Sonia Estep Designs

  • Pattern Review of the Camilla Dress

    Pattern: Camilla Dress
    Designer: Sonia Estep
    Fabrics: Cotton Lycra – Sew Unique Fabrics
    Measurements: Chest: 44″; Waist: 39.5″; Hips: 49″
    Size made: 18 graded to 22
    Adjustments: I used the flutter sleeves from the Sonia Estep Katherine and the pockets from the Lily.
    Pros: I LOVE a square neckline. It always look very flattering on me, so I was super excited about this pattern. I also love that it mashed well with some of Sonia Esteps other dresses, like the Katherine so I could use the flutter sleeves.
    Cons: There was no pocket option as a standard which I thought was a little strange, every dress should have pockets! I also was a little annoyed that the tiered pieces were only measurements.


    The Wrap Up:

    I really really LOVE a square neckline. It is super flattering on my décolletage, so the moment I saw the Camilla, I knew I wanted to try it. I can now say, I was NOT disappointed. I love the way it sits on me and as always, the empire waist was a win for my body.

    The construction was fairly easy, however it annoyed me a little that their was no pattern pieces for the tiered layers. I know they are just rectangles, but with a projector I like having the pieces so I don’t have to measure it out. Once I had it all cut out however it, I had the dress made within about 2hrs.

    One of the great things about the Camilla is that it mashes well with the Katherine, Hollywood and Lily. I have made and written a review on both the Lily and Katherine, so I love that Camilla goes with both of those. For my Camilla I used the flutter sleeves from the Katherine and the pockets from the Lily. I waited until I had put my skirt pieces together but hadn’t sewn up the sides so I could decide on the best place to put my pocket pieces which worked well.

    I can tell this pattern is going to be one of my go to knit dresses, so get ready to see many more these!


  • Pattern Review of the Katherine Dress

    Pattern: Katherine Dress
    Designer: Sonia Estep Designs
    Fabrics: Black Solid – Sew Unique Fabrics
    Animal Print accent – Rubyjam Fabrics
    Measurements: Chest: 44″; Waist: 39″ Hips: 47″
    Size made: 18/20
    Adjustments: Graded from an 18 at the top to 20 in the waist
    Pros: I love the signature options of an empire or natural waist the Sonia Estep includes in most of her patterns. I am surprised I like the bishop sleeve on me.
    Cons: I had high hopes for this dress but it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. It was unflattering over my tummy and the pattern doesn’t include pockets.


    The Wrap Up:

    I made this dress after seeing a pic on an ad on facebook. I really liked the style and wanted to recreate it for myself.

    The Katherine dress from Sonia Estep was prefect, especially with the empire waistline and above knee hemline. I also had the perfect animal print fabric from Rubyjam that I wanted to try it with.

    It was a really quick sew, I had it done from cutting to wearing in about 2hrs, but I was unfortunately really disappointed with how it sat on me. When I tried it on it sat right at the top of my tummy, straining against it showing it up very clearly.

    My inspiration picture

    I did think about unpicking and adding a panel in the skirt, but I didn’t have enough fabric left and to be honest, I was just happy to chalk it up to experience and move on. Not all garments look good on me, and thats perfectly fine. So I very happily have passed it on to my neighbour, who looks fab in it!

    The one thing I did LOVE about this though was the bishop sleeves. Im not sure I’ve ever done them for myself and I will be making more. They looked very cool and will now feature in a few upcoming winter garments hahaha.

    So, for now you get to enjoy looking at my garment on my neighbour, who absolutely rocks it! And a sneaky photobomber of one Miss Jemma who is trying to be her surrogate daughter in an almost perfectly matched RTW dress she has haha.


