Completed: Travel Gear (aka I am a weirdo)

24 Oct

Hey everyone! This post is a little different from what I normally blog about… instead of showing y’all some (probably awesome)piece of clothing I made, today is all about the non-clothes crafty stuff! Yay!

And, before you start side-eyeing me – this isn’t in partnership or sponsorship or anything like that with anyone. I’m honestly just really excited about my upcoming trip and I wanted new ~travel accessories~ (especially since all I own is basically my old suitcase!). Except, once I started looking at the goods on Etsy (and, if we’re being honest – Amazon. And Target. Haha!), I found myself poo-pooing everything because it wasn’t cute/wasn’t exactly what I wanted/ugh I can make that myself. Rather than start doing idiot shit like buy a new suitcase (my suitcase, while definitely old – there are receipts in the pocket from when we visited Disney World as a family. In 1994, I might add. – it still perfectly functioning and absolutely does not need to be replaced unless I just suddenly run of out ways to spend my money), I figured I’d channel my energy into making these little accessories. And you know what? This kind of sewing is pretty fun – especially when there’s no fitting involved :)

I do want to add a small disclaimer before we dive in, though – a couple of these projects include the use of scrap leather. I know the use of leather can be a subject of hot debate, and I don’t want any of y’all to look at something you don’t want to. With that being said – none of us need to be “schooled” on the evils of leather, at least not in this post. I’ve done my research, I’m ok with leather and leather scraps (I mean, I wear leather shoes and belts), and I do not want to turn the comments here to turn into a leather debate. All right! Moving on…

Travel Sewing

The first thing I made up was this little make up case. Isn’t she ADORABLE? Way cuter than anything I could buy, at least as far as my budget is concerned.

I used a Butterick 6072 to make the make up case. I actually got this pattern for free when I visited the McCall Pattern Company – I know, I know, I just told y’all this isn’t a collaborative post. It’s not! The pattern was in a bag of goodies that they handed to me when I walked in the door. I’m pretty sure no one is expecting me to write a review – I’m also pretty sure I looked at the pattern and thought, “Huh. Definitely never gonna make this shit.” hahaha. (I should also point out that, if I had bought this myself, I wouldn’t have paid more than $1 for it, thanks to Joann’s sales. So there’s that). At any rate, once I realized I was gonna have to make my own damn make-up bag, out came the pattern to be looked over with a set of fresh eyes. If you can get past the somewhat dowdy styling and fabrics on the pattern envelope, this is actually pretty cute. I almost made the matching jewelry case & make-up holder, until I realized that I totally don’t need or use those things. So, just this one bag! (but I still might make that jewelry case. Watch me.)

Travel Sewing

Anyway, this was REALLY easy to put together! I used a piece of beloved plaid wool blend fabric from my stash – I was a little hesitant to cut into it, because it’s sooo pretty (isn’t it?), but I ultimately decided to go for it because 1. It’s a wool blend, which I prefer to wear 100% wool; 2. It was a small yardage (maybe 1/2 yard); 3. That unbalanced plaid meant I probably couldn’t eek anything remote successful and matching out of it. Anyway, now I can enjoy it all the time :) This fabric came from the flea market, by the way. I have no idea it’s origins, but it feels like a thick suiting.

The pattern is interfaced with fusible fleece (there was also some of this in my McCall bag – but honestly, it kind of sucked. I don’t remember the brand, but only about half the glue dots worked. Meh.) and then lined with some navy wool blend broadcloth from my stash (if I recall, my friend Trisha’s mom gave me that, which I believe she found at a yard sale). The zipper is from my stash.

Travel Sewing

I decided to fancy things up and use a piece of leather for the handle. Ooh la la! This leather came from my last trip to Chicago – I bought a small piece at Textile Discount Outlet, having no idea what the hell I was gonna do with it. I like it as a strap, though! I sewed the two pieces wrong sides together (eliminating the seam allowances) and then topstitched onto the bag itself. The thread is just denim thread, and I used a denim needle (alas, no leather needles currently in my arsenal). I can’t speak for *every* sewing machine, but mine was ok with the leather since it’s relatively thin. I used normal thread in my bobbin and adjusted the tension until everything looked good on both sides.

Travel Sewing

I am ridiculously pleased with how good the topstitching looks :)

Travel Sewing

I cut the top & bottom of the case on the bias, so I wouldn’t have to deal with matching the plaid any more than necessary (I also cut the back panel on the bias, but apparently did not take a photo of that angle. Sorry!) The pattern calls for a piece of cardboard at the bottom, to give the bag some structure. I also included some heavyweight interfacing (like… it’s so stiff, it practically feels like cardboard) on the top piece, because it felt really flimsy without it. I know they make lightweight plastic specifically for this purpose, but I really just wanted to destash so I went with what I had on hand!

Travel Sewing

Finally, here’s the inside! There are tiny pockets all around the perimeter and it’s fucking adorable.

I love this thing. It’s tiny, it’s cute, and I am pretty sure I can fit all my make-up/personal care shit in it. Yes! Win for me!

Travel Sewing

The next thing I made was this little wallet/passport case. I knew I needed something to carry my passport around it, and I also wanted it to include space for cards, cash, as well as a zippered pouch for change. I spent FOREVER looking for something on Etsy – and again, everything was just a *little* bit off from what I wanted (mostly lack of a zippered change pouch, interestingly enough. Excuse me, I need that change in case I have to pay for a toilet!). Argh!

Some more perusing of Etsy turned up this pattern – Passport Wallet from Teethy McGee Digitals. It’s a downloadable PDF with options for including card pockets and a change pouch, an elastic closure, and the whole thing costs $4.50. Perfect!

