Completed: Fancy Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

9 Oct

I’ve been swimming through muslin hell this whole week (crazy me decided to even make a SECOND MUSLIN to verify all my changes, wtf who am I turning into amirite), but fortunately, I have an old make from pre-Maine that I can share with y’all! Jeans! Yay!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - frontCone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

Remember when we were all scrambling around to buy those fancy Cone Mills Denim kits with our Ginger Jeans earlier this year (and last year too, for that matter)? I’m so happy that I made space in my budget for one, because Cone Mills denim is awesome. It’s the same denim they used to make Imogene + Willie jeans (which I can personally vouch for as I own 2 pairs – they wear really well and hold their shape beautifully, which means I never need to wash them in order to shrink ’em back down at the end of the day), and although the kit wasn’t cheap – it is certainly cheaper than buying the actual jeans. By the way, if you’re thinking, “Where the hell is this kit so I can buy one???” I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that they were on limited pre-order, and have been sold out for a while now :( Hopefully there will be more where that came from!

EDIT I have just been informed that Threadbare Fabrics sells Cone Mills Denim! Yay!! I apologize in advance for those who end up emptying their bank accounts after reading this post :)

Anyway, the point of that somewhat sales-y sounding paragraph was to say that I finally used one of the pieces of my denim for this pair of pants. I received the kit way back in April and have been anxious to sew it up, but I wanted to wait until it was actually something closer to pants-season before I got too excited.

Also, just a head’s up before we delve too far into this post – sorry in advance for all the weird bobble-head shots. I didn’t realize my camera was tilted so much, and I don’t care enough to retake the photos. Also, there be VPL in most of these pictures. Not sorry about that! Deal with it!

deal with it

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

The denim itself is what really counts when it comes to a good pair of jeans. You want a material that is a good medium weight (not too light, but also not too heavy) and if it has stretch, an awesome recovery. The single thing that’s plagued me the most when it comes to making my own pants is finding material with a good recovery! I hate having my pants bag out by the end of the day – it’s annoying enough for every day life, and utterly useless if you’re traveling and don’t have access for a quick wash (or just plain don’t own a washer and dryer, which was totally my situation up until we moved this year!). Plus, washing denim too much can fade out the color and cause the fibers to break down faster. I like my jeans to be a really deep, dark indigo blue, so fading isn’t my first choice. Figuring out fabric recovery is really difficult to do without actually wearing the fabric – which means you have to sew it first. So whenever someone gives me a head’s up on some good stretch bottomweight, I tend to snap it up without hesitation. I knew the Cone Mills denim was good stuff, so I’m glad I was able to get my hands on some before it sold out.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - back

This certainly is not my first pair of Ginger Jeans – I’ve made a classic indigo denim pair, a red cotton twill pair, a gold denim pair, a version of jeggings and shorts version. What can I say – when I like a pattern, I tend to stick with it :) And I REALLY like this pattern – it’s a nice, classic jeans pattern with all the good details you see in store-bought jeans, minus the shitty denim and strange fitting issues.

Having made this pattern numerous times made me feel confident enough to break into my mega-expensive denim for the pair you see here. I knew I already had the fit pretty good, so I could focus more on visual details with this version. That being said, there are a few changes to this pair that aren’t evident in my previous makes.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

The biggest change is that I went up one size, to a 4. While I like the fit of the 2 (all my other Gingers are 2s, fyi!), I’ve gained a little bit of weight over the summer and I got this weird paranoia that I was in denial about my size. Those 2s are great and super comfortable, but the legs are so tight that they look painted on. I was horrified at the thought of people thinking I was trying to squeeze into a too-small size, so I went up to the next size. I think the 4 definitely fits better, but the are a little different. Namely – those wrinkles at the knee. What is the deal with those? The calves aren’t too tight (they are looser than the tightness on my 2s, and my 2s don’t wrinkle like that), so that’s not the issue. Maybe they’re too loose at the knee and need to be taken in a bit? Thoughts? Btw, the wrinkles look worse in photos than they do in real life!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - back

Since I was going up one size and I don’t trace, I had to reprint the pattern. I know Heather updated the Ginger jeans pattern at some point last year, and I had both an original version (that I got when it was first released) and an updated version (that came with my purchased denim kit). I printed the new version so I could try it and compare to the original one. I don’t recall exactly what changes were made to the jeans, but there are some slight differences in the rise and the shaping around the crotch and hips. The waist is definitely a lot higher than it is in the original version – and this was after I shortened the crotch. The major difference in the updated version is the pocket bags – instead of normal jeans pocket bags, there is a drafted pocket stay (also called an instant tummy tuck).

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

With a pocket stay, the pocket bags go all the way across the front into the fly. This helps pull everything in and give you a smooth line in the front (hence the tummy tuck name). I wasn’t sure if it would be comfortable, but I tried it anyway and I’m glad that I did! I don’t care about smooth lines or whatever (I mean, c’mon, I’m basically always rocking dem VPLs. Death to thongs!), but what I do love is that the pockets stay in place when you pull your pants on. You know how tight pants always have to get the pockets shoved back down after you go to the bathroom? Not with these babies! Plus, since the pocketing isn’t folded over anywhere, there isn’t a weird bump at the coin pocket. I never was a fan of that.

