Tag Archives: knit fabric

Completed: Ooh La Leggings

23 Aug

Leggings are one of those types of clothing that have always mystified me. What is their appeal? Why do people insist on treating them as pants? Don’t they have enough decency to cover their asses, for fuck’s sake?

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

And yet, here I am, posing in leggings-as-pants, with a nice dose of cameltoe to boot. The things I do for you guys.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

Haha in all seriousness, though, I don’t actually plan on wearing them out in public without my ass being covered – the fabric is too thin, it’s practically transparent as far as I’m concerned. I wasn’t sure how to treat these pictures – since, if I did cover the top of them, it would kind of cover everything and defeat the purpose of even taking the pictures, yeah? – so in the end, I took one for the team and here I am baring my ass on the internet. Don’t judge me.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

Anyway, back to what I was saying. Leggings! I never got their appeal. Why not just wear… tights? I mean, if you’re gonna wear socks anyway (my feet are always cold, I like the multiple layers). But I gotta say, these Ooh La Leggings from Papercut Patterns were REALLY intriguing to me. They look so cozy and comfortable – and the model just looks super glamorous. Or maybe it’s because she’s gorgeous, I don’t know, either way, it got my attention.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

The pattern is one of those deceptively simple patterns that offers a bit of a kick with the finished piece with all the interesting seaming – front and back yokes and seams down the front and backs of the legs. It’s very easy to put together – I can get these done in a couple of hours, from cutting to hemming – and it doesn’t require a lot of knit finesse or even fitting to get everything looking good. Only 5 pieces, a self-encased elastic waistband, and a quick pintuck of the front leg seams (or leave it off, see if I care) and you’ve got a pair of leggings that has a little somethin’ somethin’.

This is actually my second pair of Ooh La Leggings… I made another pair a couple of months ago, in red rayon knit. I never bothered to take photos (again, I wasn’t sure how to go about modeling them), but I can assure you that they get worn frequently. They are SUPER comfortable and they’re red!

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

I cut the smallest size – the XXS – and took about 4″ off the hem. I should point out that the waistband hits very high on these – above the belly button.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

The grey fabric is a lovely merino wool, straight from New Zealand. Katie sent me a big, gorgeous stack of this shit earlier this summer, and I’ve been hesitant to cut into any of it because I didn’t know what to make with something so special! Leggings, I think, are a good choice – I can layer them in the winter when I’m biking, or wear them as loungewear.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

If you’ve never used merino wool, let me be the first to tell you that this stuff is AWESOME. It’s soo soft and warm, and you can wash and dry it like normal in the machine! It doesn’t slip around while you’re cutting it, nor do the edges roll up when you’re sewing it. There is a good elasticity and stretch recovery as well. The fabric of the gods, basically!

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

The only drawback (which I don’t consider a drawback, since I don’t wear these as pants!) is that this stuff is a little thin. Thin enough where you can see everything under my leggings – including my panty lines (hey, at least you know I’m wearing undies amirite) and all the muscles in my legs. I was a little hesitant to post these pictures because I don’t think they’re terribly flattering – are my thighs really that big?! – but, you know, whatever. Them’s my legs and that’s just what they look like.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

I also made my top, do you like it? The pattern is the Coppelia, and if you’re keeping track here you’ll know that it’s my third one (others are here and here). For this one, I sized down to the XXS and lengthened the bottom by 2″. I also shortened the neckband because it was gaping a bit, but I think that’s my fabric choice. Speaking of which, this is some type of rayon knit from Mood Fabrics, and it’s really weird. It feels like a cheap polyester, but it’s definitely rayon (I burned it and everything). Also, it’s kind of see through, despite being a bit thick. So weird!

Anyway, whatever, white wrap top/good layering basic.

I just realized you can totally see a mosquito on my chest in this picture. HAHA. Omg I hate mosquitoes.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

Consider me a leggings convert! I still don’t know if I would willingly leave the house without something covering my ass (I say this as I have posted pictures of myself ON THE INTERNET with my ass out, and everyone knows the internet never forgets), but maybe with a thicker fabric, I could see it happening. I think these would be really wonderful in a ponte knit. You know I’m gonna try it!

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

Did I show you how good my ass looks in these? Because… look at how good my ass looks in these things.

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Completed: The Lady Skater Dress

22 Jul

PATTERN TOUR WITH LOGO

About a month ago, Amanda contacted me and asked if I’d like to participate in her Lady Skater Pattern Tour, to promote this awesome new pattern that she had just released. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to participate – my fabric funds are currently pretty tight right now, and YES IT SUCKS – but after chatting for a hot minute (with me flapping my arms and squawking about how much I was dying to sew the pattern up), Amanda offered to send me some yardage from her shop, Kitschy Coo.

Lady Skater Dress

Specificially, this ice blue tiger knit. HOLY SHIT, right?!

Lady Skater Dress

I’m really not trying to be cocky here, but I’m fairly confident that I have the best dress in the world now. For real.

Lady Skater Dress

I’m supposed to talk about the pattern, so let’s discuss that first! This is the Lady Skater Dress pattern – a basic knit dress pattern that opens itself up to a world of customizations, and it’s EASY. It’s so easy, y’all. If you’ve never sewn a knit before, this is a great pattern to use for toe-dipping.