Travel Sewing

I made the option with a card holder on one side, and the change pouch on the opposite. Like I said, it is perfect! You can see my passport barely peeking out on the left side (side with my sneaky fingers). The opposite side, under the zippered pouch, can hold my cash. I know there are only 2 card holders – and I totally agonized over whether to add more, but in the end decided that I really only need 2 cards while I’m overseas – my debit card and my driver’s license (yeah, I know, the passport is ID King over there, but I feel weird without my DL!). I won’t be carrying my credit card on my person (it’s literally just for emergencies – like, actual emergencies, not “Ooh girl, are those shoes on sale?” emergencies), my health insurance card is useless over there, and…. actually, those are all the cards I have. Ha!

Travel Sewing

Here it is without the passport because, I dunno. Why not?

Travel Sewing

This was SO FUN to put together – even with matching the plaid! The instructions, while brief, were fairly straightforward. I decided to interface both large pieces of the plaid – the outer & the inner – so it would have some structure. Which brings me to my confession: I couldn’t find a decent medium-weight interfacing in my stash – everything I have is lightweight – so I ended up using my mega expensive Pro Weft Shirt Crisp Fusible Interfacing because, well, it was on hand and I haven’t even cut into it yet. And hey, it seemed to work all right! Ok, go ahead and stone me now :P

Anyway, the whole thing is sewn by machine – no hand sewing required – and I added a rectangle of leather to the outside for a more ~masculine~ look. I also made a little leather pull for the zipper – just sliced off a thin piece and fed it though. The elastic is actually lingerie elastic – from when I made my second Soma Swimsuit. Again, it matched! What do you expect from me!?

Travel Sewing

I love that it closes with elastic, so I don’t have to worry about my passport falling out. I love that there is a zippered pouch, so no paid toilets will be out of my reach (yes, I spend a lot of time thinking about toilets, and I’m not sorry about that. When you gotta go, you gotta go!). And, obviously, I love that it matches my make-up bag! Yesss!

I would have loved to show y’all a shot of this with all my cards & such tucked in, but the pockets are shallow enough that you can really get an eyeful of the numbers on them. Sooo, yeah, you get a matchbook. Sorry.

And now, prepare for a let-down because the last thing I made is admittedly pretty boring-

Travel Sewing
Travel Sewing


Seriously easy. I used this free pattern from Instructables (thank you, random Google) and the same fabrics/lingerie elastic with self-made bias tape. I don’t think this one needs much explaining. It’ll be nice for my flights, though- especially that red-eye I take arriving in.

Anyway, that’s it! Super rando post, but these are some pieces I felt I needed, and I’m so happy I didn’t have to buy them (and SO delighted that they match! Yay! It’s the little things, ha :) ). I am dying to make the Portside Travel Set next, but it’ll have to wait until post-London, because I don’t think I’ll have time! Someday, though!

What about y’all? Anyone else here love whooping it up with some random hobby crafts? Don’t be shy, we won’t judge you! :)

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Completed: Polka Dot Chambray Butterick 5526

21 Oct

HAHAHAHAHA I bet you guys are sooo sick of seeing me in renditions of this pattern, huh? :)

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

SUP Butterick 5526. My heart, my soul, my official tried’n’true button down pattern. I don’t know how many times it has to be before it’s considered “the charm,” but I’m pretty sure this is legit the nicest button down I have ever made. I am so pleased with myself right now!

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Since I’ve made this pattern, um, a lot (see: 1 2 3)(ok that’s not a lot, but it sure feels like a lot!), I’m pretty well-versed in the fitting and construction of this dude. It’s practically an autopilot pattern for me – apart from selecting the fabric & buttons, I don’t really have to think much while I’m putting this together. It’s like my hands have repeated the process so much, they don’t need any instruction from my brain at this point.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

So, I’m sorry if you’re bored with looking at this pattern. Deal with it.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Seriously, though, I did have to figure out those damn sleeves, because all my previous versions have some awkward lengthage going on. My last attempt at making them full-length ended up with them being some weird purgatory of not-quite-long-but-not-quite-short – like the highwaters of shirt sleeves (do we still make fun of highwaters, or is that the cool thing to wear now? I just looked down and realized the jeans I am wearing are cuffed to the length of highwaters, SHIT!!). Since I actually want to wear this top underneath sweaters – and hence why I made a second chambray button down when the first one is actually quite wonderful (spoiler: dem sleeves, tho) – I needed to figure that shit out once and for all. And, look ma! They’re the right length! Finally!

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Although, now I can’t decide if they are… too long? They look bunched up when my arms are hanging. However, when I reach my arms out – they are exactly the right length (as in, any shorter, and they would ride up to be too short and expose too much wrist). Thoughts? This is why I always roll up my sleeves (and jeans, for that matter) – I can’t find a happy hem length! Anyway, what is the point of making all your clothes if you can’t even hem them correctly?

Also, I think the sleeves might be a bit loose? Or do they look ok? Thoughts on that?

