Completed: The Striped Button-Down

14 Apr

A couple of weeks ago, Landon and I went to the mall – specifically, Gap – to find him a new pair of jeans. While we were browsing around (well, he was browsing – I just kind of lurking and judging the shit out of everything SORRY), I came across this stripey button-down goodness. I was mostly enamored with the horizontal stripes – loose fitting shirts aren’t so much my bag, and besides, those long sleeves would get worn for about two weeks in this climate – so I thought I’d make my own with a few modifications.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

And make it I did! Woohoo!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

This was definitely a waffling sort of project – I waffled on what style of shirt to cut, I waffled on stripe direction, I waffled on sleeve length, and I waffled on buttons. Fortunately, everything came together quite well and I’m super pleased with the end result!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

I started out with my base pattern, Butterick 5526, since I knew this little dude already fit me pretty well. I knew I’d be using this pattern from the start, but what I waffled on was which view to cut – straight lines or princess seams? Obviously the straight, less fitted view would be more true to the original inspiration – not to mention easier to cut and match up those stripes. However, I don’t really like weight loose-fitting clothing – and when I do, it either better be something super drapey (which this shirting fabric is not) or, like, the dead of winter. Princess seams were the next option, which seemed like a good idea until I realized that the stripes would start staggering over the bust and not match up properly as a result. I considered cutting the stripes vertically, until I realized THAT would even be a hotter mess – plus, the horizontal stripes are what drew me to the shirt in the first place.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

I took a sewing break to watch some infomericals, and thus realized the answer to my problem:

Butterick 5526 - stripes!


Hell yeah Imma slap a pocket right over those broken stripes and NO ONE WILL BE THE WISER.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

So. Let’s talk about horizontal stripes across princess seams. As you can see here – it *can* be done. Obviously the stripes won’t match all the way to the top of the seam, but you can cover the worst parts with a pocket, or just pretend they’re not there. I cut all my fabric on the single layer and I’m pretty happy with how my stripe-matching turned out – if you stand back and squint, you can’t even tell that there are seams down the front of my shirt! Yeah!!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

I used this Marc Jacobs red striped cotton shirting from Mood Fabrics to make my stripey shirt. You’ll probably notice that the stripes in the picture are vertical – I had to cut the pattern on the cross grain to get those horizontal stripes. Doing so sacrificed the tiny (like, super super miniscule at best) amount of stretch on the grain, but I think the shirt fits fine as it is. Fair warning if you are working with a more fitted pattern – take the lack of stretch into account if you’re cutting on the crossgrain.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

To match up the stripes, I just sewed reeeeally really carefully (after accurate cutting, I should add!). I really love sewing plaids and stripes – I find the challenge refreshing, and the end result is SO freaking gratifying!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

If you’re at all familiar with this Butterick pattern, you’ll know that it doesn’t come with an option for short sleeves – just long, and 3/4 length (or, rather, on me – almost-but-not-quite-full-length, wtf). Also, the sleeves in this pattern kiiiinda suck – they’re really huge and wide, and the sleeve cap has waaay too much ease, at least for the princess seamed version (the plain version has a lower armsyce, since it’s more loose-fitting. My guess is that Butterick didn’t feel it was necessary to redraft the sleeves to fit the princess version, which is lame and shitty and boo on you, Butterick).

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

Reducing the sleeve cap ease was easy – I just followed Casey’s method. Figuring out how to get my beloved fitted, short sleeve started another bout of waffling. I waffled on sleeve length, I waffled on fit, I waffled on whether or not to add a cuff. In the end, I took about 1/2″ off each side of the sleeve seam, and put the sleeve on and marked where I wanted it to hit. I finished it with a 5/8″ narrow hem. It’s pretty simple, but sometimes simple is the best option, yeah?

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

The only thing I would change for the next round is to lower the pockets – I went with the markings on the pattern, but I think they are a little too high and should be about 1″ lower.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

The pockets were REALLY fun to sew, by the way! Lots of ironing little creases, and turning sharp points, and precise topstitching (my favorite!). I just love how they look, especially with the little pleat in the middle.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

As with my previous shirt, the seams are finished with a simple serge (I generally prefer flat-felled seams on this style of shirt, but flat-felling princess seams is NOT something I want to try to attempt right now!) and topstitched with a slightly longer stitch length. Besides the trauma of cutting and matching all those pieces, the actual construction of this shirt came together pretty quickly.

Also, I should note that I totally boringed-out on the buttons for this guy, and went with plain off-white shirt buttons. I like the way they look, though! :)

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

And I just love how it turned out! Simple, summery, and a little nautical – without looking costume-y. A win in my book!

As a side note – I mentioned this on Twitter and Instagram last week, but in case you haven’t heard – I’m teaching Introduction to Fashion Sewing this summer at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film! The 9 week class runs all the way through June and July, and I’m so excited about it! Nashvillians, if you’re interested – you can see the summer course catalog here (I’m aaaall the way toward the end, on page 13). Yeeeah summer crafty time! :D

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Vogue Sewing Patterns: Spring 2014

8 Apr

I know, I’m a couple weeks late on the new Vogue sewing patterns. I almost didn’t bother writing a review up- mostly because I think the majority of the styles are kind of meh. Like, not even good enough to poke fun at. However, there are also quite a few patterns that I actually really like and you best believe I’ll be hollering at them during the next $3.99 sale. So, while negative reviews are much more funny – let’s give credit where credit is due, yes?

