Celebrate the Holidays: Sewing with Good Intentions

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Hello there friends! This post is part of the Celebrate the Holidays: December Sewing by Ti Blog Tour. Say that 5 times fast! 😉 I’m so happy to be a part of another Sewing by Ti Blog Tour and hope you’ll enjoy reading this and all the other posts this month. See the bottom of this page for a full listing of all the awesome blogs on this tour.

I had this vision. I wanted to make special family Christmas PJs. We’d be all adorable and matchy and my hair would be perfect and we’d have a picture with all of us looking at the camera and smiling – like a Pinterest Christmas card! Now if this were Pinterest, I’d have lovely pictures for you of a charming, happy, smiling family in pajamas made of organic wool that I harvested and spun myself, and then sewed together in my immaculate and organized sewing room on my machine that never skips a stitch.

I had such good intentions, but this is Sew Like a Sloth, you know that’s not how it goes! 😂 Here’s how it worked in real life:

*pause to comfort my crying baby who just fell on her face for the millionth time because she has decided at not-quite-8-months-old, crawling is for chumps and she wants to walk*

 

Look at us. Totally Pinterest worthy, right? (Incidentally, I am wearing my first ever Greenstyle (affil link) tester creation – when I was just a little baby brand new sewist and tester – the one button cardigan. I wear this fleece cardigan All. The. Time. around the house when I’m cold. Which is all the time right now in Michigan.)

Confession: Last year I also had grand plans of sewing for the holidays. Last year I was pretty darn pregnant, and having complications, and totally burned out. Last year I gave my husband a bag of fabric and called it the gift of good intentions. 

My internship ended December 15th. I planned to work furiously on the PJs after that to be ready for Pinterest perfection December 25th. Great. Good plan.

…But I didn’t have the fabric I wanted…and I couldn’t get it in time. Bad planning and indecisiveness on my part.

…also, my family wanted to enjoy this unique opportunity to spend time with me.

…and, to be honest, I had a case of the Christmas blues. 2017 has been such a hard year. Money is really tight and I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do for my family. I know the holiday isn’t about presents, but I love my family so much, I just wanted to do some nice things for them. I couldn’t do that this year.

…and then this strange thing happened, my body gave up on me. I was exhausted. I had been pushing and pushing myself and telling myself that I just had to make it until break. Apparently, my body took me at my word. I just could not get the gumption to sit down and sew a family’s worth of pajamas.

What to do with all these good intentions and no energy to conjure them into actual creations? I did not want to give another bag of fabric! I did not want to give up on my cute PJ pictures!

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They’re plotting something here, right?

I took Tim Gunn’s advice. We could still have handmade touches to our holiday! The kids could still look cute in Christmas PJs together. I could “make it work”.

I made Wholiday tops for the kids earlier in the year because I’m a nerd and I’m raising my kids right. And, because sometimes I’m smart, I sized up for the baby in the hope that the shirt would fit her properly at Christmas. It did! Go me! I used the Brindille & Twig free ringer tee pattern for the baby. It’s a good, quick and dirty sew. I wouldn’t say it’s amazing, but it’s free and it does the job.

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I used the Duck Butt Designs Treasure Pocket Tee (sans pocket) for my son. I really like DBD for panels and kid patterns. The fit on this is very slim, be aware. He’s a bean pole and it’s definitely snug on him, and I sized up. I find that with DBD patterns, it’s best to just go with the RTW (ready-to-wear) size for your kid.

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The fabric from Moon Beam Textile Company (affil link) is glorious (solids from Purple Seamstress). I particularly love the panels. (I probably have a couple stashed away in Caroline size for next year.) I’m not sure that there is any left for retail, but if you’re a Who fan, it’s worth checking when the shop reopens!

We enjoy presents in our own way – opening them or eating them!

The baby also loved the taggie blanket that her brother made her (fabric also from Moon Beam Textile Company). She tried to eat all the wrapping paper anyway, alas. Not quite as distracting as I’d hoped.

