Tag Archives: knit fabric

Completed: My Perfect Tshirt

18 Dec

One neverending sewing quest of mine (that is admittedly quite stupid, to be honest) is the lifelong search of my perfect tshirt fit. Nice and fitted with good scoop neck – you’d think this would be easy to find, but nooo. I haven’t really found a tshirt pattern that was 100% exactly what I wanted, through and through. There have been plenty of “almosts” – you know the kind, you wear them around for a day, perform a little machine surgery in the evening, and after a couple of tweaks, they’re pretty spot-on. Those are nice. Sometimes, though, you want it to be right the first time. And therein lies my problem.

Heart Sweater

I do love the Renfrew pattern. Loooove it! It’s a really really good beginner tshirt pattern, and I love all the options it comes with. My only complaints are that it’s a bit too loose for my tastes (I think you guys have figured out by now that I prefer my clothing to be painted on), and I feel like the scoop neck sits a little too high. As far as super basic tshirt patterns go – that’s about the only option I’ve tried. Other patterns (Plantain, Briar, SJ, Coco, Bronte, etc etc) are lovely, but they’re a bit more specialized than what I’m going for (aka, PLAIN. Plain tshirt!). Nettie was real close, but it’s just a smidge too tight (I mean, that makes sense – it’s a bodysuit ffs) and I couldn’t get the shoulders and back to work with my body, no matter how much I tweaked them.

The really stupid part about this is that once I started my ~Tshirt quest~, it got harder and harder (or I got pickier and pickier). I admit, I even tried some RTW shirts to see if maybe I should just suck it up and buy them from now on – but those are even worse, not to mention most of them require some kind of tweaking (taking in the side seams, cutting off length, shoulder seams in the wrong spot, *something*). Which, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to pay $30 for a fucking tshirt that I have to then ALTER. That’s just dumb. So I kept looking for a pattern, kept not finding exactly what I wanted.

Heart Sweater

Soooo I *made* my own pattern. Before you get too excited – I didn’t draft this thing (I don’t want to say I’ll never draft a pattern ever, because I know things change – but, right now, I don’t ever want to draft patterns. Nope.). It’s a Frankenpattern that combines my favorite elements of my favorite patterns, and is now my favorite tshirt pattern. Yay for Frankenpatterns!

To make this baby up, I started with the Lady Skater bodice, because I really love the way it fits. I then compared the neckline to the one on the Nettie bodysuit, because, seriously, Nettie has the best neckline options. This resulted in me scooping the front neckline of the traced pattern just a bit more, to get that nice deep scoop (the kind of scoop that would show cleavage, if I still had cleavage to show off. Wah, I miss my boobs!). I kept the back neckline high, like a normal tshirt. I measured the length of the Lady Skater against the length of the Renfrew and some of my favorite finished tshirts, then adjusted accordingly (if you’re curious – I added the length via relatively straight line, aka, did not flare out into an hourglass shape. I don’t wear my shirt hems around my hips, so having the extra room there just looks silly. A straight cut looks better on me). Finally, I traced off the sleeves and bindings for the Lady Skater – this isn’t completely necessary, but I’ve learned that when I steal my pattern pieces from the envelope, sometimes they don’t make it back. It’s easier to just give the Frankenpattern it’s own pieces so I don’t end up digging and hunting later down the line, you know?

Heart Sweater

Heart Sweater

I think the resulting shirt is pretty close to being perfect for me! I probably need to redraw that neck curve – it looks a little square – and maybe add one more inch of length. The length here is fine-ish; I hemmed it that long so it would work with the skirt I’m wearing. But I sort of hate how it looks with pants. Or maybe I should just make higher-waisted pants? That would totally be easier, right?

Heart Sweater

Isn’t this fabric so fun? It reminds me of some of the ridiculous shit I wore in my early 20s – lots of cutesy patterns, hoodies, and hearts (I used to buy a lot of my clothes on the sales rack after Valentines Day and/or Halloween, because those are the best prints haha). I found it on the remnants rack at one of my local fabric shops, Textile Fabrics. There was a yard and a half waiting for me, and the price was something crazy good (I think it was around $11? Yay for the remnant rack! Too bad the normal prices at Textile aren’t that awesome :P haha). It’s acrylic, which is kind of lame and not at all warm (and honestly doesn’t wear toooo well – it’s already starting to pill a little), but at least I can throw it in the washing machine and not worry about wool shrinkage! It’s also fine for layering, as evidenced by my silk georgette button up underneath.

Oh yeah, I should add – if this outfit looks eerily similar, that’s because I took these photos on the same day I took the photos for my last blog post. HAHA. Whatever, my hair looked good that day and I had to take advantage of that.

Heart Sweater

Heart Sweater

Here it is without the under layer. I used a black rib knit for the neckband and cuffs (originally from Mood Fabrics, but it appears to be sold out on their website now), and assembled everything on my serger. The hem is finished with a twin needle. That’s it! Pretty sure this whole thing from start to finish – once I made the pattern, that is – took less than an hour to make.