Vogue 1398
A little twee with the scallops, but it’s still pretty cute. I think it would look especially nice if the bodice and skirt were in different fabrics, so it looked like a skirt+top set.

Vogue 1393
LOVE. THIS. Go look at the line drawing – wouldn’t this be awesome in navy and white cotton sateen? Or even chambray and white bastiste, if you wanted to keep it super casual.

Vogue 1395
Pretty! I even like the fabric they used – which is a first.

Vogue 9000
Vogue gets an A+ on the styling here.

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8997

Vogue 9005

Vogue 8996
I’m starting to hate this woman because I’m pretty sure she looks good in everything.

Vogue 8994
lololol omg you guys, she ~busted out of the background~ here

Vogue 9001
This is really pretty and I want it.

Vogue 8993
I think I want this one too.

Vogue 1399
You know those mudflaps they put behind the tires of semi trucks? This dress has waist mudflaps. Someone should applique a naked lady lounging on each one.

Vogue 1390
Not too crazy about the photos here, but I could see this pattern having a lot of good potential.

Vogue 1392
You know it’s a bad pattern when the model has to contort her body to hold the shoulders up for the photo.

VOgue 1394
The potato sack with a belt!

Vogue 1396
Vogue: STILL trying to make the danglies happen.

Vogue 1402
This has got to be one of those most unflattering silhouettes I’ve seen Vogue push on a model lately.

Vogue 1397
Or maybe this one. Cute pattern, bad fabric choice. What the hell did they use – curtains?

Vogue 1400
The peek-a-boo facing is a nice touch.

Vogue 1401
I’m just going to ignore the worst of this and say: Oh, look. More danglies.

Vogue 1403
I’m merely posting this because I am fascinated by the sudden change in background.

Vogue 9003
Do you think that model is high? She looks high to me. Probably trying to numb the pain of wearing that… thing.

Vogue 9016
2005 called, they want their useless shrugs back.

Vogue 9009
I get that it’s part of the style lines, but the darts where the lapels should be just look like they are lapels that got pushed up by the wind and I want to push them back down.

Vogue 9013
I take back everything I just said about the lapels.

Vogue 9004
That crooked neckline looks like a mistake.

Vogue 9012
Wait, are these supposed to be pajamas or something you actually wear in public?

Vogue 9015

What do you think? See anything that strikes your fancy in this batch?

Completed: Chevron’d Ginger Skirt

4 Apr

Here’s another piece that I have seriously been planning for a couple of years – the chevron’d Ginger skirt!

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

Another stupendous idea delayed by lack of fabric – why why whyyyy is it so hard to find a good, 1″ stripe, non-stretch fabric, apparel-weight? Whyyy? I find lots of striped shirting fabrics (too lightweight, stripes too narrow), striped stretch twill (holding out for the lycra-less, pls), striped knit (ok, yes please, but not for this particular project!), or stripes in some kind of weird array of colors. Not to mention the overabundance of home decor striped fabric – but I’ve found I just don’t like all the structure that comes with home decor weight. My ass is not meant for curtains to hang off of it.

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

I was PRETTY FREAKING EXCITED when I found this fabric at last month’s flea. Hiding under a pile of vintage fabrics (all good, I bought nearly all of them lolz) were 4 yards of my dream yellow-and-white-1″-striped-cotton. In a rare unselfish move on my part, I ripped the yardage in half and sent 2 yards to Sunni (who I was doing a great fabric swap with earlier this month and holyyyy shit you guys I cannot wait to start digging into the lovely stuff she sent me!), keeping the other 2 yards for myself and this skirt. And here she is – finally, the striped/chevron’d skirt of my dreams!

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

As I mentioned before, this is the Ginger from Colette Patterns. I made view 3, which gave my striped fabric a nice chevron. I know chevrons are REALLY hip right now (and every time I pass something chevron’d at Target, I groan. A lot.), like to the point of already looking super trendy and dated, but I do like them for clothing. I’d say something like I hope they never go out of style, but I pretty much wear whatever I want regardless, so let’s just say I hope I can continue finding good striped fabric to make my own! Hopefully more frequent than once every couple of years :)

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

I’ve made this skirt a few times before, so this definitely ain’t my first rodeo, but I did have to size down since my previous versions don’t fit me anymore (well, maybe the Gazer does. I haven’t pulled that one out of summer storage yet to check). I cut the pieces on a single layer so I could be really accurate with lining up those stripes, and it (mostly)paid off.

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

I even went as far as to center the yellow vertical stripe in the middle of the waistband, so everything would be nice and balanced.

Now that you’ve seen the gorgeous, time to share my shame…

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

Kind of bummed that the chevrons on the side seams don’t match up :( I actually think it looks much much better in these photos vs real life (and since I took these photos, I have worn the skirt and been totally ok with the barely-matched-up side seams). Like I said. I did a very careful job of cutting everything out on the single layer, but the way this skirt is shaped means that you either get the fabric on-grain, or the side seams match all the way up to the waistband. One or the other, make your choice! I decided the grain was more important – plus, they kinda sorta match, right? :)

The other shame is that dammed invisible zipper! Guysss, inserting an invisible zip into a bias-cut garment isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever do. I stabilized my seam allowances with 1 1/4″ wide stripes of silk organza cut on the straight grain, and the zipper is ALMOST perfect, but there is a tiny bubble at the bottom. I’m trying to decide if it bothers me enough to rip it out and fix it. Eh. It looks pretty bad in that picture!

