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Completed: Simplicity 1425

22 Jul

Today’s outfit inspiration comes from a completely new realm for me – watercolor painting!

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

Remember that watercolor class that I signed up for earlier this summer? Well, here’s a shot of one of the paintings I did in my final class (no, it wasn’t a fashion illustration class, but the teacher was open to letting us paint whatever wanted – and she was tickled that I went with fashion illustration, ha!). I had some swatches from Mood Fabrics that I knew I wanted to turn into an outfit for my next MSN post, but the outfit inspiration didn’t come until my pen er, watercolor hit the paper :)

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

Let’s start at the top and work our way down! I used Simplicity 1425 for the pattern, and cut the most simple version (sleeveless, no yoke, no collar). I cut the size 4 and took a little in at the waist, as well as made my normal gaping-upper-back alteration that seems to be a running theme for me when it comes to sewing Simplicity patterns.

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

My fabric is this beautiful white cotton eyelet from Mood fabrics, which I underlined with this bright white cotton batiste (also from Mood Fabrics), for modesty and some opacity. It’s still a little on the sheer side – as in, I have to watch what color undergarments I’m wearing! – but the two fabrics together make such a fun light and airy top.

Also, I just noticed that there is a fly on my boob in this picture (at least, I’m pretty sure it’s that fly that was buzzing around). Gross.

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

Sewing was very simple and straightfoward – not to mention fast! Seriously did all this (minus the initial muslin) in the space of a Saturday afternoon. Not too bad! I underlined all the pieces by hand with silk thread (it’s not totally necessary to use silk thread, but it does make it easier to pull out the basting when you attach the seams – which, if you’re as anal-retentive as I am about sewing, you will totally appreciate that, ha!) and I used a 70/10 Microtex needle to prevent puckering, since the fabric is so lightweight. Most of the inside seams are serged, although I did finish the armholes and neckline with bias facing (cut from the same batiste). I can’t really speak for the instructions on this pattern as I didn’t use them at all, but the overall finished top is pretty nice!

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

For an extra lil’ punch, I stuck an exposed separating zip right up the center back. Kind of toughens up the overall sweetness of the eyelet, yeah? :) This pattern was actually written for there to be buttons down the back – which is a cute idea in theory, but they only called for 3. THREE. How that doesn’t look like a fucking hot mess when you’re wearing the top and moving around is beyond me. I imagine that would gape a lot! So I swapped out my buttons for a fun zipper and I’m loving the way it turned out.

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

Getting the zipper in was kind of an adventure in itself. I tried googling around for directions on inserting an exposed zipper (I mean, I had a vague idea of how to do it, but I always like to check and see if my technique is right first), but everything I was pulling up was for close-ended zippers. Since my zip is separating (you know, so I can get the top off and on without destroying something in pure rage during the process), those particular tutorials were kind of a moot point. In the end, I kind of winged it, but I think it worked out!

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

As far as the style of the top – well, I like it. I know it’s super trendy- especially with the dang exposed zipper! – but I’m ok with being trendy. I think peplum tops are super cute and the white eyelet will go with lots in my summer wardrobe. Plus, I can tuck that peplum into high-waisted skirts, so it’s like two tops in one! Woohoo!

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

Now for the shorts! I used my beloved Sewaholic Thurlow pattern, matched up with my other beloved plum organic cotton twill from Mood Fabrics. My love affair with that organic cotton twill should be well known at this point, I hope. That stuff is amazing. Soft and cottony with a bright, saturated color… a dream to sew, and a dream to wear. I’ve made so much with this particular fabric in different colorways – including moreeee Thurlows! – and I’m sorry y’all have to see it again. Just kidding, I’m not sorry! These shorts rule! Get you some of that organic cotton twill, you won’t regret it!

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

I don’t really know how much more I can talk about these shorts until y’all tell me to shut up. I’ve seriously made them so many times, it’s kind of like autopilot at this point. I found that I did have to take quite a bit of excess out of the legs this go-round… I think I might be getting too un-curvy to wear this particular pattern :( I’m already at the smallest size, so it’s not like I can size down. I’m hoping my adjustments will work for future Thurlow shorts, but I’m kind of afraid to try the pants at this point since there is soo much that needs to be changed now, ugh. I reckon I could find another pants patterns to sub out, but wah! I want to keep making Thurlows forever!

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

Anyway, fitting issues aside, these shorts were a delight to put together. I played around with the topstitching on this pair and I really love how the it looks so gorgeous and crisp against this fabric. I tried topstitching around the welts this time – something I’ve seen in RTW and always wanted to try – and I think it looks pretty nice!

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

Oh, and check out that fun lining! Yeah girl! That comes courtesy of this crazy/awesome psychedelic cotton voile print, which is unfortuanately sold out now (but take a look at the other cotton voiles from Mood Fabrics. Sweet!). I love putting crazy prints in my pants because, dude, why not? Business in the front, party on the inside. Or something like that!

Since we’re on a roll with all these detail shots, here are some of the top:

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics
Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

I took waaay too many pictures, but there was so much detail to capture! Sorry bout that!

So I guess the next question is – does she have that outfit from the fashion illustration?

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

Fuck yeah I do! Ok, maybe not so much the shoes, but I’ve got the purse! Ha! This shit’s from Kate Spade – I bought it after I was having a really rough week (retail therapy totally works, y’all.). It was on sale, but it is still also the most expensive purse I’ve ever bought – and it’s totally worth it! I knew I couldn’t find that lemon fabric anywhere, so I justified it with the purse hahah :)

Eyelet Peplum Top & Thurlow Shorts made with Mood Fabrics

Just for fun, here I am trying to strike a pose like my fashion illustration. Hmm… probably should stick to painting, not posing! :)

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Completed: McCall’s 5803

21 Jul

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been slowing reorganizing my pattern stash. You guys, I had no idea how much shit I had stuffed in those boxes until I really started culling through them. Let’s just say I’ve made 3 trips to my local comic book store to buy more packs of 100 backing boards and clear sleeves. It’s kind of disgusting when I think about how many patterns I have (although, to be fair, most of them are old vintage ones I picked up at our flea market for next to nothing because they would have gotten thrown away otherwise oh god), and even more so when I realize I have so many that I haven’t even thought about since I took them home. On the flip side, I’ve been rediscovering a lot of cool ones!

McCall 5803 - Liberty

This is McCall’s 5803 – it’s an old OOP Lizzy McGuire (lol yep) pattern that I’ve had for god knows how long. I’ve actually made this one before – in the form of a Plaid Clusterfuck – and I’ve always (well, when I remembered about it hahahahaha) wanted to made a more demure version, since I love the shape of the arm holes and button placket (and I’d love one with a proper collar and not just the stand). I swear, every time I wore that Plaid shit, I would think, “Man, I wish this didn’t have the ruffles.” So as soon as I rediscovered it, I knew I could make it happen.

McCall 5803 - Liberty

My original version of this top included a big ol’ 1.5″ FBA, which was no longer needed to get a good fit (I don’t even have the original one; I sold it last year when I realized it didn’t fit me at all anymore). Since I’m too much of a stubborn ass to trace my patterns and preserve the original, that meant I had to remove the FBA by carefully peeling up tape and carefully repiecing tissue together. It worked, for the most part I guess, but something tragic happened at the waist because this baby is apparently painted on. Despite a tissue fit (and my stubborn ass thinking, “noooooo I don’t need a muslin, I’ve made this before lololol) and everything. Argh.

I also didn’t bother to staystitch the neckline (whyyy), so it stretched out a little on one side. To remedy this, I pulled that side lower while marking the button spacing, which is why it’s not even at the bottom (you probably didn’t even notice that until I said something, oh well). These types of shirts are generally hemmed during the beginning of construction, so I couldn’t fix the unevenness when I was doing the buttons, if that makes sense. I should probably unpick the hem and fix it now, but eh. It doesn’t bother me as much as it should.

