Completed: The Belcarra Blouse

1 Sep

I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that this make is over 3 weeks old at this point*. What? I’ve been busy, ok??

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

This is the Belcarra Blouse from Sewaholic Patterns. Described as a super simple/wardrobe staple top, this bad boy has no darts or tucks (ladies, can I get a hell yeah?), raglan sleeves (requiring no setting like a traditional sleeve, which means – let’s have another hell yeah!), and a simple bias bound neckline. I knew it would be quick and easy, but I wondered – would it be flattering?

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse
Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Obviously, that crazy paisley fabric would hide a lot of sins (if there were any to hide mwahahahaha), but I think it’s safe to step out of my cave and say, yes! Yes, this shit is flattering! Yes, it’s comfy! Yes, it’s breezy and cool to wear when the temperatures are still hanging out in hell territory. Yes yes yes!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I shit you not, I made this in an afternoon. From cutting, to sewing, to finishing – it only took a few hours. I followed the instructions as written – except in the case of the neck binding, I found that I needed to shorten it to get it to lay right (which I was anticipating, because my rayon challis has a slight stretch to it). I cut a size 0, which is my usual Sewaholic size, and took in the side seams an extra 1/2″ because it seemed a little overwhelmingly big when I first tried it on. Otherwise, pretty good straight out of the envelope! Good and fast.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse
Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

My initial concern was whether or not this would actually be flattering, as I’m not one to really embrace loose shapes (I’m trying, though! It makes for a more comfortable summer when a breeze can blow between you and whatever unfortunate piece of clothing you happen to be wearing!). To be honest – when I first saw the pattern, I brushed it off as ~not me~. It wasn’t until I found myself staring at this silk Georgia tee from Elizabeth Suzann** that I realized the key to making this pattern look good on me was using a fabric with a gorgeous, fluid drape (and it doesn’t hurt that the Georgia tee is a VERY similar style and shape – albeit with kimono sleeves instead of raglan, and no waist shaping – so I could see this put into action).

I know I joked about making this pattern with this fabric so that it would match my Crazy Paisley Hollyburn, but forreal, these two are a match made in heaven. The rayon challis has pretty much no body to it whatsoever – just a nice drape that flows like water. This keeps the top from being too structured, and thus the excess ease hangs in soft folds, instead of sticking out all crazy and giving me a weird shape. I like it! And next, I want to make this shit up in some SILK!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

To further prove my point, here is the top when worn loose over jeans. Doesn’t that look lovely?

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I kept this particular style very simple (well, as simple as you can be when you’re dealing with a fabric design that wack-o, amirite), but I’d love to experiment with different fabrics and textures to really play up on the raglan sleeves. I’d love to try it with a two-sided silk satin – keeping the body matte, with the cuffs and bias binding shiny. Or even make it out of two different colors of silk, as a sort of fancy baseball tshirt!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Not a lot of shots of the inside, but here you can see the guts. Serged seams, self-cuffs cut on the bias, and self bias neckline that is topstitched down.

The only thing I will change about future Belcarras is that I’d like to take the neckline in to be a bit less wide. The wide neckline is lovely, but it also means that bra straps are constantly getting flashed. I also feel like it almost looks *too* wide on me – and that it’s not balanced. Thoughts? I’m also waffling with shortening it, because it seems too long when it’s tucked in, but I think it looks just right when it’s untucked. Decisions, decisions!

Oh, one last thing-

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

You know I totally tried that shit on with my matching Hollyburn – and it surprisingly works! Really! Even Landon agreed (after laughing at me when he saw me pulling both pieces out of the closet). It might be that the fabric is so busy, you can’t really see what’s going on – but, fuck, it sure looks like a dress to me. Y’all have no idea how tickled I am about this discovery.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the Belcarra? Love it? Hate it? What’s your go-to woven tshirt pattern?

Ooh, one more thing! As you’ve undoubtedly already heard all about, I’m going to be teaching a small class while I’m in London this November, over at Tilly HQ, in her gorgeous new studio!! My Zips+Buttonholes Worshop will teach you how to insert both invisible and lapped zippers, and also guide you through sewing flawless button holes (for both one-step/automatic and four-step/manual). Afterwards, we will celebrate with a delicious cocktail and we can talk about how typing ‘buttonholes’ usually ends up being ‘buttholes’ (just me?).