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

But, you know, issues aside – it’s a fun skirt! And it’s fun to wear, although I do feel like I’m exposing myself every time I bend over to pick something up. Bias cut rides up all kind weird.

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

This fabric was also kind of weird, amazing as it is. When I first grabbed it, it felt like a great bottom weight – slightly stiff, a bit of body, a subtle sheen. After the prewash, however, the fabric majorly softened up and weight-wise, it felt a lot more like quilting cotton. I was hesitant at first, as I wanted a stiffer shape to my skirt, but I’m pretty happy with how the drape of the fabric looks with the bis cut. The only drawback was that those bias sides stretched a loooooot. Like, so much. That’s probably a good part of the reason why the side seams don’t match up so nicely.

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

To give the waistband some structure, I interfaced the outside with my normal fusible interfacing, and sewed hair canvas to the facing. While this particular waistband isn’t quite as high as the other views on the pattern – and it’s not shaped, either – I still didn’t want it to crumble when I bent over. Not a good look!

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

Oh yeah, I used the bicycle fabric left over from this dress to face the inside of the waistband. It’s a cute little surprise!

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

I also used the last of my yellow lace hem binding for the hem. Side note – the packaging for this stuff (it’s from the 70s) boasts that it’s “Like Pretty Underwear!” which makes me laugh every time.

Ginger Skirt - chevrons

So that’s it! Simple skirt, simple fabric – but I love the results! I guess I’m on a major skirt kick right now; I’ve got anther one cut out waiting for assembly as I type this.

As a side note – the shirt I’m wearing is my button down from this outfit. I LOVE this shit and I’ve worn it soo many times since completing it! The reason why I’m pointing it out, though, is because this is what the shirt looks like after a wash with no ironing – I just shook it out and hung it to dry. It has some subtle wrinkles, but nothing crazy – it kind of reminds me of linen with how the wrinkles just look relaxed and natural. Except it’s cotton! Pretty cool; I love getting away with not ironing my clothes ;)

Completed: The Tie-less Miette

31 Mar

Ever since I made up my my first version of Tilly’s Miette wrap skirt, I’ve been meaning to make a second one. Isn’t that how it is, though? You find a pattern you like, you vow to make another one post haste, and it falls to the backburner in favor of something more *new* (I’m the same way with knitting socks. I’ve been meaning to knit a pair since I started knitting, but I keep getting seduced by gorgeous sweater patterns. Someday, I guess!). Miette fell by the wayside for, oh, a year.

Red Miette - no ties

What’s even dumber is that I finally sat down and made that shit up, and it took me all of two hours. Oh, priorities.

Red Miette - no ties

So, back to Miette. Like I said, I’ve made this pattern before – and I still wear it aaaaall the time. That polka dot fabric goes with everything as far as I’m concerned, and it’s a great skirt for “oooh I have nothing to wear” because any top you wear with it looks instantly polished. I wish Mood Fabrics still had some of that navy, by the way. I tried to find it in the store while I was there a couple of weeks ago but all they had left was brown with white polka dots (which I totally bought, by the way).

Red Miette - no ties

This fabric in question is Organic Cotton Twill. It was one of the first things I grabbed in my first NYC-Mood-store-run (I also bought some navy because, c’mon, it’s just beautiful), and one of the only *basic* fabrics I bought the entire weekend (truth, I realized I should save my money & suitcase space for stuff that’s more special/can’t be later bought online). I love this stuff; it’s the same twill I made my skinny red Thurlows with, and I can personally vouch that it wears and washes beautifully. The only drawback is that it also attracts thread and cat hair like it’s going out of style. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Red Miette - no ties

Back to the skirt. The only thing I didn’t care much for in the original pattern was the waist ties. I knowwww, the waist ties are basically the whole point of the damn pattern! But on me, I always felt like they looked a little too twee and added too much bulk to my waist. I usually wear the bow tied to the back (it’s a tiny bow, but I make it work, dammit!), which is fine, but it means I can’t wear belts with the skirt. Y’all know how much I love abusing my belt privileges, too. I briefly experimented with tucking the ties in the waistband so I could put a belt over it, but that added even more bulk.

Red Miette - no ties

So I just made the skirt without the damn ties. Instant win!

Red Miette - no ties

This was sooo easy. Using my original skirt as reference, I sewed up the 3 waistband pieces as normal and attached them to the top of the skirt. Before I sewed the facing on, I tried on the skirt and measured how much waistband to cut off to get a good fit (the waistband does not sit completely in line with the skirt top; there’s some excess on either side). I wanted the underlap to have about 1.5″ of excess, and the overlap to be completely flush with the skirt. After I finished the waistband (sewing it as you would normally sew a plain waistband), I sewed a button hole + button to both the underlap and over lap. easy!

Red Miette - no ties

Red Miette - no ties

The inside of this skirt is very plain. I just serged all my seams, pressed them open, and topstitched them down. The topstitching helps keep the seams open (one thing I always need to re-press with my former Miette), and makes the skirt look more casual.