Lady Skater Dress

Let me put it this way – whenever I sew up a new pattern (especially if I’m testing), I keep a notebook on hand to write myself little notes. Stuff like adjustments on size or construction, whatever I can think of that will help other people who are sewing the same pattern. When I sewed this dress, I literally did not make ANY notes. The instructions cover every single thing that I would have already said – even down to creative cutting layouts to make the most of your fabric yardage. If that’s not a sign of a well-written pattern, I don’t know what is :)

Lady Skater Dress

My dress is a size 2, which corresponds perfectly with my measurements. I made absolutely no changes to the sizing – this is how it fit straight out of the envelopeerrr, printer ;). I did shorten the length a little, but that’s just a personal preference. The skirt should hit about at your knees, if you keep it at the length as printed.

Lady Skater Dress

Like I said, the instructions on this dress are pretty fabulous. Amanda has you stabilize both the shoulder seams and the waistline seam with clear elastic – something I’ve never done before. I’ve used twill tape (topstitched down with a twin needle), and fusible interfacing (which, obviously, doesn’t require sewing on, so it’s invisible), so I was interested to see how this worked out. First of all, I should mention that I didn’t have any clear elastic on hand, nor could I be arsed to buy any. SOWWY. I used regular ol’ polyester elastic, 1/4″ wide, and followed the same instructions for the clear. You basically sew the elastic on right along the seam allowance, so when it comes time to sew your pieces together, they are permanently attached along the seam.

Lady Skater Dress

Here is my waist seam. You can’t see it from the inside, but guys – it works. My fabric is a bit heavy, but the waist seam stays exactly where it should (instead of sagging and being sad and droopy). I should also point out that I took these pictures after wearing the dress all day. Nice, yeah? ;)

Lady Skater Dress

I love the skirt on this dress! It has a nice flare, but it’s not so huge that it eats up too much fabric, or creates difficulties when navigating the world on a windy day.

Lady Skater Dress

The only thing I’m not crazy about are the wrinkles on the back. There are instructions on the pattern to eliminate this, but I’d already sewn my top and bottom together and I couldn’t be arsed to unpick the serging (yep, sorry, lazy LT). I may try to fix it on the next go-round, but honestly? It’s the back of the dress. I’m not looking at it, therefore, I’m not sure if I really care :P

Lady Skater Dress

I decided early on that I wanted something contrasty for my neck and arm bands. Initially, I wanted black, but I didn’t have anything suitable in my stash. This polka dot knit is from Mood, and it’s a pretty perfect match, yeah? I tend to shy away from mixing prints, but I don’t think this is too busy at all!

Lady Skater Dress

I think it’s funny that I somehow managed to match the tigers at the back waist seam (trust me… that was unintentional, haha!). Wish it would have worked out for the front, too. Oh well!

Lady Skater Dress

Srsly, tho: TIGERS.

Lady Skater Dress

Lady Skater Dress

Lady Skater Dress

Sorry for the picture overload, I am really enjoying the macro setting on my new camera, haha!! My topstitching was done with a double needle, and white wooly nylon thread in the bobbin.

So, like, you know what’s better than white tiger knit fabric?

Lady Skater Dress

MATCHING WHITE TIGER SHOESSSSSSSSSSS!!!

IS THIS A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN OR WHAT?!

Lady Skater Dress

The Lady Skater is TOTALLY my new TNT knit pattern. I can’t wait to make multiples upon multiples upon multiples of this lil guy :D

Thanks again, Amanda, for letting me join this pattern tour and also for the ACE fabric!!

Completed: Hummingbird Separates

8 Jul

I hope everyone had a good weekend – holiday or not! I celebrated by basically NOT leaving the house, except to get an oil change (for my truck) and donate blood (from my body). It was rainy and cold all weekend, which is really abnormal for July. No complaints here!

I didn’t get too much sewing done, surprisingly (rain makes me want to lay on the couch, which means that I knit!), but I did make myself a new outfit to wear over the weekend – using the new Hummingbird pattern.

Hummingbird Set

Every time I sew up one of this patterns, I am reminded of just how much I loooove Cake (not the food, the pattern company! Although, I’m not one to turn down the food, either…). These patterns are basically my dream patterns – easy to customize the fit, easy to adjust during sewing, easy to sew (but with just enough challenge to keep things interesting), basic & wearable for all occasions. Not to mention, Steph recently changed up the paper patterns to include sizing lines in different colors. It’s like a party in the envelope, guyzzz.

Hummingbird Set

This is the whole set – both the top and the skirt. This is my second top from this pattern (and no, you haven’t seen the first because I never blogged about it. It won’t be in this post either because it was in the wash while I was taking pictures! Soon!), and my first skirt. I wasn’t sure if I would even make the skirt, since a fitted/straight style isn’t really something I wear much of – I like to be able to mooooove… ride my bike, sit on the floor, crawl under tables, you know, the usual – but it’s surprisingly comfortable! These pictures were taken after a full day, so pardon my wrinkles.

Hummingbird Set

We can discuss the top first. I cut the size 30 bust/26 waist (Cake patterns are based off your measurements, not standard sizing) with a 17″ length (this ensures that the peplum hits the right place – I think it does! What do you think?). This is exactly how the pattern is written, with NO alterations. Can you believe how good it fits straight out of the envelope?!

Hummingbird Set

Unfortuately, I don’t think I’ll get much wear out of this top. As cute as this stripey fabric is, it’s kind of tragic – loosely woven, and stretches like a mother (it also unravels. A KNIT. I can’t even…). It’s the same fabric I used for my Stripey Tiramisu, and it just sags and bags after a couple hours. I don’t know why I bought sooo many yards of it, but ugh, I did. So I’ll just enjoy the top while I can, I guess.

