The Arenal Shirt – Pattern Testing

This is my third pattern test for Kennis at Itch to Stitch and I was treated yet again to a fabulous pattern, this one being the Arenal Shirt.

(Here is my review of the Bonn Shirt and my review of the Belize Shorts and Skort).

One of the best things about her patterns is that they’re laced with instructions of how to improve your technique. As someone that’s only been sewing for a short amount of time, I find this to be exceedingly helpful. People have asked me how I learned how to sew so quickly and it’s just because I read the expertly explained tutorials like the ones provided in Kennis’s patterns. Sometimes I find the tutorials that Google populates when I frustratingly punch in “HOW DO YOU INSTALL A FREAKING EXPOSED ZIPPER” or “WHAT IN THE HECK ARE HONG KONG SEAMS??” to be helpful…..but I don’t do these types of searches when I sew with Kennis’s patterns.

I’m going to reel myself back in now and discuss the topic at hand: pattern testing the Arenal Top. What drew me this pattern the most was the gorgeous handkerchief hemline and the shoulder accents (I’m such a sucker for this feature). Also, you can’t have enough go-to knit patterns, especially rolling into the fall season.

The pattern features two different hemline options: the aforementioned handkerchief and a more fitted, straight hemline. There are also two different sleeve length options of 3/4 length and full length.

I think that this top is really cute for the fall. Admittedly, I don’t typically wear v-necks; however, this v-neck is soft enough and is really flattering. I was nervous about sewing my first v-neckband  but Kennis’s instructions were crystal clear and I was able to get an excellent result that I was really happy with.

The shirt came together really quickly and easily. The most time consuming part was pattern matching all of my stripes. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how many pins I used to get those to match up.

I love learning new finishing techniques and my favorite finishing feature (look at that alliteration) about this shirt is the mitered corners on the hemline. I think that this finishing technique really adds a professional finish to the shirt.

The striped version was my muslin version and I really love the way it turned out. For some reason I didn’t add the usual 2″ that I add to all my garments and it came out a little short on me (not surprising). The length was good for all of the other testers that don’t have Amazon woman torso lengths.

I used a rayon jersey and the drape of the fabric was really nice for the handkerchief hemline.

There are two lengthen/shorten lines in the pattern and so for my second version I added 2″ to the main bodice portion and 1″ to the hemline for account for my long torso and I love tunic length garments. The length is perfect. I used a French Terry for this version and I sized up to a size 8 for a little slouchier look. It’s just right! The shoulder accent is just the wrong side of the French Terry.


I will say that the handkerchief hemline isn’t as noticeable with the sturdier knit but I think it still turned out really cute!

Like all of her patterns, I would recommend this one very highly. I think it’s very stylish and versatile! The pattern is on sale for 20% using code “lakearenal” at checkout! You can get the Arenal Shirt Pattern here!

While this post contains affiliate links, the opinions stated above are solely my own. 

The Bonn Shirt – Pattern Testing

Don’t worry, Everyone. The pattern for your fall staple is here and it’s so good!  I had the pleasure of testing the Bonn Shirt from Itch to Stitch and I’m just going to go ahead and shamelessly endorse it because it’s fabulous!

First off, you would be hard-pressed (pun intended) to mess up this shirt. Kennis put a lot of thought into the clarity of the instructions and the detailing of the illustrations. Furthermore, because it’s a fitted shirt with a little more technical sewing and tailoring she has added supplemental instructions to her blog including:

  1. Fearless Set-In Sleeve (Definitely used this one.)
  2. Great Shoulder Fit  (Yep, read this one, too.)
  3. Dart Adjustment (Quite helpful as well!)

The supplemental instructions and the pattern’s tutorial will get you a fabulous shirt that’s fitted just for you. Like I said, it’ll be very hard for things to go awry for you on this project. (But don’t send me nasty grams if something does go wrong, it’s not my fault you put the sleeve placket on the wrong side.)

Now that I’ve prefaced the pattern with all that I’d like to add that it is versatile and stylish as well. It has two  length options and four sleeve options giving you a lot of fun fall and winter combinations.

