Month: May 2016

Pirate Pencil Skirt Review!!

Happy Saturday readers! Earlier this week, one of the popular, and one of my favorite, PDF designers, Patterns for Pirates, released a new pattern, the Pirate Pencil Skirt! We all know how I love pencil skirts, and it just so happened that I was doing Career Day at C’s school yesterday and did need a new one, so I thought I’d give it a try. There’s also a special discount code for the pattern if you are a member of the patterns for Pirates facebook group, but even at full price, it’s a nice little pattern!

So on to my review!


Pattern: The Pirate Pencil Skirt

Designer: Patterns For Pirates

Size Range: XXS-Plus 3X

Price: $5 USD

Skills Needed: Working with knits

Size Made: L, mid rise, below knee length

Fabric Used: Scuba knit form the Nicole Miller Collection at Jo-Ann Fabrics

Pattern Pieces/Layout: There are several length options included- above the knee, below the knee, and midi length. You can also choose from high rise or mid rise, and there’s an optional vent for the longer lengths. The pattern also has a layers option, which is nice if you only need one size or just want to print a couple sizes to mash. I only printed the L and XL, and those went together perfectly, no trouble lining up or anything. They are also no trim pages, and as I think I’ve mentioned before, I put my patterns together with a glue stick vs tape like a lot of people do.

Instructions: I honestly only skimmed these. I don’t read instructions much anyways unless it’s an entirely new technique or something, lol. A pencil skirt is pretty straightforward, and with the amount of them that I’ve made, instructions aren’t really necessary anymore 🙂

Construction: Very simple. I won’t spend a lot of time here because there’s not much to elaborate on. This is a really great style for a beginner because of the minimal seams, essentially just 5, and all are a basic stretch stitch. I did use Wonder Tape to do my hem like I do with all my knits, and that’s an extra step, but it makes hemming SO MUCH easier!

As I said above, I made the L. I actually measured into the XL, but I knew that the scuba I had was super stretchy, and that I’d sized down when using it for another project, so I did cut and baste the XL just because, and of course, it was too big. So, I traced the L onto it, recut and there you go.


Things I liked/Things I changed:

I liked that it has a separate back piece and front piece, when a lot pencil skirts are just the same back and front. I also liked the shaping on this one as well, because again, it’s super easy to just do straight lines and call it a day. I have, in fact, done that before when throwing a self-drafted one together in a hurry. It works, but it’s much more flattering with contouring/shaping.

I didn’t like the way the vent extension is done, which isn’t a huge deal really. It’s probably easier on newer seamstresses or those newer to knits to maybe do it that way, and since it doesn’t have a back seam, this was probably the solution they came up with to get around that. Personally, I will split the back piece in half and add the vent the proper way when I do one.

I also wish there was a low rise option, but again, that’s an easy fix that I can do on my own, and probably some personal preference there too, as I like to have a taller band vs taller skirt piece.

I used my own measurements to do my waistband and I also contoured it. I cannot stand all these straight rectangle bands that people seem to be so fond of. Unless you have little to no curve or variation from waist to hip, a straight band will just not work out on everyone. This isn’t a P4P thing exclusively, its just something I’ve noticed in general lately that bugs me. On the high rise option, the straight band does probably work because it is supposed to sit at your waist, so it should be the same, but the mid rise where the top of the band sits higher than the base, it doesn’t work out so well.

That said, I see people whine a lot about the lack of band pieces or dimensions and who don’t want to do their own band, so there’s that too. No real win in that fight I guess, lol.

Overall Thoughts: I think this is a nice pattern in general. Its a quick sew, its well put together, and it seems well drafted. If you are looking for a fast pattern or a beginner apparel pattern, this is a good one to try. Especially since its drafted for more stable knits like ponte, scuba, heavyweight, CL, etc and those are much easier to work with.


And now, some pics!



Summer Sewing: The Long and Short of It!


