In the Limelight: Jalie 3355

I was so happy with the last sweatshirt I made, that I decided to make another.

Apparently, lime green is on trend, and so are the 90s – though maybe not this part of the 90s. Lol. Hopefully this reads a bit more Colors of Benetton and a bit less Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Either way, it’s lots of fun.

I have a couple more lime green pieces in the sewing queue, so hopefully I can get some full outfit photos soon.

The fabric is a cotton french terry from  l’Oiseau Fabrics that I bought ages ago. The lime green cotton ribbing is leftover from some t-shirts I made when my kids were really little.

This pattern is Jalie 3355 Sweatshirt, Hoodie and Sweat Pants. Jalie uses their own sizing system, and this is size AA. This is this is the equivalent of a size 14 in ready-to-wear.

The pattern instructions say to “use the size corresponding to full bust
measurement for the sweatshirt”. Haha! No. Don’t do this. I mean, I know I’m a D-cup, but this is a knit!

I did try this first, but the sweatshirt was huge and very unflattering. It would be “ok”, if you had a drapey fabric and were looking for an oversize look. And yes, this is on trend right now! But for this project, I wanted something a bit more “standard” in terms of sizing. And the fabric I used is a more structured cotton terry.

So I recut in the size that matched what I usually buy in a ready-to-wear sweatshirt (two sizes below what the pattern maker recommends), and that was indeed the right size.

I made a couple of changes. The neck band looked a little wide in lime green, so I made it a bit more narrow. I think it would look great as is, if I had chosen monochromatic ribbing though.

I added a little tag to the back so you can tell which way the shirt goes.

I also removed 3″ (about 7.5 cm) from the length. I didn’t want this to look cropped, but I also didn’t want it too long. This fabric is a bit structured, so it doesn’t pool nicely at the waist. But in another project, depending on the look you want and fabric you choose, the length might work. With the reduced length, the waistband just covers the waistband of my jeans.

If I make this again, I might make the body narrow a bit more towards the waist, instead of the more rectangular default cut. I have a store-bought sweatshirt like that and I find it’s flattering on my figure. But it will depend on the project.

The instructions were great. Again, I love having the instructions as a PDF download. I usually sew with my tablet nearby, and this is very convenient.


Pattern Review: Jalie 3355 Sweatshirt, Hoodie and Sweat Pants. View B.
Fabric: Cotton french terry from  l’Oiseau Fabrics and cotton ribbing from my stash.
Size: Available in sizes size 2T (toddler) to about size 22. This is size AA, the equivalent of a 14.
Cost: Pattern: About $14. Fabric: I can’t remember!
Sewing Level: Beginner
Modifications: I reduced the with of the ribbing at the neck, and removed 3″ (about 7.5 cm) from the length.
Results: Fun!

A Simple Grey Dress: McCall’s Learn-to-Sew M8064

Not every sewing project works out the way it is supposed to.

But let’s start with what went right. This fabric is a cotton baby rib knit, in grey, from Our Social Fabric. It might be the softest cotton rib knit I’ve ever used. And it’s on the thinner, drapey-er side. It’s so nice that I ordered more.

Our Social Fabric is a non-profit fabric recycling initiative, run out of Vancouver, Canada, selling donated fabric and fibre arts supplies online and in-person. In March, they kept 6,531 lbs (2,962 kilograms) of fabric and sewing-related supplies from ending up in landfills. That makes buying fabric here a bit more ecological.

The project requested by Kid No. 3 was a simple knit dress. So I bought McCall’s Learn-to-Sew M8064. It’s described as a pullover dress, fitted through bust, with neckline, sleeve and hem variations.   I made View C (long sleeves, crew neckline, knee length).

This is a very simple pattern with just 5 pieces (in View C).

This dress comes in sizes XS (4-6) to XXL (24-26). My daughter is a size 10-12, but I opted for the size Small (8-10).