Dammit, this totally isn’t a TNT pattern, is it? :P

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Anyway, whatever, let’s talk about the victories! Check out that sexy sexy sleeve placket. I used the placket for the Negroni (which, honestly, that pattern piece + instructions are alone worth the price of the pattern) instead of what was included with 5526. Lurrrrve it.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

I also sucked it up big time and flat-felled every single seam on this shirt – the princess seams, the side seams, the arm holes (thanks to Negroni for those sweet instructions – see? Negroni, you rule!) – everything! What you see here is a beautiful and clean-finished top that doesn’t have ANY serging on the inside. Just miles and miles of flat-felled seams and gorgeous topstitching. Ugh, so good.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Don’t you love the fabric? I picked this up at one of our local fabric stores, Textile Fabrics. They were having a 40% off sale, so I treated myself to this and some soft fleecy knit. I was originally going to use this to make the Bruyere, until I realized I didn’t want to look exactly like the pattern cover (which is beautiful, don’t get me wrong!). I’m more of a plaid flannel kinda gal, for which I’m still stubbornly holding out for the perfect one to reveal itself to me. Textile Fabrics, unfortunately, couldn’t deliver on that front – but they did have polka dot chambray, so that’s ok enough in my book. Speaking of which, I think this is Robert Kaufman fabric. Don’t quote me on that, though!

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Anyway, it’s a very lovely fabric – and it was soo nice to work with! Very soft and smooth, easy to cut and sew, SUPER easy to press (which is important with this style of shirt). The topstitching just sinks right in.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Again – placket! Sorry the cuff looks uneven. I promise it’s not. Buttons are these dress shirt buttons from Fashion Sewing Supply – part of my neverending stash.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

I’m just including this because it looks so damn good – topstitched intersecting flat-felled seams (arm hole & princess seam). Also, if you were wondering – flat-felling princess seams really is not any more difficult than flat-felling straight seams. I don’t know why I put it off like it’s impossible to do. It’s not. It’s definitely more time consuming than just serging your raw edges, but the end result looks SO nice.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Finally – can we talk about how good this hem looks? Y’all, shirt hems have always been the bane of my sewing existence. I could never figure out how to get them to be straight and even with that giant curve. They ALWAYS look like shit. Not anymore, though! This time, I was inspired by Rochelle and tried using bias facing at the hem. I made self-bias strips with my fabric, and then applied it the same way I bias face sleeves & necklines (I did this before attaching the placket, as per the instructions). Since I used self-fabric for the bias, the end result looks like a simply turned up and stitched – except I didn’t, and this was SO MUCH EASIER. Plus, it give a nice bit of weight to the hem, which I like. Consider me a convert! Bias facing FTW!

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

So yay! I’ll consider this shirt a success – even if the sleeves are a little iffy. At any rate, I’m serious when I say it’s the best-made shirt I’ve ever constructed (if you see me in the wild and compliment it, there’s a good chance I’ll rip it off my body so I can show off the insides. TRUTH.). Little things like this make me happy! I think that’s the best part about sewing with a pattern you know and love – instead of focusing on new instructions and fit, you can zero all your attention on improving your technique.

Oh, and if you were wondering – that’s my Tie-less Miette I’m wearing in the photos. The shoes (because everyone always asks) are from the clearance rack at Nine West and no, I did not buy them to match this outfit. Ha! :P

Two more things!

1. My lovely sponsor (and OG to the LLADYBIRD Sponsor Game), Sweet Little Chickadee, is closing up shop for the time being :( We will miss her (I will miss her! Where do I buy my patterns from now?! I got candy with those orders hahaha), but on the flip side – this means closeout saaaaale! :D From now till whenever the shop runs out, use the code SHOPCLOSING to get 25% off your entire purchase. Apparently there are also some sweet flat-rate shipping options at checkout, so you may save there, too! Please keep in mind that you are buying from a one-woman shop who is running a sweet freaking sale, so please be patient if your order takes a couple days to ship out. Not a bad payoff for 25% off, though, yeah? Now go forth and help Juli clear out that inventory!

2. Affiliate links. I wrote this blurb out in my last post, but realized after the fact that not everyone reads sewalong posts (I’m guilty of this too – those posts can be boring if you’re not following along). I definitely want y’all to be aware of my use of affiliate links, because I think it’s important, so I’m copying this verbatim into this post. Sorry if you’re reading this twice  :)
Side note/disclaimer: Ok, so I decided to start occasionally using affiliate links on this blog. Sorry if you hate me! :) I am currently only affiliated with Amazon, and I promise I will only be linking things that I personally use and recommend – such as those scissors & that clapper. Y’all will never ever ever see me link something just for the sake of linking it – that’s just crappy. However, please keep in mind that any purchases you make through these links will net a small kickback to me, which I will likely spend immediately on yarn & fabric (and thus pour back into this blog, in the form of content for y’all to read!). Also, no sneaky linkies – I will always describe the item I’m linking so you don’t have to click to see them, if affiliate links squick you out :) I won’t be posting this disclaimer at the end of all my posts, as it seems a little redundant, but you can always view it in my About Me page. That’s all! Thanks for supporting my blog, dudes! ♥

Ok, that’s it! Have a lovely Tuesday, guys!

V1419 Sewalong: Steps 4-22

20 Oct

Good morning, sewalongers! This is the week we actually start sewing our coats – aren’t you sooo excited!?! :D Meg will actually be covering this week’s set of steps over on the McCall Blog later this week (she had a family emergency last week, so please be patient if it takes her a couple of days to have the post up), but I thought I’d post here with some tips and progress updates (and personal cheerleading, in case you need it ;) ).

This first set of steps will get you acquainted with attaching the binding, as well as starting some basic construction on the coat – the back belt, the underarm gusset, and attaching the side to the front. It is fairly straightforward – you may not even need the sewalong once you start reading the instructions – although you do need to be very precise. Don’t be afraid to go slow and maybe even do some hand basting on the trickier parts. You got this!