Damn, shoulda pressed those insides before taking the photo. That fly shield wrinkle looks awful.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - front

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - back

All the topstitching and jeans-y details are what really made these fun to sew up! I just love the way jeans topstitching thread looks when sewn up against denim, so good. I kept my I+W jeans on hand and used their stitching colors as inspiration for this pair (here’s an old post where I took close-ups of the jeans right after I bought them, if you’re curious). The kits came with the zipper, button, rivets, copper topstitching thread and denim needles. However, you can buy all that stuff individually as well – Taylor Tailor has most of it in his supply shop for really reasonable prices. I did buy the orange topstitching thread from Taylor Tailor, which I think looks awesome next to the gold topstitching.

Now that I’ve overloaded you with pictures of my butt and crotch, here are some flat jeans shots.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

As you can see, I used the orange topstitching thread pretty sparingly – just for the bartacks and belt loops. I can’t say I thought of this myself, as I pulled the inspo straight from my I+W jeans. They also use a third topstitching color in the second line of stitching, which is not something I did with this pair. Also note that the I+W jeans don’t use rivets, but I did use them here. I love hammering those things in and I think they really finish off the jeans nicely. I just kept them on the front pockets and coin pocket – I don’t like the look of rivets on the back pockets.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Again, using my I+W jeans as inspiration – I flat-felled only the back yoke seam, and serged + topstiched the leg seams (this will make it way easier to take in the legs if I need to, so yay!). I used orange thread in my serger, which mimics the orange bartacks. I LOVE the way it looks!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

Whew! Sorry about all that cat hair!

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans

This is my absolute favorite little detail of these pants – the side leg bartack is a little L for Lauren :) On my I+W jeans, they have a little + sign on one leg in place of a bartack, and I thought, hey I can do that with an L. It’s only on one side, and it’s quite subtle unless you already know it’s there.

Cone Mills Ginger Jeans - side

Welp, that ended up being a super long post! Do you see now why I love making jeans so much? All the little details are so fun and make the end result look extremely professional. Not to mention, all the customization options – from fit, to denim, to topstitching details. I’m so glad Heather released the Ginger pattern and I’m even happier than we were able to get some of that fancy-ass denim to make it up with! I still have one more piece for one more pair of jeans – and I’m thinking I might do the low-rise version next. Could be fun!

New Vogue Sewing Patterns: Winter 2015

5 Oct

If you haven’t heard, Vogue Patterns just released a new collection of sewing patterns a few days ago. I haven’t had a chance to really sit down and take a look at them as I’ve been out of town the last week (where I had a wonderful time teaching in Portland, Maine, and hanging out in Boston with Jenny. Couldn’t have asked for a better week! Hope to post more about it later :) ), but man, this was a nice welcome back. Ha.

Surprisingly (or not, depending on your stance with Vogue), most of the patterns in this collection are relatively tame (and a few are even sorta tasty). I’m a firm believer that winter clothes are far superior to summer clothes (layers and cozy wools and tights and scarves and don’t even get me started on sparkly holiday dresses, wheee!), which may have something to do with my opinion on the new pieces.

Vogue 1475 // Badgley Mischka
Like this shiny piece of opulence. Ain’t no place in my life for a sparkly evening gown, but man, I really like this. I even like the fabric – I think it works really well with the style of the dress.

Vogue 1474 // Tom and Linda Platt
Or how about a bias floor-length gown made in a yummy silk charmeuse? Yes, please!

Vogue 9145 // Claire Shaeffer

Vogue 1468 // Nicola Finetti
Obviously there’s nothing particularly ground-breaking about this design (and I’m starting to get sick of the exposed metal zipper trend on EVERYTHING, sorry not sorry), but I like all the options for colorblocking and using different textured fabrics. Also, do I spy a new designer in the line-up?? YAY.

Vogue 1477 // Sandra Betzina
Love knit tops with interesting neckline detail like this.

Vogue 1479 // Isaac Mizrahi
I know these oversized coats are supposed to be really trendy right now, but they’re just a little too 80s-Power-Career-Woman-With-Strong-Shoulders to me.

Vogue 9160
“Excuse me! My eyes are up here!”

Vogue 1469 // Lia Lia
Even the skinniest model wearing the prettiest dress can’t escape a bad piping placement.

Vogue 1471 // Nicola Finetti
Really beautiful dress, but it should have been worn by a model with similar proportions. The waistline is way too high, yeesh. And if I’m way off my rocker and that’s the way the dress is supposed to look… double yeesh.

Vogue 9149
“We need to figure out a way to re-release this pattern but make it seem new.”
“What if we add a tail?”
“Say no more.”

Those were pretty tame. However, Vogue wouldn’t be Vogue without a little random fuckery thrown in.

Vgoue 9159
“You promised when making these pieces that you’d never wear the two of them together. The lie detector test determined that was a lie.”

Vogue 9153 // Marcy Tilton
I swear to god, every Marcy Tilton pattern is starting to look the exact same.

Vogue 9156
I totally had a pair of purple fuzzy zebra print pants when I was in high school. I guess this answers what ended up happening to them.

