A freshly rebuilt Cabin

Today, I'm happy to announce that the Cabin pattern is back! I would say that it is 'New and Improved' but that saying always seemed a little contradictory to me. I suppose in this case, it's somewhat accurate.

I released Cabin in 2014. It was my first pattern and, admittedly, I was still figuring this whole pattern thing out. Not only has my vision for the pattern company evolved, but so have my design, drafting, grading, and illustration skills! I've always loved Cabin and it remains one of my most popular patterns to this day. So when the time came to have Cabin reprinted, I decided it was time to give her a bit of a reno. I've included some photos of my lovely pattern testers so you can see the new Cabin pattern in action.

Accacia (owner of  Make It Sew  in Lexington, VA) in Cabin V2

Accacia (owner of Make It Sew in Lexington, VA) in Cabin V2

Here's what you'll find in the 'new and improved' Cabin

I'm going to be real here and say that the drafting on the original Cabin was far from perfect. At the time, I didn't have a very wide pool of testers and missed a few key fit issues that might have been resolved through testing. The good news is, with a very relaxed cut, the style proved totally wearable and many people loved it just as it was.

However, from pretty early on I definitely realized a few improvements I could make to the fit and decided that when I reprinted the patterns, I'd make these adjustments. Though I've trained myself to be more relaxed in other parts of my life (like implementing the 3 foot rule), when it comes to my products, I'm a textbook over-thinker and very detail obsessed. So, of course, a few updates turned into a complete overhaul.

I assume that many other pattern designers run into the same issues and problems with their patterns after release. I figure, for the sake of science, I will forgo my professional secrecy here and share the nitty gritty with you all, especially for those of you who might be budding pattern designers (or just like nerd out on pattern drafting and fit!)

Fit updates

Bérangère (  @louetlette  ) in V2

Bérangère ( @louetlette ) in V2

Bérangère (  @louetlette  ) in V1

Bérangère ( @louetlette ) in V1

When I originally created Cabin, I included instructions for an FBA. While this proved helpful for bigger busted sewists, the traditional FBA messed with the overall silhouette a bit. Following in suit with Moderne, I decided to include two bust size options in the new Cabin. The pattern piece for Bust Size 2 includes a slightly larger dart but keeps the overall proportions of the rest of the garment the same.

Tessa (  @the_fabricker )  made her Cabin V3 using bust size 2

Tessa ( @the_fabricker ) made her Cabin V3 using bust size 2

The original Cabin sleeves were quite snug. I've always had pretty shrimpy arms (and my dress form has none!) so this was an easy oversight with a limited tester pool. Cabin 2.0 has much roomier sleeves. The yoke is also wider so you see more of it, which is great when using a contrast print.

Daniela's (  @danicreates  ) Cabin V1

Daniela's ( @danicreates ) Cabin V1

The pattern was originally envisioned as a sort of shift or short dress, most likely to be worn over leggings. However, I found that for many people, the length was neither here nor there: a touch too long for a tunic and a bit too short for a dress. I added a dress length option, and shortened the original length slightly to create a tunic length.

Daniela's ( @danicreates )dress V3

Daniela's (@danicreates)dress V3

Chinelo (  @sewwow  ) in V3

Chinelo ( @sewwow ) in V3

While I love the swingyness of the boxy back pleat shift, I found that some folks were interested in the idea of a more fitted Cabin and it peaked my interest as well. So as an experiment, I played around with switching the back pleat to darts and loved the fit, so I thought I'd include it in the new Cabin for more versatility!

Anna (  @freshslicedpeaches  ) in Cabin V2 w/ back darts.

Anna ( @freshslicedpeaches ) in Cabin V2 w/ back darts.

Cabin Back Darts freshslicedpeaches - Anna Hannan.JPG

Extended sizing! Starting with Geodesic, I extended my size range to go up to a 50" bust. The new Cabin includes this extended sizing.

Other pattern updates

Product design is involved. There are all sorts of elements you can only prototype so far before you produce 1000+ copies. It took me a while to refine the envelope design for my patterns and I think I finally nailed it when Geodesic was printed. As each pattern gets reprinted, It uses this new cover design and includes large instruction sheets as well as patterns printed on tissue paper rather than copy paper.

With Geodesic, I also decided to retire the artist cover series. While I loved the concept in theory, the covers weren't always able to clearly convey the garment. I decided to switch over to illustrating the covers myself and trying to show the clear lines of the garment on a variety of body types while still retaining some fun, hand drawn character.