Heart Sweater

Anyway, it’s nice to have a go-to pattern now that I know I can whip up and not have to fiddle with fitting! I think this particular pattern could use a couple more small tweaks, but it’s definitely on it’s way :) I’ve already made a few lightweight undershirts with it, and those are great in this cold because they are fitted enough to keep the heat around my body where it belongs.

What about you? Do you have a perfect-fitting tshirt pattern (either one I’ve mentioned that just ~does it~ for you, or maybe you have a new love that you want to introduce me to!)? Have you ever Frankenpatterned something to suit your needs, or are you the sort of lucky person who gets their TNT from a purchased pattern? Are you sick of me talking about tshirts? Man, I love tshirts.

deal with it

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Completed: A French Terry Lola Dress

11 Dec

Good morning, everyone! I guess I’m back to posting about sewing things… it was a nice hiatus, anyway! I had a lovely vacation, a very relaxing weekend at home, and now working on a new big sewing project (a coat for Landon!). In the meantime, I have a small backlog of projects that I’ve been meaning to post, so obviously I will start with the most recent one first, because it is my most favoritest.

French Terry Lola Dress

LOLA LOLA, I LOVE LOLA.

Y’all remember the Lola sweatshirt dress, right? Gah, sometimes I feel like – with the influx of new patterns coming out at such a rapid pace (which is not necessarily a bad thing – but it can get overwhelming at times!), we forget about the really good ones that are just a little bit older. And by older – sometimes that’s as “old” as a few months! So I’ve made it a point to re-visit some of my favorites and make them up in new fabrics. I mean, they’re a favorite for a reason, yeah? :) (but don’t worry – I’ll obviously still sew up new releases as well because, ooh, new and shiny!).

Anyway, Lola was always one of my favorites! A really fun and flattering twist on the sweatshirt – here’s a princess-seamed sweatshirt dress! I’ve made this pattern twice before (see: one and two), so I knew it was a winner. Side note: While version 1 gets worn aaaallll the time (love that dress!), version 2 is gone. The cheap fabric I used meant that the dress was constantly pilling and just looked old and shitty, so I removed it from my house. So that’s that. Also, wow, I sort of almost miss having brown hair now.

French Terry Lola Dress

French Terry Lola Dress

Since I’ve already made this pattern before, this was a very quick and satisfying sew. I sewed up the size 2, and then made further adjustments to get the fitted/streamlined look you see here. I started by using 5/8″ seam allowances (the pattern calls for 3/8″, but I’m a little bit smaller than the smallest measurements so this helped with sizing down a little), and then took in the waist another 1/2″ or so at every seam. Speaking of which, I really ought to adjust my pattern pieces for this shit because I go through this damn trying on/adjusting/trying on/adjusting rigamarole EVERY DAMN TIME I make this dress! Maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution – adjust my pattern pieces when I do fitting changes haha. That would save me a lot of trouble.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re making this pattern – if you want to adjust the fit at the waist, try on the dress before you attach the skirt. From there, you can pinch out the princess seams to get the fit you like (just remember to do the same to the skirt pieces so the seams match up!), but be careful not to overfit, as this really isn’t that type of dress.

Other changes I made to the pattern: I lengthened the sleeves to full-length (and redrafted the cuff piece accordingly), left off the hem band (and sewed a deep 2″ hem), and left off the pockets. Actually, those are the same changes I made to my last 2 dress. Whateverrr!

Also, wtf is going on with my hair in the last picture? And why do I look so… disgruntled?

French Terry Lola Dress

The fabric that I used for this dress is pretty fabulous! I’ve mentioned before that I get fabric from Elizabeth Suzann’s wholesale orders (ah, the perks of working in sewing!) – that’s where this stuff came from. It’s French Terry, and it came with MATCHING RIB KNIT, which I used for the neckline and cuffs. The right side of the French Terry is a smooth knit with defined stitches, and the wrong side has the most beautiful, plush loops that make this shit SO FUCKING COZY. We use it at Elizabeth Suzann to make sweaters and sweater dresses – although there, we sew the fabric wrong-side out because it looks so cool (see the Billie Sweater). For me, though, I wanted my dress to be warm and cozy – so the loops stayed to the inside. Funny, after sewing all those sweaters – this side looks rather plain :) It is, however, easier to see the cool seaming details this way, so that’s good!

Sewing this fabric was fine, if not a little messy (French Terry will shed like NO OTHER, so I would really hesitate to sew this without a serger – you need some way to finish the seams). Because the fabric is so thick, my serger had some difficulties at first with stitch tension – everything was super wavy. I just upped the differential feed to the max and tweaked the stitch size, and that spaced out the stitches enough so that the seams lie flat. Speaking of which, pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever had to tinker with the settings on my serger. For the most part, it does everything automatically without my input (it’s a BabyLock Imagine, in case you were curious. The queen of sergers!).

