Completed: Silk Leopard Print Boylston Bra

5 Aug

Man, I am SO far behind in terms of what I made vs actually posting it. This is from 2 weeks ago. Ain’t mad about it!

Silk leopard print Boylston braThe pattern here is the Boylston bra, which is the newest pattern from Orange Lingerie. I think I mentioned this before, but I’ve been waiting for a hot minute for this pattern to debut – Norma showed me a photo of one of her samples when I met with her in Paris (man, that sounds so fancy! I wish I was that fancy irl haha) and I was super excited about the idea of making a bra with a woven fabric. Also, tiny prints. You need a tiny print so that it doesn’t get lost in these little pattern pieces. And isn’t everything tiny automatically twice the fun? Yes.

Another big selling point of this bra vs the Marlborough is that the Boylston has been designed to be made with foam cups (you can also make it without foam cups and just have a soft, lined bra, if that’s your jam!). At the time of my snooping, I wasn’t terribly interested in foam cups (I am now, though), but I loved the idea of a lined bra, again, made with a tiny print. Also, the balconette shape is new to me – I don’t think I’ve ever actually owned a bra with this silhouette because I’ve never found one that fit properly. So obviously it was time to try something new! Silk leopard print Boylston bra

Since I’ve already made the Marlborough bra a number of times (one two three, etc etc), and I was pretty comfortable with the fit, I compared the pieces of the two patterns together to see if there were any similarities. Both the bridge and the back band on the Boylston and the Marlborough are almost exactly the same. The cradle is also pretty similar. Obviously the cups and straps are different, but I felt pretty confident that I could cut my usual size in the Boylston and not have any weird surprises. So I made my bra up in a 30D, same size as the Marlborough was for me. I also applied my Marlborough back band changes to the Boylston pattern – I figured if the bands were drafted the same, then they would probably need the same LT-alterations (mostly shifting the curve so that the straps hit the right spot, and extending it to be slightly longer. Which means technically this band isn’t a 30, but, whatever. It fits me now, that’s all that matters). The cup wrinkles you see on the dressform aren’t there in real life; she’s just a slightly different size than I am.

Silk leopard print Boylston braI tried to wait & hang around to see if anyone else made this pattern before I dove in, so that I could steal their ideas without having to figure things out on my own. But, y’alls is too slow for me! I waited a couple agonizing weeks and said, fuck it. Cut that sucker up, stitched her together, new bra by the end of the day. Yay! Silk leopard print Boylston bra

I wanted to try something super duper fancy for this bra, so I made it out of silk! The outer is this leopard print silk charmeuse from Mood Fabrics, and it’s REALLY nice stuff! I used the shiny side facing out – normally, I prefer the matte side of silk, but the shiny side definitely looks more bra-like (and I’d guess will also wear better under clothing, since it’s ~slick~). For the cups, I did try out foam for the first time – and I’m a total convert. Bra foam RULES, you guys!! Making the little cups was really fun (and having little foam boobies floating around the sewing room is a total thrill, let me tell you) and they definitely make this bra look way more RTW than anything else I’ve ever made. I’ve hated foam bras for quite a while now – mostly because of that weird half-grapefruit shape that they all come in. My boobs definitely aren’t shaped like that, so they never fill out the bra correctly – there’s always a giant gape at the top half of the cup. What’s nice about this pattern is that the cup is seamed, so you get a more natural shape which in turn makes the foam cup fit better. I bought this foam from Sweet Cups Bra Supply (which is the US version of Bra Maker’s Supply – cheaper shipping, but the selection isn’t quite as extensive, wah) and I really like the way it feels, as well as how it sewed. One of those little foam pieces was plenty for this bra – I estimate that I have enough to cut at least 2 more bras, maybe 3. So it’s not terribly expensive, either.

While this bra pattern was designed to work with foam, the pattern isn’t actually drafted to be foam-friendly – you have to do that yourself (does that make sense? The stye works with foam, but the pattern needs a couple of tweaks for the best sewing results.). Part of my waiting around for someone else to make this pattern was that I could not figure out how to seam up the foam on the bra – wouldn’t the seam allowance be bulky? I did some lurking and found this make a foam cup bra series on Cloth Habit, which answered pretty much all of my foam questions. I retraced the cup pieces onto light plastic and removed the seam allowances, and followed Amy’s tips for sewing everything together and trimming down the foam within the seam allowances to reduce bulk. I’m really pleased with the results. I think this bra looks totally professional.

Silk leopard print Boylston braAs with my other bras, I used firm powernet for the back band and lined the bridge with the same powernet. All the elastics and notions are from my stash (mostly from the Garment District, but I buy my underwires from the aforementioned Sweet Cups because I love their wires! In fact, I love everything I’ve bought from that site. Their quality is the best!). Interestingly, I had *exactly* enough of all the elastics I used – nothing more, nothing less. Dunno how that happened, but I won’t argue with it! The cups are lined with the foam, and thanks to the elastic and underwire channeling, the only seam you see is the side seam that connects the bridge to the band. I serged that seam with a 3 thread overlock; next bra I make, I might experiment with binding it or even adding a lightweight boning. So many options! Silk leopard print Boylston bra

Silk leopard print Boylston braSilk leopard print Boylston bra

I worried about the straps getting stretched out of shape, since they’re silk and all (a double layer, but still). The edges are finished with elastic, though, so that helps them keep their shape. I’ve worn this bra a LOT since I finished it. I’m actually wearing it right now as I type this ;) hahaha!

