Pattern Review: Kwik Sew 4155 Shirt Dress

Pattern Description: From the KS website: “Dresses have fitted bodice with front and back princess seams, armholes are finished with facings, front placket with button closures and waist seam. Flared skirt has side-front and side-back seams with side seam pockets. A: Collar with collar stand. B: Collar stand.”

I made view A.

Sizing: XS to XL. I made a Medium.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Lightweight Cotton “Oxford” in Infinity Blue from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course!)

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 sewing machine, Juki MD654DE serger, Naomi the Naomoto

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Pro-Weft Supreme Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, 9 Buttons, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: And Now, a Word from the Pressinatrix, Clip the Selvages Before Laying Out Your Pattern, Sew from Wide to Narrow

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? They were good. I would do things differently from the instructions on future versions (see Likes/Dislikes for details), but they were quite thorough.

Construction Notes: I made a muslin to check the fit. As I have found with many Kwik Sew patterns, this has a ton of excess ease in the chest area, and I had pretty major gaposis around the armholes. I took about 3 inches (!) of excess ease out by adjusting the princess lines. I could have removed about an inch more without suffering any ill effects. I did an FBA, and I adjusted the armhole facings to match the new gap-reduced bodice.

Because of the FBA, I re-positioned the buttons. I only used 9 buttons, and I put a skirt hook/eye at the waist on the button placket. I will wear this with a belt, so that gives a smoother line.

Kwik Sew’s instructions have you sew the collar stand to the wrong side of the bodice neckline, then turn the seam allowance on the outer side of the collar under and machine stitch through all layers. Instead, I attached the collar stand to the bodice on the right side, and I hand-stitched the inside of the collar to the bodice on the wrong side. After that I machine stitched around the edges. I find that’s a better way to ensure that your collar looks good.

I also added a bar tack on the side seams at the bottom of the pockets, for reinforcement.

To give it a little more security.

Here are a couple of shots of the in-process bodice…

Bodice Front before attaching skirt
And Back

Likes/Dislikes: I like very much the way this pattern is drafted, and I like the lines. I am not that crazy about their order of construction. They have you construct the bodice, along with the button plackets, then construct the skirt, with the button plackets. I found that it’s very easy to slightly mis-align the plackets at the waistline. That happened with mine. It’s hidden by a belt, and even if it wasn’t, you’d have to get close to see it, but I know it’s there. In the future. I would sew the bodice fronts/backs together, sew the skirt fronts/backs together, attach them at the waist, sew the button plackets together and attach them in one piece. Even better, I would re-draft the plackets to be a single piece running from the neckline to the hem. Then I would attach the collar.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I would do it again, and I do recommend it. I really like the way this looks. I was inspired to make this because of the McCalls Patterns Shirtdress Sew Along. I’m not usually a sew along kind of gal, and in fact I had to have this done before the sew along ends, because I wore it to DS the Younger’s graduation from high school today! I finished it at 11:30 this morning, and the graduation started at 2 this afternoon.

Here’s a picture of the front on Shelley:

And… gasp! A shot actually on me!

Proud Mama Moment!

Conclusion: I really, really like this pattern. I can see making this in a piqué for a dressier look, or a lightweight denim. Do make sure to make a muslin, since it does have (for me) a lot of extra ease. It’s really comfortable, and it goes together quickly. All in all it’s a winner.

Now it’s time to take the graduate out for a celebratory dinner. Happy sewing!

Quick Add-on to the 2958 Maxi: Pockets!

I have been wearing my Modified Kwik Sew 2948 maxi cardigan almost nonstop since I made it; I love it so much! There’s just one thing missing – pockets. I need my pockets. I use them all the time. The pattern doesn’t have pockets, but they are easy enough to add to it. I thought about square patch pockets, but I prefer rounded in-seam pockets. If I make this again I’ll actually put pockets in the seams, but today I figured I would apply patch pockets that give the appearance of in-seam. Here’s how I did it:

I drafted a pattern piece to the size I prefer, and I cut two pieces each of the sweater knit and lining fabric that was left over from my last Ann Tee.

I used woven fusible interfacing scraps to stabilize the pocket opening:

Then I sewed the sweater knit to the lining, wrong sides together, almost all the way around, leaving an opening to turn the pocket right side out. I trimmed and clipped my seam allowances, turned the pieces out, and top-stitched the opening edges with a 3mm straight stitch.

