Jul 262013
 

Here is another post showcasing our love of independent pattern companies. You can see the other posts by clicking here.

I made a super fun Sewaholic Minoru right before Pattern Review Weekend San Francisco. I knew it would be cold up there and wanted a great jacket to wear. The jacket was a huge hit! I got so many nice comments on it plus it was wonderfully comfortable and perfect for my trip. (Sorry for the blurry pics…I am getting a new camera soon!)

Lolita Patterns | Sewaholic Minoru

I also used fabrics you wouldn’t normally think of using for a jacket!  I used a quilting cotton! What? Yes! A quilting cotton. I wanted it to be really warm so I underlined it with some polar fleece. I cut out all the jacket pieces out of both the quilting cotton and some fleece (except the cuffs…those were way too thick to work with when the fleece was included) and then serged around all the edges of all the pieces before even beginning any sewing.

Lolita Patterns | Sewaholic Minoru

The quilting cotton is a deep purple with hot pink lightning type print all over it. I used hot pink Coats and Clark zippers for the pockets, a custom double ended 30″ zipper for the front (from here, color hot pink, shortened to 30″), and a matching molded plastic zipper for the hood pocket. All in hot pink, naturally. I love big molded plastic zippers with large teeth on casual jackets. For the top stitching I used Coats and Clark Dual Duty XP (my favorite!!) in neon pink and I used a triple straight stitch to make the stitching show up well. The first line of topstitching was done using my favorite trick with the blind hem foot. The blade goes in the ditch and I moved the needle a few places to the side so it would stitch just on the other side of the ditch. You can see a recap of this technique on this post. Then I switched feet to a 1/4″ seam foot sometimes called a quilting foot. I ran the edge of this foot carefully along the edge of my first row of topstitching. This made the second line exactly 1/4″ from the last line. It makes for very professional looking topstitching!

 Lolita Patterns | Sewaholic Minoru

When sewing, I graded the fleece parts of the seams to next to nothing since the fleece wouldn’t fray…this kept the seams from being too bulky. In addition, I did double topstitching around all the major seams…this also held down the seams. I also love pockets on coats….especially zippered pockets for my phone and money! I added some zippered welt pockets for my belongings on the front, and some in seam pockets on the side to keep my hands warm.

Lolita Patterns | Sewaholic Minoru

hands in inseam pockets

I made this in a straight size 0, the only change I made was to sew the parts from the underarm to the end of the sleeve at a 3/8″ instead of 5/8″ because when I first basted it to check fit, the arms felt a little snug. I also shortened the sleeves by 1/2″. I didn’t muslin so I just chopped off from the end when the time came. The amount was so small that it didn’t cause any problems with the cuff. Other changes I made? I lined the hood, which is a common change with this pattern, and I added a drawstring! I hate when my ears and head get cold and your hood won’t stay on so I made sure to make a drawstring so I could pull this baby nice and tight around my head! See for yourself!

Lolita Patterns | Sewaholic Minoru

Lolita Patterns | Sewaholic Minoru

 How about the classic Minoru photo? I can’t leave that out!

Lolita Patterns | Sewaholic Minoru

Think I look ridiculous? I do! But you know what? I wore it with the zipper all the way up and hood pulled tight around my head more than once when I was wandering around San Francisco that weekend. And boy was I glad I had my nice cozy jacket.

For the lining I used a fun purple and pink plaid silky polyester fabric.

Lolita Patterns | Sewaholic Minoru

People who are familiar with the Minoru pattern may notice that my zipper goes all the way down the front. I did this on purpose. The pattern calls for a 28 inch zipper and I measured the front pieces because I knew I did not want a gap and purposely had my zipper cut to 30″. The reason I do not need that gap at the bottom was because I bought a double ended zipper. This means I can zip from the bottom or the top. That way when I sit down, I can unzip from the bottom a bit to give room for sitting. I believe the gap at the bottom of the jacket normally is to provide that room…I just provided it differently—-by way of zipper.

A couple more pictures….

Lolita Patterns | Sewaholic Minoru

Lolita Patterns | Sewaholic Minoru

you can catch another glimpse of the inseam pockets here

What do you think? I cannot tell you how much I love this jacket. It fits well, looks so fun, and is very warm! This is what I love about sewing. You would never find something like this in stores…I can make whatever I want and make it as outrageous as I want. And I do. I just did.