Silk leopard print Boylston braThe only thing I will change for the next bra is that damn seam allowance at the top of the cups. Instead of following Amy’s advice and using 1/8″, I used the pattern’s 3/8″ and as a result, the foam is really bulky and there’s definitely a ridge at the top of my bra. Using a smaller seam allowance would have eliminated that. Oh well! Silk leopard print Boylston bra

Here are the foam cups. Aren’t they adorable! They are sewn up with a basic zigzag stitch, the pieces butted together with no overlap. I’ve seen some people cover their foam cup seams, or use a satin stitch to piece them together – but I like the basic ol’ zigzag. It’s strong enough, not very noticeable, and super quick!

Final thoughts – this is by far the prettiest, best-fitting bra I have ever made. I think the shape is really beautiful and modern, but not Victoria’s Secret’s idea of modern (no big half-grapefuit foam cups, PLS). I don’t have any photos of me wearing this one, sorryyyyy, but I’ll make an attempt for the next one (as of this writing, I have 2 cut and ready to be sewn, so it’s safe to say that there will be more of these in my life!). I LOVE that the pattern is made for non-stretch fabrics, and thanks to the foam cup – you could make this bra out of almost anything. Which has definitely got me thinking hard and lurking into the depths of my fabric stash! The fabric straps are pretty, and bonus – they use less elastic than normal elastic straps (so, again, yay for using scraps!). I also think the cup piecing could lend itself to some gnarly colorblocking. We’ll see! I also wonder if this pattern could be converted to a strapless? The shape is pretty similar to the RTW strapless that I own; except the cups have less coverage on this one.

As far as how easy the pattern was to make – well, I definitely did not make it any easier on myself thanks to my fabric choice! Silk charmeuse is hard enough to deal with on a good day, but we are talking about teensy little pattern pieces here. A couple were cut off-grain and had to be recut. I didn’t have too much of a problem assembling and topstitching, but I’ve also made a few bras at this point so I’m pretty confident in those skills. The only construction part that was hard was getting the elastic around the underarm and up the strap. That curve was difficult to navigate. I don’t think this is a hard pattern, per se, but I don’t know if I’d make it my first bra pattern. Definitely not in silk charmeuse with foam cups, at any rate. Maybe start with the Watson or the Marlborough first :) The instructions were good, pretty similar to the ones for the Marlborough. I did notice that Norma added grainlines to the pattern pieces, which indicate the stretch direction so cutting is easier. That was a MASSIVE help! I do wish there were more markings on the pieces themselves – mostly, top and bottom markings. I’m not really sure if my cups are upside-down or not, because there’s really no way to tell.

Tried a new bra pattern tonight! This is the Boylston from @orange_lingerie, sewn up in silk charmeuse with foam cups! Another nail-biter till the end (will it fit?? will it fit??), but I'm happy to report that it fits awesomely. Now to put foam cups in e

Ok, who else has bought this pattern and when are you gonna make it?! Guysss! I need to see more Boylston bras up in here, please and thank you!

OAL2015: The Winners!

3 Aug

Hey everyone! One more OAL post for this year :)


This was my second year co-hosting the OAL with Andi Satterlund, and I think it’s safe to say that we both had a most excellent time! There was a great turnout of participants (61 outfits in the official Ravelry thread!) and I really enjoyed following along with everyone’s progress and lurking all those beautiful finished outfits! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in – whether you made a whole outfit, just sewed or knit one piece, or watched and cheered along from the sidelines. Y’all are the best! ♥

While making an outfit is a pretty sweet deal in itself, Andi & I wanted to draw out the fun even more by offering prizes to 4 random winners who posted completed outfits in the thread. This year, we doubled up and have two sponsors who have generously donated prizes, so I’d like to take a minute and acknowledge them! The first sponsor is Indie Stitches, who you might remember also donated prizes last year. Based in Australia, Indie Stitches sells both paper patterns and downloads, and offers selections from a huge plethora of indie designers, all of which are super good! Our other sponsor is The McCall Pattern Company, who owns and manages 3 of the famous Big 4 pattern companies (McCall’s, Vogue and Butterick, as well as Kwik Sew). I absolutely adore the McCall Pattern Company, even when I’m poking fun at them (and adore them even more for being basically the best sports ever about it!), so I’m pretty thrilled to have them on as a sponsor for OAL2015!

Both Indie Stitches and The McCall Pattern Company have offered to donate one pattern to each of the 4 winners. The winners will also get two patterns of their choosing from the Untangling Knots shop. So you will get to keep on making outfits! Yay!

Now for the winners! These were pulled from the official Ravelry thread and drawn by random number generator.

