Tag Archives: knit fabric

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.

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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~!)

Review: The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits (+ a giveaway!)

5 May

cover.indd

Y’all know how much I love sewing knits (just to reiterate: I LOVE that shit!). While knits tend to get a bad rap for being “tricky” to sew, I find them to be quite easy to fit and manipulate – not to mention, knits are worn more than any other fabric in my closet (and I’m sure most of y’all are the same way!). They’re just so comfy and easy to wear, you know?

Despite my never-ending campaigning to get people on board the Knits Boat, some of y’all are still a little scared to take the plunge. Whether you don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing a fabric, or if you think your standard machine can’t handle sewing on knits (spoiler: it totally can), or the techniques just seem completely foreign to your woven-trained brain – there is always room for more guidance.

Which is why I’m so excited for Colette’s newest book release – The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits. Written by Alyson Clair (a patternmaker with years of experience working in the knitwear industry) and then put together Colette-style with clear photographs and easy to understand descriptions, this book is a fantastic resource for tackling knits – taking you from the different types of fabrics, to what needles and threads to use, to the difference between sergers and coverstitch machines (and how to use them – from threading to tension to troubleshooting!), to how to sew knits on a regular ol’ sewing machine (for those of y’all who don’t have a serger ;)), to fitting, to different finishes. Whew!

Although I definitely have some experience with sewing knits, I can always use more tips and ideas for branching out and discovering new techniques. This book is pretty fabulous in the sense that it’s both helpful for knit newbies *and* those of us who have a few years under our belts – I even learned a thing or two in the first chapter. The chapter Stitching and Finishing totally blew my mind, though.

Want to take a little sneaky peek? Of course you do! (psst, you can click the photos to enlarge them :))

serger roadmap

When I said there was a full section on your serger (as well as the coverstitch and standard machine), I was not kidding! There are several pages dedicated to showing you the different parts of each machine, and what they do.

threading serger

There’s also a section on threading- for both the serger and coverstitch (ohhh, someday I will have a coverstitch ♥)! Yay! So much easier to read than those little manual diagrams, yeah? :)

serging a corner

Here’s a neat little tip on how to serge an inner corner.

elastic types

Like I said, though… the finishing section is my favorite part.

decorative elastic

Inserting decorative elastic – gah, I wish I’d had this resource when I was experimenting with making my own underwear a couple of months ago. I found the elastic really difficult to sew in, which is why I stopped after one pair :) Turns out I was sewing it in the hard way, doh!

lace neckline

Stretch lace – isn’t this so pretty? I’d love to try this with the new Moneta pattern.

buying fabric

There’s also an entire section devoted to knit fabrics – how they’re made, what the different types are, what needles to use, what to look for while shopping.

Pretty cool, huh? I’m so glad I picked up this book – I’ve learned a lot just from flipping through the pages, and I can’t wait to try some of these new techniques with my next knit project.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
If you’ve made it all the way to the end- yay! Prize time! Sarai has generously offered a copy of the book to one lucky reader – it could be you! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post and tell me what you’d love to sew up in a knit – a dress? A swimsuit? Boring white tshirts? What’s your knit end goal? I’m curious :) This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the comments a week from today, Monday, 12 May 2014 at 7:00AM CST.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

For those of you who simply can’t wait and must have this book NOW, you can order The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits from Amazon or directly from the Colette website.

Good luck!

Me-Made-May ’14: Week 1 Round-Up (+ Nettie!)

2 May

We’re only two days into May, so this is gonna be the shortest round-up ever.

5/1 #mmmay14 #mmm14
5/1, Thursday
Hoodie: Traced off a favorite RTW hoodie
Tshirt: Briar (unblogged)
Tank top: So ‘Zo free pattern (unblogged)
Jeans: Imogene + Willie
Shoes: Keds
Undies (no, you can’t see them but I promise they are there :P): So ‘Zo free pattern (also unblogged… geez)

The first day went off with a slight hitch… I had originally planned to wear something different, but it ended up being too cold outside. I’ve been housesitting all week, so while I can get back to my stuff in the afternoon… in the AM, I’m kind of stuck with what I brought. So I ransacked my pile of clothes and ended up with a pretty good pile of Me-Mades that all sort of went together. You can’t see the tank and undies (and I swear, one of these days, I’ll blog about them), but they’re there :)

Oh yeah, and I’m totally in my friend Elizabeth‘s studio here. Isn’t it GORGEOUS?