You may have seen my somewhat vague #B2B2016 posts about the bottoms I made, and this is why! I did make them as basics, but also to go with this blog tour that lovely Tibeca over at Sewing by Ti has put together. I have a really fun pair that has quickly become one of my favorites too!

So let’s just dive in shall we?

First up, a very basic woven short with a knit band, the Skinny Pant from Jocole. These come with inseam lengths for pants and a longer short, but because I’m short, I prefer shorter inseams to make my legs look longer, so I just drew a line and created my own inseam length on the pattern. They are drafted for wovens, however, I have done stretch wovens, which I actually prefer, and also ponte and sweatshirt fleece too. I think its an all around basic pattern to grab if you’ve not sewn pants or shorts before, as it has no fly or zipper or in seam pockets, just the knit band and the patch style pockets. It was one of my first real pants patterns and I think its fab for any beginner.

Here are the details on this particular pair:

Pattern: Jocole Skinny Pants

Size: 16

Fabric: Main is a stretch twill, 97/3 cotton/spandex from Jo-Ann. The band is 91/9 cotton/spandex, also from Jo-Ann.

Notes: As I mentioned above, I prefer stretch wovens as I think that little bit of give just helps with overall fit, and of course, ease of wear. Because this is a stretch woven, I started with the size I measured into, an 18, and then actually sized down because of the extra room I had; remember these are drafted for non-stretch wovens, so had I used one of those, the 18 probably would’ve been fine.

I’d also like to note that Jodi drafts closest to what I call “true” pattern sizing, and in her patterns, I am often a much “larger” size than in all the others. In general, pattern sizing will typically be larger than RTW, but seeing multiple sizes larger always jolts me a bit. That’s ok, nobody knows but me right? And now you I guess, haha.

Anyways, as I said, I did my own inseam, roughly 4″ on this pair, and I think its perfect for this style. I did my own waistband as I typically do, using my measurements and contouring the band to be tighter at the top and stay put.

That’s pretty much it.As you’ll see in the pictures, I did NOT pattern match, which I know some of you will cringe at, but this pair was really kind of a muslin and I didn’t realize how much I’d actually like them and want to wear them, haha.





For my second pair, I used the Coachella Shorts from Striped Swallow Designs. There are two versions of this pattern- the original, which is a relaxed fit, and the slim fit, which was added last year, and is a more snug version that fits closer around the leg.

Before the slim fit, I was using the original fit and just bringing it in closer on the leg and sometimes sizing down. I also always used a stretch woven, and a few times, an outright knit like ponte and stretch french terry. I used the slim version only once, and it was with a knit as well.

The pattern indicates that it’s made for wovens, though you can use knits, and also includes a size chart, however, theres just one size chart, and it appears to be for both versions.Personally, I don’t understand how that works; if a pattern is a more snug fit, I would think it would need a different chart. But maybe that’s just my perception since that’s how I’ve seen it done elsewhere.

Nevertheless, I decided to do a lovely floral linen in the slim fit for my test pair, and because I was leery of the sizing, I went up a size, and unfortunately, they are too small. They do technically fit, as I can get them on and I can move in them, but they aren’t all that comfortable, and definitely not conducive to chasing my rambunctious boys around without popping a seam. I also did the elastic waistband as the pattern calls for, and man, muffin top for dayyyyyys. SOOOO not flattering. At all. Not a knock to the pattern, but there’s a reason I don’t typically do elastic waistbands! They are working well as pajama shorts though, and I may take the elastic band off and do a knit bad, or just remove the elastic and do a drawstring.

On to the main event! This pair, I love. LOVE. L.O.V.E. So. Much. So, without further ado…

Pattern: Coachella Shorts by Striped Swallow Designs

Size: XXL*

Fabric: Linen

Notes: I wrote XXL* because, while I should certainly fit into that size according to the size chart, it was too snug for comfort. So, what I did was to keep the XXL front pattern piece and I decided that where it was really pulling was in the booty, indicating I needed more room there, or to do more squats and stair runs, maybe both, haha. So what I did was I cut the pattern vertically right before the hemline starts to curve upward (This would make sense if you have the pattern in front of you)and slid it over about and inch or so. This gave me more fabric to work with wrapping around. It also changes the amount of trim you need if you’re using trim. I typically don’t, but I did cording on this pair and used just under 1 whole package.