Vogue 9162 // Kathryn Brenne
I guess buttflaps are also making a comeback this year.

Vogue 9163
“Bitch, be cool.”

Vogue 1478 // Sandra Betzina
“Well, at least I wouldn’t skin a collie to make my backpack.”

Vogue 9164 // Kathryn Brenne
“I wish this was a hamburger instead.”

Vogue 1473 // Bellville Sassoon
Bellville Sassoon gives you wiiiiiiiings!

Vogue 9165 // Mary Jo Hiney Designs
This has to be the weirdest accessory pattern Vogue has ever released. Custom decorative boxes – complete with a notions list that rivals the entire stock of your local Joann’s. Also, the 9 year old me in is amused that the designer’s name is “hiney.” That is all.

And SPEAKING OF FUCKERY – I saved the very best for last!

Vogue 1472 // Zandra Rhodes
Every single thing about this outfit is insane. I couldn’t tell if that was a skirt or really low-crotch harem pants, until I looked at the line drawing – and was delighted to also discover that the look includes suspenders (to keep the skirt up, I imagine. That thing looks heavy af). And in case you don’t feel sexy when wearing an entire bolt of fabric, there’s a lovely midriff cut-out – the perfect space to allow for a little post-holiday-dinner belly expansion.

What did you think about the new Vogue collection? Anything gorgeous that needs to be a part of your wardrobe? Any random fuckery that makes you want to tear your eyes out? How do you like them new designers? Ahh, Vogue, it’s like you’re giving me Christmas 4x a year. I loves you.

Completed: The 70s Denim Skirt

22 Sep

First make of my F/W sewing plans is done and ready to wear! Before you think my sewing speed reaches world-record status (I mean, I’m fast – but I’m not that fast!), I should point out that I had this skirt mostly complete before my sewing plans were completely solidified. So I had a head start with this particular garment! I actually took a little longer than usual to make this (not that I’m racing myself or anything, ha), as I ended up getting sick that week, which put the whole project on hold for several days while I tried to rest up and recuperate. But anyway, it’s done and now I can wear it! Yay! The 70s denim skirt I’ve been waiting for!

Style 1559 denim skirt

It would appear that the 70s is back in this year, in a big, bad way. I am super excited about this! I loved that shit when it came back into style in the 90s, and I’m happy to see it’s back again 20~ish years later (no comment on feeling old and/or shouldn’t be wearing that shit the first time it came around. Duh, this is the second time, it cancels itself out). While I don’t really follow fashion or allow it to necessarily dictate what I choose to wear, I can say that it’s nice when something I love does go into style because that means it’s easier to source it! Of course, that doesn’t really matter so much when one makes their own clothes – using a vintage pattern, no less – but I’m excited to see what trickles into the fabric selection. :D

Anyway! I’ve seen a lot of this skirt style – mini a-line with a button front and jeans topstitching – and I knew I wanted one for my own wardrobe. Rather than deal with the heartbreak of buying vintage (where it’s never your size and/or the seller has some interesting ideas about what to price it at), I wanted to make my own. Actually, I always want to make my own! I’ve been thinking/lurking on this particular style for a couple of months now, and tried to figure out how I could hack an existing pattern from my stash into my dream denim skirt. Then I found this pattern, and it was pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

Style 1559 denim skirt

The pattern is Style 1559, which I bought on Etsy. It’s amazing how much this pattern encompasses everything I wanted in my skirt – a-line shape, side pockets with topstitching detail, button front, mini (ok, it’s not a mini but I can MAKE it a mini). The seller had several sizes, so I even got to pick what size I wanted! Etsy is awesome!

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

The pattern was pretty easy and straightforward to put together. The only thing I changed – other than the obvious length difference, which ended up being something crazy like 9″(I wanted to go even shorter, but I’m going to wear this around a bit as-is and see if that changes) – was that I made a pocket facing piece, so that I could cut the pockets out of lining rather than denim. This was really easy; I just used my Ginger jeans pattern pocket facing as a guide. I also added more buttons than what you see on the pattern – I wanted more, and closer together. Oh, and I added belt loops (just stole the pattern piece from my Ginger jeans). Otherwise, easy stuff! Not a lot to report on as far as that is concerned.

Style 1559 denim skirt

Sorry about the butt wrinkles! I took these after a full day of, well, sitting :P

I’m not totally sure how I feel about those back pockets. I added them for shits and giggles – they’re part of the pattern, and they look cute on the envelope. I am pretty sure they are not doing my butt any favors whatsoever, but I also don’t feel like ripping them out. Thoughts?

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

The denim I used is pretty legit, and also straight out of the 70s! :) One of my awesome readers, Jim, sent me a big ol’ piece of this stuff about a year ago. It took me this long to figure out what to do with it – it’s pretty thick and heavy with absolutely no stretch. Perfect bottomweight, but most of my pants have a little bit of lycra in them these days. I considered using it to make my denim jacket, but the color is a little light. However, it is perfect for this skirt. Totally a match made in heaven – in more ways than one. I love this kind of denim because it really softens up with washing and wearing, and the faded/worn look is even better looking than when it’s new.