Want to hear a we-can-all-laugh-about-it-now story? My button hole maker stopped working THE DAY pictures were due. When I say “not working” I mean that my needle was barreling into the stitch plate and getting crushed. Good times. So, my shirt is pinned together here. It’s all funny now though because I was, in fact, able to get buttonholes put on in time. The last picture is one taken after I was able to coax buttonholes out of my old machine. 

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I sewed up a blouse with the full length sleeve option. I wanted to do this one because I like the look of rolled up sleeves and I’d also never sewn a sleeve cuff before. Even for little ol’ beginner me, I was able to sew up the cuff very easily following the pattern’s tutorial. The drafting of the pattern is excellent and has the exactitude that you’d expect from Kennis. Everything lines up and everything has a clean finish. That said, for being a more tailored type design, this shirt is a fairly quick sew. Instead of having a separate placket piece, the placket is simply built into the front bodice pattern piece. There is no yoke and you’re sewing only one collar piece as it’s a Mandarin style collar (also, very much my style). I really liked this project because you got a nice tailored shirt without spending a ton of time.

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Sleeves rolled down.

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I’m glad that I did this combination because I really like the result. I also added 1.5″ to the length of mine because I like longer garments that are more tunic-like.

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Here’s a close-up of the collar (pre-buttons) and it needs some ironing.

I used a brushed cotton chambray from Moda and it was a dream to work with. I would definitely recommend brushed cotton for this pattern because it gives a flannel shirt type feel.

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Here’s my fall uniform! With buttonholes!

 

I would definitely recommend this pattern. It gives you a dress, a tunic, or a standard shirt. You’ve got a lot of sleeve options to choose from and this style shirt looks good with plaid, print, and solids (trust me, I saw all the tester photos). Go grab the pattern while it’s still on sale for 20% off. She’s also offering 15% off when you bundle two or more patterns together! You can get the Bonn shirt pattern here!

While this pattern contains affiliate links,  the opinions stated above are solely my own.

The Belize Shorts and Skort – Pattern Testing

Part of sewing my own wardrobe is deciding which garments are going to get me through different types of occasions and through most of the seasons. I put a lot of time and take a lot of pride in the clothes I sew and I gravitate towards the patterns that can give me versatility and durability. Enter The Belize Shorts and Skort from Itch to Stitch. This pattern is just that.

I sewed up two versions of View E. My muslin was a simple-patterned double gauze from my local fabric store, Stitchology. I have used this fabric for other projects and just loved pairing the tiny points of the fabric with the large, statement mitered corners of the skort.  Plus, I’m such a sucker for double gauze. My last few projects have been rayon and so this ultra compliant gauze was a dream to work with.

I sewed a Size 6 and I didn’t change a thing. I was a little nervous about it being too short but I love how it turned out.

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My second pair I made with, yep, double gauze again and this time I pulled out the stops and used nani IRO double gauze….and now I want to make everything in nani IRO. Everything.  I love how the vertical lines in the fabric compliment the mitered corners. Fun fact about this fabric though, the lines aren’t perfectly straight over the WOF (by design) and so I had to cheat a little and straighten things out for the cutting. It was a little nerve-wracking. Mission complete though!

Now, I want to stand by my statement about sewing versatile garments and so, for y’all’s benefit, I styled my View E for the dead of winter and took pictures of it…..outside….in the dead of summer…..in the southwest. I’m still sweating. I think that this pattern offers you so much versatility for the winter months as well because, remember, it’s not just skirt, it’s a skort and so you’re afforded that extra thermal layer on top of your tights.

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What I definitely want to mention about this pattern is how sturdy the construction feels. Kennis included reinforcement stitching for the seat of the shorts and also the pockets which made me feel like these were going to hold up for a very long time. The finishing on the inside is also well executed and I was really happy with how professional the end result was by following the pattern’s tutorial.

This pattern boasts five different options. There are three different short variations and two skort variations. The shorts offer an option for pleats, pockets and no pockets. You can also do a half-skort option (with shorts in the back) or a full-skort option as I sewed up. They’re all fabulous and I didn’t see a bad version during testing.

All in all, I would highly recommend this pattern. I’ve been wearing my View Es so much since finishing them and I’m already scheming about a linen pleated pair!

While this post contains affiliate links, the opinions stated above are solely my own.