5/2 #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/2, Friday
Top: Nettie tshirt
Skirt: Gabriola Maxi
Shoes: Jessica Simpson

This is what I had planned to wear Thursday :) I LOVE wearing this maxi! It’s so swishy and fun and I feel so elegant. Gonna be hard not wearing this every day, ha!

So that’s it for week 1! Like I said, pretty short :) We’ll get it really cranking next week, I imagine.

Just so this post isn’t all super short, let’s talk about my tshirt I’m wearing today! This is the Nettie pattern. If you hadn’t heard of it yet, that’s cos it was just recently released so it’s brand spankin’ new!

Nettie tshirt

Nettie is actually designed to be a bodysuit… you know, one piece, snaps at the crotch, that sort of thing. I was asked to be a pattern tester, and I agreed under the premise that I could make mine into tshirts. Bodysuits and I just don’t get along (although, after reading what Heather wrote… I’m wondering if I might like them in winter, for that no-cold-creeping-on-my-midriff factor. Hm.), plus, it’s always nice to see if the pattern has additional options, yeah? So here are a couple of the Netties I made – I actually made 4, but I won’t bore you with all of them (I’m sure they’ll pop up at some point this month).

Nettie tshirt

I love pretty much everything about this pattern. I love that it comes with multiple options – high neck, scoop neck, high back, scoop back, REAL LOW scoop back, short sleeves, long sleeve, elbow-length sleeves.. not to mention, bodysuit/tshirt/dress. Whew! I also love how fitted it is. No positive ease here!

Nettie tshirt

You do have to be mindful of the fabric you’re using, because of the negative ease factor. This mint Nettie is made using a rayon knit (it’s the same stuff I used to make my MCall’s 4488, I’ve been hoarding the remainder in my stash for quite a while now!), and while it’s nice and stretchy, it’s also very lightweight. Meaning you can pretty much see every bump underneath. That’s fine with me, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re not keen on people seeing all your bra hardware.

Nettie tshirt

Here’s another Nettie I made using a thicker stretch knit I bought at Mood Fabrics while I was in NYC (sadly, it’s not on the website… and probably not in the store anymore, either, since I bought like 8 yards of it and made everyone else buy some too HA HA HA). It’s almost like a thin ponte – and very very soft, with quite a bit of stretch. I LOVE this fabric!

I made the size 4, which I fit pretty squarely in, measurement-wise. If you’re looking for something a little less tight, just go up a size or two :) Both of these versions are the scoop front with a high back neckline. I did make a couple with a scoop back neckline, but I’ve learned that I really don’t like the way they look on me, so I’m sticking with high back for now.

Nettie tshirt

As you can see, the thicker fabric results in a smoother look.

To make my Nettie into a tshirt, I just cut the pattern piece about 1″ above the hipline (where the leotard-ness starts). I also added 1.5″ length at the waist, so the shirt would be long enough to cover my waistband. In case you were wondering why I cut length and then re-added it, well, the bottom of the pattern flares out quite a bit to accommodate hips – which I don’t need in a tshirt. So I added length at the waist instead.

Nettie tshirt

And that’s it! Pretty happy with this new pattern, and while I’m not much of a bodysuit-lover, I DO love me a good tshirt! Especially when it’s super tight with a low neckline. Go ahead, judge me :P

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Completed: Vogue 1610

26 Feb

Good morning, everyone! Sorry, I took the last few days off of blogging… to be honest, I’d spent the entire weekend in my sewing room futzing with ONE fitting adjustment for ONE pattern, and six muslins later (yeah, just typing that makes me die a little inside), I was done. Not done with the fitting adjustment – I wish! – but rather, done with sewing. I took some time away to do more important, non-sewy things (specifically: binge-watching infomericals from the comfort of my velvet couch and drinking bourbon with ginger beer… yum.), and I gotta say – I feel like a new woman now. Ready to go tackle that god-forsaken fitting adjustment and get back on the ~swagon~.

