Tag Archives: completed

Completed: Fancy Silk Georgette + Brocade

2 Feb

Here’s something a little different than my normal meat-and-potatoes (mmm… meat and potatoes) sort of dressing – FANCY GARB. YAY!!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Also: SNOW! Like, holy shit it snowed soooo much last weekend! I had a nice snow-in for a few days (it’s true that Tennessee all but shuts down when the snow comes in – but, before you make fun: we don’t have snow tires, we don’t know how to drive in it, and the roads are not properly salted or cleared so they’re actually pretty dangerous. Also, come and deal with our 100* heat in August ffs. Ok, soapbox off haha), which was even better considering that I basically was in a Winter Wonderland. We ended up with a little over 6″ – y’all, I can’t even remember the last time I saw that much snow. Shit was crazy. Also, it all melted within like 3 days, and then the temps went back up to 65*. Yay I love Tennessee and it’s fickle weather haha.

Anyway, I wasn’t planning on taking snow pictures – it was obviously very very cold outside, and so bright that I could barely keep my eyes open (sorry in advance for all the squinty haha). But the indoor lighting was just terrible, so I took one for the team and tromped outside. You are welcome.

Ok, back to the real subject of this post!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I made these two pieces about a month apart, so I didn’t actually wear them together for NYE – although I definitely wanted to. Considering I didn’t start sewing for the party until a few days before the end of the year, I knew that shirt would not turn out nice if it was rushed. So I focused on the fancy skirt, and wore it with a fuzzy black sweater knit Renfrew (you can see a photo of the outfit on Instagram). It was the perfect New Year’s Eve outfit for my plans – reasonably warm, yet stylish, and had these big pockets so I could carry my phone, wallet and flask without worrying about a purse. Which, by the way, my phone ended up leaving my pocket at some point that night (I think it was more that it didn’t *make* it to the pocket, rather than leapt out on it’s own accord). Here’s the New Year’s Miracle, though – someone found it – in a pile of trash on Lower Broadway, apparently – and then returned it to me the next day. How awesome is that?! 2016, you’re off to a promising start! ♥

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

The metallic stretch brocade that I used for this skirt has been in my stash for a long time – over a year, at least (if not longer). I never knew what to do with it – it’s kind of thick, it has a really heavy stretch, and it’s pretty freaking fancy. I figured a pencil skirt or bodycon dress would be suitable, but I rarely wear stuff like that. When I was planning my NYE outfit, I decided to find a use for this stuff. I’ve been on a circle skirt kick lately, so that’s what I went with. I used my self-drafted circle skirt pattern (I used Casey’s circle skirt tutorial aaages ago, which I can’t seem to get a valid link to now :( There’s also the By Hand London circle skirt app, which does the maths for you!), pieced to include side seams and a center back seam. This was mainly due to fabric restrictions – I had only a yard of this fabric. It’s super wide, though, so I was just barely able to squeeze it out. I also knew I wanted an exposed zipper and side seam pockets, which mean seams were necessary. The waistband was cut so the greatest amount of stretch ran along the length; I stabilized it with a piece of stretch interfacing to retain that comfy-ass stretch. Yeah man, it’s comfy.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Sewing was easy, and relatively straightforward. My only complaints are that this fabric frays like a MOTHER, and it’s basically all polyester so it’s a nightmare to get a good press. For the fraying, I serged each seam separately to minimize the fuzz potential. For the pressing, I just used my super awesome, super hot gravity feed iron and then just held the seams in place with my clapper until they cooled. One thing I will note is that my iron has a shoe (basically a cover that acts as a press cloth), which keeps things from melting. If your iron does not have a shoe, you’ll want to use a press cloth on poly fabrics + high heat. Otherwise, melting will happen!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I thought an exposed metal zipper would look cool next to the fancy brocade, so I pulled a metal zip from my stash and used Megan Nielsen’s method to insert it (these are the same instructions that are included with the Brumby pattern, fyi). The pockets are silk crepe, also pulled from my stash. Nothing like using silk pockets to stow your whiskey amirite :)

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

This past month, I finally gathered up all my cojones and made the intended matching shirt. Remember when I made Butterick 5526 in silk Georgette? I want to hate that shirt so bad – it’s pretty poorly constructed, I mean, that fabric was EVIL – but every time I put it on, I can’t deny that I like the way it looks. I want more floaty button-ups in my closet. I figured enough time had passed to forget the trauma, and I tried again, this time with much more success.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

There are two major factors that contributed to the success of this version of B5526 in silk Georgette. First of all, I chose the fabric in-person, rather than blindly ordering online. Which means I don’t have a link for the exact fabric I used – I bought it at the Mood Fabrics in NYC when I was there in November. I have since ordered some swatches from the website, and it’s definitely not the same fabric as what I have here. Mine is more like a double Georgette – it’s much thicker, and less see-through (I’m not wearing anything under this top, except a bra. I think it’s a nude bra, but I’ve worn a black one underneath too and no one has noticed, HA!). That alone made a world of difference in handling the fabric. I also prewashed it in the washing machine/dryer (just a cold wash, ma’am!), which helped beef it up a little more. The second factor is that I used a spray stabilizer on my fabric before cutting or sewing. I’ve heard of people using a spray stabilizer – and allegedly, you can also soak your fabric in unflavored gelatin for the same effect, although I haven’t personally tried this yet – but I never cared to try it myself because I wanted to be able to tackle the fabric without any outside help. Also, a can of that shit is like $12, which is way too rich for my blood (says the girl who is currently looking at $45/yard silk faille lolwut). It just seemed silly and unnecessary. I always felt like using outside tools like that almost negated my skills as a seamstress, but you know what? That’s not true. It’s not any different than using a special presser foot to get good edgestitching. Whatever works… it just works. And that’s ok.

