Tag Archives: completed

Completed: The Jenna Cardi (+GIVEAWAY)

15 Sep

In my wardrobe, I have a very small selection of RTW clothing that is quickly dwindling to nothing. Out of those pieces, the majority of them are lightweight knit cardigans. You know the kind I’m talking about – sewn, rather than knitted, lightweight enough to throw in a purse, wearable for all seasons (I dunno about y’all, but I wear my cardigans throughout the summer – air conditioning is tooooo cold for me!). As I’m quickly replacing all my clothes with handmades, the one major hole – other than undergarments (which I’m working on!) – has been those damn cardigans. I love knitting cardigans, don’t get me wrong – but those take loads of time, not to mention even the lightest fingering weight yarn can’t compete with how lightweight a knit fabric is, you know?

I’ve been on the lookout for a good cardigan pattern – not even really for the pattern itself, but rather, the instructions. Y’all, the one time I tried to sew button holes on a knit, it ended up being slightly traumatizing. Then there was that time recently that I tried to use an old RTW cardigan to copy into a handmade one (cutting it apart to use as a pattern – same concept as how I made my striped hoodie). Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out at all. Clearly I can’t hack this on my own. I need someone else to do it for me.

20121202-210149

Also, that cardigan I chopped up? As much as it wasn’t really my favorite – it was the one grey cardigan that went with basically everything. And here it was, chopped up into little bits and, uh, I kinda needed it back.

Jenna Cardi

Anyway, all that being said – right about the time I realized I was making a huge mistake (chopped up cardigan and all), Kat emailed me, saying she’d just launched her new pattern company, Muse Patterns, and would I like to try and review the Jenna Cardi?

UM. YES.

Jenna Cardi

HI GUYS, LOOK, DREAM CARDI PATTERN RIGHT OVER HERE.

Jenna Cardi

The Jenna Cardi comes with a few different options, so you mix and match to create the cardigan of your dreams (I’m not the only one who dreams about cardigans, am I?). You can choose a cropped or waist length version, sleeves ranging from full, to three quarter, to short, and then there’s also an option to include a beautiful curved yoke detail.

I’m a boring person with no imagination when it comes to wardrobe basics, so I chose something plain and simple for my first hurrah – cropped length, long sleeves. The thing about this cardigan that makes it so special, though (I mean, other than the fact that I SEWED IT MYSELF yaaaay for not buying RTW!), is the fabric I used! HOMEGIRL GOT HER HANDS ON SOME MERINO WOOL.

Jenna Cardi

Are we all still freaking out about merino wool or has that ship sailed? Whatever, *I’m* still freaking out over it! Ever since Katie started pushing it on me like an extraordinarily effective drug, I have been trying in vain to locate a US source. That stuff isn’t cheap, even in the best of times – and to ship it all the way from NZ obviously adds some dollarz to the cost.

So where did I find this golden merino ticket, you might ask? Surprise – Organic Cotton Plus, of all places! They are starting to branch out to include other natural fibers than just cotton, which is all kinds of awesome. When they asked me if I’d like to try a little piece of whatever caught my fancy from the website, I stumbled across the merino wool and, forreal you guys, my heart stopped for a nanosecond. There aren’t a whole lot of options on the site at the moment – just the black I have here, as well as a natural colorway (which I almost got, but then the idea of dying that shit seemed too overwhelming. Plus, black is so useful! Even if it photographs like crap). At $33 a yard, it is not cheap – but it’s worth it. That black merino is a whopping 61″ wide, plus, IT’S MACHINE WASHABLE WOOL. Oh, and you don’t pay NZ shipping prices! Win win!

Jenna Cardi

Having used both merino wool from Organic Cotton Plus, as well as the stuff straight from New Zealand – I can confidently say that this is pretty good stuff. It’s soft and lightweight without being see-through, it has a nice stretch and drape to it, and it cuts and sews like a dream. Wait till you see the topstitching on this baby – it’s ridiculously beautiful. Ahh I just love this fabric.

Jenna Cardi

The only downside I can think of is that it does wrinkle up a bit, as you can see in these photos (it’s not nearly as noticeable in real life – otherwise, I would’ve steamed things up before taking photos. Womp whomp, deal with it). Kind of the same thing as linen – just natural wear wrinkles. If that bothers you, you’ll want to stick to something with a poly blend. For me, though, wrinkles are an ok trade-off for natural fibers!