Speaking of swagon (which is like a sewing wagon, except way funnier), check out my new threads- baby’s first DVF!

Vogue 1610

OKKKKK, it’s not a ~real~ Diane von Furstenberg, obviously, but it *is* a Vogue Designer Pattern, which is close enough in my book. This is Vogue 1610, a classic DVF wrap dress with sleeve and length options. I found this dude at an estate sale a few years ago – in my size, and for $1, no less! – and this is the first chance I’ve had to make it up.

Vogue 1610

Sewing this wrap was an experience, albeit a fairly easy one. Although the pattern came in my size, a quick tissue fit (and by tissue fit, I mean I held it up to my chest and looked in the mirror, ha!) showed that the bodice front was big enough for complete coverage – which, when one is sewing a stretch knit, that is TOO big! You need the pieces to be a little smaller than you are, so they stretch into shape and give you that lovely silhouette that only negative ease can do. Further, this pattern was drafted for stable knits – i.e., pontes and double knits and all those goodies – and the fabric I had was an extremely fluid, extremely drapey rayon jersey. Fortunately, both the style of this dress + knit fabrics in general are pretty forgiving, so I sized down with some experimental hacking and I think it came out pretty good!

Vogue 1610

At the cutting stage, I took 1″ off the center back seam and the front side seam. I didn’t bother changing the pattern tissue itself (have you seen how much this pattern sells for on Etsy? Holy shit.), just folded over the edges to size and pinned them down. When cutting a piece on the fold, I just extended the pattern piece so it hung over the fabric edge by 1″. I also shortened the skirt by, um, a lot. I think 7″ the first time, and then another 2-3″ after I sewed it up (and immediately regretted that decision, because YIKES SHORT AIEEE). I don’t really recommend this type of size hacking unless you are very familiar with sewing and manipulating knits, because you can definitely end up with a surprise outcome, but it all worked out for me.

Vogue 1610

I chose not to follow the instructions that came with the pattern – I’m sure they were fine, but they were also written for stable knits and included things like facings and pockets. I hate pockets on knits, by the way! They always come out lumpy and can’t hold anything heavier than a cell phone. I also hate facings on knits because, whyyyy. Why would you put yourself through that kind of torture.

Vogue 1610

Construction-wise, I sewed everything up on my serger, except where I used my twin needle to topstitch the hems. The hems are stabilized with Stitch Witchery, which seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, but in retrospect, my hems are weird and stiff and lumpy. Not a good look! I also can’t trim any more length off that skirt for fear of indecent exposure. I’ve used Stitch Witchery in the past to stabilize hems, and I stand behind it, but for something as drapey as this rayon, it just didn’t work. Next time, I will probably just steam the heck out of it and sew very slowly to get my hems.

Vogue 1610

I applied my neck binding in the flat (starting at the center back and stretching down each side of the front individually), so I could get it as stretched as possible and cut off the excess. I think I ended up cutting a couple of inches off each end! The final result is a binding that stays in place and does NOT gape – which is important for this wrap style. I like my clothing to stay in place while I’m wearing it, thanks.

Vogue 1610
Vogue 1610

I was a little concerned that the gathered skirt would look stupid in a knit, but I actually think it’s quite lovely. I think the key here is to go with something lightweight and drapey – bulky fabrics will add, well, bulk!

Vogue 1610

Isn’t this fabric fun, though? It’s the Arc Deco rayon jersey from Mood Fabrics. I snapped up three yards of it while it was on 50% off sale (do y’all get those sale emails? Oh man. Those are dangerous.), specifically with this pattern in mind. It sewed up like a dream, wears like a dream, feels like a dream… just don’t use Stitch Witchery with it ;)

Vogue 1610

Next time I make this, I’ll shorten the bodice a bit – whoever owned this pattern before me had lengthened it about 1″… I left it because it definitely hits my waist, but I think it looks a little long and unbalanced in these pictures. I also promise not to get too scissor-happy with the skirt length on the next go ;) But yeah, I’ll definitely be making this again – I want one in silk jersey, like a proper DVF! Yum!