If any of y’all Londoners are sad that you have to miss my class at The Sewing Party due to international restrictions – here’s your make-up chance (except this one is better, because it’s in PERSON! Actually, that might be worse, depending on how annoying you find me HA HA HA). Sign up for the Zips+Buttonholes Worshop here, or peruse all the neat workshops here (wish I could take that copy your clothes one taught by Zoe! Argh!).

* As of publishing, I still have 3 unblogged garments to post – I seem to have no problem finding the time to sew; my issue is finding the time to write about it!
** You’ve probably already picked up on this at some point, but yes, I work for Elizabeth part-time as a production seamstress (my ~main money~ income is being a personal assistant for another entrepreneur. Yeah. It rules.). I sew on some of the coolest industrial machines, handle gorgeous silks and linens all day, and watch a loooot of Netflix. It’s just as awesome as it sounds.

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GIVEAWAY: Casual Sweet Clothes

29 Aug

I’m still not quite back into my normal routine as of now (YET – the good news is, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! Yay!), so today I wanna take it easy with some eye-candy of the Laurence King variety :)

Casual Sweet Clothes book

This is Casual Sweet Clothes by Noriko Sashara, a new Japanese pattern book from – you guessed it – Laurence King. This arrived as a nice little surprise at my door recently (which, speaking of LK and surprise book, I don’t know how they manage it but they have their send-Lauren-a-surprise-book-so-it-arrives-when-she’s-having-a-bad-day shit down to a SCIENCE. It’s almost creepy how much they are on my vibe brainwaves, haha), and I really enjoyed looking at the pictures so I thought y’all would too!

I generally don’t care for most of the patterns in these sorts of books – they are cute, but not always really my style – but I see a lot of things in this particular book that I would actually like wearing! The styling is especially great – it’s still pretty sweet, but it’s not so sweet that you’re giving it the side-eye and wondering who the hell would wear that shit out in public.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

FORREAL THO. What is it about this photo? Is it the styling? Is it that the shirt is actually pretty freaking fabulous? Is it the hat (I could never pull off a hat like that)? Is it the babely model herself? I don’t know, but I want everything about that outfit on my body right now (minus the model because, guys, I already have a boyfriend ok).

Casual Sweet Clothes book

Not sure if I would wear the jacket, but it’s ADORABLE. I love the camel wool with the black bow contrast! And on the opposite page – such a pretty tank top! I have a vintage RTW dress from Mexico that’s in a similar style, and I’ve worn it so much it’s basically deteriorating. I’d love to make another one to replace it.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

If those last 2 photos were still sweet enough to give you a toothache, just know that there are some good solid basics in this book as well – like this tiered pencil skirt.

Casual Sweet Clothes book
Casual Sweet Clothes book

One thing that I love about these types of books is that they offer a lot of inspiration in ways other than just the pattern itself. This dress pattern in particular isn’t necessarily something I would wear – but I *would* wear that cool lace inset in the sleeves! The book gives great instructions for adding this design element, and it would be so easy to modify an existing pattern to allow for a little lace love :)

Casual Sweet Clothes book

I REALLYYYY love this blouse. Look at the cute little bows on the shoulders! Ahhh!!

Casual Sweet Clothes book

Also – this coat. See what I mean about the styling? It’s still pretty sweet (like, girl is wearing a tutu), but that coat would not look out of place in my closet.

Fun fact: this is the same pattern as the second photo (camel wool swing coat with the black bow). Just a couple small design changes – pocket, hood – plus the fabric choice make it a completely different garment! That’s another thing I love about these types of books – even if you don’t like the patterns offered, it’s pretty cool to see how the designer took the same pattern and reworked certain parts to make a completely different garment.

Casual Sweet Clothes book
Casual Sweet Clothes book

My very VERY favorite part of these books are the instructions! Yesss! I LOVE the diagrams – those alone are basically artwork to me. I’m so tempted to rip them out and stick them directly on the wall, but I’m one of those people who is mortified to see books get torn apart haha.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

There are a couple small drawbacks to the patterns in this book- the sizing and the seam allowance (or, lack thereof). As with most Japanese sewing books (well, at least in my experience), the sizing is pretty limited – the largest size allows for a 36″ bust. That being said, the clothing is all very simple and relatively loose-fitting (and the finished measurements are printed for each pattern), so it wouldn’t be too hard to increase the size a little bit – or you could even find a similar shaped pattern and made adjustments (such as adding the shoulder ties to that tshirt). Or you could just use the book as inspiration, because there’s plenty of it in there! Ha! The patterns are all nested and crazy overlapped (so you gotta trace ‘em if you wanna make ‘em), and there are no seam allowances included, just fyi! Fortunately, the patterns don’t have a lot of pieces either, so there’s that!