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It wasn’t family PJs and the pictures may not be Pinterest worthy, but the kids had a fun Christmas. And I did get some pictures of my babies together, in their matching geeky tops, that I will treasure…and that I can embarrass them with when they’re older. 🙂 Let’s be honest, the best Christmas present for me wasn’t under the tree. It was the present arrived in May, that completes our family, that made me a mom again, and made my son a big brother. Seeing my children together this Christmas was the best gift I could have hoped for. And I technically made them, so…I’m putting this holiday down as a win in the handmade holiday column. 😉

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Check out the rest of the amazing bloggers in this tour!

December 1st Sewing By Ti (intro), Octaves of Color

Sunday December 3rd, Me Made
4th: Sew Sophie Lynn
5th: Hazelnut Handmade
6th: Tales from a Southern Mom

Monday December 11th, Tenille’s Thread
12th: MNW Sews
13th: Mahlica Designs
14th: Very Blissful
15th: Stitched by Jennie

Monday December 18th, Kate Will Knit
19th: Sewing by Ti
20th: Vicky Myers Creations
21st: Margarita on the Ross
22nd: Auschick Sews
23rd: Shalini’s Blog

Tuesday December 26th: Seams Sew Low
27th: EYMM
28th: Sew Like a Sloth
29th: Sewing By Ti
30th: Kathys Kwilts and More
31st: Embrace Everyday

 

 

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Sunday Everyday!: Greenstyle Sunday Cardigan

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Who’s ready for a White Christmas? Me! I’m a regular Rosemary Clooney in this pic!

Look. I love a duster cardigan. I mean, LOVE. Cozy, sheik, elegant – a duster cardigan is all of these things. I can pretend I know something about fashion when I wear one and be wrapped in a cocoon of warm happiness. WIN. So, when I had the opportunity to test the new (affil link) Greenstyle Sunday Cardigan, I jumped at it! Lucky me! I was selected to test. Unlucky me: I did it again somehow, friends. I chose devil fabric. Lucky me again: It looks awesome, so nobody has to know how evil it was to work with. 😂

You know me, folks. It’s just not a sewing project without some kind of failure. I hate to let you down! 😂 I had this fabric in my stash for a bit – in fact, I was about to destash it. I ordered it with one idea, and when it arrived, I realized it wouldn’t work for the project I had planned (story of online fabric purchasing life, amiright?), so I put it into the hoard collection and it sat there for a long time. As you know if you’ve been reading for a bit, we have a (relatively) new baby in the house. And, as you also know if you’ve ever spent any time with babies, they have a knack for making everything a giant mess. I originally signed up to test thinking of a certain sweater knit I have. Well, I couldn’t find it. 😂 #Realmomlife #fabrichoardingproblems #babiesmakeeverythingchaotic Then I found this mystery sweater knit and thought, “this is perfect!” And it is! But it was not perfect to sew. Oh no. Sewing it was like wrangling an angry badger. It also attracts hair like a magnet, which is super convenient since I have a chihuahua that sheds approximately his body weight in hair everyday. It’s an actual scientific mystery how he is not bald. Anyhoo, I used this sweater knit to make a duster length, split hem, standard sleeve version of the Sunday Cardigan. Size large. Because I like donuts and I had two babies who wrecked the place and I’m not apologizing for it.

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My head is cropped out of this for a reason. It was super bright out and my face is equivalent to a shrieking raisin shriveling in the sun. 😂 Sweater looks good though!

The amazing thing about this pattern is that it is so good, it made the evil fabric transform from demon into angel. When I put it on, a ray of light shines down and I can hear singing. True story. It’s amazing and cozy and the PERFECT color and I will love it as soon as I stop being mad at it for being so darn stubborn to sew.

Pattern attributes and options, of which there are many:

  • No trim and layers!
  • A0 version available
  • 50% stretch required
  • ~3 yds fabric needed for full-length
  •  Options (so much bang for your buck!):
    • knee length & duster length
    • side splits or no side splits
    • regular sleeve, cuff, or super sassy lace up cuff
    • pockets (I don’t actually consider these optional, because why wouldn’t you want pockets???)
    • hood or no hood (I only didn’t do a hood because I didn’t have quite enough fabric, but obviously I’ll choose hood in the future because I will always choose the most Jedi-like option in a pattern.)
    • Vest or LS cardigan. WHAT?! All the layering possibilities

I love this pattern so much I want to marry it. It is exactly what I have been looking for and fills a necessary hole in my made-by-me wardrobe. You may remember that we briefly had our own LuLaRoe business. We had to close the business for health reasons, unfortunately, and I’m moving more towards a me-made wardrobe anyway (more on that coming soon!). But, friends, I love Sarahs and Joys. Love, love them. They’re a fantastic layering piece! But I just can’t justify the cost. I’m not here to badmouth LLR because that’s not how I roll, but I also know if I make it, it will fit better. Because of course a custom made garment will fit better than a commercial one. Duh. Well, now I can make my own. And I can make them with even more options and tailored to my body. It’s a Christmas miracle! Thank you, Angie!