I positioned the pockets at the side seams at a comfortable height and, using a 2mm wide by 3mm long zigzag stitch, appliquéd them to the outside of the sweater, leaving an opening for my hand. Ta daa! Pockets!

The entire process took less than an hour, and now I love my sweater even more!

Happy sewing!

2948 Maxi Sweater On the Hoof

Today I’m wearing my new maxi sweater and I’ve gotten 4 compliments on it from random folks when I ran some errands at lunch. How fun is that!

Self timer sucky self portrait

This is a great pattern. Kwik Sew patterns tend to run a bit large on me, but I like that for a topper like this – I can wear heavier weight tops under it during the winter. If you can find this pattern, I highly recommend it. It goes together quickly and it’s easy to modify.

Happy sewing!

Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat – Kwik Sew 2948 Cardigan (modified)

After the debacle that was the no-Named pattern, I fell back and punted. Sewsy, bless her, suggested a couple of Kwik Sew Patterns, one of which, K2948, I had in my pattern stash and had even traced off in a size medium. Cue the happy dance!

The website says out of stock; I’ve heard rumors it is out of print. Not sure if that is correct.

I made this pattern years and years ago, in a very different type of knit (much lighter weight), so here’s a new review.
Pattern Description: Misses’ fitted cardigans and tops. The cardigan has long sleeves and a front band with a buttonhole and button closure. View A has a self fabric belt. The View A pull-over top has a stand-up collar and hemmed armholes. The View B pull-over top has a boat neckline and the neckline and armholes are hemmed.

I made the (even) long(er) cardigan, sans the belt.

Sizing: XS to XL. I made a medium.

Available as a PDF? No.

Fabric Used: Chunky Ribbed Italian Sweater Knit in Ivory/Taupe. I just love this knit. It’s so warm and cozy. It doesn’t photograph nearly as beautiful as it is IRL. The texture is something you need to see in person.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 Sewing Machine, Juki MO-654DE serger, Naomi the Naomoto/board, shoulder stand, sleeve board, silk organza press cloth.

Needle/Notions Used: Ball Point 70/10 needle for the seams, 90/14 for attaching the neck band to the garment (thick fabric!), Stretch 75/11 needles in the serger to finish the seams. Scraps of Pro-Weft Interfacing, buttons that I bought at JoAnn, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Masking Tape to Mark Notches, Sewing with Knits, And Now, A Word from the Pressinatrix, How to Flat-Set a Sleeve.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, with modifications

How were the instructions? I didn’t need them – I’ve made this before, and the pattern goes together very easily for anyone who’s been sewing for a little while.

Construction Notes:  Because of the thickness of the fabric, I used a single layer layout,. The back piece is cut on the fold, so I made a new pattern piece with muslin.

With a thick knit like this, I find it easier to use shears to cut the fabric

I added about 24 inches in length to the pattern. Also, since this knit is very thick I made the seam allowances 5/8″ (the pattern calls for 1/4″ SAs). I used a straight stitch, 3.0mm length, and I finished the seams with a 4-thread serger stitch.

Finishes on the seams and the neckband

I stabilized the shoulders with scraps of interfacing

I used masking tape to mark the notches

That’s a single notch at the side seam

I used 3 inch hems, and I hand-hemmed them with a catch stitch.

And finally, because this knit is so thick, I used a toothpick to give the right depth to the button. I made a thread shank with waxed thread.

Gives enough room so the thread won’t break

To me, the toughest part was trying to keep the pattern pieces on the ribs. It didn’t work out as well as I would like on the bands, but the rest of the garment turned out okay. And honestly, this isn’t one of my couture garments, and I luuuuuurve the fabric, finicky nature and all, so I’ll live with it.

Likes/Dislikes: This is so warm and comfy! No dislikes.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. I will definitely make the shorter version of this again, and I do recommend it.

Conclusion: Big thanks to Sewsy for reminding me about this pattern! It’s comfortable and just what I wanted for this look. I will wear it with a belt. The belts I have are not the right color, but here are a few pictures on Shelley to give you a feel for how I will style it.

All by itself (front)
And the back

Here’s a “sample” belt. I’ll see if I can find something that matches better this week.

And jeans, and boots

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – Kwik Sew 3115 Yoga Pants and Top

The subtitle for this post is “Playing with Large Prints”. I’ve had this pattern in my stash for several years, but never got around to making it. But when I got the new batch of Swiss 4 way Nylon/Lycra knits, I decided to try it out.

