Tag Archives: fabric hoarding

V1419 Sewalong: Fabric Selection

29 Sep

Vogue Patterns V1419 Ralph Rucci coat pattern sewalong

Good morning & happy Monday, sewalongers! Today, we are going to talk about my favorite part of coat-making (or, really – any sewing project :) ) – fabric selection! Forreal, I could spend all day perusing fabrics and never feel like I’ve seen enough!
(psst – if you’re just here for the discount code, it’s at the bottom of this post :) FYI)

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, though, let’s take a minute and look at the original garment:

coat inspiration

A couple things that immediately come to mind when I see this picture-
1. As far as coats go, there is not a lot of ease in this guy. This is not your wear-everywhere-and-pile-the-thick-sweaters-underneath sort of coat – it’s very fitted and the shape is quite dramatic. Something to keep in mind while choosing your fabric!
2. To get that dramatic shape, we need a choose a fabric with quite a stiff drape and a very firm hand. The original coat is made of a sort of heavy wool garbadine backed with a stiff wool flannel. The resulting fabric is very substantial – stiff and sturdy enough to hold it’s shape. If you make this coat in a fabric with a softer drape, you will not get the same end result. This could be good or bad, depending on how you want the finished coat to look!

Still having problems wrapping your head around the whole drape factor? Don’t know if you even want a coat that’s this dramatic and structured? Go ahead and start your muslin, using a fabric that is a similar weight to what you have in mind (if you can’t find muslin fabric with a stiff enough drape, try inexpensive cotton twill or even home decor fabric). That will give you a good idea of the drape you need to get the coat you want. For more information on fabric drape, check out this post I wrote a couple months ago!

Now let’s talk about possible fabric choices! With all big projects like this, I URGE you to swatch before you commit to anything! You don’t want to spend a lot of money on coating fabric, only to find out that the drape wasn’t as stiff as you were anticipating (been there, done that! And you can’t return fabric most of the time, argh!). Especially when it comes to the contrast for this coat – you want to make sure the colors work together, that the coating is the right weight/drape/hand, and that you actually *like* the way it looks in real life. I’m recommending these fabrics based on the website descriptions, but please don’t take my word for the gospel until you’ve actually touched it in real life.

Also, please keep in mind that this coat is UNLINED. You will want to choose a fabric that can easily slide over your arms – or you will need to underline the coat with something that serves that purpose. As far as I know, there’s not a way to completely line this particular coat (with all the insides hidden and all that). We will be covering underlining in this sewalong, we will NOT be covering lining. Consider yourself warned!

FOR WINTER-WEIGHT COATS WITH A STIFF DRAPE:
virgin wool
For a dense and warm coat with a nice stiff hand, you can’t go wrong with virgin wool. This fabric is not quite as stiff as the original – it will still hold that nice bell shape at the sleeves and skirt, but with softer folds. Virgin wool is actually what I bought for my coat – in a beautiful lipstick red :)

felt
Another great option that will provide lots of warmth and structure is wool felt. Definitely swatch this – you don’t want it to be too thick for all those seams!

boiled wool
Similar to wool felt but not as dense is heavy flannel coating. Check out that purple!

wool twill
I really love wool twill for a nice dense coating. Wool twill comes in many weights, so make sure it’s heavy enough to give the structure this coat needs.

wool twill
Here’s another nice, heavy wool twill – this one is from Marc Jacobs!

wool coating
Classic wool coatings, such as this dark turquoise solid coating will also work, as long as they are stiff enough to give the effect you want.

plum coating
This plum coating is pre interfaced!

velvet
Looking forsomething a little more fancy? Up the luxe factor with this italian velvet.

metallic brocade
Another great fabric option for this pattern (one that I believe Meg is using for her coat – although hers is this beautiful double-sided brocade!) is brocade. I love this metallic brocade!

brocade
Also, this floral brocade if you’re dying to stand out a little more.

silk brocade
Or you could go all out with this bright pink ribbed silk brocade, because YES.

FOR WINTER-WEIGHT COATS WITH A SOFTER DRAPE:
silk wool
How gorgeous is this silk wool? This fabric would give you a much softer drape than the ones above – think less of an exaggerated bell shape for the skirt and sleeves, and softer folds at the arms.

cashmere
Of course, you can’t go wrong with black cashmere coating – a true classic!

cashmere-wool
Doesn’t this wool cashmere coating just look SO snuggly? It’d be like wearing a blanket 24/7.

boiled wool
For a lighter wool weight with a very soft drape, consider boiled wool. I just love this bright purple color!

FOR A LIGHTER-WEIGHT COAT:
cotton twill
Those of y’all with milder winters – no worries, I’ve got ya covered! You have a few options for making this coat in a lighter weight, while still retaining the dramatic shape. First up – consider cotton twill! I love this organic cotton twill – especially that hot pink color, yes! – but any cotton twill will work as long as it’s heavy enough to hold it’s shape. Try to avoid anything with lycra (or any stretch), as it will make sewing this coat more difficult.

silk faille
You could also make a very beautiful, very dressy lightweight coat out of silk faille.

cotton sateen
Want the shine of the silk without the price tag? Try cotton sateen – again, be sure you are getting one with no stretch and a heavier weight.

denim
I’m thinking this coat would also look really cool (in a super casual way) if it was made up in denim! Am I crazy? Give it some gold topstitching and brass buttons and it’s like the fanciest denim jacket in the world. This heavyweight Theory denim even comes pre-interfaced!

Obviously there are many, many more options for coating – including non-natural fibers (I’m not linking these because I personally don’t like to wear or sew with polyester anything! Sorry!) – but this should be enough to get the ideas flowing. In the meantime, let’s talk about underlining and contrast fabrics.