Jenna Cardi

Anyway, I loved my Jenna cardigan so much – I immediately made a second one!

This one is pretty boringly similar to the black merino one, except it’s longer. It’s not quite the longer version – I cropped some off for my proportions – but it does look better with the shirt I’m wearing underneath it, ha :) Instead of using merino wool, I used some wool knit that I picked up at Mood Fabrics when I was recently in the store. This stuff is less drapey than the merino – it’s almost like sweatshirting, except without a fleecy side. It’s also not machine washable, so there’s that. I’ll have to handwash it like I do all my hand knits, oh well.

Jenna Cardi

Sewing both of these was ridiculously easy, by the way. My second version took me all of 2 hours – not bad! I made the bust 32″ and took in the sleeves a bit because they were a little wide. I also had to shorten the sleeves by a couple of inches.

As I mentioned, I was pretty apprehensive about the button bands – but surprisingly enough, the button holes were way less problematic than I was anticipating! I made some test button holes – experimenting with interfacing, tear-away stabilizer, no interfacing – but ultimately went with the instructions, as I figure Kat knows more than I do when it comes to knit button holes :) The button band is stabilized with woven fusible interfacing, and it’s sewn on with a 1:1 ratio (meaning it’s not stretched at all). This gives the knit fabric enough heft to tolerate a button hole stitch without getting eaten into the bobbin area (my former experience with this sort of thing). For the black merino cardi, I also used tear-away stabilizer in addition to the interfacing. For the grey cardi, I skipped the tear-away stablizer and just kept things purely interfaced. Both worked out splendidly!

Jenna Cardi

Another thing I’ll point out is that, while these cardigans are somewhat fitted, there’s just enough ease included to keep the button bands from gaping open. Always a plus in my book!

Jenna Cardi

Jenna Cardi

I’m thrilled that they both look just as good unbuttoned as they do buttoned – which is important to me, as a cardigan-wearer. I usually button things up, but it’s nice to have unbutton options:)

Jenna Cardi

Jenna Cardi

Here are some ~extreme~ close-ups of the merino wool cardigan. Check out that topstitching! Ughhh it’s so beautiful! I did add a little more topstitching than called for in the pattern – I wanted to tie in the topstitched button bands and button holes, so I included it at the shoulder seams and along the bottom band. Plus, it’s just beautiful. Seriously.

Also, how bout them buttons? These are also from Organic Cotton Plus. I know black and brown is generally frowned upon as a color combination, but I like it :)

Jenna Cardi

Grey cardigan close-up :) Boring buttons are from my boring stash.

So what do you think – are you team sew-your-own-cardi yet? I hope so, because Muse Patterns has hooked me up with an extra pattern to giveaway! :D

Jenna Cardi

To enter to win your very own Jenna Cardi, just leave a comment on this post and tell me what you plan on makin’! Which view? Any particular fabric? Do you have a wild card up your (cardigan)sleeve? Inquiring minds want to know! :) This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the comments a week from today, on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 7:00 AM CST. Good luck, y’all!

**Some disclosures now – I was given the Jenna cardi pattern from the patternmaker herself, for free, to try and review. I was *also* given the organic merino wool fabric & butons from Organic Cotton Plus, again, for free to try and review. The grey wool knit was purchased at Mood Fabrics NYC out of my own pocket. No one paid me for this post – I’m just doing it for the freebs! As always, all opinions are my own :)

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Completed: The Sureau Dress

8 Sep

You know what rules? When you have a brilliant strike of inspiration that comes together perfectly – from fabric, to pattern, to completed project.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

AKA this dress.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

I’ve been holding onto this silk cotton voile from Mood Fabrics since the beginning of this year (it’s sadly long gone from the site now, but they have lots of other options – including this gorgeousness. Ok, that doesn’t have silk, but it belongs in my fabric stash nonetheless). I had originally planned to make an Aubepine dress with it – but changed my mind at the last minute and ordered the Sureau instead, also from Deer & Doe (I still have the Aubepine & still plan to make it, but I’m thinking I would like it better in a dark/solid color, possibly even a lightweight knit. We’ll see!)