Bottom line: Why have you even finished reading this? Go get yours. Now! 😉 I’d love for you to use my affiliate link: here.

Note: I would suggest sizing down if you are in between sizes, especially if you’re using really stretchy fabric. My bust is between L and XL and XL was too big on me. L is a much, much better fit. But that’s just my two cents!

P.S. If you’re wondering about the difference between this and the GS Capsule Cardigan, you can check out Sarah’s comparison of them here! I tested both and I will say that it didn’t even occur to me that I didn’t need both. They’re two different sweaters that both have a place in my wardrobe. (But I’m a cardi girl – layering power!)

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Thanks for reading!

 

Sewing Up Spring – Sewing All the Baby Things!…or not

Okay, well not as many of the baby things as I’d like. For my stop on the Sewing by Ti blog tour, Sewing Up Spring, I had such grand plans. An adorable, uterus grabbing capsule of baby goodies: sleep sacks, hats, onesies, booties, skirts, and leggings. Alas, pregnancy had other plans. The fact is, sometimes life throws us a curveball…or 70, and things don’t always go the way we hoped. I hate when that happens, but happens it does. Pregnancy has been no exception.

But oh, I had so many awesome things planned! I wanted to be one of those amazing women and sewists. You know, the ones who go into the hospital with a capsule of outfits sewn for newborn babe, and a mini breastfeeding friendly hospital capsule for themselves. These women also look gorgeous in birth photos. I, of course, look like a tired, pale hospital worker in mine (I had a c-section with my son, so I had a surgical cap on). Alas, I do not seem to be one of those amazing women. SPD (pelvis separation) and now abdominal separation are grounding me from sewing. I have TWO patterns cut that I was testing and physically could not finish. I cannot tell you how much that upsets me. (P.S. they’re awesome patterns: Love Notions Olympia Dress – which can totally be worn for maternity, by the way. I did actually get the bodice put together and tested out for that one. Just took a little bodice shortening to accommodate the giant belly. And Greenstyle Bomber Jacket, which is absolutely fantastic. Fit like a charm – also got the basic jacket sewn up of that one, but couldn’t get the bindings and zipper on. So versatile and fun! Mine is a FT version, like a structured sweatshirt. I can’t wait to be able to finish it!) But that’s how it goes, right? As long as we get a happy, healthy baby, we’ll just put another tally on the board for the miracle of life and keep on keeping on. For those keeping track, that would be Pregnancy: all points ever assigned, Caroline: -1,000. 🙂

So, I couldn’t do things exactly the way I’d hoped. Pregnancy complications, grad school grind, and starting a new business* took up all my time and at times flat out said, “NOPE. You can sit here and cry in pain and that’s it.” But I have still managed to squeeze out a couple of creations for baby girl. And I’m giddy about them. I mean, really, when is a tiny baby hat not adorable?! Make it a River Song hat and DOHMYGOODNESS. Dead.

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I’m bigger on the inside! This was around a 33-34 week belly. The current 36-37 week belly has somehow defied physics by tripling in size.

The great thing about this was that it was supremely simple to sew. It’s the Brindille & Twig hat. It was my first time sewing one of their patterns. I had a couple of complaints (no layers and the color key is not printed on the pattern), but overall, I found the pattern to be user friendly. And, as I said, this one was so quick. Even for sloth-sewing me. I would definitely recommend and happily sew again.

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The full outfit. B&T hat and P4P Sugar Pie. Doctor Who fabric from Moon Beam of Star Dust & Moon Beam. This baby is starting out right in life!