FOR UNDERLINING AND/OR CONTRAST:
For my coat, I knew I needed to underline with something because I’d otherwise have a difficult time pulling the coat on. I initially thought about using silk chaurmeuse, because I just love it, but ultimately decided to stick with the stiff drape theme and use silk taffeta. Silk taffeta is also recommended for all the contrast (as is chaurmeuse, but just between you and me – I don’t recommend the latter. Unless you just looove sewing bias chaurmeuse binding; in that case, don’t let me stop you!), so I actually bought two colors. I love silk taffeta! Obviously, you can use poly taffeta if that’s all your budget allows – but I like the added warmth that silk provides, so that’s why I went with that. Anyway, if you are underlining – you will want to buy the same amount of underlining as you are coating fabric. For contrast, buy whatever the pattern instructs you to buy.

silk taffeta
Check out this kelly green silk taffeta from Oscar de la Renta! Swanky! For something a little more understated, there is also this caviar black silk taffeta from Ralph Lauren.

poly taffeta
Love the look of silk taffeta but hate the price? There are also some beautiful polyester taffetas available, including this cool checked taffeta. This coat really isn’t suitable for plaids as the outside fabric – but as far as the contrast is concerned? Go for it!

For those of y’all who are not underlining and only need contrast for the binding, you might also consider shantung or dupioni. On a super budget? Check out cotton sateen.

Another thing to consider with the contrast fabric – there is contrast on both the outside of the coat (for the bound button holes, belt, and pocket), as well as the inside (bound seams). Keep in mind that, while the pattern is written for all contrast to be the same fabric – you don’t have to sew your coat that way. Use the fancy stuff for the outside, and bind the inside with something fun (even a woven cotton, if that’s your thing.). You’re the designer here! Just make sure to swatch so you know that you like the way your contrast looks next to your main fabric.

Couple more things, while on the fabric subject!
– Concerned about warmth, but don’t want to make the coat too bulky? Stick with natural fibers (wool coating, silk underlining) and consider interlining your coat with silk organza for an additional layer of warmth.
– Found your dream fabric but it’s just a *smidge* too drapey? Get some good interfacing and block-fuse that baby! Fashion Sewing Supply has a great super crisp interfacing, or even fusible hair canvas. FYI, this coat does not call for interfacing at all – so you only need to buy it if your fabric requires some extra heft.

Whew! I think that’s enough fabric talk for today. For sticking through it this far, I’ve got a discount for ya! Use the code “lladybird1013″ to get 10% off your entire order at Mood Fabrics (not including PV codes or dress forms). This code is good through 10/13/14, so you’ve got time to swatch :)

I promise I will share photos of my fabric as soon as I receive it (still stalking the mailbox, daily. Ha!). In the meantime – what about you? What fabrics are you eyeballing? Do you have any fun ideas for the contrast? Is your coat a lighter weight? Let’s talk!

One last thing – time to announce the Sewtionary Giveaway winner! Lucky number generator says:

winner1

winner2

Congratulations, Jin! Crossing your scissors apparently worked :) I’ll be in touch to get that book out to ya asap :) Everyone else – if you’d like to pick up your own copy of the Sewtionary, you can order a signed copy at the Sewaholic website. The Sewtionary is also available on Amazon!

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OAL: Choosing Your Fabric and Size

2 Jun

Time to kick the sewing portion of this OAL! Wheee!!

Today, we will be going over fabric options and choosing your size. Just a head’s up – I know a lot of y’all already have your material picked out, and may have even started sewing. That’s great! You are welcome to forge ahead if you so choose – my posts will be aimed at beginners, so don’t feel like you have to stick with the slow pace if it ain’t your thang. Those of you who have not chosen your fabric and/or plan to make a muslin, just be aware that you have a couple weeks until we actually start sewing. These posts will, of course, stay up long after the sewalong is over, so they will always be available for reference if ya need it :)

Ok, that’s out of the way – let’s talk fabric! A few of you mentioned that you’d like a little guidance on fabric, and I aim to please, so I’ve pulled a few pieces out of my stash to show you. Just a side note – the majority of these pieces are from Mood Fabrics. Not because they are sponsoring this OAL or anything – I just have a LOT of fabric from Mood. That’s all! I’ve linked to everything that you can get from the website, so you can buy it yourself if you so please. No sneaky affiliate links are hidden in this post, so feel free to click away :)

When it comes to choosing fabric, the first thing you want to decide is what you want your overall dress silhouette to be. The fabric you choose will ultimately determine if your dress is drapey, or has a skirt that likes to stand out on it’s own. Here’s an example – this is the same pattern I will be making for the sewalong (Simplicity 1803), sewn up in two completely different types of fabric:

Simplicity 1803
Version 1 was sewn up in a thick cotton eyelet that had a lot of body. There is a nice structure to the bodice, and look at the skirt – see how the pleats stand on their own? The thickness of the fabric help give the skirt some structure.

Simplicity 1803, v2
Version 2 was sewn in a drapey rayon fabric, which means the resulting dress is much softer. See how the pleats in the skirt look more like soft, draped folds? This fabric does not have a lot of body, so it hangs in soft drapes (I just think that’s so pretty!). The bodice does not have a lot of structure – the notch in the neckline has folded over itself over time (not really shown in this picture, but if you look at more recent photos of me wearing this dress you will see what I mean).

Still confused about how body and drape can affect how a pattern looks? Check out these two versions of my Tania culottes – version 1 is sewn in a lightweight drapey cotton, and version 2 is made in a nice linen/silk suiting with a lot of body. Both of those are made the in EXACT same size from the EXACT same pattern, but they are very different!

Hopefully those visuals will give you a good idea of how drape can affect the finished dress! How you want your dress to look is totally a matter of personal preference – however, I will point out that if you are concerned about adding bulk to your waist, you will probably want to stick with a drapey fabric. Anything with body will stand out at the gathers or pleats (however you decide to do the skirt), and it will make your waist look bigger. Just an fyi! I personally love the drapier stuff, but again, it’s totally up to you. If you’re having trouble envisioning how a particular fabric will drape and whether or not it has body, just hang some folds over your arm (or a chair, or whatever) and that should give you a good idea of how it’ll hang off your body. In the following pictures, I’ve hung my fabrics off my dressform so you can see what I’m talking about.

Once you’ve decided if you want a structured or drapey dress, now comes the time to pick fabric! The pattern gives you lots of options for various fabrics – and this is a pretty flexible style, so *most* anything will work as long as it’s not a knit.

