Would it really be a pattern launch if we didn’t have guest bloggers joining us to help showcase our latest release? We know how important it is to see different versions of a pattern and get real feedback from other sewists, which is why we welcome paid guest bloggers to make the final version of the pattern and share their opinions on the design! It’s one more way for you to see new patterns in different fabrics and on a variety of bodies. Let’s check out our first review of the Reynolds Top and Dress!
We are pleased to introduce Sierra of @sierraburrell and Seams Like Sierra. We love following Sierra for her great sense of style, the way she mixes and matches bright colors, and her endless creativity when it comes to both sewing and participating in sewing challenges (did you see her Me Made May playlist?) Without further ado, let’s see what she thought of the Reynolds Top and Dress!
Note: I ask my guest bloggers to be honest! I want you to hear what they thought of the pattern, things they might change for next time, and how they feel in the garment! You know, the real sewing experience! This post is their own and all opinions are honest.
Sierra’s Reynolds Top
Hey y’all! I am Sierra and I am very excited to share my review of the Reynolds Top and Dress pattern with you. I am a fat black woman that began sewing in late 2017 in response to the limited clothing options available in stores. What started as frustration quickly grew into love and appreciation for my body and sewing practice. I am truly grateful for the friendships and community I’ve found through sewing. These days you can find me intermittently blogging at Seams Like Sierra or posting my favorite me made outfits @sierraburrell.
I didn’t have any issues printing this pattern. I always appreciate a pattern with layers because it makes the entire assembly process much easier. The markings on the pattern made it easy to cut out view A while still preserving the pattern pieces for the other two views. I may trace each view separately in the future, but I don’t think it’ll be hard to tape together in the meantime.
The instructions were clear and easy to follow. I have always enjoyed Helen’s instructions because she holds your hand as you make the garment. I prefer detailed instructions because it helps me slow down and really think about the process. I also need my hand held sometimes. There are helpful tips throughout the instructions that explain the steps in depth. One of my favorite features of Helen’s Closet is the sewing glossary in each pattern. I used to refer to it all the time because some sewing terms didn’t really stick for me.
I constructed the top in a different order, but that comes down to personal preference. I sewed my darts directly after stay stitching and prior to any pressing of the garment. I use Frixion pens to draw my darts and I didn’t want to accidently remove the dart legs with my iron. I stuck to the instructions after that.
I used a silk noil remnant that has been in my stash for a couple of years. I hadn’t used it until now because of its narrow width. It is a beautiful warm brown that was described as caramel on the Stonemountain & Daughter website. I was able to make view A with 1.5 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric.
I made the Reynolds Top in a size 28. That corresponds to a 52” (132 cm) high bust, 56” (142 cm) full bust, 46” (117 cm) waist, and 56” (142 cm) hips. My high bust is 50″ (127 cm) right now, but the rest of my measurements fall into the size 28. I asked Helen about the best approach to sizing based on my measurements. She suggested I start with the 28 and adjust the underarm seam to fit my high bust. I tried it on before attaching the straps but didn’t make any adjustments at that point. That is my usual approach whenever I sew something for the first time. I like to see how the garment works without any adjustments and go from there. It was also difficult trying to pinch in my underarm seam and pin it by myself.
I would stick with the same size for the next version but would take a wedge out of the center front at the neckline. It would probably make the top lay flatter and give me a better high bust fit. I could also take in the top in at the underarm seam. I thought I might need the room for my bust, but I’m not completely sure. I would also topstitch around the facing instead of stitching in the ditch at the side seam. I am not very good at topstitching around facings, but I think it makes for a more comfortable garment in the end. I will likely lower the dart for my next version. I could shorten the dart, but I’m not completely sold on that yet. I’d like to note that I am wearing an older underwire bra that is absolutely affecting the fit. I have struggled with making my own underwire bra but haven’t completely given up. I’m hoping I can either make or purchase a few new bras soon.
I really like the neckline of the Reynolds Top. I wasn’t sure how it would look on me, but I am very into it. There’s something fun about it. I also really like pre-pressing the hem before sewing the side seam. Hemming is one of my least favorite steps, so it made a huge difference for me. I also like the three lengths provided in the pattern because they each offer a different look. Overall, I like the different finishing techniques offered throughout the instructions because you end up with a very neat final product no matter which finish you choose.
I am super excited about my make. The color, fabric, and pattern work well together. I feel like there are a lot of styling options for this top and that always makes me happy. I can see this with a high-waisted skirt or some jean shorts. It feels like the best parts of summer, and I already have several me-made garments to pair it with. I would absolutely make this pattern again.
Stay tuned for another guest blog about Reynolds later this week. You can also head to our Instagram for styling tips, fabric recommendations, and more Reynolds inspiration!