Pattern Description: From Kwik Sew’s Website, The Misses’ Pants & Tops are designed for two-way stretch fabric with 75% stretch. We suggest cotton Lycra¨, nylon Lycra¨, rayon Lycra¨, or swimwear fabric.

Misses’ pants and tops. The very close fitting pull-on pants have flared legs in two lengths and a wide waistband with narrow elastic. The View A camisole has a shelf bra lining and elastic at the top edge and shoulder straps. The View B top has a V-neckline and armholes finished with self fabric bindings.
I made View B – the V-neck top and cropped pants.

Sizing: XS-XL. I used a Small for the pants and a Medium for the top.

Fabric Used: Swiss 4-Way Stretch in Lemongrass for the pant legs and trim on the top. Panel Print Rayon Jersey in Turquoise/Brown/Yellow for the body of the top and the trim on the pants.

Needle/Notions Used: I used my serger for all the seams, so Stretch 75/11 needle. Other than that and Maxilock thread, not much!

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? I didn’t use them, though I did glance at them. They are typical for Kwik Sew. In other words, very clear.

Construction Notes: The panel print I used for the top is a large-scale print. Working with prints like these can be tricky. Or maybe interesting is a better description. It gives you lots of leeway for creative layout. To really get a feel for the way it would look I traced the entire pattern piece – both sides. Kwik Sew’s original pattern piecees are one half of the top front and back which are cut on the fold. That works just fine in a less complex print, but I wanted to see the way the entire piece would look. I tried laying it out in a few different ways. I knew I didn’t want to center the large square in the middle of my front torso. So I tried laying it out with the panel band running down the center front.

Mmmm, no. I played with a couple of other layouts and finally decided to do a slightly offset one.

Because this fabric has generous stretch both in the lengthwise and the crosswise grains, I cut the back on the cross grain.

During the sewing process, I decided to do things a little differently from the way the pattern instructs. Kwik Sew’s instructions have you sew the side seams and then attach the armhole bands. I decided to reverse that order. I attached the bands first:

Then I sewed the sides together.

Any changes? I used contrast bands for the top, made from the pants fabric. I used the borders of the panels from the top fabric as the waistband and hem treatments on the pants:

Likes/Dislikes: This pattern goes together in less than an hour. I like the style. The pants are brighter than I usually wear, but I can use sunny colors these days. I didn’t dislike anything.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. As I say, this goes together very quickly. I’d recommend it for anyone who has advanced beginner or higher skills. If you know your way around a serger, it’s even faster to sew up.

Conclusion: A great exercise pattern. I’ll get lots of use from this. I will probably make the longer pants in black and they’ll be a staple in my workout wardrobe. Here are pictures of the front and back:

They call me mellow yellow… quite rightly!

The Chanel jacket is progressing nicely. I’ll get around to setting in the sleeves later this week, then really, I will post pictures. It’s just kind of boring to look at right now, you know?

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – Kwik Sew 2740

Pattern Description: From Kwik Sew’s Website, “These tops are designed for stretch knits only with 50% stretch across the grain. We suggest using fabric with spandex-Lycra¨, cotton-Lycra¨, stretch velvet, panne or stretch lace.

The tops are close fitting. View A and B have long sleeves. View A has a turtleneck and View B has a mock turtleneck. View C has short sleeves and a crew neckband.”

Sizing: XS-XL. Please note, that unlike the description, these tops are NOT close fitting. They run very large. I made a medium, and I should have made a small. The finished dimensions on the pattern piece are incorrect.

Fabric Used: Get Ziggy With It jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11 needle, fusible tricot from Sew Exciting Fashion Sewing Supply.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? It’s much less fitted than the illustration would indicate.

How were the instructions? They were typical Kwik Sew – fine.

Construction Notes: Aside from the sizing issue, this pattern is very well drafted. I shortened the sleeves to bracelet length (my current favorite). I serged all seams and finished the hems with a narrow zigzag stitch.

Any changes? None

Likes/Dislikes: Like the style, dislike the sizing.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I would do it, and I would recommend it for beginners as long as you go into it with the knowledge that you’ll need to size down.

Conclusion: A well drafted, but only okay, pattern. Here’s a picture of it on Shelley:
And here’s a picture with the Burda Jumper
Happy sewing!

