Category Archives: Completed sewingprojects

The Juniper Cardigan from Jennifer Lauren Handmade

Juniper Cardigan

In July 2017 Jennifer Lauren called out for pattern reviewers. She is the driving force behind Jennifer Lauren Handmade, a New Zealand Indie Pattern company. One of her goals is to show people with a variety of body types wearing her designs. Hence her call for reviewers. I volunteered and I have already had the pleasure of reviewing the Laneway Dress.
Today I’m thrilled to present you a review of another Jennifer Lauren pattern: the Juniper Cardigan.

The Juniper Cardigan pattern

The Juniper Cardigan comes in two views: a cropped one and a long-line. Just like the Laneway Dress, the pdf-pattern has a print shop version. This is always a bonus for me. A minor thing for the A0 print: there is no possibility to select only one of the versions to print. I only want to sew the cropped version but now I have also a print of the long version.
Based on my measurements I graded the pattern from a 20 for the bust to a 22 for the waist, considering the small amount of negative ease that is necessary for a good fit. Jennifer explains this very well in her instructions. Being a tall girl, I lengthened the bodice with 3,5 cm and thus also the neckband and the interfacing for the neckband. On all these pattern pieces there is a shorthen/lengthen line so that makes it easy!
I appreciated that there was a separate pattern piece for the interfacing so that you didn’t have to trace it from the neckband.

 The Fabric
Juniper Cardigan
Plaid matching like a boss!

I received the pattern from Jennifer Lauren at the beginning of January and a few days later Girl Charlee UK had a sale. When I saw this ‘Brown Black Plaid Jersey‘ and the ‘Dusty Marsala Knit‘ I knew this would be the perfect pair for the Juniper Cardigan. The design of this cardigan just asked for a combination of two fabrics. I was even more convinced when the fabric arrived.
Jenifer recommends using knit fabric with a minimum of 30% stretch and a minimum weight of 180gsm. Both of my fabrics met these requirements so I could get started right away!

The sewing process

My previous experience with a Jennifer Lauren Handmade pattern was very satisfying so my hopes were high for a smooth sailing.  And it was! Sewing the Juniper Cardigan is a joyful ride. The accompanying instructions are detailed and illustrated with clear designs. More, if you can’t find your way with these instructions there is an extensive sew along on the website. Some lesser known techniques like sewing in the saddle sleeves and attaching the neckband are explained here with a step-by-step photo guide.

Juniper Cardigan
To attach the neckband I used a lot of pins and basted it first on the machine with a stitch length of 5. Then, after removing the pins I sewed the neckband on with the overlock for a nice finish.
Overal the Juniper Cardigan comes together easily and I am pleased with the fit and the look.

Juniper Cardigan
I love the saddle sleeves.

The Juniper Cardigan is my first ever sewed cardigan and I am totally in love with it. The design with the saddle sleeves gives it a unique vibe. The combination of two fabrics only intensifies this vibe. If you are looking for this style sew a Juniper Cardigan!
Thank you, Jennifer Lauren, for letting me review this pleasant pattern.

Juniper Cardigan
Totally in love with my Juniper Cardigan.

Sewing for babies: some free patterns

A new baby is born into our family! Hey, I’m a great-aunt now and it fills me with joy. To welcome this little boy I just had to sew some clothes for him. I sewed for my own children when they were babies but this was 30 years ago and I no longer have these patterns. So I went to Mrs. Google and I found some cute free baby sewing patterns. Which I sewed immediately after I went to the fabric store for some fun fabric.

free baby sewing patterns


Oliver Pants

free baby sewing patterns

The Oliver Pants is a free baby-pants pattern designed by Griet and Annick. Both are outstanding sewists with young children, hence this pattern is eminently tested!
The joy of sewing for babies is that the patterns are small. You only have to tape together two pieces of the pdf-pattern. The pattern and the instructions for the Oliver Pants are in Dutch but that should not be a problem for non-Dutch speakers as the instructions are illustrated with clear pictures.
I sewed the pants in a light sweater knit from QjuTie Kids and it came together easily. One thing you have to consider though is to enlarge the border pieces for the cuffs and the waistband, depending on the stretch % of the fabric you use.
This pattern is also great for using up your fabric scraps.