  • Pattern Review of the Lily Dress

    Pattern: Lily Dress & Top
    Designer: Sonia Estep Designs
    Fabrics: Bamboo Lycra
    Measurements: Bust: 44″; Waist: 38″; Hips: 49″
    Size made: 18 graded to 20 hips
    Adjustments: Grading between sizes
    Pros: I LOVE this dress. I specifically love the hi-lo hemline, it just makes me feel so pretty and summery. The empire waistline is also a plus
    Cons: Not really any cons for me on this one, I love it all


    The Wrap Up:

    I absolutely love everything about this dress. From the scoop neckline, the pockets to the hi-lo hemline, this dress is super flattering and I feel like a million dollars in it.

    I got the bamboo lycra in a Clover & Co preorder as I loved the design and already had it in purple, so when it came up as a blue colour way, I HAD to have it. I also really like the bamboo lycra as it is a natural fibre that breathes better than say a double brushed poly which can get quite hot.

    One of the things that impressed me about this pattern was the option between 2 waistlines. Empire or natural. Empire tends to hit just under your bust line and is a little more flattering for those with a bit of a tummy. Natural sits lower and can sometimes accentuate features you’d rather not have highlighted. As I have slightly larger breasts, an empire waistline will over skim over my bust and flair out straight below, helping to hide my tummy.

    I also loved the scoop neckline which I’ve mentioned before suits my body type, and pockets. Well, what can I say about pockets?! They explain themselves haha.

    The last thing that I really love is the hi-lo hemline. I just think it adds something a little different and feels nice when you’re walking along.

    This was a really simple dress to put together and there is also the option of a straight gathered maxi skirt, peplum length and a button placket. I was going to do the button placket but decided against it. I may look at it for the next one, cause let me tell you, there will be a next one for sure!


  • Pattern Review of the Tennessee Tee

    Pattern: Tennessee Tee
    Designer: Sonia Estep Designs
    Fabrics: Viscose Slub – Lush Fabrics
    Measurements: Bust: 45″; Waist: 39″; Hips: 48″
    Size made: 18 graded to 20 hips
    Adjustments: Grading between sizes
    Pros: I really love the relaxed style of this and the flutter sleeves.
    Cons: I think I’ll make a size 16 and grade out to a 20 next time, its quite big up top for me.


    The Wrap Up:

    I was asked to sew this one up as part of Sonia Estep Designs Hello Monday promotion, and I can see it fast becoming one of my go to tee patterns.

    Relaxed fits are generally my style, so this suits me perfect. However it does seem to have quite a fair bit of ease built in, so I think I will size down in the next one I make. Possibly a size 16 up top graded to a 20 at my hips.

    I have had this Burgundy/Red Wine Viscose Slub from Lush fabrics Australia in my stash for a while with a tee pattern make in mind and I can say I think it was the perfect pairing. I have realised I am not a huge fan of polyester fabrics in general as I get quite hot in them, but being a roomy style, it isn’t too bad. The drape works really well with the flutter sleeves and I tend to favour scoop necklines as it compliments my décolletage.

    I would highly recommend grabbing this to add to your basics collection, especially while its on sale Monday 14th February 2022.


  • Pattern Review of the Iris Shorts

    Pattern: Iris Shorts
    Designer: Sonia Estep Designs
    Fabrics: Stretch Denim from Spotlight
    Measurements: Waist: 39″; Hips: 47″
    Size made: Straight 20
    Adjustments: Adjusted the front and back rise by 1.5″; added 1/4 inch to crotch curve; added 1″ to the high rise waistband
    Pros: I am a big fan of pull on jean shorts and these fit the bill perfect. Very easy construction.
    Cons: As with all pants/shorts patterns I had no end of trouble fitting them, BUT I think I’ve worked out my body now and how to quickly fit pants going forward! So not a con of the pattern itself, just my body challenges.

    The Wrap Up

    Strap yourself in for this read, it’s going to be a long one!

    I have had issues with pants/shorts since forever. I make them and they never fit right. It was so disheartening and honestly made me question my ability as a sewist. How can I sew the most complicated of tops, dresses and skirts and they look great, but pants? No deal. Every pair I made were ill fitting, clung to every lump and bump and half the time felt like my crotch was trying to eat the fabric.