The dress was another quick sew: Patterns for Pirates Sugar Pie. Only alteration I made was to cut the 6 mo. neckband on the 3 mo. size. Big heads are a thing in my family. I just couldn’t imagine squeezing a baby’s head through an opening that small…clothing or otherwise. 😉

So, yeah, curveballs. But I still produced a cute little outfit and I can’t wait to see it on our little pumpkin. I’m honestly thrilled with it. One of my favorite things I’ve ever made. Even my husband loves it and he’s definitely not the Who fan that my son and I are. I will try to enjoy that feeling for now and try not to dwell on all the adorable creations I have in my head. They can always be sewn later. Now, if this pain would give me a brief reprieve, I could finish everything else and be the amazing sewing birthing mama I dream of being!

*My husband and I have just become a LuLaRoe Retailer! I am a sewist who likes both LLR and sewing my own clothes. I know not everyone does, and that’s okay. But for me, sometimes I sew, sometimes I roe. And this pregnancy, especially, I’ve been grateful for my LLR clothes because I could keep wearing them through pregnancy when I couldn’t sew for myself. If you also love LLR, feel free to join our group. We’d love to have you.

Be sure to follow along to be inspired!

April 1st: Sewing By Ti

Monday, April 3rd Sewing By Ti

April 4th Crafty Like a Rox

April 5th The Socially Awkward Seamstress

April 6th The Socially Awkward Seamstress

April 7th Robynne and the Bobbin

Sunday April 9th Sew Like a Sloth

April 10th That’s Sew Lily

April 11th Hazelnut Handmade

April 12th Doodle Number 5

April 13th Crafty Like a Rox

April 14th Sewing By Ti, Ma Moose

Monday April 17th Anne Mari Sews, Robynne and the Bobbin

April 18th Rebel and Malice

April 19th Very Blissful

April 20th The Fairy Dust Bin

April 21st Sewing By Ti

Sunday April 23rd On Wednesdays We Sew

April 24th Tenille’s Thread

April 25th Ma Moose

April 26th Margarita on the Ross

April 27th The Socially Awkward Seamstress

April 28th Sewing By Ti

Greenstyle Scarlet Swing Dress

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Some patterns you know you’ll love right out of the gate. Greenstyle’s new Scarlet Swing Dress (affil link) is one of those patterns. I loved it as soon as I saw the line drawing for the tester call.

Of course, me being me, I had to do something to throw a kink in the works! Haha! Can you tell what material this is? Yes, it’s sweater knit, internet. I did it again. The curse of the sweater knit in testing continues! Well, only halfway continues, because I think this came out great in the end! But fits were had. Curse words were said. In short, I do NOT recommend sweater knit for this pattern. This time of year you may be tempted to make a cozy, cute, fashionable sweater swing dress. Hear me, dear readers, deny the temptation. DENY IT. 🙂 I have no regrets about my sweater knit creation though. Yes, it grew like 3 sizes while sewing and I had to take it in 1.75″ on the sides to make it fit again and the neck hole morphed to the size of a sink hole. And, yes, it did not want to be sewn, so I just serged the hem. But the serged look is kind of cool with this fabric, am I right? (I may go back and do long cuffs on the sleeves – what do you think?) And I don’t mind a sassy scoop neck for a night out. I can just throw a scarf on for work! I believe this creation is what my old acting teacher would have called “a happy accident”. A whole lot went wrong, but it came together to make something really right! 🙂

Back to the pattern. It’s fantastic. Cute on every body type/size I saw in testing. Great for me because it’s maternity friendly without being maternity wear.  I will rock this post part, let me tell you. I wore it to class and the girls LOVED it. I’m the coolest elderly classmate they’ve ever had. Hahahaha! Here’s the run down.

Greenstyle Scarlet Swing Dress (affil link)

Pattern description & options:

  • Sleeve options (so many!): short, elbow, 3/4 length, long, bell sleeve, and a cold shoulder option. FYI: it’s an inset sleeve.
  • Length options: tunic, short, long, short high/low, and long high/low (also easily lengthened and shortened)
  • Layers!
  • No trim pages
  • Large format available
  • Ideal fabrics include knits with good drape (NOT sweater knit, even though mine did turn out super cute in the end) – brushed poly worked very well in testing. That’s what I have on the cutting board now!