Red Miette - no ties

I think the pooling at the back is due to how I’m standing, btw. After seeing these photos, I checked in the mirror and that shit is smooth.

Red Miette - no ties

This is a great, full-coverage wrap skirt. I can personally vouch that I’ve worn my other Miette on some SUPER windy days and that shit stays put. I also ride a bike in this skirt, no fear of flashing! The fact that it wraps in the back helps things stay perfectly in place.

Red Miette - no ties

Also, in case you were wondering – I did make my tshirt as well! It’s a Renfrew, and the fabric is from Elizabeth. It’s a bit on the sheer side (ok, a LOT on the sheer side hahah), but it’s great for layering during this weird, fickle season. This is the same top I wore during the NYC meet-up, btw. I have lots of handmades like this – basic, simple, didn’t take a lot of time to sew up – and I’m reluctant to post them because it just seems like a such a boring post on my end. This is not to say that I think people who post about a tshirt are making a boring post – I love reading that kind of stuff! But I personally make soo many, it just seems really redundant for me to keep posting the same pattern over and over. So I try to sneak them in posts like this. A twofer, if you will. lolz.

Red Miette - no ties

Huh, I guess I should clean the lens of my camera tho.

Red Miette - no ties

Um. Sorry in advance for all the cat hair you’re about to see :X

Red Miette - no ties

Topstitching! For this, I used my blind hem foot and stuck the little blade in the ditch, then stitched down each side (single needle). This gave me a perfectly straight line that mirrors both sides :) With my topstitching, I also like to increase the stitch length a bit (going from 2.5 to 3), as I think it looks a bit nicer.

Red Miette - no ties

Decorative button at the over lap.

Red Miette - no ties

Plain button at the underlap.

Red Miette - no ties

So there you go! Plain Miette, perfect wardrobe basic that I assure you will get worn a LOT this summer. I just love making wardrobe basics; I know the pretty/fancy stuff is more interesting to make for some people, but I really find a good basic to be a great way to work on really perfecting my technique. Plus, unlike fancy piece – this shit gets worn to death.

What about you? Do you like making basics? Or are you a special-occasion-only sewer?

Completed: The Out & About Dress

28 Mar

Hey everyone! Today I’m participating in the tail end of a blog tour for Sew Caroline‘s newest pattern, the Out & About Dress!

Out & About Dress

Described as a year-round, day-to-night sort of dress, the Out & About dress is a simple knit dress pattern with a scooped front neck, gathered skirt, and binding to finish the neckline and sleeves. The pattern comes with two hem options (knee-length and maxi), as well as two sleeve lengths (elbow and full). It’s also pretty easy to customize, based on your styling whims.

Out & About Dress

Since the dress does not have a lot of pieces – just a front, a back, a skirt, two sleeves, and those bindings – it’s ideal for using large scale knit fabrics that may be difficult to print match, since you really only have to worry about matching the side seams. Even easier, cut the bodice in a solid color and the maxi skirt in the print and let it really take center stage!

For my dress, I went the simple route and let this cool striped fabric steal all the thunder. Yay stripes!

Out & About Dress

I wish I could tell you where the fabric is from, but it was actually a stash busting gift from my gal pal Elizabeth, so I have no idea of it’s origins. What I do know is that it is super slinky and fun to wear, but that also meant it was a gigantic bitch to work with since the fabric wanted to shift around the entire time I was cutting and sewing. Don’t look too closely at my waistline seam, because the stripes get a bit funky over there. Oh well! It’s a loungey happy dress, not like I’m going to the Oscars or anything in it :)

Out & About Dress

Like all other knit patterns I love and trust, this one was super easy to sew up. Caroline’s instructions are all full-color photos, which makes things very clear if you’re a knit n00b and can’t swing the diagrams (I personally loove me some diagrams, but I know from experience that a photo is MAJORLY helpful when you’re a beginner!). The dress is assembled with the side seams sewn last, which makes it easy to tweak the fit to your preferences.

Out & About Dress

To make this bad boy, I cut the size XS, but ended up taking another inch out of the side seams because I wanted a fit with negative ease (and also because my fabric is reeeeal stretchy!). Since the fabric is so drapey, I stabilized the shoulders and waistband with 1/4″ elastic to prevent those areas from drooping over time. This is not something that is included in the instructions, but it’s SUPA easy to do – just align the elastic on the wrong side down the middle of the seam line, sew it down with a zigzag, and then put the pieces together as normal. I also cut about 4″ off the skirt, because I just don’t care for anything knee-length on my frame.

Out & About Dress

I used the included neck binding to finish the neckline, but I did not bind the sleeve hems and instead just topstitched them down with my twin needle (same as with the hem). Other than the twin needle stitching and zigzagging on the elastic at the beginning, this entire dress was sewn up on my serger – even the gathering was done on my serger. Wooho!

Out & About Dress

Ok, party time fun aside, here’s my secret shame – the stripes on the side seams don’t match up perfectly! Wah! I did cut these with matching in mind, and they were beautiful and straight and matched when I first closed up the side seams… but then I took that extra inch in, and things went haywire. Since this is a knit, i definitely could have manipulated those stripes to match by stretching one of the fabrics, but then the waistline seam wouldn’t have matched. I figure it’s better to have a nice waist seamline (even if I wear a belt over it) than perfect stripes, so the stripes had to bear the brunt of my wrath. Actually, it’s not so bad now that I’m looking at the photos, but I was PISSED at myself when I was staring at it in the mirror. Ha!