McCall 5803 - Liberty

McCall 5803 - Liberty

I know these pictures make it hard to see what’s going on. I’m sorry :( You can click on them to make them bigger through Flickr, if that helps.

McCall 5803 - Liberty

I let out some of the side seams to try to add a little more tummy room, and that helped a little. I’ve also just recovered from a couple weekends of eating some of the worst shit for me ever – I don’t necessarily diet, but I try to maintain regular exercise and eat things that are beneficial to my health/body and that seems to work well enough for me. After a couple of weekends of eating cupcakes and cookies and fried deliciousness in a to-go box, though, I was feeling tired and bloated and definitely like a stuffed sausage when I put this damn shirt on. I put the shirt aside for a week (wadded up in the corner, because that’s how I roll), I think it looks a bit better now that my body is back to normal. It’s definitely still pretty tight, but at least the busy print hides most of the wrinkles! Ha!

McCall 5803 - Liberty

Speaking of this busy print – isn’t it beeeeeautiful!? Ahh!! It was a gift from Sunni, who sent me a box of some of the most lovely fabrics earlier this year. I guess I never blogged about that, but we decided during Project Sewn that we both deserved a little treat and decided to have a fabric trade! She sent me all kinds of amazing shit – stuff that I’m now just sitting on because it’s almost too good to cut (and I’m waiting for divine inspiration)! That woman has some fabulous taste – and this is the first piece I actually made something with.

McCall 5803 - Liberty
The goodness you are looking at right now is actually Liberty of London shirting cotton (I told you, that woman has some fabulous taste!) from Sunni’s personal stash. Ahh!!! I’ll admit – and y’all can chase me with pitchforks if you’d like – but I’ve never really cared much for Liberty fabrics. Sorry! I think the prints are lovely, but they also remind me way too much of my Laura Ashley bedroom from my childhood. Too girly and floraly and, well, y’all look pretty in them but I’d rather not. I’d rather be clothed in NEON! But anyway, I’ve always been curious to try it because sewists don’t only rave about the prints – they rave about the quality of the cotton as well. You know I love trying new things for science, so I was pretty excited to have my own piece to play with when I got Sunni’s package. And I do think this print is super beautiful – it’s floral, sure, but it’s not all ditzy and super pastel girly like the Liberty I always see. It’s much more along the lines of my style, and I knew it would make a fabulous top.

McCall 5803 - Liberty

I’m so glad I made this work, because I would have been really really angry at myself if it had ended up being a wadder! I could probably stand to let out a couple more seams, but everything is topstitched, so it’s really a matter of me getting the energy to go through all that unpicking and retopstitching. Argh! Anyway, at least I left off the ruffles this time ;)

McCall 5803 - Liberty

Anyway, here she is in all her glory! Beautiful print, topstitching (that will be the end of me), and those gorgeous buttons. If those look familiar, it’s because I used them on my Audrey in Unst cardigan. Not the same ones – my cardigan still has buttons – but from the same batch. My sister-in-law helped me pick them out for the cardigan, and I bought them from a vendor at our flea market. He had all kinds of cool vintage buttons – I think he said these are vegetable protein from the 20s? – and she actually went back afterwards and bought up the rest for me for Christmas. So awesome :) So obviously, they were perfect for this shirt – both in specialness and general matchy-ness :)

McCall 5803 - Liberty

Construction-wise, nothing new to report here. I finished the arm holes with self bias facing and topstitched with a slightly longer stitch length so the stitches would be more defined.

McCall 5803 - Liberty

So, what’s the verdict on Liberty of London? Well – y’all sewists are right, this shit is a JOY to sew up! It presses well, it doesn’t show pin holes, it’s easy to cut, and the fraying is minimum. It also just feels absolutely luscious. I totally understand the rabid fangirling over this shit. I don’t know if there is much Liberty in my future – after all, it’s still hideously expensive – but considering this shirt barely took any yardage, I could probably squeeze out a special piece for another special top :)

So, THANK YOU, Sunni, for the amazing gift of this gorgeous fabric (not to mention the chance to get to sew on it!)! Have any of y’all ever sewn with Liberty? Are there any cool non-floral prints that I’m blindly overlooking?

Completed: Butterick 5526, in Chambray

18 Jul

Good morning, everyone!

Sooo, anyway… remember when I said I was going to use that other chambray to make Butterick 5526 but ended up coaxing it into a Hawthorn instead? Well, I still wanted that damn chambray shirt – lucky for me, I had more in my stash! Check it out!

Chambray Buterick 5526

GOD, I JUST LOVE CHAMBRAY.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Seriously, tho, if you follow my Instagram, you probably noticed a couple weeks ago that it was Unofficial Chambray Week in my sewing room. Part of the reason for that is because I have been experimenting with starting multiple projects at once, then working through them all in succession. That probably makes no sense. What I mean is, I’ll prep 2-3 projects at once (cutting, interfacing, marking), pile them at the end of my table, and then complete each project by itself. I’m still working on one project at a time – but I’ve prepped multiples in the queue, so I don’t have to stop and cut the next one, thus losing my steam (oh, who the fuck am I kidding, I never lose steam. Not when it concerns sewing, anyway :P). This particular week, I was trying to stick with projects that use the same color thread/serger thread, because I dunno. Changing thread isn’t exactly difficult, as we all know.

But anyway, that shit’s fun – to get all the cutting out of the way at once, and then you have a glorious week to focus on dressmaking (or whatevermaking). I’ve blabbed on and on about taking advantage of short time chunks, and I’ve found it’s much easier to do that when you don’t have to set aside time and space every time you want to cut a new pattern (I don’t know about y’all, but I like to do it all in one fell swoop. So when it’s time to get my cut on, I need a long uninterrupted stretch of time to take care of business).

Chambray Buterick 5526

So anyway, I cut a Hawthorn AND a button down, and they were both chambray because they both used the same thread (and dammit, I want both of those chambray goodies in my closet by the end of the week, DAMMIT!) and there’s that.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Also, you probably noticed, but I’m wearing my Crazy Paisley Hollyburn AGAIN. That skirt with this top is just too good.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Chambray Buterick 5526

I’m still tweaking this pattern every time I sew it. Isn’t that what makes something TNT – you’ve used it enough to where you’ve ironed out every little kink in the fit and construction, so you just know it’ll work when you make it up? Butterick 5526 isn’t quite a TNT for me, yet, but it’s on it’s way! I’ve made it 3 times now (see versions one and two), and each version just gets a little better than the previous.

Chambray Buterick 5526

I tried to make the sleeves the correct length on this version. My first one – the white button down – used the 3/4 sleeves that were really more like 7/8 sleeves. Like, wtf, those things looked like they were just a couple inches too short! So, with that in mind, I knew I wanted long sleeves for this shirt (not for now, but maybe in the future, or when I complain about the cold if/when the night temperatures drop to 75 lolz), so I checked against a couple other long sleeved shirts in my closet and transferred that measurement (minus the cuff, of course) to my pattern piece. I double-checked every measurement, but still ended up with something slightly too short! DERP. So the sleeves on this shirt will just be perma-rolled up. And that’s ok! It’s all a trial and error at this point anyway :)

Chambray Buterick 5526

Chambray Buterick 5526

They do look good rolled up though, huh? I can’t even tell you how pleased I am with those sleeve tabs. BEYOND pleased!