Hummingbird Set

To make this work with my fabric, I had to drastically shorten the neck and arm bands to keep them from being floppy (this is super easy, since you sew those on while they’re flat, instead of in the round – you can just cut the excess off). Instead of using interfacing to stabilize the shoulder seams, I pulled out the big guns and used 1/4″ elastic. I also used the same elastic at the waistline; hopefully this will keep the weight of the peplum from pulling the shirt down too much.

Hummingbird Set

Ok, skirt’s turn! This is a 26 waist/35 hip (the measurements closest to my own, obviously). I actually ended up needing to take in quite a bit during the side seam fitting – about 1″ off each side of the waist. Fortunately, this pattern is made to allow for fitting during that stage of sewing, so it didn’t mess up my pocket placement or anything.

Hummingbird Set

Be warned that this skirt is a bit on the short side – I only hemmed mine 1/2″, and this is the length I got.

Hummingbird Set

I used the same denim leftover from my Peter & the Wolf Pants – I think the stretch is key to making this skirt super comfortable. And bonus, this skirt barely took any fabric – less than 7/8 yard!

Hummingbird Set
Hummingbird Set

Sooo these pictures were taken with my new camera, btw. I think they look pretty good, but it’s obvious that the close-ups need better focus. I also discovered that I do not like the self-timer on this camera; it takes the pictures rapidly with no time between. Good thing I ordered a remote last week!

Hummingbird Set
Hummingbird Set

Ok, I’ve officially run out of things to say about this set. Here’s some flat shots!

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

SURPRISE FANCY POCKET LINING, YEEEAHHH!!!

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

Hummingbird Set

I took a close-up of the fabric so you could see how awful it is. It is literally a knitted fabric – that’s stockinette right there. Isn’t the macro feature on my camera delicious, though? Expect lots of close-up shots, I can’t get over it.

Hummingbird Set

I can’t wait to try the flouncy version of this sucker. Gonna shake my tailfeathers all over the place :D

Psst! I have a couple announcements, real quick!

- My awesome sponsor, Sweet Little Chickadee, is moving to NY and closing shop for a month or so to handle the move – but in the meantime, she’s having a quick sale to empty out stock. Use the code MOVINGSALE to get 15% off your total purchase (this includes sale items!) through Tuesday, July 11. I know the blog post says Sunday 7/7, but Juli just informed me that she is extending the sale, soooo… shop your hearts out! But hurry! :)
- Speaking of shopping, I’ve started the mind-numbingly awful process of preparing some of my handmade and vintage clothes to be put up for sale on Etsy. I took tons of pictures and measurements over the weekend, and I’ve been slowly adding them to my shop. I thought it would be real awesome to have everything up and running by the time I wrote this blog post, but obviously that hasn’t happened yet. Check back at the LLADYBIRD shop if you are interested in buying a little piece of my history – I plan to have them all in the shop by the end of the week (and I’ll mention on the blog and/or Twitter when that’s said and done).

I hate the idea of selling my beautiful handmade clothing, but none of this stuff fits me anymore and it’s too much of a size change to take in. Rather than hoard it for no reason, I’d love to see this stuff go to a loving home where it will actually get worn. I’m not trying to make a huge profit here, so I’m pricing everything pretty low. Proceeds are going to fund some upcoming medical expenses I have, if you’re curious. Also, I am NOT trying to turn this into a big blog about how everyone should buy my shit, so don’t worry about that. Again, if you’re interested – check out my shop!

Hummingbird Set

Ok, I guess that’s it!

Completed: The Wild Side of Butterick 5078

27 Mar

Apologies in advance for the lame post title. This dress, though, is NOT lame. Unless you think leopard is lame, and if that’s the case – I’m afraid we can’t be friends at this point, so you need to GTFO, bye.

Leopard Knit Dress
This is my third (!!!) make of Butterick 5078 – and likely not my last, although it probably should be for right now. I love this pattern, although I’ve had to make a few modifications to get it exactly where I want it – shortening the skirt, eliminating the waist runching, and streamlining the sewing process. It appears to work well with a variety of fabrics, from slinky to ones with lots of body. Now that’s a versatile pattern, yeah?
(ooh I just noticed how crooked that picture is. My tripod doesn’t stand straight, so I usually have to straighten them in editing… and I guess I didn’t straighten that one enough. Sorry! I’m also not fixing it, mwahaha)

Leopard Knit Dress
My fabric is a lovely knit ponte from Mood fabrics – it has a nice heft and body to it (unlike the rayon jersey I used for my slinky 5078), as well as a good amount of stretch, even though it’s also quite stable. This fabric was a joy to work with, especially when it came time for my twin needle topstitching. Usually I have to play around with the tension and stitch length to get a good smooth stitch without that weird bump down the middle, but with this stuff the stitches just sank right in. It also presses really well – which yeah, pressing a knit seems kind of weird, but I like to press my hems before I topstitch as I find it makes it easier to sew. And while it’s nice and cozy, I also think it’ll be totally suitable for warmer months.

Leopard Knit Dress
As I mentioned before, I switched up the construction order for this to makes things easier. I basically just sewed everything flat, and then swooped up the side seams at the very end. This is what I love so much about knits – having those open side seams means it’s really easy to suck everything if you need to size it down a little. Which I ended up doing, since the super stretch of the fabric made the dress too big originally. I also narrowed the width of the midriff section, as the skirt is very heavy and the weight was pulling it down.