It sewed up easily, which is always a plus for me with patterns. Sewing with littles around typically means I need quick sews and no overly fussy fitting and matching to do.

I did a knit band instead of the elastic, and totally winged it here with sizing and band width. In typical me fashion, I made the band too big, and being lazy, I decided to just dart it vs taking off the band and redoing it. Well, I ended up with a cute little v shape at the back waist, so I did the same to the front!


Now, these are a wee bit shorter than I’d typically go for, I did the 2″ inseam, so “mom shorts” they are not! However, I’ve been wearing them and rocking them despite my initial hesitation that the flowy leg would be sort of like a skirt when I bent down for things, but when I washed the shorts the first time, they shrank a bit and so the leg holes were not quite as large and the fit was a bit more snug, which fixed that problem. However, I’d already washed and dried it twice before sewing, so I’m hoping shrinkage doesn’t continue! Either way, these are my current favorite pair of shorts and work so well with my basics t-shirts I made last week!


Be sure to check out the other tour stops and participants for some summer sewing inspiration!

Sewing by Ti

Creative Counselor

Gray All Day

MSL Creations

Sew Sophie Lynn



#B2B2016 Day 5-6-7

Really, this post will be about day 5, since I’m blogging the shorts I did for day 6 and 7 separately as part of another blog tour.


Day 5 brings us yet another pair of black supplex leggings. Yeah, I know, how many pairs of black supplex leggings does one person need? The answer? A lot. Especially since we no longer have a washer and dryer and I can’t just toss the 3 pairs in the wash overnight and they’re ready to go. Maybe I should do a blog post just for all my supplex leggings, lol.

This pair is Patterns for Pirates (also known as P4P) pattern, the peg legs. Now, I almost didn’t want to blog these, because honestly, I’ve altered the pattern a good bit so I think its kind of unfair to use these since they’re not going to look like this from the pattern pieces as is. However, they are a great base pattern to start from, and that’s what I really was after, and they’re only $5, so…

Pattern: Peg Legs

Size: M-L-XL

Fabric: Supplex from LDG Showroom

The pattern piece itself is straightforward, its just a single piece that you cut mirror images of and the single leg seam is the inseam. For someone who cycles or runs long distances or anything like that, you may not want the inseam (I wouldn’t) but I only run as long as my kids are chill in the stroller which is about 4-5 miles, and sometimes its just around the block, lol.

Now, I did make a pair going by my measurements and they did in fact fit, so I would say they are true to size in that respect, however, the rise was really short. Like REALLY short. It didn’t even cover my lower than average c-s scar, nor did it cover my butt all the way either. Even once I attached the waistband, they were still really low, and uncomfortable. So, I decided to add to the rise. For my cotton spandex pairs, 2″ in front and 2.5″ in back was good, but for my supplex pairs, I found that 1.5″ in front and 2″ in back was better.

For the waistband, its a rectangle that you sew into a tube, fold and attach. It’s really simple and constructs easily enough. However, I’m not a rectangle shape so the spot on my body where the top of the band hits is narrower than where the bottom of the band hits making it too big at the top to where it slid down and bulked weird under my shirts.My solution was to add seam allowance and do two side seams that I contoured, so that lain flat, the band looked like an hourglass and when folded and attached, it was narrower at the top where I’m smaller.  I also contoured the base so that it was slightly narrower at the back because I had the rise on the actual leg pieces coming up higher in back and didn’t need the taller waistband back there. I use my personal measurements too and not the pattern’s.

The leg pieces I had to shorten, since my inseam is shorter than the pattern’s because its drafted for someone taller and longer legged than I am. I took out a little bit mid thigh and mid calf, since this will keep it proportionate throughout, whereas just taking it off the bottom will make them shorter yes, but fit weird throughout.