The pros:

  • Um…it’s adorable
  • Flattering on a number of body types
  • On trend (or so the young people tell me – ha!)
  • Versatile – dress it up, dress it down; different looks with different fabrics and pattern options; easily hackable for different looks – one tester did a floor length version. It was awesome!
  • It’s a fast sew…and this is coming from the sloth sewist.
  • Tip! Go by your bust size when selecting which size to make. If in between sizes, you’ll probably want to size down, especially if your fabric is really stretchy.

The cons:

  • All the cons I can come up with relate to my body or my fabric: the tunic length was a bit long on me in the sweater knit – still cute, no regrets. Sleeves are a little long on me, but that’s pretty standard. I apparently have short arms. I’m all torso and tiny limbs. 😉

Bottom line: I will wear this pattern throughout pregnancy and beyond. I’m a sucker for a swing dress, I admit. And, yes, I’m generally a fan of Greenstyle patterns. But this pattern is just the bomb dot com. I love it. Even in sweater knit (which is super cozy and delightfully comfortable, by the way). Especially in this soft as a fluffy sheep butt sweater knit. Soooooooooooooo soft. Could this be the beginning of the end of the sweater knit testing curse? Only time will tell.

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A curtsy in conclusion

Watcha Wearin’? Pregnant lady stuff

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Welcome to the closing of the Watcha Wearin’ January blog tour! Almost time for the rafflecopter giveaway (more on that below)! Today, I’m talking maternity makes. But first, a few words from Ti at Sewing by Ti about the tour:

So many people start the New Year with great big resolutions. If one of your resolutions for the year was to sew more this year, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve got an amazing group of bloggers that are going to share with you what they and their families are wearing this month. All day, everyday.

We’re going to talk about fabrics, patterns, and styles. We’re going to show you how to take Ready To Wear inspirations and turn them into reality. But most importantly, we’re going to show you how we REALLY use our handmades in our regular lives. Whether that’s lounging around the house, going to school, work, family photos even formal events, we’re going to show you how to make them work for how you live.

Alright, so sewing maternity gear. I have mixed feelings, I admit it. One the one hand, I want to wear the same custom fit me-made clothes I like to wear when I’m not sporting the semi-beached whale look (give me a month, then full beached whale will be achieved). On the other hand, I am exhausted and having some painful pregnancy side effects, and, as mentioned above, am getting quite large, and I don’t want to take all the time and effort to sew something that I can only wear while gestating. It’s a pickle. Here is my solution. I’m going to make a mini maternity capsule! (And then a baby capsule, but that’s another post.)

Requirements:

  • Maternity friendly, not strictly maternity wear – things I can wear while pregnant, but also postpartum. My goal is for these items either to work as is, or to require minimal mods to be belly friendly.
  • Semi-professional. Gotta be able to look reasonably put together for working with clients in my non-sewing life.
  • Not overly taxing on the noodle. Grad school + regular life + mommy hood + pregnancy brain = not a lot of brain power left for solving complex sewing problems.
  • Nursing friendly is a bonus, but not a requirement.

I’ll be working on these over the next month or two (see note about exhaustion and pain and being large and in charge above), depending on how fast I can go. Remember, I do sew like a sloth. 😉

My planned makes:

You’ll notice a lack of pants in this list. Refer to the first requirement. Pants for pregnancy are maternity pants. When you wear them after pregnancy, they are still maternity pants (but they are ridiculously comfortable, so why should they just be for maternity?!?!?!). I may make some leggings because I can kind of fudge those. IF I do make a pair of maternity pants, I’d probably do P4P palazzos or something like that.

So, what do you think of the list? Am I missing something? Feel free to share your ideas!

Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter giveaway! Look at these amazing sponsors!!! Some of my favorites are in here! 🙂

And, for anther chance to win a second prize pack with more awesome prizes, join the linky party! (Need help with the linky party? Ti’s got your back! Check out her handy guide.)

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Greenstyle Sybil Robe

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Look at that wind effect!

Don’t let the name fool you. This pattern can be SO MUCH MORE than a robe. (But it also makes an awesome robe.)