    I have had the Iris shorts on my list to try for a while but was very afraid due to my aforementioned fit issues. However, I decided the time was right to try again and this time I enlisted the help of my good friend and sewing teacher, Annette.

    First I did my usual measuring, and decided from my measurements that I would be best with a size 20 waist and grade down to an 18. I cut them out and sewed them up with quiet confidence, THIS pair were going to fit…

    My first ill fitting pair

    Spoiler alert, they didn’t.

    BUT, I did learn a tonne from this pair. I bought the book ‘Ahead of the Curve’ by Jenny Rushmore from Cashmerette and from looking through her fit pics, I determined that I needed to do something with the crotch, and possibly the back crotch.

    So I set about making a second pair, this time FaceTiming Annette talking through my changes I wanted to make. I chose to add 1/2 an inch to both crotch curves and I scooped out both a little as well. After cutting these I eagerly sewed them up, this time they were going to be perfect.

    Second pair, my bum was eating the farbic

    Sequel spoiler, they still weren’t.

    By this stage I’m slowing loosing the will to dress my lower half. I really couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I sent fit pics to Annette again, we discussed what could be going on and decided I would bring them to our kids tennis lesson the next day to see what I needed to do. I must say, it was a bit of a giggle to sit there surrounded by other parents, shoving food in the 1yos face while the 5yo plays tennis, pouring over a pair of pants drawing on them to see what changes needed making.

    Annette gave a few suggestions for me to go home and try, but to be honest, I was a little done. I needed a pants break so I put them aside for about 3 weeks.

    Eventually, Annette and I were due to meet up. After shelving them for a few weeks, I thought it was time to get them out and get her to help me in person. Giving her the chance to check fit problems on my body.

    Once she was able to assess them on me in person, we talked about how we needed to raise the rise in both front and back. I have an Apron Tummy or Pannus Stomach, which everything I read about said I may need to make the crotch curve more of a J, but Annette advised against playing with the crotch too much if possible. In the end we settled on making a straight size 20 and adding 1.5 inches to both the front and back rises.

    I cut the new pieces out with no real gusto. Third time lucky right, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

    Well, after I basted them quickly together, just to get an idea of fit, they were near enough PERFECT!

    As soon as I put them on we could see so many of the issues in the previous 2 pairs were eliminated. No smiling lines, no crotch and butt eating my fabric, no clinging to my apron accentuating the bulge. It all just skimmed over everything and fit just beautifully. I could have kissed Annette I was so happy!

    So, what next?

    Now that I appear to have ‘cracked’ the code to my body, I am going to try adding 1.5″ in the rise to all my pants going forward and see how that goes. I am also ready to try the Love Notions Glissando Shorts again I love this pattern and refuse to be beaten.

    I’d also like to point out a few things about fit.

    I asked Annette to try these shorts on, which she did. They fit her SO MUCH better. Like so much better. I asked if she would mind comparing measurements, which she didn’t. I’ll list them in a table to help visuliase

    Bust – 45″Bust – 45″
    Under Bust – 39.5″Under Bust – 36″
    Waist – 40″Waist – 39″
    Hips – 51″Hips – 47″
    Height – 5’2Height – 5’5
    Torso – 16.5″Torso – 19.5″

    As you can see from above, we both have the same bust size, but I have larger breasts. Meaning most of the time I need to do a Full Bust Adjustment and Annette never does. We also are very similar in the waist, but different in hips, however I carry all my weight in my tummy and Annette’s is more focused on her bum and thighs. So while I had to size up and add height to the rise, Annette was fine the way it was as she didn’t have her tummy altering where the waistband sat. Her torso is also shorter as she is shorter than me which effected where the waistband sat on her. It never ceases to amaze me how measurements can be very similar, yet have such drastic differences on a body. I happily gifted my first pair of shorts to her as they looked so great on her and I didn’t want them to go to waste.

