I have never been so excited about a blog post as I am today!
Back in July, I applied to be a pattern tester for Sew Liberated, an Indie paper pattern company. Shockingly, I received an immediate response stating they would put me on the testers list AND asked if I would be interested in receiving a pattern to review. Say WHA??? Little ol' me? Speechless and YES!
I already owned the Esme top and the Carpet Bag, so I chose the Simple Skinny Jeans to complete the ensemble. I had not sewn the Esme or the carpet bag yet, so I decided to sew all three patterns and have a Sew Liberated blog explosion!
Like I said, I purchased Esme and the bag patterns but received the skinny jeans pattern for free. However, the below reviews are 100% my honest opinion.
In order of how I sewed:
I started with the Bohemian Carpet Bag. Simply because I knew it would be the easiest. I used a home decor for the main exterior and suede for the exterior accent. The interior is Tula Pink Fox Field.
The paper instructions are concise and clear. For interfacing, I used fusible fleece on the exterior main panels and no interfacing for the suede. On the interior main panels, I used shapeflex 101. The bag has a nice structure yet still soft and comfortable on the shoulder.
First thing I noticed is this bag is BIG. Mary Poppins big. That's not a complaint, I prefer larger bags. She would be the perfect long weekend getaway bag or carry on bag. She will hold a lot of stuff. I am using her as an everyday bag because that's how I roll.
Changes for Miss. Bohemian: there are no interior pockets per the pattern. I like pockets. I added 3 large slip pockets on one interior side. On the other interior side, I inserted a large zippered pocket. Super easy changes that will prevent your most used items from getting lost in the bottom of the bag.
One super duper small nit-picky thing, the exterior pocket is not lined. No, that's not a big deal. No one, including me, can see it. But it bothers me there are exposed raw edges in the pocket. Next time I will sew the pocket differently so the raw edges will not be visible. I LOVE the exterior pocket though so don't omit it when you make the bag. It fits my phone and ID perfectly.
Time investment: I'm bad at remembering to jot down times but I'll guess 4-5 hours. That's pretty quick for a bag.
Difficulty: There is nothing particularly hard about this bag so I will give it a 2 out of 4.
Final Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed making Miss. Bohemian and I've been carrying her since I finished. This was my first time using a purse frame. I actually had my husband put that together for me. No, I'm not mechanically challenged. He enjoys doing those kinds of things for me so I always ask him! I will definitely be making this bag again.
Second, I sewed up the Esme.
Before I make any adult clothing...let's get real here, I'm the only adult I sew clothing for. Ehem, Before making clothes for myself, I search for pattern reviews. The few reviews I found for Esme, every single one said she is too large.
First, there is no sizing chart on the pattern. You can find the Sew Liberated size chart here. My measurements are perfect for size 6. I made a muslin in size 6 knowing it would be too large. Gotta try anyway, and yes, it was quite large. I decided to test my luck and cut a size 2 with my real fabric. I used a lawn. Definitely stick with the suggested fabrics for this pattern. You want a thinner fabric with a nice drape. No quilting cotton for this one!
Esme is a fast sew; maybe 2.5 hours if you can stay off
Facebook, which I have a hard time doing.
Difficulty: 2 out of 4. With the video, a beginner could easily handle this pattern. Only reason I don't give this a 1 is because this should not be one of the first clothing items to sew. Have a few projects under the belt.
I found the instructions clear except on the bib and how to overlap and attach to the shirt pieces. Luckily, Sew Liberated has videos on several of their patterns.
The videos are great. Each videos is divided into sections so I was able to only watch the few minutes on the bib.
After completing Esme, I decided I wanted a little more shape, so I took in the waist side seams by about 1.5" on each side. Starting near the arm cycle, I sewed, slowly curving inward and at the waist, sewed back out to the bottom. Obviously do this before hemming to make your life easier.
I sewed 5 tiny little buttons directly on the shirt. It's an easy slip over the head shirt, so functional button holes are not necessary.
Final thoughts: I really like the look of the Esme, even got a few compliments from the ol' husband. I do want to make another one. I have a small torso, so there is a bit of arm cycle gaping I need to fix. I would also lengthen to be a tunic next time.
Overall, nice and comfortable top.
Finally, the Simple Skinny Jeans!
The Simple Skinny Jeans use stretch denim and have a knit waistband casing with elastic inside. Can't get more simple than that!
I can't express how import a muslin is for this, or really ANY pants pattern. Every body is different. There is a 99% chance you will have to alter the pattern to fit your body.
You will need to check out the sizing chart to get an idea for the size to cut. According to the chart, I would need to frankenpattern between a 2 and 6. However, in my pattern review search, most people said the pattern ran large. Looking at the pattern pieces, they also looked on the short side for me. It is necessary to know your body. I have very long legs compared to my height and I require a high rise.
For the muslin, I cut a straight size 2 as shorts. I can adjust the length on my final jeans. As I thought, the rise is too low for me, but rise is something I always have to change. The low rise is what causes some of those front pinches but some of that is also because of the stretch denim. The pants do not feel too tight, so I did not want to cut a larger size and have the jeans baggy. Butt looks good other than the panty lines and the low rise showing my tramp stamp and almost plumbers crack.
The pattern has faux front pockets. I really like pockets. I drafted functional front pocket pieces.
Now with an idea of how to change the pattern, I increased the front and back rises by 1.5" and lengthen the legs by 2". Then I had to re-draft my functional front pocket pieces to match my new rise height.
Then I sat down and thought. Do I want to make a second muslin? That answer was yes, I SHOULD make a second muslin. But I really didn't want to. I was excited. I took the leap and cut 'em out!
To be honest, I didn't follow the instructions when making my real pair. When sewing the pants, I put the pieces right sides together and sewed. I did not fold each seam under 5/8" and sew to the next piece. Plus, I had added functional front pockets.
There is a video you can watch, which would be very helpful if you have never sewn pants. I did not watch the video at all. Sorry, not super helpful.
The fit is perfect. PERFECT. And OMGeee, so very comfortable! I got nods from the permanent roommate.
I chose to have a white waistband because it wouldn't show through a light colored shirt as much-like when pairing with my new Esme!
To cut the elastic, the instructions suggest measuring your waist and add 2" to find the length. I measured my waist where the waistband falls and subtracted 2". Inserted the elastic, tried on the pants, sat down, walked around. I need the band tighter. Pulled out the elastic and cut an extra 1.5" off. Tried them on again and it was perfect-o!. Then finished sewing the band on the pants.
The pattern pieces indicate where to stitch the faux fly-nice touch.
Look at that pocket stitching!
Time Investment: With just sewing the pants, no muslin time included, you can have the pants sewn up in about 3 hours.
Difficulty: This is a tough call. The pants are a super easy and simple sew (1 out of 4). However, because of the necessary pattern alternations, you need to be experienced. For that reason alone, I give these a 2.5-3 out of 4.
Final thoughts: For being knit waistband pants, I really, REALLY like them. With a tunic hiding the band, you would never know they aren't button and zip pants. They would be amazing maternity jeans as well.
I will be wearing these until they fall apart. And very likely making more in different colors. The key to these is making muslins until you get the fit right.
I adore my new outfit! A HUGE 'thank you' to Sew Liberated for the great patterns and giving me the opportunity to try out the Skinny Jeans!