Chambray Buterick 5526

Chambray Buterick 5526

This chambray is pretty freaking amazing. It’s from The Fabric Studio here in Nashville. Where my Hawthorn chambray has a crisp drape and loads of body, this one is so lightweight and soft that it’s a little bit see through. Which is why I thought it would make a great button down – even with the sleeves – since it’s like I’m wearing chambray colored air. The looseness of the shirt really compliments the drape of the fabric, and the color almost has a sheen. It also doesn’t wrinkle as much as you would think – I took these photos after a full day of wearing the shirt, and while it has some “wearing” wrinkles, they just look comfy and relaxed, you know? I. LOVE. IT.

Chambray Buterick 5526

It’s also, like, $8 a yard. So it’s affordable chambray perfection! (and before you ask – yes, The Fabric Studio will ship! Contact Nancy here!)

Chambray Buterick 5526

For a fabric as light as this stuff, it didn’t take a lot of extra effort when it came to sewing everything together (or cutting, for that matter). It is on the delicate side, so be aware of pin holes (or use fine silk pins, if you got ‘em!) and be careful ripping out stitching because you will totally rip the fabric (ask me how I know about that…). But, just like the heavier chambray – it sews and presses like a dream. I enjoyed every single minute of working on this shirt, and it totally shows!

Chambray Buterick 5526

Look at that beautiful topstitched cuff! I only interfaced one side of the cuff (the pattern has you interface the entire cuff piece, so when it’s folded you will have two layers of interfacing), so the fabric would maintain it’s pretty lightweight drape. Too bad no one will ever seen the cuff since the sleeve is too short! Ha!

Chambray Buterick 5526

There’s another one of those sleeve tabs that I’m just stupidly proud of. I think they really make the shirt.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Oh yeah! The buttons are also from Fashion Sewing Supply – just classic white shirt buttons. Very simple, but they look so polished and clean with this chambray.

Chambray Buterick 5526

So, yeah. Another basic closet staple that should be boring (and y’all might be yawning, but oh well, my blog->my rules, aka sorry not sorry), but it’s pretty exciting to me! Chambray goes with everythingggg, so this is a great top to have to pair with all my skirts and pants. I would almost say this is the kind of shirt one could wear for a week straight without anyone noticing, except, I definitely did that as a preteen and someone definitely noticed*. Then again, do I really care? Naw.

Couple more things-
– Damn, y’all went crazy over my recent Vogue pattern review. There are a lot of good comments on that post – some defending some of the patterns (even comparing them to runway version, which is all kinds of awesome to see), some making their own hilarious jokes, oh, and some from The McCall Pattern Company themselves. Forreal! If you haven’t had a chance to read through the comments on that post, you should definitely give them a lurk – McCall’s (who owns the Vogue Patterns line) has proven themselves to have an amazing sense of humor, as well as a really graceful way of handling some not-so-nice feedback. They have been very active in the comments – not in a butthurt way, so sorry if you’re looking for dramz ;) – and answering questions from readers. I, for one, had no idea that the designers actually choose the fabric that is used for the designer patterns. Vogue has nothing to do with that (although they do choose fabric for all other pattern categories, just not designer). So some of those awful fabric choices should have their blame shifted to the designer. The things you learn!
more u
– Omgg you guys – my Weekend Pants-Making Intensive class at Workroom Social has officially sold out! Cannot WAIT to meet, hang, and of course, sew with y’all who all signed up! It is going to be a fabulous weekend! Didn’t make the class and are regretting that decision? You can sign up for the wait list here and cross your fingers :) Everyone else – I’ve got a free afternoon/evening on Friday, where I plan to destroy my bank account with fabric purchases. Anyone want to join me in the Garment District and/or possibly for drinks afterward (I hear there is an outdoor bar at Bryant Park nearby, which sounds amazing!)? Shoot me an email! lladybirdlauren at gmail dot com :)
– Lastly (and I know this has NOTHING to do with sewing but it’s my blog and duh I do what I want), have y’all ever heard of the ride service Lyft? It’s like a taxi service, except the drivers use their own cars and the costs are much much cheaper. Everything is run through the app, including payment – so you don’t have to deal with cash or credit cards, and you can pay up to 24 hours after the ride has ended. It’s really fun and a great way to get around if you don’t have a car/plan on drinking/hate driving. Anyway, the reason why I’m telling you this is because my best friend recently signed on to be a driver, and that means free Lyft rides for everyone! Really! If you’ve never used Lyft before, download the app and use the code MORGAN1407 for a free ride up to $25. No strings attached (unless you go over the $25 credit, but that would be a looong ride. One person I know here managed to hit $30 once, and that was for a 20+ mile ride), just free ride goodness! It does have to be active in your city, but the company is growing fast so definitely check! Just remember to input the code into your app (in the payment section) BEFORE you take your first ride, so you can actually use the credit. And, sorry babes, but this is first-time riders only (I know!!). But yeah! Go forth and get you some free rides!

*ok, it was a shiny blue polyester button down from Rave, and it was totally my favorite shirt. Also, when it was pointed out that I’d worn the same shirt for multiple weeks in a row (so not technically days in a row, but every Sunday to church. For at least a couple of months, haha), I was so mortified that I never wore it again. RIP, shiny blue shirt.

Completed: A Chambray Hawthorn

10 Jul

I know, like, everyone and their freakin’ MOM seems to have one of these dresses made up in chambray. I’m just following the crowd here, ain’t no shame in that. But there’s a pretty good reason why we all seem to gravitate toward the same fabric for the same pattern – it’s just such a perfect marriage of the two. Check it out:

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

If you haven’t been able to guess it yet, this is the Hawthorn from Colette Patterns. A simple and flattering style that I’ve loved ever since it came out – this is my third one, actually, although it’s been nearly a year since I last touched the pattern (see versions one and two here). I’ve been planning a few versions since, and chambray was one of them – although I had a helluva time trying to find a good chambray. But here it is! I found it!

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

My chambray actually came from the NYC Garment District – I picked up a couple of yards while Clare & I were chatting up Sam. I know Trice also bought some, because I totally talked her into it (no shame). At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure what I would make with the fabric – but I knew it would end up something button-down inspired. Either a shirt or a shirtwaist, but definitely something that would take advantage of the crisp hand and beautiful cotton goodness. I bought two yards, washed it when I got home, and it’s been sitting on my shelf ever since.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

This particular fabric very nearly almost became a button down shirt instead of the Hawthorn it blossomed into. Like, much closer than you think – I actually had the fabric on my cutting table, with my beloved Butterick 5526 pattern, and decided at the very last minute to use this fabric to make the dress instead. I wanted a chambray button down as well (and I definitely ended up with one… out of a different chambray. More on that in another post, though!), but I realized that this fabric was simply too thick to wear as a shirt in the summer time. The chambray La Sylphide I made last year barely gets worn in the summer, as it’s just tooooooo freakin’ hot! But for the purposes of a dress, this particular fabric was perfect. So I swapped out the pattern for the Hawthorn, and got to making it happen.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

There’s not much to say about the pattern itself – like I said, I’ve made the pattern before, so I don’t really have anything new to add to the table, in terms of reviewing. All fitting changes I made in my previous versions were used for this Hawthorn, and it was pretty straight forward sewing for the most part. However, my pictures turned out kinda nice (well, I think so! Good hair day!), so you have to look at all of them anyway. Sorry!

