Rusty. Rusty is the word of the day. I'm blogging rusty, I'm fabric rusty. At least I'm not sewing rusty. You know the age old saying. "Like in sewing, once you learn to ride a bike, you always need to wear a helmet." That's how it goes, right? Close enough.

So I was gone. No one probably cares and that's legit. So here's the quickest recap I can muster.
Twitter style: I moved 2.4k miles, started a career in sales, left a 9 yr relationship, fell in love, and am getting married May 20th! #JerrySpringer

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Nothing motivates me more than a deadline... so Blam-o I saw one of my favorite designers put out a testing call for a cute dress and that was it. So here I am.

Let me introduce you to the Harbor Knot Tee's sexy sister, the Harbor Knot Dress from Striped Swallow Designs. :)


If you can't already see, let me tell you why this is an awesome dress. It is form fitting, curve hugging, leg showing, awesomeness. It can be dressed up with some statement jewelry and a blazer for a night out or thrown over a bathing suit and worn to the beach with flip flops. (Also, I received no less than 7 "wow" comments from my fiance... that's a winner to me.)

The Harbor Knot Dress features
-Long sleeves
-3/4 length sleeves
-Short sleeves
-Layered printing
-Sizes XS to XXXL 
-Video tutorial on knot


It comes with sleeve options, too. Short, 3/4 length, and long. If the knot looks intimidating, it kind of is before you do it once! However, Mandalynn makes it really simple by including a video tutorial linked directly through the pattern and voila! Suddenly it's as simple as pi.  


The Harbor Knot Dress was a very quick sew. It took maybe 1.5hrs after it was cut. (I sew slowly, especially because I haven't sewn in awhile. I'm extraterrestrial careful.) I could probably sew a second one in 50 minutes if I had a place to hook up my serger. Damn you, small apartments.


Something I love about all Striped Swallow Designs is that Mandalynn includes layers. So that means I only had the print and cut the XS size. Thank you lawt.  


It always helps that I had one hell of a photographer. Thank you, lover. :) He was all "stand up straight, look that way, POSTUREEEE, SMILEEEEE. It was really cute and obviously effective. :) One last thing you'll love to know, this dress is running around safe! I could bend over and the wind was blowing but there was no butt cheeks to speak of. It's so form fitting, the dress gives your booty a nice little all-day-long hug and doesn't let go. It's a simple design with a twist! I love patterns like these because I could make a million of them and they're not so "distinct" that everyone knows I have 4 of the same dress. 

Details
Poly blend knit from Joann's - $12.99 @ 40% off - $7.80 / yard for 1.5 yards = $11.70
Notions
Thread = $.50
Estimated total cost = $21.20 less the pattern = $12.20
I received this pattern for free in exchange for testing before it's release.

This dress is one sale for $7 for it's release!


I included this picture because I feel like storm and like I'm going to smite people. Pretty rad. 

And this one, obviously, because I like to complain about being cold, or being embarrassed while having my photo taken. Isn't taking pictures in public while people walk by the worst? Also, Washington is still really cold in March, folks. I didn't sign up for this s***.

So glad to be back sewing! Also, very glad to see some new, sexy patterns coming out. Moar sexy dresses, please. I love to sew what I'd already buy. ^^
*This post contains affiliate links to help me pay for fabric rehab*

Hey! Remember when I said I was going to take a break from testing? Yeah, me neither.

So I tested the new Itch to Stitch Lisbon Cardigan that released today. This is absolutely perfect for me as I'm a cold human that works in a large warehouse where I still have to dress professionally. So when I saw the style of this cardigan, I had to test it! What a great excuse to make more work clothes. :D

*If you haven't sewn an Itch to stitch pattern, you are in for a treat. The designer, Kennis, is a detail hound and you won't get through one of her patterns without learning something unless you've been a professional tailor for decades. Her patterns are very professional, yet completely approachable. If you want to test one out first, she always has the Lindy Petal Skirt for free here!* (Picture linked on sidebar)


The Lisbon Cardigan features
-Long sleeves
-3/4 length sleeves
-Full length
-Cropped length
-No hemming, everything is banded!
-Sleeves not cut on fold
-All pieces are notched
-Directions where to interface and which type to use
-Layered printing
-Sizes 00-20
-Tips on Hong Kong finish for seams


I sewed a size 2 for the chest, 0 for the waist, and 4 for the hips according to the size chart and the fit is spot on. The sleeves are the perfect length where they just slide over your hand a tiny bit. The over all fit is slightly relaxed but still fitted if that makes any sense at all.