Sewing this denim was as easy as you’d think. The cotton content meant that it pressed really well, and my machine handled all the layers without any problems. I used normal polyester thread to piece the seams, and denim topstitching thread for all the topstitching. The fishing is a mixture of flat-felled and serged seams, same as what you’d see with jeans. I really enjoyed playing with all the topstitching on this skirt; it looks reeeeeally good against the denim!

Style 1559 denim skirt

Random sidenote, but I also made my top! That’s a Agnes top, which I actually sewed up AGES ago (like, as soon as it was released) but then realized that it was way too freakin’ hot to wear anything with sleeves like that so I stuck it into the drawer in anticipation of cooler months. The fabric is a thick cotton knit that I picked up in the Garment District.

Style 1559 denim skirt

The buttons really make this skirt! I used smooth copper buttons, to match the gold topstitching thread, which I bought from TaylorTailor. I actually bought 25 of the things (what? They’re cheap haha), so stay tuned for more denim fun stuffs! As a side note – did y’all know that Taylor and I actually live in the same city? True story! We finally met irl for the first time at Trader Joe’s a couple months ago. I promise I tried to keep my fangirling under control hahaha.

Style 1559 denim skirt

Style 1559 denim skirt

Again, with those pockets! Argh! I think the thing that bothers me the most about them is the topstitching – the top line of stitching is too far away from the edge, and it looks derpy. I thought it looked derpy as soon as I finished stitching the first line… and then, instead of unpicking it, I kept sewing. At this rate, I’m fairly confident that I’ll never actually fix it. I’ll just complain about it.

Style 1559 denim skirt

That’s all for now! I’m off tomorrow to Portland, Maine, for my long weekend sewing retreat at A Gathering of Stitches, which I am SO looking forward to! Four days of sewing and talking sewing and living and breathing sewing in beautiful New England? Pinch me. Talk about an awesome weekend! Anyway, I’ll be gone until next Wednesday, so this blog will be quiet until then. See y’all next week!

Fall/Winter 2015 Sewing Plans

18 Sep

Well, I don’t know about where y’all are, but down here the temperatures have slooowly started dropping at night, which means I can finally start planning my fall/winter sewing without feeling like a total lunatic. I love this time of year – the change in seasons is a nice shift from the blistering heat (I feel the same way once spring rolls around, too, for opposite reasons. Change is good!), and, man, I love winter clothes. I love sewing winter clothes! Yay for wooly long sleeves and cozy necklines!

I don’t have a lot in the plans for this season – I want to focus on basic pieces that can be mixed and matched. I like the idea of having a more minimalistic approach to the way I dress – I already do this when I travel, and I’m working on dragging it into my every day life. I recently realized that I don’t really care if people see me wearing the same thing two days in a row. If it bothers then, that’s their problem, not mine. I want to spend my sewing time working on fitting and fine finishes and enjoying the entire process – not rushing to get to the next project. If that means making less as a whole, fine with me!


sway dress
Papercut Patterns Sway Dress

Ah! I made this fun tent dress in a summery linen, but I really would love to make a winter version as well. I have a really nice black boiled wool that I think would suit the pattern nicely. It would be so cozy with black tights and a long sleeved turtleneck.

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

Kitschy Coo Lady Skater dress

I make this dress every year, and there’s a good reason why – it’s an awesome dress! The scooped neckline with long sleeves and slightly flared skirt is basically my perfect dress. And it’s made for knit fabrics, so it’s super comfy as well. I have a rad star knit from Lillestoff (which I can’t seem to find on the website now, wah) that I want to use for those one. And maybe make another with a cowl neck (like my ikat print Lady Skater from last year). The green one above is made with an emerald wool knit, which is pretty awesome too. Lady Skaters rock!!


guise pants
Papercut Patterns Guise Pants

MAN. Ever since this collection was released, I knew I needed me some of these pants. My friend Carla gave me the pattern as an early birthday gift, so now I have no excuse! I’ve spent most of the summer looking for the perfect black flanneled twill to make these out of, and I think I’ve found it. Cozy black pants will be mineeee!

Ginger Jeans

Closet Case Files Ginger skinny jeans

I can always use more jeans in my wardrobe! The Ginger jeans that I made last year are still going strong and wearing well, but it would be nice to have a few more pairs. I bought one of the denim kits waaaay back when at the beginning of the year, so I am really excited to use that stuff for my next pair!

style 1559 Style 1559

Fuck yeah, there needs to be a 70s-style skirt in my wardrobe! Wouldn’t this be great in denim, with jeans topstitching and cut to a mini length? Wellllll, spoiler alert… I’ve actually already finished the skirt as of this writing (lolz), but it’s part of my ~fall plans~ so I’m including it here anyway dammit :P


Seriously, though - how cute are the illustrations on these @vvvesta patterns?? ๐Ÿ˜โœ‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜

Vesta Patterns Grail Tshirt

I always need more long sleeve tshirts! Really excited to try the Grail pattern – this one is drafted based on 3 different body shapes. I have a couple patterns to play with, and I promise to report back once I’ve made them up! Could be a nice staple for winter. And, as always, I have more Renfrews (especially the cowl neck!) and Plantains planned as well. Can’t ever have too many tshirts!