This dress fits very large. If you make this dress, you will need to size down a lot.

I’ve been sewing for a long time, and have made a lot of items in knits. This pattern had an odd fit for a knit. 

In a close-fitting dress, in a knit, there should be negative ease. If you look at other popular patterns, the ease in the bust is negative, or zero.

  • True Bias Nikko Top And Dress 8101: -1.5″
  • McCalls 6886/8058: 0″
  • McCall’s 7561: 0″

If you look at reviews for McCalls 6886, 8058, 7561, people are often going down a size, to get that negative ease. 

If you look at this pattern, there is +1.5″ of ease in the bust. That means that going down just one size might not be enough.

I would recommend choosing the size based on whatever would give you about an inch of negative ease in the bust.

I ended up recutting the entire pattern, after having sewn it. What I finished with was smaller than the XS. I had to grade smaller, beyond the sizes listed.

I still had issues with the fit though. The neckline was very wide – more of a bateau neckline, and I had wanted a crew neckline. The shoulders were set very wide apart and extra low. 

I wonder if maybe the pattern makers used a pattern block for wovens and did not test? 

The pattern also used a 5/8″ seam allowance – which is odd for a knit (but typical for Big Four knit patterns). I had already trimmed down the seam allowances on my pieces before I started, but it was still very large.

I added cuffs to the sleeves and removed a bit of length. My daughter is a bit shorter than average.

In the end, after recutting, the dress is cute and does get worn, so I’ll chalk this up as a success. But I’m not likely to use the pattern again. It’s a bit disappointing, because this pattern had a lot of potential – cute design, multiple views that all look wearable, good instructions, quick to assemble.


Pattern Review: McCall’s Learn-to-Sew 8064. View C.
Fabric: Cotton Baby Rib Knit, Grey, from Our Social Fabric.
Size: S (8-10).
Cost: Pattern: About $15. Fabric: $18.80.
Sewing Level: Beginner
Modifications: I added cuffs, and recut the whole dress.
Results: Ok.

Roll the Dice: Lined Drawstring Bags

My kids have gotten into Dungeons & Dragons, so I made them tiny bags to hold their dice.

The pattern is the Lined Drawstring Bag from Jeni Baker Patterns. It comes in eight sizes and this is the smallest. My finished bags are about 4.5″ by 3.25″ by 1.5″(or 11.5 cm by 8 cm by 4 cm).

They really are tiny – just the right size for a handful of dice.

These were really fast to sew up. The pattern is very clear and this would be a great pattern for a beginner. The pattern maker has also done a sewalong with this pattern and there is an expansion pack.

The larger sizes would make a good replacement for wrapping paper, but here the bag is the gift. These were Christmas gifts, but I have a bit of a blogging backlog, so I’m just posting to these photos now.

The fabric is all from my scrap bin. You can use any quilting cotton, and buy fat quarters of course. But this is also a great stash-busting project if you do any quilting.

Each bag uses three different fabrics, so there is a lot of room for making these really unique. Each bag I made matches the personality and preferences of each of my four kids.

The only change I made was to use cording instead of sewing ties for the bags. That made the project a little quicker and I like the look. The cording was leftover from making gym bags.


Pattern Review: Lined Drawstring Bag from Jeni Baker Patterns.
Fabric: Quilting cotton (from my stash).
Sizes: Available in eight sizes. This is the “Tiny” size.
Cost: Pattern: $9. Fabric: 0$.
Sewing Level: Easy.
Modifications: I used cord instead of fabric ties.
Results: Great!

Spring Bunnies

What do you need for easter, besides a large quantity of chocolate eggs? Bunnies!

I used a free tutorial from for Spring Bunnies. This is a very simple pattern – the most difficult part is embroidering the faces.

I used some fleece I had leftover from making Arctic Trapper Hats. It’s maybe a little thick for this project, but I made it work. It does make them a little more hard-wearing.

