Anima Pants by Papercut Patterns

I have a personal rule that track pants are not to be worn beyond the letterbox (unless, of course, legitimate exercise is taking place). So it’s really fun to have something as effortless as track pants without the ‘I’ve given up on life’ look.

Anima Pants by Papercut Patterns | Offsquare.comWhile these pants are a little louder than I’m accustomed to (and it’s why they’ve sat in the wardrobe for a few months), with the addition of fun red heels and a racer back top, I finally get it. Like a lightbulb has just switched on. Patterned pants are fun and sassy and bold … maybe even sophisticated. Yes, I could get used to this.

Anima Pants by Papercut Patterns |

The Pattern

These are the Anima Pants by Papercut Patterns. To me the name sounds like Enema Pants. Yeah. Like Book Depository where I always think of Book Suppository. But I digress.

This is a beautiful pattern to work with. The pockets come together easily and are fixed along the top at the waistband, so you won’t have them moving around during wear. It is designed for knit fabrics, so if you wish to use woven fabric, it’s advisable to size up in the waist and hips. This is a surprisingly quick make and a good pattern for beginners to tackle with no zips or buttonholes to sew, featuring instead a false fly (don’t panic, it’s easy!) and elastic waist.

Anima Pants by Papercut Patterns |

I’ve made the pair with no cuffs, sized up for the woven (non-stretch) fabric and took in the side seams of each leg for a tapered ankle.

The fabric is just polyester and (thankfully) has less static than I had expected, but won’t crease with wear like some natural fabrics.

Do I Recommend It?


Anima Pants by Papercut Patterns |

Oh, and heels with these pants are a must for outings beyond the letterbox, just for some extra attitude ;)

Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank

In my pursuit of finding the perfect tank top pattern, I caved in and bought Grainline’s Tiny Pocket Tank pattern.

Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank |

Oh man, I’m not gonna lie … it was a tough road. This pattern has some quirks and fixing them did my head in. There were several occasions where I dumped it all in a bag and shoved it aside in frustration, telling myself to just forget about it and quit. But how awesome would a great tank top pattern be for the arsenal? I wear them all the time! So, I couldn’t let it go completely. A dog with a bone, I tell ya.

The Quirks

The issues I had were tightness and pulling above the bust and also a weird wrinkling in the body from the bust and darts, down and out to the waist. The latter wasn’t as major as the first, but still drove me crazy and made the top look ill-fitting.

Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank |

 The Fixes

After yet another frustrated shove-it-all-in-a-bag moment, I sent Jen at Grainline an email (this is the cool thing about indie pattern makers) and she replied with this:

It’s possible that what’s happening is that the Tiny Pocket is drafted for a slightly larger B cup than the rest of the line and this is affecting the fit on you. It was the first pattern in the line and I was using a different fit model than I do now. You may need to go up a size in the pattern and then do a small FBA [small bust adjustment?] to take care of the large bust.

Good advice and sizing up was definitely the way to go. That alone removed a lot of the tightness and this might be all some people need to do. But it didn’t fix my wrinkling at the waist.

Then Lisa at Notes From a Mad Housewife shared a fix. Ah, blogging community, how I love thee! Here’s what Lisa suggested:

The biggest thing is getting the dart position right (I had to raise it maybe 1/2″). The other is changing the strap angle. I sliced from the side of the neckline to the armhole, then opened it up 1/4″ or so (pivoting at the armhole). That does lower the neckline, so you may need to adjust that. A lot of people had tightness above the bust, and making that small change did wonders!

Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank |

Lisa, you are a legend. So I went a size bigger than the measurements suggested, lifted the bust dart 2cm (using this method by Tilly and the Buttons) and opened the neckline 2cm before raising the neckline. This totally fixed the bust tightness (which was almost eliminated by sizing up anyway) AND the wretched wrinkling at the waist. Two issues fixed in one chop.

Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank |

I did leave a little of the wrinkling from the bust because I didn’t want the neckline to gape when sitting, but it’s a far cry from what it was and doesn’t bother me now.

Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank |

Finally! My ideal tank top pattern. This has plagued me for so long, you have no idea. Hubby got to the point of non-response whenever I called from the bathroom that I thought I had found a fix. He knew I’d be shoving it in the ominous green bag shortly after.

So this top is a badge of honour and boy do I plan on making a pile of them now.

Do I Recommend It?

Only if you are prepared to do some tweaking. I wish I had known about this fix before I started. It would have saved me HOURS of tracing, amending and mock ups. I see the same issues replicated with this pattern all over the blogosphere, so it’s not unique to me, but in saying that, the end result is a really fantastic top that I adore. So it’s a conditional yes from me.

Seriously, my wardrobe is gonna be brimming with these bad boys and it was totally worth it.


Robson Coat

The trench coat is one of my all time favourite jackets. The structure, the practicality and the fact they never seem to go out of style makes for a solid investment. I already own a vibrant coloured one (via Ezibuy, no longer stocked) that has been worn consistently every winter for the last seven years … and it’s still going strong.

So when I spotted the Robson Coat by Sewaholic, I just couldn’t say no.

Robson Coat |

I found some navy fabric (I think it was Raintex? That was too long ago) at a local fabric store that was sadly closing down and sourced the pattern from DressesandMe. If you’re in New Zealand and want to buy indie sewing patterns, this is THE place to go. Penny is super lovely to deal with, so if they don’t stock what you’re after, flick her a message and see what happens.

Robson Coat |

This is a great pattern to use with clear instructions and lots of illustrations (yay for visuals). The pattern is for a double breasted unlined jacket with front and back storm flaps, welt pockets, epaulettes and a tie belt. It uses princess seams on the front and a two part sleeve, both of which make the finished jacket look beautifully tailored.

I considered underlining this and using french seams, but yikes, that sounds intense for the first try! Instead I skipped the lining and just serged the seams instead of using the recommended bias tape. Much quicker and super easy.

Robson Coat |

My Tweaks:

  • I lopped a whopping eight inches off the bottom because I like the shape and flare of a shorter coat.
  • A 1cm sway-back adjustment. While I can’t tell what difference it’s made, I like the shape so no harm done.
  • Lifted the pockets by an inch, based on reviews by other bloggers and this was definitely a good move. Actually, I lifted them by two inches in the beginning, but that was overkill, so I had to unpick them and start over. One inch is perfect (I’m 170cm).

Things I’d Do Differently:

  • I am having issues with the front flaps and they won’t sit flat. I think I’ll add some hand stitches to help it stay in place, but next time I’ll try the fix suggested by Purls and Pleats.
  • I don’t think the collar needs as much interfacing as the pattern says either. It’s unnecessarily stiff, so next time I’ll leave the interfacing off the collar top and only put it on the bottom pieces.
  • When ironing the fabric, I inadvertently melted the fabric in two places while pressing seams, despite the low heat. Argh! Rookie mistake. By placing a tea towel between the fabric and the iron, the heat was diffused and the fabric protected. I highly recommend doing that right from the beginning if you have a heat delicate fabric e.g. Nylon.
  • There is a lot of ease in this pattern and I’m considering going down a size next time. My measurements put me in three size categories, but because I was a size 8 in the Sewaholic Saltspring dress, I chose that. It’s generally a good fit, but the underarm area is very spacious and the sleeves are wider than I’d prefer. While you generally want coats roomy enough for all those winter layers, our winters are mild and I prefer a snug fit. Just personal preference and if you have harsh winters, you’ll appreciate the ease.

Robson Coat |

Despite my tweaks and preferences, this really is a great little pattern and one I’m so pleased to have in the stash. It’s got everything I love about a good trench coat and the classic style means it should be useful for many more years.  Totally recommend it to anyone on the fence about it!

Wouldn’t it look awesome in a vibrant, fun colour to chase away any dreary weather moods? Mmmm, yes please.