Kari // Vianne cardigan + Carolina Mae dress

Can you believe that this is Kari’s second sewing project?? That dress fits beautifully and I just love the fabric! Also loving the idea of a black Vianne – that’s definitely a sweater you can wear with anything :)

Ann Marie // Vianne cardigan + self-drafted dress

I love the colors in Ann Marie’s outfit! That orange Vianne is especially beautiful with all the subtle color gradation. The addition of a waistband on the dress is a really nice touch!

Angela // Myrna cardigan + V8726

Another first-timer here – this is Angela’s first cardigan! I think it turned out awesome and, again, love that orange! The colors of her cardigan & dress remind me of sherbert :) Yum!

Jeri // Cancun Lacy Box top + Angie dress

Love everything about Jeri’s outfit, but ESPECIALLY that little lacy top! Ahh!! I never realized how much I needed a lace-knit crop top until right this second. It looks great on Jeri, both with and without the dress. The whole outfit looks so cool and comfortable, perfect for summer!

Congratulations, OAL winners! Expect some emails to get those prizes out :) I’m so happy to wrap up another successful OAL, and even happier to have a few new knitting and sewing patterns to add to my never-ending queue! Starting with that lace crop top. haha!

Thanks again to everyone who participated! Thanks to Andi for hosting along with me this second year, and big thanks to our sponsors Indie Stitches & The McCall Pattern Company for the great prizes! If you’d like to see more OAL garments, check out the official Ravelry thread, as well as the hashtag #OAL2015 on Twitter & Instagram :)

Completed: OAL2015 (M6887 dress + Vianne sweater)

31 Jul

MY GOD, you guys. I am so happy I got this finished in time for the OAL deadline! I’ve had the dress finished for a couple of weeks now, but I worried about that sweater as the time drew closer! I ended up needing to take a couple marathon days in order to finish, but I did finish! And now I’ve got an outfit to show y’all!

OAL2015 - M6887I’ll start with the dress. Again, this is McCall’s 6887, which I used cotton ikat fabric from Mood Fabrics to make it up with (this isn’t a Mood Fabrics allowances fabric; I bought this on my own dime while I was in NY last year). I used the version with the back cut-out, as well as the cap sleeves, omitted the lining in favor of bias facing, and added pockets. I’m not going to go into detail about the construction, since there’s a whole series of blog posts on the making of this dress! You can see them all here:

We are just gonna look at pictures instead. Btw, I walked through a lot of spiderwebs to take these. Appreciate me, dammit. OAL2015 - M6887

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OAL2015 - M6887Now for the sweater part! OAL2015 - Vianne

Vianne is a sweet little top-down cardigan with lace details and a open mesh back. It’s supposed to be knitted up in DK weight yarn, but I used Cascade 220 worsted weight and was able to get gauge using size 6 needles. I knit the size XS, and the only modification I made to the pattern was to knit full-length sleeves. As in, I followed the sleeve directions and just kept knitting/decreasing until they were long enough. I’ve found that I don’t have much need for 3/4 sleeves – if I’m cold enough to wear a sweater, I am cold enough to need the full sleeve – so I went with long sleeves. I did keep the mesh back, though. The mesh back is awesome. I found the mesh+lace a little confusing to follow, so I used a bunch of stitch markers to stay on track and that helped a lot.

While I normally finish my buttonbands with a strip of petersham ribbon for stability, I did not do that with this cardigan. Vianne is a looser fit on me, and the button bands are so wide that they don’t really stretch when they are buttoned. So I left off the petersham and just sewed the buttons directly on the ribbing. One thing I will say about using a stabilizer with your button band – it makes sewing on the buttons a helluva a lot easier! Oh well! Anyway, the buttons are vintage glass from my stash – I’ve had them for YEARS and been hoarding them for a special project, which I’m happy to have finally found! I only had 4 buttons, so I left off one of the button holes. And by “left off,” I mean I originally knit it and then later closed it up with a slipstitch haha.

OAL2015 - VianneOAL2015 - Vianne

OAL2015 - VianneOAL2015 - Vianne

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OAL2015 - VianneOAL2015 - Vianne

OAL2015 - VianneAs with all of Andi’s patterns, I REALLY enjoyed knitting this sweater! The yarn was so nice to work with (after a long Cascade 220 hiatus, I’m happy to be home! And I’m really happy to find a local source that is still selling it – Ewe & Company, who happen to be located here in Kingston Springs! What are the odds?) and the color is my favorite. The only thing I didn’t like was feeling rushed at the end, but that’s my own damn fault for not pacing myself earlier during the OAL. I’m glad I got it finished in time, at any rate!

As a side note, wrangling the last sleeve of the sweater got me really wanting to start doing seamed knitting. I’ve always been a fan of in-the-round, because it’s so easy, but I’m starting to feel a little comfortable and I’m kind of craving a bit of a challenge. It would be fun to learn how to properly seam a sweater. Not to mention all the pattern possibilities that open up when you’re not hung up on just one particular construction style!OAL2015 - M6887

Anyway, that’s it! Here is Vianne on Ravelry (spoiler: not any more info than what you see here!). Don’t forget to post your finished outfit in the OAL 2015 FO Thread on Ravelry for a chance to win prizes! We have prize donations from Indie Stitches and The McCall Pattern Company, as well as from Andi Satterlund herself (winner’s choice with all of these, so you won’t get stuck with something you don’t want!), and there will be 4 winners. Also, if you have blog posts to share with your FO, post them here so I can see! I need to get my lurk on ;)

Time For A Sewing Room Tour!

