Pattern testing: LOL swing top

It was one of them moments when an email notification pops up, I let out a squeeee and pranced around the house like a small child! The words ‘you’re in!’ sent from Jenn, blogger at A Jennuine Life and designer behind Jennuine Designs, meant just one thing, I was one of the very very lucky ladies to be testing her latest pattern the LOL Swing Top. Sneak peeks from Jenn popped up on Instagram and straight away I knew I needed to sew it (#LOLSwingTop if you want a nosey!). Pattern testing started, I made my first and from then on I was completely hooked (seriously… Latest count I had notched up 5 of these beauties!).

Here we go, in no particular order, top number one! Made in gorgeously fun Jersey, because yes this pattern can be made in both woven and knit, amazing! I made the size 9-12M based on the chest measurement for my mini 14 month old girl and the fit is perfect on her. Which also brings me to the next thing I love about the LOL swing top, the size range, from newborn up to 12 years, this pattern is going to last.

20140726-125440-46480949.jpgOk here here it comes… 20140726-125441-46481285.jpgThat back, amazing isn’t it? The very on trend racer back teamed with all that swing makes it perfect for this hot weather right now (even here in England… Woo!). This version I made was with a contrast back yoke. The length is designed to come down the the hip, normally I would lengthen to take into account my long torso little lady, but it still works slightly shorter on her. The tutorial is beautifully illustrated and explains how to lengthen, as well as loads of other great tips and features, including printing select sizes, sewing bias and separate instructions for knit or woven.

20140726-125531-46531090.jpgThis next version I made from a lovely zebra jersey, brightened up with a pop of yellow for the ribbing. Love it! I’m also so happy to have an excuse to make Miss S her own clothes, as normally it’s hard to justify with all her sisters hand me downs, so glad I did though, she’s wearing one of these most days!

20140726-130019-46819534.jpgSo now it’s Evie’s turn, and my turn to make a woven version! Between sizes so I rounded up to 4T as suggested and I’m very happy, and also hoping she doesn’t grow too much and it can be worn next year too! I modified the pattern for this one by putting buttons onto both shoulders and using rounded button tabs! I have also made an unmodified one which I love, especially how it’s cleverly constructed, that back yoke is lined so the inside is neat and pretty… And my sewing OCD loves it. I used a really lightweight cotton lawn, and although not the easiest to sew with, works perfectly with this pattern. It was also about time I used it, when I bought it about 6 years ago, without a use planned, the lady in the shop told me to make sure it doesn’t just sit in a cupboard for years… Oops… But hey I’m glad I did now 🙂20140726-130118-46878735.jpgYes, I know, the swing photos are so very predictable, but my girls love it here so I know I can get some nice natural pics!20140726-130145-46905833.jpgMoving on before this post gets totally photo heavy, number 4! Back to knit, and this time I did a bit of colour blocking by using a contrast on the back and different colour ribbings. It’s fun and great for messing around and causing trouble with her little sister.20140726-130146-46906341.jpgNow let’s get one last pic of the two of you together in your lovely new LOL swing tops….20140726-130147-46907093.jpg…err great!

You can find the LOL swing top PDF pattern over at the Jennuine Designs shop (aff link). *Edit: use code LOLRelease for 20% discount until 7th August!* Make sure you follow the rest of the tester tour, so much more swinging cuteness to come!

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Big thanks to Jenn for giving me the chance to do something new and test this pattern, it has inspired me to finally take the first step into perhaps one day producing PDF sewing patterns of my own.

Showing off her Sandiins

I’m just going to come out and say it straight away, I love this pattern! The Shandiin from  LouBeeClothing is perfect for the summer, very cute and so well constructed that it is a pleasure to sew. I’ve so far only made the top, however it can also be made as a tunic. 20140728-162236-58956509.jpgFor this Shandiin I used an old dress of mine, I loved the fabric but the fit made me look a bit frumpy. I picked the button up front option.
20140728-162321-59001924.jpgI asked Evie what she would like me to make her and she just wanted something orange, I have plenty of fabric, but nothing orange. I was sure she would disappointed when I tried this on her, but no, if you look very closely there is a tiny little bit of orange on the parrots. She spotted it straight away, so I added peachy buttons and I have a happy 3 year old!
20140728-162321-59001496.jpgI love the back so so much!! I also love that the tutorial shows how you can have the bias on the outside or in, and the coordinating fabric used to line the back yoke can be using at lining or on show like this!
20140728-162322-59002811.jpgThis second one was actually my first! It’s a size too big, not my fault, not the patterns fault, but my tape measure! It definitely lied to me. But hey, it’s never too early to start on Evie’s summer 2015 wardrobe! I chose the solid front and to have the bias on the back facing out.
20140728-162322-59002360.jpgFor this third Shandiin I decided to modify the pattern slightly. I made the shape less A-line… There’s probably a better way of writing that, but right now I can’t think! I changed the shape of the hem and used bias on it.
20140728-162324-59004910.jpgI love how it turned out, I think the shape of the hem compliments the cut out back nicely….
20140728-162326-59006318.jpgoh yes!
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Posing in a pippa peplum

Miss Scarlett needed some more tshirts so I bought the Pippa Peplum from See Kate Sew. It turned out perfect, so as usual I avoided trying to take some nice photos of her in it and made her easier to photograph big sister one.