    I guess the moral to my long pants tale is, never give up and invest some time and energy into reading about fitting and if you can, get yourself some lessons with an experienced sewist who can help nut out your fit issues. Lots of pattern companies have free fit tutorials so spend some time really looking at where the pants are not feeling good for you and what it could mean. Also try not to be discouraged. Keep trying till you find your perfect fit, but don’t put a timeline on it. I was frustrated I couldn’t work it out in a day, it’s taken me a year, but really, fitting is only learnt with time and patience.


  • Pattern Review of the Harper Hoodie

    Pattern: Harper Hoodie
    Fabrics: Purple: Cotton Fleece from Sew Unique Fabrics Accent: ‘Artistic Ink’ from Sew Unique Farbics
    Pink: Jogging Sweater Knit from Wattle Hill Fabrics
    Measurements: Bust: 42.5″; Waist: 39.5″; Hips: 47.5″
    Size made: Straight 22. I like my hoodies big and oversized
    Adjustments: None
    Pros: LOVE the colour blocking on this. It is super comfy to wear and I love the look of the welt pockets.
    Cons: I had to unpick the welt part of the pockets 3 times before I got it looking good enough that I was happy with it. I also felt the pocket bags on the inside look a little clunky.


    The Wrap Up:

    This brand new hoodie pattern from Sonia Estep is a big winner in my eyes. From the minute I saw it, I knew I would love it and am so glad I got a chance to sew it up. It may be Summer over here in the Southern Hemisphere, but its never too early to start my winter wardrobe. Especially living in Melbourne. We can be in the middle of a heat wave and then next thing you’re freezing and fighting off hail storms! Never a dull moment in Melbourne haha.

    I had a few choices for fabrics on this one. As I often do when I’m planning a new project, I got them all out and laid them together to see what combo jumped out at me. I straight away was drawn to the purple and pink combo, and the artistic ink was definitely a front runner.

    As the artistic ink is a Cotton Lycra, quite thin, and the purple and pinks are cotton fleece, thick and fluffy, I decided to cut all my artistic ink pieces in black Cotton Fleece as well to ‘back’ each piece. I then treated them as one piece when sewing it together. It is a little bit of a extra tricky step, but well worth it for me.

    Once I had decided on the fabrics, the next was choosing a size. In the past I have sewn to ‘my measurements’ and while the garments fit, and looks good, its taken me 3 or 4 hoodies to realise that I actually REALLY like oversized hoodies. Like, I buy RTW mens sized ones cause I want them big and snuggly. So this time I made a size 2-3 up from what my measurements said and its PERFECT.

    The process of putting the garment together was quite straight forward, just a few extra steps in the piecing it together. I had to be very careful I made sure all the pieces went together as they should so that the colour blocks would match up. I did put my bottom pieces on upside down to begin with so that was a fun half hour unpicking that. doh!

    The next part I had some issues with was the welt pockets. I had not done a welt pocket quite how it was constructed in this pattern and had some problems getting my outer piece even and nestled nicely from the front. One of the sides I unpicked 3 times, and the other side once. I am glad I did, as it was worth it to have it looking good, but it did cause for some swear words haha. I also thought the inside pocket bags were a little odd in terms of how they sit, and if I make another would look to how I could modify to perhaps make a circle through pocket, but for now I might hand stitch them to the inside so they don’t dip below the waistband when weighted down by objects in them.

    Inside of pocket bags and my black ‘lined’ artistic ink pieces

    I had some questions over wether I crossed my hood too much when I first did it, but it works. The designer also commented that the hood is intentionally a more ‘dramatic’ hood crossover than most. The cowl look around the neck when its not up is particularly appealing to me, I think it looks great!

    The Harper Hoodies is definitely a staple in my wardrobe now and am looking forward to being able to crack her out A LOT over winter. The pattern is on sale for 50% till Thursday, click on the link below (afflink) to grab your copy.