Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The Itch-to-Stitch Bonn Shirt - Pattern Review

Before I started sewing my own garments, I was never a fan of button-up shirts on me. I've always been busty and in order for there to be no gaping at the bust, I always needed to size up and then the fit was all wrong at the shoulders. Of course, sewing my own clothes means I could remedy that and make myself a few nice shirts. 

For my second attempt at a shirt, I chose to use the Itch-to-Stitch Bonn shirt pattern.

Pattern Details:

The Bonn hasn't yet been updated in Itch-to-Stitch's full size range - it goes from a 30 1/8" to a 49" bust and from a 33 1/4" to a 48" hip. My measurements put me at the top of the size range. I sewed a size 18 at the bust, grading out to a 20 for the waist and hips. Like many of her patterns, the Bonn is available in five different cup sizes: A, B, C, D and DD. I used the D cup. (My current measurements are 41" high bust, 45" full bust, 39" waist and 47.5" hips.)

There are a variety of different sleeve options: short (like the one I made), long, 3/4 and flared. There is also a dress option which is really cute.

The pattern features a V neck with mandarin collar which I really like and find suits me nicely. I love that it allows for my favourite necklace to really shine.

Instructions and Construction:

As with all Itch-to-Stitch patterns, the instructions are impeccable. She includes every step a novice would need and makes no assumption in terms of the skill level of the maker. For example, if you should stay stitch or under stitch, she includes those steps as well. 

I did have one little problem when constructing my shirt: my iron burned the interfacing on the collar so I had to cut a new one. But that obviously has nothing to do with the instructions and more to do with me not realizing how hot my iron was at the time.

The other difficulties I had were mostly due to the fabric I chose for my Bonn. This is a Japanese Tencel Cotton from Blackbird Fabrics (sadly no longer available). And although it is a dream to wear - so light and breezy, it was a bit of a challenge to sew with. The "crinkly" nature of the fabric meant I needed to be careful with the pressing. You don't want to press this kind of fabric really flat because after you wash it, you'll need to press it very flat every time you want to wear it. I learned that the hard way when I made a top with crinkle rayon and found that it didn't fit me unless I ironed every last wrinkle in the fabric!

Would I make this again?

Yes, I definitely would. I'm tempted to make the dress next time.

Also, as you can see from the pictures, I really should have done a narrow shoulder adjustment. I keep forgetting that adjustment. Another small tweak I will make if I make the shirt again would be to shorten it by a couple of inches. The Itch-to-Stich patterns are designed for 5' 6" bodies and I'm 5' 4". I find my shirt a bit too long and I'm not crazy about the proportions on my body. I could wear it tucked in, but there is so much length there, it would be a pain.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with my new shirt. It goes well with my denim shorts and I'll be able to wear it tied in a knot with my navy linen Arden pants. I would definitely call this a success despite the minor adjustments I'll make on my next version.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Caved Quilt Finish and Review

I don't share progress or process posts or pictures here or on Instagram. I just never think to stop and take a few pictures while engrossed in a project. Also, because of my full-time job, my sewing time is so precious. I want to make the most of it and just sew! What I thought I could do instead of simply sharing a finished project is provide you with a little bit of a review. Hopefully, you'll find this helpful.

A little note before I get started: I don't get sponsored and pay for everything I share on this blog (unless it was a prize I won). Therefore, my opinion and reviews will be my honest thoughts on a pattern and project. 

This week, I finished a fun lap size quilt called Caved which I got in Issue 39 of Make Modern Magazine. I made another quilt from this issue - New Orleans Sidewalk and I'm planning to make at least another one. I think making three quilts from one issue is pretty good value.

The pattern designer is Kelli Marshall from www.simplymackbeth.com. This quilt pattern was designed to use a Layer Cake (40 10" squares) along with some background fabric, but you could definitely make this quilt with scraps. I've had a 3 Sisters Layer Cake in my stash for years so decided to use it. I paired it with Kona Lingerie as my background fabric. I thought the light blush would work nicely with the rich reds and browns in the "Double Chocolate" Layer Cake.

The quilt finishes at 61" square so a nice lap size. With additional 10" squares or if using scraps, it would be very easy to make the quilt larger by adding more blocks.

This is not a difficult quilt to make. There are no seams to match perfectly, but you do have to be precise when sewing the flying geese so your blocks all end up at the same size. The block placement is also important when stitching the rows together and I must have messed up somewhere along the way because mine isn't exactly as the pattern says.