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In case you're curious, my cover designs are based on vintage photographs. I love fashion history and find candid images of women in clothing through history to be absolutely wonderful. I keep an eye out for vintage photographs where the subjects look like somebody I'd want to be friends with (and their clothing, if you squint, perhaps looks like the garment in the pattern. I take some creative liberties 😉).

Also included in Cabin 2.0 are updated instructions with clearer illustrations and descriptions of tricky techniques. I also decided to free up some real estate in the instructions for a section about making your own bias tape by removing the seam finish instructions. Instead, I'll be creating a thorough seam finish resource on my website in the upcoming weeks.

The original Cabin instructions were hand-drawn on paper, scanned, cleaned up, etc.

The original Cabin instructions were hand-drawn on paper, scanned, cleaned up, etc.

Starting with A-frame, I switched to creating much clearer and more consistent illustration digitally.

Starting with A-frame, I switched to creating much clearer and more consistent illustration digitally.

While I think I might have gone a bit overboard on a pattern that many of you already loved, I feel like the changes are the kind you don't always see but appreciate (like those structural repairs and little functional updates you make on a house that nobody will likely ever notice. Can't skip a house metaphor!)

Most importantly...

If you've already bought Cabin (especially the paper version) I want to share the bounty of her updated-ness with you for a little while without you having the buy the pattern again. For the first week (7/19/- 7/26) I'll be offering a free PDF update to anybody who has purchased a PDF or paper copy of Cabin. To get your update, visit this page and follow the instructions!

 

It's Sewing Indie Month!

Today is September 1st, which marks the start of Sewing Indie Month, a month-long celebration of indie sewing patterns where designers collaborate to bring you fun blog posts and informative tutorials. It's accompanied by a sew-along contest with fantastic prizes.

All month, participating designers will be posting tutorials and interviews. I'm super proud to be kicking off the month today with a Ginger jean skirt tutorial over at Closet Case Files!

Sewing Indie Month HQ will be the Sew Independent site, where you can keep up to date with the latest SIM news.

But wait, there's more! We'll be doing another bundle sale including up to 10 patterns by amazing indie designers.

The sale will run from Tuesday September 1st through Thursday September 10th.

Just like the last bundle, you choose the price you want to pay. The more you pay, the more rewards you'll receive. 20% of bundle proceeds will be donated to Women for Women, which helps women dealing with violence, marginalization, and poverty due to war and conflict.

Click here to learn more, see samples of these patterns, and purchase the bundle on Sewindependent.com

This bundle features two brand new patterns: The Kinga Skirt by Kate & Rose and the April 1962 Coat by SomaPatterns. During the sale you can only buy them as part of the bundle. 

But that's not all...

We're also hosting a sew along contest for all of the patterns included in both bundles! There are fabulous prizes to be won in 3 categories

Want to learn more about SIM designers and the sewalong contests?

About the designers

Contest rules & Entry page

Contest prizes page

Blog Calendar Page

Indiesew Fall Collection

Lately I've been trying to create more outfit friendly garments. I've been having a bit of a waxing/waning wardrobe identity crisis lately (don't we all every few years?) which feels funny since 80% of my wardrobe is me made. Where did I go awry? I'm definitely guilty of making pretty things that I like in theory, but don't go with any of my other clothing. There are many reasons for this...style changes,  color palette realizations, and more. I've been working towards a more thoughtful sewing list (as I have seen many others do as of late!)

When I received the email that Cabin would be part of this year's Indiesew Fall Collection I was beyond psyched. The collection includes 2-4 other awesome patterns that pair perfectly with Cabin.

The mini collection features Cabin, the Laurelhurst Cardigan by Straight Stitch Designs, and the Sloan Leggings by Hey June.

The full collection includes those three patterns, plus the Beatrix Blouse by Made by Rae and the London Backpack by LBG Studio.

When I saw the collection I felt compelled to hop on the blog tour (bus? van? train?) and create an entire outfit from the mini collection! If I had time, I'd have gone for the other two patterns as well. In the future perhaps!

For my Cabin, I decided to use a Nani Iro print from last year that I'm pretty sure I bought with the intention of making a Cabin, but before I had my color palette realization. I don't think neon yellow and pink qualify as earth tones...though I suppose a pop of neon here and there is alright. But I'd bought the fabric and it had to be made. While it may not go into weekly rotation, I think it turned out quite well! And it goes nicely with earthier colors.