I am not going to go into too much talk about using spray stabilizer because this was my first experience with it – and I want to try it a few more times before I give it a big write-up (aka I don’t want to eat my words later haha). But I will say that it REALLY changed how the fabric handled, in a good way. Instead of it slipping around like butterfly wings, it held more like a silk organza. It made cutting things straight much more easy, and the shirt fits better as a result. I think my topstitching looks really good, and all those fiddly pieces weren’t quite as fiddly. Spray stabilizer isn’t going to turn your silk into quilting cotton – you still need some finesse with those fine layers – but it helps tremendously. It won’t work for anything that you can’t wash it out of – such as a coat lining (unless, I guess, you assembled the lining separately and then wash/dry it before putting it in the coat?) – but it’s perfect for this sort of project. These photos are post-washing, so it has the proper drape, fyi. I soaked it in the sink with some lingerie wash, hung it to dry, and then re-pressed. I have since worn the shirt and washed it in the normal wash, and it’s held up fine.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

All that being said, I don’t think there’s much else to say about the sewing of this shirt. I’ve made it like a dozen times at this point, so there’s nothing new for B5526. The shirt is constructed with French seams and I used a very lightweight interfacing to stabilize while retaining that beautiful drape. I added buttons and button tabs to the sleeves, so I can wear this shit into the warmer weather. Yay!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I finally go to use some of my fancy vintage glass buttons for this top – yay! I didn’t have quite enough, so I had to mix them. There are beautiful black/green/gold Art Deco buttons for the front placket and sleeve tabs, and then solid black faceted buttons for the cuffs and collar. The white buttons you see on the inside of the placket prevent gaping at the boobs (I can’t take credit for this tip – I got it from Emmie and Jane). Speaking of which, if I’m getting boob gape… that probably means I need to start doing a FBA to my pattern. Sigh. Or else just keep adding hidden buttons hahaha.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I think I’ve run out of things to talk about with this outfit, so I’ll wrap up. What’s your best tip for sewing the slinky? Have you tried spray stabilizer? Hey, how was your New Year’s Eve, anyway?

Note: Fabrics were purchased with my monthly allowance for the Mood Sewing Network. Also, there are affiliate links in this post FYI. Click at yo’ own risk.

Completed: The Agnes Dress

20 Jan

I’m still trying to catch up on my last projects from 2015! Although I’m glad I waited to post this one because:
1. I got new shoes and I think they look pretty awesome with this dress
2. Such a good hair day for these photos. As a result, there are extra pictures in this post. No apologies for that!

T&TB Agnes Dress

Anyway, let’s talk about the dress itself because that’s why y’all are here! I tried something newish for this project in terms of silhouette and I gotta say – I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! I don’t normally like the way gathered skirts look on me, and strong shoulders always make me feel like I’m wearing someone’s mom’s old clothes (not my mom, though, she’s a pretty sharp dresser hahah), but this dress does me good! I made it to wear during recently-ended holiday season – the thin jersey isn’t necessarily appropriate for cold weather, but we had a 70*F Christmas down here in Tennessee, so it suited me just fine at the end of 2015! Of course, now we’re in for the serious cold snap (you can’t tell in the pictures, but it was COLD outside when I took these! Like below freezing, eep), so I currently can’t wear it because it’s simply not warm enough!

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

To make this dress, I used the Agnes shirt pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. I love special and unique details on an otherwise plain knit tshirt, and this pattern is pretty good for that! I love the runching at the neckline and sleeves, and the shape is really fitted and flattering for me. I have made this top before (there’s not a full post – but I’m wearing it with my 70s denim skirt), so I had a good idea of how it was going to fit. My own complaint with the first version is that the armholes were too high on me, and thus a little uncomfortable. I lowered the armholes by about 1/2″, using my adjusted Renfrew tshirt pattern as a comparison. Size is right between a 1 & 2, which suits me pretty well for this pattern line.

Now, the pattern only gives you an option to make a top – and this is a dress, obviously. I confess that I didn’t even consider Dress Possibility until Tilly posted this tutorial for making an Agnes dress. SCORE. How cute does she look in those photos, btw?! Oh god I just realized our outfits are pretty similar hahahaha!

Anyway, it’s an easy change to turn this into a dress. Cut the pattern piece at the waistline (or where you want the waist to hit – I used my Lady Skater bodice as a guide, personally), sew up the shirt, and then add a gathered skirt (literally, a rectangle that is the width of your fabric + whatever length you want). I stabilized the shoulders and waistline with 1/4″ elastic, just so everything would stay in place and not stretch out (I learned the waistline elastic trick from the instructions in my Lady Skater pattern and it’s THE BEST. Keeps the skirt from pulling the bodice down with it’s weight and making things all saggy). Everything was pieced on my serger, and all the topstitching is done with a plain straight stitch. Easyyyyy. So fast! I finished in like 2 hours and actually wore the dress out that night :D

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

As I mentioned, I don’t really care for the way gathered skirts look on me – I think they add unnecessary bulk. But I do like the way this one mimics the gathers and fullness at the sleeves. I think the key is to use a fabric that is a lighter weight and has some drape. Then you get soft gathers, instead of big, weird bulk.

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

The fabric I used here is from Lillestoff. I’d never heard of this company before, but they are located in Germany and offer some really nice, high-quality organic cotton knits. They reached out to me several months ago and ended up sending me a few of their fabrics to try out. I can’t find this star print on the website anymore, but it’s pretty awesome. It’s a lighter weight without being sheer, and it has a good drape that looks fantastic with the gathers in this pattern. I was impressed with all the stuff I got – the colors are nice and saturated, and the fabrics are soooo soft. They wash well and have a good recovery when you wear them, so they tend to hold their shape. I also have a hoodie that I recently made with some of their French terry, gotta remember to get photos of that!

