Vogue Patterns 2014: Fall Collection

16 Jul

I actually had a legit blog post planned for today. But then, Vogue went and released their Fall patterns for 2014. Merry Christmas in July, y’all!

Before I go any further, let me address the inevitable “WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN TO VOGUE OMGGG” comments:


HA! :) Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some snarking to do ;)

Vogue 1416
Well, well! Looks like someone got a discount on that bolt of neon purple polyester satin.

Also, let this be a cautionary tale:
If you don’t properly press your seams, you *will* end up with Vagina Butt.

Vogue 1417
Was 1373 leaving your arm in the cold? No worries, we’ve got that (and yer neck!) covered!

Vogue 1414
I was inclined to like this until I realized the top has a boob flap. Why, Vogue. Why.

Vogue 9035
I don’t get this. I understand that the designer was trying to do something funky with the seaming details, but the overall effect is that she made a bunch of mistakes and half-assed trying to fix them.

Like, look at that cuff. JUST LOOK AT IT.

Vogue 1410
Well, that just looks stupid.

Vogue 1407
This is actually REALLY cute and I can totally see Carolyn rocking the shit out of it.

Vogue 1408
Ack, I love this one too! It would look awesome with a contrasting fabric to really show off all those seam details.

Vogue 1409
So, the seamlines+color scheme+texture (I’m guessing it’s stretch velvet?) on this dress totally makes me think of a saber toothed tiger. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing. I tried to Google y’all a picture of a saber toothed tiger just to prove my point… and instead I came across this:

Yes, you saw that right. That is Richard Nixon punching a saber toothed tiger.

There’s also this amazingness from the same artist. HOLY SHIT THIS GUY IS AWESOME.

Thanks, Google!

Ok, back to Vogue…

Vogue 1404
Hm, could be hit or miss.


The topstitched hem is pretty snazzy, amirite? High five, Vogue!

Vogue 1419
Not really sure how I feel about this one. It’s very different and I do like that. I can’t stand the sleeves, though. All I want to do is grab that underarm excess and pinch it.

Vogue 1406
Yo Vogue, your epileptic fabric choices mean I CAN’T SEE SHIT!

Vogue 9040
I just wanted to point out that, again, the wall is collapsing around her. They really should hire a building inspector to take a look at that place before someone gets hurt.

Vogue 9038
I swear to God, this is LITERALLY a rectangle of fabric with a cutout down the middle.

Vogue 1413
No, Vogue, you can’t do that – that’s just cheating.

Vogue 9029
WAY too many ruffley/dangly options, but all in all – not half bad. I’d sew it!

Vogue 9036
Way to take a really cool pattern and make it look like a throwback to the embarrassing part of the early 90s.

Vogue 1411
Whaaaaaaat! These are awesome.

Vogue 9028
Who the hell puts an invisible zipper (aka not a design element) in a knit top? What the fuck.
Side note: I just made the mistake of staring at her bun, and now I’m lost in a vortex of swirling hair. Magic!

Vogue 9031
Who draws these things, anyway? Like, who sat there and thought, “Hmm, you know what this skirt needs? LEOPARD PRINT*.”

(*y’all know I fucking love leopard print. But, as with everything good, there is a time and a place. This was not the time, nor the place.)

Vogue 9037
I am convinced that they just rephotograph/redraw this every season and call it new.

Vogue 9024
Even the model can’t figure out where the other half of her peplum went.

Vogue 9021
For me, going through the Vogue patterns from top to bottom is like browsing Netflix. The first few rows are attention grabbing, but as you go down, they get progressively worse.

Vogue 9018

Vogue 9020

Vogue 9033

Vogue 9042
Can we discuss how utterly ADORABLE these little kids patterns are, though?

Vogue 9043
Like, holy shit, I think they almost brought my shriveled up ovaries back to life.

Vogue 9041
And, you know… in case you forgot where babies come from, Vogue is here to remind you.