29 Jul

Finally, a tour of my new sewing room! This post has been a long time coming – honestly, this room has been set-up and fully functional since the first couple of weeks after we moved (because I have priorities), but I’ve put off sharing the big reveal until I felt that the room was “finished.” As always, I’ve realized that this room will never really be finished – I still want to hang some more lights, make a new ironing board cover, get a couple more rugs, etc etc – but it’s as finished as it’ll be for now. And now it’s time to share!

Soooo – welcome to my new sewing room, the Kingston Springs edition!

Sewing RoomThis room is funny shape, so getting photos was a little difficult. It’s basically an L shape – there are two little nooks off each end, and the corridor between is wide enough so that you can shove furniture against the wall and still be able to walk through. Here I have drawn you a shitty not-to-scale diagram to give you an idea of the layout. I used Comic Sans as my font choice to make it extra obnoxious. sewing room layout So, as you can see – two nooks with a bit of a walkway. The hallway going off the photo leads to our bedroom and bathroom, and the diagonal line off to the side of the cutting area is a doorway leading to our private living room/Landon’s office. The rectangles are windows and doors – one window in each the sewing and cutting nook, and the door is to the side of the desk. Our apartment is in the basement of the house, so the stairs lead up to the main floor. I’ll admit that when Morgan asked if I wanted to move into her BASEMENT, I was like, “lol no fucking way I ain’t your kid.” But, forreal, this is a pretty happy basement – it has windows and a door that leads outside, so it gets a good amount of light. Although it was a little scary when I first saw it, and it definitely took some TLC to get it to the point that it is now. The room is quite smaller than it looks – my rough measurements put it around 130 square feet. My old sewing room was about 200 square feet, so there was some downsizing and furniture Tetris in order to get everything to fit. It was a little brain-bending at times, but I think it turned out pretty awesome!

Before we moved in, we had to fix the basement up a little. We were really lucky that Morgan moved into the house a few weeks before we did, so we could do this at our leisure (and not live in the middle of a construction zone). The basement is finished and was fully carpeted. We tore out the carpet in the sewing room area – it was completely soaked with cat urine and was beyond saving. The carpet in the bedroom and living room, as well as the stairs, was ok, so that’s still there. Since the unfinished concrete floors were pretty beat-up looking (although thankfully not stained with pee odor! THANK GOD FOR THAT) and nobody wanted to invest in flooring right now, we simply stained them with.. um, some shit from the hardware store haha. We also installed the screen door outside; eventually I’d like to replace the door with one that has a window, but I ain’t got the budget for that now.

I painted the majority of the room by myself – the color is “Aquatic Mist” by Valspar, and the insides of the windows is some color called “Blanket” (I don’t recall the brand, but I will fully admit that I bought the color based solely on the name alone. Who names a paint color Blanket?? Michael Jackson?). Well, majority except for the long hallway leading to the back half – that stayed unpainted for like 2 months, because I wanted Landon to help me with rolling and we kept putting it off. He actually painted it for me as a surprise while I was in Peru, which might very well be the best welcome home gift I’ve ever been recipient of. Ok, I think I’ve talked enough! I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story :) Sewing Room

Starting with general layout photos – here’s the desk area.

Sewing RoomThe hallway leading to the back of our living area. And that giant wall that Landon painted! Sewing Room

The top photo in this post is the sewing area – here’s a view of the wall behind the machines. That tiny nook under the stairs ended up being exactly the right size to fit my pattern cabinet.

Sewing RoomThe opposite nook is the cutting and pressing area, as well as my fabric stash along the wall. Sewing Room

The ironing station. I REALLY wish I’d been able to find a way to keep the ironing board closer to the sewing machines, but the room layout just wouldn’t work around it (and I wanted to keep my desk in the center of the room). It’s not so bad to walk to the ironing board, I guess – I tell myself that a little exercise won’t kill me haha.

Sewing RoomMore of the cutting area. Sewing Room

Standing behind the cutting table, looking back toward the desk.

Detail shots:

Sewing RoomThese bookshelves are below the wall shelves in the cutting area – I keep my collection of sewing books here, as well as my yarn stash (it’s ALL in that basket! I can’t keep my fabric stash under control, but I’ve managed ok with my yarn stash!) and embroidery supplies (in the 70s floral filing box). The blue metal basket up top is where I keep my lingerie sewing queue, and the wooden FL box is my regular sewing queue. I’ve found it’s easier for me to do all my cutting at once for a few projects, and then I can work through the bundles without having to stop and cut another project. Sewing Room

Over the bookshelf are these two wall shelves that I hung ALL BY MYSELF (like a boss). I wouldn’t normally get all riled up over hanging a wall shelf, however, these were heavy AF and I somehow even managed to get them level idk. Anyway, the boxes are for small notions/tools that I have masses of – mostly lingerie supplies and zippers. I haven’t filled all the boxes quite yet, but I figure that’ll happen in due time haha.