I quilted my version with wavy horizontal lines with the walking foot. I wanted a thread that would blend in so used my favourite one - Aurifil #2600 (Dove) in 50 wt. It basically disappears on the background and on most of the prints in this Layer Cake.

The backing is a red print from my stash and I used strips I had left from a Jelly Roll for the binding. I think those Jelly Roll strips had been in my binding bin for almost a year now. The colour of the binding doesn't match the Layer Cake perfectly, but it works ok.

The details:

  • Pattern designer: Kelli Marshall from www.simplymackbeth.com
  • Size: 61" square
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Instructions/construction: The instructions were clear and easy to follow with pictures as well as illustrations from the cutting all the way to the binding. I like that the instructions included how to piece the binding.
  • Would I make this again? If I had another Layer Cake in my stash, I might. It's a pretty quick make and could look completely different in another fabric collection.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

A Purple Antrim Dress

The Antrim Dress by Itch-to-Stitch had been on my list of garments to make since it's release. I love crossover bodices and the full skirt really looked awesome and I thought would look really nice on me. I purchased inexpensive ITY fabric from Minerva.com some time ago and decided this past weekend was the time!

I really love the fabric and the colours in that fabric. This ITY is comfortable, stretchy and it's weighty enough that I'm not afraid of my skirt blowing up in the wind. But it was a bit of a nightmare to sew with - my machine kept wanting to eat it up and it curled a lot at the edges. Making sure my raw edges were aligned and then using lots of pins was a must. Also, this fabric is synthetic and doesn't like heat so it wasn't the best at holding a press.

Oh and it doesn't breathe - like at all - so I won't be wearing this on a really hot day but it's nice to wear in my air conditioned home while I'm working and it'll be perfect this Fall with a cute cardigan and tights.

The pattern has clear, step-by-step instructions but I did have a few moments when I was scratching my head. I'm not yet very experienced and this pattern is for intermediate sewists so I'm not really surprised but I managed to figure it out and in the end, I have a dress I like. It is perfect? Gosh no! But it is wearable.

I've had success with the Itch-to-Stitch patterns I have used so far. There are always some fun details included that elevate many of her designs just a bit beyond basics. For example, the Antrim Dress has the option of a ruched waistband instead of a plain one. Also, I have read horror stories about crossover bodices like these stretching out or not staying closed. This one feels very secure and I wore it an entire day and not once did I feel like I needed to "adjust" anything.

If I make this again, I might make the waistband at bit narrower. I like where it ends but I find it starts a bit too high. I don't really have a waist and having a tall waistband like this one doesn't look the best on me. I might also shorten the sleeves a bit or make them longer. And I would do a small narrow shoulder adjustment as the shoulder seams sits a bit too far.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my new dress. When I put it on the first time, my hubby said it looked beautiful on me. He rarely says anything about the garments I make so I'll take that as a win!

The details:

Friday, June 18, 2021

Modular Motion - A Small Quilt Finish

If I'm going to be completely honest, I've had a couple of small finishes lately because I'm procrastinating getting started on a very large project and I'm not looking forward to all the cutting it requires. Here is my latest small quilt which will probably end up on the wall of my sewing room...

The Modular Motion quilt pattern was included in Issue 31 of the Make Modern magazine and was designed by Jamie Siel. I added it to my list of projects because I really liked the modern feel of it and all that negative space. When I first saw it, I envisioned a super-sized version but in the end, I decided to go with the original size in the pattern (27" square).

This was a quick and fun project to make although it does require some precision in the cutting and piecing to ensure everything lines up properly.

I don't mind quilting straight lines with my walking foot when a quilt is this small - I even went with 1/4" spaces between each line. And on the pieced middle, I stitched some flowers with my free-motion quilting foot. I used Aurifil #2600 (Dove) in a 50 wt for the piecing and the quilting. The thread matches the background (which is a Kona solid - cannot remember the name of it) and it blends in really well with the rest of the colours.

The binding is a little bit of the same grey, a fun pink stripe and Kona Charcoal. And the backing is a leftover piece from my Julia Quilt.