Out & About Dress

But, hey – at least the skirt side seams match, as do the sleeves. So there’s that! Maybe I’ll just stand with my arms down my side all day :)

Out & About Dress

I really like how this black and white striped fabric looks with other colors – like turquoise (don’t groan yet, but I was definitely belt-inspired after seeing how the fabric looks with my hair lolz). Makes it a little less Beetlejuice, don’t ya think?

Out & About Dress

I love my new dress and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can give it some proper wear out and about (see what I did there? :)). Right after I took these pictures, the weather got all stupid and cold again. ARGH! I swear, I’m not taking any more bare-legged photos outside… clearly I am angering some Winter God or some shit.

Love the Out & About and want your own? Get your copy here! Now, go forth and check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour:
Adventures in Dressmaking
Four Square Walls
Alida Makes
Paisley Roots
Lexi Made
True Bias
Sewing Like Mad
A Golden Afternoon
LLADYBIRD (that’s meeee!)
House of Pinheiro

Out & About Dress

Completed: Runway-Inspired Separates

25 Mar

So, everyone at the Mood Sewing Network decided a couple of months ago that we would challenge ourselves to make pieces that were inspired by the Spring 2014 runway. Real talk: this shit sent me into a panic. Runway? I can honestly say I have never even so much as glanced at a series of runway photos, let alone determined an outfit based on what I saw (I’m not saying this in an ~ooh, I’m so cool I just don’t even pay attention to fashion~ way, more like, yo clueless!). Furthermore, it’s difficult for me to grab “inspiration” from something without just blatantly copying it. I spent an entire month agonizing over designers, pouring over runway sets at (holy crap, there are a lot of them) and wringing my hands over what to make.

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Then I discovered Alberta Ferretti.

Alberta Ferretti Spring 2014

I still don’t know who this designer is, exactly, but the entire runway show is magical. Bright, saturated colors! Crisp white accents! Flowers! Stripes! This is the kind of inspiration I can get behind! I decided to make myself a *wearable* (emphasis on wearable ;)) version of my favorite look.

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Figuring out the fabric and patterns I would use was almost as difficult as picking a designer! I knew I wanted to make a striped skirt with pleats similar to the runway version, because I just really love how that turned out (plus, who doesn’t love a good striped skirt?), but finding a good striped fabric on the Mood Fabrics website was haaard. I mean, they have all sorts of good stripes to choose from – but very little in that specific combination of wide, irregular stripes in bright saturated colors. I know, I know – this is supposed to be an inspiration, not a literal interpretation. But dangit, I wanted those irregular stripes!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I’m not going to tell you how long I spent picking through the Mood website with a fine-tooth comb; let’s just say I probably know every apparel fabric they sell now. I did finally find my big prize, though – this amazingly bright orange stripe cotton sateen is the clear winner. Woohoo! Of course, it clashes with my hair like big time crazy bad, but whatever, I picked all this shit out pre-blue LT. Anyway, I just love love LOVE the bright colors of the stripes – it’s not quite the same colors as the inspiration skirt – it’s way more happy springy! Yay spring colors!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I was originally going to make the fabric in a skirt that is more similar to the runway inspiration – no button front + pleats all the way around – but at the very last minute (like, right before I cut into the fabric, lolz), I changed my mind and decided to go with a pattern I knew I would actually wear and love. Enter the Kelly skirt! Cutting that shit took forever, btw. I agonized for a long time on how to cut the stripes – where each color and wide stripe should hit. I used the inspiration photo to help me decide how to cut the waistband (it was originally going to be a mess of stripes on it’s own, but I like it as one solid, thick stripe!), and was careful to match up the stripes along the side seams, the button front, and the pockets. Like I said, it took forever, but once I got the pieces cut, the actual assembly took no time at all.

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

The fabric is described as a lightweight cotton sateen, but it’s weighty enough to work as a bottom weight. There is definitely some texture in the weave, and it stretches quite a bit. I made sure to stabilize the waistband and button placket so the fabric would keep it’s shape in those areas, and used a long stitch on my machine for all the topstitching. It presses very well – really easy to get a sharp crease in there, yeah! – but it also tends to leave pin holes. For areas that needed to be pinned together and topstitched (such as the button band and inside of the waistband), I fused the pieces with a long strip of stitch witchery instead of pinning; this keeps everything in place and makes topstitching SO much easier! Especially if you tend to miss spots and only discover them after you’ve finished topstitching the seam, which means they gotta be ripped out and restitched so you catch the entire fold (er… not that I would know anything about that…). That shit’s not a problem at all when you’ve got Stitch Witchery on your side. Yay, Stitch Witchery!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Since my skirt is so bright and colorful, I went the boring route with my top and made a classic button-down shirt. I seriously considered adding embellishment – or even making it into a crop top, because, why the fuck not? – but in the end, I stuck with the classic tried and true. Mainly because my wardrobe is sorely lacking a solid white button down with sleeves, so I know this shirt will get quite a bit of wear with other pieces to mix and match. I used this Theory lightweight cotton shirting – which, if you were wondering, took almost as much agonizing as find the perfect stripe. There are SO MANY WHITE SHIRTING FABRICS available at! SO FUCKING MANY. Like, how do you even choose? I figured that I’ve had really good experiences with all the Theory denims I’ve bought, so the shirting fabric must be just as excellent. Which ended up being true – this shit is soft as angel’s wings, presses and stitches beautifully, and it’s right along that line of being *almost* sheer because it’s so lightweight. A skin-colored bra is a must with this fabric. The only drawback is that since it’s 100% cotton, it does wrinkle like crazy. Like, when I pulled it out of the dryer, it was a hot mess of wadded wrinkled ball I don’t even know what. Good thing it presses well! :)