Oh, and the plants on top are fake. Obviously. They are the only fake plants in this room, though… for now.

Sewing RoomI love this pattern so much, I hung it in a frame so I could admire it all the time :) Sewing Room

The wall at one end of my cutting table is where I have my cork boards and tools. One board is for general inspiration/love notes – just things that make me happy. The other board is my project board – I’ve found by having a visual running list with swatches and sketches out where I can actually see it (i.e., not in a book or lurking on the internet), I can more easily keep track of my make list. Sometimes I forget what patterns or fabric I have in my gigantic stashes, and this is really helpful!

Sewing RoomHere’s the other end of the cutting table, and one of two windows! That plant is totally alive and not fake, btw. Sewing Room

This is the view from the window. Ahh! We are totally ground-level and I look straight into the woods. Amelia loves to sit in this window and watch the birds, and sometimes Turtle (the beagle) will come sniffing around when she’s outside and it always freaks Amelia out because they are eye-level haha.

Sewing RoomA little more about the cutting table! I built this myself (well – I use the term “built” loosely; it’s IKEA furniture that I screwed together haha) and it’s pretty awesome! I used two Kallax shelves and a Linnmon table top (there is a whole list of links at the bottom of the post for the specific products I used), and 4 sets of Kallax casters to raise it to counter height/make it moveable. One end, I installed 2 drawers on top, and bought 2 little fabric boxes for extra storage (if you were wondering – one box holds swimsuit fabric, and the other holds a mass of vintage zippers still in their packages – too big for the cardboard boxes on the shelves). I also installed a rod to hold my scissor collection on S hooks. They do sit in front of the drawers, but it’s easy to slide them out of the way when I need to access the drawers (which isn’t terribly often). Due to the width of the rod where it screws in, I could only install it on that side.

Those of y’all who have seen previous sewing rooms of mine (we’re on #6 as of this writing… I’m a dedicated woman for sure. I also live in an area with a low cost of living. Yay!) will recall that I had a Norden Gateleg table as my old cutting table. It was ok for a cutting table – I liked the size and that it folded down to be very narrow. However, the height was always bad for me, even when raised on blocks (and, again, I’m 5’2″, so I don’t have extra height to deal with here). I also hated that I couldn’t fit anything under the table due to how the legs were arranged to raise the leaves. And the drawers were a funny shape that I never found useful. I like this table a lot better – it’s pretty much countertop-height with the casters, and I have lots of storage options with the shelves/drawers/boxes. Plus, if I ever give up on sewing (lol no), I can always disassemble it and use the pieces individually on their own. Or sell it – Nashville doesn’t have an IKEA (we have to drive 4 hours to Atlanta), so people here seem to think that shit is made of gold and will pay top dollar for it haha. Which is exactly what I did with the Norden. Bye, Felica!Sewing Room

The inner side of the cutting table has more storage boxes – silk scraps, leather scraps, craft supplies, knit swatches, and my dye pot.

Sewing RoomThis little cart fits perfectly under the table as well. I keep a bunch of weird stuff here – cutting and marking tools, pressing supplies, extra pincushions, my hammer and a spray bottle. Sewing Room

The ironing station is right next to the cutting table. My iron is a silver star ES-300, which is a gravity feed iron and it’s AWESOME. The one thing that seems to scare people the most about using a gravity feed (other than the sheer steam power behind it) is that it doesn’t have an auto shut-off, and they are afraid they’ll accidentally leave it on and burn the house down. I solved this issue by plugging my iron into a power strip that also has paper lantern lights running from it – so if the strip is on, the lights are also on (and, thus, the iron is on). It’s pretty easy to tell if the iron is on that way! That overflowing box of fabric houses all my scraps from cutting. I try to find homes for that shit as quickly as possible because the pile can quickly get overwhelming otherwise.

Sewing RoomNext to the ironing board is my fabric stash – organized somewhat by type/color (jerseys/knits on one side, wovens on the other). I installed little cabinet doors on the bottom, to hide unsightly stash (fabric scraps and linings) and boxes for the unfoldables (interfacings and lingerie fabrics). The roll of paper on top is super handy for pattern tracing or if I just want to make a giant doodle of something. As far as *how* I stash my fabric – I used to fold, but now I roll. Folding looks really pretty, but I could never seem to keep it neat (mostly because my attitude went somewhere along the lines of “ah, fuck it.”). Now I roll my fabric and just stack it in the little cubes. It much easier to keep everything organized this way!

As you can probably tell, this area is also Cat Central. Amelia likes to hang here – on the rug, in front of the screen, all up in my silks – so I keep her scratching pad here, and there’s always at least one toy lurking around.Sewing Room

I like having my desk in the middle of the room, so I can easily hear music/videos while I’m working. It’s also close to the door (which is open 99% of the time, bc fresh air lol yay). I work from home a couple days a week, so it was important for me to have a nice workspace to sit at. I also hung those shelves above the desk, also by myself. I really love shelving. And boxes, for that matter.