Vogue 1610

I guess that’s it! Some housekeeping before I dip outta here-

- Clare and I have already started planning the meet-up while we’re in NYC, and emails have been sent! I tried to get everyone who expressed interest, but inevitably I’m sure I missed someone. If you’d like in on the action for Saturday March 15th, holler at me and I’ll get that email out to you! I’m really excited about this trip, can you tell? :)

- Oh, right, giveaway winner! Let’s see, random number generator says…

Ok, for whatever reason, Flickr won’t give me the html code to show the number box (and I don’t have time to futz with it this morning because I need to leave for work in… 5 minutes haha), but you can click this link if you want to see the screenshot. Btw, fuck you, Flickr.

winnerstevie

Congratulations, Stevie Nicole! Watch for my email so we can get your Georgia out to you :)

Everyone who asked – I don’t care if you copy my Georgia! Remember, I copied that lace+emerald combo from someone else. Plus, who doesn’t need a gorgeous sexy lace dress in their life, yeah? :)

Completed: Coco!

21 Feb

YAY I’m so glad I finally get to share this secret with y’all – Coco!

Coco Top

For those of you living under a rock (a… really big rock, I’d assume), Coco is Tilly‘s newest pattern, just released last week! Tilly asked me a few months ago if I’d like to test the pattern, and as soon as I saw the word “knit” in the description, I immediately jumped at the chance. I can’t resist knits, I’m sorry!

Coco Top

Coco is a lovely, simple shape reminiscent of those gorgeous Brenton tops that everyone except me seems to own. Sewn up in a more stable knit (I love my slinky jerseys, but this pattern is not really the place for that… although I will probably experiment with that shit in the future anyway!), it’s very easy to assemble and very forgiving to fit, making it perfect for beginners to tackle. I made the short length with 3/4 sleeves and a funnel neck; there are three views included in the pattern (that you can mix and match for endless variations) – you can see them all in more detail on Tilly’s blog.

Coco Top

For my fabric, I used a heather grey ponte knit from Mood Fabrics. I sewed the entire thing on my serger, although you can absolutely sew this on a regular machine if need be – the pattern even includes some instructions and tips if that’s the case for you! I made no alterations to the pattern itself; just sewed it up in a straight size 1 and followed the instructions to assemble! I used a straight stitch to sew the side slits and the hem, which have held up quite well, despite all the washing and wearing I’ve given this top. This is also the first thing I made using my new gravity feed iron, and WOW you guys – that hem pressed like a dream!

Coco Top

I’ll admit; when I was sewing this up, I was a little afraid it looked a bit Star Trek-y for my tastes, with the solid color and the big funnel collar. I think the end result turned out really cute, though, and it’s sooo comfortable to wear with leggings. I’m wearing this one with my red ponte leggings; it’s like a ponte double-whammy up in hurr, yeah!

Coco Top

Also, check out that throwback hair! You can tell how old these pictures are, ha ;)

Coco Top

I think this would be REALLY cute up in a stripey fabric (which I looked for, but no dice. Whyyy is a good stripey knit so hard to find, anyway??). I’d love to try the variation with the boat neckline and keep the little side slits – maybe even go with the longer length. It’s a simple shape for sure, but it’s also open to LOTS of possibilities!

Coco Top

What do you think? Love Coco or LOVE Coco? Get your copy here!

Completed: A Snuggly White Hoodie

17 Feb

Oh my god, I love this hoodie.

White Hoodie

Remember that stripey hoodie I made last year with a sacrificed RTW hoodie that I ripped up to use as the pattern? I LOVE that thing – I wear it allll the time – but it’s a bit lightweight for winter. I mean, the fabric is a very flimsy jersey knit. I knew I wanted to make something with a bit more heft and warmth to it, but every fabric in my stash just seemed… wrong.

White Hoodie

Then I bought that ridiculous chunk o’ yardage of ivory jersey from Mood and I was like, YES. White hoodie it is!