I used silk embroidery floss for the faces. My embroidery skills are nothing to write home about but these turned out all right. I should probably practise a little. lol

The cutest part of this pattern: tiny bunny tails!

We do a chocolate egg hunt every year and these bunnies helped out and have been dragged around the house ever since.


Pattern Review: Spring Bunnies from ikatbag.
Fabric: I used some leftover fleece, in two colours, from another project.
Cost: Pattern: $0. Fabric: 0$.
Sewing Level: Easy.
Modifications: None.
Results: Great!

Pretty in Pink: Jalie 3355

For spring, my youngest asked for a hoodie. It had to be in her favourite colour: dusty rose. It also had to be incredibly soft. Believe it or not, I’ve never made a sweatshirt before!

I found the softest bamboo fleece ever. It’s a rayon-bamboo blend. After touching it, I think everyone in the house wants a hoodie too.

The pattern is Jalie 3355 Sweatshirt, Hoodie and Sweat Pants. It’s an extremely easy pattern – just a few pieces.

The only change I made was to use the same fabric as bands for the cuffs and waistband, instead of ribbing. That meant making the waistband a little larger as the fleece doesn’t stretch quite as well as ribbing does. I did buy ribbing online, but it didn’t match as well as I’d hoped.

Jalie uses their own sizing system, but this is the equivalent of a kids’ size 152. It’s a little oversized but in a nice way. It’s also a little on the long side. This is perfect for this particular kid, because she’s going to wear it with leggings most of the time, but if I made it for myself, I might shorten it a little. I also found the front kangaroo pocket a little small. Next time, I’ll grab a larger sized pocket from the pattern.

Jalie patterns include the equivalent of size 2T (toddler) to about size 22, depending on the pattern. That means that I really can use this pattern for everyone in the house. So it’s a simple pattern, but likely to be used many times.

I don’t have a serger – I used a regular machine with a special jersey stitch for the most part, and a stretch straight stitch on the hood and pocket. This worked very well.

I’m pretty happy with this project! The super-soft fabric means that this is very cozy and in heavy rotation!


Pattern Review: Jalie 3355 Sweatshirt, Hoodie and Sweat Pants.
Fabric: Rayon, bamboo sweatshirt fleece from The Fabric Club. Includes the equivalent of sizes 2T to size 22.
Size: 152
Cost: Pattern: $14 Materials: About $48.
Sewing Level: Easy.
Modifications: I used bands for the cuffs, not ribbing. I made the waistband a little larger because of this.
Results: Great!

Guest Sewist: In The Bag

The latest project from my junior apprentice, Kid No. 1, is a bag.

This is Burda 8235, Bag & Case, View A, which has languished in my pattern stash for so long I can’t remember when I got it. It’s part of the Burda Young series and great for beginners.

We made it a bit more complicated. For the exterior, we used a two-colour combo in twill.

Then, instead of a fabric strap, we used webbing, a rectangular ring and adjustable slider. This looks great, but honestly, I think it’s just easier and quicker to make the bag this way.

This bag is lined, and we used quilting cotton with a fun crab pattern. So cute! The pattern is Water Babies Crab Stripe by Sugarly Designs.

We also added pockets to the interior using some of the extra twill. One side has two larger pockets you can use for a phone, and the other side has smaller ones that are better for pens and smaller items.

The bag is just large enough to hold a standard notebook (US letter sized/A4).

For the front, we added two magnetic purse snaps following the directions in the excellent video, How To Install Magnetic Snaps, by Janelle MacKay of

The bag pattern doesn’t call for interfacing, but the twill is pretty hefty and the bag design is not that structured. Still, we added some to both panels where the snaps are located, for long-term durability.

Everything got two rows of topstitching. For the record, Kid No 1 did all the stitching. I mostly helped getting the modifications organized.

This bag looks great and is super practical. I have some nice complex bags patterns, but this was fast and the results were great.