Vogue 9044
This will be very useful for those days when you have no pockets or purse and need to stash things in your hat.

Vogue 9045
Lord, Vogue, haven’t we already discussed this?

Whatever. Don’t let me stop you.

In other Vogue news, I noticed that Vogue is taking notes for a future sewalong, as well as a giveaway for one of the new patterns (they didn’t ask me to promote this, btw. Just noticed and figured some of y’all would be interested!). They’ve really been pushing the social media lately and I think it’s awesome! Just, you know… keep releasing a healthy dose of wtf patterns and/or envelope with wacky styling, please. I need something to entertain me.

What do you think about these new patterns? See any you love or love to laugh at?

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OAL: Hemming & Finishing

14 Jul

Good morning, OAL-gers! Today is the final post in the OAL series (which I’m sure means that a lot of y’all are dancing for joy to hear that there won’t be any more of these posts! Ha!), and we will be finishing our dresses. Yay!

You should have a mostly-finished dress at this point – everything is connected, all seams are finished, and the only thing left to do is hem the dang thing! Of course you can hem however you like (as most of y’all already have at this point), but I wanted to give a couple options for those who are unsure what to do, or just want to try something different. You know how much I love having options!

First things first, try your dress one and determine where you would like the hem to hit. I like my hemlines above the knee, and this dress runs a little long (or, rather, I’m a little short), so I ended up cutting off about 4″ from the hemline. I’ve found that the easiest way to mark my hemline is to measure the length of a skirt that I like, mark that length with a pin on my dress, and then try it on to see if it works. Before you cut, add back a hem allowance (however much you will be turning up before you stitch the hem), otherwise, your skirt will end up a little short :)

Option #1: The Easy Turned Hem

OAL - Hemming
Fold the skirt hem under 1/4″ to the wrong side and press.

OAL - Hemming
Now fold one more time, again to the wrong side, and press. However much you fold under depends on how much of a hem depth you want. I stick with about 5/8″ for this particular type of hem. You can certainly fold more for a deeper hem, but be aware that the curved hemline means that you might have difficulty easing the fullness in (since a curved hem means it’s bigger at the bottom than it is at the top) if it’s too deep.

OAL - Hemming
Now just topstitch that bad boy down!

Some tips for topstitching your hem:
– Start on a side seam so your backstitching doesn’t distract from the beautiful front or back of your dress
– Use a slightly longer stitch length (I use 3.0 over my machine’s standard 2.5 length); the stitches will be a little more defined
– Topstitch from the right side if you can help it – the needle stitches are much prettier than the bobbin stitches
– Use the measurement markings on your throat plate to help ensure you are stitching in a straight line

OAL - Hemming
If you are sewing the version with the notched bodice, don’t forget to tack down your facing to the center front. Catch only the seam allowances and use a couple of handstitches to keep that facing inside the bodice where it belongs.

OAL - Hemming
And done! :)

Option #2: The Extra-Fancy Hem
One thing I like to include with my hems is a strip of seam binding. This vinage-inspired finishing covers the raw edge (so you don’t have to fold twice) and is a fun little surprise whenever someone sees the wrong side of your skirt. You can use seam binding, bias strips, or even lace – in a matching, contrasting, or complementary color. I just think it looks really pretty and it really adds a nice professional finish to an area that most of us tend to rush through (because, duh, we just wanna wear our dresses!). For this hem, I used vintage seam binding and topstitched it down, although you can also sew the hem by hand if you’d like it to be invisible from the outside.

OAL - Hemming
Starting at one of the side seams, pin your hem tape to the right side of your skirt hem, letting the binding hang over about halfway.

OAL - Hemming
Stitch, keeping your needle as close to the edge of the binding as possible.

OAL - Hemming
When you reach the full circle of the hem, overlap the binding by about 1″ and fold the raw edge under, as shown.