Sewing RoomTo the left of the desk is the sewing area. This is where I keep my machines, patterns, and a bunch of notions. Sewing Room

And here’s the view out of that window, in case you were curious :)

Sewing RoomOn one table, I keep both of my standard sewing machines – I have a Bernina 350PE and a Pfaff 7570. The Bernina is my main machine, but it’s really nice having 2 when you are working on a project that requires a lot of thread changes (such as jeans). For those, I use the Pfaff for construction and the Bernina for topstitching. Above the machines are buttons, notions, and thread racks. Sewing Room

More thread racks, plus my favorite sewing room art :D

Sewing RoomThe dedicated serger table has additional storage, which is handy. My serger is a Babylock Imagine, FYI. Sewing Room

Behind the sewing machines, in the weird little nook under the stairwell, is where I keep my pattern stash. On top of the cabinet, I have storage for trims and elastics, plus a running queue of the patterns I want to make next (before I cut them and put them in the cut queue box by the cutting tables. Man! All these systems!). That bag hanging on the lemon hook is my knitting bag.

Taking photos of my sewing room is hard because it's such a funny shape! Here's a shitty panoramic to give you an idea of what I'm working with.

Finally, here’s an Instagram panorama of the room!

Most of the stuff in this room is either thrifted or from IKEA. I’ve tried to compile everything here, but feel free to ask if you are curious as to where I got something! If it’s not on the list, chances are I bought it used (like from the thrift store or flea market). Like I said, I’ve had an on-going sewing room in every house I’ve lived in for nearly the past 10 years, so I’ve had a LOT of time to collect stuff and learn what works best for my set-up and organizational needs. Oh, and one more thing, because I’m always asked this – yes, it does always stay this clean! “Messy” for me is if there is a project on the cutting table. I never lets piles accumulate and I’m pretty good about putting stuff away when I’m done with it. I can’t stand to work in a messy room, plus, this area is the walk-through to get to the rest of our basement suite, so I have to be mindful of that for Landon’s sake.

Wall paint color: Aquatic Mist by Valspar

Sewing nook
Serger table: thrifted + painted
Sewing machine table: family hand-me-down + painted
Pattern cabinet: thrifted + painted (for info on the boxes inside the cabinet, check out this post!)
DMC thread organizer: thrifted
Thread racks: given to me by Elizabeth, but here are some similars on Amazon- thread rack + serger thread rack
Turquoise hanging shelf: thrifted + painted
Chairs: thrifted
Sewing room art: Joanna Baker, via Madalynne giveaway
“I’ve Made A Huge Mistake” chalkboard sign: Custom made by Kaelah
Rug: Old Time Pottery

Desk area
Desk: Nashville flea market
Chair: Nashville flea market
Ceiling light: KNAPPA
Mesh drawer unit: LENNART
Rail/basket (above desk): BYGEL RAIL + BYGEL BASKET
Dressform: Professional female dressform with collapsible shoulders (also: full review here!)
Rug: Nashville flea market
Sewing machine print: Madalynne
Kitty Cat clock: gift from Landon

Fabric // Cutting area
Fabric shelf: KALLAX with 2 doors
Industrial paper roll: Given to me when my old job (advertising) was downsizing and clearing out the art room!
Paper lanterns: IKEA, like 10+ years ago
Rug: Nashville flea market
Bookshelf: thrifted
Cutting table: 2 KALLAX shelves + LINNMON tabletop + 2 KALLAX drawers + 4 KALLAX casters. Scissor rail is BYGEL RAIL + s-hooks
Tool baskets (under the corkboards): BYGEL RAIL + BYGEL container
Turquoise utility cart: RÅSKOG
Yellow storage boxes: DRÖNA
Large white storage boxes: IKEA, discontinued (these are similar)
Small white storage boxes: IKEA, discontinued (these are similar)
Fake plants: FEJKA

Ok, I think that’s it! Let me know if you have any questions :)

Completed: McCall’s 6952

27 Jul

I think this summer will forever be known as the Summer of the Silk Sundress, well, for me, anyway. That seems to be all I want to sew/wear – not that I’m complaining!

McCall's 6952So, here’s my newest addition to the closet – McCall’s 6952. I think this pattern is actually from last year, but I only just discovered it this year. As far as dress patterns go, it’s pretty basic – wide shoulder straps (aka BRA FRIENDLY STRAPS), princess seams, and an elastic waist. The dress doesn’t even require a zipper; you can just slip it over your head. And I don’t know what is with me and elastic waists lately, but it’s basically all I want to wear these days. I’m not pregnant or anything. I’m just constantly in search of comfort haha. McCall's 6952

Simple is good, though, if you want a nice plain backdrop for showing off amazing fabrics. Or not even cool printed amazing fabrics – sometimes a luxe silk in an incredible color is amazing enough, you know?

McCall's 6952McCall's 6952

The silk I used here is another fabric gift that I’ve been too terrified to actually use. Sunni sent it to me last year in a big grab box of fabrics – any of y’all who lurk her blog or perused her store (which I’m really bummed to hear about it’s closing!) know that woman has got some taste when it comes to fabric. I believe this silk crepe was actually dyed by her, even. Of course. And she sent me like 4 yards (or something generous like that) and here I’ve been too skeered to actually use it.

