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A Paper Pattern Poll

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I've lost count of the number of emails and messages I get asking about when I'll be stocking paper patterns. So, in the lead up to Christmas (yes, I said the C word!) I've been dipping my toes into some research, but I need a little help from you lot.

Which JLH patterns would you like to see in paper first?


The truth is, I'd love to to be able to provide all of my patterns in paper form, but it all comes down to cost and my location. Living in New Zealand has meant that it's been tough trying to source the components that go into a paper pattern at a comparable price to my fellow northern hemisphere Designers. I also need to make sure sending patterns out to customers doesn't cost the earth and finding the specialty printers and paper needed to keep things lightweight and good quality has been interesting.

BUT... I think I've finally settled on a solution. It does mean that I can't get all of my patterns printed on paper at once though, so I'd really like to know which patterns you'd like to see in paper first.

If you'd like to have your say, simply head on over to my little poll here, where you can vote for your 1st through to 5th pattern choice.

It'll help me out a lot and should only take a minute or two of your time.

Thanks so much in advance!

xx
J

ps) If you'd like to know how you can get your hands on paper patterns first, make sure you sign up to my newsletter. There are more exciting details to follow...

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The Mayberry Dress Tester Round Up

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Today I have a special treat. Some of my testers were kind enough to let me share some their finished Mayberry Dress photos!

I don't require testers to blog about the pattern, so I'm incredibly grateful to be able to share these makes with you today (along with some of their comments about the pattern).

I know that when tester makes are shared, there is the potential that what you're seeing is not what you'll get after pattern changes have been made. And while changes were made to the pattern after the makes you're about to see, rest assured that based on the feedback, the pattern itself hasn't changed all that dramatically from the original except in the larger sizes.

The 3/4 sleeve has been shortened as well as reduced in width/volume across the board, and the larger sizes (18-24) have been re-graded to remove some excess ease in the bodice. Parts of the instructions were also re-written, expanded for more clarity and typos fixed.

I go into a little more detail about how I approach pattern changes after a Testing round below, but let's look at some pretty Mayberry Dresses first!

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Khadetjes - 18C







I wore the dress the whole day, it's a pleasure to wear it! For me, the position of the dart is spot on, also very happy with the choice of cup.

I'm planning to make this dress again, I'm so happy with it, it's a comfortable yet fancy design... I am happy with the ease of the dress, normally I need to grade my hips into a pattern, so I was happy that I only had to use one size.

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It's a lovely pattern - really easy to make. I made the size 6D and the fit was spot on. I personally would narrow the sides of the skirt slightly, but I made mine in a cotton and it would work fine as is in a drapier fabric.

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Alyssa - 10A




It was very nice to have a dress/top that was already drafted for me instead of a B or C cup!

I feel like it fits great with enough ease for movement. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure about the drawstring waist (I haven't had good luck with those being flattering) but I do like how this fits - I'll be adding it to my general wardrobe rotation.


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I found the bodice fit to be really good, particularly at the bust. Found that the darts should have been a cm or so longer. I find the sleeves to be comfortable and I have enough ease of movement in them.

I think the pattern is really cute. I made it in a slightly stiffer fabric than recommended so it is slightly stiff at the skirt gathers, but I really like how the bodice works in my fabric.

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Michelle - 8C 



 

The cup size is great. I'm on the lower range of the C cup size, but I'm glad I did not size down, it would have been way too tight. 

I didn't make any changes to the darts or even the bodice length (which I normally do). I think it's a very nice relaxed fit. I really like the style and I can tell I'll get a lot of wear out of my dress.

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Jinx & Gunner - 8B (6 waist)




 

 This was the first pattern of yours that I've sewn up and I was really impressed. 

It was very professional and I was happy to see that you true'd your pattern pieces, for example, the hem of the short sleeve pattern piece actually flares out like it should. Also, the attention to detail, like reminding us to interface the area where we are supposed to ass rivets/buttonholes for the drawstring was great.

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  Christina - 22D



 

 The overall fit of the dress is good and it's comfortable. I did find it a little short so chose to hem it with bias tape. I seldom wear high necked garments as I'm very busty, but I do find that I like it. 

The pockets are awesome, love how they are inset a little bit and I really loved the construction of the dress, very intuitive and clean finishes. 

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Katrina - 14A


 

I like this dress so much that I decided to make two (I don't wear a lot of dresses). The fit is very good, I opted to use elastic for the back of my tie for extra comfort. I can easily get the dress on and off without the buttons being functional, I even sewed it up on my sleeveless version.

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I made the long sleeve variation, excellent fit. Perfect amount of ease in the shoulder and armscye. This was a very straightforward and enjoyable sew. I really liked how the drawstring was constructed.

