Completed: Ultimate Trousers

14 Aug

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

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

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

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

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

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

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers
Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

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

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

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

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

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

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

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

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

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

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Completed: The Tye-Die Moneta (+ announcements)

11 Aug

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

Tie-Dye Moneta

First up: The Dress

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

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

Tie-Dye Moneta
Tie-Dye Moneta

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

Tie-Dye Moneta

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

Tie-Dye Moneta

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

Tie-Dye Moneta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Completed: Reupholstered Chairs

8 Aug

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

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

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

Reupholstered Chairs - before

Lookit that bad boy!

Reupholstered Chairs - before

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your finished seat should look like this. Woohoo!

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

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

THAT IS DAMN SEXY

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

AMIRITE OR AMIRITE?

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

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

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

Chairs reupholstered with fabric from Mood Fabrics

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

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

Completed: Kitty Zinnia!

6 Aug

You know what I love almost as much as I love bike fabric?

IMG_9372

KITTY FABRIC :D :D :D

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

This ain’t just any ol’ cat fabric though – this is freaking silk chaurmeuse, all the way from LA.

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

When I was in NYC earlier this year, I mentioned to Trice how I was looking for non-quilting weight novelty fabrics – especially something with cats on it. Trice, being the sneaky lady she is, emailed me several months later and said she was going to send me something. I don’t know what I was expecting- but it was NOT this! I mean that in the best way, obviously. I love how the fabric isn’t super loud-in-your-face-cat-print (although, let’s be real – that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing), I love that it’s black and white, and I love that it’s fucking SILK CHAURMEUSE. What the what? Talk about an amazing gift from an amazing person!

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

I didn’t have a whole lot of fabric to work with – maybe a yard and a half, tops, and it was pretty narrow. A Colette Zinnia seemed like the perfect fit- I have a similar short, pleated silk skirt (I wore it in the photos for my Owls Sweater), and I wear it all the time, especially in the winter.

The Zinnia calls for a loooot of yardage, but I was able to barely eek by. I shortened the skirt by about 4″, which allowed it to fit on the narrow width of the fabric, and cut the pockets out of some bemberg rayon that I had in my stash. It was a close call for sure, but I made it work! I also cut it with the shiny side on the inside, because I thought the matte side looked a little less, I dunno… costumey?

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

Most of the sewing was pretty uneventful. I did have to lengthen the topstitching on the pleats – the pattern has them about 2.5″ deep, but the skirt looked suuuuuper floofy right about my hips, so I lengthened them a couple more inches and that helped. It’s still pretty floofy, but I mean- it’s a cat skirt. It’s already ridiculous enough, you know?

(Yep, my bra band totally gives me back fat hahaha. Actually, I probably have back fat too.)

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

I mean, LOOK HOW SWIRLY IT IS THO.

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

More kitties! Isn’t this seriously the coolest print? Everyone I told about it kind of gave me a weird look until I showed them a picture- and then even cat haters were all, “ooh I want me some of that!”

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

I obviously needed a cool top to go with my super cool skirt, so I made a quickie crop top to wear with it. This is the Closet Case Files Nettie, made in some rayon knit from Mood (leftover from this Jalie top from forever ago).

To crop the shirt, I just cut it along the bottom lengthen/shorten line. I had previously added 2″ length to my pattern, so that ended up being the perfect crop top length. I also tried my hand at widening the shoulders, since they are super narrow on me… I used a tutorial from Colette on shoulder adjustments, but I guess I didn’t add enough width because they’re still SUPER narrow. Unfortunately, I think this crop top has a very short lifespan in my closet because the shoulders are too narrow for it to be comfortable (the sleeves ride up as I move my arms and the shoulders raise and it just doesn’t look good). It’s pretty obvious in this picture how far the shoulder seam is from my shoulder – plus, the arm hole is still way too high. Gonna have to go back and retweak that pattern again, I guess. Ah well! Sewing!

Also, I know you can totally see my bra lumps through this shirt. DGAF.

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top
Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top
Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top
Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

It’s hard to see any detail at all in this print, but don’t say I didn’t try :)

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

Thanks again, Trice, for the amazing fabric! Guys, she also sent me a BUNCH of bra straps – which means I guess I better start exploring the world of sewing lingerie, yeah? Forreal, though, I just downloaded my first Ohhh Lulu bra pattern. Wish me luck!

What about you? Found any good (literal)animal print, lately?

OAL: The Winners!

4 Aug

Hey everyone! Sorry, one more OAL post :)

I had SO much fun co-hosting the OAL this year with Andi, and I love that we had so many participants (66 posted completed outfits on the Ravelry thread!). I can’t even tell you how much I loved following along with everyone’s progress, and seeing what cool outfits came out of it! I really love the variety of sewing and knitting patterns that showed up in the OAL (some having already moved over to my to-make queue ;)). Such a fun time and I’m really glad I got to host! Thanks to everyone who participated! Y’all are the best! ♥

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Andi & I wanted to sweeten the deal with an opportunity for prizes, so let’s get to that! Our official sponsor for the OAL is Indie Stitches, who generously donated prizes for each of the winners. Those who win get a free pattern of these choosing from Indie Stitches, plus a free knitting pattern of their choosing from the Untangling Knots shop. For the drawing, we compiled a list of all the posts on the OAL Finished Outfits thread that were submitted before the deadline on 7/31 and included a full outfit. The names were put on a numbered spreadsheet, which we used random.org to pull the winning numbers. So, without further ado – our 4 OAL winners~~

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Karen’s Helen bed jacket & PJ’s
Damn, that’s such a good idea – why didn’t I think of that? Classy pjs and a bed jacket for lounging, instead of my ratty workout shorts and an even rattier quilt.