OAL - Hemming
OAL - Hemming
Now fold the binding to the wrong side to whatever hem allowance you prefer, measuring all the way around to ensure it is even. Pin into place.

OAL - Hemming
Topstitch on the opposite (unsewn) side of the seam binding – again, sewing as close to the edge of the binding as you can. Press and use steam to ease out any fullness.

OAL - Hemming
Ta da!

And that’s it! Give yourself a pat on the back, pour yourself a stiff cocktail, and do a little dance because YOU FUCKING SEWED A FUCKING DRESS, LIKE A FUCKING BOSS! Whoop whoop!! Don’t forget to post your finished outfit in the Offical OAL Finished Outfits Ravelry Thread – there are already sooo many beautiful dresses and cardigans lurking around there, omg. Remember that you have until 7/31 to post to be eligible for prizessss – so you’ve got a couple more weeks if you’re running behind :) Don’t have a full outfit but want still want to share your dress? You can post that in the Official Unofficial OAL Flickr Group.

Stay tuned for my OAL photos in the next couple of weeks… a friend took them for me, and, well, all I’m going to say is that they are MUCH better than anything I could have tried to do haha!

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 :)

OAL: Inserting A Lapped Zipper

7 Jul

Good morning, everyone! Hope y’all had a nice weekend (holiday or not!). We are just coming up on the home stretch of our OAL – just a couple more steps left until we are finished and can start rocking our gorgeous dresses! Woohoo!

Today, we will be inserting zippers into our dresses. In this post, I will be covering the insertion of a lapped zipper, which is my preferred method for this style. I won’t be covering invisible zippers here, but I do have a tutorial on inserting an invisible zipper if you’d like to use one for your dress. I put an invisible zip in my second OAL dress (the one not featured in this post), using the same method as outlined in the tutorial, and it came out beautifully! So that’s an option if you need it :) Otherwise, let’s talk about the lapped zipper!

As I mentioned, I really love a good lapped zipper. I blame Gertie for sparking that obsession, btw. When I was working at Muna’s, she never understood why I preferred to use lapped zippers in most of my garments – she was of the camp that invisible zippers were more elegant. Maybe, I guess, but sometimes I like the design element of having the zipper be visible (or, at least, the stitching line of the zipper being visible). It’s definitely easier to match up seamlines and prints with a lapped zipper, since you can hand-baste into place and sew from the right side. Also, lapped zippers are a bit stronger than their invisible counterparts – which could be important if whatever you made is a little on the snug side. Of course, there’s a time and a place for everything – lapped and invisible zippers included – but for casual sundresses, I just love a beautiful lapped zipper.

Anyway, onto the zipper!

OAL - Lapped Zipper
Start by finishing the raw edges of the center back – from the bottom of the skirt all the way to the top of the bodice. I catch my facings in the serging (or whatever finishing you’ll be using) so I don’t have to tack them down later. Now is also a good time to check and make sure that both back seams are the same length and that the waist seam matches up, so you know everything will also match up when it’s time to put the zipper in.

OAL - Lapped Zipper
Start at the bottom of the skirt and sew up to the zipper stop, as indicated on the pattern. Backstitch a couple of times to make sure everything is secure, then press the seam open. Leave the unstitched part unpressed.

OAL - Lapped Zipper
Now make sure that zipper is the right length for your dress! If it’s a bit long (I have a metric shit load of 22″ zippers, so I forever have to shorten mine), you can easily shorten it. Just mark where the zipper stop needs to go, and sew across the teeth to create a zipper stop. If you are using a nylon zipper, you can do this by machine. For zippers with metal teeth, you’ll want to sew by hand. Once you’ve made your stop (and test it!), cut the teeth about an inch below. Presto: shortened zipper!
Also, just a side note – I always have people tell me that you can’t shorten a metal zipper. Well, I guess I’m some sort of magical sewing unicorn because I shorten pretty much ALL my metal zippers! Ha! The trick is to snip both sides of the tape as far to the teeth as you can, and then you can usually get the teeth to coax apart. Use a pair of crappy scissors in case you need some assistance. Alternately, you can sew the zipper with the excess coming off the top edge of your garment, and your facing/waistband/whatever intersecting seam can act as a zipper stop. But no, it’s not difficult (nor impossible) to shorten metal zippers.

