Pattern Testing: Women’s Camilla Cowl

Hey there world! It’s been a long time since I last posted (you know, for my 3 loyal fans) but so much has happened in our little family over the last 6 months! This past week I was busy helping Jessica over at 5 Out Of 4 Patterns test the maternity version of the women’s Camilla Cowl (In case you missed it on Facebook & Instagram, yes I’m pregnant & not just getting fat!).

I’ve been through a few pattern tests now, and every time I’m selected to participate it’s always such an honour. I feel like especially because I’ve tested for this company before, it would be so easy for her to say “Meh, I want someone new.” Or “Meh, she didn’t really help much last time.” But for some reason she keeps picking me, and it’s always a week of fun, excitement, and stress all jumbled together. My son was VERY excited that mommy was always taping so many pieces of paper together, he even learned how to say his own version of the word “ruban” & took great pride in passing me each piece. Pattern testing is now a full family affair!

I was skeptical of this test at first, because I thought that I wouldn’t love this shirt as much as my other 5oo4 patterns. Cowl necklines aren’t usually very forgiving for my body type, and bending over chasing #BabyRydz around can take them from a PG to an R rating pretty quickly. It’s not exactly my ideal for the lineup of play dates, play groups, and doctor’s appointments that we have scheduled over the next few months. Jessica surprised me, though, by finding a great balance between drapey cowl & cleavage covered, so I’m thrilled.

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The options in this pattern are endless and at first I was overwhelmed, but in the end I chose:

  • shirt length,
  • elbow length sleeves: because even though there was a snow storm this weekend, there WILL be spring weather soon! I wanted something different from the usual 3/4 or short sleeve options that most patterns have, and I’m about the temperature of a sauna at this point in the pregnancy so long sleeves are a no-go,
  • banded sleeves AND bottom, to avoid hemming (Yep, that’s right: NO HEMMING!!! ALLLLLLL the love for a pattern that doesn’t make me hem!)
  • maternity ruching: this one seems pretty obvious, but I’m thrilled that there’s enough room for me to keep growing – it should fit right to my due date. Check out that gorgeous ruching:

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I originally planned on making a shirt that would be a nice match to my casual boot cut maternity jeans. In the end I was surprised to find that I made a really versatile shirt that paired nicely with khakis for church, and will work with most of my skirts too.

And how much do you love this floral?! I’ve had my eye on the Knottingley print for a while over at Water Tower Textiles Canada, and when they asked if I would be willing to sew up a sample of the new rayon/spandex that’s stocked for the summer, I knew exactly which one I wanted! The cream background is a touch sheer, because the fabric is so lightweight, but I like to layer tanks & camisoles under most of my shirts anyways so I didn’t mind. Really, it’s a small price to pay for such a gorgeous summer weight fabric, and I’m assured that the darker backgrounds aren’t nearly as sheer (if at all).

 

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The moment of truth for this shirt was when I came home & decided that I wanted to wear comfy lounge clothes the rest of my Sunday afternoon. What did I change into? Well, leggings and slippers of course…but the shirt was too comfy to switch, so it stayed on for the rest of the day! The next morning, I stared at it sitting on top of the dirty laundry basket & debated long & hard if I could get away with wearing it for a second day. Would anyone notice?! I mean, did Instagram it the day before. And share it on Facebook. But was I going to see anyone who saw the posts?!

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In the end, I decided it was wise to leave the shirt in the laundry, and make myself another one instead. Once the next shirt is done, I’ll probably get to work trying to piece together the scraps of this Knottingley into a pair of maternity undies. Seriously, the fabric is that comfortable!

Looking for the pattern? Find the Camilla Cowl here: https://5outof4.com/product/camilla-cowl-neck-top-dress/?affiliates=49

Looking for the fabric? Find the Knottingley rayon/spandex in cream here: http://watertowertextiles.ca/product/knottingley-rayon-spandex-watercolour-cream/

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Men’s Halftime Hoodie Release

Hi there Internet world! I know it’s not been my thing lately to post outside of Sundays, but the ladies over at 5 Out Of 4 Patterns have been working hard to release the Men’s Halftime Hoodie today, and I want to give them a quick shout-out. PSSSSTT…be sure to read all the way through, there’s a discount code at the end of this post that’s good for ALL 5oo4 PATTERNS AAAAAAND a chance to win $50 in free fabric!!!

