This make was inspired purely by my much anticipated annual leave. I know that the lounge set trend came about because of people working from home but being a healthcare worker rules that out for me. So, all I’ve thought about was a couple of weeks of sitting home lounging, eating, napping, reading and lots of sewing. The weather has also helped as temperatures have dropped and rains have settled in.
I chose to sew the Comfi Lounge Set as it’s a Pattern Scout Pattern and from past experience, all her patterns have been pure joy to sew. I do love a challenge when I sew, like doing a good puzzle, but in this case, I just wanted a relaxing, uncomplicated sew. It definitely turned out to be exactly that! A very easy, relaxing sew and it does exactly what it says on the tin. The guesswork for sizing and the choice of fabric is all taken care of.
My husband is an avid supporter of my sewing hobby. He often comes along fabric shopping with me and was the one that spotted this pineapple print cotton jersey fabric.
I cut out and brought along the stretch ruler that Pattern Scout provided in the pattern instructions which made it so easy to pick the fabric especially if you’re new to knit fabrics as I am. I used this medium weight knit for the Comfi Lounge Pants and as a surprise for my husband, I also sewed up the pineapple print jersey as a sleep shirt for him (this is not included in the pattern, his shirt was self-drafted). For the Comfi Lounge Tee, I’ve sewn up the basic short sleeved tee version and I’ve used a lightweight stretchy white cotton spandex fabric.
Instructions were great as usual and the size 12 was a perfect fit for my measurements. All seams were sewn up on my overlocker and the hems and sleeves were finished with twin needles. I’ve seen some beautiful versions of this pattern on Instagram and it’s definitely one that I’ll revisit. The next time I sew this, I’d love to play around with fabric choice.
On a side note, sewing this has been such a joy and in general, sewing is such a joyful pastime for me. It has also been fun (and funny) to document these makes along the way. I hope joy and creativity is something that everyone can make time for in their lives. Sewing and having a hobby is something that really contributes to my wellbeing. Hopefully, whatever you’re facing or doing, I hope you’re able to find some joy in it.
The Jarrah is a pattern by a beloved local Perth Designer Megan Nielsen and comes with so many options due to the fact that it’s a modular pattern. This allows you to mix and match the different bodice options with different neck band and sleeve options. This is such a feature with Megan Nielsen’s patterns as she offers many variations making her patterns such good value. I’ve now sewn the Jarrah pattern a few times producing a different look each time. The Jarrah is such a comfortable loose-fitting sweater. I also love how the look of the Jarrah changes depending on the fabric choice so I decided to explore this by making two versions. In the first version, using a fleece lined knit and a rayon spandex with the second.
Both were sewn up in the Size 12 without any adjustments as these were the closest to my measurements. There is a lot of ease in the pattern so you could look at the finished measurements and size down for a narrower fit but I personally liked the generous give in the fit as it feels so comfortable and great for lounging in. For both versions, I had 1.5 meters of fabric which turned out very well. I did try to see if I could use less but had to take into account the direction of the stretch in the first version and the pattern placement in the second version. With the second version, I also needed some black ribbing. You don’t need much, about half a meter should be plenty.
The choice of the fleece lined knit was just right for a sweatshirt style sweater. The fleece I chose is smooth on the outer side and has a loose nap on the underside which is just so soft and plush. It will be so warm and soft to wear against the skin. The peach is a delicious pop of colour that I just couldn’t resist! Testing the stretch of the fleece, it has a tight stretch one way and is quite a stable knit. I made View B with the high-low hemline. It has an interesting curve along the hemline and is the longest option so very good to style with jeans or even activewear.
The peach is a beautiful colour but it was difficult to find any ribbing to go with the colour so I had to make my own neckband. I did this by cutting a longer than needed strip of the same fabric along the stretch of the fabric. You could also cut along the bias to make it stretchier, however, I felt that it had enough stretch without doing that. I then measured the band against the neckline and subtracted about 20% in the neckband so it could give some tension to the neckline and sit flush when worn.
To finish the cuffs and hem, I used a twin needle. The cuffs were easy to sew up but it was a bit trickier with the curved hemline. I found it hard to pin the thick fabric especially going around curves so I used some quilter’s tape. Also, a word of warning when you first start sewing with twin needles, go slowly! I was chugging along full speed and didn’t notice the thread getting tangled and broke the needle. Luckily the sharp part was still attached to the thread. It really made me consider getting some safety goggles for my sewing.