Long sleeve with envelope neckline

free baby sewing patterns

I love envelope necklines. Not only for babies but also for myself. That’s why the Bronte Top has been on my sewing list for ages. I really should sew one soon, but the baby came first.
This long sleeve with envelope neckline is a free pattern from ‘De Dromenfabriek’, (Small Dreamfactory). This is also a Dutch pattern, but again the instructions are illustrated with clear designs and they are generally easy to follow. For the neckline though, I found the instructions from Oon more enlightening.
The fabric, from QjuTie Kids, is a light sweater knit with adorable animals wearing copper cat-eye glasses and masks. I loved it at first sight.

Mare Sweater

free baby sewing patterns

This is also a free pattern from a sewist, Spoetniksels, who designed it for her own baby daughter. This sweater has a button closure on the shoulder. A plus for this pattern is that the pdf is layered so you have only the lines of the size you want on the pattern. Again this is a Dutch pattern and again the instructions are illustrated with clear pictures. Just like the other garments, I sewed it totally on the serger. The fabric is a soft French Terry from the See You at Six fabric collection.

Teeny Beanie – Patterns for Pirates

Only a few weeks ago Patterns for Pirates launched four new free baby patterns and one of them is this cute Teeny Beanie.  It comes in different styles like with little bear ears and a knot but I opted for the plain beany. The pdf-pattern is layered and has clear step by step instructions. It makes sewing this beanie easy and quick. I added a lining to cover the inside seams. This beanie is also an ideal stash buster project.


I loved sewing all these little baby garments. They are all sewed with knit fabric and easily put together. I sewed each one on the serger. That makes them all easy and quick projects that give you instant gratification. And aren’t all these little garments sweet?
Will I sew more baby clothes? For sure, and I already did, because there are more babies announced in our family.

The Seamwork Jill Coatigan with striped lining

Sometimes you see a new pattern and in your head, it immediately links to this particular fabric you have in your collection. You simply have to make it. The project jumps to the pole position of your sewing queue. This happened when I saw the Jill Coatigan in the December Issue of Seamwork Magazine. It matched perfectly with this fuzzy charcoal knit I had in my collection. I just had to sew one immediately!Seamwork Jill Coatigan

The Seamwork Jill Coatigan pattern

There are 5 pieces in this pattern, which is not much for an outerwear garment. Nevertheless, I printed the A0-format of the pattern at the copy shop. The pieces for a coat are always large, aren’t they? I was not going to tape them together. Based on the finished measurements I cut out a straight L, and did not make any alterations. The fit is perfect!


The fabric

I bought this fuzzy charcoal jersey at the Neuköllener Stoff in November 2016. When I saw it at the market I had something ‘coat-ish’ in mind for it.
Then happened what usually happens when I combine a new pattern with a piece of fabric I have in my collection: ‘I don’t have enough’! I only had 2 meters and the charts asked for 3,6 meters. So I pulled out all the tricks I have to get the Jill coatigan out of this piece of fabric because now I had this picture in my mind and no other fabric would do. Luckily the fabric is very forgiving so I could place some pieces in different directions. Further, I omitted the vent and placed the center back at the fold line. To make the Tetris work I also had to cut the facing in two parts. Due to the fuzziness of the fabric, you don’t see this at all.

Teamwork Jill Coatigan
No vent at the back.
The striped lining

In Belgium, winters can be cold and windy. Although the fabric is a rather heavy jersey it needs a lining to make it a warm coat. I remembered I had a pin on my Pinterest from a self-made black & white lining that I wanted to make myself for a long time. This would be perfect for this coat and not difficult to make. I cut several strips of 24 cm and sewed them together. For the sleeves, I used the plain black lining.
To cut the lining I used the depth of the vent for the back pleat. This pleat is necessary to be able to move when the lining is sewed in. On the front pattern piece, I outlined the edge of the facing, cut it out and used the rest as front pattern lining piece. Further, I put an extra 3 cm seam allowance on the bottom of the coat and sleeve pieces. This to give more free movement when wearing the coat.

Seamwork Jill Coatigan
The front piece of the lining.
The sewing process

Sewing the Jill Coatigan is easy. It could also have been a quick project but I took my time with some parts. I hand-sewed the pockets on the front because I don’t like a topstitched seam on this fuzzy fabric.

Seamwork Jill Coatigan
Hand-sewing the pockets.

That’s also the reason why I didn’t make buttonholes. I sewed black fold-over elastic in two and stitched the loops between the front and the front facing. To make it a wearable coat for me—I have to be able to wear it on my bike—it needed a closure. I found the two giant grey buttons in the bargain box at my local haberdashery store.