OAL - Lapped Zipper
On the right side of the open seam (or left; however you want your lap to go. I like my lap to be on the left, though), press the seam allowance at 1/2″ to the wrong side of the bodice, all the way down to the stitching.

OAL - Lapped Zipper
On the left hand side, press the seam allowance at 5/8″ to the wrong side, again all the way down to the stitching.

OAL - Lapped Zipper
On the right hand side (or whatever side has the 1/2″ fold), pin your zipper with the teeth right along the edge of the fold. I start my zipper about 1/8″~ from the top of the fabric; but I also don’t use hooks and eyes with my lapped zippers (personal preference! I’ve found they’re not really necessary). If you are using a hook and eye, start your zipper a little lower. As far as the tape at the top of the zipper – you can just fold that under to the wrong side of the dress. If you don’t catch it with your stitching, you can tack it down by hand at the end.

OAL - Lapped Zipper
Now sew your zipper to the garment, about 1/8″ away from the fold. Use a zipper foot and/or move your needle to get close to the edge (but not so close that the zipper won’t function!). If you have trouble starting the stitching at the top of the zipper, pull both thread tails (the needle thread and the bottom thread) very gently while you press the pedal; this will keep the fabric from getting eaten by your feed dogs and making a big thread nest on the underside of your garment.

OAL - Lapped Zipper
Ok, that’s one side! Onto the next!

OAL - Lapped Zipper
OAL - Lapped Zipper
Now take the larger 5/8″ folded edge and place it on top of the zipper, with the fold meeting the stitching line you just sewed. Pin everything down, being careful to only catch the back of your garment – don’t pin all the way through the front! I just slide my hand around the inside to be sure, but you can also put a book inside the bodice and use that to keep from pinning all the way through. Once you’ve pinned the overlap down, check the zipper tape and make sure your pinning is even – it should be down the middle of the zipper tape. If it’s not, readjust.

OAL - Lapped Zipper
It can be helpful to hand baste the zipper tape into place before you use your sewing machine. This will keep the fabric from shifting around and gives you a very precise installation.

OAL - Lapped Zipper
One thing I like to do before I start sewing is to mark my stitching line (otherwise it can be kind of difficult to tell where you are stitching, since the zipper is closed and you can’t see the guidelines on the throat plate!). Go about 1/2″-5/8″ from the fold – this will depend on where you’ve pinned/basted your zipper tape – stick a pin through the marked line and check the wrong side of the tape to be sure it will catch and not be too close to the teeth. If you are sewing a zipper that still has the original zipper stop (aka, you didn’t shorten your zipper), it can be helpful to mark with a pin where the zipper stop is, just so you don’t accidentally sew over it and break your needle.

Now take the dress to the sewing machine and sew along your marked stitching line. Try to keep things as straight as possible, since this stitching is visible :) Keep the zip closed and be careful not to sew through the front of the drss. When you get to the bottom of the zipper (or a couple of stitches before your marked zipper stop), lower your needle, raise the presser foot, pivot, and sew across the bottom of the zipper (be very careful and VERY SLOW if you are sewing in a zipper with metal teeth!). Backstitch a couple of times to keep everything secure.

OAL - Lapped Zipper
OAL - Lapped Zipper
Remove your basting threads, wipe out any markings, and the give the zipper a final press. If you were unable to catch the top of the zipper tape in your first stitching, tack it down now by hand.

And that’s it! Zipper is done! :D As always, please let me know if you have any questions!

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….



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~!)

OAL: Attaching the Skirt

30 Jun

Good morning, OALgers! Today we are going to attach the skirts to our bodices – which means we’ll have semi-dress-looking things by the end of this post! Yay!

