Audubon Park by Park Bench Patterns

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The top featured in the image to left is the second effort that I’ve made with this pattern. I modified the pattern considerably by shortening the sleeves, taking in the sides, shortening the tail, and lengthening the front. I’m still not happy with the results, and I think I’m going to give up on this one. There are too many patterns to try and too little time to spend so much on one unsatisfactory pattern.

I made the monks cord, shown to the right, used for the “buttonhole”. It’s really quite easy to wind the cord using the bobbin winder on your sewing machine.


After much consideration, I’ve decided to change my rating of this pattern to “Would NOT recommend”. There’s only one size in the pattern, and that size is enormous and ill-fitting. The instructions are poor. The results do not look like the garment on the pattern envelope.


Skill Level
This pattern is not for beginners. While construction is very, very easy, the instructions are patchy. They assume a certain level of skill and knowledge. For example, no button markings are given, andthe instructions tell you put in the buttons and buttonholes with no additional information. In addition, only one size is given in the pattern.

Fit
I am 5′ 7″ (164 cm) tall, mostly leg, but I was weighing about 195 pounds (89 kg), before I got pregnant. I’ve gained about 40 pounds (18 kg). When I got the pattern, I was concerned that it wouldn’t be big enough to go around my DD bust. It’s plenty big.
I usually sew an 18 for my shoulders and a 20 or 22 for my bust in New Look patterns. Oh, and I wore the jacket the other day, it fits my very pregnant body.

I really like the fit on my neck. I don’t know if it’s the way the
neckband is put on or the pattern or what. I made my mother try it on. She’s my height, but she weighs 120 pounds, and wears a RTW 8 or 10 with a barely A cup bust. It fit her really well in the neck, too. I was testing Mary Lou Rankins assertion that this pattern could fit many sizes at once.

In the unaltered pattern, the sleeves are too short and the front is too short. I’m not sure if the front is short because I’m so big busted or because of my height. I had my mother try on an altered pattern, where I’d shortened the sleeves and lengthened the front, so I couldn’t make any conclusions about the effect of a large bust. I think the sleeves are supposed to be short.

You definitely need shoulder pads.

Fabric
This is a pattern for drapey fabric. I made the first jacket out of flannel and chamois. And while those aren’t stiff fabrics, they aren’t as drapey as a soft rayon, for example, would be. In the flannel/chamois, the jacket stands away from my body, making me look bigger.

I made the 2nd shirt out of a very drapey, sheer, cheap polyester. This is a test garment. I’d made a couple of alterations, so I wanted to see how it came out without breaking the bank or using a fabric that I like. It made a huge difference. The shirt fell in attractive, drapey folds over my pregnant body, and it looked nice on my mother, too.

Modifications
I made the first jacket exactly as the pattern called it out.

After seeing MLR at PIQF and going thru the samples she brought, I decided to try this pattern in a short sleeve version I also lengthened the front and shortened the back. I was concerned, at first, about making the alterations to the facings, but it was easy to copy the curves from the front and back pieces. And in the end, I used a rolled edge on the lower hem, so I didn’t need the facings.

So now, I’m very pleased with the neck and lower hem. I didn’t like the front being above my belly button and the back came down to my knees. The back is still longer than the front, just not as extreme.

After attempting the short sleeves, I’m convinced that the jacket is too big for me in the bust. It could just be that I don’t like all the fullness there. I wanted to have cap sleeves on the short sleeve version, and that’s what I got, but they came down to my elbow. If I want to make them shorter, I’m going to have to bring the armpit in some.

Conclusions
This pattern is for the adventurous. I’m not sure why I like it so much, but I REALLY like it. I think it has great potential, if I can get the fit I want.

Maybe what I like is that MLR is a wonderful inspiration. She’s very approachable at PIQF. She will take time and talk to you. If you e-mail her, she will reply. She encourages you to make the pattern your own.

I also like that the results from the pattern can look so unique.