Further, making the lining and sewing the lining also took some time. I sewed the lining in with the machine and hand-sewed the seam. Through the whole process, I never came up against any obstacles. The instructions are clear and it was a joy to sew.

The black pleat in the lining gives you free movement.

I love my Jill Coatigan. Although with the lining and the buttons it is more a coat than a coatigan. I’ve been wearing it for more than a month now and it is perfect for the colder and windy weather. Also, the closure works perfectly when I am cycling. Another bonus is the pockets. They are perfect for putting in my gloves and keys. So, me and my Jill Coat are very good friends.

Seamwork Jill Coatigan
The Jill Coat paired with the original 1952 J.R. Bauman dress form I received from my sister-in-law, Linde Ergo.

I ❤️ the Bombazine oven mitt

It started with a joke. On a family pizza night, our daughter exclaimed that she would give us some oven mitts as a Christmas present. Because she burned herself by pulling out the pizza’s and we didn’t have mitts. “That’s not necessary” my husband answered out of the blue, “because your mom—that would be me— just sewed one for everybody!” I sighed: “Oh baby, now you’ve spoilt the surprise.” Everybody laughed of course, little did they know I hadn’t sewed any oven mitts at that point. A few days later I discovered the Bombazine oven mitt on their site. Now I laughed too because no longer I had to search for my Christmas gifts. So that’s why I sewed 11 Bombazine oven mitts.

Bombazine oven mitt

The Bombazine oven mitt pattern

The Bombazine mitt pattern is a free downloadable pdf-pattern. It only has four pages: two with instructions and two for the pattern. So you print and tape together the pattern in a blink of an eye! You use the same pattern piece for the three layers of the mitt. Simple and easy!

Bombazine oven mitt


The fabric

The Bombazine mitt is THE project to use up your leftovers. I used a combination of leftovers from sewing projects, pieces of old jeans of the kids, and pieces of fabric from the thrift shop. I sewed together some of the scraps with a medium weight and then I cut out the outer pieces.

Bombazine oven mitt

For the heat insulation layer, I used an old woollen blanket. Bombazine oven mitt

For the inner lining, I used leftovers from cotton fabric.Bombazine oven mitt

The sewing process

Sewing the Bombazine mitt is a joy! The instructions, with designs, are very clear and easy to follow.
New for me was hand quilting the layers together with sashiko stitches. I have never done this before but I love learning new techniques. The stitches are still wonky but I like doing it.
Bombazine oven mitt


After sewing the outside of the mitt, you sew together the lining but you leave a gap near the top. Later you pull the outside layer of the mitt through this gap.
Sewing together the three layers can be a little difficult. When an opening of a pattern piece is small I always sew on the inside. This prevents sewing accidentally wrong layers together.Bombazine oven mitt


According to the instructions, the trickiest step would be bagging the mitt (or ‘mitt birthing’). I found this not so difficult. The woollen layer is easy to handle and pull through the gap.
After the birth, you finish with topstitching the edge of the mitt and a good press.

bombazine oven mitt
‘mitt birthing”
Bombazine oven mitt
These mitts need only the finishing topstitch of the edge.



I enjoyed myself tremendously sewing these mitts. Due to the great design and the easiness of the sewing process, they came out fantastic. And giving them as a Christmas present was pure fun. Everybody had a laugh and they were very happy with them.

Will I sew more Bombazine mitts? Definitely! They will also make a perfect 2018 Secret Valentine gift.
So thank you Bombazine ladies for this cute free pattern.

Bombazine oven mitt Bombazine oven mitt Bombazine oven mitt


How to make a-made-in-a-blink festive skirt

Plissé Skirt

Two days before Christmas it looked like I wouldn’t have a new garment for the annual family Christmas dinner. That’s nothing new because last year I didn’t sew one either. Then I went to ‘De Stoffenkamer’ to buy some fabric for presents when this lovely black plissé caught my eye. Immediately, the image of a new skirt—a plissé skirt— popped up in my mind. More, this was going to be a very easy sew, so I bought the fabric right away.

A plissé skirt: how did I do it?