French Terry Lola Dress

French Terry Lola Dress

Sorry these pictures are kind of crappy/all over the place. I guess I’m out of habit at this point, ha!

French Terry Lola Dress

Here’s an accidental picture that really showcases the fabric! I used the wrong side for the little sweatshirt V. And check out that ribbing! Love it when it matches :D

French Terry Lola Dress

I guess that’s it! Really glad to have another cozy winter dress to add to my arsenal – and this one is pretty freaking cozy (while still being cute!).

One last thing – ChatterBlossom (one of my sponsors + an all-around gorgeous gal) is currently having a holiday sale! Use the code LLADYBIRD15 for 15% off your purchase, good through 12/15 (so, soon!). Whether you need a last-minute gift for someone – or for yourself (I always buy myself Christmas gifts, because I always ALWAYS get myself the best presents! Such as this necklace, ahem) – definitely check her out! I love Jamie’s stuff, and the detail in some of the pieces (such as this elephant or this mosquito) is INSANE. Actually, that’s a ChatterBlossom piece I’m wearing in these photos – the navy anchor button :) Love it!

Completed: The Lady Renfrew

12 Nov

Question: What do you get when you combine the Lady Skater with the Renfrew??

Lady Renfrew

Answer: The awesomest, snuggliest, Lady Renfrew dress, of course!

Lady Renfrew
Lady Renfrew

There’s not much to say about this dress – I basically just summed it up in the first sentence. This will be a relatively short post, ha (is that even possible for me to accomplish? Time will tell). Anyway, I used a combination of the two patterns to create this Frankenpatterned dress. The bodice, skirt and sleeves came from the Lady Skater, which after much careful testing, I’ve decided is my favorite favorite favorite knit dress pattern. The bodice fits me really well, the sleeves are a good fit/length (all sleeve length options, I mean), and I love the flared-but-not-costumey-looking skirt. Everything about this pattern is exactly what I like in a knit dress, so it was the obvious choice for the base of this dress. To get the cowl neck, I left off the neck binding and instead used the cowl from view C of the Renfrew tshirt. I compared the two patterns to see if I’d need to make any modifications, and the necklines were surprisingly similar (fwiw, I use the size 2 Lady Skater and the size 0 in the Renfrew). So similar, that all I did was just sew the pieces together and that was it. I don’t remember what seam allowance I used to attach the two (Lady Skater is drafted for 3/8″, and Renfrew is 5/8″), knowing me – probably 1/2″ because it’s in the ~middle~. Or something dumb like that. Whatever, it worked out regardless! :D

Lady Renfrew

The real bitch part of making this dress was cutting the dang fabric. I had 3 things to pay attention to while I was cutting this – matching the print horizontally across the seams; being mindful of fabric usage (I barely had enough!); and actual print placement. I cut it so the darker stripes cross my waist, and the lighter stripes cross my bust. I think that’s a flattering look for me, plus, I love the way the white print kind of frames my head (that’s a bonus, because I totally cut it that way with the intention of it making my boobs look slightly bigger hahaha). I didn’t do any print matching on the cowl. I ran out of fabric and actually had to cut the underlayer with a seam. It worked out, though!

Lady Renfrew

AND NOW I HAVE THIS BIG SNUGGLY COWLLLLLL WOOHOO!

Lady Renfrew

I think the fabric is what really makes this dress! And by makes, I mean it’s slightly over-the-top – I’m almost afraid to wear it before Christmas season, ha. It’s like a giant, awesome black and white Ikat Christmas sweater. I bought it from The Fabric Studio here in Nashville; it’s the same fabric I used to make my Ooh La Yoga Pants. While it wasn’t 100% ideal for yoga pants, it’s pretty freaking fabulously good for this sort of dress. The fabric is nice and stable, cozy, and works really well for this sort of pattern.

Lady Renfrew

I especially love how the cowl looks. Yay cowls!

Lady Renfrew

So, what do you think? Lady Skater+Renfrew – do we have a perfect partnership here, or what?

Two more things:
1. Giant thanks to everyone who attended my class at The Sewing Party on Saturday! I had so much fun chatting with y’all (although I’ll admit – I kept my video on mute! Can’t handle the sound of my own voice blaring at me ahaha) and I’d love to do more video-related stuff if the opportunity ever arises again :) Y’all are the best! Just wanted to give all my students (and future students, for those of you who will be watching the class sometime during the next 90 days) a head’s up – I forgot to remind you to download the handout for my class! I know, bad teacher! Anyway, it’s a little PDF document with all the class info written out – along with photo tutorials for each zipper insertion. You can find it to the left of the video, under handouts and chats.