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

One thing I did that ended up being unintentionally hilarious was when I tried to lower the bust darts. I remembered from previous versions that they are a little high in this dress – and kind of look nipply if you catch the light right. So I redrew the point about 1″ below where they were marked on the pattern, and went about sewing as normal. Except, I dunno what happened exactly, but they ended up WAY too low! Which was a shame because they were the perfect little boob shape, just in an area where boobs (well, my boobs) don’t really belong. Before you start scrutinizing my boobs in these photos, I should mention that I fixed the dart issue. So there’s that. I don’t know where I was going with that story. Boobs.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Man, this fabric was SO MUCH FUN to work with! It’s a beautiful cotton chambray, so it presses like an angel (not sure how that would work exactly, but let’s just roll with it) and it takes well to topstitching. It’s also lovely to wear in the summer here – breathable, and a little lightweight (but still feels like a good weight for a dress). I feel like I say this with every make I, er, make, but this is totally my new favorite dress.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

The collar is so good for all those tiny brooches I have that I never wear. Like this insect brooch.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

The color also goes really nicely with my hair, yeah?

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

I think a dress like this would be good for traveling, as it’s one of those neutral-type pieces that provides a nice background to whatever other garb you are throwing on (cardigans, jewelry, shoes, etc), so you can wear it multiple times without people judging you. You know, like those ~travel articles~ in magazines that tell you to bring a classic black/white/denim/whatever solid-colored dress so you can mix up your jewelry and shoes and look like you actually brought 10 outfits? Except, I never really have a good neutral dress like this – almost everything I make has patterns, and those that are solid (such as my navy cotton sateen version of this) still feel like they really only have 1-2 pairs of shoes or whatever that ‘go’ with them. This dress, though, feels like the equivalent of blue jeans and a white tshirt. I kind of want to wear it for a week straight just to see how many different ways I could style it.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

The wood buttons are from Fashion Sewing Supply, by the way! Last time I ordered interfacing from them, I ordered a couple of packets of buttons as well so I could play around with them in garments. All the buttons are shirt buttons, but they have some cool ones that aren’t so cool-looking they look kind of cheap (does that make sense? Main reason why I generally stick with plain white buttons. NOW YOU KNOW MY SECRET, I’m afraid of looking cheap!). I had no real plans for these when I ordered them, but they look beeeeautiful with this chambray!

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

The armholes are finished with bias binding. And check out that topstitching! I recently bought myself a topstitching foot for my Bernina, and I’ve been having a lot of fun using it to get super precise stitching. I mean, how good does that look? ALL IN THE FOOT, BABY!

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

As with my other two Hawthorns, I respaced my button holes so they didn’t interfere with the waist seam. There is a hook and eye at the seam to keep it closed invisibly; this way I can still wear belts with the dress.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

I kept things simple with the construction and finishing and just used my serger to finish the raw edges.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

And that’s it! I’d love to go through with my forever-planned other version of this dress – plaid with long sleeves. Wouldn’t that be so nice? Although it’s definitely too hot to think about sleeves right now (as Landon would say – “Sun’s out; guns out”), so I’ll stick with the sleeveless for now :)

Completed: The Colette Moneta

3 Jul

Sooo I definitely meant to make this dress to wear on my Florida vacation. You know, the one that happened over a month ago. Oh well – better late than never? At least I’ll be prepared for the next vacation!

Moneta Dress

This is the Moneta dress, from Colette patterns. Sarai sent me the pdf of this pattern right around the same time she asked if I’d like to review the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits. I had already purchased the book at that point, so she gave me the two newest Colette patterns as a freeb. Woohoo! So yeah, I’ve been waiting to make this up for a while, but I think it’s worth the wait – wouldn’t you agree?

Moneta Dress

Moneta is a very very simple dress. Sewn up in a knit, it’s a basic bodice with a slightly gathered skirt, pockets, and a few options as far as necklines/collars/sleeves. I went with the simplest version – no sleeves, no pockets – for my first test run.

Moneta Dress

I’ll admit, I wasn’t terribly keen on the gathered skirt as I tend to hate the way they look on me, especially when sewn up in a knit. However, I kept seeing Devon’s Monetas that she was plastering all over her blog, and they are all pretty freaking flattering on her – even with the gathering. My fabric is also lightweight and drapey, so that helps with keeping the gathering from getting too bulky. The lack of pockets also helps (am I the only one who thinks pockets in a knit are freaking useless? They’re useless.).

Moneta Dress

Cutting this fabric wasn’t necessarily tricky, but it did take some forethought to make sure the stripes all matched up right. After making the Out & About Dress, I was (and still am, to some extent) super butthurt about the way the stripes look on the skirt. These sorts of curved, gathered skirts don’t work too well with horizontal stripes, but I was bound and determined to make it happen this time. Plus, the match up on the side seams – all the way! Yeah! I love it when that happens.

Moneta Dress

Part of what made cutting tricky was that I wanted to self-line the bodice. I didn’t have anything on hand that would be a suitable lining, other than the main fabric I was using (and while I don’t really care much for lined knits, I certainly wanted to try it out!), so I decided to go with that. The one drawback to using my striped fabric is that it is slightly sheer, so the stripes would show through and look weird. I cut the bodice pieces so they 100% mirrored each other – with each stripe color matching what was underneath, so they wouldn’t show through. I think it worked out pretty well. Also, I’m totally a lined knit bodice convert, at least in fabric this lightweight – it’s a very clean finish (all seams are inside the lining, woohoo), and it gives this drapey fabric a good bit of heft so the skirt isn’t stretching it out over the course of the day.

Moneta Dress

I made the size XS, with no alterations – although I guess I did shorten the skirt. The back is a little wide, but it doesn’t look bad so I’m not bothered by it.

Moneta Dress

There were a few firsts for me while making this dress! One, the aforementioned lined bodice – which I’d never done before on a knit, but it’s kind of a neat party trick how everything ends up on the inside. The instructions don’t tell you how to finish the neckline – just the arm holes (this lined version is intended to be worn with a collar, which I omitted. The other versions aren’t lined and just have you turn the neckline under and hem). After a bit of thinking, I figured out that they can be finished the same way as the arm holes. It’s a little tricky, but it works out quite nicely!

Also, the skirt is gathered with clear elastic before it’s actually sewn to the bodice. I actually thought that trick was pretty cool, because it means you get the elastic and gathering done in one fell swoop (without using basting stitches to gather, blech) and the elastic adds a nice support to the waistline, which, again, is important if you’re using a lightweight fabric that might try to stretch out if you don’t set some clear boundaries first.

Moneta Dress

Here it is without the belt. Man, this fabric! I bought this stuff while I was in NYC earlier this year – I think it’s from Fabrics for Less (I think?). It was very very cheap – like $5 a yard cheap – and the quality isn’t so great. It’s very lightweight, feels like there’s a lot of polyester in it, and it looks like it’ll start pilling soon. But, you know, sometimes we make stuff that isn’t meant to be an heirloom. Sometimes you just want a stripey dress because you saw Taylor Swift wearing one and, while you can’t stand that woman, you gotta admit that she has some cuuuute dresses. So there’s that.

Moneta Dress

The only thing I didn’t like about this pattern is that taping the PDF together was a bit of a nightmare. There are a shitload of pages, which results in a pretty big taped-up piece once it’s all assembled. What really bothered me is that a significant chunk of the pages were for the plus size block – and I dunno, it just felt wasteful to print them out and then immediately throw them away (not to mention, I’m a freak who had to tape them together first WHY). I’m not sure what the solution is to this – maybe have an option for printing either of the bodice blocks separately, so you can choose which one you want? If they were nested together, it would make more sense, but they were two separate blocks – plus the collar pieces had their own block too. Of course, I could look at the layout and decide beforehand which pages to print, but I never think that far in advance. Also, don’t tell me what to do.

Moneta Dress

As you can see, at this point I started getting bored with taking photos. But hey, check out that stripe-matching!

Moneta Dress

I also really love how navy my hair looks in these photos! Right after I dyed it, it was definitely this strange and exciting shade of neon electrical purple – which was cool, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. After a wash, the color faded just a smidge and now it’s straddling the line between navy and dark purple. I love it!