White Hoodie
White Hoodie

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. This isn’t just any ol’ white hoodie – this is a white hoodie that has been lined in fluffy faux sherpa, at the pockets and the hood, for extra warmth and snuggliness!

White Hoodie

I bought sherpa remnant while I was in Chicago last year, at the Vogue Fabric Store (Here is it on their website, I think). I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I knew it had to come home with me! After seeing how great it looked next to the ivory knit, I knew I’d found a match made in heaven.

Since the sherpa only has a slight stretch to it, I knew I couldn’t use it for anything that was dependent on being stretchy – i.e., the body or the sleeves. This left the hood and the front pockets, both of which I lined. I cut the pattern pieces from both the knit and the sherpa, giving the sherpa an extra seam allowance at the hemmed edge. After sewing the pieces together, the smaller size of the knit meant that it easily pushed inside the lining, so I had a cute ~sherpa edge~ on the hem of my front pockets and the edge of my hood.

“But Lauren,” you might be thinking, “isn’t sherpa hard to sew? Don’t you need to use a special leather needle or risk blowing up your machine?” Naw! Not even! My sherpa is pretty thin, even with the suede backing, so it sewed up fine with a ballpoint needle (normally I would have opted for a universal needle, but we are dealing with knits on the other side here) and serged effortlessly. It also wasn’t quite as messy as other faux furs I’ve used – no fur tumbleweeds blowing around in my sewing room or anything! – but be warned that it does still shed. I was wearing my Lola Sweater Dress  while working on this and by the time I was finished, I looked like I had crawled through a snowstorm. So, you know, maybe invest in a lint roller or something.

White Hoodie

I topstitched down around the perimeter of the hood hem, which turned the sherpa into a casing where I could insert a drawstring and some little sherpa pom poms. I mean, if you’re gonna go all out – you should go all out, yeah?

Pom poms are SO easy to make, by the way!

White Hoodie - pom pom

Cut a circle out of your fabric (cut it bigger than you think you should) and baste all the way around with a long running stitch.

White Hoodie - pom pom
White Hoodie - pom pom

Gently pull one thread tail to gather, and the circle will form itself into a ball.

White Hoodie - pom pom

Before fully closing the ball, you will want to stuff it so it has some body. You can use polyfill or just fabric scraps – I decided to use some of my leftover tiger jersey because I thought it would be a fun little secret ;)

White Hoodie - pom pom

Finally, just fold gathered raw edges under and sew across the top several times, pulling the thread tight (but not so tight that it snaps!) until the hole is closed. Not pictured but you should do this anyway: make sure you put your drawstring in the hole before you close it up! I first tied a giant knit at the end of mine so it wouldn’t pull out.

White Hoodie
White Hoodie

Pom poms + sherpa = best hoodie ever

White Hoodie

This hoodie was one of those weird experiments that I wasn’t sure was going to work out until the very end – the front pockets are pretty thick, thanks to the sherpa, and the hood fits a bit tighter than normal because of the multiple layers. But I really LOVE the way it turned out! Exactly as I imagined!

White Hoodie

The only question (and the only thing I didn’t think through before plowing ahead): Um. How does one wash suede-backed sherpa?

White Hoodie
White Hoodie

Here are some less blown-out close-ups. Man, this thing was hard to photograph! I tried taking the pictures in my living room so it wouldn’t be quite as bright, but it’s still hard to see the details.

White Hoodie

One thing that really upped the luxe factor of this hoodie (or, as luxe as a hoodie can get, I guess!) is the zipper I used. Instead of going to Joann and getting a plastic white zipper like I usually would, I went to my Bernina store and bought one of those special gold metal zippers that costs like $8. Ha! It’s not quite as fancy as a Riri zipper, but it’s the best thing I could find locally ;) I think it really adds a nice touch and makes the hoodie look super professional!

White Hoodie

To get the zipper in was a bit fiddly, since I had so many layers going on at the pockets. I basted the layers together by machine, folded the edges under and fused stitch witchery in between to keep everything in place. I sewed the zipper in with two lines of straight stitching – the closest line going right up against the zipper. I used a walking foot and a ball point needle so the fabric did not move around at all.

