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Indiesew Summer Collection: Ella Top & Harem Pants {pattern reviews}

2015 May 28

So, you’re window shopping on a summer Saturday – or you’re headed to a sparkly roof-top party downtown?  No problem, the Indiesew Summer Collection has you covered. (Crazy hair colour not included!) 

This year I have been lots more successful in making more of my own clothes. I’m starting to sort out what fits and how to make it fit if it doesn’t. It’s a great feeling to actually be able to participate in #memademay15 - and not just watch everyone else doing it! Today I get to show you how I expanded my handmade wardrobe as part of the Indiesew Summer Collection Blog Tour. (and I am not just a little giddy that I am in a tour with all these talented bloggers!)

Indiesew has been creating seasonal collections for about a year now. I’m a huge supporter of bloggers, indie sewing patterns and online fabric shops (especially in Canada!). I love that the sewing community has grown up so much in the past few years.

Indiesew’s mission is to bring everyone together. They have amassed a large collection of the best indie patterns and you can purchase them, upload your photos and view others’ creations – loads of inspiration. Plus, sewing tips and tutorials on their blog. Their branding makes my designer’s heart super happy! (Yikes, didn’t mean to go on a long speech there – I really love the back story to their site!)

Speaking of supporting Canadian online fabric shops, I found the small-scale check shot cotton for my Ella Top at Flare Fabrics during Creativ Festival. I had been hoping to use a gray check or plaid and was happy to find it so easily!

It’s my attempt at a summery nod to the lumberjack shirt trend, and it’s super soft. Though it doesn’t have much drape, I was hoping for a bit of a boxy, long “crop tee” look anyhow. They also have an amazing oversized check and so many colours. Shot cotton, rayon challis and chambray are my new favorites for clothing!

PATTERN REVIEW: Ella Top, by Liola Patterns

Fabric: Gravel Peppered Check Shot Cotton (Flare Fabrics)

This top is the perfect summer project. It’s beginner friendly and uses just over a yard of fabric. (Less if you shorten it!)    I want to make more and live in them all summer.

Here are a few things I love about it:

  • The back yoke detail is fun to play with. You could use lace, bias or fussy-cut fabric!
  • The pattern only has 15 pages to assemble! Hooray!
  • It is fully constructed with french seams so there are no raw edges and no edge finishing to do.
  • Well written, illustrated instructions.

Thoughts on the fit & my alterations:

  • The fit is true to the given measurements.
  • I adjusted the sides of the top to fit size small at the top down to medium at the bottom. 
  • I also did a small bust adjustment and sway back adjustment like I usually do on #memade tops. (Don’t be scared, they are not hard and let you customize the fit to your body.)
  • Raised the neckline by 1″.
Things I changed from the original pattern:

  • I love the length of the original pattern – but it looked a bit long with the not-so-drapey fabric so I shortened it by almost 5″.
  • I used my favorite imagine gnats trick - using a knit instead of a woven to bind the edges, soooo much easier. Bias tape and I don’t play well together!

Things I might change next time:

  • Use a flowy fabric. I’d love to see one in rayon challis – the shot cotton is amazing, but does not drape really well.
  • Make on in the original length or longer, or make it into a tank dress.

PATTERN REVIEW: Ladies’ Harem & Lounge Pants, by Pattern Emporium

Fabric: Black Rayon Challis (Canadian Fabricland, no link)

Since I am not so much a trendy fashion follower on my own – I love having the Indiesew collections to help me out. I don’t think I ever would have made myself proper harem pants without a little push – and now I want them in every colour. (And floral… and ikat print!)

Here are a few things I love about it:

  • The MOST options ever. You can make these pants 9 different ways. If you mix and match the options are almost endless!
  • Well written and organized pdf instructions with clear photos.
  • Comfy, comfy, comfy!

Thoughts on the fit & my alterations:

  • The first pair I made were really baggy. I sized down 1 size for these even though the hip measurement is smaller than my measurement. I’m much happier with a more fitted pant.
  • The only alteration I made was to lower the front rise by 1″. They already sit low on your waist (love that!) and now they fit me perfectly.
Things I changed from the original pattern:

  • Nothing! Aside from my alterations to the fit.

Things I might change next time:

  • I’d love to try a pair in a knit fabric with contrasting hem and waist bands.
  • Also, maybe shorten them to 3/4 length.
  • I would love to re-visit these in the fall with a bit heavier fabric (maybe take in some excess from the elastic waist) and hem them using the lounge pant option.