Moneta Dress

I definitely want to make more of this dress – I want to try it with sleeves, I want to try some of the downloadable collar options, and I want to experiment with swapping out that skirt. Oh, and I want to make some bodices into cropped sweaters. So many options here, people.

Moneta Dress
Moneta Dress

Here’s the gathered elastic waistband. Not too shabby!

Moneta Dress

And the twin-needled hem, which my machine fought valiantly with this particular fabric. As you can see, though, I won.

Moneta Dress

Moneta Dress

So, I guess it should be said that this particular pattern isn’t necessarily anything mind-bendingly different from many of the other knit dress patterns out there. And that’s fine – it’s a bodice and a skirt (and sleeves, if you want them), there’s not a whole lot you can variate from. Of all the knit dresses I’ve sewn (this, the aforementioned Out & About, and my beloved Lady Skater), the differences are subtle – a change in neckline, a different skirt, etc. While I personally love trying new patterns every single time (which is obviously easier when someone, you know, sends you the pattern gratis), I can totally understand being on a budget and/or not wanting to reinvent the wheel fitting-wise and needing to stick with one pattern that you make changes to. For what it’s worth – compared to my other knit dresses – he neckline on Moneta is more of boat than a scoop neck, the skirt is gathered, and I think the bodice is a little more hourglass-shaped. Also, the techniques used to put this dress together make it slightly more complicated than other knit patterns I’ve personally tried (again, lining, clear elastic, etc).

Stripey Shirt

Oh, and I also made a Briar tshirt with the remaining yardage, complete with one of the most beautiful knit bindings I have ever done.

Moneta Dress

I’m so happy I finally have my striped dream dress, yay! Love this pattern and I can’t wait to experiment more with different variations. And just a head’s up to the rest of y’all – but there’s a whole Sewalong for this dress, if you need the hand-holding. It’s actually being taught by Devon, so you know that shit is gonna be ace.

Completed: The Bronte Top

2 Jul

This is totally my new favorite outfit. I TOLD y’all I was gonna wear the hell of out this navy Hollyburn skirt! I love looking like an American Flag, ok.

Bronte Top

Today, though, let’s just focus on the top.

Bronte Top

This is the Bronte top, a new release from Jennifer Lauren Vintage. Sewn up in a knit fabric, this is obviously not your standard tshirt – the lapped shoulder/neckline detail almost make it look like you’re wearing a dainty shrug, and it’s a nice nod to the 40s without looking super costumey vintage. As soon as I saw this pattern, I knew I had to have it. Don’t get me wrong – I love plain, basic tshirts. I make and wear them all the time. But, let’s be real – there are only so many ways you can design a plain tshirt. This pattern gives a little extra oomph in an unexpected way, and I love it!

Bronte Top

Upfront disclaimer: I was given this pattern free of charge, in exchange for a review. Although, I’ll be honest – I was planning on buying it anyway, because it’s a really cute style that’s completely different from anything I’ve seen around the sewing world. I was also madly interested to learn how the neckline was finished. This review is going to sound completely biased because I really love the pattern and how the finished top turned out. Sorry! It’s just that good.

Bronte Top

Like I said, this pattern is designed for knits, and the first couple of pages are dedicated to helping you choose an appropriate fabric and set your machine up to handle sewing it (assuming you don’t have a serger). Pretty helpful stuff if you’re a knit n00b! One part even compares the appropriate fabric to feeling the same way as underwear fabric, which cracked me up to no end (seeing how much I talk about butts on this blog, I’d reckon y’all probably know how much I appreciated that reference ahaha). But, I mean, it makes sense! The same weight of knit fabric that’s used to make comfy undies would be PERFECT for this top. Plus, you could use the extra yardage left over to make, well, undies.

Bronte Top

I sewed up the size 6, and made no alterations. I’m pretty happy with the fit, although I think I got a little too stretch-happy with the binding and now it sort of gathers where it should lie flat. Oops. I’m so used to modifying my bindings for every top I make (I guess I just like them tighter than how they’re drafted), that I did it without even really thinking. Next time I make this, I’ll go with the binding length as written in the pattern, because as you can see in my photos vs everyone else’s – the binding should definitely sit more flat. Oh well, live and learn!

Speaking of the binding, if you’re curious – it’s sewn on the same way as I think most of us are familiar with. Folded in half, sewn to the right side and flipped back. Works pretty well, though!

Bronte Top

I did make a few changes to the construction, just because I like my knits sewn a certain way, which may not necessarily be the “easiest” way (but I think it looks the nicest!). I did not hem my sleeves until the side seams were sewn up – I like my hems to be a complete circle, don’t like a seam cutting them in half. I also only turned the bottom hem up once, instead of doubled-up. The instructions are very beginner-focused, but they’re easy to skip over if you don’t need the hand-holding.

Bronte Top

My fabric is this red and white striped cotton jersey from Mood Fabrics, with the white binding being some leftover cotton knit from Organic Cotton Plus. The jersey is a little lighter than the pattern suggests, but it works out very nicely. Getting the stripes to match wasn’t much of an ordeal as there are only a couple of pattern pieces to deal with. I sewed everything up on my serger, minus the topstitching, which I did with a twin needle.

Bronte Top

The pattern has you tack down the overlap at the very end – if you don’t attach it down somehow, it will flop open and look stupid. I just went back over my topstitching a second time in that one little section (for each side), but you can also use buttons or other trims to embellish the neckline.

Bronte Top

One surprising thing I really LOVED about this whole experience was the printing part. Ok, actually, I hate printing PDF patterns – like, I’ll go out of my way to avoid it. First I have to find a fucking printer (which I don’t have – well, not one that works – and yes I know it’s the 21st century), then I have to print a bunch of test pages to get the sizing right, then I have to take the thing home and tape it together before I can even start sewing! Argh! Taping together is the worst part, forreal. So, let me back up. I didn’t enjoy the actual printing of this pattern (which I’m pretty sure no one does, amirite), but the taping part was significantly less traumatizing than it normally is. The way the pages are taped together means that each piece gets it’s own set of taped pages – so, instead of ending up with a giant swath of tiled paper (that’s the part I hate – it’s always too big for my table, and takes up the entire floor and I have to crawl around it like a fucking insect. Whyyyy), you’ve got a little stack of smaller tiled papers, each one with one pattern piece to cut out. GENIUS. That shit is pure genius. Why doesn’t everyone tile their PDFs like this?

I also used a tape gun to stick the whole thing together, which made the whole process move a helluva lot faster. Mine’s not pink, though, I kind of wish it was now.

Bronte Top

So that’s it! Overall, I really like the pattern and I’ll definitely sew it again (I’d love to try the long sleeve version, but I’m going to wait until the temperature here is a little less like Hell). You can buy the pattern here, should you feel so inclined :)

Also, just a fun fact – but my name is Jennifer Lauren too :) Obviously I go by my middle name, but HOW COOL IS THAT.