I originally earmarked this piece for another Lady Skater dress (linking because I’ve officially mentioned that pattern 3x in this post now hhahaha), but changed my mind to make something with a little more ~pizzazz~. Don’t get me wrong – I love me some LS, but sometimes a plain dress is a plain dress and sometimes you need those details! I guess that’s one downside to this particular dress – I can’t make a dozen of them without people noticing that I’m using the same pattern over and over again. Oh well I’ll probably do it anyway hahahahahah

T&TB Agnes Dress

If you can’t stop staring at that ONE long rogue hair, just know that I can’t either.

T&TB Agnes Dress

Detail shot – the neckline and sleeve runching is done with 1/4″ elastic, btw! You cut it to length, and zigzag it down while stretching it to the max. When it snaps back, you have lovely yet easy runching!

T&TB Agnes Dress

Ok, I think that’s enough talk about one dress. Here’s a picture of me being cold hahaha. Have you ever sewn with Lillestoff fabrics, and if so – what do you think about them? When I posted on Instagram, people were going NUTS. Apparently they have a pretty die-hard fan base :)

Note: The fabric for this dress was given to me by Lillestoff. And the pattern was given to me by Tilly! Free or not, all opinions are my own :)

Coral Lace Watson Bra (+ upcoming workshops!)

15 Jan

Coming back after a hiatus – even if it’s a mere 2 weeks – always feels a little awkward writing that first sentence. I have missed you guys, though! Thank you so much for all your thoughtful comments + general encouragement on my last post – I appreciate every single one of you! ♥

Before I bring in the fun underwear portion of this post, I want to address a few orders of business first. Promise I’ll be quick!

Peach Lace Watson Bra
But first, a bra to tempt you to stick around. Ooh la la! Enjoy that butt view in the mirror, too.

ONE I am having a difficult time contacting one of the winners from our Shutters & Shuttles giveaway in December, Shesewsswell. Both Allison & I have sent emails and we haven’t heard a peep back :( Neither of us are terribly keen on the idea of passing the prize on to someone else just yet (I would feel absolutely rotten if it turned out those emails went to a spam filter or something), but we will need to if we don’t get a response from the original winner. SO, Shesewsswell, pleaseeeee contact me at lladybirdlauren at gmail to claim your prize! There is a beautiful piece of handwoven, Nashville-made fabric waiting for you :) UPDATE: Found her! Yay! :D

TWO Upcoming workshops! First one is in March in Brooklyn, NY! I’ll be coming into town to teach the Weekend Pants Making Intensive at WORKROOM SOCIAL, which, if you’ve heard me talk about this class before – you know I’m pumped about it! This is a fun, 2 day class (3/19 & 3/20) at WORKROOM SOCIAL studios in Brooklyn, where we will cover all the basics of making a fine pair of pants – from basic fitting, to following the pattern, to all the little details that make pants look, well, like pants :) This is a really popular class and it always sells out pretty fast, so if you want a spot you better act fast! We also have an afternoon of fabric shopping in the Garment District the Friday before, for those who need some guidance with selecting their pants fabric – or just want to take advantage of a Garment District tour and all the discounts! All the info for the class + shopping trip are on the WORKROOM SOCIAL website, as well as where to sign up! If you want to learn more about the class from my perspective, here’s a post I wrote about the first one I did (wow, that was a long time ago!).

THREE Other workshop! In April, I’ll be in Portland, ME, to teach another open-sewing weekend at A Gathering of Stitches! I had SOOO much fun teaching this open workshop last year, and I’m super delighted to come back for a second round! The workshop is in Portland, ME, and starts Wednesday, April 13 for a pizza + booze get to know you night, then four days (4/14 – 4/17) of awesome fun sewing times! What I love most about this workshop is that it isn’t specific project-based – you get to pick whatever project you want to bring, and sew away in the beautiful shared space, use the cool equipment (like the gravity feed iron), and hang out and socialize with everyone else. And, of course, I’ll be on hand to provide assistance and ~expertise~, as well as comic relief and general cheerleading :) Whether you want to make a pair of jeans, tailor a coat, whip up a bra, get some help with fitting and making muslins, or just want to take a solo sewing hobby and make it social for a weekend – this is the class for you! Plus, Maine is SUPER beautiful (truth, if it weren’t for the winters, my southern ass would figure out a way to move there in a heartbeat. I already have my house picked out and everything haha) and full of such delicious food. For more info on the class, visit A Gathering of Stitches. Official registration isn’t live until February 8th at 12PM EST, fyi, but this gives some time to plan and save before worrying that it will sell out :) (it sold out last time. Actually, we oversold! Whoops! I loved all 11 of y’all though! ♥). If you want to read a brief write-up of my experience with the class last year, you can find that here.

Ok, that’s enough housekeeping! Onwards to the undies :D

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Actually, I don’t have too much to say about this project so I’ll keep this (relatively) short! This is another Watson Bra, which is a non-underwired soft bra pattern. Perfect for a first bra project, I think! The fabric + notions are a kit from Tailor Made Shop, which is one of my favorite sources for bra kits and supplies. Everything is sooo nice and the kits are just beautiful! The particular kit I used is for coral and light pink, which doesn’t appear to be available anymore, but this one is pretty similar. And this yellow one is awesome. Ok, enough, Lauren!

Peach Lace Watson Bra

I love the effect of the scalloped lace, and I wanted to use that to my advantage with this bra. This makes for some finicky cutting – not only do you have to be sure that you’re cutting the right edge along the scallops, but it’s also nice to mirror them so everything is balanced. Having made this pattern before with scalloped navy lace, I used that knowledge to make the coral lace. The elastics along the scallops are sewn flat and not turned back (such as what you’d do with a picot edged elastic), so the lace retains the scallops. Since the lace is pretty stretchy, I underlined the entire bra with the included powermesh. There was plenty of fabric in the kit for all this – I even have some left over :) I guess I could make some matching undies, but realistically, I probably won’t. I have realized that I don’t like sewing underwear. It’s just… meh.