Leopard Knit Dress
Also, I wasn’t thinking when I bought this stuff (well I was thinking, but more along the lines of “OOH LEOPARD OOH SEXY DRESS LET ME WRAP MYSELF IN THIS HERE BOLT OF FABRIC), and I only bought a yard and a half. It would’ve been enough if the bodice wasn’t cut on the bias. Whoops! I spent foreeeeever trying different cutting layouts to get this to fit on my piece of fabric. In the end, I shortened the sleeves to elbow-length, took an additional 2″ off the skirt, and now the bodice back has a seam (it’s supposed to be cut on the fold – can you see that seam tho? It kind of looks, oh, camouflaged trololol).

Leopard Knit Dress
Sewing the actual dress took barely any time at all, though. Seriously. It took me 45 minutes to stitch the thing together.

Leopard Knit Dress
Leopard Knit Dress
Here it is without the belt. You all know I’ve been on a major belt kick lately, but this looks pretty good sans belt, too!

Leopard Knit Dress
Consider me a ponte convert! Special thanks to Carolyn, she dragged me to the section I would have otherwise ignored. Now I wish I had one of everything that was in there, gah.

Leopard Knit Dress
Man, I love leopard print. It really goes with everything… expect maybe more leopard print. I probably shouldn’t wear my leopard coat with this, eh?

Completed: The Pavlova Wrap Top

25 Mar

Well, you guys. I done goofed. I put this outfit together in hopes of the emerging spring – and oh, it is indeed emerging… so much that Landon had to mow the freakin front yard a couple weekends ago because it was sooo lush and green and, like, springy – but today is heartbreakingly gray, freezing, and the windiest of windys. I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me before I left the house this morning, but a giant circle skirt is NOT appropriate for this kind of wind. I managed to learn this lesson immediately after I flashed everyone on West End Avenue. Hope someone out there was nurturing a stockings fetish! Ahhh!

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

Anyway, I think this skirt fabric is a pretty amazing floral for the weird transitional months – it has those pretty, bright, springy flowers, but they’re smashed up against a black background so it’s still a little srs bsnss. And it looks great with black tights (I always get all weird about what color tights to wear with my spring dresses, ok!). I got it at the flea market last year and I’ve been hoarding it ever since.

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

I originally cut this skirt out a couple of months ago, during an afternoon sewing date with my boo Lauren W. My fabric was large enough for me to cut a full circle, but hers wasn’t, and I wanted to be a good friend (and also get an idea of wtf I was doing before ripping into her fabric), so we pieced the pattern out so it has 4 skirt pieces, and then added pockets. You can’t see my skirt seams because my fabric is so robust and floofy, but trust me, they’re there.
Anyway, the sewing-date ended with a fully seamed skirt with pockets, and then it sat in my sewing room for… well, until last Friday. Lauren has been making progress on her own skirt at home (aw yay!!) so I decided to finish mine up, so I could wear it with my new wrap top. Don’t they match so well?! Like it was ~meant to be.

You probably guessed that the skirt is not the Pavlova circle skirt – it’s just my standard, self-drafted circle skirt pattern. It’s like a sneaky Pavlova, since it was cut into 4 pieces. Also, it’s not hemmed with anything but a very simple narrow hem. The fabric has a lot of body, so it stands up pretty well on it’s own. Which is great, because I don’t have any horsehair braid right now :P

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

Anyway, let’s talk about the top! This is the wrap from the Pavlova pattern. I’m not even going to lie, I was a liiiiiittle apprehensive about sewing this pattern – something about that lapped seam on the neckline, not to mention the shoulder darts, looked intimidating! I really shouldn’t have worried, though – Steph has an incredible way of relaying instructions that makes them sooo easy to understand. The only problems I had with making this top was my topstitching – and I fault that to my fabric and lack of fusible hem tape to keep shit in place. I sewed a size 30 and made no alterations to the pattern.

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

My fabric is from NY – I bought it at Fabrics For Less. This was my very short, very solo return to the Garment District on Monday afternoon. Yes, after 2 full days in that madhouse, I WENT BACK. And I bought more fabric. Honestly, I was very upset about the lack of knits in my suitcase, so I got this mint cotton jersey as well as a matching red, and also the french terry for my Avocado hoodie. What? Why are you looking at me like that?

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

I don’t know if this jersey was the very *best* choice for this top – you can see everrrrrry single little lump under there (fyi, the line across my chest is actually from the hem of the wrap top, not my bra. Just so we’re clear ;)), as it’s super drapey and tissue thin. I just love the color though, and it goes with a huge chunk of my wardrobe! Word of warning – this is a short top. The front barely clears my waistband (which comes above my navel), and all my pants are too low to wear with it. The back is nice and long, though, which is sweet.

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

Also, this is one hell of a twirly skirt.

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

I forgot to mention – I added a thin line of mint piping between the waistband and the skirt, using a perfectly matching bias tape I had in my stash. Yes! I love it when these things work out!

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

Soooo… what’s next? Do I need plead a special case to the Sun God or what??

Completed: A Stripey Tiramisu

8 Feb

It’s no secret that I love knits – I love sewing them and I love wearing them. Sometimes when life throws you a big shit sack full of bummer, the only way to get back on the horse is with a good ol’ TNT. All knits are TNT as far as I’m concerned (so. freaking. forgiving!), but I especially love my purple Tira, because it goes the extra step of actually looking pulled together. Which is nice, especially when you just wanna feel like you’re wearing comfy pajamas.

As much as I love purple, though, it’s pretty winter and no duh I need a stripey summer Tiramisu now, right? No shame, I totally ripped off both Steph AND Penelope, because I am shameless and awesome and secretly hoping we can be twins(triplets?). Ladies, pls.