A couple more things!
– Say helloooo to my newest sponsor, Indie Sew! Indie Sew doesn’t just sell sewing patterns (but they do – they have lots of great PDFs from various designers); they are also a sewing community for sharing and discovering new blogs. I especially love how they have a gallery where you can upload your creations – and it shows up on the pattern sales page (which I find EXTREMELY helpful, since sometimes the pattern artwork doesn’t necessarily appeal to me for whatever reason). I just love what they’re doing and I’m super excited to watch this community grow and flourish. Check them out!
– This has been EXPLODING across the blogosphere last week, so sorry to cram this shit down your throats again – but have you heard about Capital Chic Patterns? Run by Sally of Charity Shop Chic, these patterns are a little different from what we currently have on the market. For one – the styles are very fashion-forward, runway-influenced. Don’t get me wrong, I love vintage styles, but Sally’s right in that we kind of already got the market cornered on that ;) For second – the patterns themselves are aimed for intermediate to advanced sewists, not beginners. Can I get a halleluiah?! MAN. I love me some quick’n’easy beginner patterns, and I know the beginners sure love them – but it sure is nice to have patterns that are aimed to flexing our sewing skills. If these two points haven’t convinced you, just take a lurk at the lookbook and drool away.
With all that being said – I actually tested the Cosmopolitan (but I only got as far as a muslin for fit and instructions, as my time was very limited during testing), and I can’t wait to get my hands on some nice wide lace so I can sew it up proper; it’s GORGEOUS. I’ve also got my hands on that White Russian, which I will be sewing up when, again, it’s not Hell Fahrenheit down here.
– We have a winner for the Fashionary Giveaway! Lucky number generator says….

wins1

wins2

Woohoo, congratulations, Trinity (and high-five for committing to a lifetime of crafty!)! Hope you love the book as much as I do :D

Thanks so much for entering and playing along, y’all! It was EXTREMELY interesting to read what kind of crafty/artsy things everyone is into – seems like we have a lot of knitters, musicians, and scientists who hang out over here :) While I’m sorry to say that I only had one Fashionary to give away – otherwise I’d give all y’all one – you can still buy the red book if you want to join Team Matchy :) (go on, do it, you know you wanna~!)

Completed: Vogue 8664

27 Jun

Remember the Sew Bossy Initiative? This is a fun little sewing challenge where you get paired up with a fellow blogger and basically tell them what to sew next – complete with you sending them the fabric, pattern, and anything needed to finish the garment in question. Your sewing buddy will do the same for you.

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress

Well, I got paired up with Rachel Pinheiro, and while we were fairly quick about getting the patterns and fabric to each other, it’s taken an entire year for me to actually sew my dress (and poor Rachel, I sent her a pattern that ended up being a no-go, so she’s still trying to decide what to sub in!). On top of that, I’ve actually had this dress completed for over a month! Oops! Well, better late than never, I guess :)

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress

Rachel sent me Vogue 8664 as my pattern for the Sew Bossy. While it’s a gorgeous design, part of the reason why I dragged my feet on sewing it up is because I simply did not like the skirt included. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a pretty, fitted skirt. But I don’t do fitted skirts, they just don’t work with my lifestyle these days (and by “lifestyle,” I mean, I sit on the floor a lot. Ha!). So I sat and considered it, and debated if changing up the skirt would ruin the whole fun of Sew Bossy (since I’m not really letting Rachel boss me at this point). Fortunately (well, unfortunately for Rachel hahah booo), Rachel ended up scrapping the pattern *I* sent her, so we decided it would be fine for me to change out the skirt to make something more suitable for my daily life. As fun at this challenge is – it’s not very fun if I end up with a garment I’m not actually ever going to wear!

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
This actually ended up being my birthday dress- which I decided to do about 10 days before I needed it. I don’t even go out for my birthday these days, but man, sometimes it’s nice to just wear a new dress that makes you feel good, you know? And I feel pretty good in this dress!

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
Anyway – back to the Vogue pattern! I cut the size 6, with the B cup pieces (I don’t wear anywhere near a B cup, fyi, that’s just the pattern piece that had the closest finished measurement to my body), and made a muslin of the bodice to check the fit. My fabric is a cotton sateen with a heavy stretch – Rachel bought it in Brazil, isn’t it amaaaazing?! – so I used some old stashed stretch fabric for my muslin. Out of the envelope, everything fit mostly well, except that I did take about 1″ out of the center back (not an uncommon adjustment for me). I debated on whether or not to sew the sleeves, but I’m glad I did in the end, because they’re pretty awesome! They get their shape from two giant darts at the sleeve head; the body of this particular fabric I used also helps :)

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
The other major change I made to the pattern was to swap out the skirt for an A-line. I used the skirt from my Belladone pattern – pockets and all – and I think they matched up pretty well. Plus, you know, it’s wearable. For me, anyway :)

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
Construction-wise, I made a few changes. The main one was that I did not line the bodice as called for. Rachel sent me enough fabric so I could self-line, but I used up pretty much all that while cutting the skirt and pockets. Anyway, I don’t think I’d like this fabric as self-lining – it’s pretty thick and heavy for a summer dress, two layers would be crazy! Instead, I drafted a facing for the neckline (this was as easy as tracing the edge of the neckline and extending it to 1″ wide for a narrow facing piece, then adding seam allowances). I debated with what to do about the arm holes, since the sleeve doesn’t go all the way around (and thus, this is where that lining really helps). In the end, I bound the arm hole edges with flat bias facing, which covers all the raw edges and also makes the insides look pretty :) You do see topstitching from the outside, but it’s not very noticeable with this fabric.

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
I also changed the midriff to be a contrasting solid color. I actually cut the dress to be all the same self-fabric, but after I sewed everything together… it just looked like a hot mess! Too much pattern being broken up in too many places. Yuck! So I painstakingly ripped out the midriff (which had already been topstiched at this point, ugh) and replaced it with a solid navy sateen that I had in my stash. You probably recognize this fabric because I’ve used it multiple times on multiple garments (including my lace trench, these Maritime shorts and this Belladone. And I STILL have more of this fabric! Man, that shit is awesome).

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
So here’s the major glaring flaw with this dress – the damn waistband seam allowances show from the outside! This happened for a multitude of reasons – mainly, I didn’t interface the outside waistband (i.e., the navy solid). I had already interfaced the feathered waistband, which after I ripped out I put on the inside of the garment, and I didn’t want to re-interface because, fuck you, that shit is expensive. Don’t look at me like that. It might have been ok, except I also didn’t trim my seam allowances, or even attempt to grade them. Why? I don’t know. I have no idea. Anyway, they’re totally visible from the outside and it doesn’t look the greatest, but, whatever. I’m not ripping that shit out again, I can live with it.

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
Speaking of interfacing, I have discovered a most brilliant solution for interfacing fabric with a high stretch content – stretch interfacing! Whowouldathunk?! I used this tricoat interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply (the only place I buy interfacing from; srsly, it’s all amazing). It gives a bit of interfaced support to your fabric without actually compromising the stretch! Which means my waistband still stretches, despite being interfaced. It’s fucking awesome. I used this stuff on the neckline facing as well.

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
As I mentioned before, I made my neckline facing 1″ wide. Generally, facings are closer to 2″-3″ wide. Why so narrow? I wanted to topstitch it down (partially to keep it on the inside of the garment, and partially because of all the topstitching already on the dress), and didn’t need a giant flap of interfacing beyond my topstitching. Even though I topstitched the facing, I also understitched it first – it helps everything roll to the inside and press flat before that final line of stitching.

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
Also topstitched: the lapped zipper, both edges of the midriff band, around the arms (where I sewed down the bias facing), the pocket edges, and the sleeve and skirt hems.

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
I just love the way the neckline facing looks! It’s so dainty!

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
Here is the arm hole facing. It is sewn in the exact same way as I sew bias facing for a sleeveless dress.

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
For garments with very visible seams that need to be matched up across a zipper, you can’t beat a lapped zipper. It makes things sooo much easier to match, as you can see it while you’re sewing (as opposed to an invisible zipper, which is sewn on the wrong side).

Vogue 8664 - Birthday Dress
And that’s it! A bossy birthday dress :) I’m happy to report that I did finish this in time for my birthday – woohoo! Also, these are the last photos I have of my hair this color, fyi. I actually dyed it over the weekend (right after I took these pictures, of course, ugh), and now it’s purple! Stay tuned for that ;)

Consider this a Sew Bossy success! I can’t wait to see what Rachel dreams up for her fabric, because I know whatever she makes is going to be amazing (like everything else she makes, gah). Thanks to Heather Lou for dreaming up this fun challenge, and to Rachel for agreeing to pair up with me!

