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?

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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.

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:

I+DON+T+GIVE+A+FUCK_b3dd59_3577430

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

V1416
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:
V1416back
If you don’t properly press your seams, you *will* end up with Vagina Butt.

V1417
Vogue 1417
Was 1373 leaving your arm in the cold? No worries, we’ve got that (and yer neck!) covered!

V1414
Vogue 1414
I was inclined to like this until I realized the top has a boob flap. Why, Vogue. Why.

V9035
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.

V9035
Like, look at that cuff. JUST LOOK AT IT.

V1410
Vogue 1410
Well, that just looks stupid.

V1407
Vogue 1407
This is actually REALLY cute and I can totally see Carolyn rocking the shit out of it.

V1408
Vogue 1408
Ack, I love this one too! It would look awesome with a contrasting fabric to really show off all those seam details.

V1409
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:

richard_nixon_fighting_a_saber_tooth_tiger_by_sharpwriter-d6bln06
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…

V1404
Vogue 1404
Hm, could be hit or miss.

BUT(t)…

V1404hem
The topstitched hem is pretty snazzy, amirite? High five, Vogue!

V1419
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.

V1406
Vogue 1406
Yo Vogue, your epileptic fabric choices mean I CAN’T SEE SHIT!

V9040
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.

V9038
Vogue 9038
I swear to God, this is LITERALLY a rectangle of fabric with a cutout down the middle.

V1413
Vogue 1413
No, Vogue, you can’t do that – that’s just cheating.

V9029
Vogue 9029
WAY too many ruffley/dangly options, but all in all – not half bad. I’d sew it!

V9036
Vogue 9036
Way to take a really cool pattern and make it look like a throwback to the embarrassing part of the early 90s.

V1411
Vogue 1411
Whaaaaaaat! These are awesome.

V9028
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!

V9031
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.)

V9037
Vogue 9037
I am convinced that they just rephotograph/redraw this every season and call it new.

V9024
Vogue 9024
Even the model can’t figure out where the other half of her peplum went.

V9021
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.

V9018
Vogue 9018
Not

V9020
Vogue 9020
Even

V9033
Vogue 9033
Trying

V9042
Vogue 9042
Can we discuss how utterly ADORABLE these little kids patterns are, though?

V9043
Vogue 9043
Like, holy shit, I think they almost brought my shriveled up ovaries back to life.

V9041
Vogue 9041
And, you know… in case you forgot where babies come from, Vogue is here to remind you.

V9044
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.

V9045
Vogue 9045
Lord, Vogue, haven’t we already discussed this?

V9045bridal
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?

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.

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