The second sweater I made was with the Jocelyn Proust Magpie Printed Rayon Spandex Fabric. This is currently exclusive to Spotlight Stores. Jocelyn Proust designs are so recognizable for the Australiana flora and fauna featured in her designs. I love the unique call of the Magpie bird so I fell in love with this design straight away.
The rayon spandex knit is a very soft drapey fabric and has amazing stretch recovery. It has quite a luxurious feel and although I’m making it for my winter wardrobe, I think this fabric is also quite good for summer. The look I wanted was a long-sleeved cropped blouse sweater so I used View A. Cropped sweaters were all the rage in the 80s so I thought it would be fun to recreate that look. I used black ribbing for the neckline and cuffs and to recreate the cropped look without exposing my belly button. I doubled the height of the hem cuff and shortened the width so it would cinch in the fabric at the waist.
This time, everything was sewn up using only the overlocker. It was incredibly fast doing it this way. I worried about the strength of the seams but after testing a bit of off-cut fabric I felt that the stitches held very well. However, I’m very inexperienced with knit fabric so please don’t take my word for it. Personally, I felt that for the speed and convenience, I was happy to take the risk of sewing up with the overlocker.
The Jarrah is such a versatile pattern and it was fun playing around with all the options. I made my first Jarrah a year ago and I know it will be one of my “tried and true” patterns. It has also been an interesting exercise coming back to a pattern that I made at the start of my sewing journey. I feel that I’ve made huge progress and the finishes, although not perfect, are getting so much better.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll probably notice that I’ve sewn up quite a few Pattern Scout patterns. That’s why when there was a call for pattern testers for the Ava Dress on the Pattern Scout Newsletter (always sign up for the newsletter because this is where all the good stuff is!) I signed up to do the testing immediately. I suffered a bit of self-doubt for a moment. I mean, who starts a new hobby as complex as sewing then signs up to be a pattern tester as a beginner? But I guess Pattern Makers would need testers from a wide range of skill levels and I was lucky enough to get in!
So, what is the Ava Dress? From Pattern Scout, “The Ava Dress is a sleeveless, popover dress with a faux wrap bodice and elasticated waist designed for woven fabrics”. In my own words, I would describe it as a wrap dress with a more minimalist aesthetic. It has a very neat silhouette which can be worn for work or play. It comes in two lengths which also increases the versatility of the dress and the sleeves are designed to just peep over the edge of your shoulders which is very flattering and very chic.
The testing turnaround was a week. I have no idea if this is the normal time given for pattern testing but I suppose if you’re about to put a pattern out, you need your testers to be giving you their feedback in that short amount of time to finalise your adjustments for the pattern. It might also prevent details of the pattern leaking out before launching. It was exciting to imagine that I was part of a secret mission and team that were tasked to secretly make this fabulous pattern and then wait for the release to be able to finally let our friends and family know that we contributed (in some small way) to helping the birth of a beautiful new garment.
But let’s be clear that the design is completely the work of the Designer, in this case the very talented Casey Sibley of Pattern Scout. Pattern Testers are asked not to “hack” the pattern during the testing. We sew up the pattern and simply give feedback on the instructions, garment fitting, pattern pieces and the feel of wearing the garment. There was also an inspiration board on what fabrics other Testers were sewing with. I chose a cotton linen to sew up the shorter version of the Ava Dress. According to my measurements of High Bust of 36 inches, Bust of 37 inches, Waist of 33 inches and Hips of 38 inches, I fitted best into the Size 12 B. Like with most new patterns, I made a toile of the dress to check the fit and it seemed that I didn’t need to make any adjustments. When I made the final piece, I just added an inch to the elastic for the waist and also left the hem a bit longer by folding over by 1cm twice rather than folding over by 1cm then by 1 inch. These are just personal preferences and not really to do with designer’s fit of the garment.
As a beginner sewing enthusiast, I tend to look for extra skill sets I can learn from a pattern. I look at purchasing patterns not just as items I’d like to wear but for the skill set that I can gain from sewing those patterns. In the Ava Dress Pattern, I love that Casey gives such clear instructions on how to french seam the garment, how to interface the facings in a neat way and the flat felled seam was also a first for me.
Would I do pattern testing again? Yes! Without hesitation if I’m lucky enough to be selected. But I would have to feel comfortable and I would have to love the design, as I do here. It does come with a little bit of pressure due to the time frame so it’s important not to let the designer down by not completing the mission (should you wish to accept). Other than that, the other sewists were so knowledgeable with their fitting expertise. It was inspiring to be in the same space (albeit, a virtual space). I felt so supported and included all the way in this community of sewing experts.