How bout you? Ever participate (or would you participate) in Sew Bossy? Does it give you a mini heart attack to imagine someone else telling you what to make? Spill!

Completed: Vogue 1395

18 Jun

Confession: I don’t like cherries. Not for eating, anyway.

Vogue 1395

What I DO love are cherry prints, though (or any fruit, for that matter!). It probably makes me look like a total asshole wearing a fruit I won’t even eat (I’m currently having flashbacks to my high school days, back when I used to make fun of kids for wearing band tshirts of bands they’d never actually listened to. No, really, who does that?? High school kids, that’s who), but you know what? No fucks given. Go ahead and judge me.

Vogue 1395

Whatever, anyway, my point is – I like wearing cute prints. Cute prints can be hard to find though – and when you do find them, at lot of them tend to be printed on, like, quilting cotton. Or worse – silk chiffon (seriously, who the fuck is buying up all those crazy silk chiffon prints? I am so intrigued!). I feel like 3/4 of my sewing time is spent just trying to source cute prints that are printed on the type of fabric I actually like to sew and wear.

Vogue 1395

Sooo, with that being said – I was pretty excited to find this Anna Sui cherry print at Mood Fabrics. Not only is it basically the cutest fabric in the history of ever – it’s silk crepe! So glorious! Unfortunately for y’all, they are also completely sold out of it. Whomp whomp.

Vogue 1395

Immediately after securing a length of this stuff for my very own, I zeroed in on Vogue 1395 as my dream match pattern. Pretty cute, right? Vogue has really been stepping up their game with the last pattern release – as in, they had more than one wearable pattern this time (yay, Vogue!). Vogue 1395 intrigued me with it’s loose fit and strange overlay, and I thought the casual shape would look really nice with such a sweet fabric.

Vogue 1395

Sewing up this pattern (and fabric, for that matter) was pretty easy, although I did make some changes to the construction. The pattern calls for you to sew everything with a double-stitched seam – as in, literally two lines of stitching next to each other, and then finished. I couldn’t wrap my head around that one – why? for extra… strength? what? – so I compromised and used french seams for construction. I figured – hey, it’s technically a double-stitched seam, right? Plus, a french seam just looks way more elegant than a serged seam.

The armholes and neckline (sorry, didn’t take a photo, whoops) are finished with self-made bias binding (aka SILK CREPE bias binding). It looks really beautiful, if I do say so myself. It was also way less of a bitch to sew on than you’d think – despite the fact that we’re talking about bias silk crepe here. I used a lot of steam and manhandled that shit into submission. I also didn’t follow the directions on the pattern for adding the binding – they kind of had a weird method of construction, and I have a better one (sorry, but it’s true. Stay tuned for a photo tutorial during the OAL!). One big awesome plus is that the bias binding is applied flat, so you don’t have to worry about it stretching out and not fitting the area it’s binding – you can just cut the excess off! Hells yeah!

Vogue 1395

Size-wise, I cut the smallest size, which is an 8 in this design (anyone know why some patterns go all the way down to a 4 and some stop at 6 or 8? What’s up with that?). It fits ok – the arm holes, though. Whoa. Those arm holes were TERRIBLE. When I say they showed my bra, I don’t mean they just showed the very top edge. I mean they showed the ENTIRE SIDE of my bra (and a little bit below it!). Suffice to say, the arm holes were way too low! The back overlay does cover some of that, but it’s a moot point once you start moving around.

I fixed my dress in the most MacGyver way possible – I just pulled the shoulders up and gave them a new seamline. This was actually really easy thanks to my french seams, haha! I ended up pulling off about 1.5″ from the top of the shoulders – which yeah, that’s a lot! – and now the dress fits a hell of a lot better. The neckline obviously raised a lot too, but that’s ok – I kind of like it higher, I think it looks better with the shape/length. Plus, now I can bend over without fearing the gapeage.

Vogue 1395

Trying to figure out how the dress is pieced together? It’s really simple – there’s a front and back bodice (unlined, so make sure your fabric is opaque!), and the back bodice has an overlay that is only stitched down about 4″ at the center back. The slightly curved skirt is lined (I used china silk), and there is an elastic waist.

Vogue 1395

The back overlay crosses the side seams and ties at the front, which gives the dress a little bit of shape (that you can totally loosen after you’ve eaten a bunch of cupcakes because, fuck yeah, elasticized waist). Keep in mind that the wrong side of the ties show – it’s just a rolled hem all the way around, no lining – so you want to make sure you use a fabric that is relatively the same on both sides. The wrong side of this fabric is a little lighter than the right side, but it’s hardly noticeable.

Vogue 1395

What else did I change about the instructions? Well, I hated the way they had you hem stuff – lots of basting, pressing, and trimming. BOOORING! I used my rolled hem foot and finished much faster (with better results to boot!). I also could not FOR THE LIFE OF ME figure out how they had you attach the shoulders of all 3 layers. It just plain didn’t make sense, and I was french seamin’ that shit anyway (this was before the Armhole Disaster), so I did it my way and used french seams. Best way, I think!

Vogue 1395

Vogue 1395

Per usual, I threw both silks in the washing machine on cold before cutting, so now I don’t have to dryclean this guy! Yay! Talk about a casual day dress. I did notice that the black faded quite a bit on this silk crepe – so it’s more like, I dunno, light black or dark grey – but I don’t even care. It’s worth it just to know that I don’t have to schlep out to the dry cleaner every time I want to wear this. Which, btw, I would never do, because dry cleaning is the worst. Not because it’s terrible for the environment (although I reckon that’s a factor), but because I actually have to GO somewhere and PAY for it. Ew! Nope!

Vogue 1395

Anyway, cute new summer dress for meeee! I love it when my casual duds crossover into involving luxe fabrics. THIS, my friends, is why I sew.

As a sidenote – my pal Beth is gearing up to release her first pattern, and she needs testers! I know a lot of y’all were dying to dip your toes in to the tester pool, so here’s your chance to shine! Check out this blog post to see the skirt pattern in question (it’s super cute – I was actually on the list to test this, but my schedule this month has blown up all crazy so I had to bow out) and go ahead, throw your name in the hat :) You know you wanna :)

Completed: The Rambo Project

13 Jun

the_rambo_project

As much as I like to make garments that I know will get lots of use and wear and fulfill a gap in my wardrobe, sometimes you just gotta switch it up and make something completely ridiculous just for the fun of it.

Which is where this particular make comes into play today.

A couple months ago, Seamstress Erin hollered at me and a mess of other ladies and asked if we’d be interested in participating in a group project that involved a very unlikely fabric source. See, this particular fabric actually came straight off the set of Rambo III. You can read the whole saga here, but basically, what we have here is a piece of famous fabric.

While I am trying to really limit the group projects I sign up for (my time management is so seriously out of whack right now, y’all have no idea), how could I say no to that?? Never mind that I’ve never actually seen Rambo III (or I, or II, for that matter) – never mind that when I tried to read the movie plot, the overuse of the word “explosion” about made my eyes roll back in my head (also, I still have no idea what that movie is about) – never mind that I actually don’t like action movies one bit… we are talking about a piece of fabric that Sylvester Stallone might have potentially touched, holy shit. You bet your ASS I signed up for that shit!

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

And this is what ended up in my mailbox a few days later. It’s not really the most amazing piece of fabric – and, to be fair, Erin fully disclosed in her initial email that it was a strange scarf size, had a weird bit of stretch to it, and also was a little stained – so it’s not like I was going to make some heirloom-quality piece out of it. For a project like this, naw, I decided to make something SLUTTY!