Geneva Raglan

Named Clothing Geneva Raglan Tee

I also want to make some raglans – specifically, the Geneva looks pretty neat! The raglan seam is a bit different than what you typically see on a raglan – I have a similar vintage tshirt that I really like the fit of, so I’m hoping I can knock it off with this. For fabric, I got a bunch of swatches of the awesome merino wools from The Fabric Store – just have to narrow down my selection to something budget-friendly! Those things add up fast! haha!


waver jacket Papercut Patterns Waver Jacket
I have SLOWLY been building up the supplies for this one! I ordered my coating a few months ago – this Dark Navy Aztec Print from Mood Fabrics, plus a matching navy silk charmeuse lining. And, of course, faux fur for the hood because yesssss. I am really excited about this little jacket! I think it’s gonna turn out really cool :)

STACIE-JACKET StyleArc Stacie Jean Jacket

I’ve been meaning to replace my sad old Gap jean jacket for YEARS now, but it’s been really hard to find one that I like (or a sewing pattern for one!). I just discovered this pattern, and it’s almost like this shit was made for me. Such a nice design, and all the finished versions I’ve lurked look super legit. This one is probably going to take some extra finesse for me to work through, as the instructions are pretty freaking sparse, but I think I can manage it if I make up a muslin first. For my final jacket, I have a nice piece of denim from Imogene + Willie that I’m hoping I have enough of.

oslo cardigan
Colette Patterns Oslo cardigan

Is this considered a Colette Pattern or a Seamwork Pattern? Either way – cardi! Yay!! I have a couple of fabrics I’d like to make this in – a soft grey/black slubbed double cloth and a cozy mushroom wool sweater knit (purchased from Mood Fabrics, but I can’t find it on their site now!). Perfect for lounging on the couch, or running outside to chase the pig.


carolyn pajamas

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas

Oh yes – more pajamas! I love my linen pair, so of course I need a flannel pair for winter. My mom always buys me flannel pajamas for Christmas, but they never really fit quite right (the crotch is always way too low, or the legs are too long, or something else is wrong). So I’d rather make my own! I haven’t found a good source for cotton flannel fabric – any suggestions? Looking for something that isn’t super cutesy and preferably around $18/yard or less.


Tilly & the Buttons Fifi Camisole

A silk cami seems kind of silly for winter, but hear me out on this one! I always wear tanks under my sweaters – one, so I can strip down layers if I get too hot; and two, because it’s easier to wash a tank rather than a whole sweater. Rather than run to Target and buy some flimsy little knit tanks, though, I’d love to make some slinky bias-cut silk Fifis. Ooh la la!



Graphite Sweater

This is kind of cheating, since I started this sweater at the beginning of the year (yeesh!). It went into UFO status for a few months, but I’m ready to finish it up and get to wearing it! Just need to knit the sleeves and the neck binding, and it will be done!

down east

DownEast Sweater

Then onto a big, squishy, bulky sweater! I already bought the yarn for this one, so there’s no turning back now. Ha!


Whew! Looking at all that seems like a lot – but you know I’m up for the challenge :D What about you? What’s on your sewing plate for the upcoming season?


Completed: Blue Lace Watson Bra

15 Sep

I’ve almost got my lingerie drawer in it’s happy place. Almost. Just a couple more bras on my list and then we are good!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front

I REALLY like these Watson soft bras! I think they are so pretty, and also oh-so-comfy. I’m not the sort of person who really finds bras uncomfortable – even underwired bras – as I like the feeling of support above all else. However, you can’t deny how comfy this soft bra is! It’s a good bra for lounging around the house on a lazy Sunday (which is exactly what I do most weekends) or even sick days (which is exactly the case today. Wah!). And while I have a few comfy Watson bras already in my bra drawer, I certainly don’t have one that is this pretty!

This is definitely the prettiest bra I’ve ever made. Just look at it!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - close up

Always up for learning new finishing techniques, I wanted to try a few things with this lace bra. For one, I wanted to try an all-over lace band that incorporates the beautiful scallops at the bottom edge, instead of a picot elastic edge. All the bra patterns I’ve sewn thus far have been drafted for the elastic edge, but I see so many pretty RTW lace bras that use the scalloped edge and I was determined to try it out for myself. I also used the scallops on the edge of the cups, and experimented with a different way of finishing the scalloped edge of the cups. More on that in a second, though, because I want to talk about the lace that I used first.

I mean, the lace definitely makes the bra. I received this lace from the Tailor Made Shop on Etsy, right when Ying first opened up her shop back in June. It’s taken me this long to sew it up because I really wasn’t sure what to do with it – even the flat yardage is really really pretty. It took me a couple of months to decide how to cut the lace and use the scallops, and figure out how to finish everything so that the bra wouldn’t be too flimsy and would wear well. I’m glad I took my time with this, because I’m super happy with how it turned out.