We have tons more independent patterns (other than our own!)..and we are sewing them up! I finished a pair of Sewaholic Thurlow’s for Indie Pattern Month. I’ll do a post on them soon! What are your favorite indie patterns?

You can check out the pattern review for this pattern by clicking here.

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

Jul 232013
 

This series of posts will focus on makes from other independent pattern companies.  We are so excited about all the unique indie designers out there.  Amity and I both have a slew of patterns in our stashes from these great companies.   We’re not just collecting these and ogling at them, though that happens often.  We’ve actually found time to sew up some of these!

My latest indie intrigue is from Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick Patterns.  The line is especially made for petites.  Can you see I’m jumping with joy?  No?  Look down.  LOL.  A little bit of short people humor.

Lolita Patterns | We <3 Indies!

In all seriousness, modifying a pattern for a petite proportion is a lot of work.  Shortening the length between the shoulders and the bust causes all sorts of problems with the sleeve and neck line.  Don’t get me started on those regular necklines that look like plunging necklines on my petite body.  What about those regular rise pants that look like old man pants hiked up to under my boobs?  If I continue, I’ll have to uncork my favorite bottle of Moscato to get my blood pressure down.

Lolita Patterns | We <3 Indies!

Since this is my first time trying Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick pattern and there aren’t too many pattern reviews yet on PR, I didn’t know what to expect.  Good thing they have a free pattern so I can try them with little risk.  It doesn’t hurt that I also used some gifted fabric from Cindy of Cation Designs.  The Tonic t-shirt is free to download as a PDF.

Lolita Patterns | We <3 Indies!

Just a watch out the taping the pages, don’t trim the pages to the print area.  I did this with the first few pages and the lines didn’t match.  The pages are meant to align edge to edge with gaps in the printed lines according to your printers print margins.

Lolita Patterns | We <3 Indies!

I picked my size by my usual technique of wrapping the knit fabric around my bust, waist and hips to find my finished garment measurement.  This takes out the guessing game that comes with variable stretchiness of knits.  From this I determined that I was an x-small bust and waist.  I’m pear shaped so I needed a medium/large for the hips.

Lolita Patterns | We <3 Indies!

Lolita Patterns | We <3 Indies!

I did a quick “tissue” fit and decided the pattern was good enough to cut.  It’s a t-shirt so I wasn’t too finicky about doing all my usual fit adjustments.

Lolita Patterns | We <3 Indies!

The construction of the t-shirt neck trim is very interesting and different than I have seen in with other patterns.  It’s very quick and easy to get right the first time.  The notches matched up nicely.  The fit was amazing out of the box err printer.

Lolita Patterns | We <3 Indies!

Lookie!  No large, drooping armholes that restricts my movement.  No scandalous necklines to attract a different kind of ogling.  No t-shirts masquerading as a dress.  I’m definitely making more Tonic t-shirts and giving their other patterns a try.  I’m so glad to have found this line.  That’s it for this We <3 Indies post.

You can find the pattern review for this pattern by clicking here.

Next up: Amity will be revealing her fabulous Minoru.

 

Nhi Signature

 

Jul 202013
 

This is another post in our series of posts on starting an indie pattern company.  If you missed the previous posts on our sizing or pattern paper, you can catch up here!

Now let’s talk about pattern instructions… Sometimes you can’t live with them, sometimes you can’t live without them.  I don’t claim to be anything resembling an instruction expert because I don’t read pattern instructions.  As you can see from my Me Made May pic wearing Simplicity’s 2760 that I didn’t read how to wear my coat right side out and to match the button with the button holes.

Lolita Patterns | Sewing Instructions
Since our patterns are a bit more complex than average, going without instructions a la Marfy was not something we wanted to do.  So what to do?  Since we were initially inspired by Japanese Lolita street fashion, we wanted heavily illustrated, minimal written instructions like the Japanese sewing books.  This would appeal to sewers from all countries as there would be no language barrier or translation issues.