Partners

My dh is great about giving me time to sew and craft. He used to take
Isabel out so that I could do that. Like he took Isabel to Great
America so that I could go to PIQF. I try and do the same thing for
him, so he can go fishing or whatever with the other Bill. Now that
Isabel is older, he will pick up some of the chores, like the dinner
dishes, so that Isabel and I can do art work together, like painting
pumpkins.

Isabel likes to play with my button collection or my thread collection
while I sew. She’s also fascinated with the sewing machine and serger,
so she like to watch me while I sew. I will give her scraps of fabric
and pattern-tracing-material and tape, and she will create her own
things for her imaginary friend, Bear.

Isabel is, so far, totally trustworthy. She’ll call me and give me the
sizzors or pins, if I forget and leave them in her reach. My plan is
to not leave them in her reach, but … well, you know.

Also, it’s easier for DH to do the chores then sit and watch us or
watch us & TV, then it is for him to interact with Isabel when he is
tired.

The thing that I do with DH is watch TV or movies. He seems to really
like to do that, and while it isn’t my favorite thing to do, it is a
chance to spend time with him.

Fairy Costume

Back in August, I laid out all the pattern envelopes of costumes or
princess-type dresses and had Isabel pick out the one she liked best.
She picked a fairy costume. Simplicity 8838, but I can’t get the
pattern page to come up.

Well, I took Isabel shopping for fabric, and she helped me pick out a
hot pink satin for the under dress and a translucent pink metallic
organza for the overdress.

I got the @#$%ing thing made, and she refused to wear it. She said she
likes the hot pink part, but not the rest. So I asked her if I put the
fancy decorations on the hot pink dress, which she would wear, would
she like her costume then? She said, “Yes, it would be fancy, fancy.”
I ripped the @#$%ing thing apart and redid it using the underdress.

Isabel has been very interested in the process and talks about my
making her costume. Whenever anyone asks her what she’s going to be
for Halloween, she says, “A Fairy!”

She still won’t wear the @#$%ing costume. I suggested taking the
costume to daycare so that Allison or Rachel could try it. She thought
was an excellent idea and that we could give the costume to one of
them.
I haven’t taken the costume to daycare because I’m sick, and I don’t
want to interact with the kids until I’m better.

Any suggestions? Even having the adored Lauren (neighborhood girl) ooh
and aah over the costume hasn’t made a difference.

PIQF, Great America, & Pumpkins

The Pacific International Quilt Festival was last week, Th-Su. I
wanted to go on Thursday or Friday, but because I’d been sick, I wasn’t
up to it. DH took me on Saturday, and since Great America amusement
park is across the street, he took Isabel there.

PIQF was good, and I’m glad I waited until Saturday to go, but it was
crowded. I like going during the week.

DH was bummed that Great America is so expensive, $40 for him to enter.
Isabel is free. But while he was waiting in line, some guy came up to
him and gave him a free pass to get in.

Isabel loved it. We’d agreed to meet again at a specified time, and
they were late because she was having such a good time. We managed to
keep her awake for the drive home, but she crashed as soon as we got
her to her bed and took a 2.5 hour nap.

DH had to go into work on Sunday, and didn’t make it back home until 1
pm. Isabel was driving me nuts. I don’t know how you stay-at-home
moms do it. Maybe if I was home all the time, we’d have a more
structured routine to the day. At 11:30, I asked Isabel if she wanted
the neighbor girl to come over and play. Of course, she did. So we
called Lauren, and Isabel was even willing to talk to Lauren on the
phone. Isabel refuses to talk to anyone else including me & DH. What
a wonderful repreive. Lauren stayed with Isabel until 2 pm. They ate
lunch together and spent the rest of the time in the garage (kid safe).
It was heavenly.

2 pm is nap time, but Isabel wasn’t having any of it. I finally gave
up, after an hour, and DH came an lay down with her. She only slept
for an hour.

