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I made this Halla PatternsAgnes swing top and absolutely love it!!  I love that I can wear it almost year round.  It is great in the summer as a tank top, but still perfect for cooler weather with a jean jacket or cardigan.  Right up my alley!

They also have the Sweet Agnes*, which is the kid’s version of the Agnes.  I have not made the Sweet Agnes, but assume that it’s very similar to the Agnes.  Be sure to visit their facebook group for a few codes for some free patterns!  Hint: the Agnes for Woman is one of them.

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The Agnes pattern has a few different options, like all of the Halla Patterns*.  You can choose from swing top, knee length dress, or full length dress.  Then you get the option of sleeveless, short sleeves, or long sleeves.  As you can tell, I chose the sleeveless swing top version.  Actually, most of their other patterns have even more options than this!

Another thing that makes Halla Patterns* stand out from other pattern designers is that they include rulers on their pattern pieces.  The rulers help to show ease of the pattern and make it easier to get a perfect fit for your body.  So you can adjust exactly where needed instead of just making a bigger size.  If you end up getting some of their patterns, join the FB group and search “ruler” for a better explanation as to how to use the rulers.  I would link for you, but it won’t work if you aren’t already part of the group.

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I used ITY from So Sew English and it’s SOO soft and flowy, making it a perfect choice for this shirt.  It’s pretty light weight, a little slippery feeling, and breathable.  It’s also cool to the touch which was new to me as I’m used to sewing with cotton lycra or french terry.  Definitely a good summer fabric, but paired with a cute jacket of some sort it’s doable for cooler weather as well.

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I measured into a size 2/4, but because of the nature of this pattern, I decided to make a zero (one size smaller) and the fit is great!  I knew that I didn’t want too big of a swing as it wouldn’t be as flattering on me, so going down a size was perfect.  This pattern is really a very basic pattern and would be great if you are just getting started with sewing clothes for women.

I find that with tank tops, it’s super easy to pull the binding unevenly so then there are wrinkles on the sleeves.  So if you have never done binding before, maybe start with one of the sleeve options so that you only have the neck binding.  Once you have it down, the sleeveless version shouldn’t be too difficult!

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Halla Patterns so I get compensated for any orders placed through the links in this post.

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When I saw on Facebook that 5 out of 4 Patterns was asking for participants for their Summer’s Coming blog tour (be sure to keep reading for a discount code and giveaway), I thought it would be the perfect push to finally make the Journey Dress.  I even already had this cotton lycra fabric, that I bought at least three years ago, just for this dress.  Fabric hoarding much?  Or maybe just a slacker?

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The reason I was dragging my feet was because I was afraid of it not fitting.  Well, there was really no need to worry, because the pattern has many tips and tricks on how to get the perfect fit.  It even includes different cut lines depending on your sewing cup size (instructions on how to determine your sewing cup size are included).  As well as many pictures and explanations on how to get the bra portion to fit properly.

I actually used some smaller scrap pieces of cotton lycra to make a sports bra first to make sure that it fit properly.  The only actual adjustment I had to make was to shorten the straps.  But I think that is probably because they are drafted a little long because of all of the options on how to make them.

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Speaking of options, let’s talk a little more about all of the them for this pattern.  You can choose between a sports bra, tank top, short dress, or maxi dress, as well as a maternity version of each.  For the straps, you can choose between straight back, cross back, halter top, or twist back.  You can also include sewn in, removable, or no bra cups, as well as a nursing option.

I chose the short dress option with a cross back and removable bra cups.  I was thinking about making the maxi length, but I didn’t have enough fabric.  Not to mention, maxi length doesn’t always look the best on me because I’m so short (5’2″ on a good day!).