Tailor Made has a lot of beautiful laces that are all suitable for bra making, as well as a selection of elastics, rings and sliders, underwire channeling – pretty much anything you need to make a bra. There are also kits, which I haven’t tried yet, but I’m really loving the color combinations that Ying has come up with. A lot of new stuff has been added since I first looked at the shop, and it’s all pretty awesome! I can confidently say that the quality of the stuff I received is really nice, and the prices are super reasonable. BTW, there’s a discount code at this bottom of this post – so either read on, or scroll to the bottom if you’re feeling antsy :)

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - back

Anyway, back to my lace (and bra in general)! I used the Navy & Silver stretch lace for the entire bra – cups, cradle, band – and cut it so that the scallops ran along the bottom of the band and cradle, and the inside of the cups (as drafted, the pattern piece for the cups is a bit too curved for lace scallops, but there is a tutorial on the Cloth Habit site about modifying your pattern piece to have a straight edge). The lace is pretty flimsy on it’s own, so I underlined every single piece with soft navy powermesh (I bought this when I was in Philly at the beginning of the year. It’s a bit less firm than I like for my bands, but it’s great for underlining to add some stability! And the color match is perfect for this lace). The cradle is lined with two layers of powermesh, going in opposite directions (the pattern calls for that areas to be first with no stretch, which I usually use tricot lining for that, but I didn’t have any in navy, so I tried the powermesh. Works pretty well! There’s a small amount of give, but it’s still pretty firm). The straps are made with this lovely floral picot edge elastic (didn’t get a good picture of them, but it has a faint embroidered floral design in the center and a picot edge on both long sides. It’s really pretty!), and I have white matte enamel rings and sliders as well. The rest of the supplies came out of my personal stash. Rather than try to match the navy lace, I just used white findings for everything and I think it looks really nice.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front flat

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front flat close up

One thing that I really like about this lace is that the topstitching I did just sinks right in. You can’t even really see it, which makes the whole bra look really clean. And I love those tiny scallops! They’re so pretty. Cutting the lace to accommodate the scallops about did my head in, but it was totally worth it.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - sewn elastic trim for scallops

So, here’s a little how-to on how I got the bottom scallop to work. With most bra patterns, they have you sew the elastic to the right side of the bra, then trim the fabric and turn the elastic to the inside, and topstitch (this is why you would use a picot edge; one side peeks out). This is a great finish, obviously, but turning back the elastic would mean turning back the scallops, so I lurked on some RTW bras at Victoria’s Secret and realized that they just sew the elastic directly the inside of the bra with two lines of zigzag stitching. Because my lace is underlined with powermesh, I cut the pieces to go all the way past the scallops, as shown, and then sewed the elastic to the inside of the bra with two lines of parallel zigzag stitching. I positioned the elastic so that the edge lined up with the innermost point of the scallop.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - removing powernet from scallops

Then I used my applique scissors to trim the powermesh up to the elastic, leaving the scallops intact.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - finished bottom elastic trim for scallops

Ta da! Here it is from the inside. Really easy! As a side note, my wide non-picot elastic is from, I think, Sew Sassy. I ordered a bunch of stuff from the site a few months ago, and was a bit underwhelmed with the quality of the majority of it. I don’t remember what this particular elastic was labeled as (either strapping or band elastic, I reckon), but it’s really ugly and I figured I’d never use it. However, it is perfect for this use here that I have discovered. Yay for stash hoarding! Haha!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - back flat

For the cups, the scallop edge needs to be stabilized so that it doesn’t stretch out of shape over time. Also, since I underlined the cup with the powermesh, I needed something there anyway to keep the two edges together. I’ve used clear elastic in the past, which works okay, but it doesn’t look that great from the inside and it tends to bunch up a little. So I tried something new – I used the selvage edge from my powermesh as a replacement for the clear elastic. It’s really soft – way softer than clear elastic – and it still has a good amount of stretch. It’s also a perfect color match for the mesh, obviously, so it’s almost unnoticeable. It gives stability, but it doesn’t pull or bunch at all. I LOVE how it turned out. Don’t care if this is the wrong way to make a bra – I’m doing this with all my cup scallop edges!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - inside flat

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - super artsy inside

Here are some more inside shots. I serged all my raw edges with a 3 thread overlock, so the inside is super clean.

If you want to see what this bra looks like on a real person, click here for a somewhat unflattering picture angle. Again, please don’t pin this image or anything! Posting this strictly for science purposes.

Now! If you love my Watson and want to try out Tailor Made Shop, you can use the code LLADYBIRD for 10% off! This code is good through 9/30/15, so get it while you can! Yay for discounts!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - side front

One a completely unrelated note – WORKROOM SOCIAL is officially moving to a bigger space next month! Besides being exciting in itself, this also means that my Weekend Pants Making Intensive has a couple more spaces open! If you missed the chance to register when it was last announced, you still have an opportunity now. The class is November 7-8 and includes the pattern, use of machines and tools (you bring your own fabric and notions), and snacks, a catered lunch and cocktails on both days. You can read more about it on the registration page, or in this blog post. This class sells out pretty fast, so act now or forever hold your peace :) There are also some spots left for our Garment District shopping trip the day before (11/6), which is a nice addition to the pants class where you can check out the Garment District, learn about fabrics that are suitable for pants, and even buy the fabric that you will use in class.

Note: The blue stretch lace, white strapping, and rings and sliders were provided to me free of charge from Tailor Made Shop, in exchange for a blog post mention. All other supplies were purchased by me, and all opinions are all mineeee!