As a bonus, Kid No. 1 made a pin cushion using the Hedgie Pin Cushion pattern from Sam Hunter and Janome. This is a free pattern and it makes a cute mouse, or a hedgehog, depending on how many pins you have. lol.


Pattern Review: Burda 8235, Bag & Case, View A. Hedgie Pin Cushion from Sam Hunter and Janome (free).
Fabric: Twill in two colours and quilting cotton (Water Babies Crab Stripe by Sugarly Designs) all from The Fabric Club.
Size: N/A
Cost: Pattern: ??? Materials: About $30.
Sewing Level: Beginner. Very Easy.
Modifications: Added bag magnets, pockets, and used webbing with a rectangular ring and adjustable slider for the strap.
Results: Great!

A Simple White Shirt

Why do something simple, when you can do something complicated?

I haven’t sewn much in a while, so this spring, when I got out my sewing machine, I decided to sew something just a bit more challenging – a classic white shirt.

The pattern is Liesl + Co.’s classic shirt. It’s fantastic!

The designer behind Liesl + Co. is the same as the one behind oliver + s. Her patterns are like mini-sewing lessons. Everything is presented in detail and you end up a better sewist by following her instructions.

This pattern includes a two-piece collar, tower sleeve plackets with buttons, and a continuous (cut-on) placket or a separate set-in front placket. There are faux-felled seams, double rows of topstitching, and a rolled collar. There are also tutorials for adding a popover front placket, turning the shirt into a shirt dress, or a tiered dress, and several pocket variations.

The best thing about this pattern: separate pieces for A/B, C, and D cup sizes.

I wasn’t sure what size to sew. During the pandemic there was a lot of snacking (sigh). Oh well! So I stuck to the measurement chart and ended up sewing the size 14 with a D-cup.

I wasn’t sure it would fit. The whole time I was sewing this shirt, I kept telling myself “It’s just a wearable muslin!”. “This is just practice!” “It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t fit, you’re learning!” And it takes a long time to make a shirt!

In the end, the fit was excellent. I usually buy shirts with some stretch so I can get them closed. I don’t think I’ve ever had a plain white shirt really fit properly. But this one is good, great even! It’s definitely better than any ready-to-wear shirt I’ve worn.

The fabric is some 100% cotton shirting that I got from Our Social Fabric, for about $14. The pattern calls for 2m, and I thought I would make a short-sleeved version of the shirt, but in the end, I was able to Tetris all the pieces onto 1.5m of fabric.

Our Social Fabric is a non-profit and its goal is to keep fabric out of landfills. They sell deadstock and donated fabric. I’m sure this particular piece was part of someone’s fabric stash once upon a time.

If I had to be really picky with the fit, I might add a centimetre or two to the sleeve length (a typical adjustment for me) and a centimetre to the arm with a full-bicep adjustment. I don’t really need it with this fabric, but I’d like to make the shirt again in linen and that has a lot less give. And in some fabric, like flannel, I might go up a size for a relaxed look. But my shirt is very wearable as it is.

The pattern doesn’t ask for interfacing on the sleeve placket, but my fabric was really thin (though opaque!) and sewing the buttonhole caused the fabric to bunch a little. You can barely see it. Still, I’ll probably add some (very lightweight) interfacing if I sew this again in a similar fabric.

I used faux felled seams around the arm on the inside, and everything looks as nice on the inside as on the outside.

This isn’t the first shirt I’ve made of course, but the number of professional features if higher than on any other I’ve made. I’m really happy with the results.

I’m already planning a couple more.


Pattern Review: Liesl + Co.’s classic shirt, available in sizes 0 to 20. View A.
Fabric: Cotton shirting from Our Social Fabric.
Size: 14, D-cup.
Cost: Pattern: $18.95 USD. Fabric: About $14.
Sewing Level: Intermediate.
Modifications: None.
Results: Fantastic!

Guest Sewist: Flowers for Spring

Over spring break kid #1 decided they wanted to sew something!