It's a different silhouette from the 'fit & flare' style dresses I'm more used to, so it was a little harder to assess bodice fit, as it is drafted with more ease. I was tempted to over think the bodice fit (maybe I need to go down a size?) but I decided to trust the pattern and I'm so glad I did.

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I really liked the overall fit of the dress. The length was flattering and the drawstring waistband made it flattering. The dress is very comfortable and I love, love, love the pockets. They do not stick out and add bulk and I LOVE pockets!

 Overall I enjoyed sewing the pattern and felt you did a very nice job with details, illustrations etc.

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It's such a comfortable dress! I am so impressed with the fit with no alterations, it's brilliant. If I were to make it again, I would probably lengthen the bodice by half an inch (I am quite tall and I make this alteration sometimes) but otherwise it's pretty much perfect. The drawstring at the waist makes it very flattering.

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The general fit is excellent. The Tie waist is a great feature to ensure women can customise the fit at the waist without tinkering with the pattern.

What I really like about the pattern is the choice of cup sizes and bodice fit, the drawstring waist and it's design (very clever and easy to do) and the sleeve options. 

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Ellie - 10B





I loved making the Mayberry - I will wear it loads, it is a great work dress for me - comfy, not too tight fitting, modest neckline (all ideal for scuttling about on the floor with kids whilst looking tidy and professional). The instructions have resulted in a super neat finish and I'm really pleased with it. 

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As I mentioned above, I thought I'd go into a little more detail about how I approach making changes after I've received tester feedback.

Making fit changes to a pattern once you've received all feedback can be a tricky one because you can't always be sure whether suggested alterations are a personal preference or something that is more wide-spread. If testers have to make a change to the pattern, I always ask them to specify if it's a change they usually make or whether it's something new to them.

As a general rule, if I'm not sure about a suggestion (either I don't agree with it or it seems odd to me) OR if something is mentioned by two different testers (or more), I'll always look into it and get more clarification from the group or individual if needed.

For example, with Mayberry, two testers mentioned wanting a bit more room in the hips for the style of the dress but when I emailed the group, the general consensus was to leave them as they were.

So, just a heads up, I recommend checking the finished garment measurements included in the instructions to see if you might want a bit of extra hip room in your Mayberry Dress, just in case you fall into the 'more hip room' group.

Thank you so much Mayberry Testers!

xx
J
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The Pattern of the Month - The Laneway Dress, Part 2.

Friday, September 8, 2017


As promised, Part 2 of the Pattern of the Month Reviewer Round Up for the Laneway Dress is here. Part 1 is here in case you missed it...

This round up is a wonderful mix of people who purchased the pattern when it was released, people who tested the pattern and those that received a copy of the pattern as part of the Pattern of the Month series.

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Can you believe this is a wearable muslin? Me either! I first saw a glimpse of this dress on Instagram when Ally was cutting it out and the final dress does not disappoint. Ally looks so stunning in her Laneway Dress, it's like a perfect watercolour painting... 

Ally purchased the Laneway Dress pattern when it was released, so this review is not by someone who received the pattern in exchange for a review. 


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Claire was one of my lovely testers (thank you Claire!). The only big-ish change to the pattern I made after I'd received all the feedback was to pinch a little more fabric out of the inner dart. This made the bodice slightly more shaped under the bust and aligned the angle of the two darts to make them more parallel to each other.

Claire's version here is showing the pattern prior to that adjustment, but I think we can all agree that the fit looks pretty spot on (if I say so myself!), and we certainly can't ignore the fabulousness of the fabric she chose. Perfect.


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Lilia Visser



I am in love with Lilia's pleated sleeve cap! 

Definitely one of the best things about being a sewing pattern designer is seeing how others adapt a pattern to suit their own preferences. It also showcases all the different ways you can adapt one pattern and how many different garments you can get out of it.

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A bright, beautiful African wax print cotton, who doesn't love it? 

Wis made this exceptionally beautiful Laneway dress from a few precious metres that she had of this particular wax print, and if you look closely at the sleeve hem, you can see she cut the hem on the selvedge. It's such a lovely way to remind ourselves of what the fabric is, and bonus, no hemming! 

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Sue Lill







Oh dahlias, I'm so happy we're heading into dahlia season down here. 

Sue's dahlia Laneway Dress was one of the first dresses I saw out in the sewing-wild using the classic neckline bonus pattern. The classic Laneway dress neckline is just that, er, a classic mid-height neckline with no in-built collar.

I was originally going to do a tutorial on how to achieve this look (it's perhaps slightly more versatile than having a million dresses with asymmetrical or centred collars) and then decided to just add in the extra pattern pieces, because, why not? Extra versatility with a pattern is always going to be a win.