A panel of plissé fabric

Lotte Martens Fabric

The black plissé panel is from Lotte Martens, a Belgian fabric designer. In fact, it is a semi-plissé, which means the pleats aren’t as deep as in a regular plissé. The panel is hand printed with a Bremen gold design. This is Lotte Martens’ trademark. She hand prints all of her fabrics and you know that I love hand printing. Since long I yearned to sew something with a Lotte Martens fabric.

This plissé fabric also reminded me of my visit to the Fortuny Palace in Venice for the Biennale 2015. There I learned that the plissé was invented by Mariano Fortuny, a Spanish fashion designer who lived in Venice. He opened a couture house in 1906 and continued until his death in 1946. Fortuny rebelled against the fashionable styles that were popular during his time. Together with his wife, Henriette Negrin, who was an experienced dressmaker, he created the Delphos gown in 1907. The Delphos gown is a shift dress made of finely pleated silk weighed down by glass beads that held its shape and flowed on the body. The pleating was all done by hand and the process was kept secret. Today these dresses are seen as works of art and many survive, still pleated, in museums and personal collections. (Source: Wikipedia)

Delphos gown
On the left: Clarisse Coudert, who married Condé Nast, wearing a Fortuny tea gown. ca. 1909 – On the right: (Isadora) Duncans three adopted daughters (Lisa, Anna, and Margot) in Delphos dresses c.1920
One side-seam

The panel is 70 cm with a 150 cm fabric width. For this type of skirt, you don’t need a pattern. Double the fabric, right sides together, pin and stitch.

The elastic waistband

Measure a piece of broad elastic around your waist. Sew the ends together to create a circular form.

Divide the waistband and the skirt into four even parts and mark them with chalk and/or pins. Now pin the waistband to the skirt. I placed the side of the waistband with the mini ruffles atop the top of the skirt. This makes the stitching of the elastic easier.

The whole sewing process took me about 20 minutes.


We had to leave for the family party at twelve and I finished it at 11 o’clock! I love wearing it and I got a lot of compliments. Who doesn’t like that?!

Will I make more plissé skirts? When I find the right plissé fabric I probably will. Or maybe another type of garment like the Fortuny tea gown. Who knows?

Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren

The Laneway Dress from Jennifer Lauren Handmade

A month ago Jennifer Lauren called out for pattern reviewers. She is the driving force behind Jennifer Lauren Handmade, a New Zealand Indie Pattern company. She wants to show people with a variety of body types wearing her designs. Hence the call out for reviewers. I volunteered and I’m happy that I am an official Laneway Dress Reviewer!

Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren Handmade

The Laneway Dress pattern

I was pleased that there is an A0 format of the Laneway Dress pattern because I try to avoid assembling pdf-patterns. One of the advantages of the Laneway Dress is that it comes with different cup sizes (B, C, and D). To prevent unnecessary prints and costs Jennifer made a different page for every bodice pattern with the facing. So you have only to print the page with your cup size. This is very economical and much appreciated.
After grading between the 20 for the bust and 22 for the waist I cut out the pattern pieces. Here I found that the difference between the lines for the different sizes was not always that clear, especially on the curves. To distinguish them I marked them.

Laneway Dress

With 14 cm difference between my full bust and my under bust, I went for the B-cup and the fit was right.

The pattern is designed for an average height of 170 cm. Being 181 cm I lengthened the bodice and the skirt each with 5 cm. On the bodice pattern there are no lengthen/shorten lines but in the instructions is explained how you can do it.
I didn’t lengthen the skirt at the seam but I put 5 cm in the middle because I wanted to hold the original width of the skirt.

Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren Handmade

The Fabric

I had this African Wax Print in my collections since September 2016. I bought it in Paris in the Sacre Coeur neighbourhood where there are a lot of great fabric stores. When I bought the fabric I just went for the colours. I didn’t notice that the balls were, in fact, all kind of sports balls! Although the Laneway Dress has a 1940s A-line silhouette which is not immediately associated with African Wax Print I went for it and it worked perfectly!
For the contrasting collar, I used some gingham from an old table cloth.

Laneway Dress Jennifer LaurenThis  100 %  African Wax was a dream to sew but very difficult to photograph. The colours change all the time. I also used the selvedge as a ‘natural’ hem.

The sewing process

This is the first pattern I sewed from Jennifer Lauren Handmade and it was a very satisfying experience. The accompanying instructions are detailed and illustrated with clear designs. The order of the steps is logical and there is nothing confusing.
A little different from my usual method was the way the pockets were sewn. It was described and illustrated in detail and they came out neat and smooth. For sure a technique that I will adopt now.
Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren Handmade
What I also like in the instructions is that every step includes how to press the sewed seams.