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

I LOVED sewing this dress! Too bad the pictures are kind of shitty. I promise it’s much prettier in real life – the voile is floaty, slightly sheer, and fucking ethereal. The colors are amazing and very fall-like, but the lightweight fabric keeps things from getting too sweaty.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

You’ll notice that my version differs quite a bit from Deer & Doe’s – I had to make a few changes – both fitting and design – to get the look I wanted.

For fitting changes, I made a muslin and made the following adjustments:
– The front neckline was slightly gaping, so I removed a 3/8″ wedge (similar to this method)
– The upper back was a little loose, so I removed about 3/8″ from the center back, starting at the top and tapering to nothing at the bottom.
– Shortened the shoulders 1/2″
– Added 1/4″ to the side seams

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

I also made a couple of major design changes! The main one was that I lengthened the sleeves to be full length, and added a cuff and placket (stolen from Archer pattern). Unfortunately, I didn’t correctly measure the sleeve length – which seems to be a common mistake that I ALWAYS ALWAYS make, argh! – so they’re a tiny bit on the short side :( Bummer! Fortunately, the sleeve placket means I can roll them up, so there’s that.

The other ridiculously hilarious issue with the sleeves is that they are sewn on backwards – and I did that shit on purpose! Let me back up a little. When I altered the sleeve pattern to include the placket, I used my Grainline pattern as a guide. I didn’t think to make sure that I was tracing the placket to the correct side of the sleeve, so – you guessed it – the placket ended up on the front of the sleeve. Didn’t realize this until I’d already attached the cuffs and everything, derp (and didn’t have enough fabric to recut because, come on, that would make too much sense). I weighed out the options, and decided that a backwards sleeve cap was easier to forgive than a placket in the wrong place, so the back of the sleeve is now at the front, and vice versa. Fortunately, the sleeves are fairly loose & the cap is slightly gathered, so it’s not obvious that I inserted them incorrectly, and I still have plenty of room for movement. That being said, y’all all know my secret now. Don’t tell anyone.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

The other design change was adding that cute little half collar! I used this tutorial to draft my little collar, and interfaced one layer of the fabric before sewing them together. I hemmed and hawwed over whether or not to include it – but ultimately, Landon & I both agreed that the dress looked weirdly unfinished without the collar at the neckline, at least with this particular fabric.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

Because the fabric is so lightweight, I took extra care with the construction. All seams – including the waistline and sleeves – are sewn with a French seam, for a durable and elegant finish. The facings are finished with pinking – any other finishing would result in showing through the fabric. The instructions don’t have you interface any part of the dress, but I added interfacing to the facings, sleeve cuff, collar, and both front placket pieces (both the front and the placket facing). Again, the fabric is super lightweight, so it needed a little more support from the interfacing. Specifically, I used the Pro Sheer Elegance Couture fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. I like that is gives a little needed support, but it doesn’t actually change the drape of the fabric. I had black on hand, which was perfect for my emerald fabric as white would have slightly shown through.

Also, ugh, guys, I know it’s REALLY short. Wasn’t planning on that! My fabric shortages meant that I couldn’t lengthen anything, and once I got the dress sewn up – I realized it would look way better with a deep 2″ hem. Which means the dress is now rill short (again, didn’t have enough fabric left to face the hem, which is how I would have normally solved that issue), but I plan on mostly wearing it with tights and/or boots sooo it’s not too bad.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

Pretty much everything to do with this dress – other than my frantic last-minute pattern ordering – came out of my stash! Fabric, buttons, interfacing, even the thread – I love it when that happens!

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

There’s a cute little lapped zipper in the side of the dress :)

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

And that damn deep hem! Ha! I topstitched it because, I figured the rest of the dress has lots of topstitching, so it woudn’t look out of place :)

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

And that’s it! I like to wear the dress with a belt – I’m still not sold on how I look with gathered skirts (even slightly gathered, like this one), but I think the belt breaks things up nicely :) I also wear it with the sleeves rolled up, because, again – they are too short (even if they look ok in the photos, trust me, once I start moving around, it’s evident that they are too short)(maybe someday I’ll have sleeves the right length. Sigh.). It’s pretty short, but not so short that I flash cheek when I bend over (as several people have been kind enough to observe and report on).