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I think I mentioned that I used all cotton lycra fabric.  The stripe fabric is a little lighter weight than the solids, so it lays nicely for the skirt part.  For the bodice, I actually have three layers of fabric since I chose to do removable bra cups.  I should have used power mesh in the straps (pink pieces) for a little more support since I wasn’t using a heavier weight fabric for them.  I only say that because I just have two layers in the sports bra version that I made and feel that it gives me better support.  So I think the heaviness of the three layers of cotton lycra, plus the skirt, is a little much for the straps.  It’s not terrible, but enough that I can tell there is a difference.  I could probably just shorten the straps a little more.

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When trying to decide on sewn in bra cups or removable bra cups, I searched the 5 out of 4 Patterns facebook group to see what others thought.  I found that many others feel that sewn in bra cups are much harder to get the perfect fit/placement.  So I decided to just go for the removable bra cups.  I already had some that were from my nursing bras from a few years ago so I didn’t need to buy any.  I think I might have some from an older swimming suit as well.  So search your dresser before buying new ones!

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It was pretty easy to do the removable bra cup “pocket”.  There is a tutorial on 5 out of 4 patterns blog here.  Essentially, you cut off the straps of one layer of the front bodice lining.  I actually didn’t cut mine low enough, so it’s super difficult to get the bra cup in place since the opening is only about an inch and a half wide.  The hardest part for me was keeping track of which pieces were my lining and which was my main fabric.  That was because I used the same fabric for both, so I ended up sewing it together incorrectly and had to try again.  Thank goodness for seam rippers!  In the end, you have a full main piece, a full lining piece, and then one lining piece that doesn’t have the straps.  With the two lining pieces, they form a “pocket” for the removable cup.

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Once you have the bra portion done, the rest is pretty simple.  Before sewing on the skirt, you want to make sure it fits and that the straps are the correct length.  I had to shorten the straps a lot in order to get it to fit properly, but that is easy.  Then from there, you just sew the skirt together and then onto the bra portion.  Insert elastic and you are done!

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This dress is perfect for summer!  It’s comfortable, flowy, and the top stays in place.  If you aren’t a dress person, you could make a tank or sports bra.  You can customize it to your preference.  I’m not a halter top person, but if you are, then make it a halter top.  If you are creative, I’m sure you could come up with other ways to make the straps.  Cotton Lycra is super easy to sew with, so if you are nervous about sewing with knits, try Cotton Lycra.

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I would definitely recommend the Journey Dress!  It was fun to sew and turned out exactly as I had imagined.  It has many options to make it just how you prefer, but not too many to where it’s confusing.

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Now, head on over to 5 out of 4 Patterns and look around.  If you find something you like, don’t forget to use coupon code “summerscoming” for 30% off from May 7 – 11, 2018.  I have a few of their other patterns that I need to try out.  One being the Agility, which looks to make a super cute swimming suit top.  Don’t forget that the pajama pants pattern is free and the Ninja Pants, Women’s Luna Skirt, and Girl’s Little Luna Skirt all have a special promotion with a code in the 5 out of 4 Facebook group.

Do you want to win a 5 out of 4 Pattern of your choice?  Enter below for a chance to win!  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, be sure to check out the other blogs that are part of the tour this week.  Lots of inspiration and possibly another chance to win a pattern!

5 out of 4 Patterns Summer’s Coming Blog Tour Schedule

May 7- The Sassy Seamripper | Just Delphine

May 8- Sewing Novice | Octaves of Color

May 9- Manning the Machine | Sweet Mama Sharon

May 10- Sew Sew Ilse | That’s Sew Lily

May 11- Wonderfully Handmade | The Sassy Seamripper

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I’ve been using this pick a pocket wallet for a little over a year and still really like it! It might be the last wallet that I need!  I never ended up putting the metal corner pieces on, but it’s holding up fantastically, even without them.  This was my first ChrisW Designs pattern that I made and it was really a great pattern.  Since Chris is in Australia, the pattern is written using cm, but she took the time to also include the inch measurements.  You can also use the pattern pieces, which are included, but I chose to go by measurements.