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

For the pattern, I used my normal size 30D and made the version with the normal band (i.e., not the long-line). Sewing the bottom elastic was a little tricky since there’s not much real estate to work with there – I used the included picot that came with the kit, since it was narrower than the 1″ stuff I used on my navy lace version, and that helped a little. I had originally requested the kit with the 3 row hook and eye, thinking that I’d make a longline – but changed my mind and thus had to change the hook and eye. I noticed that RTW bras just zigzag along the top of the hook and eye, so that’s what I did with this one after I trimmed it down. Then I melted the edges with a lighter to really smooth them out (it’s poly, so it works). I don’t think you can even tell there was a surgery on that thing. Go me.

Fit-wise, this one is ok. It’s not nearly as awesome and supportive as the longline versions – which I had suspected would be the case, especially since there’s no underwire to bear the brunt of the support. If I tighten to the tightest hook, it does help some. I reckon this short style is just better suited for smaller cup sizes. If you’re rocking a D or larger (or maybe even a really full C), you probably want to stick with the longline so you can take advantage of that support. It really makes a difference!

This is mostly a bra for lounging around and being all fancy in-house, because it’s PRETTY comfy. And it’s really beautiful on! I think lace bras with scalloped edges are just beautiful regardless, but this one is a lovely shape and the colors are just fantastic. I really love that the kits have different colored elastics that all match the lace, and that the hardware (rings + sliders + hooks + eyes) are metal. Even the strap elastic is fancy. LOVE ALL OF IT.

Peach Lace Watson Bra

So anyway, there’s that. Happy first post of 2016! :D :D :D Who’s got bra making on their reSEWlution list this year (I am so sorry about that awful word haha)? Who’s coming to NY or Portland? Shesewsswell, where areeeee you? Let’s talk!

Note: the supplies (bra kit) for this project were given to me by the Tailor Made Shop. The Watson bra pattern, however, was purchased by me! And all gushing is 100% my opinion ;)

Completed: The American Flannel Archer

28 Dec

Another Archer for my winter wardrobe! Yay!

Flannel Archer shirt

I actually finished this shirt nearly 2 months ago, but here I am just now getting around to posting it. I’d apologize for the delay, but honestly, I’m not sorry. It is what it is. On the flip side, I’ve been able to wear it plenty since completion, so I can actually comment on the fit from the perspective of wearing it all day. On the other hand, I’ve already made a bunch of Archers so it’s not like this is some kind of breaking news in my personal pattern collection.

Flannel Archer shirt

Flannel Archer shirt

Since I’ve made this pattern multiple times (see: one two three… well damn, there’s another one somewhere but I can’t find it oh well), I’ll spare you the nitty gritty. Like my previous versions, I cut a size 0, sewed the side seams at 5/8″ and flat-felled all the seams for a nice clean finish on the inside. The buttons are just standard shirting buttons that I had in my stash, and I matched the plaid everywhere except on the back yoke and the pockets, which are cut on the bias. Oh, and I used the pocket piece from my Negroni pattern. It looks like it belongs on a western shirt, and I like that.

Flannel Archer shirt

I really love this fabric, but this particular shirt almost didn’t happen. See, back when I bought flannel from fabric.com for my Carolyn Pajamas, I added a few yards of this Robert Kaufman Mammoth Plaid flannel to my cart so I’d qualify for free shipping (because I just love saving money when it means I have to spend more money first :P). A few days after I placed the order, I received an email from Fabric.com saying that they didn’t have the 3 yards I requested, but they did have 3 cuts (totaling around 1.5-2 yards) of a smaller amount if I wanted that. I didn’t think I’d be able to cut a shirt – let alone plaid-match – out of that small of an amount, so I picked a different plaid from the site and asked them to just change my order. When I received my order processing notification, it said I was only getting 1 yard of the new flannel (not 3, like I’d asked for in the email). I had to call the company and sort things out, and while all this was happening – they completely sold out of my back-up flannel! Argh!! Obviously, that shit wasn’t in the cards for me. I told them to cancel the second cut of flannel and just send me the original piece that I needed to finish my pajamas (which they thankfully still had! Pretty sure I bought the last of it). I was refunded for the 3 yards that were out of stock and I got free shipping too. Cool!

And then they ended up giving me the off-cuts anyway, for free. Just threw them in the package where I was surprised (but also happy because, YAY FREE FABRIC) to find them hanging out with my actual order. That’s cool, I ain’t complaining.

Flannel Archer shirt

Flannel Archer shirt

Since I had the fabric, I decided to try my original plan and make that Archer. Like I said, had 3 cuts – one was a full yard, one was a half yard, and the last was a bit less than half a yard (I’m sorry I don’t remember the exact amounts, but it was a while ago and my order history on the site doesn’t reflect the freeb). It took some ninja cutting skills to cut everything so that the plaid lines matched, but I did manage for the most part. Cutting everything on the single layer helped immensely. That being said, I was still a tiny bit short on one of the fronts, so I ended up having to piece it and there is an extra seam. It’s only a little noticeable, but, again, free flannel shirt. Not complaining.

Flannel Archer shirt

You can see the piecing here, sort of. The top seam that I’m pointing to is the actual shoulder seam. The bottom seam is the result of piecing. By carefully matching the plaids and flat-felling the seam, I was able to get it to blend pretty well.

Flannel Archer shirt

Another minor complaint is that I wasn’t able to properly match the sleeves. The lines of the plaid are uninterrupted, which is good, but the sleeves themselves are not sleeve twins. Again, fabric restrictions. Again, free flannel shirt. Not complaining.

Flannel Archer shirt

Here’s a crappy picture of the inside, in all it’s flat-felled glory. Yay!