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The pattern comes in sizes 0-3M up to 10, which is great as I know I’ll get loads of use out of it, and it starts small enough for my tiniest girl, who I made a size 6-12M. It was enjoyable and pretty quick to sew. I lengthened it slightly for my long girlies and the fit is amazing. And to top it off Kate has just released an add on pattern to modify the pippa into a circle top, circle dress and gathered dress. There’s even the Penelope Peplum for Mum!

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She looks so comfortable, I used a grey polka stretch jersey that I had left from making me a Parisian Top, which is soft and has a lovely drape, so I knew it would work perfectly.

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I paired it with some shop bought jeggings, but I plan to sew up some more goto leggings, I’m thinking mint would look great with the grey. Ignore the neckline… I didn’t put it on her back-to-front, honest. (Note to self: this is why labels are a good)

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Evie is also showing off her first French plait.. And I am loving that she is now finally able to sit still long enough for me to do her hair properly!!

The Serger challenge completed

I wasn’t even temped to turn on my domestic machine, not once! Ok so yes the bimaa doesn’t exactly have any awkward hard to sew seams, however it does have curves, a sharp turn for the underarm and stretching for waistband and cuffs. I feel so much more confident using my serger now, and keeping an accurate seam allowance as I sew with it.

It also made me realise that my main problem up to now is that for some reason with my serger I find myself putting my foot down, rushing it, and most likely making mistakes which take even longer to rectify. I took my time and everything went smoothly, even with all the stripes to match! 20140710-130526-47126186.jpg

I used a lovely soft cotton Lycra blend with a 4 way stretch, like recommended in the pattern. It’s a medium weight which made it fairly easier to sew, and will be nice and snugly in the cooler months.

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Ok, so the pattern… Absolutely love it! I chose to make the hooded version, but there it also a cowl or shawl neck, which I will definitely be making at some point soon. The fit was perfect for her, I made the 3T based on Evie’s chest measurements, she has a long torso so I normally have to lengthen, but it was as if the Bimaa was made for her. When I make more I will probably go a size up to last her longer, I think a looser fit would look just as good and she can grow into it 😉

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Eventhough it wasn’t the most exciting fabric for a little girl, she didn’t want to take it off, which is a sure sign of a successful project. I did make her after the photos were done though, it’s roasting today!

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I loved setting myself a little challenge, and will do it again, my serger can do things like sew gathers, blind hems and rolled hems which I’d like to give a try.

Pretty happy with my stripe matching too!

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(Pattern used: LouBeeClothings Bimaa who blogs over at Emmyloubeedoo)

The Serger challenge, set!

A month ago I finally decided to buy a serger, should have bought one earlier as they are great for sewing with jersey/knits/(insert preferred name here), which I do, a lot. I wasn’t exactly adventurous with my choice of machine going for the Brother 1034D. It’s a great price, does what I need a serger to do and it seems like this is the machine most people own! Which is handy for if I need help or advice as there’s lots of helpful blog posts out there.

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Look at them both sat there on the teeny tiny cheapo ikea desk I call my sewing room, I think these two are going to be besties 😉

It’s taken a bit of getting used to, my main struggle so far has been getting an accurate seam allowance, especially with curves, but I’m getting there. Sometimes I have played it safe by sewing on my normal machine first then serging. So I have decided to set myself a little challenge in order to hopefully gain more confidence, and that is to use it to sew a whole garment entirely with my serger.

I decided on Loubeeclothings Bimaa by Emmyloubeedoo, why? Reason 1 it is possible to make it with just a serger. Reason 2 it was raining today so when deciding what to cut for my next project I wanted to start work on Evie’s Autumn/winter wardrobe. Reason 3 I’ve seen sooo many amazing Bimaas on blogposts and IG pics that, well, really it is about time I made one!

So that’s it, challenge set, will be back soon to share how I got on.

Btw, I started blogging over on blogger and decided to switch over to WordPress, haven’t figured out how to import the few posts I made over, but you’re not missing out on much 😉