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 | Offsquare.com

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 | Offsquare.com

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?

Yes!

Anima Pants by Papercut Patterns | Offsquare.com

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

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 | Offsquare.com

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 | Offsquare.com

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 | Offsquare.com

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 | Offsquare.com

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.

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 | Offsquare.com

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Saltspring Dress + a Treat!

Oh my. I should’ve made this dress at the start of summer! It’s only been a week or so since I made this Saltspring Dress from Sewaholic Patterns and I’m already wearing it as much as possible.

Saltspring Dress | Offsquare.com

This is a maxi dress with an elastic waist, zip back, inseam pockets and tie straps. There’s also a little secret with this dress. The lined bodice is shorter than the outer layer and it’s genius, I tell ya! This means that the top blouses at the waist by itself without needing a belt or being dragged down by the weight of the skirt. Now that’s clever design.

Saltspring Dress | Offsquare.com

I opted to make mine from a silk/cotton blend fabric and it feels gorgeous on. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy enough fabric, so compromises had to be made. I opted to line the dress with another fabric (which I think is a rayon blend) and it feels nothing short of divine on the skin. Like butterfly kisses, or the breath of angels, or … I think you get the idea.

Anyway, this different lining also meant I had to sew the back seam closed and skip the zip (because the top layer is designed to drape open and it would have exposed my lining. It’s a cool design though so I’ll definitely be buying plenty of fabric next time). It fits over my head fine, so it’s not a problem fit-wise. Like I say, compromises. I’ll do the zip next time I make this.

Saltspring Dress | Offsquare.com

I also altered the straps so they don’t tie up but are instead a fixed length. I don’t know about you, but ties dangling on my arms drive me crazy. I keep thinking there are flies landing on me and I just know the kids would pull on them too.

Lastly, I made a sway back adjustment for a good fit and will definitely do this on all my future garments. It’s just what my shape needs.

Saltspring Dress | Offsquare.com

I initially hesitated buying this due to the price. By the time you add on shipping to NZ and the exchange rate, it was pricey. Until I discovered Dresses and Me! This online NZ based store sell Sewaholic, Cake, By Hand London, Simple Sews and Victory patterns at a good price and all with free shipping in NZ when you spend $40 or more. Yippee! With my order they also sent a couple of clothing labels to sew into my finished garment and a discount coupon to spend on my next purchase with them. I love these little touches!

Now for the best part. Penny and Alice, the lovely ladies at Dresses and Me, are sweetening the deal even more and offering you all 10% off your purchases until the end of February! I mean, seriously, a good deal has just got even gooder. That’s right, I just used bad grammar.

Just enter the code dresses2014 at the checkout. Simple as that.

They’ve just upgraded their website and boy is it looking swish. You’ll also find free patterns there (perfect for my fellow thrifters out there. Woop woop!) so pop over and have a look see.

This post isn’t sponsored at all and ravings are all my own ;)

Papercut Patterns – Sigma Dress

Katie at Papercut Patterns has released a new range of sewing patterns titled “Constellation”.

Papercut Patterns Sigma Dress | Offsquare.com

Guys, it’s truly jaw-dropping. When I saw the designs, I actually held my breath and then gasped in delight as I browsed each one. Katie is seriously talented.

This is the Sigma Dress and I love the tailored look that still manages to pass as casual.

(By the way, it was annoyingly windy when I took these photos. That diagonal crease you see in the skirt above? A gust of wind. Rest assured the skirt does sit flat, as per photo #3).

Papercut Patterns Sigma Dress | Offsquare.comHere’s the technical run down.

With sizing, my waist measurement is usually a size bigger than my other proportions. Mostly, I just base sizing on that waist measurement and cinch in the side seams up top for my smaller bust.

As a side note: I may do a blog post one day on how garment sizing is determined, but for now, let’s just say that sizing is not an ideal shape or target. It’s an average. If you don’t fit perfectly in a category, it doesn’t mean anything negative about your body. You’re fine.

For experimental purposes, I played around a bit here and made two muslins (a trial run with unwanted fabric). I made a size small muslin first and then another muslin with extra small bust and hips, graduating to a size small waist. I found the graduated version a bit snug in the arm holes, so I jumped in and made a size small, tapering in the upper seams slightly to fit the bust as usual. It worked perfectly :)

I also added a few extra centimetres to the hem length and used french seams throughout (my little touch of luxury).

Papercut Patterns Sigma Dress | Offsquare.com

The instructions were easy to follow and clearly illustrated. I also love how they fold into a cute little booklet for ease of use.

The Sigma dress even comes with a few different variations. You can make a long sleeved dress (oh man, check out this ikat Sigma Dress by Very Purple Person. I can’t stop thinking about it!), short sleeved dress, both with or without gathers at the waist and then a skirt with or without gathers.

And did I mention pockets?! Booyah.

Papercut Patterns Sigma Dress | Offsquare.com

The fabric is a polyester (don’t judge me!) print from Spotlight.

I just can’t rave enough about Papercut Patterns. Katie is amazing and her attention to detail is scrumptious with beautifully presented patterns that remain user friendly.

Papercut Patterns Sigma Dress | Offsquare.com

The fit and sizing were great here with any fitting quirks being par for the course for this small busted lady.

The Papercut Patterns blog has additional tutorials for any newbies to sewing. In fact, you’ll also find sew-alongs there for some of the patterns, which is awesome if you want someone to hold your hand throughout the process.

P.S. In the spirit of full disclosure, Papercut Patterns so very kindly gave me this pattern. Rest assured these words and opinions are my own though. I was a fan long before this!