I was supposed to be on the Pattern Parcel #6 tour. I really wanted to be. I think it’s a great parcel – especially if you like knits.

Several things popped up unexpectedly in my life. Manic work schedules exploding (my busiest time of the year with additional tasks being added), husband away fishing, youngest daughter in hospital (thought that was going to be in January – fret not – she is fine) and the list goes on and one and on. Like for anyone else, sometimes ‘life happens’.

This might also explain why I might not have responded to some emails & blogs comments. Sorry, I will. Soon.

So I decided to put my money where my mouth is. I actually bought Pattern Parcel – yes I had the patterns but I like to be a contributor not just an enabler/encourager. I spend plenty of money on sewing, far beyond what I receive. It’s my hobby and indulgence – and I also like to support the industry. Not just indies, but the Big 4, fabric shops and so on. It’s all part of a bigger picture. If I unexpectedly couldn’t support it as a feature blogger, I’m more than happy to buy the patterns. If you saw my pattern ‘library’ you would be greatly amused – it is HUGE!
Pattern Parcel No.6So there is just hours left – Pattern Parcel is out there and waiting for you if you are fond of knits, skirts, dresses, tunics, pants or cardigans, this one might be just for you.

Figgy’s Sunki Dress and Pattern Parcel #5 for Girls and Tweens…

I sew A LOT for myself (clearly). I have sewn some things for my girls but one of the biggest hindrances to sewing for the kids was a lack of interesting or ‘cool’ patterns for them – or rather my inability to unearth them. Patterns that interested me to sew and patterns that interested them to wear. There seems to be a lot of ‘pretty’ patterns for little girls… and not much for the tweens.

So when Pattern Parcel contacted me again about Pattern Parcel #5 Girls and Tweens – I was ‘yes ma’am‘.

I chose to make up the Sunki Dress which is the ‘Bonus Pattern’. I’ve always liked Figgy’s Patterns – they just didn’t extend far enough in sizing for my girls… until now. In fact, I like all of their range as it’s modern and girly without being fussy or frilly. I think my girls would wear their entire range, I hope they extend their sizing for more of the designs.

ELH and Giselle conducted this photo shoot on their own, while taking Banjo for a run on the beach. This weekend I’m on ‘dance mum’ duties at the local dance eisteddfod (story of my life for the past three weeks, if it’s not an Eisteddfod – it’s practising for one!).

The fabric for this make came from the ‘Fabric Library’. Some time ago I picked up a couple of pieces of batik fabric from the ‘op shop’ (charity store) for just $2. It’s a firm cotton with a border print – it has absolutely no brand or markings anywhere on it, which makes me wonder if it was purchased as a souvenir while travelling… it just seemed perfect for this…

Sunki dress front view

Front view

You can just see the pocket opening in this picture.

You can just see the pocket openings in this picture. The side panels also play host to some cleverly inset pockets.

Sunki Dress: back view

Sunki Dress: back view. Swimmer straps poking out…

The only thing I found worth mentioning about the pattern is that when sewing in the front panel and pockets it refers to the notch on the pocket piece (or that is how it seemed to me) – however this is on the side panel not the pocket piece. The pockets are a tiny bit fiddly to put in – however with a bit of pinning & flipping it all becomes obvious.

I did size up. The girls are growing so rapidly I can barely keep up. Giselle is nine years old and this is the ‘small’. It’s a very roomy, boxy tunic – however the side panels given the dress some shape and style (and yes, there are pockets).

Some details…

Inside front, Sunki Dress

Sunki dress: inside front

Inside back, Sunki Dress

Inside back

I didn’t hem the tunic as the border print is finished and it seemed a shame to lose any of the fabric in a hem.

I love the shoulder overlap detail and the sleeve head pleats…

Shoulder and sleeve detail

Shoulder and sleeve detail

I’m really liking the Mimi dress in the Parcel… I think it’s simplicity would appeal greatly to my eldest daughter…

and this is a ripper of a shot of Banjo, taken by Giselle. The little hound corners at great speed… he’s almost horizontal!

Banjo, an action shot

Banjo – he corners at speed


Parcel #5: Girls and Tweens includes:

  • Lily Knit Blazer by Peek-a-Boo Patterns
  • Everyday Yoga Pant for Girls by Greenstyle
  • Asymmetrical Drape Top by EYMM
  • Playhouse Dress by Fishstick Designs
  • Mimi Dress and Shirt by Filles a Maman
  • BONUS PATTERN: Sunki Dress by Figgy’s

Bonus Pattern:
Choose a price of $28 or greater for Parcel #5 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern. The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is the Sunki Dress by Figgy’s. The pattern includes both size runs, so you get 18 months through a 16 tween sizing.

