A couple of weeks ago Kennis of Itch to Stitch* put out the call for testers for her new four piece collection of patterns. Given that I love the patterns I've already made of hers, plus having tested for her before, know how awesome she is to work with I didn't hesitate to sign up and then cross my fingers that I'd be accepted. I was pretty darn excited to get the email letting me know I'd been chosen for the testing group for both the Zamora Blouse and the Seville Skirt.
Like all of her patterns, Kennis has obviously put a lot of thought into both the design and sizing. They have a wide range of sizes, plus as an added fitting bonus, the blouse has a great choice for cup sizes as well. Yay!!!! No fiddling about with trying to do FBAs or SBAs (full or small bust adjustments for those that may not have been around the sewing block for long).
I decided my first task would be Seville - a classic fit and flare design - it was pretty straight forward looking and I figured I'd get it done and out of the way so I'd have the majority of the test period remaining for the blouse, which I knew would take significantly longer.
I didn't bother with measuring - I know what size I am after all, right? WRONG. I blended sizes between the waist and hip and all was looking good theoretically. Until I tried on the skirt. Holy stuffed sausage batman. I was pretty sure, knowing Kennis' patterns the way I do, that chances were good it wasn't the pattern at fault. A quick date with my tape measure and I knew for sure the pattern wasn't at fault. Oops! I've got to cut out all those cups of tea and scones that my MIL and I have been enjoying a little too regularly I think. (that or switch from Grandma's scone recipe to mom's at the very least...)
It's too bad, because although I had just used an old remnant of fabric that my sister had given me well over a decade ago it had really grown on me as I was sewing and I was picturing it going perfectly with my Penelope cardi. Oh well. Maybe once I shift the few pounds that have crept on I'll be able to wear it and not feel like a sausage. I certainly won't get rid of it!
Having used my remnant up, the only other suitable piece in my stash I had was a bit of fairly lightweight suiting that was left over from my winter Emery dress (that I may or may not ever finish at the rate I'm going...). I like it well enough though and it does go nicely with my Vianne cardi, so that was a nice bonus!
So then I started in on my blouse. With only a few days left to go and not much time at the machine I was starting to feel the crunch of the deadline coming up quickly. Instead of using my ever so slippery fabric that I had originally intended I went with a safer more easily managed crepe back satin (using the crepe side as the good side) that has been sitting in my fabric bin for eons. I've sewn with crepe back satin enough in the past when I used to sew for the Ena Sutton Highland Dancers that I know exactly what to expect and how it'll behave. Going in with the attitude that my first run would be a (hopefully wearable) muslin, I knew I wouldn't be heartbroken if the crepe back satin version didn't pan out. I'm always a bit nervous with blouses that are fitted. There's just so many things that can go wrong. So many adjustments necessary.
I have astounding news though. NO ADJUSTMENTS WERE NECESSARY! I'm telling you the Zamora Blouse fit me straight out of the envelope. (Ok the printer, if we're splitting hairs). After the bodice fitting disasters I've had lately this felt like a miracle of epic proportions and cemented my love of Itch to Stitch patterns even more.
Once I got through all eight release tucks, all six fish eye darts and the pleat at the back neckline, I heaved a big sigh of relief and forged ahead. In all reality those tucks and darts were the only challenging part of the blouse. And if I'm being truly honest? It wasn't the sewing of them that was the challenge. It was the darn marking of them. That, dear readers, was a whole hell of a lot of work. But so worth it! I love the fit of the blouse! Comfy, feminine and versatile. What more can a sewist ask for?
I was in a bit of a panic when I realized the night that the test was due that a) it was the night the test was due - I had in my mind that I had an extra day somehow and b) I didn't know if I had any suitable buttons since I hadn't planned on making the blue crepe back satin version. I was surprised to find that I had five perfect blue buttons in my button tin. They've been sitting in my button stash since 1988 when I bought them in the Fabricland that used to reside in the basement of the Hudson's Bay Co. for a dress/suit/whatever it was supposed to be that never got made. Lucky me! They match so well, don't you think?
And purely for your entertainment, my MIL now thinks I'm absolutely stark raving mad. Of course she may be right in that assessment... I'm pretty sure that she feels strongly that I am the one on the verge of dementia and needing help, certainly not her given the evidence at hand. On Thursday last week when I took my photos it was about -12C. Colder when I took the blouse ones - I had to come in and have a good strong hot cup of tea to thaw out before running outside to take the skirt ones. Although the sunshine was glorious, it was a brisk one in any case and I kept sinking into almost knee deep snow. For the rest of the day she would shake her head an say things like, "Running around outside without any clothes on" and "lucky if you don't catch your death of a cold". When she relayed my morning's antics to her homecare worker later that afternoon it sounded as though I had been cavorting about my yard, naked, in the dead of winter. I assure you all, I don't cavort naked in the yard in any season, despite what it may sound like if you should happen to be talking to Nan... Poor woman. Hopefully her faith in my sanity is restored soon.
Anyways, on that note, I do highly recommend both the Zamora Blouse and Seville Skirt! You can find them both on the Itch to Stitch website. The best part is, if you hurry, you can snag quite a deal! Until March 13th, you can use the code 4releases to get 20% off your entire order! It counts, not just for the four brand new patterns, but for any pattern. I may have to take the opportunity to stock up on the few I don't have yet myself. You can check out all the details by clicking through here. Happy sewing everyone!