My buttons are done pretty well, but the spacing is just slightly off on the actual buttons! It will get better with practice, but see that small pucker? Also, my bottom button is way too close to the edge. I only noticed after the button holes were done. Oh well, all part of the process. The next one will be even better. (You know it's a garment I like if I have a next one planned already)


I sewed this up in sweater knit that I bought from Sincerely Rylee last year in one of her mystery boxes that I don't think she does anymore. However, I got a great deal on lots of sweater knits and this was absolutely perfect, however I'm not sure of the exact fiber contents. If I wanted something a little lighter I would probably choose a rayon spandex blend or a cotton Lycra. Maybe this would be cute in a Ponte, too? So many things to try. I'd also like to do a V neck hack. (I'm always trying to push it... I don't do well in matronly clothing. :P) I do feel just a little classy in this outfit though. :D


Don't forget, the Lisbon Cardigan is on sale for 20% off right now! :)

Details
Fabric - aprox. $4 / yard for 2 yards = $8
Notions
Interfacing = $2
Buttons $3
Thread = $.50
Estimated total cost = $25.50

Itch to Stitch Lisbon Ad 300 x 300

I did receive the pattern for free in exchange for testing it before it was released.
Folks, spring is here and I am so happy! It's actually raining as I write this but I was blessed with a gorgeous week, so I'm not even complaining. My friend Emma rushed out with me for a quick photo shoot and helped me capture these awesome photos, thank you Emma! <3 

So I am back to testing! For some reason I can't take a break - I see a cute tester call and I jump at the chance to test. I enjoy the process and I enjoy a deadline. It helps keep me motivated. Plus I'm more likely to blog about it if I tested. I can't tell you the amount of "dead" items that I sewed and never told anyone about. Pictures are so hard to get sometimes!


This is the latest release from Lil Luxe Collection, the Women's Starlight City Dress. Previously it was a children's pattern company with very contemporary designs but LLC has been branching out into Women's wear and I'm very excited! I love the aesthetic of LLC and am excited to have some of my favorite designs made into women's patterns.


The Starlight City dress has a few fun options.

-Bodycon dress (my version)
-Gathered waist dress
-Gathered skirt and top separates
-Bodycon skirt and top separates
-Knee length or maxi gathered skirt
-Short, 3/4, or long sleeves


I sewed the XS based off of my bust and waist measurements and the fit is spot on for a bodycon dress. The waist has an interesting detail. The elastic casing is actually a "flap" that can flip up or down. it stays in place in the "flipped up" position because the elastic and negative ease keep it in place. This is a new to me sewing technique but worked out very well because there is no stress on the waist seam from the skirt. I'll try to get some detailed pics to demonstrate what I'm talking about and update this post. But it's comfortable and keeps the waist from being pulled down and sagging from the weight of the skirt portion.


Ok. Let's get to the important part. THE BACKKKKK! Do you love this as much as I do? Err Mer Gerd. I adore the back of this dress. Cut outs are very "in" right now and this dress is just perfection in the back. Also, if you'll notice my bra. No? You didn't notice my bra? Exactly. 

Jessica and Angie did a ton of leg work to make sure that your REGULAR bra was concealed in this dress. No special bra or duct tape to wear this masterpiece. That's actually not a huge concern for me, but for the bigger chested ladies, it's a total win. :) The twist in the back mixed with the deep V and no special bra really makes this a fun and unique wardrobe piece. It will be great for all those Spring and Summer weddings coming up!


All of my comments on the construction of this dress are based upon the testing version and I'm not sure of the changes, if any, that have been made in the final pattern. The version I sewed was the most updated version of the tester pattern. 
  • The pattern features layers, but you have to trim the pages. 
  • There are separate bodices for petite and regular torso lengths. 
  • The instructions are accompanied by illustrations that are very clear.
  • The bodice is fully lined, however the side seams are not enclosed. (You can easily enclose them, but the instructions direct you otherwise)
  • There are grainline markings
  • There are notches to match pattern pieces
  • The sleeves are not cut on the fold


I tossed on a thrift store men's shirt for a more casual "me" look and while the fiance disagrees, I think it's cute. I feel like a rocker or something. -_-
P.S. Is there a way to wear bright red lipstick and not look like a hooker? Especially at 3pm with randos jogging by. I totally fit in. Oh, the awkward things I do.


I definitely DID crawl through 1,000,000 spiders for these train photos. So, relevant or not, I'm posting them. 


Overall the dress was constructed quickly. The waistband instructions caught me off guard for moment but I was able figure it out. It was just an unexpected "new to me" technique but once I read it over, I was able to construct the rest without issue. I'm SO happy they made it where you get the sexy V and cut out but without the hassle of finding a special bra or going braless. Next I'll definitely be sewing the gathered skirt version. That is a little more my pace and I already have fabric purchased for it! :D Because lawd knows that the one thing I need MORE of in my closet is Spring dresses that are inappropriate for work.