Stripey Tiramisu
Anyway, who doesn’t love stripes?! It’s like wearing a circus ON MY BODY.

Stripey Tiramisu
This fabric is from the giant sale at my local fabric store, where I totally cleaned up last month. I actually have this stuff in black/white stripes too (and I think I bought some crazy amount, like 4 yards of it haha). It’s so stripey and soft and awesome. It’s also kind of not really suitable for this kind of dress; it’s VERY stretchy, 4 ways, and super drapey. I had to make a few changes to the pattern to get it to work – which ended up ok in the end, but please heed my warning: you need something more stable for this dress, unless you want to futz with the fit all night like I did.

Stripey Tiramisu
Still, it turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself! And it looks so good with my new shoes :D

Stripey Tiramisu
Anyway, let’s talk about the changes I made:
- I reduced the size of the bust to a C on the pattern tissue, but once I basted the top together to test the fit, it was still a bit low (as the fabric was pulling under it’s own weight. And this was before the skirt was attached!). I removed another 3/4″ from the underbust, although looking at these pictures, I could’ve stood to remove a little more.
- I reduced the waist by 3/4″ before sewing; once sewn up I had to take in the side seams another 1/2″ or so. I’m telling you – this fabric is soo stretchy!
- I shortened the neck and arm bands and stretched them to fit when I sewed them on; without stretching, they would have ended up floppy.
- I shortened the hem twice – first hacked about 3.5″ off the pattern tissue, then another 2″ when the dress was sewn up as the skirt had stretched under it’s own weight.
- I left out the pockets – I feel like they add a lot of bulk with fabric like this.

Stripey Tiramisu
I tried to match up the stripes, but I didn’t do the best job. They match up on this side…

Stripey Tiramisu
… but not the other side. This is partially because the fabric was a PAIN IN THE ASS to cut (so shifty!), and partially because I had to keep sucking in the side seams after the dress was finished, to get it to fit. Also, please note that the waistband is not cut straight. Again, shifty fuckin fabric.

Stripey Tiramisu
The shoulder seams also do not completely match up. Oh well!

Despite my problems with the fabric, the gape factor is pretty non-existent:
Stripey Tiramisu
Stripey Tiramisu
I think the key to this is shortening the bands and stretching them to fit the neckline. It kind of sucks everything in, and allows it to curve to your body.

Stripey Tiramisu
If you have your heart set on sewing this pattern with a very drapey fabric, make sure you are vigilant about pressing every seam. It really makes a huge difference, especially on the bands.

Stripey Tiramisu
Stripey Tiramisu
Sorry about all the loose threads; I had literally just finished the dress before I took the pictures :)

Stripey Tiramisu
Now then, let’s have a bit of Spring up in here, pls?

Completed: White Tshirts. Yes, Tshirts.

1 Feb

At the risk of really beating this dead horse to the ground- I like making solid, every day basics. Boring shit like plain pants, tshirts, solid knit dresses, and I’ve got my eye on making underwear as well. I mean, making a bunch of party dresses is super fun, don’t get me wrong – but there are only so many frilly/froofy dresses I can fill my closet with before I start pulling my hair out on Saturday morning whining that I don’t have anything to weeeear. And I, too, have read Overdressed, which basically punched me in the face the same way that Fast Food Nation punched the rest of the world in the stomach. I can’t even walk in the mall anymore now without yelling about polyester and stitch lengths. It’s insane and no one wants to go shopping with me these days… not that I do much “shopping” as it is.

So, I’m ok with sewing my own basics. I like that I make a tshirt for roughly the same cost as something from the mall, except I can control the fit as I like it and I also know the hem stitches aren’t going to fall out the first time I throw it in the wash. Maybe making tshirts is simple and the exact opposite of exciting, but sometimes I’m having a bad day and I just want to make something without thinking to much about it – and for me, that perfect something is the tshirt. Some people bake when they’re in a bad mood. I make tshirts.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Organic Cotton Plus and asked if I would like to sample some of their organic fabrics. Yeah! I chose the white interlock knit and set to work making some basics. In organic because, yeah, I be fancy.

Organic Renfrew- V-Neck
I used my beloved Renfew pattern and made two tops. Here’s the v-neck -probably could have stood to make that v a little more, uh, v-like, but it ain’t too bad for a first attempt. The secret, I’ve learned, is to sew the neck band on a regular sewing machine first, and then serge the edges after. Otherwise, the blades of the serger will chop a big ol’ hole in the middle of your tshirt when you try to pivot (and disabling the blades just makes a huge mess, oh god). I know this because I actually tried to do the v-neck version several months ago, and it failed. Also, I realize I just lied to y’all about this being a first attempt. I’m sorry, I’ll never lie to you again~.

Organic Renfrew- V-Neck
I made no changes to the pattern (other than my initial fitting changes), except I did not add the hem band. I just hemmed the bottom with a double needle and used my walking foot.

Organic Renfrew- V-Neck

Organic Renfrew- V-Neck

Organic Renfrew - Scoop Neck
I also made a scoop neck!

Organic Renfrew - Scoop Neck
Making tshirts is FUN!

Organic Renfrew - Scoop Neck
I actually really really love this fabric. It is the *perfect* weight for a basic Renfrew – super soft, a bit of stretch (but not all slinky like jersey – which I love, but there is a time and a place for slinky jersey) with a good hefty weight. Even though it’s white, it’s actually quite opaque – the scoop-neck top has neon yellow twill tape on the shoulders. Can you see it? NOPE. I’m pretty sure I could get away with wearing a neon bra under these and on one would be the wiser.