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

I like to think I did ol’ Rambo proud with this… what do you think?

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

Ok, in all seriousness, I’m really sorry that y’all have to keep looking at my freakin stomach. I swear I don’t normally traipse around the city dressed like this, but something about this project just screamed boobie top. While I did initally plan on wearing this with something high-waisted, when I tried it on with my jorts, it just looked way white trash in the best way, and I decided it was meant to be.

Oh, and also, I figured y’all might want to know that I got my Jorts situation under control. No, I did not make these. I bought them from Goodwill and cut the legs off.

shit

Yep.

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

This little bralette top is made using Simplicity 1426, which is a vintage reissue. I was initially drawn to the cover art – the model on the front is freaking gorgeous – and figured it would be a good pattern for making comfy loungewear bralettes. You know, just stuff to hang around the house in when I don’t feel like rocking something with underwire (and, despite what these photos would tell you, I’ll probably wear them underneath a shirt, ha). Thanks to Rambo, I had the perfect opportunity to test out the pattern in a wearable muslin.

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

Using the finished measurements to determine my size, I cut the size 6. It fits pretty nicely straight out of the package, although I did have to pull in the back slightly tighter so it would fit my ribcage (again, I’m about 28″ at the ribcage, so most stuff tends to be too big right there!). The instructions were easy to follow, although I never did see how to finish the end of the back band? I just serged the raw edges and folded them down. Nothing fancy here! I did change up the back closure – the pattern calls for buttons, and while I reeeeally wanted to do pearl snaps (because, god, that would be amazing), my fabric was just too thick to even try to hammer those suckers in. I instead opted for flat hooks and eyes – the kind you put on a waistband.

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

The cups do have a tendency to gape open if you don’t pull the neck straps tight enough (and once you do that, you run the risk of giving yourself a headache!). One thing I would do differently is ease the edge of the cups with a piece of twill tape, similar to how I constructed the bodice of my Flora dress. This would help the cups hug the contours of my body and thus lay more flat along the edge. Something to keep in mind if you plan on making this!

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

Overall, though, it’s a pretty cute top. Personally, I’m just tickled that I was able to take a rather classy looking pattern and turn it into something that looks this trashy. I am awesome.

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

The top is lined (I used self-lining in this case) and the edges are bound (again, I used self-fabric), which makes for a very clean inside. I found the binding was super easy to apply in this case, due to the slight stretch of the fabric.

Obviously, this wouldn’t be a true Rambo tribute without the addition of some sort of weapon. I don’t personally own any weapons (can you believe that? Not even a giant stick that I can use to ward off intruders… seriously, Lauren), but I did find this pocket knife on Landon’s dresser. Shhh, don’t tell him!

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

THAT’S MORE LIKE IT!

Simplicity 1426 - The Rambo Project

Check out The Rambo Project to see what happened to the rest of the turbans! Big thank you to Erin, for letting me participate in the ridiculousness that is The Rambo Project!

Completed: The Hetty Cardigan

11 Jun

Omg, when was the last time I posted a completed knitting project? It’s been far too long.

Hetty

I guess we can make up for it now! Everyone, meet Hetty :)

Hetty

Hetty is a sweet, cropped cardigan knit entirely in lace, which makes it perfect for warmer spring/summer months. The cardigan is knit seamlessly from the top-down, which means there’s no seaming after you’ve finished the knitting – just a block and buttons and it’s ready-to-wear! I really prefer these seamless top-down (and occasionally bottom-up) patterns, as the whole seaming thing just really puts me off haha.

Hetty

As you can see, I went the copycat route and basically copied Andi verbatim with my pretty spring green yarn. Both the pattern and the yarn were actually gifted to me by reader/Ravelry follower, Julia. I was planning on joining the Hetty Knit Along when I received these goodies (which means I’ve been sitting on this pattern+yarn for… almost a year now, eep!), but other projects got in the way and I wasn’t actually able to start this until March. Oh well! Better late than never :)

Hetty

So… let’s talk about this pattern a little. Theoretically, this is a fairly simple pattern with VERY easy lace work. The open lace work, the cropped length, and the short(ish) sleeves mean that this should be a pretty quick knit. For me, I did struggle a lot with getting the lace work to properly match up. This is because the side seams are knitted in stockinette, so that the decreases can fit. Since the stockinette count can change from row to row, I had a hard time remembering *where* to start my lacework pattern, and thus a lot of it did not line up. I ripped out a significant amount of this sweater – including the entire back about four times (I think, I lost count because it was just too depressing haha), because I hated how the lacework wasn’t lining up. Despite all this ripping out, I still got the sweater finished in about two and a half months. I can only manage to knit a couple of hours a week at this point, so that’s pretty freaking fast!

Hetty

Here is my biggest tip regarding that damn lacework – once you start getting to stockinette territory, place a marker at the beginning of one of the lacework repeats. Doesn’t matter which one (although I’d recommend one that is a couple repeats away from where the stockinette begins) – this will just give you a visual indication of where a lace repeat needs to START, and from there you can count back to the beginning and see how many lace repeats will fit/need to be turned into stockinette. I hope this makes sense! It’s kind of hard to tell where the repeats start when you’re in the middle of a row, and I’m pretty fucking awful at tell where patterns start when I’m looking at them vertically, so this was the only way I could keep the lace pattern consistent and stacked correctly. I also only figured this out one I got to the second sleeve, hence all my ripping out. Oh well – learn from my mistakes, ok? :)

Hetty

Here you can sort of see the lace repeat as it turns into stockinette. Very clever for the way this is constructed, as you don’t have to worry about messing up the lace with additional decreases, but like I said – it can totally get confusing. Use those stitch markers!

Hetty

Hetty

Also, that “easy to memorize” lace pattern was VERY hard for me to memorize! I did finally get the hang of it… again, about halfway through the second sleeve. Haha! Oh well!

Hetty

Despite my big giant lace-induced headache, this was a fun sweater to knit up. I really love the open lace design and I’ve already gotten quite a bit of wear out of it – the light, open lace makes this so nice to wear in chilly air conditioned buildings, and the color is nice and summery :)

Hetty

Hetty

I used Cascade 220 yarn (my favorite! ♥) to knit this, and I made the size Small. Based on my gauge swatch, I was able to get gauge with size 6 needles (seems about right for me + worsted weight yarn). Fair warning – this sweater is pretty tiny while it’s being knitted. I can’t even tell you how many people asked me who’s baby I was knitting a sweater for haha (Answer: NO BABIES! Are you fucking KIDDING me?? haha!). But as you can see, it blocked out very nicely! I soaked this guy in warm water and squished it around on a towel until the lace opened up and the size was accurate for my body. I just love how it turned out!

Hetty

Hetty

Hetty

Oh, and I’m wearing my navy Hollyburn in these photos, fyi. Thought they kind of showed the skirt better than the photos in the last post! Plus, I love combination of these two colors :)

Hetty

I promise I did take photos of the sweater laid out in all it’s fully glory, but Flickr REFUSED to believe that the files were actual photo files. So… have some close-ups, I guess?

Hetty

Vintage buttons + petersham at the button band! I used neon yellow petersham because that’s what I had on hand, and I think it looks really pretty with the green :)

Speaking of Petersham, I did take photos of the process of attaching it to the button band, so keep an eye on this space next week for a TUTORIAL! Woohoo! I’ve had loads of people ask how I attach the petersham, so hopefully this will be helpful to ya :)

Hetty

Love looking at close-ups of handknits :)

Hetty

Sooo, there ya go! Pretty Hetty, just in time for… summer ;) Now to finish my Sunshine yellow Myrna for the OAL (which is coming along FAST – almost done with the first sleeve!). Full Ravelry notes on Hetty can be found here.

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