Although they’ve made some small hand-sewn projects over the years, this was the first time sewing a garment with a machine. The results were great! Especially for a beginner. I’m a very proud mama.

The pattern is Jalie 4020, the Florence Shirt and Shirtdress. The pattern-maker describes it as follows:

Boxy button-front shirt and shirtdress with band collar, cut-in sleeves finished with a band, and rectangle chest pockets.

I can confirm, it’s exactly as advertised.

This was my first time working with Jalie patterns. All the sizes come on the same sheet of paper (not tissue), nested (generally) and you just trace out the size you need.

The instructions were good, but a bit brief, and printed right on the pattern sheet. However, Jalie also offers stand-alone instructions for all their patterns as PDF downloads on standard printer paper. You can see the instructions for this particular pattern here. I love this! It’s so convenient for screens while you are sewing, especially tablets.

I also appreciate the large size range. It makes it easy to use the patterns more than once, and to grade between sizes.

The pockets are really large. We’ve already sewn this a second time in cotton gauze (photos soon) and in a more drapey fabric they look a bit less boxy. But that’s the design! It’s just like the picture.

This is a nice, easy beginner project – though I helped with the buttonholes and buttons.

There is no tricky piecing and no set-in sleeves – which is unusual for a button-up shirt, but handy when you are learning to sew.

The most difficult part for a beginner was turning the one-piece collar and edge-stitching neatly through all the layers of fabric.

The fabric is a floral cotton poplin – a great fabric for people just learning to sew.


Pattern Review: Jalie 4020, the Florence Shirt and Shirtdress, available in 28 sizes from 2T to 24. View A (shirt).
Fabric: Cotton poplin from Fabricville.
Size: T. Jalie uses their own sizing system, but this is about a size 14 in Big Four pattern sizing.
Cost: Pattern: $16. Fabric: About $20.
Sewing Level: Easy.
Modifications: None.
Results: Great!

Celadon Spring Dress

This is a bit of a departure – celadon! This is not my colour, but it’s also not my size either. 

Kid No. 3 wanted a grown-up dress, and this was what she picked: New Look N6696 in a celadon viscose challis. She’s a tween and this style was fashionable enough for her, but age-appropriate.

This is a slippery fabric to work with and not one I’d recommend to beginners. It’s slippery, stretches easily, and frays as you sew. But it’s also very soft and the drape is amazing.

Mostly as a reminder to myself, some tips that make this fabric a little easier to work with.

  1. Wash and dry the fabric (in the dryer) before getting started. It shrinks a lot.
  2. Cut using a rotary cutter. The fabric shifts a little too much with shears, and having everything start out very precise makes assembly easier.
  3. Mark generously if using chalk. The chalk rubs off very easily, and snips are impractical with the degree of fraying.
  4. Lay all the pieces flat and keep them that way as long as you can.
  5. French seams, rolled hems, and bound seams will keep things tidier on the inside of the garment. I zigzagged, and this was a mistake with this fabric.
  6. Careful with the iron – the fabric marks easily. But don’t skip the ironing, or the seams will look sloppy.
  7. Hang the garment overnight before hemming, as the fabric shifts. 
  8. Use a walking foot, or in my case the Pfaff IDT. It keeps the fabric nicely lined up while you stitch.
  9. Use a fine needle – I used a 70. 
  10. Use fine pins.
  11. Use a slightly longer stitch length.

The pattern is N6696, view B. View A has an open back, closed with a button, but I’m not sure that’s a great plan with this fabric. It would be cute though in, say, a cotton lawn. Challis is the first fabric listed by the pattern maker. That’s what I used. It also has a slit on the side, but that might have been a bit less age-appropriate.