Visit the links below for more Summer Collection inspiration:

Tuesday, May 19th: Rachel | House of Pinheiro
Thursday, May 21st: Katie | What Katie Sews
Monday, May 25th: Anna | Noodlehead
Tuesday, May 26th: Andrea | Knitty Bittes
Wednesday, May 27th: Erin | Sewbon
Thursday, May 28th: Sherri | Thread Riding Hood (Hi, That’s me!)

 Reader Feedback: What is your go-to clothing pattern to make for this summer?

Thanks for reading. Follow along and join me for “thread ride”!

Disclaimer: Indiesew provided the patterns used in this post free of charge as part of this blog tour. Flare Fabrics also provided a discount on their fabric in return for a mention in this post. As usual, thanks so much for reading! All opinions are always my own.

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19 Responses leave one →
  1. Janette permalink
    May 28, 2015

    Seriously, you look like a rock star! In a good way, don’t worry. :) I love the shirt and pants! Great ideas for dressing up and down. Versatility is a good thing!

    • May 28, 2015

      Yay! Thanks Janette! I’m good with “rock star”, the hair is purple after all :) LOVE that you can wear these so much, too!

  2. May 29, 2015

    Great outfit! And, oh, your hair! It’s great. I’ve had purple hair too, but a bit darker than yours :) I’ve just finished a dress in the fabric I showed a while ago on my blog. Hope to blog about it soon, I don’t have pictures yet.

    • June 1, 2015

      Yay Mirjam! Oh my goodness I LOVE your dress! It’s amazing – and that fabric… It would look amazing with purple hair too! ;) Do you think you’d do it again? I’m finally adjusting to mine and I love it!

  3. May 29, 2015

    Those pants are great!

    • June 1, 2015

      Thanks Nikki! You should try some :) The “baggy fit” makes it easy to make them fit properly without many alterations!

  4. May 29, 2015

    Really cool outfit! I love how the tank looks quite different to the pattern version and those pants are just so cool and classic.

    • June 1, 2015

      Thanks so much Katie. I love that everything is comfy too! The shorter version tank is great for layering also. I’ve been putting longer coloured tanks under it and works great!

  5. Ann ( no e ) permalink
    May 29, 2015

    Hi Sherri,
    WOW ! Love the outfit, especially the dress up/down factor. I spent time today on the IndieSews site, a great idea that is definitely uniting the world of indie pattern designers, their products and great sewers such as yourself ;)
    I find your blog/tutorials simply the best as the directions / illustrations are so easy to follow.
    My first indie pattern was from Five & Ten, a jacket for my sweet pea Zoey. She loved it and wears it despite the Missouri heat.
    I am delighted to support the indie ‘group’ as well as being able to order fabric from Canadian suppliers. The new colours, teals, corals so vibrant and just plain fun.
    Enjoy the weekend, take care.

    • June 1, 2015

      Thanks Ann – it is nice that they are so versatile. And I LOVE Indiesew’s site. Really nice to have all of that information all in one place. I haven’t tried the Five & Ten set – but that’s an amazingly versatile set of patterns. Such a great idea! Have a wonderful week :)

  6. May 30, 2015

    This whole ensemble is so great! Makes me want to run out and grab some black rayon challis asap – they look so snazzy!

    • June 1, 2015

      Thank you Ashlee! They are super comfy – do it. And maybe grab a floral too while you are at it! :)

  7. Michele Timms permalink
    May 30, 2015

    Seriously you are a natural before the lens!!! Love your outfit, it suits you perfectly, and looks incredibly comfy but stylish too!!

    • June 1, 2015

      Awww…. Thanks Michele! It has taken (literally) years of practice acting “not like I want to” when we are taking photos. I’m glad it has finally paid off!

  8. May 31, 2015

    LOVE this outfit! You’re totally rocking it!

    • June 1, 2015

      Thanks so much Kaylee! I just re-discovered the blazer and now I’m wearing it with everything!

  9. June 2, 2015

    Wow Sherri, you look great. I love the hair!

    I also love the top, it’s a great fit with that fabric. The whole look is working for you and, as usual, your sewing is beautiful.

    • June 15, 2015

      Thanks so much Daryl :) I love everything and I’m really excited to make more!

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