P4P Pattern Testing Review of 2016

I am a little late to the game since we are already halfway through February (seriously where did January go?), but I still would like to share my adventures in Pattern Testing from 2016.   All of these will be from Patterns for Pirates (I will share a second Made for Mermaids post soon). Plus, there is a rafflecopter link at the end of the post for your chance to win a $20 shop credit to Patterns for Pirates! I am excited about my very first giveaway!!

***For reference for all of you Pirates out there…I am typically size L/XL bust, L/XL waist (depending on how much I love pizza at the time), and XXL hips.  I am 5’8″ with most of my height in my torso.  I usually add up to 1.5″ in tops for my height and proportions. I do not add length to bottoms. My weight fluctuates in the pictures anywhere from 190-205 pounds.  I carry my weight in my hips, thighs, backside, and upper arms.  Feel free to ask additional questions in the comments section at the end.

I was fully involved in the Patterns for Pirates Facebook group for several months. I was beginning to build my me made wardrobe when I had inspiration for the Dress-that-Changed-Everything.  A little dramatic, I know. But I had entered a sew-a-long in March hosted in the group to make the newest release, the Sweetheart Dress. This dress was a step up for me. I had been sewing pretty basic pieces up until that point but really wanted to create a sweetheart neckline with a lace overlay. Correction. Huge step up for me. I followed along with the sew-a-long and submitted my final dress for the contest. I didn’t win the contest, but I guess I won the eyes of the P4P team. Wow, super cheesy.


Aztec lace was from Hobby lobby and under layer is a ponte de Roma from Girl Charlee

I was sitting at lunch one day when I received a pm on Facebook from one of the admins. I was being asked to pattern test for the next release!!!  I was unbelievably excited until Nicole told me what it was for…a swimsuit. My rear end and swimsuit-clad body would be on the Internet. My excitement overruled my dread, and I agreed. I was going to be a Pattern Tester for Patterns for Pirates after being just a fan girl.

When I was planning this review post, I even considered skipping the swimsuit, but oh well. Here’s to women’s body positivity supporters everywhere!  The Siren Swim Top and the Hello Sailor Swim Bottoms are P4P’s first Patterns for swimwear. The top had two main options for with or without a flounce. Also, the straps can be crossed or uncrossed. The bottoms are high-waisted which was perfect for my 8 months-ish post baby #2 belly. Plus, they are full coverage which is a necessity for me!  I had some difficulty sewing in cups in the first suit so I left out the cups in the blue suit. I found the power mesh worked fairly well to help hold everything in its place.

The feedback all the testers received was amazing. It was a great feeling to see women of every shape and size praise other women. I still have plans to make a sports bra out of performance fabric sometime soon, and I will begin to look for swim fabrics for a new suit for this summer.  A girl can never have too many swimsuits.


Both the solid purple and paisley are swim knit from JoAnn


Both solid blue and the pineapples are from Purple Seamstress

My obsession with pattern testing had begun. Next, I signed up for the Pirate Pencil skirt (there is a code for the pattern for free when you join the Patterns for Pirates Sewing PDF Pattern Group!). I have always avoided pencil skirts. Again, my shape makes it challenging to find store-bought sizes that fit both my hips and my smaller waist. I was able to grade out for my hips and get the perfect fit!  I measured down from my waist to the widest part of my hips in order to make sure I graded correctly. My first make was a midi length in a funky ponte de Roma from Girl Charlee Fabrics.



I included the optional walking vent in order to make walking in the skirt easier. I was worried with a ponte that it would be restricting without the vent.


The second skirt is a Liverpool print from Sincerely Rylee Fabrics. This was a knee-length version that I have dressed up and dressed down perfectly.



Let’s move on to one of my favorites, the Essential Tank. I love versatile patterns, and this one has several different lengths available including a maxi. Also, you can choose between tank sleeves and a racerback version. I made so many versions of this in testing, but officially made a knee-length dress in a jersey fabric I received in a bundle from Sincerely Rylee Fabrics. I desperately needed a tan, but I made this to wear as a cover up for swimming.



