Sunday, September 21, 2014

TESTED: Design by Lindsay Senna Dress + Musings

The Senna dress by Design by Lindsay is my first foray into pattern testing. I've definitely thrown my name in the hat for several other designers, but Lindsay is the first to take me up on it.

The Senna is described as: Versatile, comfortable, and modern, Senna can be made as either a dress or a cute crop top + pencil skirt combo. Designed for knit fabric, Senna features a loose kimono-sleeve bodice with blouson waistline and a ruched pencil skirt. The neckline comes with crew neck and scoop neck options.

I made up the pattern as-is in a straight size 16. I could have gone down on bottom, maybe on top too, but I wanted to follow the size chart and instructions completely. I had some kelly green cotton/lycra from Girl Charlee that was earmarked to be a Moneta, but after my last disaster attaching the elastic with the serger I haven't touched the pattern. Oh well.

I had my hubby take these photos and I have to say they look 100x better than the crappy selfies I take in our downstairs mirror. I might need to recruit him in the future. I felt a bit odd in this dress - it's not a silhouette I usually wear meaning it's fitted on bottom rather than the top. I usually prefer a more fitted bodice with a full skirt to hide my tummy. (You can read this post for my thoughts on body image.)

The skirt is gathered using 1/4" elastic although the original had you use elastic thread. Mine didn't budge when I steamed it so I had to use elastic anyway. The fit around the derriere is quite snug despite the gathers, and I honestly had a hard time placing them properly so they'd provide adequate coverage.

The neckline is finished with a binding and the sleeves are cut on with the bodice. The top is meant to blouse over the waistband. I assembled this entirely on my serger and used my machine only to hem the sleeves. The PDF is really small (11 or so pages?!) which I LOVE, and assembly to hemming this only took 2 hours, which again I appreciate. As far as easy peasy projects go, this one is close to the Laurel dress, which I can whip up in 2 hours.

The nice thing about this pattern is that you can make the dress or a cropped top plus skirt. I like having options when you buy a pattern. The skirt portion is definitely a new style considering the others that have sprung up - Mabel in particular.

I thought the ruching might hide my belly but alas it simply clings to it. Oh well.

I really enjoyed the critical aspect of being a tester, and I tried to provide a ton of notes, especially how to make the pattern more beginner-friendly. I was not compensated for my time but I was sent the final pattern - which is 20% off until midnight tonight. I know there have been many a musing on the "ethics" of pattern testing, but frankly I think all of that's stupid. I do, however, appreciate the opportunity to show the pattern in a larger size. I may not look like I would fit into the larger sizes, but I'm a consistent 12/14 in Colette, 14 in Sewaholic, 16 in Senna, 16 in Big Four, XL in Megan Nielsen, 16/14 in Nettie, 12/14 in Christine Haynes, 14/16 in By Hand London, etc. 

I appreciate designers making more of an attempt to include sewers of various shapes, sizes and blog followings, and I enjoyed the By Hand London post about their pattern testers. Although, looking back at their group, only 3 appear to fit into the larger end of their patterns. I know it's probably taboo but I like to know a seamstresses measurements when I view their items. It helps me put a pattern into perspective. I'm not shy about mine, and what I've found (quite interestingly) is that at one point my mother and I had identical measurements but looking at us you wouldn't believe it. I have a larger D-cup bust, she wears a B-cup. I have narrow hips in proportion to my bust, she has larger hips. We both have flat butts. Her waist is wider and mine has more depth. It's extremely interesting to think about how different every body is once you get down to the numbers.

Enough waxing on. If I make this again, and I'm currently undecided, I might change the following:
1. Use a darker knit fabric, and maybe use a thicker knit like ponte. This medium weight knit felt a bit thin on my bum.
2. Lower the neckline to more of a bateau and foldover the hem. The crew neck look doesn't work for my ample bust.

Have you ever been a pattern tester? 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

OWOP 2014

I decided it might be fun to participate in One Week, One Pattern this year since I have plenty of patterns of which I've made multiple renditions. I've blogged most of these so I won't go into great detail but here is a review of my week:

Day 1: green bamboo stripe knit Nettie + Miette skirt in chambray

Day 2: Red rayon/lycra knit Nettie + linen/rayon Hollyburn skirt.

Day 3: kelly green cotton/lycra Nettie + linen Chardon skirt

Day 4: navy cotton/lycra Nettie + pink shorts from Target

Day 5: I had a funeral to attend on Wednesday so I wore my new Anna dress instead. Oops!

Day 6: Paris green cotton/lycra Nettie + cotton Tania culottes

Day 7: teal cotton/lycra Nettie + corduroy Anemone skirt

Obviously I chose the Nettie bodysuit as my OWOP pattern, which I love. I had plenty of skirts to choose from and frankly I'm shocked that I didn't pair any of these with a Zinnia skirt, seeing as how I have 6 of those.

I have to admit, though, I got pretty tired of this look by Friday. I was dying to just toss on a dress and not have to think about forming an outfit.

On a positive note, the red knit, blue linen and brown corduroy are all JoAnn fabric purchases. I usually don't take enough time to really look through their fabric, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

Did you participate in OWOP2014? How was your experience?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I'm Still Alive + OWOP 2014

Ya'll - I promise I'm still alive and kicking! With the fall starting back up my life has turned hectic again: my job started; I took on another once-per-week gig; I have two children's choirs at church plus a job as Music Associate to my hubby; I'm also working with the local high school's marching band.

As busy as all of that sounds, I am still sewing:
1. I am officially signed up for One Week, One Pattern and I've vowed to wear Nettie + Zinnia all week long! Woohoo! OWOP begins Saturday, September 6 and ends Friday, September 12, 2014.

2. I'm currently testing the Senna dress by Lindsay and I'm super excited as it's my first time testing a pattern! 

3. I'm working on plugging away at my fall wardrobe and I have some new garments to share ASAP!

I've also been approached lately about sewing for hire. I'm thinking up ways to make this work and make it profitable given my limited time to sew. So that leads me to the question:

Do you sew for hire? How do you determine your prices? Other thoughts or suggestions?
(Thanks in advance!)