Organic Renfrew
Plus, the fabric is less than $9 a yard. So yes, a teeny bit more expensive than F21 – but it’s also light years nicer, as well as ethically-sourced. Which I’m totally willing to pay extra for.

Organic Renfrew

Organic Renfrew

Organic Renfrew

And while we’re on the subject of paying extra for ethical fashion… didja see my new jeans?

Imogene Stretch
WELL LOOK AT THEM.
Before you get all excited and start freaking out, I didn’t make these. As much as I wish I was a jean-making-master like Taylor Tailor, I can’t make a good pair of jeans to save my life. I don’t even think it’s a matter of fit anymore – I just don’t like the denim that is currently available. As much as I love love love my Thurlow jeans, I rarely wear them because the fabric just sucks. They stretch out so much over the course of the day, they are huge and baggy by the time I take them off – and I’ve sized them down twice now. Ugh. So I give up. Jeans, you win. I will buy you from now on.

Imogene Stretch
So here’s the deal – like, I dunno, every single woman I know, standard jeans just don’t fit me right. They are too big in the waist, too tight in the thighs, and the length is always much too long (and I’m too lazy to hem my own jeans, let’s be real here). I guess I could fix the waist issue by wearing a belt, but I hate wearing belts with pants, not to mention I don’t even own any belts that fit around my hips. Plus, the denim is just shitty. I bought some GAP jeans a couple of years ago and they’re already getting holes – and I barely even wear them! So I recently got rid of all my jeans – I had almost a dozen pairs – and bought one pair. I only own one pair of jeans now, and here they are.

Imogene Stretch
These are made by Imogene and Willie, and they are the Imogene Stretch. I’m not going to sugar coat – they were fucking expensive. Actually, these jeans are the most expensive piece of clothing I have ever owned. This is also the first piece of new/non-sale clothing I’ve bought in several years (and yes, I bought them with my own money. Ha, I WISH I+W would give me free jeans!). So, why would I spend $200+ on one pair of jeans, you might ask?
- They are made here in Nashville, TN, by a small business. I like supporting small businesses. I like knowing my money is going back into my community.
- The materials are amazing. The denim is high-quality and wears beautifully (and it’s woven in the USA! Yeah!). I also get 3 free repairs, should I happen to gouge a hole in them or some shit.
- The fit is better than any pair of pants I’ve ever owned. I dunno about you, but I’d rather own one pair of well-fitting pants than a dozen pairs of ill-fitting pants. I have no waist gap, the legs fit perfectly, and the length was hemmed to my exact measurements when I bought them.
- THEY LOOK DAMN GOOD ON ME.

Also, the workmanship is just beautiful-
Imogene Stretch
The topstitching is three different colors. Can you see it?

Imogene Stretch

Imogene Stretch

Imogene Stretch

I’m not posting this because I secretly want everyone to stop shopping at fast fashion places (ok, I kinda do – in a perfect world. But that’s not really attainable right now, and not everyone has that kind of budget! ;)). I mean, I just bought a pair of Keds the other day. Whatever. But… know when to pick your battles. Know what matters to you, and what you can let slide. And personally for me – I’ll make what I can, and buy local when I can find and afford it, and not feel bad if I occasionally have to buy shoes at Macy’s. Small changes eventually equal big changes.

Organic Renfrew

Organic Renfrew

~*~Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post, although I did receive a fabric sample from Organic Cotton Plus to review & keep. All opinions on this product are my own.

Tutorial: The Paulie Pocket Top

18 Jan

stretch yourself header
This post is part of the Stretch Yourself Series hosted by Miriam of Mad Mim and Miranda of One Little Minute. This two week series is ALL ABOUT the love of knits, so go check it out!
I’ll be showing y’all some embellishment twist on a classic, along with Jessica of A Little Gray

Here she is – the Paulie Pocket Top!
Paulie Pocket Top
I KNOW. The name of this top is totally ridiculous & tacky – but what part about my life isn’t? :)

Paulie Pocket Top
You will need 3 different kinds of fabric to make this – something for the majority of the shirt (in whatever yardage you need to make your top), something to line the back of the pocket with (half a yard or so should be enough), and scraps for the pocket binding. For the binding, you don’t want to use anything that is too thin/floppy, or it’s not going to sit right – try something with a bit more body, like ribbing or a cotton knit.

Don’t forget your pattern! You can download it here. The edges of the paper are part of the band pieces; the lines just didn’t transfer over during the scan.
Be sure the test square prints out to 4″x4″ (or 10cmx10cm, if you fancy). The stretch guide is there for the binding fabric – you just want to make sure the 4″ piece stretches up to the length provided (or else your binding will not fit in the cut-outs). If it stretches more or less, that is fine, but you will need to adjust your pattern pieces accordingly.

Paulie Pocket Top
Cut all your pattern pieces from the main fabric as normal. For this tutorial, I am using the Renfrew pattern. Sew the shoulder seams as instructed (you don’t *have* to sew the shoulder seams first, but I like to because it helps with pocket placement – you can pull the shirt over your head and double-check in the mirror).

Now push the back of the shirt out of your way. We won’t be touching it for the rest of this tutorial.

Paulie Pocket Top
On the shirt front, measure on both sides the distance from where you want the bottom of your pockets to hit, keeping seam allowance in mind. I usually go with 1 3/4″. Mark this with a pin.