 

Lolita Patterns | Sewing Instructions
Seriously… what where we thinking?  Some of the steps are so tricky we couldn’t even describe them to each other.  Most notable is the Sugar Plum steps that enclosed the zipper in the lining all on the sewing machine aka the “3 layer thingy” and the “sew the X part” with some arm flailing gestures.

Lolita Patterns | Sewing Instructions

Numerous versions later, we have what we think is a nice balance of written instructions and illustrations.  And I can’t forget to mention that we’ll also do sew-alongs to show all the nitty gritty details and tips we picked up along the way.

To make sure we had enough room to give complete and thorough instructions with detailed illustrations, we had to eliminate something. After much discussion and surveys, we realized that many people do not follow cutting layouts. Removing the cutting layouts provided us with the extra room we needed. But what if you like to follow cutting layouts? Have no fear! We will go over potential cutting layouts during the sew-along. Also, each piece is labeled with how many pieces to cut and we have an additional helpful tool called cutting labels (which we will reveal in another post!) to help you cut out the pattern perfectly.

We were very happy to see that  so many of our testers were able to sew together Sugar Plum despite some oopsies on our part.  We can’t thank our guinea pigs testers enough.

Lolita Patterns | Sewing Instructions

Instructions proof!

Our instruction proof has been approved and is now printing.   We’re so excited to be one step closer to releasing our pattern.  Our next big hurdle is the packaging.  More to come…

  Nhi Signature

Jul 122013
 

For the past couple of months Amity and I have been up to our eyeballs sewing many Sugar Plums for in our sample sizes.  Unfortunately we are not our sample size 8 or 16 so we can’t actually wear these garments.  I finally got a chance to sew a Sugar Plum for myself.  I decided on a casual version that I can wear to the office on casual Fridays or our offices that are business casual.

Lolita Patterns | Casual Friday Sugar Plum

For the bodice I used a super fray-y poly chiffon in a yellow with white polka dots from ML Loft.  Since the polka dots are large, I went with version B which doesn’t have the flounces.  The loose weave of the fabric caused some challenges which we’ll address in the Sugar Plum sew-along.  The lining and buttons were from JoAnn’s.

Lolita Patterns | Casual Friday Sugar Plum

For the skirt I used a dark blue jegging denim fabric from JoAnn’s.  I’ve made this dress and these pants from this fabric and really love it.  I dusted off the set of cams for my Elna Carina and decided this triangle stitch would be just the look I wanted.  I used the decorative topstitch down the seams in hopes of making me look taller.  Did it work?  I also thought about doing a yellow bias trim in the seam but thought it would look too casual for the office.

 Lolita Patterns | Casual Friday Sugar Plum

There’s lots about the construction I would like to write about but that’ll have to wait for the sew-along.  In the upcoming weeks we’ll be writing a few more posts in the Sew That’s Why series and  keeping you posted on the upcoming pattern release.  For now here are some more pics of my Casual Friday Sugar Plum.

Lolita Patterns | Casual Friday Sugar Plum

Lolita Patterns | Casual Friday Sugar Plum

Lolita Patterns | Casual Friday Sugar Plum

Nhi Signature

Jul 032013
 

 

 Lolita Patterns | Big Thank You

About a month ago we put a call out for testers of our next pattern, Sugar Plum.  The number of virtual hands that went up was amazing.  We are so honored to be a part of such a supportive and giving group of sewists.  We wanted to thank everyone who volunteered.  We had more volunteers than we needed for this round but will keep your names on a list for future pattern testing.  We have several incredible patterns in the works so your turn may be just around the corner.

A special thanks goes out to all those who tested Sugar Plum.  We have spent countless hours working this pattern and thought we had every “i” dotted and every “t” crossed.  Turns out we missed plenty of things and you ladies gave us so many more ideas that we wanted to incorporate.  The finished dresses were all gorgeous!!  From the incredible fabric choices to the impeccable construction to the model-esq poses, you all went above and beyond the call of duty.  We can’t thank you enough for your time and effort.

We are now in the process of making the final edits on the instructions.  The pattern pieces have been sent off to our printer.  We will get proofs next week.  Our packaging is in the works.  We’re so excited that our dream of starting an indie pattern company is finally feeling like reality.  Thank you everyone for supporting us along our journey.

Big hugs from

Nhi Signature and   amity bow | Lolita Patterns