I made for the test is the black print.  It was a cold spring so thought it would perfect  with the bell sleeves.  She wore this to school numerous times, and even for dinner last night, homemade burgers hahaha.  I chose the dramatic high low dress length, and bell sleeve options.  I love the scoop on the back neckline, but the front is high enough that there's no issue of it falling off her shoulders.


This top I made sleeveless, and 'top length' I did lengthen the back of the skirt a bit to make it even more dramatic, and was short on fabric, so it's a few inches narrower.  The ruffle is also 3.5" wide instead of 5" because I was really tight on fabric.  But I think it still looks good.  I plan on making a gathered organza skirt to go under it for a wedding we're going to later this month. 

The pattern is very well written, the institutions are easy to follow, and the pictures are clear.  If it's you're first time doing the burrito method on a sleeveless lined top, then you might need to check out youtube.  I'm a visual learner and needed more then just the pictures to wrap my head around it.  It's very simple though when you see it being done.  I'll be doing this method a lot from now. 

Like I always do on patterns for my daughter I mashed two sizes.  I used the size 6 for the width, and the 8 for length on the black one, and 10 for the length on the sleeveless.  It does sit a bit low on her hips in the back, but once the skirt is on you won't notice, and I don't want it to get too short too quick.  

It's a pretty quick sew, and since all the seams on the bodice are enclosed you don't need to worry about a serger.  (I rarely use the serger on knit clothing for my daughter she says it makes the seams scratchy, and if I just leave as is, they're more comfy).  You do need quite a bit of fabric for the skirt and ruffle depending on size so just double check the requirements before you start.  If gathering scares you there are several different methods out there that make it easier.  Here is a really poor quality video I made quickly while pattern testing to help you see my favorite method.  I find it quick, easy and pretty fool-proof.  I hate pinning and quartering so if I can avoid it I will.  Easy Gathering Video

I love a versatile pattern, this one can easily be made for season.  I look forward to making it with a nice sweater knit for fall, with leggings.  I think I need a pattern like this for me!!! Anyone testing a momma version????

To make this wedding worthy we just added a pettiskirt and some nice sandals.  I LOVE how this turned out, and she can wear it dressed up or down.

UPDATE!!!!  I made this in a size 3 woven, LOVE IT!!!!  This is such a versatile pattern. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sweet Sixteen Pattern Review (Canada Cups)

Sweet Sixteen Bralette

  by Bra-Makers Supply

Happy Mail!!!! I was very exited to receive this pattern in the mail, I hadn't really looked at it before but was looking forward to reading it over, and picking fabrics and the style I wanted.  I went with the Sandra.

Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for a list of prizes, good luck. 

I was given the pattern for free for the purpose of this review.  That said all the thoughts and comments are my own, I will be giving you and open and honest review of this pattern. 

My first decision was to pick my size!!!  This pattern has a different way of choosing cup sizes, but it's said to be one of the most accurate.   You measure bottom cup depth.  Which is taking a measurement (while wearing a well fitting bra, that's not padded), and measure from the Apex (nipple) straight down to the wire line.  You find your measurement on the chart, then do another measurement from wire line to wire line across your breast at the level of the apex, then find that one on the chart, hopefully they fall into the same size. Mine did NOT!!!  Since my bottom cup depth measurement matched my usual cup size I decided to go with that.  I was using a knit fabric so figured that would take care of the discrepancy.

Next choice was fabric.  This is always the hardest for me in any project.  I usually play around with fabric combo's until it feels right.  Clothing items are even harder because you have to take into account drape, comfort and in this case support.

For my first bra decided to use cotton jersey since it was one of the recommended fabrics.  Now I know what you're all thinking WHAT??? that's not very supportive.  And you would be correct, but it was on the list in the pattern and I figure if it did work it would be really comfy.  So I got all my fabric and notions together and traced my pattern.  I used freezer paper, but you can use any white, thin paper that you can see through.  The first bra I made I used jersey fabric and a 38" H.  My under-bust measurement is 37", and since this is supposed to be comfortable I sized up as was recommended.