Ok, here are my ~top tips~ for this section:

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
If you underlined your coat, you will want to remove the basting stitches after you sew each piece together. This is where the silk thread/hand basting comes in handy – it should be very easy to pull out :)

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Underlining or not, if your coat fabric is thick, you will definitely want to trim and grade the seam allowances as much as possible when it comes time to apply the bias binding – otherwise, you may have problems getting it to lie flat. I use my Gingher duck-billed applique scissors for this; the flat side keeps any errant fabric from getting caught and accidentally snipped. Obviously you can use regular scissors – just be mindful of where you cut :) I grade down my coating fabric first – as close as I can to the stitching line, without compromising the strength of the stitches – and then trim the remaining seam allowances once I’m ready to fold over the binding.


V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Trim off those little triangles before you start applying. It’ll make things a tiny bit easier.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
When attaching the binding to the belt, I used my #10 Edgestitching foot to stitch in the ditch on the right side…

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Which turned out freaking GORGEOUS, by the way.

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
The rest of the binding is actually applied flat to the coat, with the topstitching visible on the right side. It can be pretty difficult to get everything even on both sides (catching the binding at the fold on the inside, while still keeping an even topstitching distance on the right side). The pattern has you baste the binding down first, which is a great idea. The only thing I’d add to that is to baste it by hand – yes, I know machine basting is faster, but guess what? It’s also a HUGE PAIN IN THE REAR to remove. Do yourself a favor and baste by hand. Use silk thread if you got it. I basted right along the edge of the binding with dark blue silk thread (so it was visible)(sorry, no photos of this), and then topstitched right inside my basting line on the outside, using one of these little seam guides so I could keep the stitching line straight. Afterwards, you will want to beat the crap out of your seams to get them to lie nice and flat. I give everything a healthy dose of steam, and then smack it with my clapper (I use this clapper & point presser, but honestly, you could use a hunk of wood if you’re feeling cheap. Just make sure you sand it reeeeeeally well so you don’t get a surprise splinter in your coat!).

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
Oh yeah, and I realized about halfway through this sewing session that it’s probably a good idea to keep a container around to hold all my trimmed seam allowances. There is a LOT of trimming going on around here, and for some reason, I’m incapable of hitting the trash can. Whatever.

Anyway, once you have finished through step 22, you should have something like this -

V1419 Ralph Rucci Sewalong
It’s a coat… front… thing! Yeah!!! Not so bad, huh? :)

Head over to the McCall Blog for Meg’s step-by-step of this part of the process (hopefully up later this week!). In the meantime – how are we doing? Anyone have questions on this section of the sewalong?

Side note/disclaimer: Ok, so I decided to start occasionally using affiliate links on this blog. Sorry if you hate me! :) I am currently only affiliated with Amazon, and I promise I will only be linking things that I personally use and recommend – such as those scissors & that clapper. Y’all will never ever ever see me link something just for the sake of linking it – that’s just crappy. However, please keep in mind that any purchases you make through these links will net a small kickback to me, which I will likely spend immediately on yarn & fabric (and thus pour back into this blog, in the form of content for y’all to read!). Also, no sneaky linkies – I will always describe the item I’m linking so you don’t have to click to see them, if affiliate links squick you out :) I won’t be posting this disclaimer at the end of all my posts, as it seems a little redundant, but you can always view it in my About Me page. That’s all! Thanks for supporting my blog, dudes! ♥

Vogue Sewing Patterns: Winter 2014

17 Oct

Well, well, well…  looks like the new Vogue sewing patterns are officially out! Happy day!! :D I’m know I’m late for this one – I hadn’t even realized that the new patterns came out (no shit, this is something that I tend to just randomly discover as I’m perusing blogs. Because, you know, joining the mailing list would be way too easy ), so I’m sorry that this is delayed! Although, to be honest, there’s really not a lot to snark here this go-round. Yay for Vogue, boo for us :) Still, I didn’t want y’all to think that I’d, I dunno, gone corporate or some shit! Since my visit at the McCall Pattern Company offices, I’ve definitely had a much softer spot in my heart for the company and everyone who works there – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still poke a little fun at ‘em :)

One thing to keep in mind (something a lot of us – especially me! – recently learned) – with anything that is a Designer pattern, the garment you are seeing is an actual designer garment. Meaning, Vogue didn’t choose the fabric/notions and sew it up specifically for the pattern cover. It is literally a garment from the designer – labels, price tags, and all – that is being modeled. The pattern is drafted from the exact same garment (which was incredibly fascinating to hear all about), with Vogue sizing and instructions. Anyway, I’m reiterating this because any horrible fabric choices we see on the Designer patterns have nothing to do with Vogue! We should really be ripping the designer a new one (I’ve tried to note which pattern is Designer and who, so you know exactly who to direct your anger toward). That being said, any other Vogue patterns are fair game :P

All right, onto the patterns!

Vogue 1426 // Badgley Mischka

Vogue 1428 // Tom and Linda Platt
The question here is: Do we consider this print placement an epic fail or an epic win?

Vogue 1425 // Pamella Roland
Look at the lace at the hem. Wait for your eye to start twitching. You’re welcome.

Vogue 1427 // Donna Karan
Let’s call this one “Andre the Giant Goes to the Disco!”

Vogue 1422 // Tracy Reese
Here, Vogue decided to show you the prettiest dress/most gorgeous fabric/bestest hair ever in an attempt to distract you from what appears to be someone’s tool shed in the background.

Vogue 1423 // Bellville Sassoon
“What do you mean this isn’t how you wear a thong?”

Vogue 1424 // Rebecca Taylor
I guess the neckline is supposed to be some sort of snappy cutout, but honestly all I see when I look at this is a backwards wifebeater under a tank top.