Due to the grading between sizes, the fit was ok but could be more perfected. In hindsight, it would be better for me to grade between 18 for the shoulders and armscye, to 20 for the bust and 22 for the waist. Another minor mistake was that I had lengthened the bodice too much. I was able to take off 1 cm but for the future, I better lengthen the bodice only with 3,5 cm.

Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren Handmade

Is this a quick sew?

I would not say that sewing the Laneway Dress is a quick sew. The sewing, however, is really satisfying. It is not difficult and after every step, you immediately see your progress. That makes that you are sitting there sewing with a smile on your face.

Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren Handmade


I only finished my Laneway Dress today but I am positive that I am going to wear it a lot. It feels comfortable. The design of this dress is exquisite and the use of non-obvious fabric choice only confirms this. So, thank you, Jennifer Lauren, for letting be me a Laneway Dress Reviewer!

The floral Ogden Cami Dress from True Bias

Wow, this is the Summer of the Ogden Camis. I so enjoy wearing my Cami and my Maxi Cami Dress that I decided to make another one. This time I would go for another hack. I wanted to use the bodice of the Cami and combine it with the skirt part of the Chari dress. I hoped that would give a whirly, summery dress. However, it turned out a little different ;).

Ogden Cami Dress
The floral fabric

Like the fabrics for my other Camis, I also found this one at the market in Castel del Piano. It is soft, silky, and drapey. Normally I’m not a great fan of floral and blue but I liked this piece. It has a bit of an oriental vibe, hasn’t it?

Ogden Cami Dress

All these market fabrics are pre-cut and this one was only 1,60 m with a width of 1,50m. So I knew that I had to cut both the front and back piece in two pieces. I even had to put a seam in the back lining.

Ogden Cami
Stitching two pieces of fabric together to be able to cut out the lining.
The planned dress hack

In one of her latest video posts, Johanna LU from ‘The Last Stitch‘ called for sewists to show more sewing struggles. Well here is my struggle.

First I measured on my Ogden Cami where would be the good spot to put the tunnel for the elastic (about on my natural waist). I put the mark on my pattern pieces, folded them, pinned them on the fabric and cut the fabric.
Next, I cut the skirt pieces as wide and as long as the rest of the fabric allowed. After sewing everything together and only with the first fit, I noticed my mistake. I cut a straight seam on the bodice pieces and not a curved one! I totally forgot that I have boobs. So the desired straight seam was now curved. More, it was not possible to use this seam as a guide for the tunnel for the elastic.

Ogden Cami Dress
Forget to draw a curved seam for the bodice.

Luckily I saw that it was possible to wear the dress as it was. Due to the floral print and after a good press you don’t notice this curved seam.

Ogden Cami Dress

The sewing process

For this Cami I used the construction method from ‘What Katie Sews‘ and it worked well. She has a good tutorial on her blog. Although following True Bias’s instructions was not complicated I found Katie’s way easier. It simplified the attachment of the straps and made it a quick sew.

Ogden Cami Dress


It’s no secret that I, again, love my Ogden Cami Dress. Even if it turned out different than I planned.  I wore it already several times and it is absolutely a much-needed garment for hot weather. I am even more pleased that I can layer it up with a linen jacket or a cardigan. So it will be suitable for colder days.

Ogden Cami Dress

Will I make more Ogden Camis? Not immediately but someday I will.


The Ogden Cami & Ogden Cami Maxi from True Bias

Ever since I featured the Tiffany’s Ogden Cami Maxi in my Eye-catchers I wanted to sew one myself. I only have one maxi dress and I love wearing it, especially when it’s baking outside. So I tried a small pattern hack to turn the Ogden Cami in an Ogden Cami Maxi and I am thrilled with the result. Both of them are going to have a lot of wear!

Ogden Cami

Ogden Cami Maxi

The Ogden Cami pattern

I again enjoyed that I printed the pattern in A0-format at the copy shop. The different lines for the different sizes are very clear. I cut out the 5 pattern pieces after I graded between the bust and the waist. As always I lengthened the front and back pieces with 5 cm. On the front and back pattern piece is a line indicated for lengthening/shortening. I find this a plus for a pattern. The alterations came out perfectly.

