Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Back in business with the Panama Tee Dress: Pattern Testing Take 1 and 2

It's been ages since I last blogged about my sewing adventures. With all my good intentions, it's been nearly impossible to blog. Kudos to my fellow bloggers! It must be a full time job! I really lack the dedication and on top of that, I lack the time. Being a homeschool mom keeps me quite busy and my only free time is when my kids are at the homeschool co-op a couple of days a week. That's when I can sew, provided I don't have errands to run.

This little number is brought to you courtesy of Alina Sewing Design and Co. Alina is an indie pattern designer I discovered on Instagram. I bought her Chi-Town Chinos pattern this summer and never got around to sewing it. When she recently made a call for testing her upcoming Panama Tee and Dress pattern, I responded and was pleased to be selected. It's my first time testing a pattern! Yay me!!

The pattern is perfect for busy homeschooling moms like myself and calls for knits, which I've been sewing mostly because they're easy and quick to sew. Last but not least, I was happy to learn that Alina was homeschooled all the way through High school!
The Panama Tee and Dress pattern has 3 options. View A is a tee, view B is a knee-length dress and view C is a an ankle length maxi dress with a slightly flared hem. It also comes with a three sleeve length option:  short, half and long. I made the knee-length dress and the tee.

Take 1 is view B with half sleeve in a mystery knit I bought a while ago from the remnant table at Hancock Fabrics. Based on my measurements, I cut a 10 in the bust and hips and a 12 at the waist. With my fabric being a medium cotton spandex knit with a high stretch factor I had take about 1/2 inch from each sides. With heavier knit, I don't think I would need to remove anything from the width. I didn't make any major changes to the overall dress except for removing 1/2 inch from the sleeve cap. The bust as it is didn't bother me a highly stretchy knit but I am wondering if an FBA would be need with a heavier knit like ponte.

The fabric curled up like crazy which made sewing it challenging but is quite comfy to wear. I made a one and a half inch hem so the dress would be a little over my knees. I've worn the dress several time since finishing it and got many compliments. A long sleeve color blocked version is already cut and ready to sew.

My dress while not as loose as Alina intended it to be, is not fitted either. I kind of like it this way. Depending on the fabric you choose and your body type, this dress will not necessarily produce the same results.

Take 2 is view A, the Tee version is by far my favorite. Give me stripes and lace and I'm a happy camper I was inspired by a top I saw on shopbop.com. 
I used a striped rayon spandex knit and a black stretchy floral lace. If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw the early stages of the lace placement. It was fun but time consuming given the fact that the top itself is extremely quick to sew.

This time I chose the long sleeves and based on my measurements I cut an 8 in the bust and hips and a 10 at the waist. My knit was also stretchy so I had to take out an additional 1/2 inch from the sleeves starting at the elbow down to the wrist. I removed 3 inches from the long sleeve length and 2 inches from the bodice since I have a short torso.

The lace was topstitched down using a triple stretch stitch on my new and fancy Pfaff sewing machine. I love the back view of this top. I am really pleased with this pattern. I am planning on making a few more versions and can't wait to try the maxi dress.

To be honest, I didn't really follow the instructions since I've been sewing knits for as long as I can remember. I did however thoroughly read her instructions when I received the pattern and I can definitely attest they are very well written and contain a wealth of info and tips for beginners.

Thanks Alina for allowing me to test my first pattern! Be sure to check the Panama Tee and Dress pattern!


  1. Super duper cute! You have an amazing eye for that lace placement!

  2. You did a great job with both versions.

  3. love the lace - so well done and the print on the dress is perfect - great colours

  4. both versions look great and I was so happy to see a blog post from you pop up in my blog list today :)

  5. Les 2 versions te vont très bien !!