Tag Archives: double gauze

Megan Nielsen Protea Capsule Wardrobe Pattern: My Top and Dress Tester Photos

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Megan Nielsen Protea Capsule Wardrobe Pattern:  My Top and Dress Tester Photos

Hello, friends! And welcome back to the blog. After taking the summer off, I’m ready to get back to writing about sewing, knitting, photography, and other fun creative endeavors. I hope you had a good last few months as well.

My “To Blog” list is pretty long, but I’m actually going to start with a more recent project. I was a tester for Megan Nielsen’s latest pattern, the Protea Capsule Wardrobe. I went through two rounds of testing as the pattern grew from a few views to the many views you see now. In order to be a tester, I signed up to her list and sent in my measurements. They cycle through their list and contact people with a good range of measurements, and then e-mail you when they have a pattern for testing to see if you are interested. You get to see the line drawings and description of the pattern as well as the deadline and what they need from you, and then you can say yes or no. This is a volunteer position, so it’s your responsibility to get your materials together for the project. You don’t have to blog the results or put it out on social media, but since I will really and truly forget the details of my projects if I don’t blog them, I wanted to share my tester versions, and hopefully give you a look at the pattern in its developmental stages.

As the pattern was released, the company offered testers the option of a free Protea Capsule Wardrobe pattern in print or PDF. I chose print, but still had to pay shipping, and I’m currently waiting for it to arrive. I don’t often test patterns since I have so many of my own projects that I want to make, and Megan Nielsen is the only company I have tested for (unless I’m forgetting…but I think that’s right). The process was a little different years ago, but I have always been impressed with the freedom and flexibility this company gives you in testing. So! Let’s get to the actual garments. Just remember…these are versions that came out before the new and shiny final pattern, so some things have changed a bit.

Test #1: Protea Blouse

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

Here is the first line drawing we were sent back in January. I chose to make the square-neck blouse out of a striped cotton seersucker I bought at Field’s Fabrics in Holland, MI in summer 2021.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos
front

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Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos
back

I love the general style of this blouse and have worn it all summer long. I love that it is loose and boxy and I didn’t have to make a broad back adjustment.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

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Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

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Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

It is a little cropped and lifts up when I raise my arms, so if I made it again, I would consider lengthening it just a little and trying out adding a gusset to the underarm with directions I found in Bernadette Banner’s new book: Make, Sew and Mend: Traditional Techniques to Sustainably Maintain and Refashion Your Clothes. I made an 18 at the bust and a 20 at the waist and hip. I think I used the width of the 20 for the sleeve, too.

Test #2: Protea Capsule Wardrobe Tiered Dress

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

When the option to test the next version of the pattern came along in May, I wasn’t quite sure that I would have the time, but I really liked the look of the tiered dress with a square neck and flutter sleeves. I found some fabric in my stash and decided that I could make it if I applied myself!

I chose to make this dress in a cotton double gauze from Joann, also from the summer of 2021. I didn’t have quite enough fabric. What I did have was a little narrower than the recommended 60″ and I only had four yards instead of the 4 3/8 I should have had, but I decided to do my best to make it work. In the end, I mostly made it. I went back and bought a few fat quarters of quilting cotton in the same pastel purple to cut my pockets out of. That fabric requirement was pretty much spot on.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

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Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

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Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

I made the dress with a size 18 bust and 20 waist and hip without the drawstring. I didn’t veer too far from the directions except that I hemmed my sleeves with bias tape instead of turning the hem in twice, and gathered my skirt tiers using a zigzag over a string instead of sewing two parallel lines of stitching (a technique I picked up from another Megan Nielsen pattern). I haven’t seen the final version yet to know what choices they made for those parts of the pattern instructions.

I felt a little bit different about this dress when I finished it than I did the top. I love positive ease, and this dress has LOTS of it. It was a bit much even for me.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

Unless you are looking for a completely unrestrictive dress, I like it a lot better with something pulling the waist in just a little. I tried pinning the drawstring casing on, but I wasn’t a fan.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos
waist casing pinned on…nope

The drawstring casing for the dress in this version of the pattern used the same pattern piece as the waistband for the skirt. It’s a clever idea that reduces the number of pattern pieces, but I don’t actually like it on the dress. It’s really wide and I didn’t like how it looked. I also didn’t like the dress without something to pull in the waist a little, so I put the finished dress to the side for a bit to think it over. In the end, what I did was to make two ties out of some single fold bias tape I had that matched my fabric.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

I sewed them on to the outside, but if I were planning on adding ties from the start, I would have sewn them into the side seams at the waist.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

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Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

This allows you to gather the waist in as much or as little as you like. There is a bit of fabric that gathers under the ties, but it really isn’t bulky. I tie mine just tight enough to get a little waist definition, but still loose enough not to feel restricted.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

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Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

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Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

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Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

For me this takes the dress from something I didn’t like at all to something I love. It’s amazing what a little tweak can do.