I had a heck of a time finding fabric to coordinate for the bias binding and pockets. I didn't want it to compete with the print and I couldn't find a solid that felt quite right. You know what I ended up using? Muslin! Scraps and cut up samples from my stash, no less! With some neon pink top stitching, it looks quite lovely. Here's to recycling!

   Who knew I had neon pink thread in my stash and that I'd ever use it!

 

Who knew I had neon pink thread in my stash and that I'd ever use it!

I also decided to use one of my little cabins (free embroidery pattern here) to embellish the back.

The Laurelhurst cardigan is a breeze to make! I think I cut and sewed the whole thing in an hour or so. I made it in a fairly stable knit - limited stretch -  so I added a 1/4" width to the sleeves to make sure they weren't too snug. Otherwise, I sewed up the pattern as is all on my serger.  This cardigan is super earthy and it makes a great counterpoint for the neon Cabin shift. At first I wasn't sure about all the front drape volume but once it was sewn up, I loved it. I can see this getting a lot of use in the fall! 

The fabric came from one of those discount fabric online retailers (specifically Fashionfabricsclub.com). I almost never order fabric online unless I know very specifically what it is, especially from these kind of sites. I bought this jersey on a whim because the color looked quite nice and seemed to have a texture. I have to say, I was really pleasantly suprised! I had bought it originally for the Sloan leggings, but it didn't have enough stretch. Luckily, it turned out to be the perfect fabric for the Laurelhurst. I think the fabric is still available here! The color could best be described as Texas Dirt, rusty colored with flecks of black and orange. The interior of the fabric feels slightly brushed...like a very light sweatshirt fabric. 

The Sloan leggings almost didn't happen, but I really wanted to make them! I've needed a good leggings pattern for running and wearing under shifts and this fit the bill. I made the capri version, the perfect length for having a little something under a short skirt on a hot day. And no, they're not hemmed yet. I couldn't make up my mind about adding a cuff this morning so I folded the excess under and they stayed. So it works for now.

 I really wanted to find an unusual fabric for these that would look neat without competing with the nani iro print. I searched high and low for the just the right fabric but couldn't find exactly what I wanted. Anybody know a good source for an indigo hue medium weight organic cotton spandex jersey with a slight slub? Didn't think so. I think I definitely struggle with the never quenchable desire for "the perfect fabric". I think for my next pair, I'll pick up some undyed heavyweight jersey and try my hand at Indigo (Indiesew has a fun tutorial on indigo dying, btw.)

Since the rust colored fabric didn't work for the leggings, I used a lightweight 4 way stretch jersey in my stash, in a nice cool grey that complemented my statement print. I wanted to utilize the contrast design, but without the right fabric to pair I couldn't see it happening. Since I'd already printed out that version of the pattern, I decided to use the seams as a design detail, figuring they would really show on the light colored knit. I think it worked out.

A friend helped me take these 'gritty back alley' shots (the alley behind JP K&S of course!) She always makes me laugh and catches it on camera!

A friend helped me take these 'gritty back alley' shots (the alley behind JP K&S of course!) She always makes me laugh and catches it on camera!

I'm looking forward to making this pattern again (with a few alterations, it will d be my go-to leggings pattern) in a tech fabric for running and - hopefully - in a midweight indigo dyed jersey...perhaps even thick enough to venture into leggings-as-pants territory! We'll see.

Allie, as usual, has put together such a great collection: all the patterns work beautifully together! I'm looking forward to making up Beatrix, perhaps in the long sleeve layered over a Cabin, and the London backpack as well.

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour!

Monday, August 24th: Lauren |  Right Sides Together

Tuesday, August 25th: Lori | Girls in the Garden

Wednesday, August 26th: Kimberly | Straight Stitch Designs

Thursday, August 27th: Trine | Groovy Baby and Mama

Friday, August 28th: Taylor | Blueprints for Sewing

Monday, August 31st: Erin | Sewbon

Tuesday, September 1st: Elena | Randomly Happy

Wednesday, September 2nd: Tara | Girl Like the Sea

Thursday, September 3rd: Lola | Love Lola

The little blouse that could.

One of the patterns available as part of the 1st Sewing Indie Month bundle is the Sutton Blouse by True Bias. I've seen this blouse around a lot on the 'gram as well as the web. At first I thought, "This is cute and my style! It's a bit like the Cabin top...I'll just make another Cabin."