I was lucky enough to test this lovely new pattern from Greenstyle. I love testing. I like helping designers and I like being a part of the process. I also like having a deadline  – it helps my poor grad school, pregnancy, overwhelmed little brain focus on sewing. 🙂 Somehow, even though I have been kicked in the teeth by this before, I ended up using a thin sweater knit for this test. And though I love the color and the feel of the fabric, sewing with it made me want to stab myself in the eyeball with a fork. It’s like I have some kind of sewing amnesia. I have fought some devil fabric during tests before. And I’ll be honest, the devil fabric wins…or maybe it’s a tie, but either way, I come out cursing like a pirate and throwing things and swearing I’ll never sew anything again and looking up how much I can get for my sewing machine on eBay.  Stupid sewing amnesia. No more mystery thin sweater knits during testing! (Wait…in a few more blogs, I’ll post about sewing with a mystery thin sweater knit for a test. I never learn.) My battle with this thin mystery sweater knit was not as epic as some, but I did have to put my creation in time out for several days after completing it. It needed to think about what it had done. And I needed to eat some cookies and calm myself before putting it on again, so I could look at it objectively.

Onto the Sybil. This is the second Sybil sewing pattern love in my life. My first is the Love Notions Sybil skirt (affil link), incidentally the first pattern I ever tested. I love that collection to pieces. And I love the Greenstyle Sybil robe nearly as much. It has several options. View A is a straight bodice with several ties down the front that creates a lovely vintage robe look. View B is a crossover bodice (this is the one I did). It also has multiple sleeve lengths. And it is so very awesomely hackable. (I think I made that word up. It’s mine now. You can’t have it.) 😉

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Side view. Hello belly! (And I appear to have been slightly off-balance.)

I tested the 2XL size in the crossover bodice. (For reference, I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt underneath in these pictures, so there’s plenty of room for layering.) I left a raw hem because evil mystery thin sweater knit deemed it so. Also, I liked how it looked. Let’s just say I planned it that way, okay? 😉 I also did a decorative band on the sleeves instead of hemming. I shortened the bodice by about 2 inches to give space for my growing 5+ month pregnant belly. I also did a button instead of a tie sash for the crossover. I’m happy with it, but will probably raise the bodice another 1/2 – 1″ next time I make it. I will say that I was pretty grumpy after finishing this because the fabric gave me such fits. But as soon as I put it on my husband beamed and exclaimed that he loved it.

 

 

Greenstyle Sybil Robe: The Rundown

  • Size range: XXS – 3XL
  • Fabric needed: about 2 yards (depending on size and length)
  • Recommended fabric: knit fabric with 20% stretch – scuba, ITY, cotton lycra, french terry, etc.

Pros: 

  • Different bodice views and sleeve options for versatility
  • Comfortable AND fashionable. I’m kind of a I-want-to-look-g0od-and-feel-like-I’m-in-my-PJs kind of girl. This totally fits the bill.
  • Versatile with a capital V. I love a pattern that inspires me. And this one definitely does. I look at it and just see possibilities. I love the pattern as is, don’t get me wrong, but I also love knowing that I get a lot of bang for my buck. Testers did all kinds of hacks (I even did a little one) and they were all awesome. Plus, you can use a variety of fabrics: sweater knit, cotton lycra, micro fleece, fleece, brushed poly, etc.
  • Princess seaming in bodice. This is a personal pro – it’s just one of my favorite things in a pattern. Princess seaming is just flattering. The end.
  • Maternity friendly!

Cons:

  • The gathering can be variable depending on your fabric, and gathering is not always the most flattering thing around your waist (if you have a waist like mine). I was grumpy with my aforementioned mystery thin sweater knit from hell when I went to all the trouble to do the gathering and you can barely see it in the finished product! But that’s the fabric, not the pattern. It’s just something to be aware of when choosing fabric for this pattern.
  • I’m not 100% happy with the fit I got in the armscye. I need to make it again in a different fabric to know whether this is something I need to do a pattern alteration for, or if it was just the evil mystery thing sweater knit from hell thumbing its nose at me.

Bottom line

For me and my body and my personal preference, I give this pattern two thumbs up.

I already have more planned for myself – a birthing robe, a sweater not made from evil mystery thin sweater knit, and maybe some french terry. I also have a cozy micro fleece version planned for my grandmother, who has be in a rehab facility for a few months after an injury.

Thanks for reading! If you haven’t tried it, I hope you enjoy the Sybil. If you have tried it, hooray! I hope you’re loving it!  🙂 Get the pattern here.