Two Simultaneous Projects – Latin Dress and Burda Jumper

Okay – now that the Smooth Dance is done, I’m going to spend this week redoing the Latin Dress. I think that I’m going to make it a two-piece instead of a one-piece with a flesh-toned midriff. I mean, she’s got the body for it again, why cover it up, right? Besides, I didn’t get the feeling that Tatiana loved the dress in its first incarnation. Now that I have a leotard that works I’m going to build the bottom of the dress on the panties from it. I’ll also rework the bra so it’s skin-tone in the back, rather than sequined.

And while I’m doing that I think I’ll make myself this little Burda Jumper:
I’ve admired this since it first came out in Burda World of Fashion magazine in 2007. I went out and bought the premade pattern when it became available, but I can not for the life of me find it anywhere. I need to do a serious Craigslist of old patterns. I’ve hit my SABLE (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy) threshold. But I digress… Back on topic, since I can’t find the pattern, I traced off the size 40 from the BWOF magazine yesterday. I’m set to cut into it, but I’m pretreating the fabric, which is in the dryer right now. I’m going to make this out of Designer Bamboo Blend Jersey in Asul.

For a top to wear underneath, I’m going to make a turtleneck from Get Ziggy With It Jersey.

The pairing was pure happenstance, and a happy happenstance at that! I had the jersey on my table and I was looking for something else and dropped that fabric on the bamboo, and it was an “Aha!” moment. The blues are exactly the same color. I think I’ll use Kwik Sew 2740.

That gives me a to-do list for the week. The other “fun” thing that happened this week is that my dishwasher decided to give up the ghost after 11 years. Technically, I think it hasn’t actually died yet, but it’s not cleaning the dishes. Pieces of the racks are also starting to snap off, and the cutlery holder has big holes in the bottom that let silverware fall through. Sigh. So we went to Lowes and bought a new dishwasher, which will be installed at some point in the next two weeks. It’s always something, eh? And we haven’t been able to replace the shed yet because of the two feet of snow in the back yard.


Anyway, enough of that. I think the fabric is dry, so I’m off to the sewing room!

Happy Sunday!

Saucy Secretary Part 1 – KS 3093

It’s August, which means fall is approaching at lightning speed. I decided I want to make a “Sexy Secretary” outfit for fall, and I’m using the HP Pencil Skirt that I Reviewed Here. For the top. I decided on a simple turtleneck. I’ve made this pattern a couple of times before, and I have always liked it. But to tell you the truth, I don’t love it so much in its current iteration. I think the fabric may have something to do with it. The last time I made this was from a Wool Jersey. Maybe it’s the fabric. Maybe it’s my expectations that have changed. I was able to make it work, but it needed tweaking and I needed to take it in significantly.

I started with my usual Size Small-to-Medium (I redrew the cutting lines right between the two sizes). I made the top from a wonderful rayon jersey in dark eggplant from Gorgeous Fabrics. The problem was the fit. Maybe it’s because of the softness and stretch of the rayon. The last two times I made it from jerseys that had about 35% stretch in the crossgrain. This fabric has 50% stretch. I ended up taking it in two inches on each side seam and it’s still not tight! I think in the future I’ll raise the armhole. It’s pretty low. I’ll also start with an Extra-Small next time and just do a FBA to give it the room through the bust.

Now don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t look bad. But I will definitely change it up when I make it again. I may also try a different pattern. But in the meantime this top will suffice. Here’s a picture of it on Shelley, the dress form:

The wonkiness at the shoulder is because Shelley has tears in her shoulder fabric. The seams are just fine.

Next up will be the skirt, but I need to reline a coat first. Happy sewing!

Kwik Sew Spring Patterns

We went skiing today. It was fantastic. DS the Eldest is becoming quite the black diamond hound, and DS the Younger is having a ball going back and forth between snowboarding and skiing. I’m exhausted. Keeping up with both of them, not to mention riding herd on getting them and the gear to and from, is getting harder and harder. When the oldest starts skiing moguls, I’ll send him off alone.

But in the meanwhile, the Keystone Kops are playing football in the background (hint, 1st quarter of SuperBowl 41 is fugly, very, very fugly), and Kwik Sew has put their early spring collection on the site.

Overall, there is nothing that excites me. Alas, that is my usual reaction to Kwik Sew. I know they have some good patterns. But you have to wade through so much that looks mediocre, even on the human models, that I don’t bother with them very often. This collection isn’t going to change that.