More about Pattern Parcel here…

Pattern Parcel #5: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

Friday, September 19: Pienkel || Cookin’ and Craftin’
Saturday, September 20: The Life Of A Compulsive Crafter
Sunday, September 21: Keep Calm and Carrion || Felt With Love Designs
Monday, September 22: Radiant Home Studio || Sewing Sober
Tuesday, September 23: Sew Fishsticks || La Pantigana || Amanda Rose
Wednesday,September 24: Shawnta Sews || Sprouting JubeJube || Knot Sew Normal
Thursday, September 25: Make It Perfect || Mimi’s Mom || Climbing the Willow
Friday, September 26: Needle and Ted || Our Family Four
Saturday, September 27: Froo & Boo
Sunday, September 28: Stitches by Laura || Vicky Myers creations
Monday, September 29: Cookin’ and Craftin’ || The Crazy Tailor
Tuesday, September 30: mama says sew || FABulous Home Sewn || The Inspired Wren
Wednesday, October 1: lady and the gents || That’s-Sew-Kari || Sewing Sober
Thursday,October 2: Gracious Threads || Blogs Like A Mother || SewsNBows
Friday, October 3: sew chibi || Lulu & Celeste ||  Made by Sara

I have so many things to blog! Hopefully with Eisteddfod season over, end-of-term school concerts and projects finished I will have some breathing space!

Note: I’ve chosen not to use the tracking code for ‘clicks’ for Pattern Parcel for the fabric competition.

Pattern Parcel #3: April Rhodes Staple Dress

Pattern Parcel is back! It kicks off today. Until 13 June you will be showered by bloggers across the world sewing up endless variations of five (actually six!) different patterns (see the end of this post the tour schedule!) tempting you to buy Pattern Parcel #3 – a package worth $68+.

Pattern Parcel #3

So what’s in Pattern Parcel 3?

Pattern Parcel #3 includes:

  • Poppy Tunic by Make it Perfect
  • Water Bottle Tote by Radiant Home Studio
  • Jorna Tank Dress by Jenna Brand
  • Staple Dress by April Rhodes
  • Bombshell Swimsuit by Closet Case Files

AND a Bonus Pattern!
Pattern Parcel #3

Choose a price of $28 or greater for Parcel #3 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern! “The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is Prefontaine Shorts for Women by Made with Moxie. This shorts pattern has a retro trim, loads of pockets, two inseams and are so comfortable you won’t want to take them off. Includes sizes 0 – 24. Exclusive launch on Pattern Parcel. Be the first to own this pattern!”

Buy Pattern Parcel #3

I love Pattern Parcel. There is the feel-good factor of your purchases contributing to charity. From a selfish sewing point of view, you get five patterns and perhaps some you’d never considered sewing before. I actually love that part the most – sometimes you decide to make something unexpected and it turns out great! I’ve worn my Summer Concert tees from Pattern Parcel #1 a lot – my lace back one in particular!

When I saw what contents of the Parcel, I printed and assembled the Shorts pattern, I also printed the Bombshell and Jorna. Then just days from Pattern Parcel 3 deadline… I desperately wanted a simple autumn dress to wear with boots… and the only pattern I had never considered making suddenly rocketed to the top of my must-sew list – the April Rhodes Staple Dress. Thank you Pattern Parcel!

I’ve sewn this up in a lovely soft rayon twill. I have a ‘thing’ for paisley and tartan together. I also love navy for autumn wear – so much softer than black.

We took these photos in a desperate rush – as I’m actually standing in misting rain! I was in such a rush to take the shots that I forgot to put my cream lace scarf on with this which really makes it look cute. I got loads of compliments wearing this today… which always surprises me when I’m wearing such a simple make.

April Rhodes Staple Dress

April Rhodes Staple Dress from Pattern Parcel #3

This is a delightfully simple dress to sew. It probably took me less than four hours to assemble the pattern, cut the fabric and assemble most of the dress. It has a just five pieces. Front, back, neck facing and two armhole facings.

What had me bamboozled, and took four tries, was the waist shirring!

I’d heard shirring was the easiest thing in the world to so. So I did my internet research, watched YouTube, wound the bobbin three times (loose, with slight tension, looser again), tried different stitch lengths – you name it. Every time the shirring was too tight and it was a DISASTER. So I heaved the Heavy Duty Singer out of its box, threaded it up and… perfect first time. Personally I suspect it’s the size of the hole in the Bernina bobbin case that the elastic has to pull through that is the issue or I need to release the bobbin tension screw (which freaks me put – stupid I know)… then again others find they can’t shirr with a top loading bobbin… it’s a mystery.

I would argue if you have had issues with shirring, it really might not be anything you are doing or not, simply that your machine is just not into elasticised waists.