2. The big closing sale at Sweet Little Chickadee is still going strong! Juli has upped the ante a little bit – now use the code SHOPCLOSINGSALE to get 35% off your entire order! This code is good until all the stock runs out!

3. I recently found out that I was named one of the top 50 sewing blogs in Budrastyle‘s Best of Blogging contest. COOL! I’ll be honest – I had no idea I was even nominated (or that this contest was even a thing) until I got the congratulatory email. Big huge thank you to whoever nominated me, and even bigger huger thank you to everyone who voted for me! Y’all are seriously the best! I’m not worthy! ;)

Completed: Some Tshirts!

26 Sep

Oh hey, head’s up – this post is all cake and no frosting. No apologies, though! Lord knows I can never have enough Tshirts.

Rather than bore y’all with a bunch of posts featuring patterns I’ve made before, though, I’ve compiled a trio of 3 different tshirt patterns – ranging from Free to You Gotta Pay For That Shit – for science and comparison purposes. Who doesn’t love a good Tshirt debate, amirite? Also, I took these pictures before I redyed my hair, fyi. Just in case you were curious, haha.

LET’S TALK ABOUT TSHIRTS NOW, GUYS.

Plantain Tee

First up is the Plantain Tshirt, from Deer & Doe Patterns. This is that free pattern I was telling y’all about. This is a great beginner tshirt pattern – there aren’t a lot of pieces, it includes some new techniques for beginners (such as sewing the neck binding), the instructions are very clear, and the fitting is quite loose at the bottom. I was initially afraid that I wouldn’t like this shape on me AT ALL, but I’m surprised at how much I love it!

Plantain Tee
Plantain Tee

Even though it’s a free pattern, I think it’s far from being a “crappy” pattern, if that makes sense. The sizing is perfect – I sewed up a straight 34, with no tweaks. I used the last scraps of my black merino wool from Organic Cotton Plus to sew this up – I like how the wool gives the bottom some structure (and the wrinkles? Not as much a fan of those, but I’ll live :P). And it’s SO COZY. Cozy tshirts, FTW!

Plantain Tee

I did make a couple of changes to the design of the pattern itself – the main one being that seam that runs down the front and back of the top. This was done out of necessity, as I didn’t have enough fabric to cut on the fold. I simply added a seam allowance and created a CF and CB seam. I topstitched the seams so they’d look more intentional, ha. I also added cuffs to the sleeves – because, I dunno, I like them! There’s a bit of piecing at the neckline binding as well. Since I was making this out of leftover scraps, I didn’t have a long enough piece to cut continuous binding. I don’t think it’s that noticeable, and hell, I’ll deal with some seams if that means I get a merino wool top out of it amirite.

Stripey Renfrew

Next up is my tried-and-true tshirt allstar – the Renfrew from Sewaholic Patterns! I LOVE this pattern, a fact that I believe is pretty well documented. Renfrew is favored by me because I think it most resembles what we think of when we think of a tshirt – slightly fitted, set-in sleeves, and 3 neckline options (in addition to the scoop, there’s also a cowl and a v-neck), as well as sleeve length options. The pattern is written to have a band of self-fabric at the sleeve cuffs and hem, in addition to the neckline. I’ve found that I prefer to hem my tshirts (rather than use the fabric band), and some of the more casual ones I like to hem the sleeves as well. One thing to keep in mind – should you decide to join me in my tshirt anarchy – is to add that length to the sleeves and hem before you cut them out. Otherwise, they might end up short! Ask me how I know about THAT ;)

Stripey Renfrew

Fitting-wise, this is a great pattern, although I did make a lot of tweaks to get to the point I am now. It’s been a long time since I tweaked, but if I recall – this is a size 0, with additional ease removed from the waist. I also shortened the shoulders a smidge and made them slightly narrower. All those tweaks paid off, because this is a pattern I reach for again and again when I need a tshirt. At any given time, if you see me in a tshirt – ask me if it’s a Renfrew, the answer will probably be yes! Seriously! Oh, and my fabric is a striped ponte from Mood Fabrics (the store, not online).

SJ Tee

The last top in this trifecta is the SJ Tee from Papercut Patterns. Another new-to-me top, and I admit this is more like a sweatshirt than a true tshirt (but mostly due to fabric choice). It’s kind of like a sexy sweatshirt, tbh – raglan sleeves and WHOA SCOOP NECK. Forreal, make this in something too stretchy and you’ll end up in boobie city. Again – want to ask me how I know about that? :) haha!

SJ Tee

I’m surprised at how much I like the fit of this, considering that I don’t normally go for things so loose. I did end up taking the CB in by about 1″ – I’d already sewn the neck binding in at that point, so the seam runs clear from the bottom to the top of the binding, oops. But that made a HUGE difference in the fit, especially at the back. I used the size XXS and – other than the chunk taken out of the CB – it’s relatively unchanged. Oh, and I did shorten the cuffs so they’d look more like a sweatshirt. The fabric I used here is the last of my wool knit from Mood Fabrics (the same knit I used to make my grey Jenna cardi), and I had JUST ENOUGH. It’s amazing how much I love such a simple sweatshirt, by the way – I’ve been wearing it every night. It’s so cozy!