I’ll count this one as a success! :) Next question – whyyy have I not been sewing Deer & Doe patterns? They are SO GOOD. I actually just ordered the Bruyere and am anxiously awaiting it’s arrival (as is apparently most of the sewing world :P). I have plaid flannel dreams for that bad boy. Man, I love sewing ♥

Completed: Butterick 4066

5 Sep

Ummmm so this may or may not be the third garment I’ve posted this week that is made of rayon challis.

Butterick 4066

No shame.

Butterick 4066

These pictures are also horrifyingly bad and blown out, but… meh. We all know y’all don’t come here for the ~dazzling photography. Again: No shame.

Butterick 4066

I picked up this copy of Butterick 4066 while I was last at the flea market in July. The cover art is a little outdated (and not in a cool vintage way, but rather, I feel like I can probably smell my Mamaw’s house if I lean in too close. Wait, just kidding, my Mamaw’s house smells great. That shit probably smells like someone else’s Mamaw’s house, maybe), but the line drawings looked promising enough – almost like the Kelly skirt and Hollyburn skirt had a secret affair that ended up with a little love child.

Butterick 4066

It’s hard to see, thanks to my terrible photos, but the skirt has pockets, a smooth A-line shape with no darts or tucks, and buttons down the front. I used this shameless 90s black floral rayon challis from Fashion Fabrics Club, as I knew the shape would look great with a drapey fabric (just like my Crazy Paisley Hollburn).

Butterick 4066

My skirt pattern was just a smidge too big (not the fault of the pattern itself – my copy is a size too big, since we don’t normally get to be choosy when it comes to buying vintage patterns!), but that was easily fixed by taking in the side seams before attaching the waistband. The big challenge was cutting off length – a LOT of length. Even after I’d shortened the shortest version of the pattern tissue by a good 6″, I had to go back after making the skirt and hack off another 4″! Shortening the length did wonders for the overall look of the finished skirt – before, it was pretty dowdy and outdated looking (mostly due to fabric choice, I mean – we are talking about the 90s here), but I think it looks pretty cute now! Shorter skirts FTW!

Butterick 4066
Butterick 4066

I finished the seams with my serger and used these pretty black and gold buttons that I had lurking in my stash.

Butterick 4066

I love how the finished skirt turned out – and I think it’ll transition really nicely for our “fall”**, since it’s so cool and lightweight, but still has those nice dark fall/winter colors. That being said, it’ll look great with tights and a sweater, too :) (maybe with a silk slip, though! It’s not very warm!) I’m interested to try pairing this print with black and white stripes – I can imagine it in my head, but until I start sewing up the striped knits I got while I was in Mood last month, your guess is as good as mine.

** Tennessee Fall: Beyond gorgeously colorful (visiting Tennessee in the fall should be on every single one of y’alls bucket lists), but still blazing hot and, yes, we absolutely make fun of those dumbasses who insist on wearing wool caps and jeans tucked into tall boots while marinating in giant pools of sweat. I mean, COME ON LADY, it’s 90* outside FFS! You aren’t fooling anyone!

One last thing – Giveaway Winner! Lucky number is…

winner1

winner2

Congratulations, Sue Martin! I love your method of sneaky inspiration by way of shop dressing rooms – something I’m too chicken to do myself (I got major stink-eye once while manhandling a rack of dresses in Buckle and I’m kind of traumatized now haha). As far as adding hours in the day – well, let me know when you figure it out! :) haha!

Thanks to everyone to entered the giveaway – and thanks to Laurence King for providing us with a copy to giveaway! Friends, if you’d like to buy your own copy of Casual Sweet Clothes, use the code LLADYBIRD35 to get 35% off! The code is good through 10/1/14 :)

Completed: A Jumpsuit, of sorts

3 Sep

A couple of months ago, I was asked by the ladies at By Hand London if I’d like to test their new Holly Jumpsuit. I’m always a sucker for these gorgeous patterns, but then they went and threw in an offer of testing-fabric from Grey’s Fabric to really seal the deal. Consider me sold, name signed in blood and all (forreal, though, I’ll do anything for love free fabric).

Holly/Tania Mash-up

I finished with good time, sent my testing notes in, and took some photos (I could pretend my hair grew like that overnight, but in reality, these photos are just that old. Haha!). And then I waited. And waited. Right before the pattern was to be released, there was a design snafu that meant the pattern had to be reworked, which set things back by… well, a lot. Fortunately, the kinks have been worked out and the pattern is now officially for sale! Which means I can finally show you mine! Yay!