OAL- Fabrics
If you’re a n00b to dressmaking and want something easy to work with, a lightweight cotton is my #1 suggestion! This is the fabric I will be using to make my dress for the OAL; it’s a lightweight cotton that I picked up at Mood while I was in NYC earlier this year. Cottons are great because they are easy to cut, press, and sew, and they feel wonderful to wear in the summer. Plus, they usually come in cool prints and colors! Other types of cottons to look for: cotton lawn, cotton bastiste, cotton voile, cotton shirting.

OAL- Fabrics
Here is a gorgeous cotton/silk blend that I just LOVE. Isn’t it beautiful? The addition of silk makes this a very lightweight, very drapey fabric – it’s practically tissue-weight. This fabric is also on the edge of being sheer, so an underlining is recommended.

OAL- Fabrics
Another good choice for this dress (assuming you want drapey) is rayon! This gorgeous rayon challis was sent to me from Grey’s Fabric!

A word on rayon: Rayon is amazingggg to wear, one of my favorite fibers. It’s also a big giant pain to sew, because it’s very shifty. I would not recommend this fabric if you are brand-new to sewing, but do give it a thought if you’re up for a challenge! It is absolutely worth the extra effort, I promise.

OAL- Fabrics
Here’s another drapey challis that looks and hangs similar to the rayon, except it’s polyester. Poly is a nice cheap alternative to rayon, although be warned that it is a little more difficult to press due to the nature of the fibers. This fabric is from Metro Textiles in NYC.

OAL- Fabrics
Another lovely choice is a lightweight chambray! This one is from my man Sam at Chic Fabrics in NY.

OAL- Fabrics
Here’s a lightweight cotton dotted swiss that has a little bit of body – see how it stands away from the form? This is another fabric that would benefit from an underlining as it’s a bit sheer. Also, I’m just now remembering how pretty this fabric is (from Mood in NYC) and why the FUCK haven’t I sewn anything out of it yet??

OAL - Fabric
Ooh oooh I LOVE this fabric!! This is a mediumweight silk crepe, also from Mood NYC. Silk crepe is great because the “grabby” texture makes it easier to sew than most silks, and it has a lovely drape and very saturated colors.

OAL- Fabrics
The last of my drapey options – cotton gauze. This stuff very lightweight – it’s semi-sheer and almost floaty – but it does have a little bit of body (compare it to the cotton/silk near the top). This fabric is *also* from Mood NYC. Haha that place is awesome.

Moving onto the more bodylicious of the fabric options…

OAL- Fabrics
Linen is, of course, always a good choice! This is a medium weight linen. There’s a fair amount of body in the fabric – which will show in the gathers – but it has a nice drape that results in soft folds.

OAL- Fabrics
You could always go with my ol’ TNT, eyelet :) I think eyelet (or any lace in general) is a beautiful option for this pattern. Just keep in mind that you will need to underline the dress so it’s not see-through. This fabric is from Muna’s, but I’ve seen similar ones at different retailers.

OAL- Fabrics
The pattern suggests silk Shantung as a fabric option, so here’s what that looks like! Notice how the fabric practically stands up on it’s own – silk Shantung (and dupioni, for that matter) has a very crisp drape before it’s washed.

OAL- Fabrics
If you’ve ever been curious to know what silk Shantung looks like after it’s been washed, here ya go! This striped Shantung originally looked more like the silk above – very stiff with a definite sheen – but after a go in the washer and dryer, it’s softened up quite a bit and has a much more subtle luster. It definitely still has a good amount of body, but the drape is much softer now.

OAL- Fabrics
Hahaha how’s this for body? :P This is a polyester brocade, with lurex for sparkles. It’s probably not for the meek, sure, but I think it would look awesomeeee in this pattern!

OAL- Fabrics
Finally, here’s a stretch cotton sateen. I don’t want to say I don’t recommend this fabric- because, honestly, it would be fine for this pattern – but it wouldn’t be my first choice. I personally don’t care for the way stretch wovens hang- I think they always look a little stiff and awkward. If you have your heart set on a stretch woven, go on with your bad self, but I do suggest that you consider sizing down since the stretch factor will give you a bit more room. Fabric is from Mood NYC, btw!

Speaking of sizing, let’s talk about that now!

The back of the pattern has sections for body measurements and suggested sizes. Just ignore that. If you go by what the pattern tells you to do, you are gonna end up with some sad sack of a dress headed straight for frumpsville.

I always (always always always- regardless of indie designer or Big 4) base my pattern size off the finished measurements. Too often, patterns come with a lot of extra ease built in (ease= the difference between your actual measurements and the measurements of the garment in question), which usually ends up being too big for how I like to wear my clothes. I figured out a looong time ago that the finished measurements generally give you a better idea of fit, so that’s what I go by now.

For the sake of keeping things simple, I’m just showing the Simplicity pattern, but this works for pretty much any pattern. Every company has a different place they like to print the finished measurements- some do it on the pattern pieces, some do it on the envelope, some include it in the instructions, oh, and some don’t include it at all! – so you may have to hunt it down. For those companies who don’t include their finished measurements (also: Really??? No seriously, how hard is it to add a least add that information??), I’m afraid you’ll have to measure your pattern pieces and subtract the seam allowances. Sorry! Simplicity prints their finished measurements at key fitting points – the bust, waist, and hips.

OAL - Sizing
Take a look at your front bodice piece and you should see the measurements. This tells you what measurement the bust will be, assuming you made no modifications and kept the same seam allowance. Your ease preferences are completely up to you, but I personally like about 1/2″ of ease or less as I wear my clothes very fitted. If you don’t know how much ease you like, measure a dress you have that fits the way you like and that should give you an idea. A good rule of thumb is that you want to aim for 1/2″-2″ in the bodice, depending on how fitted you want the final dress to be. Anything more than 2″ runs the risk of looking too big.