Vogue 9046
I just wanted to point out that for once, this dress – with all it’s detailing – isn’t made up in some crazy patterned/shiny fabric, aka, you can see what is being modeled here.

Vogue 9066
~Tarp-Chic – taking camping to the next level, one business suit at a time.

Vogue 9072
If I was half this cute when I was a kid, maybe I wouldn’t be the angsty piece of shit I am today.

Vogue 9073
I just don’t know anymore.

Vogue 1429
What the everloving fuck is going on with this fabric.

Vogue 9065
If your lapels are so wide that they cover the shoulders of your SLEEVELESS BLAZER, you’re doing it wrong.

Vogue 1430
No comment on the pattern itself – my question is: Where the hell did they find this fabric, and do you think I can still get my hands on some?

Vogue 9069
Vogue 9096: The only time it’s ever socially appropriate to wear a bathrobe out in public.

Vogue 9057
The neck binding is not flat and that is bothering me way more than I care to admit.

Vogue 9060
Vogue 9060: When bad things Marcy Tilton happens to good people.

Vogue 9059
Frumpsville, population: This chick.

Vogue 9056 & Vogue 9055
So, these are pretty cute – basic knit tops with a few options. Just wondering, though, why the hell they have darts?? I thought that was the whole beauty of knits, that you could eliminate darts (barring giant FBAs or anything like that), and yet here they are. What’s the deal here?

Vogue 9074
Hey! I actually don’t hate this one. Ok, so that purse is definitely not my style, but let’s all just sit back and appreciate that it looks like a REAL PURSE you’d buy at, say, Macy’s. It doesn’t scream homemade – it actually looks pretty legit! (not that there is anything wrong with homemade purses – I’ve made my fair share of quilting cotton bags! But I think it’s safe to say one has definitely leveled up if they managed to make something that looks this pro, you know?). It even has little purse feet! Eee! Thumbs up for this one. I might pick up the pattern just to get a lurk on the instructions.

Vogue 9070
Ughhh I’m going to get so much shit for expressing my distaste – but I hate everything about this! The shape, the fabric, THE DANGLIES!


Anyway- what are your thoughts? See any patterns you love or hate? I gotta say, I’m disappointed to not see any Ralph Rucci :( I was excited to see what they’d come up with.

EDIT Just spoke with Meg (of the McCall Pattern Company fame) and she’s going through some family things right now, so there may be a delay in replies to the comments on her end. Just FYI!

Completed: A Black Wool Jersey Wrap Dress

14 Oct

Something that has been missing from my closet for a very very (very!) long time has been the class Little Black Dress. I know, it’s supposed to be a staple, and lord knows I’ve noticed the hole more than a couple of times over the past few years. Part of the reason why I’ve never bothered trying to rectify the situation is that black fabric is so BORING to sew. Send me to the fabric store with black intentions, and I’ll come home with acid-washed polka dots. Or something.

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

That being said, I knew I needed to eventually make one of these bad boys – they’re so versatile and useful to have (and I guess they’d be convenient to have should I need to attend any funerals or KISS concerts, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can prolong both situations for a very very long time). My upcoming trip kind of sealed the deal for me – well, that and this fucking fabulous fabric. It’s like fate, y’all!

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

To keep things interesting (while still retaining the whole This-Needs-To-Be-A-Plain-Backdrop-Type-Dress), I decided to make my LBD a Little Black Wrap Dress. And who else to use as my inspiration than the Lady of the Wrap Herself – Diane Von Furstenburg! Yeah!!

Actually, this dress is kind of a bastardization of my beloved Vogue 1610/DVF. But, you know, sometimes we have to make sacrifices.

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

I started with the bodice from the pattern – I’ve got the fit pretty much perfect as far as those things go. However, I knew I wanted to try a non-gathered skirt and I also needed long sleeves (which this pattern does not provide). Rather than buy myself a copy of Vogue 1548 (and probably sacrificing some goats or some shit as well because, holy mother of god, that price) (ugh, still want that pattern with every fiber in my soul, tho), I decided to take advantage of my favorite pattern – the Frankenpattern. Oh yes, I Frankensteined the shit out of this pattern.

Like I said, the bodice is indeed the original Vogue 1610. I sewed everything as normal (for me – I’ve made some construction modifications to get the neckband to fit better), except I left off the back tucks. For the sleeves, I used the long sleeves from my Lady Skater pattern. For the skirt, I used the Miette pattern and simply flipped it around so the wrap was in the front.

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

And you know what? I think it turned out PRETTY FREAKING LEGIT, which is great considering I just started cutting without any muslins/testing/second thought. This could have been a Disaster Dress. Thank god it’s not.

If you want to Frankenpattern, you definitely need to check beforehand that the measurements for whatever you’re attaching match – so, your bodice will be the same size at the bottom as the top of the skirt (or the sleeve caps match, or whatever). For the sleeves, I just cut them and sewed them as whatever (although, looking back, I think I sewed them with a 5/8″ seam allowance instead of the included 3/8″, so they’re very fitted. Ah! It worked out here ok, but better pay attention to those seam allowances in the future). For the skirt, I did add an extension to the front pieces, so I’d have a facing to fold back (same as on the original gathered skirt). I took a little bit out of the center back seam – enough so that the back skirt measurement matched the back bodice where they connect – but other than that, I didn’t do any other modifications.