The jersey had WAY too much stretch in it for the weight of my breasts.  I think the pattern should reflect this, and recommend jersey only for smaller cup sizes with self supporting breasts.  Had I not been expecting this, and experimenting I would have been devastated going through all that work.   To remedy the saggy cups, I sewed two more cups out of a much less stretchy fabric, and just sewed that onto the frame.  Then I sewed it to the back of the elastic.  Not so pretty, but it worked. 

The next issue was the band it was way too big, like it didn't even touch me.  I've seen on other reviews this is an issue, I started with 38" band and ended up taking a large dart out of it on each side.  I have a flared rib cage which means I usually have to take a dart out of the top of the band, but the bottom should fit ok.  Turns out I took out 4" off the bottom of the band and 6" off the top.  I had some pretty large darts.  Once I did thisadjustment, the band fit fine.  I'm not sure why this is, if perhaps this style of bra is not really meant for larger breasted ladies who are used to a tighter fitting band???  When you try this bra out I would recommend going down a size or two in the band for sure.  I used the 34 H band for the second bra, and still needed to take the dart in on the top, but the bottom of the band fit good.

Points to consider, when you size down in the band.  If you're not sure measure the band back band, and front frame, subtracting your 1/4 seam allowances, and adding in the length of your clasp.  Just doing a quick rough estimate you should be able to see how much you need to adjust.  When I do this measurement on the pattern the size 38 comes out to 41.25" total.  The 34 came out to 37.25".  Since I measured at 37, with the elastic pulled on this band it fits comfortably.  For the elastic I wanted it a bit stronger then just the FOE, so I laid it flat and doubled it up I sewed it on, then flipped and zig zags like you would a regular bra band.  Worked out great. 

The second bra I made I'd learned my lesson.  On the website for the Sweet Sixteen class they recommend using duoplex for the cups.  I wish this recommendation had been made more prominent on the package, especially if you're new to sewing bras.  Since even with duoplex I'm not planning on this being an 'going out' bra I wanted to make it more comfortable, and when with this black knit that is very thick and has very little stretch.  I used red duoplex from Club Tissues, and power net (Bra-Makers Supply) for the back band, which I doubled up to make it stronger as recommended for larger sizes (I did this on both bras).  The rest of my supplies were either from Bra Makers Supply or salvaged off of other projects.

This bra fit MUCH better, I was very happy with it right from the start.  I did notice a bit of gaping in the under arm area, so I took a dart out of the side of the top, and tapered it down to just above the band.  I have to make this adjustment on many bra's so I wasn't surprised, I will transfer the changes over to the pattern so I don't have to go through that on my next one.

Overall:  I'm very happy with the fit of the Sweet Sixteen.  It only took 2 tries, and both are functional.  It's comfortable and holds the girls up enough for around the house.  It's also great for yoga, or walking the dog as long as I'm wearing a sweater ;).  I'm used to foam cups, so for colder weather I prefer a bit more umm uhhh coverage, if you know what I mean ;).

The instructions can be bit confusing since she gives you instructions for all 4 styles together in each step, so you have to make sure you're following the correct one, once you figure out which one, it's pretty straightforward.  I've made several bra's in the past, and have all of Beverly's bra making Craftsy videos so construction came together pretty easily. 

However if this is your first bra, then I recommend getting her first bra making class on Craftsy or perhaps watch something on YouTube to familiarize yourself with the construction. 

I have made two of her other bra's the Classic and the Shelley, but didn't really use the instructions provided, I followed along with the online class.  That said I wish the instructions were a bit more detailed, but if you need any help she's always willing to answer questions. 

I wanted my second bra to be a bit fun!!! I didn't plan on it looking so piratey, but I love it!!!  It's very fun and colorful.  I plan on making an underwire bra in the same colors.  I figured I might as well have fun with it, so decided to use contrasting threads, this was one of the scariest aspects of the entire project, since there is nooooo room for error. 

                                                Wait is that RED THREAD YIKES!!!!!!  

This was a bit scary at first, since matching color would hide a multitude of sins.  If it's your first bra, then I'd recommend blending your threads, but if you want to be daring and like the look just go slow!!! Super slow.