Details

Pattern LLC Starlight City Dress $14 (I received the pattern free for testing)
Fabric Black and Patterned knit from Joann's $15
Notions Elastic and thread $.50

Estimated total cost: $29.50

I will be sewing this dress again! The twisted back bodice is so cute and on trend. I need at least one more. 
Make sure that you get the dress while it's still on sale. It's marked down to $9.80 through the week instead of the standard $14.

If you make the dress, make sure you #starlightcitywomens on instagram!
Hello Ladies! Glad you came back to check and see who won the awesome prizes offered by our wonderful sponsors!

Let's Jump right in!

Felicia Balezentes
$25 to BWD Fabrics

Jody 'Rice' Kappas
$25 to Cali Fabrics

Ambere Hartman
Choice of 4 yards to Raspberry Creek Fabrics

Sherrie Mullen
Centerfield Raglan by Greenstyle Creations

Sheila Hlushak
Rainier Raglan by Peek-a-Boo Patterns

Latoya Matthew
Romance Raglan by Wild Blume 

Brooke Church 
Zoe Raglan by Liola Patterns

Shandra Mueller
Jalie Raglan

Lesley Rosas
High Low Raglan by Jamie Christina

Rachel McDaniel
Geneva Raglan by Named

I will be passing each of your emails along to the appropriate people to contact you for your prize! Congratulations and thank you for following along during our raglan extravaganza.

BIG, HUGE thanks to all of our sponsors! The designers who donated their patterns for us to sew, those who offered coupons for our readers, those who offered patterns to readers, and of course the three amazing fabrics sponsors! 

We only contacted shops who's fabric we've used before and I'll tell you, all three of the shops carry AWESOME fabric. I can't wait to see the raglans you all sew up with your prizes.  
Hello from Sunny Washington! (Said no one ever.) Don't let these pictures fool you, I was freezing my butt off.

I'm bringing you something fun and new today, another bohemian beauty design from Mandalynn of Striped Swallow Designs. She recently came out with a girl's version of the Desert Breeze and I snatched it up right away for my nonexistent babies nieces. I absolutely adore the style of this top, it's going to be perfect for "Summer." (If that's a thing that happens here.) 


The Women's Desert Breeze includes several options.

-Flutter sleeves with cutout 
-Straight sleeves with cutout
-Flutter sleeves with cut out and elastic instead of binding
-Gathered waist dress
-Loose swing dress
-Loose swing top

-Fitted top (This will be an add on in the near future. A little birdie told me that it will be *free* to members of the Striped Swallow Designs Sewing Group! So join early and get first access to the add on slim fit top.)


I chose the slim fit with flutter sleeves and binding around the sleeves. Based off of full and upper bust measurements I sewed an XS and it fits like a glove. Full disclosure ... I feel like an angel. 
The construction of the Desert Breeze is ... a breeze. Everything comes together like a dream and it's relatively quick, too.

If you haven't used a Striped Swallow Design pattern before, you're in for a treat. Her patterns are laid out in a super pleasing manor and she thinks of the little things. (like putting the S/A on each page - so if you forget, which you know you probably will, you don't have to flip through 20 pages to find it.) She walks you through each step with detailed photos and at the end, you probably can't believe you finished with such an ace looking product. 
The binding instructions are great, too! Just look at how pretty my binding turned out in the picture above. I impressed myself. ;)
AND! The pattern pieces are layered so I was able to print just my size. #thankyoulawd

*Side note, I used a straight stitch for the binding and it turned out great! If anyone is like me, you might try to decide on stretch or straight stitch... we'll fret no more, straight works fine for this top on the binding.*


I did lengthen the Desert Breeze by 2". There are no lengthen and shorten lines, but it's pretty easy to do yourself. I just found the thinnest point on the front and back and cut and added 2" in between the pieces. If you are around my height 5'6", I would suggest adding a little length unless you are comfortable in shorter tops. Additionally, I haven't hemmed the sleeves or the bottom, so it's a little longer than it will be once I hem them!

The knit is a basic rayon spandex blend from Joann's. It's very drapey and buttery soft. I've always been a cotton lycra fan, but man, rayon has been winning me over lately. It cascades in a way that the cotton doesn't. I'm thankful that I couldn't find a print that I liked. I need to sew in more solids, this top feels so elegant in a cream. 



Thanks to my awesome fiance for the pictures (and necklace). I feel very delicate. :)

The Women's Desert Breeze is releasing today 03/28/2016! You can find it at StripedSwallowDesigns.com Women's Desert Breeze and Bundle and you can get it on sale with code "BREEZE" for 25% off (it's on the entire store, too!) I promise that it will be a Summer staple :D 

Details
Pattern Women's Desert Breeze $12
Fabric rayon spandex from Joann's $16 for 2 yards (with leftovers)
Notions thread $0.50

Total estimated cost $28.50

However I did receive the pattern free of charge in exchange for testing my size and I didn't use 2 yards of fabric. I probably have 3/4 yard left over.