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New Mass Designs





Caroline designed her Laneway Dress with Hogwarts in mind. Um, YES! Can anyone guess which house she's for? 

Plus, did you see that pattern matching? It makes me so happy! Caroline chose the centred collar view and added in an additional waistband, because, bias

There is just no stopping her.

Hoggy Warty Hogwarts to you.

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Read Explore Cre8



I love Amanda's crisp, black and white Laneway, a classic combination. Unfortunately she found the dress a came up a little big on her, and from her photo, I do agree (although her husband thought the opposite - it's all in the eyes of the beholder, huh?).

One thing I definitely recommend with Laneway is to check the finished garment measurements. There is slightly more built-in ease because I was going for the 'look' of a fit'n'flare dress without the tightness that comes with a pattern of that style. Looking at the finished measurements will definitely help you to decide whether to size up or down (or stay the same!).

Having said that though, I still think it looks gorgeous on and I hope that Amanda is able to get some wear out it.

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Kate Will Knit







Another of my testers, Kate, made Laneway in one of my 'a little out there' fabric suggestions - flannel!! I know it sounds strange, but, lets bring back flannel as everyday wear guys! I promise it's the best thing you'll ever do, especially if you're heading into winter.

The maroon Laneway sample dress I made is made using a mammoth flannel, and it is so cosy and soft. And since Laneway is designed to give the illusion of being a fit and flare dress, without the tightness of that style, flannel is a perfect pairing, and I'm happy to see that Kate agreed.

Kate and I will bring back day-time flannel, one dress at a time...

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Octaves of Colour







Shelby made this Laneway for her friend Sharon out of a very light-weight viscose/rayon fabric, and while I suggest fabrics with a bit more structure, I'm always happy to be proven wrong.

Head on over to Shelby's blog to read a bit more about how she got the perfect shoulder fit for Sharon. The first muslin fit like a dream everywhere except the shoulders (sigh...) but after a few alterations, I think she got a beautiful fit. Don't you?

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Julie Chapman



More dahlia Laneways!! There must be something in the air...

Julie ended up finding the size she chose a little bit too big (as I mentioned above, there is more inbuilt ease in Laneway than my previous patterns - done on purpose to give the illusion of a fit and flare dress without the discomfort at the end of the day). But I am happy to hear that she's going to give it a go in a different size, and even though she found it a bit big, she is still happily wearing it.

Check the Finished garment measurements included in the pattern if you're unsure of what size to pick, they're definitely the way to go. But if you have any questions about picking a size, please feel free to email me, I'm more than happy to help you decide! Jen at jenniferlaurenhandmade dot com

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I love Nina's version of Laneway so much! Just everything, from the colour of the dress to the contrast collar, to the fit, to the beautiful buttons she used to secure her collar down.

Like Ana, Nina adjusted the bodice to make a sleeveless version and I think it just looks stunning. From what I can tell, I think Nina also took in the darts a little more under the bust for a super fitted waistline - stunning.

Nina purchased the Laneway Dress pattern when it was released, so this review is not by someone who received the pattern in exchange for a review. 

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Amanda was yet another tester for Laneway and this is the first (to my knowledge) of my patterns to make it's TV debut! I was so honoured that Amanda loved her Laneway so much to wear it on TV. That's a pretty great review all in itself.

Amanda also went for crisp, clean and classic, black and white. And of course I love the birds. Just put a bird on everything, okay? 

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I actually approached Lucy in the 'standard' way to do a review for Laneway (prior to announcing the Pattern of the Month series). I thought the silhouette was up her street style-wise, and thought she would be a good match for the pattern. I'm glad I wasn't wrong because seeing this dress makes me so happy. 

Vintage gramophones. Yes.

Laneway is such a perfect canvas for novelty prints, which if you've never taken a peep at Lucy's blog or instagram, are her specialty. Quick, go and be inspired by her beautiful and quirky fabric stash, you'll be reaching for yours afterwards, it does not disappoint.


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And there you have it, the first Pattern of the Month Reviewer Round up - and it was rather a success.

There are a great range of reviews from a number of different bodies and sizes and I was really pleased that everyone found the multiple bust cups a breath of fresh air. The reason I added A cups into Mayberry was because of all the positive feedback from Laneway.

All in all, I'd say the feedback was definitely fair, and I totally acknowledge that some people found Laneway a little too roomy. As I've mentioned throughout (as well as in the instructions for Laneway), it was deliberately designed that way. So, if you do like a more fitted dress (rather than the appearance of one) I highly recommend you look at the finished garment measurements first so see if you might want to make any size adjustments. And always always do a toile before cutting into your final dress fabric.

Right, bring on the next one folks! A little birdy told me it might be this pattern.

xx
J
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