‘Give me a shrug’ top

Okay, so by now you already know I’m a lot into testing lately. Yes, I’m that busy 🙂 Today’s post is all about So Sew Easy‘s latest pattern, the “Give me a shrug” top.

Give me a shrug top

From the pattern description:

Another pattern in the sew what you wear, real clothes for real women range. A casual t-shirt that looks like it has a shrug over the top, but it’s all sewn in one, to be super comfortable. A squared-off neckline that flatters all shapes and the loose fitting shrug collar really frame the face. A choice of 3 sleeve lengths, 7 different sizes and a host of options for creating a wardrobe of looks.”

This top is exactly what it says it wants to be: casual and comfortable, flattering and a wardrobe filler. It comes in 7 sizes – I made mine in size E, using two different fabrics. Both my fabrics are 95% cotton and 5% spandex, which I think is the perfect combination for this kind of top.

Give me a shrug top

It was cloudy and starting to rain – see the raindrops markings on my shoulders? 🙂 This is what I do for my blog! Have my pictures taken even with rains! 😉 I was like “snap that picture and let’s go, I’m getting wet here!!”

The instructions are very detailed, and the only tricky part is sewing the pleats on the collar. Deby also covered that and made a video for that specific step, so it becomes really easy. I think I needed around 3 hours, including all the changes I made. But if you own an overlocker/serger, you might even get down to less than an hour and a half to make it! It’s THAT easy!

Give me a shrug top

Back view – blurry photo, sorry! My daughter’s hands are too small to keep the camera still!

Now, the “fun” facts behind this top: I didn’t have enough fabric. The stripes one was about 0,80cm (a little less thank a yard), while the grey one was about 0,60 cm (2/3″). And I didn’t have another fabric that suited this project, nor the time to go search for it. So I scratched my head, and mixed the two fabrics as well as I could. Here’s what I did:

– I shortened the front and back bodice length by 2″ each (and I think I prefer this length on me);

– I shortened the sleeves above the 2/3 sleeves marking on the pattern (about 1″ above)

– I cut a 2″ strip from the bodice fabric, by the length of the sleeve at that point, folded it in half and sewed it to the sleeve, then sewed the sleeve as per instructions;

– I cut the collar with the stretch perpendicular to the grainline, and not the other way round, as instructed by the pattern (user error here, it was a late night cutting, and I didn’t have enough fabric to cut again, so decided to go ahead anyway. I was lucky that my fabric stretches a bit anyway);

– I cut the facing away from the front bodice piece, and lowered the center front by approx. 1 cm (3/8″). I then interfaced the neckline with interfacing for knits, and finished it with a 1″ strip of fabric folded in half, sewn right sides facing, then turned under, on the wrong side, and sewed;

– Because I cut off the neckline facing, my neckline gaped a bit, so I decided to tack it in place under the fold on the collar.

Give me a shrug top

Now here are some thoughts on pattern testing for Deby: she is a very special lady. She is different (not that other designers aren’t). I mean, when I test for somebody else, I know I must NOT modify the pattern in any way that can alter it, but I can embellish it. And I totally understand and agree with this. It’s just what pattern testing means: you test the fit, proofread pattern pages and instructions, sew that item (sometimes even make more than one, to adjust for pattern issues, if any) and provide pictures. Nobody says you MUST like a certain pattern or not (although I haven’t tested a pattern I didn’t like yet), or that you have to publicize it. But if you like it, trust me, you’ll feel the need to scream into the sewing world: “This pattern is great!”

What is different with Deby is the fact that I KNOW how her patterns fit me. Size E fits perfectly right out of the printer. No muslin needed. You can see it from these pictures, too. Bust, waist, hips – perfect fit in my opinion! The shoulders are in the right position. My chubby arms are well covered. So, then, after sewing the first two patterns I tested for her as they were written, I kind of became a rebel. I don’t know if you understand what I mean. I want to experiment with a pattern: twist it and change it the first time I sew it. So as soon as I see the picture of the pattern, my mind starts to wonder and see options and modifications. It was the same with this top: I saw the picture, and decided I wanted to give it a try. Then searched my stash, didn’t find enough fabric in one piece, so I thought about colour-blocking it. Then, when I didn’t have enough of these two fabrics, I just cut and slashed and made up as I went.  I could have cut the sleeves and made them short, seen that I didn’t have enough to make them 3/4 ones. But no. Because I know Deby doesn’t mind seeing transformations from her testers. And this lights up my fantasy! I’m being more creative! Thank you, Deby!