Completed: Red Cotton Twill Thurlows

11 Sep

I’m pretty sure I’ve added “make red shorts” to my summer sewing list for at least the past couple of years. I had a really awesome high-waisted pair that I made a few years ago and wore the hell out of (red shorts go with everything, don’t ya know), but eventually they got too big and I sold them off. I’ve been meaning to replace them for years, but never got around to it – partly because I couldn’t find a good fabric that I liked, but mostly because I kept getting distracted by the new & shiny.

Sooo, this post is dedicated to those red shorts. I finally made some! Although they’re nothing like the OGs – no high waist, no pleats, none of those – but they’re red, and that’s the most important part.

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

I’m going to keep this (relatively, for me) brief, because nothing about this project is new information as far as my blog is concerned. I used the Sewaholic Thurlow trousers as my pattern. This is a really, really fantastic pants pattern and I’ve made it up numerous times – from jeans to red skinnies to shorts to more shorts to MORE SHORTS. (+ even more that I did not link because, well, that’ll be enough for now). I even had a Thurlow Sewalong on this here blog like, a thousand years ago! I loooveeeeeee me some Thurlows! They are beautifully drafted, have an awesome butt-fit, and they look really nice and professional when they are sewn up. Thurlows win.

That being said, I’ve talked about the Thurlows a LOT on this blog. It’s kind of hard to keep waxing poetic about something you’ve already publicly loved on to the point of it becoming embarrassing PDA, so I’m going to refrain in this post. Nothing new about this project. I made my usual size with my usual adjustments (for more details on that, see one of the many MANY posts I’ve written about this pattern hahaha) and followed the instructions. Yawn.

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Even my fabric choice doesn’t really offer much in terms of exciting and new. I used an Organic Cotton twill from Mood Fabrics – it’s the same fabric I used last year to make my tie-less Miette skirt. I had just enough to squeeze out a lil’ pair of shorts, so, awesome! I love using this twill to make Thurlows (yeah, even fabric choice isn’t a first – I’ve made this pattern using the deep wine color before, too hahaha), as it holds it’s shape really well and is comfortable to wear. It also washes and wears beautifully, which is, well, pretty important too. The only thing that sucks about this fabric is that it tends to sell out pretty quickly on the website!

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

To make up for an unexciting pattern review – here’s an ~exciting~ photoshoot! Well, this isn’t nearly so much exciting as it is just different from the mess of trees I usually have going on in my photos (which I ain’t complaining about one bit, because I can – and will – stare at those trees all day long. They are so beautiful!). Landon and I took a hike a couple of weeks ago, in search of this waterfall, and we ended up taking these photos just because the scenery was so awe-inspiring. My hair is a rat’s nest of a mess and these were taken with his phone – but I like them! I don’t normally go for photo-shooty type pictures on this blog (I personally don’t think artsy photos do a good job of showing details. Also, I abhor the idea of having to leave my house to take pictures for a blog haha), but I’ve posted about this pattern a zillion times, so I think it’s ok if you can’t see every little detail.

Red cotton twill Thurlows

What’s exciting about these pictures is that, even though we were hiking to get to this point – it’s not like we hiked very far, or even had to drive anywhere to begin the journey. We started out in our backyard and traveled through the neighbor’s yard to find this spot (I should add – our neighbor has repeatedly invited us to explore and enjoy his land. He’s the one who told us about the waterfall in the first place). So, while this isn’t literally in my backyard – it’s close enough! We only had to walk about 30 minutes. Yeah, neighbor has a LOT of land hahaha. Way more than our puny-by-comparison 5 acres!

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

God, I love living in the country :D

And because this is still at sewing blog, here at Thurlow short gut photos:

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Red cotton twill Thurlows

Oh, I did change up what pieces I cut from the lining. The waistband and fly facing are self-lined (instead of using contrasting lining fabric); only the pockets are cut with lining. I did this because I always felt like the lining showed from the right side, which I wasn’t a fan of. I guess this may not work for really heavyweight fabrics, but it was fine with the cotton twill. Everything else stayed pretty much the same. Also, I dunno why my fly shield doesn’t cover the bottom of my zipper, but, oh well. Finally, I have come to accept the fact that I use this striped cotton for pretty much all my pocket linings, and I will not apologize for that. It makes a really good pocket lining hahaha.

Red cotton twill Thurlows

That’s all for today! I have a few more projects that are patiently awaiting a post (I told y’all, I’m behind), and then it’s on to sewing for the next season! I’ve been writing out my plans and gathering supplies, and I’m really looking forward to switching gears for the cozy. Another thing I’m looking forward to is seeing what this area looks like when the leaves start changing. I am pretty sure it’s gonna be insanely gorgeous :D

Made Up: Stretch & Sew Bikini

8 Sep

You know, for someone who doesn’t go swimming very frequently (or sunbathing, for that matter, as evidenced by these photos. Eh, what can I say – as an ex-smoker, I’m trying to be careful with my skin these days!), I sure do make more than my share of bathing suits. They are really fun and satisfying to sew up, though! I try to quell that urge by making undergarments instead, but sometimes you just wanna make something that gets shown off!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - front

For our short trip to Cancun last week, I thought I would make another bathing suit to drag along – partially so I wouldn’t be stuck trying to wriggle into something damp on the second day (yeesh! I hate that!), and partially because, dammit, I wanted something new and sunshine-y to take on vacation! When Karen announced the Made-Up Initiative – which is currently funded at 248%, btw, because we are all awesome – I decided to set those plans into action and pledged to make the damn swimsuit.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - side

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - sideI reckon there’s something about announcing intentions that causes them to immediately go awry, but, yeah, this was totally the Swimsuit That Almost Didn’t Happen. True story, if I hadn’t already made a big stinkin’ pledge, I probably would have put this project to sleep early on. I really hate the idea of not seeing something through, though, so I soldiered on and stuck it out. Happily, the end result was this lil’ paisley dream! Yay!