 

This has been the easiest pattern test for me so far. Despite a house full of illness (myself included), I didn’t feel manic or rushed at all, there were very few drastic changes in the size that I was making (medium), and the two that I made are completely wearable. For the first I used bamboo stretch fleece for the entire sweater, including cuffs and band, and a plaid cotton to line the hood (more on that later!) – it is exactly as the final pattern is written. For the second I used brown sweatshirt fleece for the body and hood outer, with green bamboo french terry for the cuffs, band, pocket, and hood lining. This one is made from a previous draft, where the body of the pattern is a smidgeon different from the final pattern, so fits a little baggier than you can expect from the purchased pattern – but the hood, sleeves, pocket, and band did not change between this version and the final, so it is very close.

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The options for this pattern include hood or crew neck, tall or regular pocket, and thumb hole or regular cuffs. Based on my husband’s personal preferences, both of these have the tall pocket, regular cuffs, and lined hood.

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I used grommets for the drawstring holes, rather than sewing on a button hole, and I used non-stretch spaghetti strap as the drawstring itself.

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Although the pattern isn’t written that way, two of us testers used woven fabric as the hood lining, and the other woman even used woven as her pocket – time to break out all those wovens you’ve been hoarding, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Here I chose a brushed cotton plaid, cut on the bias (because pattern), to line the hood.

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This is the perfect casual, relaxed hoodie – it’s a simple, easy to follow pattern for a beginner (though a word of caution if you have never sewn thumbhole cuffs or installed grommets before: watch the videos!!!). Be sure to use a thicker sweatshirt material and avoid drape-y fabrics like french terry for the body & sleeves, unless you’re going for a very oversized shirt. Otherwise, you might want to think about sizing down.

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Overall, this pattern gets the thumbs-up from my husband, which means it’s a thumbs-up for me!

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With the weather soon turning cold all day long, this is a perfect addition to your man’s wardrobe. Or, if you’re the kind who likes to snag a sweater from the other side of the closet every now & then for those extra-cozy days, this will do just nicely! I might need to make one for myself so that he can have this one back…

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If you’re looking for the pattern you can find it here at 5 Out Of 4 Patterns, and be sure to join their Facebook group for ideas, tips, suggestions, and free pattern support directly from the designer herself! The discount code HALFTIME is valid for 20% off all patterns until Sunday, October 9, 2106. 

Need fabric to start creating? To celebrate the launch of this much-anticipated (by our men) pattern, 5oo4 is having a drawing for a $50 Purpleseamstress Fabric gift certificate! To enter, make sure that you purchase your pattern TODAY, Thursday, October 6, 2016. Happy sewing!

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Sunday Lately (Week 88)

New to Sunday Lately?¬†It works like this: every week there are¬†prompts from the Blogger Tribe (led by¬†Katy, Angelica, Meaghan, and Nicole)¬†to describe what is happening in your life. Then you¬†join the linkup¬†and we¬†e-hang out every Sunday, sharing that small glimpse into everyone else’s corner of the¬†world. Trust me, it’s really fun.

This week’s prompts are: Creating, Finding, Switching, Forgetting, and Craving.

Creating

I’ve been on the hunt for a dolman shirt that won’t become too boxy when I use a thicker, more solid cotton/lycra to make it. Ages ago I bought some custom knit material that is gorgeous, with the dream of making it into a dolman, before I ever had the exact pattern in mind. Now it’s months later, and I have the actual material in hand…but no pattern! On Thursday I put out a call in one of my go-to Facebook groups for sewing, and the feedback I got was overwhelming – I had no idea so many women were so passionate about their dolman-style tops! In the end I chose the Weekender Tunic¬†(aff) from 5 out of 4 Patterns, and I have to say that I am just pleased as punch! So pleased, in fact, that I made another one to wear to church today. It is everything that I wanted in a dolman pattern, and even though I know & love this company, I had completely overlooked it/would have missed it without someone’s suggestion (so thank-you, you know who you are!) Here’s my muslin (with & without the belt), what do you think?

Finding

New shows on Netflix! Has anyone else watched¬†When Calls The Heart?! It’s dorky, and I love every second of it. In 3 days, I’m already on episode 6. Watching while I’m pumping, taping & cutting patterns, & cutting fabric. I just keep finding reasons to watch, even if I don’t need one.

Switching

Switching gears into fall mode: on Monday I had my first committee meeting for a fall/winter activity, which officially means that fall activities are nearing full swing! The nights are cold, the pumpkin spice syrup is flowing, and the slippers have come out РI am more than ready for the return to routine and the seasons that I love.