I’m really glad I found a shirring solution as I love the regular gathers it provides to the waistline – even though I might always wear a belt with it, I much prefer the look of even small gathers, the dress falls much more nicely with them. It is also an extremely comfortable waistline! Not to mention it transforms a rather sack-like dress…

April Rhodes Staple Dress dress - pictured flat, no shirring (and yes, no hemming)

April Rhodes Staple Dress dress – pictured flat, no shirring (and yes, no hemming)

April Rhodes Staple Dress dress - flat with a shirred waist

April Rhodes Staple Dress dress – flat with a shirred waist

I think I will return to my old Jiffy dress – from the Pattern Pyramid and add shirring to it. I’ve worn it a lot but the bunching at the waist bothers me a little. Shirring is the perfect cure.

The Facings
The neckline and armholes are finished with facings – which are in essence just bias strips which are slightly longer on one side and they fit perfectly. This is such an easy dress to finish. If you are a beginner stitcher or even an experienced one, the very comprehensive instructions and finish of this dress is very satisfying.

The Pockets
I love the pockets on this dress. Yes, they are just pockets but I love that the instructions have you stitch them in such a way that they are attached to the dress front seam allowances – hence they always face forward.
The only thing I found odd was that the instructions do not have you understitch the pocket edges at the dress seamline – which I think makes for a neat finish and keeps the pockets tucked neatly into the dress – no rolling out.

April Rhodes Staple Dress, front view - OH LOOK! POCKETS

April Rhodes Staple Dress, front view – OH LOOK! POCKETS. And yes, I have a yacht mast springing from my head.

Overall Verdict
I love the kimono sleeves, the loose fit and ease of this dress. I know I’ve been blessed with a lean build but I don’t feel the need to showcase my shape or legs with everything I wear. Some days I just want to slouch about and relax.

I can see this being a great dress in many types of medium to lightweight fabrics – and I certainly think there will be many more in my wardrobe – I’d love one in silk or silk cotton for spring/summer. The patterns states 2m of fabric for 150cm wide fabric. I got my dress out of a lot less but then I do cut the smallest size so I can fit more across the width of the fabric I guess.

About Pattern Parcel: “Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel. We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we’ve raised almost $4,500 towards eliminating educational inequality.”

Buy Pattern Parcel #3

Parcel #3 Inspiration Tour Schedule:

Friday, May 30
Sew Busy Lizzy ||
Pienkel ||

Saturday, May 31
Design By Lindsay ||
the Brodrick design studio ||
Cookin’ and Craftin’

Sunday, June 1
Diary of a Chainstitcher ||
a happy stitch ||
Disaster in a Dress ||
sew Amy sew

Monday, June 2
Idle Fancy ||
Casa Crafty ||
Kadiddlehopper ||
Dandelion Drift

Tuesday, June 3
Our Family Four ||
Casa Crafty ||
Cookin’ and Craftin’ ||
a happy stitch

Wednesday, June 4
Lexi Made ||
The Quirky Peach ||
Stitched ||
a happy stitch ||
Casa Crafty ||

Thursday, June 5
verypurpleperson ||
Casa Crafty ||
sew a straight line ||

Friday, June 6
Shawnta Sews ||
Mama says sew ||
a happy stitch ||
Cookin’ and Craftin’

Saturday, June 7
Casa Crafty ||
sewninestitches ||
‘So, Zo… What do you know?’

Sunday, June 8
oonaballoona ||
A Stitching Odyssey ||
Sew Charleston

Monday, June 9
Sew Sweetness ||
True Bias ||
Ozzy Blackbeard

Tuesday, June 10
Welcome to the Mouse House ||
Sew Caroline ||
Adventures in Dressmaking

Wednesday, June 11
Peneloping ||
YoSaMi ||

Thursday, June 12
la inglesita ||
La Pantigana ||
Sanae Ishida

Friday, June 13
Seamster Sewing Patterns ||

This is me giggling as the marine mechanic stands patiently watching for us to stop taking pictures. And when you see my hand bunched over like that… it means I’m stressed… I need a sleep… later peoples… oh and buy Pattern Parcel #3, it’s a ripper.

April Rhodes Staple Dress

April Rhodes Staple Dress

Disclosure: there is a gift for the blogger with the most blog referrals and for participating. Honestly I’m not motivated by that at all, really I’m not. I get more than enough from all over the world not to feel the need for giveaways or competitions – in fact I’d probably donate it back to Pattern Parcel or buy something to giveaway to my readers. I simply love Pattern Parcel because I think it’s awesome initiative. I’ve been involved in several fund-raising events for my own kids’ school this month, charity is something that’s important to me… and I just LOVE to sew. I just wanted you to know. Tis all 🙂