I did a pair as straight XL because its what I measured into, and it fit but there was excess fabric in front. So I made an L and it fit ok, but it was tight in back. I then decided to do an L front and XL back graded to an L just below the butt. This was pretty much ok but I had excess at the knee and when I did a full length pair, also excess at the ankle. I graded in to an M at the knee and ankle and that fixed that. Really though, I wear my leggings just below calf because its the most flattering spot on my legs for tight pants to hit. I do wear ankle length occasionally in the winter, but I don’t really like to.


Soooo… did you catch all that? lol. I lengthen the rise and change the waistband and grade the legs from L to M in front and Xl to L to M in back. Clear as mud, yeah? They are super comfy though!!!


Here they are with the Aurora/LDT top from a few days ago!



Quick Sneak of Day 6/7- SOS Pants Knit Shorts!!




#B2B2016 Day 4

Today’s sewing was definitely the most basic of basics- new underwear. We have recently moved twice in a month, and somehow, I managed to lose half my sock and underwear drawer. I lost the light colored unders, so that’s what I needed to sew up. I’m not posting pics because kind of sheer and kind of inappropriate and this isn’t that kind of blog, lol. Although, I guess I could take pics of them just lain out and not on…

Anyways, on to the sewing talk!


Pattern:Scrundlewear by Stitch Upon A Time

Size: L

Fabric: 91/9 cotton spandex from Jo-Ann

I really do like this pattern a lot, and it’s what I’ve made most of my underwear with. The name is kind of skeevy, IMO, so I just call them the SUAT underwear, lol. That said, I do a L in these and the only thing I do alterations wise is to dip the front a little bit more so it doesn’t come up so high and to add to the bottom of the back piece so it actually covers my cheeks. I have done extra low rise and extra cheeky pairs, but I really just needed basic pairs at this time, so that’s what I did. I could probably actually make a M, but these aren’t uncomfortable and I’m lazy since this size is already cut out.

Again, no pics here, but there’s a couple on this pattern listing, and its a pretty straightforward sew.

#B2B2016 Day 2 and 3!

I already blogged my hack of the Love Notions Laundry Day Tee aka the LDT to have the hemline from Hey June’s Aurora, so for my second basic top, I switched it up a little, and did the Aurora with the LDT neckline.

Pattern: Aurora Tee by Hey June Handmade

Size: XL top graded to XXL at waist down for a slouchier fit

Fabric: rayon spandex from Jo-Ann, nothing fancy just soft and comfy

I took the Aurora in my usual size, XL, and decided that I wanted it a little slouchier and looser, so I graded up from the waist downward. The XL is already big enough up top but I just never feel like FBAing a Large, so I knew I shouldn’t go up even more up top, though I considered doing a straight XXL, and might still do that and see how it goes.

I traced it out and then laid the LDT on top and traced the V neck from it in the front. The back, I just kind of cut to my liking. Now, at this point, you should measure your neckline and calculate the size of your band, but we all know that I don’t do things all proper like that and I just cut a strip of fabric and eyeball it. One day, this “technique” will probably fail me, but it hasn’t yet, so I keep at it.

I did have challenges with this neckline because the bobbin thread got all screwy at one point and I didn’t notice and then I had to seam rip and re-sew, and it was late and I did it the worst way possible, lol. It doesn’t look bad in person however, so I’m leaving it.For now.

I’m really happy with how it turned out, though I do wish the neckline was a little deeper/wider. The neckline on my LDTs are and I’m not sure why this one turned out different. Nevertheless its one of my new favorite t shirts.

The wonky neckline, haha.



Day 3, I made a second one in some $1.50/yd walmart knit that *felt* like it maybe had some spandex content in it and I thought it would be ok, but it kind of wasn’t. It ended up really short and thin and not as flowy and just kind of meh. I didn’t even hem it and probably won’t but it’ll make a good sleep shirt to go with those Coachella shorts that are a little too small too.


That wraps up almost half the week!