Ok, giveaway time! :D Laurence King has generously offered a copy of this book to one lucky reader! Yess!! If you’d like to enter to win your very own copy of Casual Sweet Clothes, just leave a comment on this entry and let me know where YOU like to go for eye-candy inspiration (I love eye-candy, need more in my life!). This giveaway is US ONLY and I will close the entries a week from today, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 2014 at 8:00 AM CST.

If you are itching for your own copy RIGHT NOW, no worries, I got a discount code for ya! Use the code LLADYBIRD35 to get Casual Sweet Clothes for a whopping 35% off! This code is good through 10/1/14, so you have time after the giveaway ends if you want to make sure you didn’t win first ;) Whoop whoop! Don’t say I never did anything for ya ;)

Good luck, guys! I promise I’ll try to be back to a more regular posting schedule next week :) Also, international readers – I’ll make it up next month! Haven’t forgotten about you ♥

NYC Part 2: Touring the McCall Pattern Company

25 Aug

Ok, y’all, time for part 2 of my NYC journey – touring the offices of the McCall Pattern Company! Whoop whoop!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

Before I get too far into this post, there are a couple of things I’d like to address, as I’ve had some emails and comments about this:
– The McCall Pattern Company did NOT fly me into NY to visit their offices. Umm… I wish? I paid for my plane ticket all by myself, sorry!
– I did not come to NY specifically to visit The McCall Pattern Company – I was here to teach a workshop at Workroom Social. As soon as I announced my impending visit, I was emailed by Meg from McCall’s and offered an invite to tour the offices while I was there.
– Meg is the new Social Media Pro at McCall’s. If you’ve talked to anyone from McCall via Twitter, Instagram, their blog, etc – you were likely talking to Meg. I personally have known Meg for a couple of years now – well before she went into working for McCall’s – which is why she reached out to me to visit while I was in the city. Much to some the butthurt anonymous commentary on my blog, McCall doesn’t have a grand scheme of shutting me down (I mean, let’s be real you guys – I’m not hurting their sales when I post commentaries. There are a WHOLE lot of other sewists out there who don’t read my blog/don’t read blogs/don’t care about my opinion on Koos Van Den Akker. They still buy the patterns – some of the traffic coming directly from my blog. So there’s that.). They simply wanted to reach out and let me see the company, so, (in their own words) that when I’m talking my shit, at least I’m getting the facts straight ;)
– I’m sure there are people who are thinking about what a sellout I am right now. That’s totally fine. You do you! I got over that whole ~sooo underground anti-coporation~ shit when I was like 17. DGAF.

With all that being said – OMG! Longtime dream – accomplished! I’ve ALWAYS wanted to lurk around the offices of this pattern company (as much as I poke fun at them, it doesn’t excuse the fact that we are still talking about dream job territory here. Nevermind that I’m not a patternmaker in any sense of the imagination, nor do I plan to become one), so this was an absolute treat for me! Full disclosure – I went into the offices with every intention of taking lots of photos (hence my phone in my hand in, well, every picture haha. Wish that dress had some pockets!), but since I never end up doing what I planned, all the photos you see in this post were taking by Meg. Thanks, Meg!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

I got the grand tour, you guys – I saw every department, met sooo many people (except the CEO, who was unfortunately in a meeting when I arrived. Oh well! Next time!), and a few of them even knew who I was! So crazy!

One of the biggest things I learned was just how freakin’ small this company is! Sure, they had a hell of a lot more employees than any of the indie designers we know and love – but it’s not like there are thousands of them, scattered across the world in giant corporate offices, with a big fat CEO smoking a cigar in his silk bed jacket and laughing all the way to the bank (I mean, I know I just said I never actually met the CEO but I’m just gonna ASSUME here, you guys). Everything is done in-house in NYC – they produce the patterns for McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue, Kwik Sew, and even do Vogue Pattern Magazine. Each individual department is very small – some only having a couple of employees at most. It’s also one of those companies where everyone is basically family, which I just think is really nice and feels good to be around. Everyone was extremely friendly and clearly very happy to be there.