My favorite version was this racerback maxi out of an ITY from Sincerely Rylee. The fit was spot on with grading for those lovely hips of mine, and I was able to make it the perfect length to wear with strappy flat sandals.  The Essential Tank/Dress has different fits depending on what fabric you use.  The jersey above had less stretch and more stablility which led to a more fitted dress.  The ITY below was very stretchy making it cling more to my curves.



This was my first time making my own knit binding, and there was definitely room for improvement.  Sewing is a lot like playing sports.  The more you practice, the better you get!



Again, I am wanting make a couple of versions soon with performance fabric for work out tops that are long enough to give me coverage and loose enough to remain cool while working out.  I will include a picture of a tank version with a slightly higher neckline than the final pattern.  This is a floral jersey from Girl Charlee.  I love the curved hem as it gives a little more coverage.



Another dress was on schedule for the next release, the Sunshine Dress.  I loved the three different options for this dress.  Also, another maxi dress option!!!  Maxi dresses are so nice for moms of little kids.  That way we can squat down, bend over, etc, without having to worry about exposing ourselves.  Seriously, this is important in my world.  For my official testing dress, I made a maxi length strapless version with pockets.  The rouched bodice was a cotton lycra from Purple Seamstress, and the skirt was a lightweight knit from Hobby Lobby.  The dress was very comfortable and stayed in place well due to the good recovery of the cotton lycra. I need to hem the dress a bit more before the summer arrives as I hardly ever wear heels.




After the release, I decided to mash sleeves onto the crossover bodice to make a dress for this winter.  There is blog post on the P4P site with a tutorial on how to mash the sleeve from the Layer Me Up with the sunshine bodice. I, however, mashed with the Boundless since I do not own the LMU. Both fabrics were rayon spandex blends from Purple Seamstress.

This dress is really packed with options.  The only downfall is the gathering for the skirt.  It isn’t hard, but I hate gathering.  In the end, it was all worth it.


I will definitely be making a halter version for the upcoming warmer weather.  Anyone else notice the long list of items on my “To Sew”list???

Finally,  some sewing for my boys.  New patterns are released all the time for little girls, so I was ecstatic to find out P4P was updating their beloved Jolly Roger Raglan.  The JRR is such a fun way to use two different fabrics (and small amounts of them right now since my boys are still little).  Minor changes were made to the pattern, but, most importantly, P4P released an add on pack (hood, kangaroo pockets and so forth).  Boudge has definitely benefited from this the most with some pretty creative hoodies.  For the test, I made the boys coordinating raglans.  But the photo shoot.  It was so hard to get them to stay still so I decided to let them play on the swing set in the backyard.  I did get a few shots that I absolutely love.  Both fabrics are from Purple Seamstress.






Only two more tests to go.  Jogger style pants are all the rage in the pdf pattern world.  The release  of the Mama Bear Joggers was an exciting time.  A lot of women prefer to stick with a pattern company they are already accustomed to when looking for new patterns.  It was a long awaited pattern! During testing, I made the shorts version initially (fabric from Hobby Lobby).  To avoid my super white legs from blinding everyone with outdoor pictures, I chose to stay indoors.  We were able to highlight our new wood accent wall in our bedroom. (Thanks to the Urban Farmhouse in Columbia, TN).  The waistband options are a plenty with this pattern, but I chose the yoga waistband since I  would only be wearing these around the house.  Plus a yoga band is fast and easy to attach.  Sometimes I just need a time-saving option.  Am I right?


I loved all of the long pant pictures coming in the testing group.  I went ahead and made a pant pair.  Let’s be honest.  I have really large calves.  This is a problem in retail for me.  Problem averted.  I was able to grade out at my calves to make the slim fit lower leg pant fit me!!!  The fabric was a new release from JoAnn from their athleisure line  It was very soft.  I added the elastic band on this pair, but I goofed up a bit attaching it.  Never sew in front of small children.  Never sew in front of small children.  Keep repeating.  That is why there are no pictures of the waistband. I have plans for some camo French terry joggers, but I will be modifying the pattern to include a Full Butt Adjustment to give myself a little more room in the backside. Yes, this is a real thing.




