Today Steph at Cake Patterns finally posted the winners of the Hummingbird sewalong. This was Steph’s third full pattern release and the third sewalong she has personally hosted. And, since I am the BIGGEST Cake Patterns fan, naturally, I participated :-).
More on this in a minute.
For those of you not familiar with Cake Patterns, then you are in for a treat! Let me go off on a tangent for a bit and tell you more. It is a new, independent pattern company spear headed by Steph, where she drafts what she calls “sewable, wearable, re-make-able basics. Always with pockets.” But, these patterns are anything but BASIC! They are fun, flirty, have a vintage vibe while remaining modern, and most importantly, have the most AMAZING sizing system than any other pattern company out there to date. And, most of them are knit patterns (BONUS!!! No ironing!!!!)
If you have ever sewn from a pattern other than Cake Patterns, then you know they are all based on the same arbitrary clothing sizing you see in the malls and clothing stores. The number don’t mean anything, and they are based on antiquated sizing guides from at least 60 years ago. And, just like in the stores, a size 12 at one company is not the same as a size 12 in a different pattern company.
SOOOOOO not helpful. SOOOOOOO frustrating.
Especially for someone (like me) who started sewing again to make clothing that actually FITS instead of settling for ill fitting ready to wear (RTW) clothing mass produced and hanging on racks at the Gap.
Enter Stage Left: Cake Patterns!
Cake Patterns sizing is based on, wait for it, …….. your actual MEASUREMENTS! Now, for all of you that just fell on the floor screaming and declaring that you are willingly remaining ignorant of the precise measurements of your body, then let me tell you a little secret: You clothes will never fit. Get over it. Get out the tape measure. Get a glass of wine if you need to to get through the process. Invite your sense of humor and a helper and get accurate measurements. Just do it. You will thank me later after you get over yourself.*
Then, crack open a Cake Patten and marvel at it’s elegance and usefulness. Here, you will find a sample of a Cake Pattern bodice piece that I have already altered (Bonny Sailor Knit Top RiFF from Cake Patterns):
See all of those little black triangles and lines? Those are measurements. So, after you have measured yourself, instead of choosing an arbitrary size on a pattern piece, you use your own measurements to draw a few lines and make your own custom pattern piece specifically tailored to your exact body measurements.
Here’s an example: First, I measured my front waist length, full bust, full hip, waist size, and full hip length. I determined that based on the sizing guide on the pattern and my full bust measurement I needed to use the size 35 bodice. Then, I found my front waist length line on the pattern (17″) and them marked my waist size (36″) triangle. I drew a line from the size 35 underarm seam to this dot. Next, I found my full hip length line on the pattern (23″) and then marked my full hip size (46″) triangle. I connected the two lines, smoothed them out a little, and got the side seam shape you see above. Do you know what this makes? Subtle shaping in a knit top tailored to my EXACT measurements. Ah yeah!
All of Cake Patterns are based on this intuitive sizing scheme and will almost guarantee you will have a great fitting garment “straight out of the box.”
OK. Tangent complete. Back to the sewalong.
The most recent full pattern release was the Hummingbird:
It includes patterns for both a knit top and a woven skirt. Each garment has a “challenge” variation, so you can make four different garments. Nice!
The knit top has a cute peplum and a horseshoe neckline. The challenge variation includes using a wider neckline and inserting a dickey – tres chic! It is also quite easy to skip the peplum and extend the length of the top straight down. The skirt is a straight skirt with panel pockets, seaming down the front, and the option to add a 1930s inspired flounce in the back.
Just like Steph’s other patterns, Tiramisu and Pavlova, once the pattern was released she hosted a sewalong specifically geared towards beginners or time poor sewists, breaking up the sewing steps into manageable, 30 minute chunks. She also populates her website with TONS of sewing, fitting, and sizing support. She really holds you hand through every step of the way (if you need it), but also provides ample opportunity to “hack” and “mod” the patterns, really making them your own.
For an added layer of fun, she sorted any presales of the pattern into “houses” and we had a little competition. Whatever house stitched the most garments by the end of the sewalong won a $10 gift certificate to Cake patterns! Squeeeeeeee!Anyway, long story short (too late), my house, Sabrewings, won!!! And, without further ado, here are the garments I stitched during the sewalong:Hummingbird “Green” knit top. I had a few issues getting the fit right, considering I am a little short, but have a high natural waist. I think I found a good balance with this top, but I am not 100% satisfied with it. Perhaps it’s the beefy sweater knit I used? Perhaps the peplum seam line is a tad too high? Perhaps I just need to wear a belt with it (note to self: go buy a belt).Hummingbird “Blue” challenge knit top and “Orange” skirt. I skipped the peplum on this top and extended the length down. See that subtle shaping on the side seams??? Only possible with Cake Patterns sizing. The skirt is in a navy and white pinstripe stretch denim. I am in love with this skirt. It makes me realize that every other skirt I have ever owned has never fit properly. Steph provided on her website instructions for drafting a back yoke and flat felled seams for this skirt, if you wanted to. And, I did:I also made two versions of the skirt with the challenge tail flounce. The first I made in a turquoise crepe back satin (satin side in as a faux liner), but I piped the skirt in homemade piping using the satin side (reminder to self: check “learn how to make piping” and “sew a garment with piping” off of sewing to-do list).The satin gave me a few issues, and my seams are a little puckery. And, this skirt is a tad too dressy, so I made the second Hummingbird Pink:
I am sooooo in love with this skirt. I never, EVER, tuck in my shirts, but I just did. I feel like “sexy receptionist” in this skirt, ha! The way the skirt fits there is NO WAY you cannot sashay while you walk. Mmmmmmmm hmmmmmmm.The sewalong is over (sniff, sniff), but everything is archived if you want to play along at a later date, as well as the Tiramisu and Pavlova sewalongs.I will post more soon about my other Cake Pattern Adventures, as well as the Colette Hawthorn sewalong I am currently participating in.
* I know it is difficult. It was hard for me too, but I am quite grateful I did it.