There are a LOT of rooms and departments – the fabric library (where they keep zillions of swatches, plus buttons and trims and notions and, oh god, it was heaven in there), drafting, dressmaking, customer service, in-house photography (complete with racks of clothing and even more racks of shoes aieeee), etc etc. All in all, I think I was there for about 3 hours – flitting around, chatting everyone up, getting all grabby hands on the various fabrics (and apologizing every few minutes. Forreal, my mom hates shopping with me because I’m incapable of not touching things. This is why I hate museums and love flea markets, haha).

McCall Pattern Company Tour
McCall Pattern Company Tour
Checking out the fabric room and perusing the samples was one of my favorite parts. Sooo much eye-candy!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

This look of wide-eyed wonderment was pretty much plastered to my face the entire time I was in there, ha!

Another highlight of my tour was getting to finally meet the famed Vogue Pattern Designer, Carlos Correa (I didn’t get a photo with him, but you can see him chatting about some of the designer pieces in this McCall blog post). The very first thing he said to me was, “I LOVE YOUR BLOG!” hahahahaa!! Apparently, he reads it and loves the pattern round-ups (and I reckon he’s reading it right now, so HI CARLOS!). I spent a long time in his office, talking about the pattern and their styling vs how they look in real life, and saw some of the new designs for next season as well. I can’t say much about those, but what I can say is I kept going, “Oooh! I want one of those!” haha!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

I also stopped in the Vogue Pattern Magazine offices, to chat with the Editor and LURK THOSE DESIGNER DRESSES.

Did you know that the outfits on the Vogue American Designer pattern envelopes are actual designer garments? That was news to me! Take Vogue 1409, the Saber-Toothed Tiger dress, for instance. This dress literally came from the Donna Karan Collection – and McCall’s based the pattern off it, then used the actual dress in the photoshoot. It wasn’t sewn by them, nor did they choose the fabric (since it’s from Donna Karan). If you look inside, you’ll see all the tags – including the original price tag. This is much better explained on the McCall Pattern Blog, but that’s the general gist.

McCall Pattern Company Tour

With that being said, the next order of business was to try on the $10,000 Ralph Rucci coat.

Me: If it fits, that means I get to keep it, right?
Everyone else: lolololololol

Damn, that thing was a work of ART! I know I hated on the arm holes at one point (that’s such a random thing to hate on, ha), but seeing it in person absolutely made me change my mind (and I still think it looks weird on the envelope photo, maybe it’s just the way the model is standing?). The inside is amazing – all bound seams and even some hand stitches! Apparently there’s a whole Pinterest board for lurking the inside of the designer garments, so we can all drool from far away.

After that, it was obviously time to play dress-up. Because, duh.

McCall Pattern Company Tour
McCall Pattern Company Tour

In another Ralph Rucci original (pattern is Vogue 1404), featuring the wind machine ;) Also, those shoes are like 4 sizes too big.

McCall Pattern Company Tour
McCall Pattern Company Tour

Obviously I had to try on the Guy Laroche purple nightmare (that is actually silk chaurmeuse) (pattern is Vogue 1416. The sleeves were cracking me up to no end.

McCall Pattern Company Tour

Hahaha!
(side note: holy shit I need to touch up my hair color)

McCall Pattern Company Tour

Ughhh WANT THIS COAT (pattern is Vogue 1419)

I had an amazing time visiting the offices and meeting all the wonderful people who work so hard to produce all these patterns (whether you personally love them or not, I think we can all agree that the sheer amount of patterns they put out every year is quite impressive!). I did bring up some personal beefs – the excessive ease, the styling situation – as I feel like these are areas that do need some improvement. My opinions were definitely heard, and some things were already in the process of being addressed before I even brought them up, thanks to customer feedback. The McCall Pattern Company is absolutely interested in what the consumer has to say, and they’re making a huge effort to reach out to the online sewing community and bridge that gap. I know it’s really easy to hate on the ~big guy~ for just being there (especially when it’s a faceless corporation), but at the end of the day – I want to support the sewing community and it’s future! I’m absolutely invested in doing whatever I can to bring home sewists more options, and that includes supporting the Big 4. It was such a treat to visit the offices and get to know the people who make things happen there.

If you have a question or a complaint about a pattern from the McCall Pattern Company – contact them! They don’t know there is a problem unless you tell them, and their customer service department is extremely dedicated when it comes to helping. Follow their blog to learn more about the company, Like their Facebook page, lurk their Pinterest. Don’t be afraid to reach out and chat them up if you have a comment or concern. I’d love to see the gap close between the Big 4 and Indie pattern companies – I mean, we’re all in this for the love of sewing, right?