OAL - Sizing
Here are the finished bust measurements. Fun fact: according to Simplicity’s measurements on the envelope, I should be sewing a size 10 as I exactly fit those body measurements. Looking at the finished measurements, I’m going to sew a 4, as 33.5″ is the perfect amount of ease for my 32.5″ bust. If I went by the envelope, my size 10 would have a finished measurement of 36.5″ – a whopping 4″ above my actual measurements. That’s pretty loose-fitting – too much for me! So I’m going with the 4. You may find that the size you cut is smaller than the size indicated on the envelope – or you may like the amount of ease, and want to stick with that. Either one is fine! The only thing that matters here is that you end up with a dress that fits the way YOU like.

OAL - Sizing
After you’ve decided what size to cut the bodice based on the finished measurements, find the waist measurements and proceed the same way. Again, I’m going with the 4 because I like very little ease at my waist- and that 10 would be much too big for me.

You may or may not be the same size throughout the pattern – perhaps you’re one size at the bust, and a different one at the waist. That’s fine! You can grade between sizes to get a custom fit – just mark the size you want at each point, and use a ruler to connect the lines at an angle. That’s it! If you find that you are between sizes, then I suggest going with the bigger size, as it is easier to take something in than let it out. Keep in mind that this pattern includes a 5/8″ seam allowance, so that does give you a little bit of room to play with.

A few more things to consider (sorry, I know this is long, but I swear I’m wrapping up!)
– Make sure to prewash your fabric! You absolutely don’t want it to shrink after you’ve made it into a dress (talk about a huge bummer!), so get that taken care of now. Prewashing means you just treat the fabric the same way you will launder the finished garment. I throw mine in the wash on cold (cottons, rayons, silks, polys – everything except wool gets a prewash) and hang it to dry if it’s sunny out (not because I’m opposed to the dryer – but because I’m opposed to ironing. All my handmades get hung to dry because I hate dealing with wrinkles!). It can be helpful to serge or zigzag the raw edges before washing, just so the fabric doesn’t fray.
– Does the fabric need an underlining? Does it feel nice against your body and is it opaque enough that you feel comfortable wearing it? I will not be covering underlining in this OAL, but you can reference my post on underlining here if you’d like more guidance (The dress I was making in that post is the same black eyelet one posted near the top, fyi :) ).
– If your fabric is on the thicker side, consider using a lightweight fabric for the facings to reduce bulk. I usually go with cotton broadcloth for this purpose – it’s cheap, it’s stable, it’s lightweight, it does the job – but you can use anything you want.
– Planning on matching stripes or plaids? Make sure you buy enough fabric! An addition 1/2-1 yard should be fine (err on the side of more if you have any suspicion that you might need to recut – better to have too much than not enough!)
– You will also need interfacing and a zipper to complete the pattern. For interfacing, I recommend this lightweight fusible from Fashion Sewing Supply – it’s the best! Really! You can use whatever interfacing you want, just make sure it is the right weight for your fabric. *Most* fabrics are ok with lighweight fusible, though. As far as zippers – I like standard lapped zippers for this pattern, but you can use an invisible if that’s what you prefer (unless your fabric is very thick; in that case, I recommend using a lapped zipper as an invisible won’t be strong enough). Either one works as long as it’s 16″!
– If you have not made this pattern before and you are still unsure of what size to choose, make a muslin! This can be as simple as just cutting the bodice pieces (don’t worry about the facings) out of old fabric and inserting a zipper so you can get an idea of the fit. In addition to helping you determine that the finished dress *will* fit you, it will also give you a little practice with sewing the bodice before you cut into your nice fabric. I will not be covering muslins in this sewalong, due to time, but I am happy to help you assess fit if you need some assistance. Just holler at me – leave a comment on this post, tag me on Instagram (please make sure your account is public, otherwise, I won’t be able to see your post!), or link me in the OAL Ravelry Thread – and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can :) You can try Twitter, but I’m only getting about 1/3 of my notifications when they happen so that’s probably not the best way to reach me, fyi.

Ok, that’s all for today! Sorry this post was so long! Next week, we will cover cutting your fabric and marking your pattern pieces.

A Weekend in NYC

20 Mar

After a whirlwind of a weekend in NYC (landing in on Friday evening and rolling out Monday afternoon – whew!), I’m happy to report that I’m back home in one piece. Minus the piece of my broken heart that I left with Clare. Sob! But maybe I should back up a little…

Fair warning: this is a word-heavy, stolen-picture-heavy post. Feel free to scroll by – or at least to the bottom, to check out who won the giveaway! Sorry if this sounds super rushed – we cancelled our internet (in search of a new provider) and I’m trying to publish before it turns off! ~living on the edge~ and all that.

It’s been exactly over a year since the last time I visited NYC and I think it was just in time – I’ve used up nearly all my fabric, time to buy moreeee!! For this round, I shacked up with Clare in the tiniest little studio apartment I’ve ever seen, in East Village across the street from Big Gay Ice Cream (and before you ask – we didn’t get any gay ice cream. It was WAY too cold!). Neither of us had been before, but we both fell in love with the area, especially all the punk stores that made us feel old and nostalgic (not to mention kind of hilarious at how the styles NEVER EVER change. Seriously! Brands and styles that I wore 10+ years ago… that were already old as hell, even back then. Oh, punk. So punk.). The apartment was fabulous, except when our “neighbor” decided to throw a several-hour long party on one night that ended up with me laying awake, listening to some chick blather on about convection ovens until the wee hours of the morning. But, don’t worry – we woke up bright and early the following morning, and made sure to turn the TV (you know, the one that was attached directly to his wall) up nice and loud for a couple of hours :)

Our first meet-up happened right after I landed and made my way from the airport to our pad, dropped my stuff off, and dipped right back out. We had planned to get tacos & margaritas with a handful of ladies, and per usual, I made sure we were a good hour late (what? Don’t look at me like that – navigating the subway with a giant suitcase during rush hour is hard). I sat at the end of the table with Jennifer & Betsy, and an endless supply of margaritas ;) (although I hear there was some talk of fat quarter challenges at the opposite end – I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that conversastion, ha!).

post-dinner group

A few of our party had already peaced out by the time Carolyn convinced a rando to take this photo, but here’s a portion of the group! Look at my creepy skeleton hands, HA!