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

So. This fabric. I picked this up at Mood Fabrics in NYC when I was there most recently (how many more times can I say that? Sorry, I’m just blasting through all the AWESOME SHIT I BOUGHT). It was up there on the 3rd floor, being my dream wool jersey and all. I can’t remember what designer claims this wool, but, you know… it’s ~designer (ooh la la). It’s also the softest wooly knit I’ve ever been privy enough to touch and omg it’s like a little black cloud of softness. I love it so much.

Pretty sure there was a hoard of women behind me all getting grabby hands as I was getting this cut, too. Raise your hands if you came home with the dream black wool knit! And then please share with the group what you’ll be making from it :)

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

Sewing this up was very easy, very fast. I used my serger for almost the entire thing, and then just slip stitched down the facings and hems by hand. What’s nice about this fabric is that it has a little bit of texture, so stitches don’t show on the outside :)

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

Here’s a horrible picture of the hem/facing. I just serged the edges and sewed them down by hand. Easy!

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

This is probably my favorite part of the dress – an official tag! Yesss!! Kelly sent me this as a little surprise – originally intended for my silk jersey DVF, but it’s been sitting on my pinboard this whole time because apparently I hate modifying things after I’ve finished them (even tags, I guess). I decided to save it for this dress because, well, why the hell not? It looks so good in my neckline, woohoo.

Also, while we’re talking about Kelly – can we talk about her DVF 1548 and oh my god that is stunning and now I’m jealous.

As a side note – that yellow tag is just a little piece of ribbon. I added it so Landon & I would have an easier time doing laundry – anything with the yellow tag can’t be washed in the machine (because, you know, wool). After destroying some wool garments by accidental washing (the saddest were my brown old man trousers, wah), I figured we probably needed a tagging system. I first thought about creating – or buying – care tags, until I realized that was dumb and ribbon is free. So there you go.

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics
Anyway, this dress will make a fine addition to my traveling capsule wardrobe. Solid black, easy to dress up or down, warm (!!!) wool, and check out that wrap! I’d like to see a gusty London wind try to turn me into a panty flasher! Ha ha ha!

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

And now, I have nothing more to say. So instead, tell me – what kind of jewelry would look good with this dress? I just realized I own, like, 3 necklaces and help me I need to adult.


*Disclosure: This fabric was provided to me for free, in exchange for contribution to the Mood Sewing Network (well… I think it was free. I got a LOT of stuff that day and dropped a WAD of cash! Ha!).

V1419 Sewalong: Cutting and Prepping

13 Oct

Good morning, sewalongers! (sewalongees?) Today we are going to go over the final prep work before we start sewing (next week! Eep!). This is the last slow post of the sewalong, which gives you another week to perfect your muslin and choose your fabric. Of course, these posts will also be up indefinitely so don’t feel like you have to rush to keep up!


The very first thing you need to do – yes, before you do anything else with that lovely fabric – is pretreat your fabric. How you pretreat your fabric will depend on the fiber you chose, as well as how you plan on cleaning the coat in the future. For those of you who are sewing wool (like meee!), this means you need to get any shrinkage out of your fabric *before* you cut the pattern pieces – otherwise, once you start steaming that bad boy, you may end up shrinking pieces and that’s no good. There are lots of ways to pretreat wool – and none of them involve washing the fabric (please don’t do that!). You can either steam the piece yourself (this involves lots of steam and probably a lot of time), take it to the dry cleaner and have them pretreat it (this involves money)(and also dry cleaning), or you can shrink it up in the dryer (which is what I do). Here’s a blog post outlining the entire process, but basically – you just need to throw your wool in the dryer (finish the edges if necessary to prevent unraveling), add a couple of towels that are soaked in hot water (and then wrung out, so they’re not dripping) and blast the dryer on high heat for however long it takes before everything is dry. Easy! This is the method I use for all my wool fabrics. If you are at all hesitant, try it out on a swatch first :)

For other fabric types that are not wool – you may not need to pretreat (unless you plan on washing the coat in the washing machine? If then, defintely prewash that shit!). If using a cotton or silk, you may want to at least steam the crap out of it just to be sure there is no shrinkage. Polys should be fine and not shrink at all.

Once you’ve pretreated your fabric in whatever way need, then it’s time to cut! I’m not going to go over cutting here – I assume anyone brave enough to tackle sewing a coat is probably fine to cut fabric without guidance :) – but if you need a refresher, here is an old post I wrote about cutting and marking your pattern pieces. One thing I did notice while I was cutting my fabric – I was able to reconfigure the layout and use slightly less fabric. Don’t be afraid to change up the layout if your fabric is wide enough, just be sure that you are keeping all the pattern pieces on the proper grain.

If you are including an underlining for your coat, you will need to cut out pieces 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 & 9 from your underlining fabric.

For the contrast – specifically, all those bias pieces – I found it easier to draw the pattern pieces directly on the fabric, rather than try to pin a bunch of stuff and then try to cut a straight line and nope.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep

The long, straight pieces – I just measured them and use a ruler and marking pencil to draw them on my taffeta. For the big bias contrast pieces (those giant parallelograms), I pinned down the pattern piece, traced around the edges with my marking pencil, and then used a ruler to draw in the lines 2″ apart (as they are on the pattern piece). I did all this on the flat fabric before I cut anything out, and I think it made things a lot easier!