Here are the three patterns as modeled on my form:
Plantain Tee
Plantain Tee

Stripey Renfrew
Renfrew Top

SJ Tee
SJ Tee

I think it’s really interesting how something so simple as a damn tshirt can yield such different results, based on pattern and fabric choice. These are all pretty basic designs in the grand scheme of things, but they’re different to stand on their own. Obviously there are many, many more tshirt patterns out there (off the top of my head, these come to mind: Ensis, Briar, Bronte, Coco, and Lord, don’t get me started on dresses that can be hacked into tees), but I stuck with these three because I feel they’re the most basic/versatile. Also, let’s be real – if I fall down a tshirt rabbit hole, it might be months before this post sees the light! Ha!

Stripey Renfrew

Out of all these, I think my favorite is the Renfrew, just because it’s so damn versatile and I love how it fits (not to mention, the slim fit is ideal for layering). It might also have something to do with the Renfrew being my first love – can’t ever abandon her now ;)

I can’t stop thinking about that SJ tee too, though – I already have some future plans for her, including camel-colored boiled wool. Yum!

Plantain Tee

What’s your opinion on tshirt patterns? Do you have a favorite – and if so, dish please!

(psst! Don’t forget to enter the Sewtionary Giveaway, if you haven’t already done so! Entries close on Monday morning!)

Completed: Kitty Zinnia!

6 Aug

You know what I love almost as much as I love bike fabric?

IMG_9372

KITTY FABRIC :D :D :D

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

This ain’t just any ol’ cat fabric though – this is freaking silk chaurmeuse, all the way from LA.

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

When I was in NYC earlier this year, I mentioned to Trice how I was looking for non-quilting weight novelty fabrics – especially something with cats on it. Trice, being the sneaky lady she is, emailed me several months later and said she was going to send me something. I don’t know what I was expecting- but it was NOT this! I mean that in the best way, obviously. I love how the fabric isn’t super loud-in-your-face-cat-print (although, let’s be real – that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing), I love that it’s black and white, and I love that it’s fucking SILK CHAURMEUSE. What the what? Talk about an amazing gift from an amazing person!

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

I didn’t have a whole lot of fabric to work with – maybe a yard and a half, tops, and it was pretty narrow. A Colette Zinnia seemed like the perfect fit- I have a similar short, pleated silk skirt (I wore it in the photos for my Owls Sweater), and I wear it all the time, especially in the winter.

The Zinnia calls for a loooot of yardage, but I was able to barely eek by. I shortened the skirt by about 4″, which allowed it to fit on the narrow width of the fabric, and cut the pockets out of some bemberg rayon that I had in my stash. It was a close call for sure, but I made it work! I also cut it with the shiny side on the inside, because I thought the matte side looked a little less, I dunno… costumey?

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

Most of the sewing was pretty uneventful. I did have to lengthen the topstitching on the pleats – the pattern has them about 2.5″ deep, but the skirt looked suuuuuper floofy right about my hips, so I lengthened them a couple more inches and that helped. It’s still pretty floofy, but I mean- it’s a cat skirt. It’s already ridiculous enough, you know?

(Yep, my bra band totally gives me back fat hahaha. Actually, I probably have back fat too.)

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

I mean, LOOK HOW SWIRLY IT IS THO.

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

More kitties! Isn’t this seriously the coolest print? Everyone I told about it kind of gave me a weird look until I showed them a picture- and then even cat haters were all, “ooh I want me some of that!”

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

I obviously needed a cool top to go with my super cool skirt, so I made a quickie crop top to wear with it. This is the Closet Case Files Nettie, made in some rayon knit from Mood (leftover from this Jalie top from forever ago).

To crop the shirt, I just cut it along the bottom lengthen/shorten line. I had previously added 2″ length to my pattern, so that ended up being the perfect crop top length. I also tried my hand at widening the shoulders, since they are super narrow on me… I used a tutorial from Colette on shoulder adjustments, but I guess I didn’t add enough width because they’re still SUPER narrow. Unfortunately, I think this crop top has a very short lifespan in my closet because the shoulders are too narrow for it to be comfortable (the sleeves ride up as I move my arms and the shoulders raise and it just doesn’t look good). It’s pretty obvious in this picture how far the shoulder seam is from my shoulder – plus, the arm hole is still way too high. Gonna have to go back and retweak that pattern again, I guess. Ah well! Sewing!

Also, I know you can totally see my bra lumps through this shirt. DGAF.