Forgetting

Speaking of fall activities, I forgot to register my son for his swimming lessons. Yikes! When it comes to activity registration with the city, there’s usually drama of some sort, and parents wait online an hour or so before registration opens just to make sure that they get a “good” time slot. And registration opened on August 8th. Whoops! On the bright side, we like to sign up for the French lessons, and since we live on the mostly English end of town, there were¬†still 8 spots available for our preferred time slot.¬†Thank God we like to buck the trend on this one – consider him registered, and adorable Duck-level pictures will follow (or, should I say, <<les photos du niveau¬†canard>>)!

Craving

Dairy. Every. Little. Thing. Dairy! Seriously though, this week I’ve wanted chocolate, Nutella, a big cold glass of milk, Kraft Dinner, croissants, lasagna, yogurt, ice cream, and cheese to go with my apple – all things that I haven’t had in almost 9 months (we had to suddenly cut dairy out of my diet at 3 months postpartum, so it has been a looooooooong 9 months). #BabyRydz has almost fully re-introduced dairy into his diet, and when he does then I will be free to eat it too! I *might* have already binged yesterday at family brunch, though, so we’re praying that he actually takes it well, or else we will be in for a fairly awful rest of our long weekend. But OH. MY. WORD. Those croissants were worth it! And the chocolate chips melted on them. And the cheese on my egg. I think you get the idea…

Have a blog? Don’t forget to share your Sunday Lately post in the linkup too!

Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe

Real Life, Real Sewing

Note: this post includes affiliate links! Check out the list of all affiliate links that help support #RandomsByRydz here.

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Well it looks like I’ve been bit by the blog tour bug! The good news is it doesn’t hurt too bad, and the better news is that (I think!) I worked out most of the kinks in the last go-round, so this one¬†should¬†go a lot more smoothly than my first blog tour post!

The challenge from Roxanne¬†at PenSeb&Rox and Sew20¬†is to show that you actually wear what you make – Real Life, Real Sewing. No staged photos are allowed, just pictures of us in our creations, doing our everyday thing. It can be a new item, or an old favourite that gets lots of wear. Oh yeah, and questions! She gave us questions to answer. So thanks for joining, sit back & relax with a coffee (or keep telling your baby not to eat your phone because you’re trying to read), and enjoy!

1. What do you look for when choosing a sewing project?

I like to ask myself¬†“Will (insert name here) wear it?” The same question applies when buying fabric, but for patterns it’s really the most important question, because to me there’s no use having it if it’s not going to be used. (See what I did there?! Use, and used. Never mind, carry on…)¬†The whole point of sewing for my family is to make clothes that we love and will wear, and that fit us properly.¬†As much as I love sewing, there is no point spending¬†the money on supplies, and time on assembly, if we won’t wear it – because that would be money and time better spent somewhere else, like with my family (who will then be¬†naked because they won’t wear the clothes I made?!).

But the clothes¬†that I have made are actually our most-worn items, and it’s such a relief –¬†because let’s be honest, how many of us have closets full of clothes & think “I have nothing to wear!” Yep, guilty. Right here. That’s definitely me. If there’s something me-made in there, though, I never hesitate. And I want that feeling when I pick a project – I want to love the fabric and the fit of the pattern, and I want to want to wear it every day. Like if all my clothes were dirty and I had to pick something from the dirty laundry pile to wear, would I pick that? If the answer’s yes, it’s worth making.

Other things to consider are whether I can alter a pattern that I already own to be similar to save on the expense of buying a new one, and how many projects I already have on the go (will it get done any time soon, or can I wait to buy it later when I actually have the time to use it?). Also worth factoring is how much have I spent on fabric lately? Since I don’t (usually) sew to sell, there has to be a plan for any fabric or pattern that comes into the house.

Oh, and is there a nursing version/hack included or out there in the Facebook sewing world that I can use/I like, or can I figure out my own hack? The perfect example is this Agility Tank from 5 out of 4 Patterns. In the original pattern there is a clip-down nursing option, but I altered how the bra is constructed to make it a lift-up option since the tank is already open on the sides/has access to the bra without lifting the whole tank up.

2.  Is there anything you would like to (or wish you could) do differently when selecting projects?

Yes! I wish I could sew faster to get more done, and not have a budget. Then I’d never¬†have to think about what I would do differently, and my husband wouldn’t panic every time he sees new fabric on the table! haha. ¬†

3. What is your most used/worn sewing project? This either could be of all time or currently.

The first thing I thought of was¬†my black & camel striped Layer Me Up (LMU) tee from Patterns for Pirates (P4P) – this is the first item I ever put a full bust adjustment (FBA) in, and I wear it ALL. THE. TIME. Like, if it’s not in the dirty laundry pile, it’s because I pulled it directly from the dryer to put it on. In fact, it has already put in an appearance on the blog! As with anything I’ve made for myself, though, it rarely makes an appearance in a picture unless it’s a selfie or it’s a planned photo shoot.