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

For my pattern, I used Butterick 5526. Like I said, I knew I wanted a classic button-down shirt but nothing in my stash was exactly what I wanted – everything was either a relaxed fit, or had something twee like a peter pan collar or an abundance of ruffles cascading down the front. Which is fine – clearly I like these patterns enough to even have them in my stash – but I wanted something super basic. Butterick 5526 perfectly fit the bill – I went with the princess-seamed version with 3/4 sleeves, and I’m actually a little surprised at how much I like it. I made the size 6 with no muslin, with the hopes that the princess seams would give me enough room to play around with the fitting. It actually came out perfect straight out of the envelope – I KNOW, RIGHT? – although next time, I will shorten the sleeves because they are stupid long. They’re supposed to be 3/4 and they come to right above my wrists – in that weird spot that’s not quite long sleeve, but rather looks like I measured my arms wrong. Wah wah! I’ll just wear these rolled up, I guess. I also may reduce some of the ease out of the sleeve cap in the next version; these were pretty hard to ease in smoothly and there are still tons of wrinkles. But, for the most part – it ain’t bad!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I did try to jazz up the shirt a little bit by adding topstitching, but for the most part – it’s just a plain jane backdrop to an awesomely loud skirt. I love it!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Ok, now I have to tell you my secret – I didn’t start sewing this until Saturday morning! On top of that, it had to be finished and photographed before dark on Sunday – and I had a wedding to attend on Saturday night. I spent so long agonizing over my designer inspiration, then the fabric, then the pattern – that by the time I had everything (mostly)figured out, it was time for me to get on a plane and head to NY. When I got home on Monday, I had another more urgent deadline that needed to be taken care of asap (more on that later), which put this project on the backburner for a few days. Needless to say – I was pretty stressed come Saturday morning! I like to think I’m pretty efficient when it comes to making things quickly, but even that’s a stretch for me, especially two garments. I’ll be honest – I was tempted to half ass this one, just for the sake of time, but I decided early on that it wasn’t even worth my while if I didn’t end up making something that would be wearable past this photoshoot. Which means I forced myself to slow down – I made time for fitting, for the details like topstitching, for fixing mistakes (oh yeah, I totally sewed that collar stand on backwards the first time NO BIG DEAL), for eating lunch. But hey, look – not only did I actually get it done, but I actually made something nice without cutting corners.

Butterick 5526, made with Mood Fabrics

Butterick 5526, made with Mood Fabrics
I mean, check out that topstitching!

Butterick 5526, made with Mood Fabrics

Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics
Lots of topstitching on the skirt too, woohoo :)

Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I know my outfit isn’t quite as fashion forward as what I could have done, but I am elated with how both pieces turned out and I can’t wait to give them some proper wear to welcome spring in with loving arms. Come on, spring! I know you’re lurking back there somewhere, time to come out of hiding!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

One last thing – most of y’all are probably aware by now, but just in case you weren’t… By Hand London is going to start printing fabrics on-demand! How freaking awesome is that?? They need some help with costs to get production started, so they’ve got a Kickstarter going to raise funds. You can get some pretty sweet loot in exchange for your money – from tote bags, to coffee mugs, to free patterns, to private sewing lessons – but even $5 helps. Every little bit adds up! I am so so excited for this new venture that the BHL ladies are seeking out, and I really hope they meet their goal so it can become a reality (especially if it means I can start printing wildly tacky fabric to my heart’s desire). You can check out the Kickstarter here – watch the super cute video, and I dare you not to fall in love. I dare you.

A Weekend in NYC

20 Mar

After a whirlwind of a weekend in NYC (landing in on Friday evening and rolling out Monday afternoon – whew!), I’m happy to report that I’m back home in one piece. Minus the piece of my broken heart that I left with Clare. Sob! But maybe I should back up a little…

Fair warning: this is a word-heavy, stolen-picture-heavy post. Feel free to scroll by – or at least to the bottom, to check out who won the giveaway! Sorry if this sounds super rushed – we cancelled our internet (in search of a new provider) and I’m trying to publish before it turns off! ~living on the edge~ and all that.