Once you’ve cut out all your pattern pieces, you will need to apply the underlining (assuming you are underlining – if not, skip ahead and start marking your pieces). Underlining is very easy. It is also very time-consuming – so I recommend watching some crappy TV or something equally entertaining while you do it :) For this sewalong, I won’t be going over underlining, but here is a tutorial if you need one. Some things to keep in mind:
– Sometimes you can get away with basting the pieces together by machine. This coat is not the time to try that method. Because the pieces are very large, you run the risk of shifting your fabric – which will give you bubbles or hang weird if you’re not careful. Try to keep things as flat as possible. Meaning: sit at a table, underline by hand. Watch a movie. Drink some wine. Whatever makes you happy!
– I use silk thread to underline, because it removes very easily. I also happen to have several spools on hand in strange colors, so that’s a big part of the reason. I realize silk thread is a bit expensive, so don’t feel like you have to break your budget on some thread that’s about to get pulled out as soon as you sew a seam. Use whatever you got! I would recommend using a threat in a contrasting color, just so it’s easier to see/remove.
– Feel free to use giant stitches. You’re just basting the pieces together to keep them from shifting when you sew them. Big stitches are ok – and they’re easier to remove!
– Sew well within your seam allowances, especially if your fabric shows pin holes (mine does!).
– I like to underline first, *then* mark the pattern pieces on the wrong side. You can also mark, then underline. Up to you – I just think the former is easier! Don’t freak out if you accidentally snip your basting when you cut notches – it’s ok!

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
See? I did it too. No big deal!

Once you’ve finished underlining (or have skipped ahead), you will need to mark your pieces. It is very important to get every stitch line (for the welts and the button holes), dot and notch – it’ll make things muuuuch easier to match up when we start sewing. You may want to use wax tracing paper and a rotary wheel for the lines, and a marking pen (or tailor’s tacks) for the dots. Just snip the notches. We won’t judge you.

Ok, bias binding! This is the same method outlined on the Coletterie, btw – except you are starting with a parallelogram piece, and not creating one from a square (if that makes sense).

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
You should have 3 parallelograms with 2″ diagonal lines drawn on the wrong side of the fabric. Matching the notches and markings, pin the two angled edges together, right sides together, to form a strange off-center tube. The edges will not match at the ends.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
Sew the seam you just pinned. I used 1/4″ because – well, that’s what I always use. I think this pattern was drafted for 5/8″ – even at the bias binding – and if you sew with that amount, you will need to trim it down to 1/4″ after sewing.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
Press the seam open.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
Starting at once end, begin cutting along the line you drew. You should end up with a looooong string of continuous bias. Do this for all 3 parallelograms.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
Once you’ve finished cutting all your bias strips, fold them in half with the wrong sides together and press.
(I promise that big yellow spot on my ironing board cover is not pee. That’s actually what happens when you put your iron on top of a piece of tailor’s wax. Whoops.)

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
You should end up with a big pile of bias strips. Mine kind of look like intestines. Cool.

Finally, you will want to staystitch and reinforce your coat pieces as directed in the instructions (steps 1-3 & step 35). For both – use a slightly shorter stitch length (I use 2.0 vs my standard 2.5) and be sure to backstitch at both ends. For staystitching, sew 1/2″ away from the edge. For reinforcing, sew along the stitching line at 5/8″.

Here are the pieces you will be prepping. Lines marked in blue are reinforcement stitching, lines marked in yellow are staystitching.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep

V1419 Sewalong: Prep

V1419 Sewalong: Prep

ONCE LAST THING: Once you’ve reinforced all those tricky edges, you need to clip the seam allowances all the way to the dot.

V1419 Sewalong: Prep

V1419 Sewalong: Prep
Clip to the stitching line, but do not clip the stitching line. This will make it easier to sew those tricky sleeve seams.

And that’s it! Whew! Sorry for the post overload today. Oh, I almost forgot – here’s my fabric!

wool coating
These are the swatch cards I got from Mood. The wool coating I chose is piece piled on the very top (4th one down). It’s a nice, thick virgin wool coating.

taffeta underlining and contrast
I am using 2 different silk taffetas – the brighter red will be the underlining, and the darker red is the binding and contrast.

How are we doing this week, seawlongers? Any questions about the cutting or prep?

Fall/Winter Sewing Plans for 2014

10 Oct

It just occurred to me that I haven’t share any seasonal sewing plans in… well, a while. Which is lame, because these are some of my favorite types of posts (both to write *and* to read) – I mean, who doesn’t like lurking inside someone’s brain, even if it’s just to see what they plan on doing over the next couple of months? Too creepy? Naw.

Anyway, now that London/Paris is looming on the horizon (less than 2 months! Omg less than a month and a half! Eee!), it’s really time that I start figuring out what I’ll be bringing with me (and making, for that matter! Don’t want to end up with another frantic last-minute sewing disaster, ugh). Especially since my luggage space will be very limited – I’m only allowed to bring one suitcase with me overseas (well… I use the word “allowed” loosely here. I can bring two suitcases if I want to – but I get to pay $130 for the second one! LOL GURL NO.), and I want to fabric shop while I’m there! So, I will be packing a capsule wardrobe, one that mixes and matches with itself, for maximum outfit options, as well as warmth. This is much different than how I usually travel (as I fly Southwest, where you can bring 2 bags free – so why the hell not, you know?), but I’m up for the challenge! :) Adulting and all that :)

I’ve already made/chosen a couple of pieces to base my capsule around, as well as chosen my theme (like Devon, I think all vacation wardrobes should have themes, because, duh) – Minimalist Parisian Chic. Mostly because my capsule will be very minimal – or, as minimal as I can get it down to, because I am still one of those people who delights in overpacking – with lots of black. Not much on the Parisian Chic side (I’m sure Parisian women will be horrified when they see what I wear to stomp around their city, ha!), but it has a nice ring to it :)

Anyway – to start – I have these black Jamie jeans that I made a couple of weeks ago:
Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics
I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be bringing the star sweater. It’s a little bulky! On the flip side, regarding the jeans – I just finished wearing them for the 5th time in a row (sans wash), and they’ve stayed very close to their original shape. No bagging out, woohoo! So that makes me feel good, because I’ll be wearing these a LOT come London.