P1020012
Roisin’s Myrna cardigan & Vogue 8998
ROISIN! I swear I did not choose her name on purpose; this was purely luck of the draw. I love her little pink Myrna and the fabric for that dress is such a perfect match!

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Kristi’s Myrna & Simplicity 1803//McCall 6696
Such a pretty and classic combination! You can’t see too well in these photos, but go look at her Ravelry page – the top of the dress bodice is outlined in pink piping, which looks fabulous! And the inside is just gorgeous :)

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Martinalici’s Featherweight cardigan & Washi dress
Love this – especially that hand-embroidered collar! Also, that Featherweight Cardigan is going in my queue asap :)

Woohoo! Congratulations, ladies! Keep an eye out for an email from me :)

For those who didn’t win, I still have a lil’ somethin’ for ya – a discount code! Use the code OAL2014 for 15% off your purchase at Indie Stitches shop. This code is valid for 48 hours, so through 7AM August 6 (whew! Is it August already?).

Thanks again to everyone who played along, I hope you had as much fun as we did! To see all the finished outfits in all their glory, check out the OAL Finished Outfits Ravelry thread, the Official Unofficial Flickr Group and the hashtag #oal2014 :)

Completed: The Emery Dress, An Aztec Delight

1 Aug

You know who has the best Emery dresses? Angie. Specifically – her Arizona Emery is the thing jealous dreams are MADE of. I love the tough/cool spin-off an otherwise sweet looking pattern.

So… you know what that means. I copied her.

Rayon Emery

Fuck yea I did. Sorry, Angie!

Rayon Emery

Well, to my credit- not entirely. I did pick a lighter fabric (in both color and weight), and I left the sleeves off because… do I have to say it? I’m gonna say it. SUN’S OUT, GUNS OUT. Sorry y’all! Summertime in this place means I got the right to BARE ARMS amirite lolololol

Anyone? Guys?

Rayon Emery

So anyway, this is the Emery dress. I figured I better make it again, considering I put so much fucking effort into all those muslins when I was first trying to fit it. Might as well make it worth my while! Fortunately, the fitting kinks all worked out by this point, so this dress was a matter of cutting and assembling. I did have to take in quite a bit at the center back, but that’s accounting for the fact that my fabric has a slight stretch to it. Not a lot, but just enough to mean some things gotta be sized down a smidge. I think I was a little toooo aggressive at the upper back, because now the shoulders pull, but eh. Live and learn.

Rayon Emery
Rayon Emery

“What’s that fabric,” you say? Well, I’m so glad you asked! This little piece of happiness came my way courtesy of Fashion Fabrics Club. I was really curious to try it, considering how ridiculously cheap it was – would it prove to be worth my sewing while? Or would the day end in tears?

The specific fabric in question is this white/grey Aztec stripe. It’s a floaty rayon challis, so lightweight that the full 2 yards barely weighed anything. Look at the price – this shit was $5.75 a yard. How is that possible? I have no idea! I don’t have a helluva lot experience with rayon challis, but I do have a little, and this stuff is pretty similar to the others I’ve used – just as lightweight and shifty as the rest. To it’s credit, though, it is pretty dreamy to wear in the heat. It is very breathable, dries fast (if you sweat a lot like I do)(sorry), and the print hides aforementioned sweat (sorry again). The only drawback is that is does stretch out over the course of the day, since the heat of your body relaxes the fibers. That’s not a huge deal – and when it’s hot outside, you may even welcome the extra ease – plus a quick wash shrinks things right back up.

Rayon Emery

Cutting this stuff was a BEAST. Omg! The dress pattern only has like 5 pieces (and one of them doesn’t count because they are pockets, and who matches pockets? Not me!), but it took me forever to get everything cut out since the fabric kept shifting around. I got most everything lined up, but unfortunately, the center back had to take the pattern-matching fall. I actually didn’t even notice this until I was going through the photos. Whoops! I think I actually cut it off the match – because everything else (waist seam, top seam, etc) matches perfectly. Oh well, just one of those things!

Rayon Emery

On the flip side, sewing it wasn’t too bad. I noticed that the fabric does have a tendency to snag and run if you’re not careful (as with other rayon challises I’ve used), so I used my silk pins and a 70/10 microtex needle. That’s about the extent of my carefulness with this fabric. I threw it in the wash on cold, dried it in the dryer, and steamed the hell out of it with my iron. I know you’re supposed to be more careful with rayon, but I have rayon dresses that have been washed+dried for years and they seem to be holding up fine. FWIW, I generally keep my rayon dresses out of the dryer and just hang them – they wrinkle a lot less that way – but I always use the dryer during prewashing just in case the finished dress accidently gets thrown in a dryer load. Don’t wanna have a surprise shrinking incident!