Holly/Tania Mash-up
Holly/Tania Mash-up

You may have noticed by now that my jumpsuit* looks nothing like the pattern – and you would be right. That’s because at this point, no part of my jumpsuit is actually part of the pattern! Whoops!

Holly/Tania Mash-up

However, it is still technically a jumpsuit (right? The two-separate-holes-for-each-leg dictate that… right?), so there’s that.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

There’s a method to this madness, I promise. As a pattern tester, I always make my first version (usually a muslin), exactly as drafted and written by the pattern. After I have taken my (usually very unflattering)photos and made my fitting adjustments, I will transfer those adjustments to the pattern and make it up in my fashion fabric (if not a second muslin entirely). I started out with the shorts and Variation 2 bodice, which was surprisingly a pretty good fit straight out of the envelope. The butt of the shorts was a little tight (it is my understanding that this ended up being a grading error that has since been amended), and I needed to shorten the straps – but overall, things were looking good. It wasn’t until I had made this up in my beautiful rayon challis – i.e., the good stuff – that I realized the entire ensemble just made me look like a giant toddler. Especially when combined with this fabric – while beautiful, it’s pretty juvenile looking. Eep!

After some chatting with the BHL ladies, we ultimately decided that it would be a shame to sew something I’d never wear (and I know I occasionally wear some out-there ensembles, but again, looking like a giant toddler is NOT one of them) , so I was given the green light to swap out the bottoms for another pattern. Specifically, I chose the Tania Culottes because FUCK YES I DID.

After that, things went haywire in the design department and my tested version of the bodice ended up getting scrapped and redesigned. Which means my tested Holly jumpsuit is now basically anything BUT Holly! Oh well! I tried!

Holly/Tania Mash-up
Holly/Tania Mash-up

Anyway, let’s talk about the construction of this jumpsuit. To combine the bodice with the Tania culottes, I added a 2″ wide straight waistband (interfaced on one layer, and faced with self-fabric on the inside) that connects the bodice to the skirt. Ideally, I would have shortened the bodice and raised the rise of the culottes, as I think the waistband sits a little low, but that’s life. The Tanias are sewn as normal, just without a waistband.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

All edges were finished with my serger and I used my rolled hem foot to make the prettiest little baby hem.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

The end result is a sweet little flouncy tank dress that has an amazing twirl factor – and thanks to the culottes, is less likely to fly up and flash any innocent bystanders.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

As I previously mentioned, my beautiful rayon challis came courtesy of Grey’s Fabric, specifically to be used to test this pattern. I just love the smooth silhouette and fluid drape that comes with rayon challis – not to mention, it’s ridiculously comfortable to wear in the heat. Rayon loves to wrinkle like crazy and this fabric is no exception, but at least the busy print and voluminous skirt hide most of that.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

Anyway, despite my design changes+unexpected pattern snafu changing things to the point that my tested pattern ended up being something completely different, I am happy with said end result – not to mention, it’s absolutely something I would wear (and have worn! Lots!). Again – if you plan on buying this pattern, please keep in mind that absolutely nothing about my version matches what is included in the final pattern – although it would be pretty easy to Frankenpattern this one with a couple indies.

What do you think of the Holly Jumpsuit? Are you Team Jumpsuit – craving dangly earrings, sparkly eyeshadow, and a Studio 54 vibe (I mean, ugh, that new Variation 2 bodice is KILLER, ain’t it?)? Or do you feel like an overgrown toddler who would prefer to stick with dresses and two pieces, thank you very much?

* I think the leg-shorts mean this thing is actually a romper or a playsuit, not a jumpsuit. However, the thought of saying that I’m wearing a playsuit makes me feel, again, like an overgrown toddler, so fuck that. I’m calling it a jumpsuit, as that sounds a lot more grown-up. My blog, my sewing, my rules :P

In other news-
1. The new class schedule is up at The Fabric Studio! Lots of fun classes coming up – including an Open Sewing Lab hosted by yours truly! Those of y’all in Nashville can come hang out in the studio to sew and drink tea with other crafty peeps :) I’ll be on hand to answer questions and assist as needed. This is a great alternative to a structured class since you can work on whatever you want, come whenever is convenient for you, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a private lesson :) Check out the classes page to sign up (my class is at the bottom). I am REALLY excited for this; I love sewing with company! Yay!

