In early February, Skirts & Dresses for First Time Sewers , by my favorite Indie pattern designer, Christine Haynes debuted on Amazon. With my pre-order, my copy arrived in record time. I must admit, my enthusiasm was not what it was when I received the Emery or Marianne dress patterns or even the thought of the soon to be released (TUESDAY MORNING!!) Sylvie pattern. I felt let down. I know the photos on the cover and in the book are intended as inspiration items that can be made from the patterns, but not the patterns included. That would be my biggest criticism of the book – there are no photos of the actual patterns as completed projects featured or at least noted as such. I like to see end products.
Despite, my initial feelings, I wasn’t about to blast the book with a negative review until I’d tried one of the patterns myself, because honestly, that’s really what you want to find out. How good are these patterns in size, fit and flexibility? A few months later I was ready and selected the Pencil Skirt as my first project.
Check out that invisible zipper!!! Although, it didn’t occur to me to match the dots, I was super impressed with myself on the insertion of this zipper. Might be my best one yet. Oh, did I mention, I discovered I’ve been using the zipper foot backwards?! HA!!! No wonder I had so much trouble before.
As a side note: the patterns are all digital download codes that you print on 8.5”x11” paper and tape together. Crafting and Sewing included in the set! I know I’m a bit old fashioned, but there is something magical to me about unfolding the thinnest tissue ever made, old school patterns. I love it. BUT, after venturing recently into making a garment for someone else (my sis Christie) I’m now seeing the beauty of being able to print a new pattern at will to modify the size. More on this HERE.
I wouldn’t say it’s a traditional super fitted pencil, but more of a 50’s vibe pencil or almost A-line skirt, which makes sense given the beginner nature of the book. This skirt pattern is easy to make, fits well and my only complaint of the style is the lack of pockets. One thing I love about Christine’s other patterns is her inclusion of pockets, which struck me as odd that they’re omitted from every pattern in this book. Per the measurement guide, the size selected fit spot on. I did shorten it about four and a half inches in length, per my personal preference.
The Pencil Skirt. Astoria top (see below). One of Steinen’s lovely creations, recently modified for me (YAY!! for stellar customer service!) and a pair of Noonday earrings. Now to work on tanning my feet.
A couple outtakes of the boys’ taking photos for me. It was windy!! Oh and one of the photographers was in costume; getting my money’s worth there.
You know my gal Christine*, she’s also pretty in tune with other great finds in the sewing world and inspired me to sign up for Colette’s recently launched Seamwork digital magazine. It has interesting tidbits about sewing and such, but really I signed up for the two included patterns each month. At $6/month, it’s a steal. The patterns are intended as basics to round out a wardrobe, each can be made in one to three hours. I was completely smitten with the first two and completed both per the timeline provided.
Astoria – The top shown in all the photos. SUPER easy & quick to make; the most time consuming part was cutting it out. I’m still not confident with my knit cutting skills. The neck is a bit oversized and floppy for my taste, but not a deal breaker. I can see making another, long sleeve version in the fall. Probably of a heavier weight knit as the pattern suggested.
I’m looking like quite a Diva in this photo. Oh funny. It was the best shot showing off the kangaroo pocket. Photos by Hubby. Had to bring in the big guns.
Bristol – The Bristol skirt was a bit of disaster on me. I’ve come to realize between my petite frame and new age bracket, I can not pull off heavy gathers without feeling a bit too “cutesy” (i.e. ridiculous). The kangaroo pocket was a nice new sewing adventure for me, but probably not super flattering on a mom’s physique, if you know what I mean! I shortened it by 4 inches as well and these photos are with the hem only pinned in place. My productivity really took a nose dive. I have plans, likely post move, to add a WIDE smooth waistband and a zipper, so it is more age appropriate and flattering. Let’s see if that happens.
*Christine doesn’t know it yet, but I’m planning to meet her in person later this Summer when we fly to LA!!! Eeekk!! Probably after a long day at Legoland, so my boys are subdued to some degree.