Overall Thoughts

Seeing the final pattern, I like it a lot. You don’t often see an indie brand bring out a capsule wardrobe-type pattern. The Big 4 do it (I’ve seen a lot from Butterick), but not always indie brands. Since indie patterns can be so expensive, this is a good value for your money, and it’s simple enough to sew and has such clear instructions that even a beginner could tackle it. You get some good mix and match options with the sleeves and necklines so that you could easily sew a lot of different-looking garments from this one pattern. I like it stylistically, as well, except for the dress drawstring. Personally, I’m really into the square neck, flutter sleeves, and tiered skirts. I don’t often return to patterns I have already made since I love trying new ones, but before summer started to wane, I was contemplating more of the square-necked tops, so I could see revisiting this one and trying out any of the views. I like them all.

Currently making…

Since I finished pattern testing, I have made a few other garments, and I entered both a sewing and a knitting project in the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, MA for the first time ever, so we’ll see how that goes! I submitted my Patagonia inspired vest and my Arrowhead Cardigan which were both a lot of work and took a lot of brainpower!

On my sewing table, I have a Fibre Mood Norma Blouse cut out of some beautiful linen and I have plans to cut out two cropped Closet Core Kalle Shirts in different colorways of a fun tiger print lawn.

I’m knitting a Weekender Light sweater from Drea Renee Knits in the best Shetland wool from Jamieson & Smith and I’m also knitting a Drea Renee Knits Moonwake Cowl in some soft washable yarn.

Also…I found some sandals with wooden bases at the thrift store that I have started stripping down to try making into sandals I like, but it’s slow going with the other projects, and…you know…actually taking care of my family, ha ha.

I’m pretty inspired and excited about making all the things at the moment. I didn’t sew a ton over the summer, so it feels good to get back to it. And I have a million projects to bring to the blog (some from last winter/spring–yikes!), so I look forward to meeting you back here soon. Happy weekend!

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A McCall’s 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

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A McCall’s 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

Welcome back for another summer clothing post! During fall! Yep, I’m behind on posting, and if I don’t post everything, there’s a real chance I will forget what I made. Crazy, I know, but the struggle is real. ūüôā

So here’s a quick project that could work in many seasons depending on the fabric you choose. McCall’s 8066 (aka “Posie”) is a simple skirt, with several variations, with and without tiers.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze
McCall’s 8066
A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze
McCall’s 8066

I made View B. Like the other views, it has a flat front and an elastic back. There are no pockets, but I added some in the side seams.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

My skirt is made of black cotton double gauze from Joann Fabrics. They had this double gauze in several nice colors as well as a few stripes this summer, and I bought it in more than one shade. It washes up really nice and soft. I love it! Joann’s website calls it bubble gauze, although it’s different than bubble gauze I’ve bought elsewhere. This is a double layer of gauze, whereas the bubble gauze I bought before was a single layer. I don’t have enough experience with bubble gauze to tell you which is the norm.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze
McCall’s 8066, View B, front
A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze
McCall’s 8066, View B, back

This skirt should be a quick sew, but I got a little paranoid when my measurements for hip and waist put me in two different sizes. I measured an XL at the waist and an XXL at the hip. With the style of this pattern, I would have been fine making the XL, but instead, I cut an XXL for waist and hip because I was worried that the XL wouldn’t fit over my hips to take the skirt on and off. Well, as you can probably imagine, the skirt was too large on me. So, I spent some time taking it partially apart at the side seams and taking in the front and back waistband, always making sure the back waistband would stretch enough to go over my hips. I cut it down as much as I dared, but it still looks a bit bulky to me. Oh, well! I’m only willing to mess with a project so much before I want to move on.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

I borrowed a pocket pattern piece from another pattern and added inseam pockets. Because of my alterations, they are back a bit far on my hips, but not too bad.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

Since I made this toward the end of summer, I haven’t worn it a lot, so I’m reserving final judgement for next year when I have some distance from the project and more chances to wear it.

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

My first impressions, though, are that this is a good, simple pattern, with great possibilities. Don’t let my mistakes keep you from adding McCall’s 8066 to your pattern library (yes, that is how I think of my pattern stash–it’s a pattern library). Could you draft this yourself? Yes. It’s a lot of rectangles, but one thing I like about commercial patterns is that someone did the work for me. ūüôā This is a great pattern for a beginner or someone who has been sewing longer and wants a quick project. Wouldn’t view D would be amazing in a few layers of silk/cotton voile?

A McCall's 8066 Summer Skirt in Black Double Gauze

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

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Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

I have a cute baby dress sewing project to share with you today. One of my good friends had a baby girl a little while ago, and I wanted to make her something I hadn’t made before. I hunted around the internet a bit and found the free Little Geranium Dress pattern from Made By Rae.