White Hoodie

There are those pom poms again! Ha! I LOVE them! :D

White Hoodie

Leaving y’all with this picture because it’s so amazing. What am I even doing here, I have no idea, but it makes me laugh every time I see it.

Psssss- I just got wind that the Great British Sewing Bee is casting for Season 3! Ahh!! I know I said I don’t like participating in sewing contests, but were I qualified for this one I would be ALL over it like white on rice! Which means, if you DO qualify – go on and let us live vicariously through you! Do it do it!

Completed: The Ensis Tee

13 Feb

I feel like such a bad friend, but I’ve hardly managed to make a ding in my stack of Constellation patterns from Papercut Patterns. Not for lack of inspiration – I have plans for almost every pattern in that horde – but a lack of time. Well, I guess time isn’t such a bad issue now, huh? :) YAY TIME TO GET SEWING.

Ensis Tee - stripes

So here’s the first of the series – the Ensis Tee! Actually, hush hush, but this is the second Ensis Tee I’ve sewn – the first one, I tried to use pieced fabric scraps to make the yoke up and it just ended up a mess of mismatched seams. It’s super comfy, though, so I wear it as loungewear :)

Ensis Tee - stripes

Ensis Tee - stripes

I really love the colorblocking effects with this pattern – I have so many ideas that I want to put into action! Like making it into a colorblocked turtleneck or cutting the yoke out of lace. Such a great little basic pattern!

Ensis Tee - stripes

For this particular Ensis, I used more my stripey ponte from the making of my Stripy Lady Skater, and the matching ivory ponte for the colorblock at the top. I also managed to cut out a Renfrew with the tiny bit of remaining yardage left, so expect one more garment out of this amazing fabric. What? Don’t look at me like that.

Ensis Tee - stripes

I cut the size XXS and the only alteration I made was a nip the waist in just a tiny bit for some added shape. My original Ensis was made using a very drapey Merino wool and the unaltered size is perfect, but when the fabric has a bit more body, you may need to add a little bit more shaping or else run the risk of looking boxy.

Ensis Tee - stripes

Ensis Tee - stripes

I also shortened the sleeves a little, as the originals were too long with the addition of the cuffs. You can’t see too well in these pictures, but the hem is slightly curved. I finished that with a simple twin-needle stitch – the rest of the shirt is sewn entirely on the serger. Yess!

Ensis Tee - stripes

I mostly like this top because I think it makes my boobs look big. There, I said it.

Ensis Tee - stripes

Ensis Tee - stripes

Ok, FINE, I reckon we can now address the elephant in the room – my hair! What is UP with my hair?!

Ensis Tee - stripes

I told y’all it was bright orange!

Ensis Tee - stripes

So, this is phase 1 of a two-part hair makeover. I had it bleached out last week at the salon (my salon does a training program that needed a bleach model, which means I got this done for a STEAL. srsly, srsly cheap), but I haven’t had a chance to deposit my color on it yet – hopefully this weekend. YES, it’s very orange – I had old box color already on my hair, which makes for unpredictable bleaching results. This was as light as we could go without really damaging my hair, and it’s fine for what I have planned. YES, I am aware that orange is not the most flattering color for my complexion, and I don’t intend to leave it like this for forever (although it’s kind of fun right now, not gonna lie!). I’m now working a job that doesn’t require a natural hair color as part of the dress code, so I jumped at the opportunity to do something weird with my hair. It’s just hair, it’ll grow back!

Ensis Tee - stripes

Also, say hello to my sewing room! The winter has been wretched cold, but with enough random warm days scattered throughout so I was able to squeeze in some outside photos from time to time. We’re right in the midst of another below-freezing week, so I’m back to shooting in my sewing room :)

Completed: A Stripey Lady Skater

31 Jan

Oh my god, you guys. I am so sorry to do this, but I’m about to dump another Lady Skater on y’all.

Stripey Lady Skater

Actually, you know what? I’m not sorry. This dress is damn cute!