But upon closer inspection it had some details that were quite different. These differences became even more pronounced as I began to sew. Perhaps Sutton is similar to Cabin in style, but the construction is very different and I like it. Opportunity for french seams? Awesome. Center front seam? Not usually my thing...but boy does it make for a lovely & easy neckline finish! I love a side vent and the extra deep hem helps the fluid fabric hang nicely.

This top almost didn't happen, as I'll explain below, but I'm so glad it did! I love both the muslin (wore it yesterday) and the altered version (wore it today). But getting to this point was quite the process!

Part I: Pattern printing problems

We've all done it. Without thinking, I printed the pattern 'sized to fit page' instead of at 100%. I had been printing non-pattern things earlier and had wanted something resized to fit the page. Then when I went to print the pattern, it was still on that setting. After printing, I noticed that the top seemed awfully big and I was right. When I went back to the computer to check, it appeared I had printed the pattern at 107%. This doesn't sound like much, but it made a big difference.

I managed to re-draw the pattern to scale by choosing a reference point and plotting new points after calculating where they would be at 100% scale. Sound confusing? It took me a while to figure it out, but I think I did it. I'm thinking about posting a tutorial for this in the future...though arguably it's easier to just re-print and assemble the pattern :)

Part II: Not enough fabric

I picked out a beautiful polka dot rayon crepe from my stash that I bought at Stounemountain & Daughter. But I ran into a problem: I only bought a yard of this fabric! And from a store in CA no less, so no opportunity to run over and pick up some extra. Why?

Now, I wouldn't call myself cheap per say, but when it comes to 'stashing' fabrics - aka fabrics that aren't purchased for a specific project - I tend to be pretty frugal. Super fancy fabrics I sometimes only buy 1/2 a yard! What could I make with that? Most fabrics I purchase a full yard, but still...there are seriously very few garments to be made with 1 yard of fabric. I may have to up my minimum to 1 1/2.

After wrestling with layout after layout, I decided it would help to squeeze a bit out of this top. From looking at the flat pattern, it appeared some length/width alterations might be necessary anyway. I really really really wanted to use this fabric. I had to make it work.

So I decided to make a wearable muslin. I used a mystery fabric from my stash that had languished unused and could either be awesome or hideous as a final garment. I had originally planned to give the fabric away, so I decided to give it a go. The fabric was very stiff...felt like it had starch in it. You'd think it would make for easy sewing but it was quite shifty! Think like a loosely woven cotton organza.

Here's me snuggling Pin outside in the grass in my muslin.

Here's me snuggling Pin outside in the grass in my muslin.

Anyway, the finished muslin turned out great, but it does give a bit of a 'wings' effect as the sleeves stick straight out rather than drape. Though with my body shape, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. (I've been working on a cool wardrobe planning project which I hope to share soon...very helpful for visualizing silhouettes on the body).

Ready for the serious version, I laid out the fabric in a single layer and wracked my brain for possibilities. I ended up just squeezing all the pieces in there by:

  • Cutting the yoke as two pieces (adding a center seam)
  • Cutting front & yoke on the lengthwise grain and the back on the cross grain
  • Shortening the final pattern by 1" and taking 1" from the center front of both front pieces (basically, a poor man's SBA), redrawing the neckline.
  • Shortening the yoke/sleeve by about 1/2"

And you know what? With all those changes, I think the fit is perfect! I'll be sure to carry those on to the next version. There will definitely be a next version!

This crepe is beautiful but shifty as all get out... did a lot of rotary cutting on this one! Sewing it was a lot of fun. I'm a big fan of french seams, both in how they're sewn and the way they look in a sheer fabric. I really took my time sewing due to the tricky fabric and am happy to report that I only made 1 really silly mistake: sewing the CF french seam backwards. Luckily this fabric was very easy to unpick. Shifty fabrics are usually also a pain to pick. Perhaps I picked just the right stitch length!

Fabric choice is key for this pattern. Though I like the way the stiff linen mystery floral version turned out, I definitely prefer the drape and flow of the rayon crepe for this pattern. I think it's just the right fabric for this pattern!

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The skirt, by the way, is A-Frame! It's made up in some Robert Kaufman Essex Linen. I made a size bigger than usual for a more relaxed fit...nice for summer. More of a straight skirt than a pencil fit. After looking at the pictures, I think I might forgo the high-low hem on the next one. But there will definitely be a next one!

The Sutton Blouse, as well as my new pattern Saltbox, are available as part of the Sewing Indie Month August Bundle.

Click here to check out this awesome bundle!

Have you ever pulled a serious craft 'MacGuyver' to save a project? How'd it turn out?