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top
Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top
Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top
Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

It’s hard to see any detail at all in this print, but don’t say I didn’t try :)

Kitty Cat Zinnia + Nettie Crop Top

Thanks again, Trice, for the amazing fabric! Guys, she also sent me a BUNCH of bra straps – which means I guess I better start exploring the world of sewing lingerie, yeah? Forreal, though, I just downloaded my first Ohhh Lulu bra pattern. Wish me luck!

What about you? Found any good (literal)animal print, lately?

Completed: The Colette Moneta

3 Jul

Sooo I definitely meant to make this dress to wear on my Florida vacation. You know, the one that happened over a month ago. Oh well – better late than never? At least I’ll be prepared for the next vacation!

Moneta Dress

This is the Moneta dress, from Colette patterns. Sarai sent me the pdf of this pattern right around the same time she asked if I’d like to review the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits. I had already purchased the book at that point, so she gave me the two newest Colette patterns as a freeb. Woohoo! So yeah, I’ve been waiting to make this up for a while, but I think it’s worth the wait – wouldn’t you agree?

Moneta Dress

Moneta is a very very simple dress. Sewn up in a knit, it’s a basic bodice with a slightly gathered skirt, pockets, and a few options as far as necklines/collars/sleeves. I went with the simplest version – no sleeves, no pockets – for my first test run.

Moneta Dress

I’ll admit, I wasn’t terribly keen on the gathered skirt as I tend to hate the way they look on me, especially when sewn up in a knit. However, I kept seeing Devon’s Monetas that she was plastering all over her blog, and they are all pretty freaking flattering on her – even with the gathering. My fabric is also lightweight and drapey, so that helps with keeping the gathering from getting too bulky. The lack of pockets also helps (am I the only one who thinks pockets in a knit are freaking useless? They’re useless.).

Moneta Dress

Cutting this fabric wasn’t necessarily tricky, but it did take some forethought to make sure the stripes all matched up right. After making the Out & About Dress, I was (and still am, to some extent) super butthurt about the way the stripes look on the skirt. These sorts of curved, gathered skirts don’t work too well with horizontal stripes, but I was bound and determined to make it happen this time. Plus, the match up on the side seams – all the way! Yeah! I love it when that happens.

Moneta Dress

Part of what made cutting tricky was that I wanted to self-line the bodice. I didn’t have anything on hand that would be a suitable lining, other than the main fabric I was using (and while I don’t really care much for lined knits, I certainly wanted to try it out!), so I decided to go with that. The one drawback to using my striped fabric is that it is slightly sheer, so the stripes would show through and look weird. I cut the bodice pieces so they 100% mirrored each other – with each stripe color matching what was underneath, so they wouldn’t show through. I think it worked out pretty well. Also, I’m totally a lined knit bodice convert, at least in fabric this lightweight – it’s a very clean finish (all seams are inside the lining, woohoo), and it gives this drapey fabric a good bit of heft so the skirt isn’t stretching it out over the course of the day.

Moneta Dress

I made the size XS, with no alterations – although I guess I did shorten the skirt. The back is a little wide, but it doesn’t look bad so I’m not bothered by it.

Moneta Dress

There were a few firsts for me while making this dress! One, the aforementioned lined bodice – which I’d never done before on a knit, but it’s kind of a neat party trick how everything ends up on the inside. The instructions don’t tell you how to finish the neckline – just the arm holes (this lined version is intended to be worn with a collar, which I omitted. The other versions aren’t lined and just have you turn the neckline under and hem). After a bit of thinking, I figured out that they can be finished the same way as the arm holes. It’s a little tricky, but it works out quite nicely!

Also, the skirt is gathered with clear elastic before it’s actually sewn to the bodice. I actually thought that trick was pretty cool, because it means you get the elastic and gathering done in one fell swoop (without using basting stitches to gather, blech) and the elastic adds a nice support to the waistline, which, again, is important if you’re using a lightweight fabric that might try to stretch out if you don’t set some clear boundaries first.

Moneta Dress

Here it is without the belt. Man, this fabric! I bought this stuff while I was in NYC earlier this year – I think it’s from Fabrics for Less (I think?). It was very very cheap – like $5 a yard cheap – and the quality isn’t so great. It’s very lightweight, feels like there’s a lot of polyester in it, and it looks like it’ll start pilling soon. But, you know, sometimes we make stuff that isn’t meant to be an heirloom. Sometimes you just want a stripey dress because you saw Taylor Swift wearing one and, while you can’t stand that woman, you gotta admit that she has some cuuuute dresses. So there’s that.

Moneta Dress

The only thing I didn’t like about this pattern is that taping the PDF together was a bit of a nightmare. There are a shitload of pages, which results in a pretty big taped-up piece once it’s all assembled. What really bothered me is that a significant chunk of the pages were for the plus size block – and I dunno, it just felt wasteful to print them out and then immediately throw them away (not to mention, I’m a freak who had to tape them together first WHY). I’m not sure what the solution is to this – maybe have an option for printing either of the bodice blocks separately, so you can choose which one you want? If they were nested together, it would make more sense, but they were two separate blocks – plus the collar pieces had their own block too. Of course, I could look at the layout and decide beforehand which pages to print, but I never think that far in advance. Also, don’t tell me what to do.