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There are two options to choose from….mine is option one, which includes the extra card pockets on the left.  Option two includes another zipper pocket instead of the 8 extra card pockets.  I carry a lot of cards so the extra card pockets were a must!  Even with all of the pockets, the wallet still easily closes and isn’t too large or bulky.

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I used a Kam snap (Amazon affiliate link) to close my wallet.  If you haven’t used Kam snaps, they are super easy to install and use.  They are plastic, so if you are using a slightly fancier fabric, you might want to use a metal closure.

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There are SO many pockets in this wallet!  Of course, the 8 card pockets I mentioned before, the other 4 card pockets and one for your ID.  There are two open pockets under the 8 cards AND a zipper pocket, which I use for coins.  Under the side that has the ID pocket there are two more pockets; one on each side.  It definitely lives up to it’s name!

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Now that you know a little more about the options of this pattern, let’s chat about the pattern itself.  If you’ve never sewn before, this is not the pattern to start with.  It’s very well written, but not necessarily easy.  I think that if you take your time, it’s doable for about anyone, but a beginner might get frustrated.  Chris has it labeled as intermediate, which I would agree with.  There are a lot of pieces to cut out and sew together as well as some thicker areas to sew through.

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The pattern, in general, is fantastically written!  I don’t recall struggling with understanding any of it.  There are pictures that help with any difficult parts, as well as great explanations.  Due to the many pieces, there are a lot of steps, but I expected that and am grateful for the details which make it easier for me to get a successful end product.

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I honestly can’t think of anything negative to say about the wallet.  It holds my cards, paper money, and coins, plus a few small extras like a hair tie.  The only negative thing about the actual pattern is that the last step of topstitching was a little difficult, but I’ve had that issue with other patterns because of the many layers used.  You can only eliminate so many layers with a pattern like this.

I’m kind of on a clothing sewing kick, but do want to try more ChrisW Designs pattern in the future.  I have a few other ones, but need to try them out!  Based off of the pick a pocket wallet, I would highly recommend her patterns.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Amazon so I get compensated for any orders placed through the Amazon links in this post.

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Way back in 2016, I made my sister-in-law this snappy manicure wallet for her birthday.  She almost always brings finger nail polish with her when staying the night somewhere, so I thought it would be the perfect gift.  Now, for our birthdays, we send amazon gift cards with hilarious digital cards, always trying to one up the last one.  (It’s basically my husband and his brother, but my sister-in-law and I still get to be recipients.)  My birthday is next, so I’m a little worried about what is going to be sent.  LOL

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Anyway, this was a super fun project to make and especially fun to find coordinating fabric to use.  I took the easy way out and used one line of fabric, but if you have smaller cuts of fabric you might be able to use them up by mixing and matching.  It actually looks harder than it is because of the ruffles, but there is elastic that naturally makes them.

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I do recall that the topstitching wasn’t easy because of the thickness of the layers, but if you just take your time and use a topstitch or microtex needle, you will be fine!  My only complaint is that it lays perfectly with nothing in it, but with nail polish, it kind of lays funky.  But, overall, it’s still worth making.  And it’s a free pattern, so you really can’t go wrong.

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I was thinking about making one for myself, but haven’t gotten around to it.  Instead, I made myself a wallet, which I’ll put on my list to blog about next.

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Do you ever have problems ordering thread and fabric online because you aren’t sure if you will like the colors?  Or if a specific color thread will truly match the fabric that you want it to?  I did, so I got the swatches for Mara 100 thread, Purpleseamstress solid cotton lycra, as well as Peek A Boo Fabric Shop solid cotton lycra.

Solid Cotton Lycra

I decided to also make it easier for all of you and made a pdf with the matching thread number to the matching solid.  I hope it helps you match your thread to your solids a little better!

Thread Matching

The charts compare Mara 100 thread from Wawak to either the Purpleseamstress or Peek A Boo Fabric Shop solid cotton lycra.

Here is the Purpleseamstress chart

Here is the Peek a Boo chart

 

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop so I get compensated for any orders placed through the links in this post.