Ogden Cami

The fabric

I bought both pieces of fabric at the monthly market in Castel del Piano. There is this cute market stall where you can buy all kind of cut fabric pieces for 5€ per piece and 10€ for 3 pieces. I got these two pieces together with the black knit for my daughter’s swimsuit I sewed in July. The downside is that you can’t decide the length of the pieces; they are all pre-cut. This caused no problem for the camisole but it was for the maxi dress (see below). Also, these pieces have no labels. The olive green is probably viscose and the black & white feels and looks like crêpe.

Ogden Cami Maxi

The sewing process

I sewed a True Bias pattern before,  the Hudson Pants that I love so much. So I knew that the accompanying instructions would be clear and so they were for the Ogden Cami. The successive steps come logically and every step is illustrated with straightforward designs. I had no difficulty putting the top together and the fit was from the first try spot on!
I loved the tip to sew a label at the back neckline to distinguish it from the front because indeed you can’t see it with the naked eye.

Ogden Cami


Making the Maxi Dress

To draft the maxi dress I copied the measures of the maxi dress I have.

  1.  The total length from the underarm to the hem = 130 cm.
  2.  The width of the hem = 200 cm. For me, skirts of a maxi have to be wide because I am not a fan of vents.

I didn’t draft new pattern pieces but I lay the pieces of the cami on the fabric. I folded the side seams and drew with chalk the desired length from the underarm to the hem. Ahem, this is what I wanted to do but my fabric was too short!! (I only had 175 cm of 140 cm width). So I drafted a front and back piece, both on the fold line, as long as I could. To make my desired length I cut two pieces cross grain. Luckily the design of the fabric is very forgiving so you have to look real close to see where the seam is. In the end, I reached a hem width of 180 cm.

Ogden Cami Maxi
Can you spot the seam between the two pattern parts?

To reach the desired length I had to use a back piece with a hole at the side seam. I patched it up!  Again, you have to look real close to see it!

On the left the hole at the side seam. On the right the patching!

Because there was no fabric left for the lining I used some vintage cotton from my collection.


I am over the moon with my Ogden Cami and even more with my Ogden Cami Maxi Dress. What I like in particular about this pattern is the delicate balance between the soft v-neck and the straps. And wow, I can wear them without a bra!
At this moment the sewing world is booming with Ogden Camis. So a lot of you have yet discovered the sublimeness of this pattern. For those who haven’t yet sewed one, do it!

Laminaria Swimsuit

The Laminaria Swimsuit from SeamstressErin Designs

I love going to the seaside and I love swimming in the sea. Hence, I needed a swimsuit. I sewed my last one, the Burdaystyle Alison Swimsuit, three summers ago and I was a bit tired of it. So no wonder that, when SeamstressErin launched the Laminaria swimsuit, I was immediately drawn to this pattern. I even sewed two already: one for me and one for my daughter.

Laminaria Swimsuit SeamstressErin

The Laminaria Swimsuit pattern

For the Laminaria Swimsuit pattern, I went—for the first time—to the copy shop to print the pattern on A0 format. I didn’t read the accompanying information in advance, so I didn’t know that the pattern consisted of two pages. When the paper role of the printer was finished after one sheet I told the shop assistant that it was perfect. As we are now staying in our holiday home in Italy it isn’t possible for me to get the second page printed. This means that I could not sew view A of the swimsuit with the sinuous inset panel. Of course, that’s the view I love the most. So I chose view B with a soft v-neck and the crossed straps.

The pattern for the plain swimsuit consists out of 2 pieces: the front and the back. Plus two rectangles for the straps.
According to the body measurements table of the pattern, I have a different size for the bust, the waist and the hips. So I graded between these sizes and being a tall girl, I lengthened the pattern with 2 times 2,5 cm and the crotch seam with 1cm. That is what I like about sewing your own swimsuit: the possibility to lengthen the torso to give you a comfortable fit. As I am 1,81m tall, this was always a struggle for me with RTW swimming suits. (I did the same adjustments for my daughter’s swimsuit.)

The fitting of the swimsuit

After grading and lengthening the pattern I had some issues with the cup size. According to the instructions, I had to trace the pattern with the D-F cup—I have 5 inches difference between under bust and full bust measurements—but it turned out way too large. I found it a little confusing because I never had more than a C cup for my bra’s. Anyway, I was able to resize the pattern to the A-C cup and it came out perfect.
For my daughter—who has 6 inches difference between under bust and full bust measurements—the D-F cup pattern was spot on.
When I mentioned the fitting issues on IG, Erin reached out to me and reassured me that after sewing in the elastic the gapping would vanish and the top would clinch to the body. She was right.