Moneta Dress

As you can see, at this point I started getting bored with taking photos. But hey, check out that stripe-matching!

Moneta Dress

I also really love how navy my hair looks in these photos! Right after I dyed it, it was definitely this strange and exciting shade of neon electrical purple – which was cool, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. After a wash, the color faded just a smidge and now it’s straddling the line between navy and dark purple. I love it!

Moneta Dress

I definitely want to make more of this dress – I want to try it with sleeves, I want to try some of the downloadable collar options, and I want to experiment with swapping out that skirt. Oh, and I want to make some bodices into cropped sweaters. So many options here, people.

Moneta Dress
Moneta Dress

Here’s the gathered elastic waistband. Not too shabby!

Moneta Dress

And the twin-needled hem, which my machine fought valiantly with this particular fabric. As you can see, though, I won.

Moneta Dress

Moneta Dress

So, I guess it should be said that this particular pattern isn’t necessarily anything mind-bendingly different from many of the other knit dress patterns out there. And that’s fine – it’s a bodice and a skirt (and sleeves, if you want them), there’s not a whole lot you can variate from. Of all the knit dresses I’ve sewn (this, the aforementioned Out & About, and my beloved Lady Skater), the differences are subtle – a change in neckline, a different skirt, etc. While I personally love trying new patterns every single time (which is obviously easier when someone, you know, sends you the pattern gratis), I can totally understand being on a budget and/or not wanting to reinvent the wheel fitting-wise and needing to stick with one pattern that you make changes to. For what it’s worth – compared to my other knit dresses – he neckline on Moneta is more of boat than a scoop neck, the skirt is gathered, and I think the bodice is a little more hourglass-shaped. Also, the techniques used to put this dress together make it slightly more complicated than other knit patterns I’ve personally tried (again, lining, clear elastic, etc).

Stripey Shirt

Oh, and I also made a Briar tshirt with the remaining yardage, complete with one of the most beautiful knit bindings I have ever done.

Moneta Dress

I’m so happy I finally have my striped dream dress, yay! Love this pattern and I can’t wait to experiment more with different variations. And just a head’s up to the rest of y’all – but there’s a whole Sewalong for this dress, if you need the hand-holding. It’s actually being taught by Devon, so you know that shit is gonna be ace.

Completed: The Bronte Top

2 Jul

This is totally my new favorite outfit. I TOLD y’all I was gonna wear the hell of out this navy Hollyburn skirt! I love looking like an American Flag, ok.

Bronte Top

Today, though, let’s just focus on the top.

Bronte Top

This is the Bronte top, a new release from Jennifer Lauren Vintage. Sewn up in a knit fabric, this is obviously not your standard tshirt – the lapped shoulder/neckline detail almost make it look like you’re wearing a dainty shrug, and it’s a nice nod to the 40s without looking super costumey vintage. As soon as I saw this pattern, I knew I had to have it. Don’t get me wrong – I love plain, basic tshirts. I make and wear them all the time. But, let’s be real – there are only so many ways you can design a plain tshirt. This pattern gives a little extra oomph in an unexpected way, and I love it!

Bronte Top

Upfront disclaimer: I was given this pattern free of charge, in exchange for a review. Although, I’ll be honest – I was planning on buying it anyway, because it’s a really cute style that’s completely different from anything I’ve seen around the sewing world. I was also madly interested to learn how the neckline was finished. This review is going to sound completely biased because I really love the pattern and how the finished top turned out. Sorry! It’s just that good.

Bronte Top

Like I said, this pattern is designed for knits, and the first couple of pages are dedicated to helping you choose an appropriate fabric and set your machine up to handle sewing it (assuming you don’t have a serger). Pretty helpful stuff if you’re a knit n00b! One part even compares the appropriate fabric to feeling the same way as underwear fabric, which cracked me up to no end (seeing how much I talk about butts on this blog, I’d reckon y’all probably know how much I appreciated that reference ahaha). But, I mean, it makes sense! The same weight of knit fabric that’s used to make comfy undies would be PERFECT for this top. Plus, you could use the extra yardage left over to make, well, undies.

Bronte Top

I sewed up the size 6, and made no alterations. I’m pretty happy with the fit, although I think I got a little too stretch-happy with the binding and now it sort of gathers where it should lie flat. Oops. I’m so used to modifying my bindings for every top I make (I guess I just like them tighter than how they’re drafted), that I did it without even really thinking. Next time I make this, I’ll go with the binding length as written in the pattern, because as you can see in my photos vs everyone else’s – the binding should definitely sit more flat. Oh well, live and learn!

Speaking of the binding, if you’re curious – it’s sewn on the same way as I think most of us are familiar with. Folded in half, sewn to the right side and flipped back. Works pretty well, though!