2. Don’t forget that the Casual Sweet Clothes giveaway ends on Friday! If you haven’t already entered, here’s your hint :)

Completed: The Belcarra Blouse

1 Sep

I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that this make is over 3 weeks old at this point*. What? I’ve been busy, ok??

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

This is the Belcarra Blouse from Sewaholic Patterns. Described as a super simple/wardrobe staple top, this bad boy has no darts or tucks (ladies, can I get a hell yeah?), raglan sleeves (requiring no setting like a traditional sleeve, which means – let’s have another hell yeah!), and a simple bias bound neckline. I knew it would be quick and easy, but I wondered – would it be flattering?

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse
Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Obviously, that crazy paisley fabric would hide a lot of sins (if there were any to hide mwahahahaha), but I think it’s safe to step out of my cave and say, yes! Yes, this shit is flattering! Yes, it’s comfy! Yes, it’s breezy and cool to wear when the temperatures are still hanging out in hell territory. Yes yes yes!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I shit you not, I made this in an afternoon. From cutting, to sewing, to finishing – it only took a few hours. I followed the instructions as written – except in the case of the neck binding, I found that I needed to shorten it to get it to lay right (which I was anticipating, because my rayon challis has a slight stretch to it). I cut a size 0, which is my usual Sewaholic size, and took in the side seams an extra 1/2″ because it seemed a little overwhelmingly big when I first tried it on. Otherwise, pretty good straight out of the envelope! Good and fast.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse
Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

My initial concern was whether or not this would actually be flattering, as I’m not one to really embrace loose shapes (I’m trying, though! It makes for a more comfortable summer when a breeze can blow between you and whatever unfortunate piece of clothing you happen to be wearing!). To be honest – when I first saw the pattern, I brushed it off as ~not me~. It wasn’t until I found myself staring at this silk Georgia tee from Elizabeth Suzann** that I realized the key to making this pattern look good on me was using a fabric with a gorgeous, fluid drape (and it doesn’t hurt that the Georgia tee is a VERY similar style and shape – albeit with kimono sleeves instead of raglan, and no waist shaping – so I could see this put into action).

I know I joked about making this pattern with this fabric so that it would match my Crazy Paisley Hollyburn, but forreal, these two are a match made in heaven. The rayon challis has pretty much no body to it whatsoever – just a nice drape that flows like water. This keeps the top from being too structured, and thus the excess ease hangs in soft folds, instead of sticking out all crazy and giving me a weird shape. I like it! And next, I want to make this shit up in some SILK!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

To further prove my point, here is the top when worn loose over jeans. Doesn’t that look lovely?

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I kept this particular style very simple (well, as simple as you can be when you’re dealing with a fabric design that wack-o, amirite), but I’d love to experiment with different fabrics and textures to really play up on the raglan sleeves. I’d love to try it with a two-sided silk satin – keeping the body matte, with the cuffs and bias binding shiny. Or even make it out of two different colors of silk, as a sort of fancy baseball tshirt!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Not a lot of shots of the inside, but here you can see the guts. Serged seams, self-cuffs cut on the bias, and self bias neckline that is topstitched down.

The only thing I will change about future Belcarras is that I’d like to take the neckline in to be a bit less wide. The wide neckline is lovely, but it also means that bra straps are constantly getting flashed. I also feel like it almost looks *too* wide on me – and that it’s not balanced. Thoughts? I’m also waffling with shortening it, because it seems too long when it’s tucked in, but I think it looks just right when it’s untucked. Decisions, decisions!

Oh, one last thing-

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

You know I totally tried that shit on with my matching Hollyburn – and it surprisingly works! Really! Even Landon agreed (after laughing at me when he saw me pulling both pieces out of the closet). It might be that the fabric is so busy, you can’t really see what’s going on – but, fuck, it sure looks like a dress to me. Y’all have no idea how tickled I am about this discovery.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the Belcarra? Love it? Hate it? What’s your go-to woven tshirt pattern?