Give me a shrug top

And can you see all the different ways this top can be made? Chevrons? Going all one way, or up and down? Colour-blocking? All stripes? All stripes but collar in florals? Ikat prints? One colour only, for more elegant occasions? Oh, yes, this can definitely fill up my wardrobe! And you have to agree, it really is a unique design among the pdf patterns available!

What do you think, have I convinced you? Are you going to give it a try? You can buy it here: Craftsy or So Sew Easy Shop

xxx Mariana


P.S. I have received a pdf pattern for testing, but the opinions are all my own. I am not being paid to advertise designers, I just love to sew and share my thoughts and experience! This is how I actually learned how to sew – from other people’s experience sharing!


Isabella pleated dress and tunic and a discount code!

Hello, friends! Today I’m back with (yet another) pattern testing and review. This time, it’s the Isabella pleated dress and tunic by Ollie&Annie Collection  

Isabella pleated tunic

This pattern comes in sizes 12 months to 11/12 years, and two different lengths: tunic and dress. I made the tunic in size 9 for my tall 8yo young lady 🙂

For the outer fabric, I used a very lightweight cotton I won in a giveaway from Fabric Tragic earlier this year (thank you again! 🙂 ) . When I saw this fabric, I knew it was perfect for my daughter, but just didn’t have the right project. When Stephanie, the mind behind Ollie & Annie Collection, posted the tester’s call, I jumped right in, even if I didn’t know what I was supposed to sew. When I saw the design lines and the fabric requirements, I immediately thought about this fabric, and I was really glad I could put it to use. I don’t like fabrics that stay in my stash for long – it means I don’t need them.

For the lining, I used a plain white 100% cotton. This makes it a very lighweight top for those hot summer days 😉

Back to the pattern. I followed the instructions as written, and I must say they are very good. I mean, I have only lined a bodice once before, for my New Look dress, and the method was slightly different (the bodice is different). And this was my first time ever sewing pleats (!!! What??!! First time??? Yes, indeed 😀 ). There are step-by-step instructions that guide you to a perfect result. And I love how Stephanie provided a pleating template! Just put it on your fabric, transfer the markings, follow the instructions, and that’s it! Perfect pleats! I mean, you can see by yourselves! The front and back pleated skirts matched perfectly with my bodice!

Isabella tunic

The back features 5 or 6 buttons, depending on your size, and there is an intelligent way of handling them: button loops! Who is afraid of buttonholes? (Raise your hands!) Then, go check this pattern! 😉

Isabella tunic back

Ok, I promise I had ironed it before, but hey, this fabric is cotton, thus super-wrinkly!

Also, there is a button placket for the skirt, so the finishing is pretty neat.

The pattern calls for 7/8″ buttons, but I didn’t have any on hand, and the only haberdashery I could go to, didn’t have much choice for me. Come one, a haberdashery with VERY few buttons? I mean, I only wanted 7/8″ fuchsia buttons to match the polkadots on the fabric!! I hate it when I can’t find what I need!! So I had to settle for these ones, that are a bit smaller (3/4″). Because of that, I shortened the button loops a bit before sewing them to the tunic. BTW, I like these buttons, after all.

Isabella back

Close-up on the buttons. A loose thread, oops!

Isabella back

Yes, I like these buttons! 😀

The button loops length is the only change I made at all. When I made it, I decided to add this fuchsia ribbon right at the base of the bodice , and I like how it came. Although it doesn’t photograph well, it’s the same colour as the buttons and the fuchsia polkadots on the fabric!

Isabella tunic

Final thoughts on this pattern:

– If you stick to the instructions and respect seam allowances, you won’t have to fight to match the pieces. That’s how well they go together!

– The pattern instructions are VERY thorough (by this, I mean there are many steps to follow), so  believe it is aimed at beginners. If you can sew a straight line and finish seams with a zig-zag, this pattern is for you, too! More experienced seamstresses won’t probably even look at the instructions.

– If you’re a slow sewer AND a beginner, this will probably take you some time to sew, but it isn’t difficult. And it’s very rewarding to see how well you did, in the end!