Most everyone went home afterwards, but the real badasses of the group (me, Jennifer, Lucinda & Fleur) stuck it out for another round of drinks at some fancy winebar with a creepy bathroom. Which was WAY more awesome than it sounds, ha! I love meeting up with big groups, but I also like these little smaller sets because it gives me more of a chance to actually talk to people one-on-one and have a proper conversation.

Saturday morning, Clare & I headed out to Devra’s for a pre-meetup brunch. We were only a couple miles away, so we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous morning and walk (and only made it about half an hour late ;)). Brunch was, per usual, fucking amazing – and although someone forgot the coffee (cough cough), Devra did make sure that we ate off paper plates this go ’round, so no dishes were broken this year :)

INSTAFRANZ  @oonaballoona @wwndw
Me with Marcy & Lisette

me!
Oh, yeah, my hair is blue now! :)

Marcy & Trice
Marcy & Trice

Amanda, Lisette & Jennifer
Amanda, Lisette & Jennifer

Amity, Nette & Kelli
Amity, Wanette & Kelli

Kelli & Peter
Peter & Kelli (in case you were wondering… her hair really looks that good in real life. Clare & I were amazed and a little jealous).

After brunch, we walked down toward the Garment District – only about a half hour late! No biggie! Ha! GUYS, I swear… I actually am pretty prompt and on-time for the most part. I HATE waiting on late people, so I try not to ever be that person. However, something about NY just makes me late for every freaking thing I try to do. Thankfully, the group didn’t get started without us – everyone was waiting patiently in the lobby at Mood Fabrics, and we were able to ride the elevators up together in a couple trips.

Should have taken this before half the meet-up left haha. Oh well! Successful day!!  (ps ladies pls tag yourselves )

This is only a portion of the crew! Didn’t think to get a group shot before we released the hounds into Mood, boo, so about half the people left before this picture was taken. Of course, I also didn’t realize that Mood closes at 4 on Saturdays… and since we all arrived after 1, that didn’t leave much time to get around the rest of the Garment District! We barreled through Mood and wreaked some serious havok on the lines in that store – I think at one point it stretched all the way to the back by the bathroom! Although I spent most of my chatting up new friends via meet-up, freaking out over the gorgeous silk button hole twist that Madalynne brought for everyone (who brings that sort of stuff to pass out at a meet-up? Maddie, that’s who!), and kicking it with my favorite Mood Dude, George. Seriously, y’all. George is awesome.

We managed to make a quick pit stop at Pacific Trimming before they closed, grabbed a bite at Ben’s Diner across the street, and posed with our favorite tailor on the street corner.

Just being adorable with @clareyszabo

The rest of the weekend, Clare and I trolled around the city with whoever we could convince to join us – Amity, Trice, Devra & Sonja. We ended up going to the Garment District three days in a row – yes, there are totally shops open on Sunday, woohoo! – where I was finally able to meet my self-imposed fabric quota. Also, we totally tourist’d it up at places like FAO Schwarz (for the live toy soldiers), Tiffany’s (for the sparklies) & Saks 5th Ave (for lurking inside the designer duds – oh yes we did).

stole these from Clareeeee

@clareyszabo and I hanging with our new BFF #toysoldiermark

stole these from Clareeeee
This may be my favorite picture from the weekend. We dipped into Chic Fabrics and made BFFz with the owner, Sam. BFFz as in we are now planning a pool party at his house on Long Island, and Clare started snapping selfies that I tried to photobomb. Sam was awesome. Almost as awesome as the fabric I bought from his store :P

One thing I would have LOVED to do while I was around, had I been given a little more time (and perhaps the weather been a bit more cooperative), was to check out the tours at Seek. I reeeeeally wanted to do the NY Garment District Tour (or, hell, all their public tours sound pretty amazing. I’m dying to try that Fifth Ave department store history tour!), but it just wasn’t in the cards for this trip, due to weather and time restraints. I’ve had a few people ask for suggestions on places to visit in NY (from a tourist’s perspective), so that would definitely be the first thing at the top of my list to check out (psst! Want a discount? Use the code LLADY!). Next time I go, I am DEFINITELY getting signed up for at least one tour!

Another thing I was sad to miss was checking out Workroom Social – especially after a full night of getting my gab on with Jennifer! Again, I do want to plan a trip back in the summer, so hopefully we can make it happen!

I reckon y’all wanna see what I came home with though, huh?

fabric haul
Here’s the whole lot of fabric! I was pretty good this time around and spent a lot less than I did last year (also, hoping this can convince me to come back later this summer to restock, YES). Mostly cottons and knits, although there are a couple of pieces of silk in there.

Most everything came from Mood Fabrics, with a few exceptions-
– the chambray, plaid, and china silk came from Chic Fabrics (225 W 39th St # 11, New York, NY 10018) (our beloved Sam! GO SEE HIM and buy up allll the china silk like I did!)
– the grey/black/rust stripes and aqua with black polka dots came from Metro Textiles (Carolyn has a recent review on this place. It is really awesome to dig through, the prices are great, and I LOVED Kashi. Love love loved him. Go find him and tell him I sent you! I would have loved to spend a million hours in that store, pawing through fabrics, but we were on quite a time constraint by the time we managed to get in there.)
– the navy/white wide stripes and navy/white polka dots came from… I think Fabrics for Less? I honestly don’t remember, because I didn’t fall in love with anyone there, ha!

trims!
I also bought a few trims from Pacific Trimming. Rib knit – one with GOLD SPARKLY STRIPES, and one white stripes – and my first Riri zipper! That shit cost me $15, by the way. It better be as epic as everyone talks about.

OMG
Also from Pacific Trimming, this amazing American Flag elastic. I… what?