Ooh, one more thing! As you’ve undoubtedly already heard all about, I’m going to be teaching a small class while I’m in London this November, over at Tilly HQ, in her gorgeous new studio!! My Zips+Buttonholes Worshop will teach you how to insert both invisible and lapped zippers, and also guide you through sewing flawless button holes (for both one-step/automatic and four-step/manual). Afterwards, we will celebrate with a delicious cocktail and we can talk about how typing ‘buttonholes’ usually ends up being ‘buttholes’ (just me?).

If any of y’all Londoners are sad that you have to miss my class at The Sewing Party due to international restrictions – here’s your make-up chance (except this one is better, because it’s in PERSON! Actually, that might be worse, depending on how annoying you find me HA HA HA). Sign up for the Zips+Buttonholes Worshop here, or peruse all the neat workshops here (wish I could take that copy your clothes one taught by Zoe! Argh!).

* As of publishing, I still have 3 unblogged garments to post – I seem to have no problem finding the time to sew; my issue is finding the time to write about it!
** You’ve probably already picked up on this at some point, but yes, I work for Elizabeth part-time as a production seamstress (my ~main money~ income is being a personal assistant for another entrepreneur. Yeah. It rules.). I sew on some of the coolest industrial machines, handle gorgeous silks and linens all day, and watch a loooot of Netflix. It’s just as awesome as it sounds.

Completed: Ultimate Trousers

14 Aug

Hey look, here I am again – with another pair of polka dotted trousers! Are you surprised? Would you be surprised to know that I have another pair of dotty trousers sitting on my sewing table as we type speak? Do you think I have a problem? I’ve never considered myself a polka dot trouser kind of girl, but these sewing numbers don’t lie!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

This polka dot cotton sateen is actually an old spoil from the Mood Fabrics flagship store in NYC, which I bought while I was there in March. I knew I wanted to make pants with it – what pattern specifically, I couldn’t tell you, but pants for sure! I love using cotton sateen for pants as it’s usually a good weight with a nice, heavy stretch, and the colors are always so lovely and saturated. Plus – polka dots! Yesss!!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

The pattern I eventually ended up using is the Ultimate Trousers from Sew Over it. I actually tested this pattern ‘way back when earlier this year, to help get it ready for it’s print debut. I was on a pretty tight deadline during testing, which meant that I didn’t end up with a finished garment – just a muslin and a loooot of notes. This is actually pretty typical for me as a tester; I don’t always finish the pattern to the effect that it warrants a blog post! Once I got everything back to Lisa, I put the pattern on the backburner since the summer heat was starting to ramp up and I couldn’t handle the thought of wearing pants in this kind of humidity.

Anyway, we’ve got promises of cooler weather lurking on the horizon, which means it’s PANTSSS TIMEEEEE! Yay!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

I did make a few changes to the pattern, both for fitting and general style. Let’s go over the fitting stuff first. Every time I make trousers, I end up doing the same adjustments across the board, especially if the pattern doesn’t include a front zip fly. I realize that trousers are kind of a scary subject for a lot of sewers, so I’m going to show y’all what I do in my fitting and hopefully that’ll shed some light on the whole matter (and even more hopefully – prove that they really aren’t so scary to fit!).

I don’t have muslin photos of this particular pattern, but I do have muslin photos from my archives (super unflattering muslin photos, I might add! Ha!) back when I made the Colette Clovers. Different patterns, but the concept is similar.

 photo CIMG0016.jpg
See all those horizontal wrinkles allll over my damn crotch? This is an indication that the crotch is way too long for me – so it’s wrinkling. The easiest way to fix this is to pinch out the excess into a long horizontal line, and transfer that to your pattern piece with slashing and taping. I’m petite, and while my torso is a pretty standard length, my crotch length is on the short side. So this is an adjustment that I have to make with *most* trouser/pant patterns. The amount can vary depending on the pattern – obviously the Clovers needed a lot taken out, and the Ultimate Trousers didn’t take much (and I just made a pattern the other day that I had to remove 2″ from!) But it’s a common adjustment for me, and this is what it looks like.

 photo CIMG0006-1.jpg
Same muslin, back view – see how tight the ass is? Like, not even flattering tight, just imma-bust-outta-here-like-a-jailbreak tight. This is fixed by adding a wedge to the back crotch depth pattern piece. How much you add will depend on how much room you need (the Ultimate Trousers didn’t need any, but the Clovers clearly needed a lot), but you can easily hack this alteration by just cutting a bigger size right there at the back crotch (this picture from Sunni’s Trouser Sewalong shows where to add length – right in that blue circle).