But then, I remembered the collection of pants that Baby Rydz has, and thought for SURE those get worn all the time, because they always seem to be dirty!¬†The reason I even started sewing with knits at all was so he could have some affordable Maxaloones¬†to fit over his adorable, fluffy cloth diapered bum. Then I moved on to Yoggers, because who doesn’t love little baby harem pants?! Then I discovered custom print knit fabric and the world of Facebook sewing groups, and all hope was lost. BUT, if the temperature is cool enough you can be guaranteed to spot #BabyRydz in some me-made pants, a bibdana, or the occasional shirt a few times a week. Our very favourite is this pair of Maxaloones made from a sheriff/cowboy/Texas Ranger print.

4. Do you have a project that you thought would be used/worn frequently but just did not end up working out?

YES! There are a bunch, but most of them can be taken apart, altered, and put back as something that I’ll wear pretty easily. Recently there was a case of serious “mom brain” around here & there was a pair of Mamaloones¬†that were beyond saving. I had measured myself, cut, and taped the pattern just a couple weeks after Baby Rydz was born, because my maternity clothes were cutting into my c-section incision & my pre-pregnancy sweatpants either also cut in, or were still just waaaayy¬†too small. But the project was put on the back burner, and months later I remembered that I still REALLY wanted this comfy pair of ‘loones for myself, so that I could have a bum circle too (yeah I’m dorky like that, it’s ok). Plus kind of, I was excited that my booty would fit into a pair of sweats without them stretching tight across the bum. #BigBumProblems¬†

Anyways, I forgot that I had measured & cut according to my size so soon after birth, PLUS I had been lazy (read: still on pain killers & really shouldn’t have been assembling pattern pieces on the floor) & didn’t bother shortening the pattern to my 5’1″ frame. By the time I was done, they were about 2 1/2 sizes too big, and a good 8″ too long. And they were entirely serged. I thought about fixing them, but was just so exhausted from a crazy day with the baby & the amount of work involved seemed too ridiculous. So I offered them to the ladies in my book club & one of them generously offered to buy them from me. Then she told me how incredibly comfortable they are, and how she wants more for herself & her daughter. Yeah, thanks. You know who else wants incredibly comfy Mamaloones? THIS MAMA! Haha. But the good news is that someone loves them & wears them often, PLUS just last week I finally made myself another pair. Another 3 months after sewing up the first pair. There’s no pictures of me wearing them other than the fit pics though, since I spilled food all over them the first time I wore them, and they’re light coloured. That’s just how I roll…

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5. What is your favorite tip or quote that applies to sewing for real life?

If you can dream it, you can do it. So often a friend will ask me if I can make something, or if it’s possible to re-create something they’ve seen online or in store, and it surprises them that the answer is always yes. Yes it’s possible. I may not want to, I may not have enough time, it may be easy, or quick, or cheap, or hard, or fast, or expensive. It may be worth re-creating, or it may just be worth buying it from the store, but the answer is still yes. So if you’re looking at a pattern thinking “I love it, but…” just remember that it’s within your power to change it! The beauty of sewing for ourselves is to make something exactly how we want, and if we don’t like it, we don’t have to make it that way! I love that this makes clothing shopping so much less stressful, because I don’t panic when I can’t find what I want, and in the end I have a closet full of clothes that I love and that actually get worn.

Do you have any examples of Real Life, Real Sewing to show off? You can play along by using the #realliferealsewing on social media. You can also win one of two $25 gift cards. More details at Sew 20.
Be sure to visit the other participants on this tour!

6/20 | Sew 20 Tour Kick-off | The Wholesome Mama | Wild & Wanderful | Randoms by Rydz

6/21 | Daydream Believers | Sugarplum Cuties | Friends Stitched Together | The Inspired Wren | PenSeb&Rox

6/22 | Sewstarly | Very Blissful | House of Estrela | The Berry Bunch | Musings of a Seamstress

6/23 | mahlicadesigns | sewingbyti | Candice Ayala | Call Ajaire | Sunflower Seams

6/24 | Beri Bee Designs | Lulu & Celeste | FABulous Home Sewn | Mae & K | Sew 20 Social Media Round-up

6/25 | Sew 20 Tour Wrap-up