Speaking of Carolyn, she was kind enough to let Clare & I stash our giant stacks of luggage (I had one of those suitcases that was big enough for me to fit inside, plus an overstuffed duffel bag. All full of fabric, haha!) in her office on our last day, so we could pop back to the Garment District and get a quick Guinness before I had to leave for the airport. Carolyn mentions on her blog that she works in corporate, and she is NOT kidding – that office was corporate and swanky as hell! They had to take photos of us to even let us in, and then she gave us a tour and I don’t think we closed our mouths the entire time. And, of course, Carolyn was impeccably dressed – in handmade. Also, I just adore Carolyn. She’s like my mama bird of the sewing world ♥

One last celebration with my babez @clareyszabo

All in all, I had an amazing time. Clare was a wonderful traveling partner who felt the same way I did about every decision we encountered – whether or not we needed more coffee (always), if we felt up to walking instead of taking the subway (hell yeah we did!) and if the Garment District warranted just oneeeeee more trip before we left (what do you think?). She even brought me presents all the way from London – soo many teas, and a gorgeous African print wax fabric that I’m kind of afraid to cut into (see it in the haul photo? Bottom right!). I really did feel like I was leaving a tiny piece of my heart back there when I had to finally go home. Which just means I better haul my ass over to London, STAT!

As far as meet-ups, I’m so glad I was able to squeeze in soo many in the short time I was there (and bummed that a couple that we planned weren’t able to pan out). Everyone says this, all the time, but it’s really awesome getting to meet up with people who share the same interests as you and are happy to hear you drone on about your fitting adjustments and offer advice. Also: having met up with lots of bloggers across all channels, I gotta say – sewists are the nicest ones in the bunch, across the board! In these meet-ups, I never feel like I’m competing for a chance to talk (you know those people who you can tell are just waiting for a dip in the conversation so they can butt in and take over? Yep. Not a sewist trait, at least not with the ones I’ve met!) or carrying on about something that’s really obvious no one gives a shit about. Everyone is polite, encouraging, and happy to let you try on their jacket if you are interested in the pattern (ask Clare about that bomber jacket. I about stole it right off of her, ha!). Ohh, and we all tip well :) If you’re thinking about joining a meet-up in your area – DO IT. So much fun, so many new friends and new blogs to follow! The best part is when you can pick out who is wearing what pattern – I think there were, what, 4 Minorus at our meet-up? Too bad I left mine at home!

Oh yeah, I went there ❤️
So, anyway… New York, I ♥ U. I’ll be back, yes indeed.

One more thing – the book+pattern giveaway! Um, WOW you guys – I cannot believe the enormous response that blew my email up all week. Y’all must really love you some sewing textbooks, that’s all I have to say about that!

But, like all good things – this has got to come to an end, so let’s pull up a winner. Ding ding, who’s the lucky number?

winner1

winner2

That would be Sam L! Woohoo, congratulations! I’ll be in touch to get you your book & pattern :) I think you’ll find this book very helpful for learning all the techniques that come with making pants :)

Thanks to everyone who entered! I really really wish I had a copy of this book to give to ALL of y’all – but unfortunately, I only got one :(. If you are interested, you can purchase the book here on Amazon. As a side note (and perhaps this is better suited for a discussion post, maybe?), I noticed that an overwhelming majority of commenters seemed to be really terrified of sewing button holes and zippers. I’m going to let you in on a my top tip for learning new things: just try it! Who cares if your first attempt ends up to be total crap (err… maybe try on a scrap first, so it can truly be nbd, ha!)? That’s why we hide things at the bottom of the trash can :) Almost everything I’ve learned – seriously, everything – came from studying sewing books and tireless googling. Practicing is really the only way you can get better at something, and you need a healthy dose of fearlessness to realize that it’s really not so bad once you get going. You got this!!

Whew, that was long! Ok, I’m outta here! Have a great week of the week, everyone! :)

Christmas Wishies – 2013 Edition

16 Dec

I reckon I’m a little late to the game this year with my wishlist (honestly, I’ve been having a bit of a bummer month so I haven’t really felt much of the ~Christmas spirit~ if ya know what I mean. Not a sob story, just statin’ facts!), but better late than never! There’s sooo much good stuff out there this year that I’ve got eye on; the hunt is almost as fun for me as actually receiving something! Take a look…

THE PATTERNS:

portsidecover
Ever since Jen released the Portside Travel Set, I’ve been dying to make my own! I don’t know what the deal is, but something about having matching luggage just makes me so, so happy. I would make mine in this striped cotton twill with accents of organic cotton twill. Well, that’s a safe version – have you seen some of the awesome twills on Mood Fabrics, lately?? Check out this
crazy Art Deco print and this paisley twill.

One thing I really want to explore this next year is trying some new pattern companies! I love the indie offerings we all obsess over, with their lovely packaging and clear instructions, but I also really want to try something that’s a little less spoon-fed, just to stretch my sewing muscles. I have heard a lot about Marfy Patterns, over the years and even through some blog comment encouragement, and I’ve been casually browsing the offerings and really falling in love with some of the patterns! Check them out -

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Marfy 2758, the glam coat dress.

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Marfy 3015, the pintucked Redingote coat

M2240
Marfy 2240, the ruffly-collared riding coat

Aren’t they beautiful?? True, I’ve been put off by Marfy for many years (the patterns don’t include instructions, seam allowances, multi-sizes, etc), and part of me is slightly concerned that the smallest size is a little too big for me (I should be wearing a size 40 according to their size chart). But, I want to try them! 2014, let’s make it my year!

Another pattern company I’ve been lurking on lately is Stylearc. Some seriously cool, seriously fashion-forward (lolz, like I’m a fashion-forward kind of dresser. WHATEVS). They’re pretty expensive when you factor in shipping, but they reviews are pretty much raves across the board. And there are definitely some styles I don’t see anywhereeeee else. Check them out:

ALISHA-DRESS
The Alisha Dress, a beautiful lace sheath with a matching slip pattern. Like I need more excuses to get my lace on.

ZIGGI-JACKET
The Ziggi Jacket. GUYS IT’S A MOTO JACKET, GUYS I WANT IT.

STACIE-JACKET
The Stacie Jean Jacket. Gah, I’m dying over this one. I love denim jackets but I can neverrrr find one that fits the way I like. I altered an old one I had laying around, but the construction is subpar at best and, honestly, I want to just make one. This pattern looks fabulous.