While this post is shorter, picture-wise, than the previous posts for this OAL (and thank God for that! The rest of the sewing from here on out is much easier), there are a few things I want to cover here:
– Moving the pockets from the front princess seam, to the side seam
– Converting the gathers to pleats
– A different way to sew gathers

Ready? Let’s start with moving those stupid pockets. Ideally, you’d do this before you cut your fabric out, but it’s really no biggie if you’re doing this right before you sew the pockets in (as I tend to do). Just make sure your marking tool doesn’t bleed through the pattern tissue, or consider removing your fabric from the pattern pieces just to be extra sure.

If you don’t want to move the pockets, that’s perfectly fine – you can skip this step. Just be warned that they are right down the front of the dress – in what I thought was a pretty awkward spot. I don’t know who had the brilliant idea to put the pockets there on this pattern, but as far as I’m concerned, pockets belong in side seams (or over a butt, which is another nice place to put a pocket I suppose), so that’s where I am moving mine to.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Start by locating your skirt pieces – the skirt front and skirt side front will have dots marked where the pockets should go. You’ll also want the skirt back piece, as we are going to move some markings over there. I X’d out the old pocket markings (the ones printed on the pattern), so I wouldn’t get confused as to which markings to use.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Starting with the skirt side front, measure from the top how far down the pocket marking is – about 3.5″ in this case.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Now move to the opposite side of the pattern piece (where there aren’t any pocket markings) and make a dot the same distance from the top.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Measure the distance between the two dots and mark the second dot as shown on the side seam.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Repeat for the skirt back, marking on the seam that is NOT indicated to be the center back. It’s also a good idea at this point to lay your pieces together so you can be sure the markings match up and your pockets are nice and even.

Ok, onto adding the pockets! These next steps are the same regardless of what seam your pockets are being inserted into…

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
If you’re using a machine to finish your edges, go ahead and do that now. Finish all the raw edges of each of side of each skirt piece, as well as all edges of each of the 4 pocket pieces. If you’re pinking, you can finish as you go.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Match the markings on the pocket to the markings on each of the 4 skirt pieces with right sides together, and pin. Sew the pocket in place (from top to bottom), using a 3/8″ seam allowance. The smaller seam allowance will help that pocket stay hidden to the inside of the skirt.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
You should have 4 skirt pieces with a pocket sewn on each one. Take the pieces to the ironing board and press all the seam allowances toward the pocket. If you want to understitch the pockets (I always do), you may do so now.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Now match up one skirt back piece with one skirt side front piece (or skirt front with skirt side front), right sides together, and pin the skirt seam above and below the pocket, as well as around the pocket itself. Excuse the cat tail :P

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Using a 5/8″ seam allowance, sew the skirt and pockets in one long swoop of stitching. Start at the top and sew until you get to the pocket markings.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Lower your needle, raise the presser foot, and pivot the fabric until you can continue to sew around the pocket. When you get to the second set of pocket markings, lower the needle and pivot again, then continue down the side seam of the skirt.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
You should have two skirt pieces that look like this.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
To press the pockets, start by clipping the seam allowance connecting the pocket to the skirt, as shown. Be careful not to snip your stitching lines!

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Now press the pocket toward the skirt side front (or skirt front), and press open the seam allowances that are above and below the pocket.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Sew the last skirt pieces (depending on where you pockets are, you will either be attaching the front or the skirt backs) and press all the seam allowances open. Your skirt should look like this.

For converting the gathers to soft pleats:
OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Pin the skirt to the bodice at all seams and notches (so bodice side seam to skirt side seam, etc).