Flannel Archer shirt

This flannel shirt is a bit different than my other ones, since the fabric is SO thick. It almost feels like I’m wearing a light jacket, as opposed to a shirt. It’s pretty awesome and super snuggly. The fit is a little more boxy, too, since this fabric doesn’t drape as well as a shirting plaid flannel. I’m pretty ok with that, though! It works well with leggings (shown here with navy Ooh La Leggings which btw FAVORITE comfy lounge legging pattern, hands down!), but also looks good with jeans. I almost wish I’d put in pearl snaps instead of regular buttons, because I really like Hulking out of my clothes, but I think the fabric is just too thick for pearl snaps. But at least I resemble an American Flag! Can’t be mad about that, not one bit.

Oh, right, and I have some winners from the Shutters & Shuttles giveaway a couple of weeks ago! First, thanks for all your awesome comments on that post – Allison and I both really enjoyed reading through them and see what you’d do with the fabric :D (even if it just makes me want more of that fabric now so I can steal your ideas). Second, the plural “winners” is not a typo – there are two of you! A little belated Christmas bonus and all that :) Sooo congratulations are in order to both shesewsswell and Samantha! I hope you ladies love this fabulous fabric, and I cannot WAIT to see what you make up with it! ♥

Completed: The Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress (+ a Giveaway!!)

14 Dec

I’m so excited to finally be able to share this project with y’all!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - front

Over the summer, I’ve been in cahoots with Allison of Shutters & Shuttles to collaborate a fabric + dress design. She reached out to me after I made my Scout Tee using some of her fabric, and we thought it would be fun to match up a custom fabric with a pattern, as well as having a little giveaway too!

If you’re not familiar with Shuttles & Shuttles, they are a small company that produces handwoven and hand-dyed fabric, made entirely in Nashville, TN. Allison produces all the fabric herself using a 60″ AVL mechanical dobby loom, and makes all sorts of fabric goods – from rugs, to blankets, to yardage (some of which is produced into small batches of ready-to-wear clothing). Some of her fabrics appear in limited-edition Elizabeth Suzann collections, which is how I came to be familiar with the line (and spoiled rotten by getting to sew them!). Suffice to say, I’m a big fan of Shutters & Shuttles and I just love everything that comes out of Allison’s studio. It’s a bonus to be able to say that I literally know who made my fabric :) So obviously I am pretty excited about this collaboration!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - front

The awesome part about working with a fabric designer is that you actually get to design the fabric. What a novel idea, amirite?! ;) Allison has a swatch book showing all the designs and colors that she’s made – everything from intricate designs woven into the fabric, to a simple weave with a beautiful hand-dyed watercolor effect. You know how the first time you went into a fabric store, you were likely overwhelmed from all the sheer possibility staring at you from every direction? Well, I kind of had the same feeling – except multiplied! It was REALLY hard to choose a design; I wanted one of everything all at once! Ultimately, though, I knew this piece was pretty special and I wanted to do my garment the justice of allowing it to be worn frequently. We ended up with a fairly simple design, which I just think is absolutely gorgeous. A medium weight cotton yarn, dyed a deep rich navy blue, woven with a heavy slubbed texture. The fabric has a lot of dimension and texture, and the color is a perfect backdrop to show that off. It’s a warm, heavy fabric – it feels like I’m wearing a blanket. Sooo, obviously I made a blanket dress. Yes!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - side

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - side

Wanting to stick with something tried and true (like, this NOT the project to allow for any mishaps!), I made another Papercut Patterns Sway dress. Yep – my second navy Sway dress in 2015. Hey, what can I say – at least I’m predictable ;) This is definitely a winter-weight dress, as the fabric is so robust and heavy. It’s a great match for this pattern, as it hangs and drapes beautifully into an exaggerated tent shape. Since the pattern design is so simple, it really gives the fabric a chance to take center stage. BUT, since the fabric is also (relatively) simple, this is a good staple dress that can be worn different ways, like a good pair of jeans. It looks great with a collared shirt, with a simple long sleeved shirt, or with a turtleneck. I’m wearing it here with my grey wool Renfrew cowl, which I really love! Super cozy, y’all!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - pockets

This being a really simple dress that I’ve already made before, there’s not much new to talk about construction-wise. I serged all my seams independently, then pressed them open and catch-stitched each side down to keep them flat. That alone was the bulk of the time it took to make this – that’s a lot of hand-sewing! I also slip-stitched the hem for an invisible finish, and WHEW THAT TOOK FOREVER. Totally worth it for the finished effect, though. Since the fabric is really heavy and thus puts a lot of strain on the shoulders, I used a heavier fabric for the front and back facings, as well as interfaced them (using self-fabric would have been way too thick). Actually, the fabric I used is the same linen that I made my first Sway dress with – ha! It was a good color match ;) I also made sure to add pockets – also out of the linen!

Fit-wise, the only change I made was to raise the armholes by about 1/2″ as I felt like they were too low on my first dress. This being a winter dress, I will likely always wear it with a top underneath – so low armholes aren’t much of a problem, but I’m glad I raised them anyway!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - back

As with my first Sway, this dress is designed to be worn forwards or backwards. I really like it with the v at the back, but wearing it with the v in the front + a vneck tshirt – that’s a nice look, too! The only issue this poses is when it comes to hemming – it’s hard to get a perfectly even hem all the way around, because once you flip the dress around, protruding boobs hike the hemline up a little! I straightened things out as best I could, but I’ve also come to terms with the fact that the hem will never be 100% perfectly even. Oh, who am I kidding – my hems are never even. WHATEVER.