S3514
I really love these 1940s dresses, like Simplicity 3514. I don’t even care how twee they are – I’d even go the extra mile and make it SUPER TWEE with some Marc Jacobs daisy print fabric because, yes.

M7399
I also love this jacket pattern, McCall 7319 (what is it with me and jackets lately? IT’S NOT EVEN THAT COLD HERE). I could totally see this made up in a lovely charcoal alpaca wool, lined with a plaid wool (!!!) flannel.

THE FABRIC:
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I was recently gifted the Aubépine dress from Deer & Doe and I’ve been having a lot of fun looking through my fabric options! Wouldn’t it look lovely in this Marc Jacobs dotted cotton/silk?

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Another contender is this floral cotton silk voile. A bit summery for sure, but could easily be layered up for the current season.

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Wouldn’t this floral velveteen be perfect for a pair of Chataigne winter shorts? Also in my lurk: mink solid velvet. YUM.

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Love this leopard stretch cotton twill, I can imagine it made into a pair of skinny stretch jeans. Just need to find me some new boots!

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Soo, I reckon y’all have seen By Hand London’s newest pattern, the Georgia dress, yes? I have a copy burning a hole in my pattern cabinet, and I’m DYING to make it up, but I haven’t settled on a good fabric yet. Something glittery or brocade-y (or even sequin-y, for the masochist sewist in me) is high on my list for a fun party dress. Then I discovered this stretch buffalo plaid. Amazing! I need all the plaids, all of them.

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I’m really digging this Marc Jacobs star cotton fabric. Couldn’t you see this made up in a woven skater dress?

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Mood actually has this navy zigzag sweater knit in several other color combos, but the blue is my favorite. The perfect little knit wiggle dress!

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I also can’t get enough of all the gorgeous special occasion fabric I have been seeing lately. Like this Carolina Herrera rose brocade

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And this Italian metallic brocade

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And ESPECIALLY this Oscar de la Renta polka dot silk taffeta. bleeechhhhh get in my life!

vichy_square
Gingham jersey? SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.

THE OTHERS:
rooster
Still obsessing over Jamie’s jewelry. I recently got this peacock necklace, but that doesn’t stop me from checking out the other goodz she has available. Love this Rooster necklace! You know I would totally turn wearing that into a neverending dirty joke ;)

Simflex1
Why don’t I have one of these expanding sewing gauge doohickeys?

71-FhaIYk2L._SL1500_
My current iron (a Rowenta that’s more than 6 years old) has been slowly dying over the past year – the shut offs are more frequent, and the water reservoir doesn’t hold for shit. A new pressing tool is definitely in the future, and I’ve been eyeballing this gravity feed iron for what seems like forever. Fingers crossed that Santa heard my wishies!

BLCS2_1_med
File this under things that I really really want but can’t afford – a coverstich machine! I know, there are other brands that are equally loved, but I’m a Babylock girl when it comes to my sergers and the like. I’ve tested this machine in the past, several years ago (yeah, I guess I’ve been lurking on this for a while!) and it’s fucking amazing. Totally deserves a spot in my sewing room.

Hey, putting this post together was really fun! Like shopping without actually spending money (or getting product, but let’s not think about that right now). I love it!

A couple more things while I have your attention!

First, I owe y’all a giveaway winner. Random number generator says….
wins

winsss

Lauren Talley! Congratulations, Lauren! Great name ;) hee! Expect an email from me soon!

For everyone who inquired about the sewing prints being in Joanna’s shop… I believe they will be offered soon, but give her a couple of weeks because she’s in the process of getting married :) So sit tight!

Finally, can I ask a tiny favor of my local/Nashville readers? I have a friend who is doing some research for a local fabric store (and I swear, this is not a thinly disguised “friend” who’s really me, or anything like that. Promise!) and she needs a few more opinions. If you’re in the Nashville/Middle Tennessee area, or come here frequently to buy fabrics, she would loooove your opinion to help her research. Click here to take survey. Again, local people only, please! I love you all but your buying habits on the other side of the country are not relevant for this particular purpose ;)

Ok, I guess that’s it! Now let’s get back to the fun part: PRESENTS. What’s on your wishlist this year?

My Trip to Chicago!

7 Oct

Oops, I meant to write this post last week. Oh well, better late than never, right? :)

So, Chicago! While I was only there for a very short time (came in Friday night, left Monday afternoon), I obviously had a fabulous time – and managed to squeeze in a lot of awesome. Which, squeezing in awesome is what vacation is all about, yeah?

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I rode the Megabus from Nashville to Chicago – god bless, that shit is cheap! And not much longer than actually driving myself (without the hassle of driving, or dealing with a car when I got there. YUSSS). Megabus is awesome.

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I stayed with my friends Eliza and Brett, who were fabulous hosts (the kind who agree to do all the awful touristy things I wanted to do, like take pictures at the Bean and walk around the Viagra Triangle so I could touch the window to the Bentley dealership. It’s the little things). This picture was taken in the living room of their condo. Can we say SWANK? I felt so fancy all weekend.

Don't worry, we bought plenty of designer fabrics today @ddisciplines @itsmseliza111 @makizysews @grainlinestudio @GinaGemmel @megthegrand @zilredloh

My first order of business was to get my ass back to Vogue Fabrics to restock my dwindling fabric stash and raid their remnant section. Back up, my first order of business was to meet up with some lovely Chicago sewists at Heartland Cafe for a leisurely brunch before we descended into madness. Heartland Cafe was pretty awesome, in case you were wondering.

Vogue was, as to be expected, totally wonderful and totally overwhelming. I didn’t actually come with a set list (as my definite plans for sewing currently use up most of my stash), but I still managed to leave with a couple bags full of fabrics. Thanks to everyone who was able to come out for my impromptu meet-up! From left to right, we have Mari, my hostess with the mostess Eliza, Debbie, Jen, Gina, Meg, meeee (duh), and Liz. Such a great group, love you ladiessss!

I will save you from a boring touristy-recap post and instead go straight to the next day, Sunday – when we went to the Textile Discount Outlet! I had been meaning to visit this place when I was in Chicago last year, but it’s not open on Saturdays (lolwut), so it missed our meet-up day. Eliza, bless her, was more than willing to escort me around for fabric shopping, so I was pretty excited to experience the holy grail of cheapie fabrics in this city.