McCall Pattern Company Tour
(me hanging in the styling room. I was told to pretend I was fixing my hair – I promise I don’t sit at every available mirror and preen, haha! Although my hair did look really good that day. Minus the whole I need-to-redye-it situation)

Now, I can’t stop thinking about that Ralph Rucci coat…
So, like, if I paint it... I have to sew it, right? ❤️
I am definitely going to sew the shit out of that pattern. Just need to find my perfect red wool.

Completed: Ultimate Trousers

14 Aug

Hey look, here I am again – with another pair of polka dotted trousers! Are you surprised? Would you be surprised to know that I have another pair of dotty trousers sitting on my sewing table as we type speak? Do you think I have a problem? I’ve never considered myself a polka dot trouser kind of girl, but these sewing numbers don’t lie!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

This polka dot cotton sateen is actually an old spoil from the Mood Fabrics flagship store in NYC, which I bought while I was there in March. I knew I wanted to make pants with it – what pattern specifically, I couldn’t tell you, but pants for sure! I love using cotton sateen for pants as it’s usually a good weight with a nice, heavy stretch, and the colors are always so lovely and saturated. Plus – polka dots! Yesss!!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

The pattern I eventually ended up using is the Ultimate Trousers from Sew Over it. I actually tested this pattern ‘way back when earlier this year, to help get it ready for it’s print debut. I was on a pretty tight deadline during testing, which meant that I didn’t end up with a finished garment – just a muslin and a loooot of notes. This is actually pretty typical for me as a tester; I don’t always finish the pattern to the effect that it warrants a blog post! Once I got everything back to Lisa, I put the pattern on the backburner since the summer heat was starting to ramp up and I couldn’t handle the thought of wearing pants in this kind of humidity.

Anyway, we’ve got promises of cooler weather lurking on the horizon, which means it’s PANTSSS TIMEEEEE! Yay!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

I did make a few changes to the pattern, both for fitting and general style. Let’s go over the fitting stuff first. Every time I make trousers, I end up doing the same adjustments across the board, especially if the pattern doesn’t include a front zip fly. I realize that trousers are kind of a scary subject for a lot of sewers, so I’m going to show y’all what I do in my fitting and hopefully that’ll shed some light on the whole matter (and even more hopefully – prove that they really aren’t so scary to fit!).

I don’t have muslin photos of this particular pattern, but I do have muslin photos from my archives (super unflattering muslin photos, I might add! Ha!) back when I made the Colette Clovers. Different patterns, but the concept is similar.

 photo CIMG0016.jpg
See all those horizontal wrinkles allll over my damn crotch? This is an indication that the crotch is way too long for me – so it’s wrinkling. The easiest way to fix this is to pinch out the excess into a long horizontal line, and transfer that to your pattern piece with slashing and taping. I’m petite, and while my torso is a pretty standard length, my crotch length is on the short side. So this is an adjustment that I have to make with *most* trouser/pant patterns. The amount can vary depending on the pattern – obviously the Clovers needed a lot taken out, and the Ultimate Trousers didn’t take much (and I just made a pattern the other day that I had to remove 2″ from!) But it’s a common adjustment for me, and this is what it looks like.

 photo CIMG0006-1.jpg
Same muslin, back view – see how tight the ass is? Like, not even flattering tight, just imma-bust-outta-here-like-a-jailbreak tight. This is fixed by adding a wedge to the back crotch depth pattern piece. How much you add will depend on how much room you need (the Ultimate Trousers didn’t need any, but the Clovers clearly needed a lot), but you can easily hack this alteration by just cutting a bigger size right there at the back crotch (this picture from Sunni’s Trouser Sewalong shows where to add length – right in that blue circle).

clover close-up
Here’s a pair of Clovers where I fixed the length issue, but now there’s some weird puffiness around, well, my crotch. Isn’t that flattering! You guys, this particular fit issue took me a LONG time to figure out because it seemed so weird – but it’s really not. Basically, my crotch requires a different shaped crotch curve than what is drafted for most patterns. I’m a J shape, and the majority of patterns I sew are an L shape. This is a stupid easy adjustment – you literally just redraw the curve, and once you’ve done it on one pattern, you can trace that curve to every pattern thereafter. For the first pattern, you’ll have to eyeball it (or find a pair of pants that fits and copy that crotch curve) and adjust until you get it right, which might take a couple tries. Once I figured that out – what it looked like, how to fix it – that really opened the floodgates of trouser making for me. Also, you should read this post on the Fashion Incubator.