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

I also had just the right fabric–a 100% cotton kitty-cat polka dot double gauze from Cotton + Steel, left over from making this shirt back in 2016.

The Little Geranium Dress comes in one size–newborn (0-3 months).

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze
Little Geranium dress, front view

It’s a great way to give this pattern a try, which can be purchased in larger sizes with additional details from the designer. In the newborn size, the pattern creates a sleeveless dress which buttons up the back and has patch pockets, whose sole purpose is ultimate cuteness.

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze
Little Geranium dress, back view
Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

This dress can easily be worn in summer as is or in cooler weather over a long-sleeved onesie with a sweater.

It only takes a little bit of fabric and sews up quickly. The bodice is lined, which makes everything look nicely finished.

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze
Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

I used some vintage buttons from my stash for the back, which seemed just right for this dress. I even put my knots on the outside so that they wouldn’t irritate sensitive baby skin.

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

I tried to sign the inside, but I think I need some finer point fabric markers.

Little Geranium Dress in Double Gauze

I got a few recommendations from my mom, but if you have a favorite fine-point fabric marker for signing quilts or garments, please share in the comments!

Making this dress was a fun, quick project as well as a great scrap buster.

Esme Top in Double Gauze

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Esme Top in Double Gauze

Today’s project¬†is one I really wanted¬†to squeak in on the blog before fall is officially over.¬† I made this Esme top from Lotta Jansdotter’s Everyday Style in a fabric that was new to me:¬† double gauze.

Esme Top in Double Gauze

Esme Top in Double Gauze

Esme Top in Double Gauze

Esme Top in Double Gauze

I made it for the Pattern Review meet-up at Pintuck & Purl back in September.  One of the challenges for that meeting was to make something that was new to you, whether in a new fabric, with a new pattern or tool, or using a new technique.

I’ve made this top before (first iteration here), but one of the advantages of working part-time at Pintuck & Purl has been the opportunity to work with fabrics I’ve never tried before, and double gauze was on my list. ¬†I chose the Friskers Teal by Sarah Watts for Cotton & Steel.

Esme Top in Double Gauze

I’d heard both good and bad things about this substrate.¬† On the positive side, good quality cotton¬†double gauze like this one from Cotton & Steel is extremely soft.¬† It’s also pretty easy to work with like a lot of cotton is.¬† On the down side, some double gauze can develop a sort of ‘halo’ around it, as one of my friends says.¬† It almost gets a little fuzz that stands out from the fabric.¬† I haven’t experienced that with this fabric so far, but it’s something to keep an eye on if you try it for yourself.¬† Because of the loose weave, it can also grow over several wearings.¬† Again, I haven’t found this to be too much of a problem with this particular double gauze (my friend tried another brand), but keep an eye on it if you try it.¬† As far as the Cotton & Steel fabric is concerned, I would say this is a winner.¬† It’s very soft and comfortable.

For this version of the Esme top, I did a major broad back adjustment, which is something I tend to need on woven tops.  It definitely improved the fit over my first version, which I forgot to do a broad back adjustment on.

Esme Top in Double Gauze

Esme Top in Double Gauze

This is a good classic shape and is pretty quick to sew.  There are numerous variations on it in Everyday Style, as well as several other useful basics throughout the book.

Esme Top in Double Gauze

It’s starting to get cooler now, so just this week I put this top away until spring. ¬†I’m looking forward to wearing it again when the weather warms up.

Esme Top in Double Gauze

Recommendations

This week I found my recommendations in my reading pile. ¬†I love to check out books. ¬†Some I read cover to cover and some I just scan to get a sense of what they are about. ¬†Here’s what I’ve got checked out from the library right now:

  • The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees is all about honing in on your own clothing style. ¬†It’s helpful in much the same way that the Wardrobe Architect Series from Colette is, and for sewing people, it can help you figure out what you like to wear and therefore, sew.
  • All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot is a collection of stories about the author’s life and work as a veterinarian in the Yorkshire Dales of England. ¬†It’s funny and filled with fabulous characters.
  • Precious and Grace from the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith. ¬†I love this fiction series about Precious Ramotswe, the wise and gentle detective who lives and works in Botswana.
  • American Cake by Anne Byrn is my favorite¬†kind of cookbook. ¬†Each recipe has a great description and history of how it came to be. It’s a history of America…in cake.
  • Shirtmaking: ¬†Developing Skills for Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin looks like an amazing, brilliant, and very thorough book. ¬†I think it’s above my level at this point, but if I keep sewing, I’ll get there eventually.
  • Hug Your Haters: ¬†How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer. ¬†I saw that the Craft Industry Alliance was reading this one and I got curious. ¬†I’m not a business owner, but it sounded interesting enough to page through. ¬†I haven’t gotten far, but I’ve already learned a thing or two, just from skimming¬†through the introduction and first chapter.