I found the fitting of the pattern odd. I graded between a 10 on the top and a 12 at the waist, which should have made for a great fit. But I found that the top was good, a bit loose even, but the waist was still quite snug. If I were to make this again, I would grade to an even larger size at the waist. The neck was very high, to the point of being uncomfortable. I lowered the neckline by about 2cm. In the end, I cut 6 inches off the hem, so this pattern really had a lot of extra length, even with the shorter version. The sleeves also seemed a bit longer than the photo on the pattern. 

Assembly was great though. Had I used a different fabric, this would have been an easy project. As it was, with the challis and the close fit, it was a little more challenging. The instructions were good – accurate, and just detailed enough. The construction details are well-suited to the recommended fabrics.

This is perhaps the most invisible I’ve ever made a zipper. I also had good results with the bias binding at the neck, and a narrow hem on the skirt. With a different fabric, the results would likely be even better.

Will I sew it again? I’m not sure. This dress is not exactly my style, so we’ll have to wait and see if I get a request for another.


Pattern Review: New Look N6696 Misses’ Dresses available in sizes 6-18. View B.
Fabric: Celadon viscose challis.

Size: 10 graded to 12 at the waist.
Cost: Pattern: $10. Fabric: About $30.
Sewing Level: Easy, just not in this particular fabric.
Modifications: I graded between sizes, and lowered the neckline.
Results: Good. The design is lovely, but the fit was a little off.

Sweater Weather

I tried something new! Sweater knits!

I’ve never really sewn with sweater knits before, so I wasn’t sure this project would turn out, but it’s lovely and very, very comfortable.

Also, spring is a long way away, and there is still lots of time for sweaters.

The fabric is a waffle sweater knit from Our Social Fabric . Our Social Fabric is a Vancouver-based non-profit fabric store selling donated deadstock fabric and fibre arts supplies. Buying deadstock keeps fabric out of landfills, and the price is right.

This fabric very drapey, and very soft, (and it makes a lot of fluff when you are sewing!). I had to finish all the seams really well to keep it from ravelling. But it’s worth it.

I used some matching charcoal bamboo ribbing for the neck and cuffs. It’s also really soft.

The pattern is Hey June Handmade’s Lane Raglan. I knew I wanted a raglan, but I wasn’t sure which one to get. This one has a built-in full bust adjustment, and there is nothing fun about testing out an FBA on a raglan, so I was sold!

In retrospect, I probably didn’t need the FBA in this particular fabric – it’s very drapey. Other folks who have sewn with this have mostly gone with cardigans, and loose tops.

I made the version with full-length arms, no hood, and a curved hem.

I made one change – I lengthened the cuffs to be extra-long, and made them a little cone-shaped. The default short cuffs are single cylinders. And because this is a drapey fabric, I tool a quite a bit off the arms and also narrowed them a bit to fit the cuffs.

This fabric is a little slouchy, and adding the structured cuffs gave it a bit more shape.

If I had to change something, I’d probably raise the neckline a little. I did shorten the neckband because the bamboo jersey did not have great recovery when the weight of the sweater knit was taken into account.

I considered a different pattern with a high neck, but I already had a similar grey sweater with a large turtleneck, and it is distinctive enough that I didn’t need two. A funnel neckline would also have been nice.

I usually finish the hem in knits with a band or a double needle. But here I used one of my machine’s jersey stitchs (the one I never really use, lol) and it’s almost invisible, which is perfect. It looks a little bumpy here, but that’s just the lighting – it’s quite flat in real life.

This make has caused some jealousy because other people in my house want one too. We’ll see if there is any fabric left to buy!


Pattern Review: Lane Raglan by Hey June Homemade, available in sizes XS to 2XL (roughly size 6-20 in Big 4 sizing).
Fabric: Waffle sweater knit (49% Viscose 49% Polyester 2% Spandex) with 100% cross-wise stretch from OSF.
Size: XL.
Cost: Pattern: $10. Fabric: $18.75.
Sewing Level: Confident beginner.
Modifications: Extra-long cuffs, and narrowed arms to fit.
Results: Great!