The last P4P pattern test I was apart of was the Cocoon Cardigan.  Judy sneaked this one early on Instagram, and the hype built up.  I have made 5 of these for myself already (and one each for my sisters), and I love it every time.  This is a project that I can complete only using my serger, which is a plus for me.  My hemming on my sewing machine still lacks the professional look on some types of fabrics.  The Cocoon Cardigan has a cropped or a tunic option.  Then you can select small bands around it or a taller shawl-like band.  I prefer the tall band look as it folds over nicely on the neckline and gives a little more booty coverage.  I usually add length to my top patterns due to my overall height and long torso, but I did not add length with this pattern.  My blue sweater knit with the floral front panels was a cutting accident, but I am still pleased with the outcome.





The Aztec sweater knit is a little loud for me but very warm.  All fabrics were from Knitpop for me this time.




Whew.  What a recap!  I cannot wait to see what is in store for P4P in 2017!  And since you reached the bottom of this review post, here is your chance to win a $20 shop credit to Patterns for Pirates.  Enter the rafflecopter below.  The raffle will be live through midnight CST Friday, February 24th, 2017. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until next time….sewing and sipping,


*** I did receive the patterns I tested for free, but we do invest a lot of our time sewing up multiple versions and money in fabric used (more than the price of the pattern, trust me!).  Some links above are affiliate links.

336 thoughts on “P4P Pattern Testing Review of 2016

  1. kruemelchensmama says:

    I love all of this!
    I think the strapless sunshine dress is my favorite. I have yet to purchase the pattern. But I’m so afraid it’ll look bad on me because I have super wide shoulders and generally need plus1x because of “the girls”.

    I’m super self conscious about my body so I love all the positive body vibes. That’s why I love the p4p community.


  2. Carol says:

    Wow! Definitely a post I’ll be saving and referring back to when I finally make time to sew. Thanks for sharing all this. 😀
    Your modification explanations are very clear.


  3. Katie says:

    I love your fabric combinations and your boys are adorable! My boys look to be close in age to yours, mine are 17 months and 3. I too learned the lesson of no sewing with kids. Even if it’s one quick thing it always goes wrong!


  4. Tabitha Armstrong says:

    This is awesome! We have a very similar bottom half so it was nice seeing how things look! Really want to make a pencil skirt now. 😊


  5. Jamie says:

    This was a great review. I really liked how you summarized the different fits with different fabric. As a newbie to knits, it is a good reminder when a pattern doesn’t turn out “just right” that it isn’t necessarily the pattern!!!


  6. Tammy Threadgill says:

    This is awesome! I love seeing these patterns on a body type exactly like mine. I’ve only seen a sweetheart dress so far, but I’ve been hoarding my patterns.


  7. ljkdh says:

    Thank you so much! I definitely feel like you are the closest to my body double than any other bloggers I have looked at so far. Amd love the calf adjustment on the joggers, it’s one of the reason I steer clear.


  8. Jackie says:

    I really enjoyed this post! 8′ a pear with a big booty myself, so seeing all these P4P patterns in someone with a similar. Oft type is awesome!


  9. Chelsi Biehl says:

    All of these pieces look amazing on you! Thank you for being brave and sharing your body with us. You have no idea how much it helps me and makes me more confident in the things I sew and wear!


  10. Danielle says:

    I love P4P and even though my body shape is very different than yours it’s really cool to see how you’ve graded the different patterns to fit. That’s one thing I haven’t been doing and should. Thank you!


  11. Laura says:

    Fabulous post. Thank you. So interesting to read about the easy alterations you made to get the perfect fit. I have not made pants before due to very large thighs and a smaller sized waist. You have nearly persuaded me to have a go. 🤗


  12. Holly says:

    Love this! I am almost exactly your height/weight stats, and carry a lot of my weight in my hips (but I have no butt and chicken legs 😣). Thank you for posting these and your stats so I can see how things may look on me!


  13. Amanda C says:

    I love your swimsuits. We have a very similar body structure. You looked fab so maybe it’s time to stop being scared of making that swimsuit 😍


  14. Sheila Grap says:

    You have perfected the fit issue so many sewers have. Your finished outfits look to be a perfect fit. I hate sizes and know that you can say this is my size and my fit.


  15. Sheila says:

    Thanks for your honesty! I haven’t tried grading yet, but am probably an xl top going to xxl or xxxl butt/ hips. And a small waist that makes it hard to buy pants! This post gives me hope…


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