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. paigeholden14 says:

    Love this! I am the same shape so it’s nice to see how clothes fit on this body type. Thanks for the hard work you out into this!


  2. Katie says:

    You look amazing in all of these patterns! I have been waffling about making the joggers: I want them SO HARD but I, too, am a pear and worried they won’t look good. I will make them based on how amazing you look in them, thank you!


  3. Nadia says:

    Thank you for sharing 2016. It is inspiring to newer sewers and makes me want to start on a cardigan ASAP. And really think about a swimsuit Yikes!


  4. Melissa says:

    Those pencil skirts look great on you but I think the swimsuits are my favorite! We are similar in size (expect I’m about a half a foot shorter) so it’s nice to be able to envision how these patterns will fit once sewn up. Thanks for sharing all your awesome P4P creations!


  5. Lynnette says:

    Thank you for your review! It is so nice to see how patterns work on all shapes and sizes. It really helps those of us without the too skinny runway model bodies! I have the “big all over” issue myself. You did a great job with the patterns and you have such a pretty smile 🙂


  6. Tracey says:

    You’ve made some really beautiful clothes! Love how much pattern designers like p4p help us to be able to create awesome, well fitting and unique wardrobes. Keep up the great work!


  7. samantha says:

    Looks like this was lots of hard work but fun! It’s so nice to tailor things for ourselves instead of dealing with retail fit flaws. That’s one of the aspects of self sewing I’m looking forward to the most!


  8. Martha says:

    I just discovered your blog, and I am so excited! I am new to sewing knits. I’ve only just started seweing for my daughter, but I am excited to start sewing for myself as well. I have similar challenges with my bust, calves, height, etc. I am inspired by your post to start making clothing for myself, with pattern adjustments to fit my body!


  9. Lynnette Holland says:

    I admire your courage to post all your beautiful pictures and creations, I am a grandmother of 8 and I have been sewing clothes for 40 years. I love sewing but my problem is I am not very creative so I love seeing what you have done. Thank you for your site :>)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Aimée Orcasitas says:

    This post has really inspired me to take the plunge and purchase some of these patterns that I was on the fence about. Like the mama joggers look so comfy as shorts! Love all your pieces.


  11. Jantine Urban says:

    I found P4P late September 2016 and am so in love! I loved reading your post, it inspires me to keep trying and grading until I got it right!!


  12. sheree says:

    This post has made me really want to try and sew myself so many different outfits…so so glad I found p4p… off to make a list of the patterns I want to purchase….


  13. Brianne Haupert says:

    This was a great overview! Made me want almost every pattern. Just starting out in this venture. Very excited to jump in and have started collecting patterns to try out. Thanks for the great info! You look great in them all!


  14. Mona.Wheeler says:

    awesome post! I have no time for sewing right now, but once school is out I am making all of my new wardrobe for the next school year! yay! Love your two-tone cocoon cardigan. that combo is beautiful!


  15. Stacie sawicki says:

    What a great post! I love all the things you made and can see why the P4P team reached out after seeing the sweetheart dress you made, it is gorgeous!


  16. Melinda H says:

    Love seeing all the different patterns on you. Your body shape is similar to mine so it gives me a good idea of what it would look like on me. And your post makes me want to buy all the P4P!


  17. Glennda says:

    Beautiful! I’ve just recently found P4P and love them! I’m finally finding the inspiration and courage to make my own wardrobe. Winning this giveaway would put me further down that path, lol!


  18. Leighann says:

    The Sweetheart peplum was my first P4P pattern, too!! I loved it and quickly fell in love with all P4P. You look great in everything! I love that all shapes and sizes can look great in their patterns. I’m pretty much a XXL all throughout the patterns.


  19. Tracy says:

    Really nicely done! I love the Essential Tank dress! And I’m a sucker for a Jolly Roger Raglan. I’m hoping to improve my sewing skills enough to make some for my nephews before they’re adult-sized humans. 😉


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