Bronte Top

I did make a few changes to the construction, just because I like my knits sewn a certain way, which may not necessarily be the “easiest” way (but I think it looks the nicest!). I did not hem my sleeves until the side seams were sewn up – I like my hems to be a complete circle, don’t like a seam cutting them in half. I also only turned the bottom hem up once, instead of doubled-up. The instructions are very beginner-focused, but they’re easy to skip over if you don’t need the hand-holding.

Bronte Top

My fabric is this red and white striped cotton jersey from Mood Fabrics, with the white binding being some leftover cotton knit from Organic Cotton Plus. The jersey is a little lighter than the pattern suggests, but it works out very nicely. Getting the stripes to match wasn’t much of an ordeal as there are only a couple of pattern pieces to deal with. I sewed everything up on my serger, minus the topstitching, which I did with a twin needle.

Bronte Top

The pattern has you tack down the overlap at the very end – if you don’t attach it down somehow, it will flop open and look stupid. I just went back over my topstitching a second time in that one little section (for each side), but you can also use buttons or other trims to embellish the neckline.

Bronte Top

One surprising thing I really LOVED about this whole experience was the printing part. Ok, actually, I hate printing PDF patterns – like, I’ll go out of my way to avoid it. First I have to find a fucking printer (which I don’t have – well, not one that works – and yes I know it’s the 21st century), then I have to print a bunch of test pages to get the sizing right, then I have to take the thing home and tape it together before I can even start sewing! Argh! Taping together is the worst part, forreal. So, let me back up. I didn’t enjoy the actual printing of this pattern (which I’m pretty sure no one does, amirite), but the taping part was significantly less traumatizing than it normally is. The way the pages are taped together means that each piece gets it’s own set of taped pages – so, instead of ending up with a giant swath of tiled paper (that’s the part I hate – it’s always too big for my table, and takes up the entire floor and I have to crawl around it like a fucking insect. Whyyyy), you’ve got a little stack of smaller tiled papers, each one with one pattern piece to cut out. GENIUS. That shit is pure genius. Why doesn’t everyone tile their PDFs like this?

I also used a tape gun to stick the whole thing together, which made the whole process move a helluva lot faster. Mine’s not pink, though, I kind of wish it was now.

Bronte Top

So that’s it! Overall, I really like the pattern and I’ll definitely sew it again (I’d love to try the long sleeve version, but I’m going to wait until the temperature here is a little less like Hell). You can buy the pattern here, should you feel so inclined :)

Also, just a fun fact – but my name is Jennifer Lauren too :) Obviously I go by my middle name, but HOW COOL IS THAT.

A couple more things!
– Say helloooo to my newest sponsor, Indie Sew! Indie Sew doesn’t just sell sewing patterns (but they do – they have lots of great PDFs from various designers); they are also a sewing community for sharing and discovering new blogs. I especially love how they have a gallery where you can upload your creations – and it shows up on the pattern sales page (which I find EXTREMELY helpful, since sometimes the pattern artwork doesn’t necessarily appeal to me for whatever reason). I just love what they’re doing and I’m super excited to watch this community grow and flourish. Check them out!
– This has been EXPLODING across the blogosphere last week, so sorry to cram this shit down your throats again – but have you heard about Capital Chic Patterns? Run by Sally of Charity Shop Chic, these patterns are a little different from what we currently have on the market. For one – the styles are very fashion-forward, runway-influenced. Don’t get me wrong, I love vintage styles, but Sally’s right in that we kind of already got the market cornered on that ;) For second – the patterns themselves are aimed for intermediate to advanced sewists, not beginners. Can I get a halleluiah?! MAN. I love me some quick’n’easy beginner patterns, and I know the beginners sure love them – but it sure is nice to have patterns that are aimed to flexing our sewing skills. If these two points haven’t convinced you, just take a lurk at the lookbook and drool away.
With all that being said – I actually tested the Cosmopolitan (but I only got as far as a muslin for fit and instructions, as my time was very limited during testing), and I can’t wait to get my hands on some nice wide lace so I can sew it up proper; it’s GORGEOUS. I’ve also got my hands on that White Russian, which I will be sewing up when, again, it’s not Hell Fahrenheit down here.
– We have a winner for the Fashionary Giveaway! Lucky number generator says….

wins1

wins2

Woohoo, congratulations, Trinity (and high-five for committing to a lifetime of crafty!)! Hope you love the book as much as I do :D

Thanks so much for entering and playing along, y’all! It was EXTREMELY interesting to read what kind of crafty/artsy things everyone is into – seems like we have a lot of knitters, musicians, and scientists who hang out over here :) While I’m sorry to say that I only had one Fashionary to give away – otherwise I’d give all y’all one – you can still buy the red book if you want to join Team Matchy :) (go on, do it, you know you wanna~!)

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