The Good
Well, it should be really called “The Okay”

3497 is a decent, basic top. It looks like it would work up well, and it’s got good bones. The problem is that every single pattern company, it seems, has already done this. Maybe there’s a real “wow” factor in the pattern itself, but neither the illustration nor the photo gives any indication.


is a reworking of the Jackie Kennedy style jacket that has already been done by Vogue, McCall and others.


Is a re-do of the ubiquitous DVF wrap dress. Again, it’s okay, but it doesn’t shake my tree. And it’s two seasons after all the rest.

The Bad


Well, it’s no Patty Reed design, thank goodness, but it’s not good!


The pocket is interesting, but it reminds me of an article on bellows pockets in Threads Magazine more than 10 years ago. And the jumper? Meh.


Isn’t bad, it’s just already out. The tiered skirt is gone from the runways, folks. This look is very last year.

The Ugly
You know, it’s not even fair. Believe it or not, I actually like Kwik Sew on principle, and I have sewn several of their patterns successfully. But this collection is just meh, meh, meh. Kind of like the Superbowl. Hey Indy! Aren’t you glad you paid top dollar for Vinatieri? Mr. Clutch lost his touch in the first half. Okay, the first snap was bad, and he’s no running back, but that kick at the end of the half? What the heck was that?

Well, I’m going to watch Prince try to perform on an electrified stage in a Miami thunderstorm. Then I’m going to bed. G’night all!

Happy sewing!

Winter Patterns from Various Companies

I’m between projects, and I don’t want to start in on the window seat cushion until Monday when I have some time to devote to it, so I started scanning the pattern company websites for inspiration, and I came across a couple that caught my eye.

Kwik Sew
I’m not a huge fan of Kwik Sew. They’re okay, but I find the designs to be kind of ‘meh’. But this dress, 3472:
struck me as a winner. It’s a classic style that you will have for years. I would make it from a lightweight wool jersey or even better, silk jersey. They recommend matte jersey for it, and while I really like matte jersey for some things, I think the weight of the skirt would pull the whole thing down without a lot of internal structure. And that would defeat the purpose.

This pattern, 3474:

looks really, really boring in the drawing. But the picture of the blouse on the model is compelling. I would definitely Laura-Bennett this up, using a stretch silk in black for the body of the blouse and a white silk gazar or faille for the ruffled collar. I haven’t seen the pattern yet, so I can’t say for sure, but judging from these pictures, I might also make the ruffle more dense to really play it up.

Aaaauuuugggghhhhh! Bad Pat Benatar flashback!

Seriously, I considered leggings for about, oh, one minute. Then November came to Boston, and any thought of leaving my ankles facing the elements disappeared like the last fleeting days of Indian Summer. Just say no!

Butterick is another pattern company that doesn’t really do a lot for me. Though I will admit that they have good basics. This dress, 4914:
is versatile. You can make this from a silk for evening or a jersey for day, and put a jacket over it for work. Yes, it’s like something you can find at Macy’s. But it’s also like something you can find at Neiman Marcus – it depends on your fabrication. Have some fun with it. That’s why you sew, isn’t it?

This pattern, 4920: has some interesting possibilities. I’m not sure if I like the dress, though I will sleep on it before I make a decision. It’s the kind of thing that can grow on me. I do like the top, but I would put sleeves on it and wear it over skinny jeans.

This season, they also added some pretty cool vintage patterns. This one, 4918:

Is really lovely. They recommend shantung, taffeta and satin. I would add silk gazar, or even a double layered skirt with something with good body underneath and chiffon or silk tulle on top. Think Christian Dior’s New Look:
I recommend making an inner corselet to hold it up, otherwise it will too easily slide down and you’ll be doing the pull-up every time you move or dance. Kenneth King’s Birth of a Bustier and Susan Khalje’s Bridal Couture both have excellent instructions.

I am really drawn to this pattern, 4819:

But I have to ask – is it me, or does the illustration look like the model is checking for, um, well, let’s be blunt, body odor? Anyone here ever see “A Fish Called Wanda”? Remember how Otto would always smell his armpit before attempting to kill someone? Yah, that’s what I mean.

Well, that’s what I think for the evening. It’s time to call it a weekend and watch “Dr. Who” with the kids.

Happy sewing!