It’s been exactly over a year since the last time I visited NYC and I think it was just in time – I’ve used up nearly all my fabric, time to buy moreeee!! For this round, I shacked up with Clare in the tiniest little studio apartment I’ve ever seen, in East Village across the street from Big Gay Ice Cream (and before you ask – we didn’t get any gay ice cream. It was WAY too cold!). Neither of us had been before, but we both fell in love with the area, especially all the punk stores that made us feel old and nostalgic (not to mention kind of hilarious at how the styles NEVER EVER change. Seriously! Brands and styles that I wore 10+ years ago… that were already old as hell, even back then. Oh, punk. So punk.). The apartment was fabulous, except when our “neighbor” decided to throw a several-hour long party on one night that ended up with me laying awake, listening to some chick blather on about convection ovens until the wee hours of the morning. But, don’t worry – we woke up bright and early the following morning, and made sure to turn the TV (you know, the one that was attached directly to his wall) up nice and loud for a couple of hours :)

Our first meet-up happened right after I landed and made my way from the airport to our pad, dropped my stuff off, and dipped right back out. We had planned to get tacos & margaritas with a handful of ladies, and per usual, I made sure we were a good hour late (what? Don’t look at me like that – navigating the subway with a giant suitcase during rush hour is hard). I sat at the end of the table with Jennifer & Betsy, and an endless supply of margaritas ;) (although I hear there was some talk of fat quarter challenges at the opposite end – I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that conversastion, ha!).

post-dinner group

A few of our party had already peaced out by the time Carolyn convinced a rando to take this photo, but here’s a portion of the group! Look at my creepy skeleton hands, HA!

Most everyone went home afterwards, but the real badasses of the group (me, Jennifer, Lucinda & Fleur) stuck it out for another round of drinks at some fancy winebar with a creepy bathroom. Which was WAY more awesome than it sounds, ha! I love meeting up with big groups, but I also like these little smaller sets because it gives me more of a chance to actually talk to people one-on-one and have a proper conversation.

Saturday morning, Clare & I headed out to Devra’s for a pre-meetup brunch. We were only a couple miles away, so we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous morning and walk (and only made it about half an hour late ;)). Brunch was, per usual, fucking amazing – and although someone forgot the coffee (cough cough), Devra did make sure that we ate off paper plates this go ’round, so no dishes were broken this year :)

INSTAFRANZ  @oonaballoona @wwndw
Me with Marcy & Lisette

Oh, yeah, my hair is blue now! :)

Marcy & Trice
Marcy & Trice

Amanda, Lisette & Jennifer
Amanda, Lisette & Jennifer

Amity, Nette & Kelli
Amity, Wanette & Kelli

Kelli & Peter
Peter & Kelli (in case you were wondering… her hair really looks that good in real life. Clare & I were amazed and a little jealous).

After brunch, we walked down toward the Garment District – only about a half hour late! No biggie! Ha! GUYS, I swear… I actually am pretty prompt and on-time for the most part. I HATE waiting on late people, so I try not to ever be that person. However, something about NY just makes me late for every freaking thing I try to do. Thankfully, the group didn’t get started without us – everyone was waiting patiently in the lobby at Mood Fabrics, and we were able to ride the elevators up together in a couple trips.

Should have taken this before half the meet-up left haha. Oh well! Successful day!!  (ps ladies pls tag yourselves )

This is only a portion of the crew! Didn’t think to get a group shot before we released the hounds into Mood, boo, so about half the people left before this picture was taken. Of course, I also didn’t realize that Mood closes at 4 on Saturdays… and since we all arrived after 1, that didn’t leave much time to get around the rest of the Garment District! We barreled through Mood and wreaked some serious havok on the lines in that store – I think at one point it stretched all the way to the back by the bathroom! Although I spent most of my chatting up new friends via meet-up, freaking out over the gorgeous silk button hole twist that Madalynne brought for everyone (who brings that sort of stuff to pass out at a meet-up? Maddie, that’s who!), and kicking it with my favorite Mood Dude, George. Seriously, y’all. George is awesome.

We managed to make a quick pit stop at Pacific Trimming before they closed, grabbed a bite at Ben’s Diner across the street, and posed with our favorite tailor on the street corner.

Just being adorable with @clareyszabo

The rest of the weekend, Clare and I trolled around the city with whoever we could convince to join us – Amity, Trice, Devra & Sonja. We ended up going to the Garment District three days in a row – yes, there are totally shops open on Sunday, woohoo! – where I was finally able to meet my self-imposed fabric quota. Also, we totally tourist’d it up at places like FAO Schwarz (for the live toy soldiers), Tiffany’s (for the sparklies) & Saks 5th Ave (for lurking inside the designer duds – oh yes we did).

stole these from Clareeeee

@clareyszabo and I hanging with our new BFF #toysoldiermark

stole these from Clareeeee
This may be my favorite picture from the weekend. We dipped into Chic Fabrics and made BFFz with the owner, Sam. BFFz as in we are now planning a pool party at his house on Long Island, and Clare started snapping selfies that I tried to photobomb. Sam was awesome. Almost as awesome as the fabric I bought from his store :P

One thing I would have LOVED to do while I was around, had I been given a little more time (and perhaps the weather been a bit more cooperative), was to check out the tours at Seek. I reeeeeally wanted to do the NY Garment District Tour (or, hell, all their public tours sound pretty amazing. I’m dying to try that Fifth Ave department store history tour!), but it just wasn’t in the cards for this trip, due to weather and time restraints. I’ve had a few people ask for suggestions on places to visit in NY (from a tourist’s perspective), so that would definitely be the first thing at the top of my list to check out (psst! Want a discount? Use the code LLADY!). Next time I go, I am DEFINITELY getting signed up for at least one tour!

Another thing I was sad to miss was checking out Workroom Social – especially after a full night of getting my gab on with Jennifer! Again, I do want to plan a trip back in the summer, so hopefully we can make it happen!