Stripey Lady Skater

Since I’ve posted about this pattern a few times already, I’ll spare y’all the repeat drivel about my sizing and construction. I used this really amazing grey and white striped medium weight knit from Mood Fabrics – which has apparently already sold out (wah! I was planning on going back and ordering ALL THE YARDAGE), sorry guys! This ivory knit is the closest thing I could find, at least weight-wise, although it’s sold out too (and yes, I totally bought some of dat).

Stripey Lady Skater

Anyway, the fabric is fabulous and I plan on getting a lot of wear out of this little dress. I think it will make a nice backdrop to a variety of colors – I’m wearing it with red here, but I think it will look equally fab with yellow, or navy, or hell – even green. It’s super comfortable and the fabric does not wrinkle, which means this will be great for traveling*. Since, you know, I travel all the time and everything . Ah well, a girl can dream!

Stripey Lady Skater

This dress was also SUPER fast to make. I am not kidding when I say it took me an hour to assemble – and that includes cutting the fabric! Yeeeeah buddy, this is why I love knits!

Stripey Lady Skater

So, realtalk: this Project Sewn has been sucking up a LOT of my sewing time lately. Fortunately, we were given the challenges a bit in advance and encouraged to start as early as possible, so I’ve managed to knock out quite a chunk of my work over the past few weeks. Which means, less stressed Lauren – but also, less time to work on other things! So, unfortunately, this blog has had to suffer a little bit as a result.

I’m happy to say that the contest officially starts on MONDAY – so I can finally start showing y’all what I’ve been working on! Yay! I’m also hoping this will free up some personal sewing time for me, because I’ve been staring at my fabric and pattern stash and just been getting that itch.

Stripey Lady Skater

With that being said, now you know why I’ve been sewing up a lot of knits :) What can I say – they’re a great little palate cleanser when you want to work on something else but don’t have a lot of time to devote to it.

Stripey Lady Skater

Plus, I don’t know about y’all, but a cute knit dress is ALWAYS welcome in my closet! Expect to see more of this fabric… I bought 2.5 yards, so I’m hoping I can squeeze another top (or two!) out of the remaining piece :)

Stripey Lady Skater

Now, can we please get the weather to warm up again so I can go back to not wearing socks? And maybe get some greenery back in my pictures as well, that would be nice!

Stripey Lady Skater

* Oh, hey, and speaking of traveling… I just booked myself a plane ticket for a weekend jaunt in NYC with my blog bestie/super babe Clare (AND I’M SO EXCITED OMGAH)!! I’ll be rolling in March 14 – March 17 (lucky Clare gets to stay a bit longer than I do, boo!), and I’m thinking maaaaaybe we should try to for another epic meet-up on Saturday 3/15? Who wants to go fabric shopping??? :D

Completed: A Lola Sweater Dress

17 Jan

Here we are with my first official I-made-this-entire-thing-in-2014 garment*! It’s a pattern repeat, but a newb in my closet nonetheless – another Lola dress!

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

Honestly, this is a super duper simple make – like, I hesitate even posting this because it’s kind of the equivalent of a tshirt. Which for me is fun to make, and even more fun to wear, but doesn’t really translate to ~dazzing blog post~. However, I think it’s relevant today because it’s a shining example of how drastically different a pattern can look when you make it up in a new fabric.

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

If you recall my first Lola, it was done up in a proper sweatshirt knit. The stability of the fabric gave the dress a nice structure – I mean, it literally looks like a sweatshirt that has been made into a dress, little V detailing at the neckline and all. For this dress, I went on the opposite end of the spectrum with something that has a lot more drape. The resulting dress is loose-fitting and a little slinky – and looks completely different!

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

This is a sweaterknit that I picked up while I was in Chicago. I think I picked up at Vogue Fabrics, I think, but it may have also been Textile Discount Outlet. Either way, it came from the same city that the sweatshirt knit was picked up in, so it’s kind of a fabric romance story, ha. This knit isn’t anything special – I wish it was wool, but it’s boring ol’ acrylic (on the flip side, I can throw it in the washer and drying without worries of shrinkage, so yay!). The colorway is a very subtle blue gradient, and it’s quite drapey with a slightly loose weave. I love it as a dress, but I also wish I’d bought like 10 yards of it because I’d also love it as a sweater. Oh well!