clover close-up
Here’s a pair of Clovers where I fixed the length issue, but now there’s some weird puffiness around, well, my crotch. Isn’t that flattering! You guys, this particular fit issue took me a LONG time to figure out because it seemed so weird – but it’s really not. Basically, my crotch requires a different shaped crotch curve than what is drafted for most patterns. I’m a J shape, and the majority of patterns I sew are an L shape. This is a stupid easy adjustment – you literally just redraw the curve, and once you’ve done it on one pattern, you can trace that curve to every pattern thereafter. For the first pattern, you’ll have to eyeball it (or find a pair of pants that fits and copy that crotch curve) and adjust until you get it right, which might take a couple tries. Once I figured that out – what it looked like, how to fix it – that really opened the floodgates of trouser making for me. Also, you should read this post on the Fashion Incubator.

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers
Here is my front pattern piece with the adjusted crotch shape – I’ve already redrawn and cut my piece out, but I put it back on the table so you could see the difference in the curves. For whatever reason, I don’t need quite as aggressive a crotch curve when I’m making pants that have a front fly – it’s just trousers with a smooth front (especially if it’s sewn in a stretch woven).

You can also see where I tucked out the length horizontally. I didn’t take a photo of the back piece, but I sliced that length to hinge, and the side front has the same removal of length with it tapering to nothing at the center back/crotch, if that makes sense.

So yep, those are my pants adjustments! I know they might seem confusing, and to be honest – I learned all this when I was going through my Clover saga a few years ago (never got those pants to fit right, but I sure learned a lot in the process!). It was a LOT of trial and error, but hopefully my notes will help a least a few people go through less trial and error :) As you can see, there aren’t a whole lot of adjustments needed to get a good fit on pants – but they all work together, and each one affects the other (and they are all adjustments that need to be made BEFORE cutting your fabric, which is why a muslin is SO essential when making pants!). For more fitting help, I strongly recommend investing in a copy of Pants for Real People, which is basically a pants-fitting Bible. So much good information in there, I use that book often!

Ok, now that THAT’S out of the way – let’s go back to talking about this pattern, and the style adjustments I made!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers
Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

This pattern is designed to be worn cropped (or as shorts), with a faced waistline. I have learned that I really don’t care for faced waistlines, so I decided to add a waistband to my pants. I didn’t draft a waistband – I just used the facing pieces and flipped them to the top as waistband pieces (and cut two, so I could face the waistband, as you do). I think, for me, these are a little more wearable with a proper waistband. For interfacing, I used tricot fusible, which I looove because it stabilizes the fabric but doesn’t compromise the stretch of the fabric (which is what makes the darn pants so comfy to begin with!).

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

I also kept the length on the longer side, which means I can wear them full-length in the winter (with cool socks!) or fold them up to make them cropped. This length is straight out of the pattern, by the way – I didn’t shorten anything, and I’m 5’2″. Just fyi!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

The one major design change I made to this pattern was to sew it in a stretch woven, as opposed to the firm woven (non-stretch) that the pattern calls for. For one, my muslin was a firm woven and I plain just didn’t like the way they felt! They were too restrictive! I like wearing stretch woven pants, ok. Also, it’s hard to find a good pants-weight print that isn’t a stretch woven, so there’s that. I think these are fine in the stretch fabric, although I should probably go back and size them down a little because I think the legs look kind of loose. I was trying to avoid the stovepipe legs look, just to try something different, but I think these do need a little less ease. These are a size 8, by the way!

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers

So that’s it! Thanks Lisa (and the Sew Over It team!) for letting me test this pattern, and being so patient with me taking months to make a finished wearable garment :) Londoners, if you’re still afraid to tackle the trousers, there is a whole class for making these (with tea and cakes, omg I wish I was in London) if you still wanna try them!

Those of y’all scared to try trousers – what are your thoughts? Do you think the process looks any easier? Are you going to throw caution to the wind and try anyway? Y’all – pants are fun!

* Oh yeah, and I cut my hair! I hope you like it! Well, I guess it doesn’t matter if you don’t like it – it’s not like I can stick it back on my head lololol

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