McCall's 6952This pattern seemed like a good place to start. The dress isn’t super close-fitting, so I didn’t have to worry about fitting issues (other than the length of the straps, which were surprisingly almost perfect for me). I originally noticed the pattern because I really like view A – with the plain front and cut-out back – but I decided to make view B for this dress – with the cool little ruffled boobie flounce. My boobs need all the help they can get, y’all. McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952Construction-wise, I didn’t follow the instructions at all. The instructions have you line the dress, but I like wearing as few layers as possible when it comes to summer heat. So I just finished the neckline and arm holes with self bias binding (jeez, I sound like a broken record. I should rename this The Summer of Self Bias Binding haha). All hems are rolled by machine, and the inside is entirely finished with French seams. The elastic casing is a strip of bias binding, with the elastic threaded through. McCall's 6952

And I totally prewashed/dried this silk in the machine so this is some shit that will never see the dry-cleaners. Machine washed silk FTW!

McCall's 6952McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952Fit-wise, I only needed a couple very minor adjustments (minor enough where I was able to fit them as I sewed). The shoulders were almost perfect, but I did raise them by about 1/4″. I also ended up taking about 2″ off the hem, as I think the shorter length is a bit more flattering on me. McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952I am thinking this will be a good pattern match for the cool fabric that I bought in Peru. The plain version with the cut-out back, I mean. Right?? I better do it before I change my damn mind again haha. McCall's 6952

Completed: Hand-Dyed Blue Silk Vogue 1395

24 Jul

Ahh, Vogue 1395. First, I made you up in cherries, and it was good. Then, I modified the shit out of you and made you up in silk plaid gingham, and it was good. And now, we’ve come full circle back to square one. And that’s good, too.

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkSometimes, ya just gotta stick with the ol’ TNT’d version, amirite? Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

I am also realizing that I took way too many pictures for a dress that will essentially warrant the same post as the cherry original, but, you know, whatever. My blog, my rules. I was having a good hair day that day. And my back yard looks BEYOND gorgeous. I will never tire of all that green!

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Speaking of gorgeous- how about that hand-dyed silk that I used? I can’t take any credit for it (other than the actual sewing of the garment) – it was given to me by Elizabeth after a big studio clean-out. She made me an entire grab bag, full of mostly silks – some stamped, some natural, some dyed (in both solid colors and what you see here), and all of them amazing. I think a lot of this was leftover from discontinued collections, but some of it was from her personal stash. Needless to say, this is a woman with fabulous taste in fabric and I was really happy with everything she gave me. I also spent WAY too long agonizing over what to make with it! It was so special and I was afraid to cut into it only to later regret using it in case I later ended up having better idea.

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkThis piece of hand-dyed silk crepe was probably my favorite. It’s so thick and lush and it has an amazing drape. I love the soft colors so much. Pairing it up with V1395 seemed like the best idea – a pattern that I already know fits and sews up well, that I know I love to wear. I actually made this way before I even left for Peru – so, it’s been in my closet for more than a month at this point. ha. Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkI can’t think of anything else to say about the pattern that I haven’t already gone over in my previous posts. The giant arm hole issue has now, thankfully, been fixed, although the neckline is strangely a bit wider than it is in the cherry version (probably due to fabric choice – this crepe is a heavier than the silk cherries). I didn’t follow much in order of construction – this is made with French seams and machine-rolled hems, both of which were a lot easier than what the pattern directions were asking me to do. I also used my own method for applying the binding, again instead of following the directions. The finishing on this dress is definitely an improvement over the last dress.Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Here, you can see both the arm hole and how the dress looks untied. As well as what I guess is now my superhero pose. Damn, that arm hole still looks low. It’s ok, though, because the overwrap covers it when it’s tied.

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

I love all the little details on this dress… especially the elastic waist. Totally buffet-friendly! :)

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

The skirt in this pattern is lined, and while I tried to get away with not lining it – I realized that the silk is pretty freaking see-through. It’s not so bad on the top, because of the overlay, but the skirt was pushing being almost sheer. For these sorts of linings, I prefer to use china silk, as it’s really thin and lightweight. Of course, I had NONE of that on hand and I didn’t feel like ordering any, so the lining I used is just white silk crepe. It makes the skirt a bit thicker and heavier than I’d prefer, but at least it’s not see-through!

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

I always have a hard time cutting into fabric that is given to me – sometimes it takes me YEARS to actually settle on a pattern. I’m always paranoid that I’ll have an even better idea later down the line, and be pissed at myself for already using the fabric. But that’s kind of a crappy way of looking at things – I mean, it’s not like the fabric is doing me any good just sitting on the shelf, you know? So it feels good to get past that and actually use some of the gorgeous stuff that’s been given to me!

With that being said – I have a few more pieces that I finally cut & sewed that were also on the “too nice to actually use for something” list, so watch this space for those! Who else has dream fabric that they’re afraid to cut into? Maybe we should start a support group!