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Here I was dazzled by the wall of sequins…

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And also dazzled by a zipper that was not only taller than me (let’s be real, I’m 5’2″… everything is taller than me :P), it was also taller than Eliza! In hindsight, totally should have bought that zipper.

Fabric shopping part 2 was intense @ddisciplines @GinaGemmel @Tresbienmichell @itsmseliza111

The meet-up crew was smaller this day (Eliza is taking the picture), and still just as great! Mari & Gina tolerated me for a second day, and Michelle joined us! I really wish I had thought to sneak a picture of Gina’s shirt, btw – she was wearing a Renfrew and that V was fucking perfect. We were all admiring it, ha!

Suprisingly, I actually managed to spend more money at Textile than I did at Vogue (despite Textile being a bit cheaper). I also experienced a bit of a disconnect when I looked at prices too long – at first, $14/yard seems pretty legit (“Oh! That’s about what I’m used to paying!”), until you start getting overwhelmed with $3/yard options and then suddenly, anything over $8/yard seems like highway robbery. Anyone else get like that?

And then I took a fashion illustration class with @itsmseliza111 & @ddisciplines

Anyway, after Textile, Eliza & Mari went with me to take a short (2 hour, very informal) fashion illustration class. I gotta give Mari full credit for tracking that shit down and convincing me to go (and Eliza for agreeing to go with me! I told ya, best hostess!) – it was AWESOME. I never knew fashion illustration was something I’d get really into, but I got REALLY into it and look at my first little illustrated lady! Ahh!! Don’t worry, I’ve already gone to the art store and stocked up on watercolors and fancy paper. Anyone got a fashion illustration book they are looking to sell? ;)

A few random highlights from my trip-

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Found a gold velvet couch, fell in love.

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Walked to the Navy Pier, was somewhat underwhelmed UNTIL I DISCOVERED THE SWING RIDE.

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My roommate for the weekend :D

Bunny bomb

Who totally made himself at home on my fabric haul. The stash in general is uneventful enough where I don’t think they require individual pictures (lots of knits – sweatshirt, tissue, and sweater knits, I mean – a couple solid wools, wool-blend plaid, some lining, mehhh) – except I do want to point out that the upper right corner is a little pile of suede-backed faux sherpa (whyyyy?! WHY NOT, that’s what I said!!) and I also got a little chunk of leather (below the sherpa). I have no idea what I will do with either of these, gimme suggestions if you got ‘em!

I love Chicago and I was so happy to have a chance to travel up there for a short weekend fabric-shopping spree. Thanks to everyone who made it out to a meet-up, and for those who couldn’t – I’ll be back. Promise! I love this city!

Now if only New York & LA would cost $50 to visit ;)

I leave you with this -

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Landon sent this to me over the weekend. Amelia always sits there when either of us are showering and waits for us to get out. She’s such a creep.

I start my new job today!! Wish me luck :) Also, side note, but did you remember to enter the Draping giveaway? It closes on Wednesday!

Sewing Plans – Fall/Winter 2013

20 Sep

The best part about the season change is planning a new wardrobe, amirite? As my current plans appear to be spread all over the world (some on Pinterest, some on Flickr, some just in my head), I like to group it all into one place. So here we go!

Of course, there are the not-as-exciting basics – leggings and hoodies and sweaters. I also have specific plans for special patterns and fabrics, which can be a little harder to keep track of – hence this post. Obviously y’all don’t come to my blog for my stellar photography and photoshopping skills, so overlook that part, thnx. Also, I got way too into this and could have continued slapping pictures together and creating link parties here for the next 24 hours, but I made myself stop at 10. You are welcome.

Hawthorn
Pattern: Colette Pattern’s Hawthorn dress, with some sleeve modifications.
Fabric: Blue/Purple cotton plaid from my stash (srsly been hoarding this for a couple of years)

Tania
Pattern: Megan Nielsen’s Tania culottes
Fabric: Linen/Silk suiting blend, also from the stash. This stuff is so beautiful and I’ve never settled on a suitable pattern for it. The more I wear my summer Tanias, though, the more I love the idea of a flippy wool miniskirt. Except by skirt, I mean shorts ;)

Archer
Pattern: Grainline Studio’s Archer button-up
Fabric: Plaid Cotton Flannel. Actually, can I just make everything in flannel?

Anna
Pattern: By Hand London’s Anna Dress – short with slash neckline
Fabric: Sheer black with sparkly leaves all over, another stash piece. God, this stuff is amazing. I plan on wearing it over a black slip, instead of lining.

Zinnia
Pattern: Colette Pattern’s Zinnia skirt (the newest one!)
Fabric: Anna Sui Satin Panel print. I don’t know why I’m so in love with this print – nor am I sure it will actually fit on the skirt pattern pieces – but I’m willing to try.

Peter and the Wolf
Pattern: Papercut Pattern’s Peter & The Wolf Pants
Fabric: Stretch suiting (with flocked polka dots!) from Mood Fabric’s store. DREAM FABRIC, Y’ALL.

Pencil Trousers
Pattern: Burdastyle Pencil Trousers
Fabric: Floral Stretch Denim

Vogue 1610
Pattern: Vogue 1610, vintage
Fabric: Floral border print jersey, a fabric gift from Carolyn. What’s funny is she also has apparently made this same pattern (although not with the same fabric I’m planning, obviously). Does that sound like fate or what?

Lola
Pattern: Victory Patterns’ Lola dress
Fabric: Thakoon Cotton sweatshirt knit

Vogue 2765
Pattern: Vogue 2765, vintage
Fabric: Black & White Plaid wool coating

Ok, now we need to talk about this coat. I haven’t decided what view to make – it will be short, but hood or no hood? I also haven’t settled on a lining color, so let’s have some opinions! Midnight Blue? Tango Red? Mandarin? Buttercup Yellow? I don’t really want to go with white or black, too boring!

What are your plans for the new season? Anyone else want to make a coat with me? :)

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