My first attempt was with a completely different pattern, McCall’s 4330 – a string bikini straight outta the 1970s. The pattern called for wovens, but I thought I could adapt it with a stretch knit. It actually mostly worked, except, I tried on the top about halfway through and realized that I DO NOT LIKE the way I look in a string bikini! Eep! Too little coverage, well, everywhere. I know that’s the whole point of a string bikini, but I was not feeling it. I considered giving up at this point.

Instead, I dug around in my stash and found this copy of Stretch & Sew 1390, which is for a cute little halter-style bikini that is, again, straight outta the 1970s. I liked that it offered more coverage – both top and bottom – than the string bikini, and I liked that it was actually sized and drafted for swimsuit knits. I’d never sewn with a Stretch & Sew pattern, but I have definitely noticed the cult following that these patterns get, which is always a good sign in my opinion. I traced off my size (you have to do this with these patterns; the instructions are printed on the nested pieces. Sort of a pain, since it means the instructions are on a GIANT sheet of paper, but kind of nice in the sense that you are forced to keep all the sizes!), made a mock-up of the bikini top, and then prepared to cut in my actual swimsuit fabric – when I realized that I had nowhere near enough yardage to do this. I was using leftovers from a previous suit – bikinis are so tiny and they barely take any fabric, so this usually isn’t a problem. However, this suit has few seams & looong halter-tie straps, which means it *does* require more yardage, which I didn’t have. At this point, we were less than 2 weeks out from departure. Again, I considered giving up. Dun dun dun!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - front close up

Spoiler alert! I found an awesome paisley swimsuit fabric at The Fabric Fairy, immediately ordered it, and it was at my house within a week. Since I’d already worked out all my fitting adjustments before ordering the fabric, that meant I was able to get right into sewing once I received everything. The whole suit was made up in an evening session. Pretty awesome! And I actually like this fabric a lot more than anything I was trying to pull out of my stash, so double win for me!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - back

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - back close up

The pattern is well-drafted and very simple to assemble – there aren’t a whole lot of seams, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The bikini top is self-lined, with the outside shaping created by soft gathers, and the inside has a few darts. The straps tie behind the neck, halter-style, and the bottom is encased with wide elastic all the way around and closes with a swimsuit hook. The bottoms are just your standard bikini bottoms, lined in swimsuit lining and edges finished with elastic.

My original tracing and mock-up trusted the sizing of the pattern, which ended up with it being much too big. I ended up cutting the bikini in the size A cup and shortening the elastic for the midriff by about 3″ (I imagine most anyone would have to make this adjustment, as they just have you cut it to 27″ for all sizes and I’m sure there are plenty of people who are either bigger or smaller than that!). For the bottoms, I just kept cutting the size down until they finally fit me. They were really huge – which I prefer negative ease with my swimsuit bottoms (so they don’t look like a saggy diaper when wet!), and these were quite the opposite. I think I ended up going down about 3 sizes to get the fit that I wanted.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - bikini top on dressform

I followed the instructions pretty closely as written, except that I topstitched the bottom band of the bikini top to avoid doing any handstitching, and I sewed the elastic in the bikini bottoms a little differently. Most of this was made on my sewing machine with a zigzag stitch, except finishing the edges of the bottoms before attaching the elastic – I serged those edges first, so they’d look clean on the inside. Oh! I also added really thin swimsuit cups to the bikini top, sandwiched between the outer fabric and the lining. They are super thin, so they don’t really add any padding – just eliminate any nipping that could potentially happen haha.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - bikini top

Top of the swimsuit, flat. The elastic goes all the way around the ribcage, which makes for a very secure top (you just need to make sure that it’s the right circumference for your ribcage, since it closes with a hook and doesn’t tie).

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - self lining

Darts on the inside/self lining of the bikini top.

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - bikini bottoms

Bikini bottoms!

Paisley print Stretch & Sew Bikini - side back

No matter how many swimsuits I make, I will admit that I always feel a tiny bit stressed when I wear them out for the first time! Will it hold up? Is something going to go surprise see-through on me? What if the fabric sucks and bleeds color all out into the water? Thankfully, this one didn’t give me any problems and I really enjoyed wearing it during my vacation! I think the paisley fabric is so pretty and it makes me happy to look at it :) I’m glad that I stuck this one through and ended up with a fun little swimsuit as a result!

Did you pledge for The Made-Up Initiative? How is your pledge coming along? The deadline is in 2 days!


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