Completed: McCall’s 7119

22 Jul

Allow me to introduce you to my ridiculous summer sundress for 2015.

McCall's 7119I guess it’s not really that ridiculous, but it feels a little over-the-top (for me, that’s a good thing haha). This is totally the time of year for getting away with this sort of loud dressing, but I haven’t really taken advantage of it until now! McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119I used McCall’s 7119 to make this, which was originally sent to me by the McCall Pattern Company (contrary to popular belief, I usually buy my Big 4 patterns because I live in the mystical land of $1 Joann sales, but I’ll take free, too haha). I really love the photo on the envelope and was dying to make my own. I was not, however, dying to plunk down $$ for the 3 yards of fabric necessary to make this sucker up. Damn wrap dresses and long maxi-lengths! As if! McCall's 7119

Anyway, I noticed that this blue cotton poplin paisley went on massive sale at Mood Fabrics for all of $4.99 a yard, and I realized that it was perfect – both in weight and cost – for the dress I was wanting to make. I’ve never been a huge fan of paisley – I’ve made a couple garments in the past with beautiful pieces of paisley fabric, yes (and I have a couple more pieces in my stash as of this writing), but for the most part, I’ve always considered it to be kind of an ugly print. Mostly because it reminds me of the horrible ties that my dad used to work to work in the early 90s haha. Sorry, dad! This paisley, though, is definitely much prettier (or that could be the $5 price tag talking to me, I dunno!). I think it’s due to the monochromatic color scheme, which tones down the tack and lets you focus on the pretty design. Or, again, could be that $5 price tag. Whatever.

McCall's 7119Despite this fabric being inexpensive, it’s not cheap. It has a really nice hand and drape, the colors are beautiful and saturated, and it’s opaque enough to not warrant a lining. The right and wrong side are almost identical, which is good for this sort of dress – as you can see the wrong side through the back hem dip. The fabric cut & sewed like a dream, and it is fairly good at resisting wrinkling (see: these photos after a day of wearing). It also feels reeeeeal nice in this heat, a bonus! McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119The pattern was easy enough to make up – I finished it over a long marathon sewing weekend. I started with a size 6 at the bust and an 8 at the waist/hip, based on the finished measurements. I did make a quick little muslin mock-up of just the bodice, to see how the fit was before I cut into my fabric. The bodice fit well enough, except that the center front gaped like crazy! Surprisingly, the easiest fix was also the most efficient fix – I raised the shoulders by 3/8″, and then took 1/4″ off the side seams starting at the underarm and tapering into the existing seamline below the bust dart. I do think the bust darts are a little high – I should have lowered them after raising the shoulders – but the fit is pretty nice as-is, and the print is busy enough to where you can’t see it. Also, I don’t know what the horizontal fold/wrinkle is doing over my boob. I think it’s from how I’m standing, because it’s normally not there. Except, of course, in these pictures, and it’s making my eye twitch. Argh!

The last fitting alteration I made was right at the end – where I took off a massive amount of skirt length. I don’t even know how much, because I kept chopping and chopping. I started with about 4″ off the pattern tissue itself – because the measurements on the back showed that the back dip would drag the floor on me (I’m 5’2″, so, yeah). Upon finishing the dress – well, apart from the hem and closing up the facings – I realized it was still waaaay too long and the whole thing – print+style combo – was totally overwhelming on me. I just kept cutting that hem, and curving into the front wrap (definitely don’t cut too much off the front wrap or you’ll end up with something very indecent!) until the length looked good. McCall's 7119

To sew this up, I used a brand new 70/10 Microtex needle and navy thread. The seams are all French seams – except where the hole is in the side seam (to feed the waist tie through), that one is just turned under and topstitched. I finished the neckline facing with tiny little invisible hand stitches, and the bottom hem is machine rolled. I think that’s it? Pretty straightforward pattern if you ask me!

McCall's 7119McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119I don’t know what possessed me to drag the dressform outside for these photos. I mean, they look really nice, but holy hell that thing is heavy! Never doing that again lolol McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119Here’s the inside – look where my fingers are pointing, you can see the hole for the waist tie. There is also a tiny snap right at the bust where the wrap crosses over, to prevent any northern wardrobe malfunctions. Due to the  wrap, a big gust of wind will definitely show some leg at the skirt. I’m ok with this, though. Legggsssssss. Also, see how similar the right and wrong side look? Because of my finishing, it’s actually hard to tell when the dress is inside-out! I have to look for the French seams :) haha! McCall's 7119

Overall, I enjoyed working with this pattern and I’m definitely not opposed to making it up again – although probably a different view, because this particular one is a little fancy for my daily use. I’d like to try the shorter, mullet-less skirt with some contrast on the facings. Maybe in a silk? Fancy without really being fancy, yeah?

Note: Every month, Mood Fabrics gives me an allowance to purchase fabric with, in exchange for writing a post on the Mood Sewing Network. This fabric was purchased with that allowance. The pattern was also given to me by the McCall Pattern Company. I like to think it’s because they love me, because I am forever an optimist :)


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