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

Here you can really see how the drape of the fabric affects the shape. It just kind of skims over my body and hangs nicely. Thanks to the loose weave of the knit, I did have to size down a little as I went, but I tried to keep the shape relatively loose because this isn’t a super forgiving knit – it’s so lightweight, I think it would just look lumpy on anyone, even the skinniest lady in the world, if it was super tight. The way it is right now, it’s also reeeeally comfortable. Like, lounging in the pjs comfortable.

Sweater Knit Lola DressIt is not, however, super duper warm. Thanks, acrylic!

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

The only construction issue I had with sewing this up is that the waistline ended up quite a bit ripply since the fabric is so lightweight. In my experience with knits, there are a few ways to eliminate this problem -
1. You can make one piece smaller and stretch to fit as you sew (kind of like how you apply binding to a knit neckline). It’s still ripple like crazy, maybe more so than before, but once you actually put the garment on a body, it should stretch to fit and it will look fine.
2. You can stabilize that sucker with some elastic or interfacing and hope it all works out.
3. Sew only with stable knits, thus bypassing all ripple issues!
4. Steam the shit outta that bad boy and show them who’s boss.
Obviously, with my positive-ease fit and lightweight fabric, my best option was #4 (I reckon I could have stabilized the waistline, but I didn’t, and I think it worked out fine). This was also the easiest option – as simple as, well, steaming the shit out of the seam and pressing it down. Ripples begone!

Also, you totally needed a second shot of those tights, right? Aren’t they adorable?? omg.

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

Oh yeah, no duh, I also lengthened the sleeves so they’d be full length! This totally makes this a proper, cozy sweater dress, in my opinion. I made them long enough so they’d pull over my hands with the cuffs, which is my favorite way to wear long sleeves. To lengthen the sleeves, I actually just lazied my way through and used the long sleeve pattern piece from the Sigma dress to get the correct length and width below the elbow. Obviously, the pattern pieces are different at the top – the Sigma has a set-in sleeve, the Lola has a raglan – but since they are almost identical starting at the armpit and going down, I was able to just trace the bottom half and it worked out fine. I used the cuff pattern piece from the Lola pattern, and it perfectly fit the long sleeve length. Yay! I love it when these things work out :)

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

Here you can better see the color gradient of the fabric. I love this stuff!

Sweater Knit Lola Dress

I decided to keep the neckline simple and not bother with the V detailing – I think it’s cute for a sweatshirt dress, but on this fabric, it just looked like I was trying to cover a mistake. For my binding, I just used self-fabric. I set it in-the-round and left off the topstitching as it lays just fine after a good steam. God, I love my steam iron. I can’t even express that enough.

I left off the binding at the hem, same as last time, and just pressed up a good 2″ hem and topstitched it down with my twin needle. I also omitted the pockets and just kept the dress simple.

Sweater Knit Lola Dress
And that’s it! Pretty simple, kind of a boring blog post I guess, but I love seeing the difference between these two dresses. Oh, wait, one more thing before I let y’all go-

I’m an official contestant for Project Sewn, Season 3. This is SUPER exciting and has been very difficult for me to keep under wraps (truth, if you know me at all in real life you’ve probably heard me mention this at some point or another. Sorry! I’m bad at keeping secrets when they’re this fun!), but now I can talk about it so YAYAYAY!! I’ve already been working on my projects for the upcoming contest, hence the little * at the top of my post – I have some half-finished makes from 2014 that predate this sweater dress, but you can’t see ‘em until February ;) Sorry babes! Needless to say, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the season 3 themes and I’m really excited to share them with y’all, not to mention see what everyone else makes of ‘em! Which leads me to my next concern… have you seen the other contestants for this round? YIKES. That’s a superstar line-up if I ever saw one, and I’m a little terrified :) Ha! Regardless, even if I get booted out of the first round, I think this is gonna be fuuuun!

Have a great weekend, everyone! Don’t forget to enter the knitting pattern giveaway if you haven’t already done so – entries close this Monday!

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