 YAY!!! it worked out.  I was nervous but I love the extra detail it adds to the black. I did contrasting thread on all of my seams and elastic as well. 

The most important part of the construction  to me was getting my front seam to line up.  I really wanted my cups and the top-stitching to line up exactly.  It took me a few tries to get it to work.

I recommend pinning it lengthwise along the seam-line, so that you can fold it back and double check that it's lined up, then put a few pins in crosswise to hold it in place, and slowly pull out the needles as you come to them. 

When you sew on the elastic to the cups, I pulled my elastic a wee bit for more support.  I also stretched the elastic when sewing to the side pieces. 

TIP:  Even though the pattern tells you to sew your elastic to your cup before sewing it to the band, I waited and then could sew the side elastic all at once, instead of having a bump where you overlap them. 


TIP:  When sewing Fold over elastic in one pass, I like to tack the first inch or so to the inside.  I just line it up with the center line, and tack it down.  



Then I'll pull it out and start sewing from the top.  This helps hold it in place so it doesn't slip out on you, really speeds up the process. 

I made a pair of matching panties for my first set, using my own self drafted pattern that I learned how to make in Beverley's underwear class on Craftsy.  I was very happy with how they turned out, and I'm please to report they're very comfy.  I struggled to get them on my other dress form, I felt like I should be on a Lucille Ball episode, I hope no one was watching outside as I was right in front of the window!!!! 

I plan on making a lovely Kaftan to match!!! I found this gorgeous sheer fabric at Club Tissus (one of our lovely sponsors for the tour.  They carry a ton of bra supplies)!!!   I can't wait to wear it around the house, or out over a tank top and leggings.  Ohh and I'll make matching panties for sure. 

I hope you've enjoyed the pattern review and decide to take a risk and make yourself a new bra!!!! Check out the other blogs on the hop today.  We're reviewing different bralette (no underwire) bra's this week ALL from Canadian designers.  Enjoy!!!!

2nd Annual Canada Cups Blog Hop


Tour Schedule

Hang with us as we reveal our inner secrets. ;) 


// Please note that none of these post links are available before the scheduled date. If you click on one too early, you will get an Error 404: Page not found. You know about those, right? // Sunday, October 15
Monday, October 16
Tuesday, October 17
Wednesday, October 18
Thursday, October 19
Friday, October 20
Saturday, October 21
Monday, October 23
  • Giveaway winners announced on all the blogs:
Little Heart Threads, Glitter in my Coffee, Michelle's Creations, Mrs. Weaver's Finest Unmentionables, Gracious Threads, Élégantine!, That's Sew Venice, Sprouting Jubejube, Flying by the Seam of my Pants, Filles à Maman


Prizes and Discounts

*A discount code from Funky Monkey -code: CC10 for 10% off store wide for the length of the tour.
 *A $25 Store voucher & Discount code from Fabric Please (CANADACUPS for 20% off storewide during your tour)

 There will be a Rafflecopter at the end of the tour for the following prizes.  Make sure to check back and fill out your form.  There are some really great items, that'll make your next, or perhaps first bra extra special.  

*A bra kit from Atelier Fiber Arts and Abrakdabra
*A bralette kit or scuba print from Bra-Makers Supply
*A 10% discount from Central Sewing Machines 
(The discount for Central Sewing needs orders to be emailed directly to (
*A pattern from Chelsea C Designs
*A Sophie swimsuit pattern from Closet Case Patterns
*1 yard of in-stock fabric from Crookshanks Custom Textiles (winner splits shipping costs)
*A $25 Store voucher & Discount code from Fabric Please (CANADACUPS for 20% off storewide during your tour)
*A pattern from Favorite Things
*A discount code from Libelle Sewing
*A bralette kit from Braphoria
*A pattern from Ohhh Lulu Sews
*A pattern from Lingerie Secrets Patterns by Jan Bones
*A discount code from Funky Monkey -code: CC10 for 10% off store wide for the length of the tour. active until the 22nd 😊 Not valid on already discounted full bolts.