I'm more than excited to introduce you to my latest "designer" discovery. I have been following Jennifer Lauren Handmade from New Zealand for a little while. I was interested by her classic vintage style. Last May, I had the chance to test for her and I was very impressed by the quality of her patterns. I will be blogging about that experience later this fall, I'm waiting to complete my fall version.
Over the summer, she put out a call for pattern reviewers, I jumped on this opportunity very quickly. I achieved very good results during testing and I was ready to try more patterns from her collection.
The pattern up for review this month is The Afternoon Blouse and Shift Dress. This 1940s-inspired kimono sleeves design features two decorative necklines. I decided to try the curve decorative neckline.
First of all, this pattern is a beginner skills level for the blouse and confident beginner to intermediate skills for the dress. You require a little bit more skills with the dress due to the details at the back of the dress and side seam pockets.
The blouse is designed to be tucked into high-waisted skirts or pants for a vintage look. It also works perfectly worn loose with jeans and high boots!
Jennifer Lauren Handmade patterns are drafted for a D cup (except The Laneway Dress which includes multiple cup sizes). I would recommend that you start with a muslin of the blouse to ensure the fit. Just remember this blouse is a loose fit. My muslin is the pink version. I selected a rayon fabric, which is very slippery and could be tricky if you are beginner sewer. I really love how that one turned out and it already made an appearance at work!
I like pattern reviews that includes a lot information, consequently I will try to provide details that will help you in your buying decision.
Pattern pieces. You need to start with reading the instructions before printing the pattern. This pattern includes 4 views and each view has it own pattern pieces. You need to decide on the view before printing unless you don't mind printing 71 pages. There is only one file for the A4 and letter format. Each pattern piece are labeled and each size has it own style. Regular makings are included (grain line, notch, tailors tack and lengthen/shorten line).
One feature I like that was not included in this pattern is the possibility to print only one size (layers function).
Instructions, I had no issue with the instructions included with this pattern. Each step was well explained and included digital drawings. A very detailed sewing glossary is also included.
Another nice feature is the finished garment measurements table. I like to refer to those tables to ensure the fit I want to reach. A size chart (metric and imperial) is also included to help you select your size.
After my muslin version, I went ahead with the same pattern pieces to make another version in polyester. I saw this fabric at my local fabric store and I knew it would be a perfect match (with my eyes!).
Modifications I made by personal choice. I'm very picky on the finishing of my projects. The instructions include clean finishing for the sleeves and hem. I wanted to push it a little further and decided to make one small change to my second version. I made French seams for the sides and shoulders seams. Below is the view from the inside (no expose seams).
This is what I did to create the French seam. This pattern includes a 5/8" seam allowance. I put the front and back piece with wrong sides together and I used a 3/8" seam allowance. I trimmed the seam allowance to 3/16" and press towards the back.
I rearranged the front and back with right sides together. I sew again with 1/4" seam allowance. Make sure the first seam allowance is enclosed and not visible.
Overall, I really enjoyed working with The Afternoon Blouse pattern. It was an easy pattern and quick. It is an easy summer (or fall) blouse that can take you from the office to a date night.
Disclaimer: I received a free version of this pattern in exchange of this review. The opinions expressed here are my own.