Stripey Renfrew
I will also be bringing my Imogene + Willie slim jeans (pictured here), because they are basically the best jeans ever. Oh, and probably that stripey Renfrew top. Can’t have enough tshirts!

Now for the sewing plans! Sidenote: By the time of publishing this post, I’ve already finished more than half these makes. Whoops! Guess y’all see where my priorities lie when it comes to posting vs sewing hahaha. Oh well!

Ikat Lady Skater
The Cowl-Necked Skater Dress
I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now – a Lady Skater dress // Renfrew top mash-up! This cotton Ikat knit fabric (purchased at The Fabric Studio here in Nashville) will be the perfect match for this dress – like a giant, snuggly Christmas sweater! I actually don’t know if I’ll be bringing this one to London, due to bulk factor (my capsule really only allows for one dress, which I’m thinking will be the one below – but we’ll see!), but the plans were too good to keep to myself :)

DVF Wool wrap
The Wool Wrap dress
Another big mash-up – I’m starting with the DVF Wrap dress pattern, but adding long sleeves (stolen from the Lady Skater, naturally) and swapping out the gathered skirt for a wrap A-line (Miette Wrap skirt – I’m looking at you). The black wool knit fabric was picked up at Mood in NY a couple of months ago – it’s SO soft! Like, cashmere soft. I’m so in love ♥

Silk v neck
The Silk Button-down
I already have a nice white button-down – made from the same pattern, Butterick 5526 (my favorite!) – but it’s not really cold weather appropriate, due to the length of the sleeves. Since they are 3/4, they don’t really layer nicely with my long sleeve sweaters! I’d love to make another one, but up the ante with some beautiful silk double georgette, and modify the neckline to be more of a v shape (likely using this V-Neck variation tutorial by Jen!)

Chambray Button down
The Polka Dot Chambray Button-down
Another thing I already have one of, but need a winter version. This one will be made using a gorgeous cotton polka dot chambray, picked up here locally at Textile Fabrics.

SJ Sweater
The Wool Sweater
Button downs need a nice sweater, yeah? I want to try sewing a sweater, using the SJ Tee as a basis (with a higher neckline, and omitting all bindings). The fabric I have is a lovely camel-colored boiled wool, that I bought from Elizabeth Suzann (aka I totally jacked her wholesale order hahaha). I think it’ll look equally good over both those button down shirts I have planned!

rigel bomber
The Bomber Jacket
I know – I’m already planning a pretty sweet coat. However, the weather in London (and Tennessee, for that matter!) can be fickle, so I’d like to bring a lighter-weight jacket for days when the temperature isn’t as low. I’ve been meaning to make the Rigel Bomber for, well, months now. Just been waiting on the perfect fabric – and I think I found it! Check out this black wool coating – to be paired with gold china silk for the lining.

Other plans I have (no photos, sorry! Use that imagination of yours, ha!)
– Need some thin long sleeve shirts for layering – maybe just a couple out of wool knit, such as this textured black wool jersey (that’s apparently already sold out?! Wah!). I wear these pretty much daily in the winter – and sometimes I like to sleep in them if it’s really cold – so it’ll be nice to have a few to choose from.
– Speaking of sleeping – I need some new pajama pants! Currently lurking Margot pj pants in Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch, since they seem to be a pretty quick/easy make (I really want to make the Tofino pants, but right now I need quick and easy!). I picked up some really fun orange plaid flannel to make them with – I know, that fabric is ridiculous, which is exactly why I chose it. It’s nothing like I already own! When it comes to pjs, why not, you know?
– I would like to make a flared A-line wool skirt to make as well – thinking about using the Delphine pattern (also from Love at First Stitch), because I love the shape. A little stuck on fabric selection, though! My go-to is usually wool crepe, but that will be too drapey for this shape. Thoughts? I need it to be 100% wool (pretty nitpicky about this, sorry!) and I’m looking for lipstick red. Budget is no more than $25 a yard (and obviously I’d be delighted if it was less than that!)
– Bras! I want to finish at least one bra before I leave – using the Marlborough pattern and one of my kits from Bra Maker’s Supply. Obviously I want new bras, but even more – Norma will be in Paris while I’m there, and you better believe I’m going to drag her into a bathroom and make her assess and critique my fit. Haha! Man, sewing people are weird :P

I think that’s it for now! It feels good to get everything listed out in one place. I’m hoping I can get all this done before I leave – but if not, no worries. It’s not like I’m lacking clothing or anything as it is!

As a side note, I was just notified that one of my lovely sponsors, Indie Sew, is holding a pretty sweet contest where you can win a YEAR of free patterns! Fuck yes! You can read all about the contest and the reasoning behind it on this blog post, but the general gist is that Indie Sew wants to help you transform your entire wardrobe into handmade and end the cycle of cheap/fast fashion. And what better way to jump start a new handmade wardrobe than with some FREE FREAKING PATTERNS AMIRITE? Such a cool idea, and I really really hope the winner shares their journey via blog or social media so we can follow along! Anyway, soapbox rant over – go throw your name in the hat!

What’s on the table for your fall/winter sewing plans? Do you have any capsule wardrobe suggestions for me? Tips for packing light? Are you going to judge me if you see me wearing the same thing for 3 days in a row while I’m on my trip? :)


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