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - front

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - back

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - neckline

Working with this fabric was SUCH a joy! It’s so easy to cut and handle, and the cotton content means that it takes pressing like a champion. I do recommend catching down all your seam allowances, as it helps keep things nice and flat so you get a good sharp press on the outside. One thing that Allison and I discussed was whether or not this fabric is suitable to sew if you don’t have a serger for finishing the raw edges. Obviously, serging would be first choice – the fabric is prone to fraying, so serging that eliminates the possibility of unraveling and blends is really nicely with the fabric texture. That being said, the fraying isn’t super terrible – the fabric is a tight weave, so it hold it’s own pretty well. I do think finishing your raw edges is pretty important, but even just a simple pass with a zigzag stitch would work fine. Something gorgeous like a bound or Hong Kong seam finish would be perfect, although I didn’t take that extra step personally (I did consider it! But only consider it, ha!). For places that I didn’t serge – such as inside the all-in-one facing – I shortened my stitch length a couple mm’s to give the seam a little more strength.

All that being said, don’t let a lack of overlocker deter you from using this fabric! It’s a lot more durable than you think, like, it’s not going to completely unravel itself just from you looking at it. This isn’t some crazy bouclé, after all ;) haha!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - inside

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - fabric close up<

Here’s a close-up of the fabric’s color and texture. Isn’t it delicious?!

Oh! As a fun little bonus, when I came to pick up my fabric – there was this cool white border print taking up about the first 1/2 yard or so. Allison said she’d tied the navy threads onto the white that was already on the loom to start off (forgive me if I’m totally butchering this explanation – I’ve never woven fabric before!), and played around with a fun design before the white ran out and went into solid navy. She offered to cut it off, but I wanted to try to use it because it is SO cool looking! There wasn’t a lot of the design to play with – it’s about half a yard, going along the width of the fabric. I was able to eek out a simple scarf, though:

Shutters & Shuttles Scarf

aka A BLANKET FOR MY NECK.

Shutters & Shuttles Scarf

I really wanted to wear the two pieces together, but I have spared you.

Shutters & Shuttles Scarf

I really agonized over how to finish the raw edges of this scarf. The short edges are selvedge, so they are fine as-is. I thought about doing a rolled hem, but I realized that the fabric is so textured and cushy, it actually hides serging really well. Look at the blue edge – can you see the serging? Just barely! So yeah, I just serged my edges and called it a day! Insta-scarf!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - front

Ok, I think you guys have put up with my blabber long enough for one post – let me blab about this giveaway now! Allison wove some extra yardage of this lovely blue cotton, which means that one of you get a piece! Yay!

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

The giveaway is for a piece of plain weave, hand-dyed, hand-woven blue cotton fabric from Shutters & Shuttles and made in Nashville, TN. The fabric is approximately 60″ wide, and you get 1.5 yards – which is plenty to do something fun with! Oh, and it’s pre-washed! (although you may want to wash it separately by itself the first few times, in case the dye decides to bleed) Wanna throw your name in the bucket? Just leave a comment on this post and tell me what you would make if you won the fabric! This is an awesome, warm, heavy cotton fabric that would do well for something like my Sway dress- it would also make a lovely circle skirt, or even a REALLY comfy pair of loose pants! Or maybe you want to be boring and make a bunch of scarves? :) I won’t judge you! (note, the cool white border won’t come on your piece. That was a one-off that I selfishly kept for myself, not even gonna apologize for that!)

The giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the comments one week from today, on December 21, 2015 at 7:00 AM CST. In the meantime, you should check out the Shutters & Shuttles site, including all the inspirational things in the shop. Oh! Speaking of which – if you want to buy something, use the code LLADBIRD for a 15% discount – good through 12/25/15 (meaning, you can still totally buy yourself a great Christmas gift ;) Including this exact yardage, YAY!).

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress

MASSIVE thanks to Allison + Shutters & Shuttles for doing this collaboration with me, because this fabric is fucking awesome!! Now, which one of y’all is gonna be my fabric twinsie? :) Good luck!!!

Completed: Cozy Loungewear

7 Dec

It’s officially that time of year – black and grey layers from head to toe. My favorite!

Colette Oslo Cardigan - front

I feel like I spend the beginning of every winter on the prowl, looking for pieces that will keep my warm and comfortable, without looking like a complete slob (only, like, 30% slob. I have my limits, you know). Every year, I wear said pieces until they are ratty beyond repair, so each new season means new duds. Honestly, none of the pieces in this post are particularly earth-shattering, which is why you get a 3-fer post, ha.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - side

Colette Oslo Cardigan - side

The grey/black cardigan is hands-down the coziest cardigan I have ever made – it even works as a light coat! The pattern is the Oslo from Colette’s Seamwork Magazine. I didn’t care much for the pattern when it was first released, however, I kept noticing cool versions popping up and eventually became mildly obsessed with the idea of making my own. I love the long, butt-covering length, as well as the big shawl collar. In September, Oslo was granted the glory of being “Pattern of the Month,” which knocked the price down to $5 and thus justified my immediate purchase.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - back

Anyway, I can see why everyone and their mom has made an Oslo – it’s a great pattern! It’s a super simple, super quick make, and the resulting garment is a great layering piece that I find vaguely reminiscent of those knit duster cardigans we all wore back in the late 90s (I bought mine at Rave. SUP.). It works especially well with heavier knits – which is great, because I keep buying them but I never know what to make them into! I don’t want a super heavy tshirt. I’ll wear a super heavy cardigan/duster hybrid, though, hell yeah I will.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - inside

Speaking of heavy knits, this was certainly one of those! I bought this double-cloth Italian wool sweater knit months ago, and while it’s really awesome – it’s also super thick. It’s basically two layers of wool knit – black on one side, grey on the other – fused together to make one really heavy layer. It makes for the perfect Oslo, because it’s super warm, but I had no idea what to do with it when I originally bought it. Also, it was kind of expensive, so I only bought 1.5 yards. I BARELY had enough yardage to eek this out – I had to do some piecing at one shoulder, and cut everything on the single layer, but I managed!