Rayon Emery
Rayon Emery

I’m pretty proud of how my print matching turned out (minus that center back mistake, I mean). Also love how that print placement turned out at the bodice front. I actually didn’t plan that at all, but it’s a nice surprise! Even if it does look like I’m wearing an Aztec wrestling belt :P

Rayon Emery
Rayon Emery
Rayon Emery

I opted to leave the dress unlined so it would be as lightweight as possible. To finish, I used self bias facing at the neckline and arm holes. Oh yeah, and because it’s sleeveless, I raised the underarm by about 1/2″ and cut about 1/2″ off the edge of the shoulders. Didn’t want this to look like a muscle tank!

Rayon Emery

Also, this dress totally broke my camera remote. Well, maybe not “broke,” but it definitely stopped working, which kind of sucks. This is what I look like when that happens, in case you were wondering.

Rayon Emery

So there ya go! Thanks so much to Fashion Fabrics Club, for letting me try some of their (literally)cool rayon, and thanks to Angie for the inspiration for my awesome new dress!

Who are you lurking on these days for a shameless rip-off? Fess up!

** Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, although I did receive the fabric for free. I guess I also got the pattern for free too. Hey-o, free dress! :)

Completed: Bikey Maritime Shorts

31 Jul

I love it when a single piece of clothing incorporates a bunch of my favorite things at once.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

Bicycles? Check.
Maritime shorts? Check.
Roisin? FUCK YEA.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I know they look like polka dots from a distance, but seriously there are teeny-tiny little bicycles all over these shorts and OMG SO CUTE.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I’m a sucker for bicycle printed fabric – this is a true fact, and I don’t think I even need to say it, because most of y’all are probably nodding your heads (and/or rolling your eyes) from how often I mention it. That’s ok, I’ll say it again – bicycle fabric rules! This stuff is extra special, though, because it came as a gift from my homegirl, Roisin. Recently on her honeymoon in Paris, Roisin posted this shit on Instagram after a fabric shopping bender (seriously… she went home with some really beautiful stuff) and I nearly had a heart attack over the BICYCLE PRINTED DENIM. Because she’s an amazing sport, Roisin offered to go back to the fabric store and pick me up my own 3m length. On her freaking honeymoon! Do you see why this lady is amazing? Because she’s amazing.

Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts

And because of her, I now am the proud owner of these cute little bike shorts! Yay!

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I’ve made this pattern – the Maritime shorts – a million times, so there’s not a lot left to say about them. I cut my usual size, and sewed these up as normal. I knew I wanted to stick with a good tried-n-true to be absolutely positive that we would have no fitting issues here, especially after all that trauma I had trying to make jorts. Speaking of which, I think I figured out the issue with the zipper – after inspecting the zipper of my jeans (the ones I bought, not me-mades), I noticed that the fly extension is tacked down right at the base of the zipper, which takes a lot of the strain when you’re pulling them off and on. It’s amazing that something as simple as reinforcing the extension with a bartack really makes such difference but it does. After realizing this, I checked the pattern and it does instruct you to tack the extension down. I guess I skipped over it in my jeans haste? I dunno. But hey, now you can learn from my mistake! :D

Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts

Sorry ’bout all the wrinkles. I took these photos after wearing the shorts all day, so most of them are from sitting and moving around. While this fabric is a denim, it’s pretty lightweight for shorts, so it tends to wrinkle. The fabric softened up quite a bit after prewashing, and also set a few wrinkles in permanently (such as the one you see by the side seam).

Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts
Bikey Maritime Shorts

Some additional notes:
– I debated on topstitching with a contrasting thread – either white or gold – but ultimately decided to let the bikes take center stage and kept the topstitching navy. I love how it’s subdued and classy – well, as classy as a pair of short shorts covered in bicycles can be :P
– My pocket lining is Liberty fabric, left over from my recently Liberty make! I know it doesn’t exactly match the denim, but I couldn’t resist pairing these two special fabrics together – after all, they’re both from some of my favorite bloggers, so it seemed only natural :)
– You may have noticed that I didn’t finish the edge of that fly extension. Actually, I did. It’s just up under the waistband because I’m fucking stupid haha. Oh well!

Bikey Maritime Shorts

I tucked my chambray button-down in so you could really see the way the shorts look, and I surprised myself because I actually kind of dig the way it looks (even if it does scream ~Fashion Blogger on Pinterest~, which we all know I most certainly am NOT haha!). For the most part, though, I wear the shirt untucked, as in the above photo.

Bikey Maritime Shorts

The best part – those lil’ shorts use barely any fabric at all, which means I still have about 2m left to play with! I’m debating what to do with the remaining yardage. It’s too heavy to be any sort of top (well, any sort of top that I would wear) and I’m not keen on making a matching pair of pants… but a dress, perhaps? What pattern would you suggest?

Thanks again, Roisin, for being such a star and making these cute shorts a reality! When I finally get my butt to London, I owe ya a drink :) Or two :)

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