The details:
  • Pattern: Modular Motion from Issue 31 of Make Modern magazine (designed by Jamie Siel)
  • Size: 27" square
  • Fabrics: Kona solids and fat 1/8s from my stash 
  • Thread: Pieced and quilted with Aurifil #2600 (Dove)
I'm really pleased with my little quilt! I think it'll look very nice in my sewing room!

Friday, June 11, 2021

The Ultimate Palate Cleanser: A 1-Hour Basket

This past week was a little crazy at work and after finishing a couple of lap sized quilts and a few garments, I needed a simple and quick sew. Whenever that happens, I almost always make a zipper pouch, but I remembered that my daughter-in-law recently requested a basket for my grand-daughter's room so I pulled out my Amy Butler fat quarters, pulled up the 1-Hour Basket Tutorial I saved years ago (from Kelby Sews) and got sewing!

I used the same fabric for the exterior and lining but didn't have enough to make the handles so I chose a mint fabric with the cutest gold polka dots on it for those. 

The mint background on that fabric matches the Amy Butler fabric almost perfectly - I'm really pleased with how this looks.

The pattern calls for fusible fleece to give the exterior fabric some body and structure, but I prefer using Annie's Soft and Stable for my 1-Hour Baskets. The seams are a lot thicker, but nothing the walking foot on my Suki sewing machine can't handle!

This will be perfect for hair accessories or small toys.

And now I can go back to my Spring/Summer capsule plans and start planning a queen sized quilt for my daughter who just go her own apartment.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

My 2nd Capsule Outfit: Tierras Joggers and Newport Top

I completed my second Spring/Summer capsule outfit over the weekend: the Itch-to-Stitch Tierras Joggers and Newport Top.

The Tierras Joggers pattern is very similar to the Arden Pants pattern I love so much - elastic waistband, side pockets and straight legs, but the rise on the Tierras is lower, which I personally find more comfortable. These hit me about 2 inches below the belly button and will be perfect to wear with the tops I've made that finish at my high hips.

They are a tiny bit long for me so I rolled them up to right above the ankle. You might also notice some drag lines right under my bum - I completely forgot to do a low seat adjustment (which is what I believe I need here) but I've already adjusted the pattern for the next time.

The fabric is a 6 oz Lyocell Twill from Blackbird Fabrics (the colour is called Cypress, but it's basically olive). It was a dream to sew with. It wasn't too shifty and pressed really well. The pants feel floaty and super soft.

These pants are going to be very versatile and will go well with the cream Ashton Top I finished recently as well as my pink Cedar Dolman.

The details:

My new top is the Newport top also by Itch-to-Stitch. It has some fun details at the shoulders, a subtle high-low hem and 3/4 sleeves.

The fabric is a striped jersey from The Fabric Snob in dusty blue. I love this fabric! It's 95% cotton and 5% spandex, it has some body to it, but it's not overly thick. It is really, really soft and it's easy to sew with. If you're in the market for a beautiful jersey fabric, I highly recommend The Fabric Snob.

I really took my time with this top and made sure the stripes were level and matched at the side. And I think I was pretty successful!

The only issue I have with my top is that although the shoulders fit me pretty well, the top feels big at the high bust and there's a lot of extra fabric at the waist. You can even see the fabric folds above my chest leading me to believe I should have gone with a size 16 instead of 18.

But that's not going to stop me wearing it. It'll go very nicely with my new navy Arden pants so my capsule wardrobe is really coming together!

Friday, June 4, 2021

The Julia Quilt

I finished another quilt this week and I love it a lot more than I thought I would!

Here is my pink and purple Julia Quilt by Kitchen Table Quilting.

This whole quilt started with me wanting to use Kona Lingerie as my background and a purple print from my stash as the backing. When I went searching through my fat quarters, I noticed my stash of pink and purple fat quarters is really depleted. My options were therefore a little limited and in the end, I just wasn't crazy about my selections. But now that it's all done, I love it!

I quilted flowers on it with light pink Aurifil thread and I'm super pleased with the results. 

The binding is from two fat quarters: a pink and a purple chevron print. 

The details:

  • Pattern: Julia by Kitchen Table Quilting
  • Size: 68" x 68"
  • Fabrics: Kona Lingerie and pink and purple fat quarters from my stash 
  • Thread: Pieced and quilted with Aurifil #2415 (light pink)

Making this quilt was a lot of fun and very straightforward. I chose to make the lap size version, but the pattern is also available in twin and queen size.