Soma Swimsuit

Until recently, I had put sewing swimwear in the too hard category. Right up there with sewing bras or shoes. Turns out they are actually surprisingly simple and one of the most rewarding things to sew. The whole way through this whole project I kept saying to myself “I’m making a bikini. I’m actually sewing togs here. Togs! I’m. Making. Togs!”

Soma Swimsuit by Papercut Patterns
I was offered a Soma Swimsuit pattern by Katie at Papercut Patterns (seriously guys, Katie is awesome!), but when she also offered me a browse of her fabric stash, I couldn’t even feign polite reservation … It was heaven!

After a little pep talk to myself (I was daunted by the whole idea of sewing this!), I opted to make the bustier version. I love it! It’s a little puckered in the middle of the top because I did a last minute hack to give my girlies a boost. The pucker disappears when I’m wearing it, but because I’m too shy to post photos of me in a bikini, you’ll have to take my word for it. Soma Swimsuit

The Technical Stuff This is a great pattern and Katie explains techniques well. I made the XS version, based on my previous makes with Papercut Patterns and it was spot on. If I were to be picky, the cups are a smidge spacious for my little curves, so next time I might attempt blending an XXS cup size with the XS top. I also cut padded inserts from an old bikini and hand sewed them in for a little oomph and also to stop visible high beams when cold.

I was worried that the lack of clasp at the back would lead to  an awkward ‘halfway-out-and-I’m-horribly-stuck-oh-my-gosh-I’m-panicking-and-can’t-breathe’ moment in the bathroom after. But to my relief, they stretch enough that I don’t have to face that situation. And did you know that swimwear fabric was in the dance wear section at the fabric store? Good to know. I would’ve hunted forever.

All in all it’s a great pattern and not as intense as you might expect. Please don’t let yourself be intimidated by this make. It’s surprisingly rewarding for a small amount of effort and doesn’t it sound impressive to say you made your own togs? The simplicity of it will be our little secret though ;)

Sigma Skirt

This is my fourth make using the Sigma Dress pattern by Papercut Patterns. I’ve never owned a pattern so versatile!

Sigma Skirt |

It’s the skirt variation without gathers and I think it’s cute and kinda fun. I didn’t make any adjustments (other than omitting pockets so it would always sit smoothly) but I really should have done a sway back adjustment. It’s a simple adjustment for those of us with an exaggerated inward curve on the lower back (I found this lovely tutorial on sway back adjustments for anyone interested). See how it curves up slightly on the back hemline?

Sigma Skirt |

It’s subtle enough that I can still enjoy wearing the skirt, but I’ll make an adjustment next time round.

Sigma Skirt |

Sigma Skirt |

I also made this skirt using fabric from a dress I found in an op-shop. Does it count as a refashion? Either way, here is a before and after for you ’cause they’re always fun.

Sigma skirt refashion |

Saltspring + Sigma = SpringMa

The second dress made for my sister is a combination of my two current favourite patterns. It also came together just in time for FrankenIndie with The Monthly Stitch, so a big hello to any Monthly Stitch visitors! To recap, my sister Kelly is off overseas and needs modest dresses for some conservative destinations. I wanted to help boost her wardrobe for the adventures ahead and offered to make a couple of dresses for her to wear.

Saltspring Dress by Sewaholic& Sigma Dress by Papercut Patterns

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Sewing for Travel

My sister, Kelly, is about to embark on some overseas travel and isn’t one for sticking to the usual tourist traps. She wants to eat with locals, wrangle language barriers and thoroughly explore a rich new culture. Such fun!

Kelly will be in places that dress modestly, which she will need to respect if she doesn’t want to draw gasps of horror everywhere she goes. The dress code essentially boils down to “no shoulders, no knees, and no skin in between”, which sounds simple enough but was proving a challenge for this intrepid explorer.

So Rosie Miller (another sister) and I collaborated to make Kelly a couple of dresses that would keep her feeling fab and cool in the heat. Rosie generously provided some gorgeous cotton fabrics from her stash, while I got sewing.

First up was a Sigma Dress by Papercut Patterns, but altered to a mid-calf length.

Mid calf Sigma dress by Papercut Patterns |

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