Perfect Pattern Parcel has been created by Jill and Rachael to support independent pattern designers (which we all know I'm all for!) and also to raise money for children's education by donating an amount you suggest to Donors Choose. Donors Choose is an organisation that matches up the needs of teachers and their students for specific projects with willing donors. The funds raised from each Pattern Parcel sale will got to help K-12 students in minimising educational inequality and encourage a community where children have the tools and experiences necessary for an excellent education.
Each parcel, containing five PDF patterns along a similar theme from a variety of indie designers, is available for two weeks. So you have until 21st March to snap up this one. The brilliant thing about each sale is that you can name your own price (yes, really!) and give the indie designers and Donors Choose the support you want.
To celebrate the launch of the the first parcel Jill and Rachael are also running a giveaway with some amazing prizes over on their Facebook page.
Parcel 1 focuses on sewing patterns for women that are modern classics. All the patterns included I think provide great scope for a stylish and wearable wardrobe and are also all pretty quick and easy makes! The patterns are:
My choice was the Lady Skater Dress from Kitschy Coo as I've actually had my eye on this pattern for some time as the next step in my challenge of sewing with more knits. However, you can certainly expect to see some more makes using patterns from the parcel in the near future as with a selection this good it was a tough choice!
The Lady Skater dress has received some rave reviews around the blogosphere and now I've made it I can totally understand why! Firstly, the cut of the dress is fantastic; I love the shape of the neckline and the way it sits, the fit of the bodice and the fullness of the skirt which is just perfect to skim rather than cling to the tummy and hips. The only slight issue I had is with the back waistline which seems to dip quite low on me and I've got some excess fabric above. I'll probably raise this a little when I make it again.
Secondly, the instructions are amazing! Included in the download is a brief version for the confident seamstress plus an in depth version with colour photographs of each step, which for a relative knit newbie like me is invaluable. I picked up so many tips and snippets of advice about working with knits in general just by working through these instructions. If you're new to knits, or even if you just want to work on improving your techniques, I'd say this pattern is worth buying for the learning alone.
In saying this, however, I'm not saying everything went totally smoothly with this make or that I ended up with a perfect dress first time. The two techniques I was most apprehensive about (attaching elastic to the waist and shoulder seams and attaching the neckband) actually went really well. In fact I love how the topstitched neckline looks! Once this was in though I really struggled to get the neckline and stitching to match up neatly when closing the second shoulder seam. I followed the tip to sew this by machine before overlocking to make it easier to keep everything aligned but still must have redone this at least four times before settling on a very short of perfect result. Also not great is my matching of the waist seams at the side. I'm not sure what I was doing wrong but as the side seams are sewn up in one as the penultimate step I just couldn't get these to match no matter how many pins I used. I think things may have been shifting under the foot so a walking foot may help.
I used a gorgeous purple ponti knit which I picked up purposefully for this make in A-One Fabrics on Goldhawk Road. It was on a meet up with Lizzie who was paying London a visit for a few days and having made some gorgeous Lady Skater's herself I was able to pick her brains about what sort of knit would work best! It was my first time working with such a stable knit and I absolutely loved it! So much easier to cut and manage than a jersey and it really holds the shape of this style well.
The only issues I had with it were when it came to using a twin needle for the hem. This was another new technique for me and let's just say is not one I've fallen in love with straight away! I was apprehensive about getting the edge of the hem caught in the stitching when sewing from the right side but this was no problem. I had major issues with skipping stitches and snapping threads despite using stretch needles and following every tutorial I could find when it came to threading. I spent a long time fiddling about and ended up with a result I am fairly happy with but still with a skipped stitch here and there. I found using a longer stitch length, slightly tighter tension and taking it super slowly helped but this may just be specific to my machine. Also my favourite tip was not to backstitch as I think this was getting me off on the wrong foot by tangling my threads from the very start!
Despite any struggles, now I've got the hang of it I'll definitely be making this up again. It is SUCH a quick make for a dress and I can see me getting a lot of wear out of many variations of this for work. It feels comfortable, practical and hardwearing but I also feel really great in it.
The other bloggers in the tour have been sewing up a fantastic variety of makes. To check them out click the links below.
One Little Minute / SeamstressErin Designs / One Girl Circus / casa crafty / the quirky peach / Kadiddlehopper / Sew Caroline / Groovybabyandmama / Fishsticks Designs / the Brodrick blog / verypurpleperson / sew a straight line / Adventures in Dressmaking / true bias / Idle Fancy / La Pantigana / Crafterhours / Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts / Max California / YoSaMi / la inglesita / four square walls / Lauren Dahl / Sewbon / mingo & grace / Dandelion Drift / VeryShannon / Sanae Ishida / buzz mills / Sew Jereli / Figgy's / Froo & Boo / a happy stitch / Disaster in a Dress / Things for Boys / mama says sew / sew Amy sew / Sew Busy Lizzy / Made With Moxie / imagine gnats
I can't wait to try out the other patterns and see what Jill and Rachael have in store for future parcels! If you like the look of these patterns and would like to find out more click the button below to be taken to the Perfect Pattern Parcel site.