Colette Oslo Cardigan - front

Tetris-ing the shit out the cutting layout took a long time, but the actual sewing part did not take long at all! I used my serger for everything – shit got REAL bulky when I was attaching the shawl collar, but other than that was smooth sailing. I cut the size XS and sewed the pattern as drafted with folded back cuffs, although I didn’t add the buttons. I wish I’d had enough fabric to add front patch pockets, as I feel like that’s the only thing this pattern is missing.
Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - front

The next piece is a boring ol’ black tshirt! Haha! Well, I used a new pattern to make this – so that makes things a little less boring :)

Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - front

This is the Grail tshirt from Vesta Patterns, a new company in the pattern world. These patterns are drafted and produced for 3 different body shapes, so that you don’t have to do so much futzing with the flat pattern for a good fit. I’ve been super interested in the idea but haven’t had a chance to try out the patterns, despite having them in my arsenal for a few months now. I have both the patterns for E & S (well, I had A too, but I gave it to an A-shaped friend ;) ), so I started with the E in a size Small. The patterns are drafted to have a bit of ease, which I found to be too much for my personal fit preferences – I had a bit of excess from the underarm down to the waist, but that was easy to nip in before I hemmed the sleeves and bottom. Next time, I may go down a size for a closer fit, or use a more stable fabric like the pattern suggests. That being said, I am really impressed with how well and proportional the neckline and shoulders fit!

Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - back

Like the cardigan, construction was straightforward and simple. The pattern doesn’t include a lot of information for construction – the steps are written out, but they are short, concise, and don’t include pictures or line drawings. Having made zillions of tshirts in my time, this does not phase me. I don’t need a full booklet with step-by-step instructions for sewing a shoulder seam, you know? But if you need the hand-holding, you may want to consider finding a tutorial online or consulting a book for further assistance.

The one construction element about this pattern that differs from most knits that I’ve sewn, is how the neckline was finished. Strips of fabric are sewn as a sort of binding around the neckline, wrapping the raw edges. It’s similar to how I did the binding on my Mission Skater dress, although without the serged edge. I think it makes a really nice, clean finish that looks really good from the outside. I hemmed the sleeves and bottom at 1″, and just used the zigzag on my sewing machine.

Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - front

I stayed on the wool bandwagon with this top, and used another wool knit to make it up. I found this weird “black cozy knit” (their description, not mine) on the Mood website – appears to be sold out now. Y’all, this was a WEIRD fucking fabric! I don’t know what I was expecting to get, but what I received was what I would describe as a wool crepe knit. It has that crepey, spongey texture – but it’s a true knit, and stretches as so. I’ve never seen fabric like this before. It’s borderline semi-sheer, but works well for a tshirt. Because of the crepey texture, it has a fantastic drape – perfect for a loose-fitting shirt. It’s also surprisingly not itchy. Just, well, cozy :) It also attracts cat hair like a magnet, sooo, sorry bout that!

SBCC Pinot pants - front

Finally, pants! These are the Pinot Pants from SBCC Patterns and they are my FAVORITE lounge pants ever ever. These are just basically yoga-style pants – not true yoga pants, as they don’t have a crotch gusset, but they do have the flared leg and elastic waistband. I have actually practiced yoga in these pants (not my preferred style of yoga pants – I like slim leggings – but I went to yoga with Jenny when I was in Boston, and hey, I actually had yoga pants in my suitcase!), and they worked just fine. Terrible fabric choice for hot yoga, but I had a great range of movement hahaha.

I made the size XS and cut a longer inseam so I’d have some length to play with (which I immediately cut off, and now they’re a smidge too short. Wah!). I added the free pocket add-on, which was the best decision ever! There aren’t any instructions for attaching these, but I just topstitched them on with a straight stitch (and left the edges raw – other than the top opening edge, which is finished with a self-fabric band). Leaving the edges raw is fine with this sort of fabric, as it’s not prone to unraveling or fraying (and, speaking of raw edges – these pants are unhemmed. Like I said, I cut them too short as it is and I couldn’t afford to lose any length! haha!). I also left off the elastic waistband, and instead used some heavy-duty power mesh in it’s place. Betsy had mentioned once that she preferred power mesh over elastic for a flat, yet stretchy, waistband, and I was immediately intrigued. I actually have some heavy power mesh that is way too heavy for general lingerie (I believe it’s probably good for shapewear, though), so I used that in the waistband. Just cut a waistband layer in the mesh, basted it to the wrong side of the fabric waistband, and sewed as normal. It holds as well as elastic does, but it’s flat like a traditional yoga waistband. I love it!

For fabric, I used black nylon/rayon ponte de roma, which is AWESOME and I wish I had more! It holds shape really nicely and doesn’t stretch out. Like I said, it’s not so great for shit like actual yoga – it retains heat a little too well – but for general lounge pants, it’s perfect.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - on dressform

Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - on dressform

Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - neckline detail

You can really see the texture of the knit here. And check out that bound neckline!

Colette Oslo Cardigan - flat

Here is where I had to piece the shoulder area of my Oslo, in order to get the pattern pieces to fit on my limited yardage. You can’t really tell it’s there when I’m wearing it.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - flat

SBCC Pinot pants - flat

Ok, that’s it! Sorry for the overwhelming amount of black + cat hair, ha.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - front

This is the kind of ensemble I reach for when I’m feeling crappy (sick, sad, hungover, etc) but still need to look somewhat presentable out of the house. As much as I love my plaid flannel Carolyn pajamas, they definitely look like pajamas! With these pieces – either all worn together, or individually with other garments – they keep the comfy factor without compromising the yes-i-put-on-pants-to-leave-the-house element. I consider that a win!

