You know I’m all about comfy right? That’s why when one of my favorite pattern designers, Striped Swallow Designs, posted a testing call for the girls version of the Mainland Collection, which includes the Rhapsody Joggers and the Highlander Dolman, I was all in (despite probably having too much on my plate already). Baby S LIVED in her Emerie Rompers last summer, so I already knew I could count on excellent drafting and instructions (I even made a set to sell to a friend) from Striped Swallow.
Now, you may notice that these are the girls sizes (women’s sizes released recently- get your copy here)- and you’re thinking “psst, Sarah. You’re an adult. You can’t wear kids clothes”. Well, I’ve finally found a benefit to being short and tiny (other than being able to squeeze through small spaces)- I can make patterns up in girls sizes, which means I only have to buy one version to fit BOTH Sophia and I! Hooray! How’s that for being budget conscious?!
Seriously, though, the girls size 14 fit my measurements perfectly, so I asked Mandalynn if it would be OK if I applied to test. And she said YES! So, I ran to my sewing room and whipped up a million combinations. Okay, just four. But those four are pretty awesome if I do say so myself, and I have immediate plans for at least a few more outfits from these patterns. My only regret is that baby S is still too small for the smallest size (it goes from 2T-14), but I’m scheming on a way to try and reduce the size using my printer so she can enjoy them too!
While they look fantastic together, both patterns in the Mainland mini collection for girls (and women!) are amazing in their own right, so I’m going to take a look at them separately.
First, let’s focus on the Rhapsody Joggers. From the Striped Swallow website (I tried re-wording this, but she just says it so well) “The Rhapsody Joggers feature slouchy hip pockets, an elastic waist with drape detailing and ankle cuffs.” They are a relaxed fit though the hips and fitted in the calves, with an elastic waistband with three channels of elastic. If threading so much elastic frustrates you (I’ll admit, I had a few words when I made it through ALMOST all the way and then my safety pin snapped back all of a sudden, forcing me to do it AGAIN), you can also use wide elastic and just stitch it through, as another tester did. I actually like the multiple rows of elastic, as it doesn’t bind when you sit down (theoretically…I’m pretty sure I never get to sit down).
Personally, I find these joggers perfect for lounging around the house, doing Kindergarten pickup (Seriously! How do those moms look so good at 8AM/1PM?) and running around chasing my kiddos (baby S is into EVERYTHING). They are ridiculously comfy (especially in brushed poly, OMG) but the pocket drape gives them just the right amount of style, so I can at least hold my own in the weirdly competitive drop/off pickup line. Bonus: the giant pockets hold anything I throw at them (phone, kleenex, baby pouches…).
I made four pairs in testing, and three out of those four are in regular rotation now (there was one casualty- when I tried to make them out of some deliciously soft rayon FT, without taking into account that it was, um, slightly transparent in key places. Note to self: check transparency of fitted pants fabrics before sewing. I’ll still probably finish that fourth pair, but they will be inside-only pants, so they can be appreciated by my family, the only people who don’t mind seeing my underwear.
Back to the three awesome pairs I made: the first was in a boho print Double Brushed Poly (think LulaRoe fabric, but better quality) from Love Adore (yes, them again! I love their stuff). I loved the fabric design, but when it arrived I couldn’t figure out what to make from it. It seemed too busy for a dress or top, which was my original intent. Enter the Rhapsody Joggers: I think these pants were the perfect choice for this patterned neutral. The subtle pinks, greys, purples, browns, etc offer a variety of options for a complimenting top, and give a boho feel without being overwhelming. Hot off the sewing machine, I immediately put them on and continued sewing up more pairs (I think the real test of whether you love a pattern is whether you are wearing one version while sewing another!)
The second wearable pair was from a pink and white floral Double Brushed Poly from KnitPop (love them too!) and a solid wine double brushed poly from PurpleSeamstress (I don’t get any money for saying this, but both these fabric companies offer super fast shipping and quality products). As I didn’t have enough of the solid wine color to make the entire pair, I used the floral brushed poly for the waistband and pockets- I think it makes a cute contrast. I made a matching Highlander Dolman in the blush floral as well (see review further down). Although I think they look a little too pajama-y together, separately I think they look awesome for most aspects of my #momlife.
My final pair of joggers was from an entirely different fabric: a less drapey french terry from LDG Textiles. Just the right weight to transition into spring, I love the classic grey and the soft face of this french terry. Relaxed and fitted in just the right places, and those cool pockets, I think they take the classic sweats look and take it up a few notches, and make me feel good even when I can’t remember when I last washed my hair. I won’t push the envelope and wear them to work, but I’ll live in them everywhere else. This change in fabric really showed the versatility of this pattern and how it adapts to a variety of fabric weights and textures. For this pair I did remove 1.5 inches in the length- I’m exactly the height the pattern is drafted for (61 inches), but most of my height is in my torso, so I needed to remove a tad bit here, though I actually like them with the “slouch” at the ankle too.
Lets move onto the Highlander Dolman now, shall we? I fell so hard for this top as it checks all the right boxes for me: quick to make, knit fabric, easy to nurse in (wear a tank under and just pull up!), flowy but not mumu-like, and with a cute/unique detail (check out the back options!). It can be made in short or long sleeves, and with a tie back, high scoop back, low scoop back, t back, or back strap. I’m dying to see baby S in this top, but for now, I’ll show you mine. Again due to having most of my height in my torso, I lengthened the top 1.5 inches.
My first version is in the same floral Brushed Poly I used for accenting the pants, and features the tie back. I wasn’t initially excited about the ties, but they are SUPER easy to construct (as long as you have a loop turner!) and make it easy to get a great fit in the back. I ended up with an adorable flirty top that feels softer than a cloud, that I see as perfect for pairing with skinny jeans and booties (or flip flops).
My second version (but not my last!) was made in a lightweight ombre cotton jersey from LDG textiles. I love the colors in this top- they remind me a of a summer sunset on the beach (preferably with a fruity cocktail).
I tried out the T back version on this one, and I LOVE the result. I did make the binding out of a cotton/spandex rib knit from JoAnns, because the lightweight knit didn’t have a lot of stretch, and I was concerned it would be too difficult to bind the openings. Although I have a cover stitch, I used my sewing machine for some of the binding on the back of this one, as it seemed easier and more accurate. The cover stitch was used for the neckline, but isn’t at all necessary for this pattern.
After seeing my versions of the tops, my mom even asked for her own copy (luckily she’s petite too!). If you know her, you know that she is PICKY as heck about her clothes, so this was a HUGE compliment to the design and style of the top.
All told, including the “test” versions that didn’t make it to completion (a normal part of pattern testing), I made 7 tops and pants in less than a week, which should speak to the speed and quality drafting and instructions that these patterns offer (also, to my family’s patience with my hobby). And, if my pictures aren’t enough to convince you, go check out the ADORABLE photos of the other testers for this set in the Facebook Group (you have to join if you aren’t already a member to see the pictures)!
Check back soon for another new pattern: something for the men in my life!
Note: some of the links here are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission from any purchase you choose to make so I can continue to sew and share with you!