– The tunic, as I made it, is perfect for summer, or for fall, if paired with a cardi. (I’m thinking about using it as a first-day-of-school outfit, if the warm weather continues here). But if you pick heavier fabrics (like corduroy, velvet, denim), you can make a perfect jumper for cold weather, to layer on long-sleeved tops! If you need inspiration, just check out the other testers’ versions 😉

– Speaking about testers, well, that’s just a taste of how you can make this pattern your own: colour-blocking between bodice and skirt? Printed vs plain fabrics used together? Sashes? Lace? Embroidered bodices? I think this is a blank canvass for your creativity!

Isabella tunic

And a special thank you goes to my darling young lady: she had a bike accident a couple of days before this photo-shoot, and badly bruised her knee and toes (if you look closely, you can get where I put some foundation on her bruise, as she didn’t want to show it to the blogging world 😉 With all the pain she felt when walking, she smiled for me in these photos, and even walked a bit!! ❤ ❤ ❤ Have to love her, right?

Isabella tunic

Well, what do you think? Love this pattern or not? 😀 Go get HERE it with a 20% discount for today only!

=  Discount code: Isabella20  =

xxx Mariana

P.S. I have received a pdf pattern for testing, but the opinions are all my own. I am not being paid to advertise designers, I just love to sew and share my thoughts and experience! This is how I actually learned how to sew – from other people’s experience sharing!

Everyday tank dress by Serger pepper

Hello, friends! Let me introduce you to Serger pepper‘s new pattern: the Everyday tank top and dresses. I was lucky enough to test it, and today is the big release day!

Everyday dress

Features of this pattern (from the Serger pepper site):

  • three length options: Top, midi dress, Maxi dress (actually, it’s a 3-in-1 pattern!)
  • optional in-seam pockets (with detailed step-by-step tutorial)
  • stop wasting ink and paper: print size-by-size!
  • option for printing only pages you need (depending on your option and size)”

I chose to sew the midi version. Well, I’ve been sewing for a while now, and I realized I had never sewn a dress in knit for my daughter before! Can you believe that? One of the easiest things to sew, and I didn’t do it!! And this pattern fitted the bill 😉

Everyday dress

For reference, my daughter’s measurements fit perfectly into Irene’s size 8. The only thing is that my daughter is taller than an average 8yo girl (she’s 140cms!!), and in RTW I always end up buying size 10, for the extra length. I knew that, but decided to keep the pattern’s original length. So, obviously, it’s a tad shorter than a usual midi length. But It’s better this way, because we are headed towards the fall, and as my daughter is outgrowing her clothes easily these months, I didn’t want to sew a dress that she would wear for a month or two. With the shorter length, she can use it either as a dress these last hot summer days, and she will use it for school days, layered like in these pics, until November. Moms will understand me 😉

Everyday dress

On to the fabrics: the white one with bunches of roses is a 100% cotton jersey I bought earlier this year from mamzellefourmi.com. It’s lightweight, soft and beautiful, but a nightmare to work with – it kept rolling at the edges (no, I didn’t have any starch spray on hand!). The navy one is a 4-way stretch I have used previously for the Straight leg pants. It’s beautiful to work with, a dream to sew, and it behaves exactly as I want. Together, these two fabrics wheren’t what you’d call “an easy sew”. I believe more experienced seamstresses would even look ugly at me for using them together, but hey, I’m a bad girl, I don’t like to behave! 😀 In the end, the navy jersey compensated for the white one being very light, and viceversa, the light one compensated the navy jersey being a bit thick where they are folded in multiple layers. I could say it’s all been planned ahead.

Everyday dress

It’s perfect for jumping, too!

As usual, the instructions are very thorough, with clear illustrations, and Irene is always available for extra help, in case you need it! Plus, it’s a very quick sew – more experienced moms will need about an hour to sew this. And no, you don’t need an overlocker, you can sew this entirely on your sewing machine, like I did!

Everyday dress

The pattern is a very good buy: you get a wide size range – from 3 to 14 years old – and we all know how hard it is to find patterns for young ladies over 8yo! Plus, you can sew tanks, dresses, all in one fabric or colour block them, add ruffles, ric-racs, lace overlays, just unleash your imagination!

Go pick it up, until September, 6th, Irene has a discount code for 25% on the entire cart, either in her Shop, or on Etsy. Just use code EVERYDAYTANK25 at checkout!


xxx Mariana


P.S.: I’ve just become an affiliate – this means that, if you click through the links to the Serger pepper shop on my blog, and buy the patterns, I will earn a very small amount of money. This will help me buy even more beautiful fabric to sew items for me and my daughter ;). Thank you!