Paulie Pocket Top
Align the bottom of the pocket template with the pin and cut from the front of the shirt only.
(pst! I know my template has different wording – while putting together this tutorial, I hadn’t decided on a ~name~ for my pattern embellishment yet ;))

Paulie Pocket Top
Give the pocket piece to your cat to play with, idk.

Paulie Pocket Top
Cut 2 pieces of pocket ribbing, using the pocket band pattern piece.

Paulie Pocket Top
Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.

Paulie Pocket Top
Pin the pocket band to the pocket opening on the outside of the shirt, matching raw edges, notches, and ends. The pocket band will be smaller than the pocket opening – this is good, we are going to stretch that band to fit and give our pockets a nice curve. Do not overpin this – 3 pins is plenty.

Paulie Pocket Top
Start by anchoring one end of the pocket band to the pocket edge, and stop with the needle in the down position.

Paulie Pocket Top
Sew the band to the edge, stretching the band to fit as you go (don’t stretch the raw edge of the pocket- just the band! It’s much easier if you position it so the band is on top). Sew slowly and take your time. We ain’t in a hurry here.

Paulie Pocket Top
Once the band is sewn down, you can topstitch it on your sewing machine – using a twin needle or a regular ol’ zigzag stitch.

Paulie Pocket Top
You should end up with something like this. Ain’t that fancy! Let’s put a back to those pockets so our sides aren’t hanging out in the glory of the sun – unless you’re into that kinda stuff, eh, no judgement here.

Paulie Pocket Top
Measure from the bottom of the shirt front to about an inch above the pocket band. Mine is 9.5″, which is approximately how tall I need my pocket lining piece to be.

Paulie Pocket Top
Measure that same measurement from the bottom of your shirt front pattern piece and cut that from your pocket back fabric.

Paulie Pocket Top
Finish the top edge of your pocket back fabric – this is optional as we all know jersey doesn’t exactly unravel, but it’ll make the next step a little easier :)

Paulie Pocket Top
Lay the shirt front over the pocket lining piece you just cut, matching all raw edges. Pin along the pocket openings and shirt bottom to keep everything in place.

Paulie Pocket Top
Now, using your fingers to feel the edge of the top of the pocket lining underneath, carefully pin across the front of the shirt so both pieces are pinned together.

Paulie Pocket Top
Flip back periodically to make sure you catch both layers.

Paulie Pocket Top
Topstitch (again – you can use a twin needle or a zigzag) along the line you just pinned. Baste the side and bottom edges together.

And that’s it! You can go ahead and sew your shirt together as instructed by your pattern – treat the pocket-ed front as one piece.

Yay for embellished shirts!

Paulie Pocket Top

Paulie Pocket Top

Paulie Pocket Top

Special shout-out to this awkward picture:
Paulie Pocket Top
No idea why I look so emo here haha

Paulie Pocket Top
There! That’s better :D

Completed: A Slinky Red Butterick 5078

15 Jan

This doesn’t really warrant much of a post – it’s a knit dress, I’ve already made the pattern before, wah wah – but I thought it warranted at least a mention, after I made the changes I was musing over.

Butterick 5078 - slinky red
This is my second version of Butterick 5078 – and way better! So much better!

Butterick 5078 - slinky red
For one, the fabric is better. I wish I could share a little piece with all of you because it is SOOOO SOOOOFFFTT. It’s a rayon knit that I picked up at my local fabric store’s 40% sale (I should go back. Should I go back? ARGH), and it’s even softer than the purple bamboo knit that I used to make that Tiramisu (which, ps, I’m wearing right now. Actually, I wear it like once a week. THIS.DRESS.IS.THE.BOMB.). The color is a rich vibrant red, and it is slinky as all get-out. So, perhaps most people wouldn’t want a slinky red dress. But I like! Slinky and feels like pajamas, yeah!

Butterick 5078 - slinky red
I used the same sizing and everything as before – the 8 – but I did make a few changes:
- Lengthened the bodice to cover all my boobs and not cut across the middle of them. To do this, I put on my first incarnation of the dress and measured how much I needed to add, and then just added it to the bottom of the pattern piece. It was somewhere in the realm of 3″, FYI.
- I removed 3″ of the skirt length from the pattern pieces, so I didn’t waste any of my precious fabric.
- I changed up the construction sequence of the dress, to make it easier and more, uh, knit-friendly. Most everything was constructed flat (the pattern has you do everything in the round, including the sleeves. ewww), and then I zipped up the side seams at the last minute. This was extra convenient, as the super drape powers of this fabric made it a bit big when I first sewed it. It was very easy to take in the side seams!
- The biggest change I made was to eliminate that runched drape deal at the waistline. I considered adding it – even cut out and assembled the pieces – sewed the dress up, thought, “Oh God, I have made a huge mistake”, pulled the runching back on over the dress and realized I would have made a bigger mistake by adding it. I dunno, that runching just looks weird on me. Sorry.

Butterick 5078 - slinky red
I am fully aware you can see, like, everything through this dress. NO CARE – it’s like a slinky, sexy pajama. Ooh ooh!

Butterick 5078 - slinky red
I also think it’s interesting to note how different the neckline looks with a drapier fabric. Unfortunately, this one isn’t so gape-friendly. I do have to be careful when I bend over (and wearing a tank underneath to counteract isn’t an option: see above re SLINKY).

I guess there’s not much else to say about this dress. I do think knit dresses are my new go-to for cold weather, though. I can cozy them up with tights and boots and a handmade sweater, and I feel polished while still being totally appropriate to roll up on the couch. I need to dig into the rest of my knit stack from Textile; I’ve got a few stripey pieces that I’m dying to play with!