Off to the Pumpkin Patch. Isabel picked up the first pumpkin she saw.
She had told us she wanted little pumpkins, and the little pumpkin
patch is the first you go thru. She picked out 5 more, but we got her
to narrow it down to 3. Then we went on to the big pumpkin patch.
Isabel really wanted a white pumpkin, so we got one, but those are too
hard to carve with their thick walls. After much deliberation, we
picked a medium sized one to carve. The pumpkins are pretty picked
over by 5:30 pm on Sunday. I also got some tiny ones to paint.

After dinner and clean up, Isabel and I painted the little pumpkins
with Gesso. I thought DH was going to have a fit because I put down
newspaper on Isabel’s table, but not on the floor, hardwood. And I
didn’t insist that Isabel wear a smock. Well, we showed him. Not one
speck of Gesso got on the floor or on Isabel’s clothing. I was
surprised, but since the Gesso is acrylic, I figured that it would be
relatively easy to clean off the floor and clothing as long as I got to
it immediately. Tonight, we will prime the bottoms of the pumpkins,
and tomorrow, we’ll start painting them. I figure at a night a color,
this activity could stretch out for weeks. 🙂

Play

I’m trying to engage Isabel in imaginative play with her baby dolls.
Mostly, I think because I love playing with dolls. Dressing them,
undressing them, changing their diapers, feeding them, patting them to
sleep. It’s all so satisfying, and dolls don’t cry.

Isabel also like her train and cars. We shoot them down a track and
watch them crash.

New Look 6959

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UPDATE (3/9/04): Reviewed for Stash Contest. This time I made the skirt out of some 100% polyester knit moleskin. It’s VERY short on DD. I choose the patterns based on her height, adjusting the waist elastic for fit. I think it needs to be lengthened 2 inches.

UPDATE (2/25/04): Reviewed for stash contest. The pattern is now out of print. I couldn’t find anything similar at New Look or Simplicity.

I made the tank top for DD. It was very easy, only 2 pattern pieces. The back is a 2 piece back, so there were a total of 3 pieces. Instead of a facing like on the dress, the tanktop instructions call for a 3/8 inch hem. What do people do who don’t have a coverstitch machine? I mean, I had to snip the hem allowance to get it to turn. The coverstitch covers this pretty well. I like binding better, I think. Maybe I’ll do that on the next one. I used a pink with blue flowers cotton lycra knit print that I bought at least 2 years ago to make nursing tops.

This is a great pattern for knits, and it worked great with the slinky knit. My only problem was that I had just made a Kwik Sew top & skirt for myself out of the same fabric,and I forgot to use a 5/8″ seam allowance on the kid’s dress. It wasn’t a biggie, and I was very glad it happened that way instead of the other way around.

I did all of the construction on the serger using the 4-thread-safety stitch. Because the dress is so little, it literally took minutes to sew all the seams.

I decided to eliminate the facings. I hate facings. I think they makes things look homemade in a bad way. Instead I finished all the hems with a 3 thread rolled hem stitch on the serger. This was the first time I used a metallic wooly nylon to edge a garment. It came out wonderfully. I did not use any stabilizer in the neckline. Since toddlers outgrow things so quickly, I decided this wouldn’t be a problem.

Unfortunately, DD is on a dress strike and refuses to wear it.

Burda 3177

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This dress is so cute, but not overly frou-frou, and with the vest, you don’t have to worry about matching plaids. I’m too impatient to do that.

However, if you do decide to go with a plaid, I’d recommend making sure you can straighten the fabric before taking the plunge. This was my first plaid garment, but it was not the first time I dealt with a fabric that was off grain. Unfortunately, I was not able to straighten the fabric. You can see the drift in the image. Even though I was not able to straighten this fabric, I decided to make the dress out of it anyway. So far, no one has commented on the fabric being off grain.

The instructions are good, and the sewing is easy. However, the sleeve cap is way too big for the armhole. I gathered it as much as I could, and it was still too big. I had to do some major trimming.

I would rate this as “I would definitely sew again”, but DD is on a dress strike. Unless it’s hot pink, she won’t wear anything but knit pants and t-shirts. Maybe by the time she’s in a size 8, I’ll be able to make it again, if it’s still in fashion.