Completed: Plaid Flannel Carolyn Pajamas

24 Nov

I don’t know what y’all like to sleep in, but I am ALL ABOUT some matching pj sets. Don’t care if they’re considered “unsexy” or dorky. Don’t care if it’s silly to dress up for sleeping and lounging. Matching pj sets are my jam and I’m not about to apologize for it.

Flannel Carolyn PJs - front

My very very favorite sorts of pjs are the coziest ones – the ones that come in flannel. Especially plaid flannel! Traditionally, my mom buys me a set of flannel pjs every year for Christmas. She gets them at Victoria’s Secret and they’re… ok. Either I’ve spoiled myself with my fit preference (and being able to attain that through sewing), or I am just way way off of VS’s fit model – but the fit isn’t that great on me. This is mostly due to being petite – the sleeves and legs are too long (and they’re cuffed, so NO I’m not hemming that shit!), and the rise gives me droopy crotch. The flannel is a bit thin and thus doesn’t wash well – the facings fold in on themselves and never look as good as they do when you first buy them (I understand that I could iron these, but, dude, I’m not going to do that. Are you going to iron your pajamas? Get outta here with that mess). Also, the colors and patterns available are a little too pink for my tastes. Too many girly sparkles and flowers. Victoria’s Secret has really gone downhill – at least in the design department – ever since they got all PiNK, is all I’m saying.

That’s not to say that I hated my Christmas gift – because, really, I looked forward to getting new PJs every year (nerd alert!). But there was certainly room for improvement, although I couldn’t be arsed to do it myself.

Flannel Carolyn PJs - front

Coming right up to fill a pajama-shaped void in my life are the Carolyn Pajamas. If this pattern sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve made a linen version for summer. They are AWESOME. They have all the design details of a classy set of pjs – notched collar, breast pocket, curved hem and all – as well as include slanted side pockets (which my VS pjs have sorely been lacking. What are pjs if they don’t include pockets!? Where else am I supposed to stash candy when I’m moving across the house?) and a comfy elastic waistband. The fit is slightly slim – not uncomfortable, but a bit more sleek than the stuff I’ve been wearing – and the DIY aspect means I get to adjust the length and choose my own fabrics. Win!

Flannel Carolyn PJs - side

Flannel Carolyn PJs - side

Since I’ve already made this pattern before, I won’t go into much detail on the pattern itself (go to my Linen pj post if you want to read all of that!). I used the same size 2 as before for the top, but I went up a size in the bottoms to a 4. The linen pants are quite slim and I wanted a little extra room with this flannel pair (for layering in case I get really cold, and also, I’m pretty sure my ass is getting bigger too. Not a complaint, just an observation). I made view A, which is suited for flannel fabrics – no piping or complicated cuffs, just a straightforward set of long sleeved/long pantsed pajamas.

Flannel Carolyn PJs - back

Getting the right fabric was the hardest part! I knew I wanted a plaid flannel, but I wasn’t sure where to start looking. Most of the flannels I see are still a bit girly and pink – or outright childish (like, literally for making children’s clothing). I wanted something that was a little more, I dunno, ~rustic~. Like straight out of an Eddie Bauer catalog. I like those Christmas-y red plaids, but not too Christmas-y. Honestly, I’ve been keeping an eye out for this since the pattern was initially released. I had a couple of people suggest Robert Kaufman’s Mammoth Plaid as an option, which I don’t know why I never thought of that in the first place. I’ve actually used Mammoth Plaid in the past to make Margot PJ pants (yay PJs!), and I just love the way it feels and wears and washes. Comes in really cool plaid designs, too, in all those rustic, non-girly colors.

Flannel Carolyn PJs - front

Flannel Carolyn PJs - back

I found this particular colorway at Grey’s Fabrics when I was in Boston in September, and immediately knew it was destined for pjs. Unfortunately, they only had a couple of yards left in stock, which isn’t enough for a full set of pjs (not even counting matching the plaid!). I bought all that they had and bought the rest of what I needed from Fabric.com. Every other site was sold out, and I think I bought the last of Fabric.com’s, too! I don’t know what caused the spike in Mammoth Plaid purchases – it certainly wasn’t like this when I bought it last year – but I can’t blame it because, man, this is a really nice cotton flannel, especially for the price. It’s so thick and soft with a squishy pile.

Flannel Carolyn PJs - on dressform

Cutting and sewing this in flannel – even with matching the plaid – was waaaay easier than doing it with linen. Because of the nature of the plaid, it adheres to itself and doesn’t shift much when you’re cutting and sewing it. I still cut everything on the single layer, as that’s how I like to match my plaids, and I used a walking foot because I just think it makes it easier to sew them that way.

Speaking of matching the plaid, I agonized for way too long about whether or not to match the plaid from the shirt to the pants. I couldn’t figure out if that’s a thing to do? (sorry, y’all, but I’ve never made an entire outfit out of plaid hahaha) I googled around, didn’t really get a clear answer, and ultimately decided to just match the vertical lines so that they continue uninterrupted, at least as best I could. I think it looks a little less jarring than an obvious pattern break between the shirt and the pants, but I could also be overthinking it. Thoughts?

Flannel Carolyn PJs - flat

Flannel Carolyn PJs - flat

Flannel Carolyn PJs - flat

Flannel Carolyn PJs - label

Label is from Wunderlabel, fyi!

Flannel Carolyn PJs - front

Feels good to check this one off my list! Feels even better to WEAR them! I’ve actually had these done for about a month now, and I’ve worn them most every night since. The pictures you are seeing here are after a bunch of wears and even a couple of washes – like I said, this is a really awesome flannel! I didn’t even have to press the facing back into place after washing it, ha :) I guess my mom is going to have to find a different gift for me this year, though! I’m all good on the flannel end :)

The real question is – can I get away with wearing that top in public as a shirt? I’m can’t decide if it straight-up looks like pajamas or not.

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