Butterick 5078 - slinky red

Butterick 5078 - slinky red
Kitty approved? Sort of.

Completed: the Coppélia Cardy

2 Jan

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope the holidays left y’all with plenty of relaxation, time with friends, wonderful gifts, and of course… alcohol. Can’t forget the alcohol ;) So sad, January 2nd is now upon us so I guess it’s time to revisit the Real World, take down my Christmas tree, and dive back into my nine to five job. Wah!

I’m going to kick this year off with the very first thing I made in 2013- the Coppélia from Papercut Patterns
Coppélia Cardy
YUM. That’s my short-list review of this cardy, if you must know.

Santa (or maybe Jesus?) must have been following my wishlist something fierce, because Katie generously sent me this pattern (along with the La Sylphide and DON’T YOU WORRY, because I have words for that one too!!). My experience with Papercut Patterns is brand-spankin’ new – I’ve long admired the sweet styles that are offered, and the delightful packaging that the patterns are wrapped up in. And you know what? I was NOT disappointed with the actual pattern – or the finished garment. I could wax poetic about this wrap all day, but I’m going to stop because I don’t want to make anyone sick. Just know that when it comes to Papercut Patterns, the answer should always be yes.

Coppélia Cardy
I know my fabric choice here is a little… different. Haha! Honestly, I’ve actually had a hard time lately pulling myself away from the looks that I see outlined on the pattern envelopes. For some reason, this isn’t too much of an issue with Colette Patterns, but something about the photography with these particular patterns just makes me want to wrap myself in pastel chiffons and roll around in a field of wildflowers. Except it’s winter here (ooh 40* brr! DON’T JUDGE ME) and I look like shit in pastels. Anyway, every time I thought about my future lover Coppélia, I envisioned her in white. Realizing that I need to make a wearable muslin for this top (since I’m unfamiliar with how these patterns are drafted), and then realizing that I had a very large yardage of this god-awful zigzaggy sheer polyester monstrosity that’s been sitting my stash for at least 3 years… Coppélia The Disco Queen was born. And OMFG I KIND OF LIKE HER.

Coppélia Cardy
The fabric is kind of uncomfortable, though. What can I say? It’s a very heavy, very cheap polyester that I bought from $1/yard table at Walmart. And it’s totally sheer. But it works, somehow.

Coppélia Cardy
The size XS fit me *almost* perfectly straight out of the envelope. I had to pull a good 1″ chunk out of the center back – which, I’d already cut my pieces, so the back now has a seam – but I have a fairly small back/ribcage, so this does not surprise me. I also tapered the sleeves down to an XXS as they were a bit baggier than I prefer. In the future, I will shorten the sleeves as well – they’re a bit long (I folded the cuffs back so it’s not noticeable on this top). All in all, the fit is pretty nice, though!
Also, I have no idea what I’m doing in the above picture. Sniffing my armpit, I guess?

Coppélia Cardy
I love how cozy and snuggly this top turned out! I can only imagine how much I’ll love it in a nicer fabric – especially something with a bit more drape. This is an actual wrap top – which means when I untie the ties, the whole thing opens up in the front like a cardigan (i.e., not a mock wrap!). Surprisingly, the gape factor here is pretty much nonexistent. I spent all day in this shirt and never once worried about exposing more than I intended. Yay!

Coppélia Cardy
If you’re wondering how I already made a top this year and we’re only 2 days in – it was a SUPER fast make! I used my serger to sew most everything (except a small bit of topstitching along the bottom hem for the band), and I think my total sewing time came in around 45 minutes. I didn’t stay out late on NYE – I’m an old lady when it comes to my bedtime, I was out by 10:30PM! – so I was up by 10AM, had a leisurely breakfast and quickie sewing sesh, then made it to Gallatin to eat black-eyed peas and collard greens with my parents by 1PM :) Yay for New Years!

Coppélia Cardy
The pattern instructions are great – they are brief and to the point, without a lot of unnecessary hand-holding (although they are not so brief that a knit n00b would have no idea what is going on). Same with the pattern markings – there are notches to match the pieces, but not a metric shit-ton. This is perfectly fine and dandy with me. I don’t need a bunch of notches to match up a sleeve seam, you know? Just tell me how to get it on the bodice, I think I can figure it out from there!

Coppélia Cardy
I also really love the construction method for this top – it was very straightforward and intuitive, very very similar to how to like to sew my knits. So maybe I’m just a little biased haha ;)

Coppélia Cardy
Here’s a good look at the sheerness of the fabric – the zigzags are solid on top of a knit mesh (that’s my hand behind it). It’s not so noticeable on this top, especially since I am wearing a nude bra, but it would definitely show in something like a dress. Hence why I had so much yardage and never did anything with it – the fabric is heavy enough on it’s own, and adding an underlining just makes it even worse. So I’m glad I figured out a use for it :)

Coppélia Cardy
I definitely plan on making more of these – I actually skipped my lunch break today to take advantage of the semi-annual sale at Textile Fabrics (which, if you live in Nashville: GO. 40% off everything, yo!). I only let myself buy knits, but I got some awesome stuff – stripes, silky drapey rayon, and a lovely woolish sweater knit that is turning into Film Noir Coppélia STAT. Which I’m hoping will be easier to match with bottoms :) Haha!

Hopefully a first successful sewing project means all of 2013 will be successful sewing projects too! HAHA ok, maybe that’s a little optimistic – but optimism is good, yeah?

Happy 2013, y’all!

me-made-may'13

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