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers
Here is my front pattern piece with the adjusted crotch shape – I’ve already redrawn and cut my piece out, but I put it back on the table so you could see the difference in the curves. For whatever reason, I don’t need quite as aggressive a crotch curve when I’m making pants that have a front fly – it’s just trousers with a smooth front (especially if it’s sewn in a stretch woven).

You can also see where I tucked out the length horizontally. I didn’t take a photo of the back piece, but I sliced that length to hinge, and the side front has the same removal of length with it tapering to nothing at the center back/crotch, if that makes sense.

So yep, those are my pants adjustments! I know they might seem confusing, and to be honest – I learned all this when I was going through my Clover saga a few years ago (never got those pants to fit right, but I sure learned a lot in the process!). It was a LOT of trial and error, but hopefully my notes will help a least a few people go through less trial and error :) As you can see, there aren’t a whole lot of adjustments needed to get a good fit on pants – but they all work together, and each one affects the other (and they are all adjustments that need to be made BEFORE cutting your fabric, which is why a muslin is SO essential when making pants!). For more fitting help, I strongly recommend investing in a copy of Pants for Real People, which is basically a pants-fitting Bible. So much good information in there, I use that book often!

Ok, now that THAT’S out of the way – let’s go back to talking about this pattern, and the style adjustments I made!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers
Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

This pattern is designed to be worn cropped (or as shorts), with a faced waistline. I have learned that I really don’t care for faced waistlines, so I decided to add a waistband to my pants. I didn’t draft a waistband – I just used the facing pieces and flipped them to the top as waistband pieces (and cut two, so I could face the waistband, as you do). I think, for me, these are a little more wearable with a proper waistband. For interfacing, I used tricot fusible, which I looove because it stabilizes the fabric but doesn’t compromise the stretch of the fabric (which is what makes the darn pants so comfy to begin with!).

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

I also kept the length on the longer side, which means I can wear them full-length in the winter (with cool socks!) or fold them up to make them cropped. This length is straight out of the pattern, by the way – I didn’t shorten anything, and I’m 5’2″. Just fyi!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

The one major design change I made to this pattern was to sew it in a stretch woven, as opposed to the firm woven (non-stretch) that the pattern calls for. For one, my muslin was a firm woven and I plain just didn’t like the way they felt! They were too restrictive! I like wearing stretch woven pants, ok. Also, it’s hard to find a good pants-weight print that isn’t a stretch woven, so there’s that. I think these are fine in the stretch fabric, although I should probably go back and size them down a little because I think the legs look kind of loose. I was trying to avoid the stovepipe legs look, just to try something different, but I think these do need a little less ease. These are a size 8, by the way!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

So that’s it! Thanks Lisa (and the Sew Over It team!) for letting me test this pattern, and being so patient with me taking months to make a finished wearable garment :) Londoners, if you’re still afraid to tackle the trousers, there is a whole class for making these (with tea and cakes, omg I wish I was in London) if you still wanna try them!

Those of y’all scared to try trousers – what are your thoughts? Do you think the process looks any easier? Are you going to throw caution to the wind and try anyway? Y’all – pants are fun!

* Oh yeah, and I cut my hair! I hope you like it! Well, I guess it doesn’t matter if you don’t like it – it’s not like I can stick it back on my head lololol

Completed: The Tye-Die Moneta (+ announcements)

11 Aug

Good morning, y’all! I have a couple announcements to make today, and I also have this dress I made a couple weeks ago, so I’m just going to kill two birds with one stone and combine them into the same post-

Tie-Dye Moneta

First up: The Dress

This is another rendition of the Colette Moneta, in a very un-Colette finished dress because this baby is TIE-DYE! Landon kind of hates it; I think he thinks it looks tacky. Whatever!

I actually bought the fabric like that (I’m not at the point of tie-dying my own clothes… yet.) – it’s this cotton/viscose jersey from Mood Fabrics. The colors and style are pretty much unlike anything I EVER wear, so I’m not sure why I was so drawn to it – but I was! I originally had this earmarked for a maxi dress, but I realized it would make a pretty cool short dress with all those dyed stripes.

Tie-Dye Moneta
Tie-Dye Moneta

As far as Monetas go, this one is pretty bastardized. I don’t know if I can even call it a Moneta-proper, because I changed so much of the pattern. The bodice and skirt are Moneta, but I scooped the neckline using the Lady Skater neckline as a guide and added a neck binding. I started with the short sleeves included in the Moneta, but they were all kinds of wrong – too long, too loose (they kind of look like tshirt sleeves) – so I cut them until they were capped and hemmed them a second time.

Tie-Dye Moneta

Speaking of hemming, I broke my twin needle halfway through the skirt of this, so the second half is a zigzag hem. Haha! Whatever, it’s a comfy knit dress. Ain’t no one gonna look at my hem – right?

Tie-Dye Moneta

I realy like how the tie-dye colorblocking (and stripe matching!) turned out! I tried to keep the white away from my waist, and the yellow away from my face. The overall effect turned out pretty cool, though, it’s almost dip-dyed :)

Tie-Dye Moneta

Well, that’s enough of that! Now I’ve got some housekeeping to attend to -

NEW YORK MEET-UP: I’m gonna be in NYC this week! Yay! I’m teaching a pants making class at Workroom Social this weekend, and I’ll be trolling around the city this Friday beforehand! To my extreme delight, my homegirl Heather Lou (yes, THAT Heather Lou!) is gonna be lurking in the city THE SAME WEEKEND, so we have got some fabric shopping and hanging to take care of it! I plan on hitting up the Garment District around 3pm on Friday 8/15, and then finding a spot to chill in Bryant Park around 7 or 7:30 (whenever we get kicked out of the Garment District, I guess). I’m open to anyone who wants to join for hang-time, so lemme know if you’d like to stop by! Send me an email and I’ll keep you updated on the deets :)

OTHER CLASSES: I just confirmed that I’ll be teaching again at Watkins College of Arm, Design & Film in the fall! I have two classes this year – Intro to Fashion Sewing (9 weeks, Tuesdays) and Intro to Sewing Knits (6 weeks, Thursdays). Any local Nashvillians who are interested in attending should check out the full catalog and can register here.

THE SEWING PARTY: Finally – I’ll be teaching an online class at The Sewing Party! Don’t know what The Sewing Party is all about? From their website:
The Sewing Party Logo
“The Sewing Party” is the first ever online-all-day DIY event in history!

On November 8, 2014, thousands of DIY-ers will gather for a fun-filled day of sewing and crafting classes taught online by leading bloggers and educational experts. It’s all about Connecting. Crafting. And Creating.

Attendees will have access to more than 30 online classes available on the day of the event and for an additional 90 days. There is truly something for everyone! Classes include home décor, fashion sewing, quilting and upcycling, crafting, costume design, techniques for turning your craft into an entrepreneurial venture, and more!

Space is limited and likely to fill up fast! For just $40, “The Sewing Party” participants can attend classes; chat with participants from across the country; interact with top bloggers and educational experts who are teaching; and explore the latest crafting and sewing tips, techniques and products in our marketplace.

This upcoming event is going to be SO FUN, omg! I’ve signed up to teach a class on inserting zippers (both lapped and invisible) so if you’ve ever wanted a little help with getting those perfect zips (or maybe you’re just curious to see how I am on film – I know I am! Curious and TERRIFIED haha!), you should definitely come join my class! There are lots of cool classes to check out during the event – a few being taught by some of my favorite bloggers and friends, including Jennifer, Madalynne, and Devon. I seriously can’t wait! November cannot come soon enough, that’s for sure :)

I guess that’s it! Have a great Monday, everyone!

Completed: Reupholstered Chairs

8 Aug

Soooo this is a little different from what I usually offer up here for my Mood Sewing Network posts – we are gonna talk about home decor fabric today! ::evil laugh:: No wait, come back, I promise it’s not all bad!

Forreal, though, I’ve known about Mood Fabric’s home fabric offerings since, well, the beginning of my Mood-time. And while I’ve never been one to futz much with home decor sewing (I mean, c’mon, wouldn’t we rather all sew clothes for ourselves?), I did have some chairs that needed to be recovered. Like, two years ago. When I bought them.

So, in celebration of Mood Fabric’s new home decor storefront opening (which I’m really excited to visit when I’m in NYC next week! Eep! Next week!), I bring you my chairs that are badly in need of a facelift.

Reupholstered Chairs - before

Lookit that bad boy!

Reupholstered Chairs - before

No, that’s not even the worst – look at THIS! Can you believe I sat on that rank-ass looking thing for over 2 years? Yeah. I blame it on not being able to commit to the perfect fabric. Either that, or laziness. Probably both.

So, finding a good home decor fabric is hard, y’all. The ~free spirited artist~ in me wants something with bright colors and textures and maybe peacocks… but the tiny adult in me knows I should pick something more subdued that will continue to work with my ever-changing decor. I think I found a nice middle ground, though, with this chartreuse geometric cut velvet fabric. Even though it’s chartreuse, it’s pretty mild by home-decor standards (the color doesn’t necessarily “match” my curtains, but it goes well enough), and the geometric design gives it a bit of fun texture and visual interest without assaulting your senses. I like it!

Soo, that brings us to the next step – the upholstering.

Well, first off, let me just say this – it’s really easy, at least with a simple chair like this. Those of you who are diehard professional re-upholsterers, please avert your eyes. I’m sure I’m doing everything wrong here, oh well!

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics
PART ONE: THE DESTRUCTION
First, we have to remove the chair pad from the chair frame. It should unscrew from the bottom. Take everything apart and stash the screws somewhere safe so you don’t lose them (I should note that I didn’t lose a screw from this chair – it only had 3 to begin with! Someone else’s problem!) (and DUH I only put 3 screws back in the chair. Like I have time to find a 4th screw lololol)

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics
Flip the pad over so you can see the staples, and start yanking them out. If you have a staple remover, that would be helpful. If not, you can use a flat head screw driver. Ideally, you want to remove all the staples – not just the ones holding the fabric down. Or you can just be sloppy and rip off the fabric, but seriously, dude, removing staples is kind of fun.

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

Once you’ve completely dissembled your chair seat, you should have something like this. Wooden chair seat pad thing, fabric cover, and padding.

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics
PART 2: LAYING THE FOUNDATION
Using your fabric cover as a guide, cut out squares of the new upholstery fabric to size. If you don’t have the old fabric to use, then measure for a 4″ overlap on all sides (so my 16″ pads needed 20″ square covers). Padding can be cut to the same size as the chair seat. I initially cut off the selvedge of my fabric because I thought it looked nicest that way, but when I started ripping the rest of the seats I realized that the original upholsterer left the selvedges on. So my remaining 3 chairs have fabric selvedge, which helps with fraying.

While I did decide to add some new padding to my chairs, I did not completely replace the padding that was there. Upon inspection, it seemed to be in pretty good shape (apart from the whole falling-out-of-the-chair aspect, anyway), so I just added a layer to the top for some extra squish and called it a day. If you are completely replacing your padding, you may want to cut multiple layers.

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics
PART 3: THE REBIRTH
Now we get to staple! Stack your padding and fabric with the wooden seat base centered at the bottom. Starting in the middle of one side, staple the fabric to the seat. Now move to the side opposite where you just stapled, pull the fabric taunt, and staple in the center. Continue working around the base of the chair, opposite sides at a time, until all 4 sides are stapled down securely. I found it was easier to do one set of sides at a time (as opposed to working all the way around at once).

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics
To miter the corners, fold as shown and staple as you go.

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics
Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

Your finished seat should look like this. Woohoo!

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics
Now screw it back on the chair frame and sit in that chair like the boss you are!

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

THAT IS DAMN SEXY

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

AMIRITE OR AMIRITE?

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

For serious, though, I’m a little embarrassed at how stupidly easy this whole ordeal was. From disassembling, to cutting, to stapling, to screwing, heck – even sweeping the floor – this all took about an hour. That’s it! For four chairs!

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

I want to say I should have done it sooner, but damn – I don’t think I would have picked as good a fabric. Sometimes it does pay to wait! Also, this was a fairly inexpensive project – I only needed a yard and a half of fabric (again, my chair seats are 16″ square and I had 4 of ‘em). My fabric was $45 a yard, which is stupid pricey, but the batting was only $8 a yard. All together, the cost of the fabric was less than $80 – I already had the staple gun, but it’s a cheap one that cost less than $10. You could obviously make this a much cheaper project with less luxe fabric or not buying batting, but considering I paid $100 for the table & chairs (plus a matching buffet in the living room – told ya our flea market was wonderful. Oh! My old lady dining room curtains are from there, too!), I don’t think that’s a very bad deal at all! Again, for full disclosure – I received credit for this fabric in exchange for my monthly contribution to the Mood Sewing Network. I got to pick the fabric and project on my own, though :)

What about y’all? Anyone have experience with upholstery or other home decor sewing – or is that something you’d prefer to leave to someone else to do? I made someone lined curtains once (for the 12ft ceilings in his swanky loft), and UGHHH NEVER AGAIN.

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