I reckon y’all wanna see what I came home with though, huh?

fabric haul
Here’s the whole lot of fabric! I was pretty good this time around and spent a lot less than I did last year (also, hoping this can convince me to come back later this summer to restock, YES). Mostly cottons and knits, although there are a couple of pieces of silk in there.

Most everything came from Mood Fabrics, with a few exceptions-
- the chambray, plaid, and china silk came from Chic Fabrics (225 W 39th St # 11, New York, NY 10018) (our beloved Sam! GO SEE HIM and buy up allll the china silk like I did!)
- the grey/black/rust stripes and aqua with black polka dots came from Metro Textiles (Carolyn has a recent review on this place. It is really awesome to dig through, the prices are great, and I LOVED Kashi. Love love loved him. Go find him and tell him I sent you! I would have loved to spend a million hours in that store, pawing through fabrics, but we were on quite a time constraint by the time we managed to get in there.)
- the navy/white wide stripes and navy/white polka dots came from… I think Fabrics for Less? I honestly don’t remember, because I didn’t fall in love with anyone there, ha!

I also bought a few trims from Pacific Trimming. Rib knit – one with GOLD SPARKLY STRIPES, and one white stripes – and my first Riri zipper! That shit cost me $15, by the way. It better be as epic as everyone talks about.

Also from Pacific Trimming, this amazing American Flag elastic. I… what?

Speaking of Carolyn, she was kind enough to let Clare & I stash our giant stacks of luggage (I had one of those suitcases that was big enough for me to fit inside, plus an overstuffed duffel bag. All full of fabric, haha!) in her office on our last day, so we could pop back to the Garment District and get a quick Guinness before I had to leave for the airport. Carolyn mentions on her blog that she works in corporate, and she is NOT kidding – that office was corporate and swanky as hell! They had to take photos of us to even let us in, and then she gave us a tour and I don’t think we closed our mouths the entire time. And, of course, Carolyn was impeccably dressed – in handmade. Also, I just adore Carolyn. She’s like my mama bird of the sewing world ♥

One last celebration with my babez @clareyszabo

All in all, I had an amazing time. Clare was a wonderful traveling partner who felt the same way I did about every decision we encountered – whether or not we needed more coffee (always), if we felt up to walking instead of taking the subway (hell yeah we did!) and if the Garment District warranted just oneeeeee more trip before we left (what do you think?). She even brought me presents all the way from London – soo many teas, and a gorgeous African print wax fabric that I’m kind of afraid to cut into (see it in the haul photo? Bottom right!). I really did feel like I was leaving a tiny piece of my heart back there when I had to finally go home. Which just means I better haul my ass over to London, STAT!

As far as meet-ups, I’m so glad I was able to squeeze in soo many in the short time I was there (and bummed that a couple that we planned weren’t able to pan out). Everyone says this, all the time, but it’s really awesome getting to meet up with people who share the same interests as you and are happy to hear you drone on about your fitting adjustments and offer advice. Also: having met up with lots of bloggers across all channels, I gotta say – sewists are the nicest ones in the bunch, across the board! In these meet-ups, I never feel like I’m competing for a chance to talk (you know those people who you can tell are just waiting for a dip in the conversation so they can butt in and take over? Yep. Not a sewist trait, at least not with the ones I’ve met!) or carrying on about something that’s really obvious no one gives a shit about. Everyone is polite, encouraging, and happy to let you try on their jacket if you are interested in the pattern (ask Clare about that bomber jacket. I about stole it right off of her, ha!). Ohh, and we all tip well :) If you’re thinking about joining a meet-up in your area – DO IT. So much fun, so many new friends and new blogs to follow! The best part is when you can pick out who is wearing what pattern – I think there were, what, 4 Minorus at our meet-up? Too bad I left mine at home!

Oh yeah, I went there ❤️
So, anyway… New York, I ♥ U. I’ll be back, yes indeed.

One more thing – the book+pattern giveaway! Um, WOW you guys – I cannot believe the enormous response that blew my email up all week. Y’all must really love you some sewing textbooks, that’s all I have to say about that!

But, like all good things – this has got to come to an end, so let’s pull up a winner. Ding ding, who’s the lucky number?



That would be Sam L! Woohoo, congratulations! I’ll be in touch to get you your book & pattern :) I think you’ll find this book very helpful for learning all the techniques that come with making pants :)

Thanks to everyone who entered! I really really wish I had a copy of this book to give to ALL of y’all – but unfortunately, I only got one :(. If you are interested, you can purchase the book here on Amazon. As a side note (and perhaps this is better suited for a discussion post, maybe?), I noticed that an overwhelming majority of commenters seemed to be really terrified of sewing button holes and zippers. I’m going to let you in on a my top tip for learning new things: just try it! Who cares if your first attempt ends up to be total crap (err… maybe try on a scrap first, so it can truly be nbd, ha!)? That’s why we hide things at the bottom of the trash can :) Almost everything I’ve learned – seriously, everything – came from studying sewing books and tireless googling. Practicing is really the only way you can get better at something, and you need a healthy dose of fearlessness to realize that it’s really not so bad once you get going. You got this!!

Whew, that was long! Ok, I’m outta here! Have a great week of the week, everyone! :)


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