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
You should have a good amount of excess between each pinned section.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Working in one section at a time, pinch the excess and manipulate it into small pleats, then pin into place. I like to start with one section and then immediately do the same section on the opposite side (so, center front right then center front left, etc), so I can be sure that my sections are mirrored with the same numbers of pleats that are facing in the same direction. For my dress, I had 1 pleat in the front section, 2 in the section between the side seam and the princess seam at the front, and 3 at the back skirt piece, with all pleats pointing to the center front.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Once you’ve pinned your pleats to your liking, baste the entire edge into place and double check from the outside that the pleats are even, mirrored, and facing in the same direction. Then stitch, finish the seam allowance, and press the seam toward the bodice.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
And done!

For gathering the skirt, read on!

Now, there are a few ways you can gather your skirt. You can do the standard long basting stitches that you pull to gather (using 1, 2, or 3 rows, depending on your preference) – which works perfectly fine, but I always find that my threads snap and that just drives me crazy. I’m going to show you another way to gather, which I find easier, more efficient, and works REALLY well if you’re dealing with a bulky or heavy fabric.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
You need a long string to gather with. I actually like to use thin crochet thread, but silk thread, button hole twist, really thin yarn – hell, even unflavored dental floss – will all work just as well. For this skirt, I’m using button hole twist because I’ve somehow managed to lose my crochet thread. Oh well. Anyway, cut a length that is a few inches longer than the width of your ungathered skirt.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
This next part probably won’t make a lot of sense, but just bear with me! Lay your thread on the right side of your fabric, a little less than your seam allowance (so for this skirt, 1/2″ from the edge). Set your sewing machine to do a wide zig-zag stitch and carefully sew over the thread, making sure the needle doesn’t actually puncture the thread – it should just zig zag across either side of the thread.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
It’ll look like this when you’re done.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Now, pin your skirt to your bodice, again matching up all seams and notches.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
OAL - Attaching the Skirt
There will be quite a bit of excess between each pinned section. To gather, just pull the thread you zig zagged over and distribute the gathers as you like. Twist the excess thread around a pin at each end of the skirt, to keep it in place so you can manipulate the gathers.
(I don’t know why this photo won’t show. You can see it if you click on it and go straight to Flickr. It’s just a picture of how to twist the thread around your pins.)

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
This is a MUCH easier way to gather than the standard basting stitch, as you’re much less likely to break your thread (and thus have to start over again). The best way I’ve found to do this is to pull the threads until the skirt is the same width as the bodice, twist the ends around a pin so the gathers stay in place, and then slide the skirt fabric around and redistribute the gathers until they are even across every section. Leave yourself at least 5/8″ wide ungathered sections of the skirt at the center back – it’ll make it easier to insert your zipper.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Once you’ve got the skirt the way you like it, sew into place at your 5/8″ seam allowance (you can baste first to check the outside, if you like). I sew mine with the gathers facing up, so I can keep an eye on them and make sure they’re not doing anything crazy while they’re being sewn.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
OAL - Attaching the Skirt
Once sewn, just give the gathering thread a nice pull and it should slip right out of the zig zag stitches – which means you can totally use it again :) Now finish the seam allowance and press it toward the bodice, being careful not to flatten the gathers.

OAL - Attaching the Skirt
And done! Yay!

Two more things-
– A few of y’all were asking if we were planning on opening a Flickr Group for you to share your OAL photos. While Andi & I weren’t intending on doing so – the Official Hangout Thread is on Ravelry – we realized that some of y’all might only be doing the sewing portion and/or don’t have a Ravelry account. SO. We’ve created the Official Unofficial OAL Flickr Page, which you can join and post to (photos or discussions) if you feel so inclined! Please keep in mind that this page is strictly for sharing/discussion purposes – i.e., anything solely posted here will not be included in the prize drawing (if you want prizes, you gotta post your finished outfit on the FO thread on Ravelry), but share away! We absolutely don’t want to leave anyone out :)
– Also, don’t forget to enter to win the Fashionary Sketchbook giveaway, if you haven’t already done so. Giveaway ends on Wednesday!

As always, let me know if you have any questions! :)


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