The fabric

I had some leftover from the previous swimsuit I sewed and also from my Moneta Dress. But both pieces were too small to cut out the plain suit. Being already in our holiday house in Italy without access to fabric stores in the immediate vicinity this was a small problem. Luckily there was the monthly market in Castel Del Piano where I bought two cheap dresses—one with the chevron pattern and one plain black— with 5% spandex in the fabric. So sewing these swimsuits also became a refashion project. I even could use the small belts from the dress as straps.
For the inserts and the straps of my daughter’s swimsuit, I used leftovers from the chevron fabric.

The sewing process

This is the first time I sewed a pattern from SeamstressErin Design and it was a joyful sewing. With the pattern come extensive and plain instructions, illustrated with clear drawings. On top of that, there are helpful tutorials on the site with step-to-step pictures. I basted the lining and the suit together all around. This was a great help for sewing in the elastic.

Is it a quick sew?

The sewing itself didn’t take that long although sewing in the elastic isn’t something you can do in a rush.  It was the tracing, the grading and the alterations of the pattern pieces that took me some time.
Sewing a swimsuit is not difficult and I would recommend it to anyone who has trouble finding a suitable RTW swimsuit.


I heart my Laminaria Swimsuit. The fit is so comfortable and it came through the sea test with flying colours. I swam, jumped and dove into the sea and not once did I have to readjust it. Now I am only waiting for Burt…..

The Chari Dress from Schnittchen Patterns

Last December 2016, Silke from Schnittchen Patterns asked for test-sewers for the Summer ’17 collection. I volunteered, as I am always in for a challenge.  When the different patterns were suggested I noticed that several of them had ruffles. Ruffles are very in-fashion this Summer. Normally it is not my thing but I decided to give it a chance and chose the Chari Dress to test. I am glad I did because the Chari Dress is a charming dress that I love to wear.

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns

The Chari Dress Pattern

I received the pattern on A0-format, by mail. I found this a very thoughtful gesture of Silke. The pattern for the sleeveless Chari dress consists out of four major pieces: the front, the back, the ruffle and the tunnel case for the elastic. You can also sew the dress with sleeves and as a shirt.
I cut out a straight 44 based on my measures. Being a tall girl (1,81 m) I put some 5 cm extra above the waistline. It came out perfectly. Furthermore, I took off 1 cm of the armhole at the shoulder point to avoid gaping.

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns

The fabric

I used a very soft rayon from my collection. (Yes, I speak of my fabric collection instead of my fabric stash!) I bought it more than a year ago on a big fabric fair ‘Stoffenspektakel‘ in my hometown. The fabric has a nice drape so it is very suitable for the ruffle and the elastic waist.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric—which is often the case when I want to use a fabric I own already.  I cut the front piece in two at the waistline where the elastic tunnel is sewed. It is not noticeable because this seam disappears in the gathers.

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns


The sewing process

For the testers, the sewing instructions were rather brief. This is not the case for the released patterns. They have detailed instructions with designs.
Overall the sewing went smooth. There are only two less obvious sewing techniques needed to put together this dress.
1) Finishing the armhole with bias binding.
Although I used this technique before I relied on this very clear tutorial of ‘Sew Over It’.
Finishing the armhole with bias binding. Here you see the seam where the front is cut in two pieces.

2) Finishing the v-neck with bias binding.
This was the first time I used this technique. Therefore I relied on this extremely clear tutorial of Sonya Philip.

Sewing a v-neck bias binding with a little dart. I finished the ruffle with a small zig-zag. I like the frayed edge.

The finished v-neck binding.

Is this a quick sew?

Well, so and so. Sewing the Chari sleeveless dress is not that difficult! As mentioned above the finishing of the armhole and the v-neck are two moments you have to take your time for. But it is worth it.

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns


I  never thought that I would jump on the ruffle boat but I did. More, I adore it. I finished the Chari Dress mid-May and due to the extremely hot weather in our northern country, I wore it a lot so far. If you want a comfortable dress for hot days; sew a (sleeveless) Chari Dress from Scnhittchen Patterns.

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns