Tag Archives: knit

Completed: the Colette Myrtle Knit Dress

17 Mar

I am so excited that today’s post doesn’t involve sleeves or pants.

Myrtle knit dress

It does, however, involve a navy striped knit fabric. Sorry! Don’t fall asleep on your keyboard! Landon already told me I’m not allowed to buy anymore navy striped knit fabric haha. I guess we all have a type, and I have just announced mine to the internet.

Myrtle knit dress

This is the Myrtle from Colette patterns, a knit dress with a cowl neckline and an elasticized waist. You guys, I’m going to be straight up front and honest with you – I apparently bought this pattern, and then somehow COMPLETELY forgot about it until a couple of weeks ago when I was digging through my pattern stash in search of another pattern. So I’m a little late on the bandwagon with this one, however, it’s probably ok timing on my end since I don’t think this sleeveless style would have gotten much wear over the winter!

Anyway, discovering the pattern and then realizing that I had the perfect knit patiently waiting to be sewn up, meant that this project skipped straight to the top of the queue and everything else had to wait. Ha ha!

Myrtle knit dress

My past few experiences with Colette patterns have resulted in some questionable fitting (I think I’m about sized out of their patterns – at least the knits. Wah!), so I made a muslin of the bodice before I got to sewing my fabric. This ended up being a really good idea, because the bodice was all kinds of wrong on me! I knew the bust would be big – the finished measurements for the size 0 are still about 4″ bigger than my bust, and while I know a little bit of positive ease is good with this style, that seemed like too much to me. In the end, everything about the top portion of the dress was just toooooo big and not at all proportional to my body. The arm holes were also really low – like, you could see at least half of my bra band when I stood to the side.

I ended up shortening the shoulders by more than 1″ (I start with a 1/2″ adjustment by slashing the pattern about halfway across the armsyce, to shorten the depth, but that ended up being not enough so I took the rest out of the actual shoulders after the dress was sewn up. Hence why I can’t give you an exact measurement for that adjustment) and taking in the bust by about 1/2″ on either side. I didn’t make any adjustments to the waist – it needs to be a little big so you can add the elastic – but the bust needed to be somewhat tighter or else the entire world was gon’ get a side peep show. As it stands now, I think the bust could still be sized down more, but I didn’t want to overfit the dress so I left it as is.

Myrtle knit dress

The dress has a clever assembly – the front is self-lined (so you don’t see any ugly wrong side in the folds of the cowl) and the front arm holes are finished with all raw edges inside the lining. The back neck and arm holes are finished with a simple turned under hem – in my case, with the twin needle. The elastic has a channel sewn, and then wide elastic is inserted and topstitched down. This was the hardest part of making the dress – I found it a bit fiddly, and as a result, my stitches at the waist aren’t exactly straight (but, I mean, who’s looking? Right? RIGHT?). I think it might be easier to just feed the elastic through the channel once both sides are sewn down. There are supposed to be pockets, but I left those off bc I hate pockets in knit dresses (and freedom, too, apparently). There is a whole sewalong dedicated to this pattern if you are interested in seeing the construction, btw. It’s hosted by Devon, aka my favorite Disney Princess.

Myrtle knit dress

Even with the fitting adjustments, the muslin, and the manhandled elastic – this dress came together very quickly! Its a very easy make (4 pieces, not including the pockets) and I just zipped it all through my serger and used the aforementioned twin needle for all the turned hems. It’s also insanely comfortable, and I think the looser/breezy fit is going to be my gold standard with the blazes of Hell start blasting through Tennessee this summer.

Myrtle knit dress

I really love this fabric, especially with how the stripes look on the cowl! The knit is a Ralph Lauren ~dazzling blue~ striped viscose jersey (their words, not mine) from Mood Fabrics’ website. It’s a nice, slinky 2 way stretch knit with a gorgeous drape that feels wonderful to wear. Definitely bought this without any idea in mind of what I’d do with it, but I think I found a good match :)

I seem to have no pictures of this dress without the belt (I could have sworn I took some on the dressform, but they are gone. Or else they never happened, which is likely the case here), but here’s an shot I posted on Instagram last week. I think the encased elastic is a pretty touch (you will never EVER hear me say that again, by the way), but on this dress + stripes + lose bodice with cowl neck…. just didn’t look right on me. Hence why it’s covered with a belt. I’m still not completely convinced that this dress is very flattering on me, but, I like the fabric and it’s super comfy, so it stays.

Myrtle knit dress

Front bodice with self-lining.

Myrtle knit dress

Enclosed elastic on the inside. The elastic casing is created with a zigzag stitch, per the pattern instructions.

Myrtle knit dress

Anyway, I think it’s pretty cute! I like it with the yellow belt, and it also looks good with my tall brown boots and a cardigan (which is how I wore it last week). The only thing to keep in mind with this pattern is that it is NOT bend-over friendly. No photo evidence to be found here, but just trust me… leaning over is the best way to give the nearest stranger an eyeful. I haven’t found a way to rectify that (some of my other cowls can be pinned to my bra cup, or even have a little piece of elastic or a weight to hold it down, but the design of this cowl doesn’t allow for that), but I thought I’d point it out. One thing I might add later down the line is some little bra strap holders at the shoulders.

SO happy we finally had a warm week here! It’s been pushing over 70 the past couple of days, with loads of sunshine, and it just feels *amazing* outside. The season of bare legs is upon us, at least for this week! Kind of a bummer that I’m going to leave all this to go to cold ol’ NY this weekend (I classify everything under 70*F as “frigid” just fyi), but I’m pretty excited for this class this weekend! Plus, fabric shopping. Can’t visit NY without coming home with a suitcase full of pretty new fabrics, amirite ;)

Completed: I Knit Socks!

24 Dec

I cannot believe it’s been 3 years since I learned how to knit! Where has time gone?

When I was first starting my journey into knitting, there were really only two things I was interested in making – sweaters and socks. The sweaters, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, have not been a problem – as of last count, I’m working on #18 (yes! I looveeee sweaters!). Socks, on the other hand, have remained a bit of a mystery to me. I made it worse by trying to be picky about every pattern I considered – I wanted to learn to knit socks on Magic Loop, I wanted to do two at a time, I wanted the yarn to be fingering weight, etc etc. I am pretty sure it was less that I wanted a ‘specific pattern’ to make my first pair of socks with, and more that I just wanted some more excuses to allow me to push everything to the backburner! Needless to say, I haven’t knit a pair of socks – or even attempted to knit a pair of socks – since I first started my Journey of the Knit ‘way back in 2011.

Dancetty Socks

UNTIL NOW HEH HEH HEH.

Dancetty Socks

Sorry about the pictures! It’s surprisingly hard to take photos of your own socks – who woulda thought? As you can see, my reupholstered chairs are well used and loved, and, yes, that is a ladder with a plant on it under an American flag in the background (results of some drunken “how hipster can we make this wall?” night. I always laugh when I see the Hipster Wall. It stays.).

Anyway – socks! My first pair, go ahead and feast your eyes!!

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Every time I think about how ridiculous this must have looked to anyone who might have happened to peer in my window (Truth: We don’t close our curtains. At least not in the dining room, where this took place), it makes me laugh more. Oh, the things I do for blog photos.

Dancetty Socks

Imma try to keep this short and sweet, because it’s Christmas Eve, after all (sorry to give y’all socks for Christmas! Am I the worst ever or what?!). The pattern is Dancetty by Abbey Morris (keep reading for a coupon code!), and I used one skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine for both of them (with tons leftover). I’m just going to be totally straight and upfront with y’all – I ultimately chose this as my first sock pattern because Abbey offered it to me in exchange for a review. Otherwise, without that gentle push, I might still be spiraling down the endless turmoil of “I don’t know what sock pattern to knit fiiiiiiirst!!” Abbey assured me that, with my knitting experience (17 sweaters, man!), I would find these easy enough for a first time. The ladies at my local yarn store, Haus of Yarn, were confident I’d have these finished in a week. In reality, these took me two months. One month per sock. Ha!

Dancetty Socks

I knit these socks with size 0 DPNs (double pointed needles) – the 0 was based on my gauge swatch, and the DPNs are how the pattern is written. I actually really appreciated the way the pattern was written, because it kind of dumbed things down enough to where I could easily follow the instructions (pretty much blindly on my first sock, ahaha) and still get a good result. Each section tells you how many stitches to have on each needle, and there are separate lace patterns to follow based on what part of the sock you’re knitting. Apart from the whole lace sock thing, this was a somewhat mindless knit. The lacework… woof. That’s where things got interesting (and why these took me so dang long!). On at least the first sock, I think I unknit every other row, because I kept making so many mistakes. I’ve never been one to think lacework was super difficult, but something about it being in sock form was just ruining my brain (that, and I was trying to do this while watching TV and/or drinking. Whoops?). That being said, I was really happy to turn the heel – I’ve always heard that turning the heel is magical, and it kind of is!

Sock #2 took about the same amount of time as sock #1, but the process was much smoother. Since I already knew what I was getting into, I didn’t make as many mistakes – but I did take a lot of breaks, which was why this was so slow-going! I know that Second Sock Syndrome is a real thing for sock knitters, but for me, it was nice to be able to try again the second time around and make improvements when possible.

When I finished both socks, they were initially a little short in the foot. An overnight wet block (I used sock blockers, mostly because I wanted to buy something new, but you could just block them like a sweater too I guess, and pin the heck out of them) solved that problem. I’m also wondering about the cuff – see how it’s scrunching down? How can I get it to stay up? (A knitter’s lament) Should I thread thin elastic through the edge like I do with my hats?

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Anyway, this was a fun pattern to knit up! If you can do simple lacework, short rows, and knit in the round – you can knit socks. It’s really not much different than knitting a sweater (although it might take as long! Oh no, wait, that’s just me :P haha!). Next up, I want to try knitting socks with Magic Loop – while I didn’t think the DPNs were fiddly to knit with, it was hell on earth trying to transport the damn things. They kept slipping out of my stitches and wreaking havoc on everything, no matter how I tried to store my WIP. Also, note to self: don’t buy bamboo DPNs, you will snap those sticks like the toothpicks they are. Good way to feel like a Hulk Woman, though.

Next sock pattern in my knitting queue? Good question! I’ve had my eye on these Little Cable Knee Highs (have you seen Michelle‘s? Oh my god, Becky.), except, ugh, the DPNs again. Any good suggestions for fingering-weight socks knit on circular needles?

Want to try Dancetty yourself? Use the code “Lladybird” to receive 50% off any pattern from Abbey Morris Designs Ravelry Shop. This code is good through January 31, 2015! Thank you so much, Abbey!

Dancetty Socks

That’s all for now! Ravelry notes are here. I hope y’all have a very Merry Christmas and a lovely end to your December! I’m just now awakening from the throes of my DEATHBED (first time feeling human since Sunday night what up y’all), and I’m looking forward to spending some time with the family, the boyfriend, and my handknit socks. Yay!

Disclaimer: Dancetty was provided to me, free of charge, from Abbey Morris Designs, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. And I am very happy to finally have a pair of a hand-knit socks in my arsenal. Christmas miracles really do happen.

Completed: My Perfect Tshirt

18 Dec

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

Heart Sweater

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

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

Heart Sweater

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

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

Heart Sweater

Heart Sweater

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

Heart Sweater

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

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

Heart Sweater

Heart Sweater

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

Heart Sweater

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

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

deal with it

Completed: A French Terry Lola Dress

11 Dec

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

French Terry Lola Dress

LOLA LOLA, I LOVE LOLA.

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

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

French Terry Lola Dress

French Terry Lola Dress

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

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

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

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

French Terry Lola Dress

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

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

French Terry Lola Dress

French Terry Lola Dress

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

French Terry Lola Dress

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

French Terry Lola Dress

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

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

Completed: The Lady Renfrew

12 Nov

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

Lady Renfrew

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

Lady Renfrew
Lady Renfrew

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

Lady Renfrew

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

Lady Renfrew

AND NOW I HAVE THIS BIG SNUGGLY COWLLLLLL WOOHOO!

Lady Renfrew

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

Lady Renfrew

I especially love how the cowl looks. Yay cowls!

Lady Renfrew

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

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

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

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

Completed: Rose Hip Tights

5 Nov

Hey everyone! Before we get into the fun part of this post, a couple things that bear mentioning but don’t quite warrant their own post:
– Have you signed up to join The Sewing Party yet? The party starts on November 8 (this Saturday!), where over 30 educators will be teaching a plethora of online classes – including sewing a tank top, bra making, intro to sewing knits, and cross stitch (those last two were actually shot here in Nashville, in the same place/same day I filmed my class! Check out Devon’s post if you want some ~insider info~). I’ll be participating with my own class – Apparel Zippers 101! In my segment, I’ll show y’all how to insert both lapped and invisible zippers, how to deal with facing/lining, and what types of zippers are suitable for what garments. The classes are viewable for 90 full days after the day of the actual party, so no worries if you can’t watch them all in one day! Who else is going to The Sewing Party? Have you seen the trailer for my class yet? EEP.
– Speaking of sewing classes – and Jennifer! – I’m excited to announce that I’ll be back at WORKROOM SOCIAL again to teach another round of the Weekend Pants-Making Intensive on March 21-22! YES! I am SO excited about this; the last class I taught there was ridiculously fun and I met so many awesome ladies that weekend (and, you know, crotch-grabbing). Can’t wait to come back and do it again (and hit up the Garment District while I’m at it, because, obviously.). You can see all the details of the class on the website, but the general gist – it’s a 2 day class, which includes snacks & lunch, use of all machines & tools in the studio, plus the tuition itself – where we we will be covering basic pants-fitting, installing the front fly, pockets and waistband, and little sewing tips and tricks for increasing speed and accuracy. It’s going to be INSANELY fun and I’m so excited! The space will fill up fast, so get your registration in before the class sells out! Who else is coming to our PANTS PARTY? :D
– US Readers – if haven’t already done so, don’t forget to throw your name in the hat for the Love at First Stitch giveaway! Entries close on Friday, so you still have time :)

Ok! Now for the make! This might qualify for one of the most random things I’ve ever made for myself (my hairstylist busted out laughing when I told her my plans for these – thank god she hadn’t started cutting my bangs yet! Ha!) – tights!

Not leggings or stirrup pants (I saw somewhere a couple of years ago that those might be making a comeback? Huh? Can someone please tell me if stirrup pants are about to a thing again?) – but, like, actual literal tights. Pantyhose. Whatever you call those things that completely cover your feet like there are socks attached to them. I MADE THOSE THINGS.

Rose Hip Tights

So why make your own tights? Well… why not? Personally, I wanted something with wool so that I could use them to layer and stay warm in the winter (either layered under my pants – like long underwear – or layered under a thinner pair of tights and worn with a skirt. I’m so cold-blooded that I’m practically reptilian, so I’m always looking for new ways to stay warm in the winter.). I love wool tights, but those things are expensive. Plus, you’re limited to the colors and styles that are available in stores – which, depending on where you shop, could mean you get a shitty selection. No thank you!

Rose Hip Tights

So I made my own. Surprisingly, they were REALLY easy and fast to make – the hardest part is choosing fabric, since you want something with a good 4 way stretch and a superb recovery (otherwise you’ll end up with baggy tights – this means no cotton or rayon, unless there’s a loooot of spandex thrown in the mix). For the pattern, I used the Rose Hip Tights from Seamster Patterns. I’ve been eyeballing this pattern ever since it came out – first, with curiosity (“Do I want to make something like that?”), later, with lust (“God, I wish I could just make some fucking wool tights!”), and last month I finally went ahead and bought it. I was apprehensive at first, because I had NO idea how these were going to come together – or if they’d even be wearable – but my experience with Mari’s patterns in the past have been nothing but positive, so I trusted. I trusted hard and Mari did not let me down.

Rose Hip Tights

First of all, the instructions on this pattern are crazy good. There were a few parts where I scratched my head for a couple of minutes before it made sense, but for the most part – everything is very clearly laid out, with great diagrams included. The instructions don’t just cover construction, by the way. They also cover fabric selection and alterations – finally, I could make tights that are actually the right length (can I get a halleluiah up in here?). For fabric selection, you need a knit with a 4 way stretch and good recovery, and your stretch percentage will determine what size you cut. There’s a little chart to help you determine stretch percentage, if you don’t know that for your particular fabric (I didn’t, nor did I know how to calculate it, so that was very helpful!). For this fabric – which is a lightweight wool knit I bought from Paron’s while I was in NYC in August – I had a 75% 4 way stretch, so I cut the size 2XS and shortened the legs. I don’t remember exactly how much I shortened the legs, sorrrrry (it’s been about a month since I made these), but I based the length off a pair of RTW tights that does fit me correctly. I also used maths, calculating my stretch percentage with the length. They ended up perfect. I am so tickled.

Like I said, the construction part was NOT bad! These came together super quickly, everything matched up, and everything fit. That’s pretty impressive! I used my serger to whip everything together – the only change was that I changed to a 3 thread overlock instead of my usual 4 thread overlock (I figured the 3 thread would be a little less bulky, and I was right!).  I think these were finished in about 20 minutes. Forreal. Even the gussets were easy to sew, which – if you’ve ever sewn a gusset in something woven, you know that’s quite a feat. Fortunately, knits are very forgiving and you can just stretch them into submission if need be. Which is exactly what I did!

Rose Hip Tights

AND JUST LIKE THAT, I MADE TIGHTS.

Rose Hip Tights

There are some interesting design details in this pattern (I’d love to show y’all a photo of them without the skirt, but, um, last I checked, I get a lot of fetishists creeping on my site & Flickr and I don’t want to fuel the fire any more than I apparently already am SORRY GUYS); it’s not just a plain pair of tights. The foot is formed with the seam on top (so it doesn’t irritate your foot to walk on it – genius!) and across the toes, and then it V’s into a back seam that runs all the way to the top. There is a gusset at the crotch for comfort. The pattern includes options for a low rise, a high rise, and thigh-highs, plus the foot gusset means you can colorblock the hell out of these for some mega fun tights. I made the high rise version, and omitted the optional elastic at the waist.

Rose Hip Tights

For my second pair, I used this awesome printed lace from Funki Fabrics. I LOVE the way these turned out, at least appearance-wise. They are soo pretty, and since the lace is printed – they are very opaque and warm!

Rose Hip Tights

The print is too busy to really showcase the seams up the back, but, whatever. They’re still pretty cool!

Rose Hip Tights

Unfortunately, the fit on these is not as good as the fit on my grey pair :( This is 100% my fault, as I did not calculate the stretch percentage of the fabric before cutting it – I just assumed it would be the same. This fabric is very stretchy – but it’s not the same 75% stretch as my grey fabric. More like 50%. Because of this, the tights are PRETTY FREAKING SNUG. It’s like wearing shapewear! I would almost be ok with that, except that they’re also a little too short (again, stretch percentage calculation error on my part). I can get them on – but it’s a pretty intense struggle, and they really just aren’t comfortable because the crotch hangs too low :( It’s not the end of the world – I can gift them to my smaller/shorter preteen niece, or even turn them into thigh-highs – but, ugh. Learn from my mistakes, y’all. All knits are not created equal!

Rose Hip Tights

Anyway, I had a fun time sewing the second pair – the lace ones (well, I had fun sewing the gray pair too, but more in a ~learning~ sense). I took them with me to the Open Sewing Lab that I run at The Fabric Studio here in Nashville (I like to bring a simple project with me so I can be doing something if no one needs me – I always hated having teachers who breathed down my neck! Give me some space, lady!), and everyone was laughing hysterically at how small they were while they were being constructed. I mean – they do have to stretch a LOT to fit properly, but they still look insanely tiny when not on a body. At least I got them on when they were finished! Barely! haha!

Rose Hip Tights

Rose Hip Tights

Rose Hip Tights

I just love all the little details on these tights – especially how ridiculous the foot looks when there’s not a foot in it :)

So yep, that’s it! I’m anxious to try more tights – I’d love to have them in black, brown, and dark grey (the tight colors I wear most), and I’d LOVE to try these with something textured or cabled, or even a full-on sweater knit! Sweater tights! Yesss!! If anyone knows where I can get wool knit with a 4 way stretch of at least 50% (but preferably 75%), holler! Most of the merinos I have are only 2 way stretch :( I’m also curious to try some tights in super crazy fabric – such as this awesomeness?! I love celebrating Halloween year-round, ha! What about you? Would you ever make your own tights? Did I just change your mind? :)

Oh, and yes, that’s a Mabel skirt I’m wearing. I wanted to show y’all how it looks with a shorter tshirt –  I think the overall balance of my silhouette looks MUCH better, don’t you think? A bunch of y’all were equally mystified with how to style these skirts, and so at least one answer! It’s amazing how much better it looks with the slightly shorter shirt hem, yeah? Also, I didn’t make that tshirt, although I did hem and size it down to fit me better (which is something I do with most of my tshirts, just because the out-of-the-box shape doesn’t tend to be very flattering on me).

Disclaimer: I received the lace knit fabric from Funki Fabrics in exchange for a review.

Completed: A Black Wool Jersey Wrap Dress

14 Oct

Something that has been missing from my closet for a very very (very!) long time has been the class Little Black Dress. I know, it’s supposed to be a staple, and lord knows I’ve noticed the hole more than a couple of times over the past few years. Part of the reason why I’ve never bothered trying to rectify the situation is that black fabric is so BORING to sew. Send me to the fabric store with black intentions, and I’ll come home with acid-washed polka dots. Or something.

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

That being said, I knew I needed to eventually make one of these bad boys – they’re so versatile and useful to have (and I guess they’d be convenient to have should I need to attend any funerals or KISS concerts, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can prolong both situations for a very very long time). My upcoming trip kind of sealed the deal for me – well, that and this fucking fabulous fabric. It’s like fate, y’all!

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

To keep things interesting (while still retaining the whole This-Needs-To-Be-A-Plain-Backdrop-Type-Dress), I decided to make my LBD a Little Black Wrap Dress. And who else to use as my inspiration than the Lady of the Wrap Herself – Diane Von Furstenburg! Yeah!!

Actually, this dress is kind of a bastardization of my beloved Vogue 1610/DVF. But, you know, sometimes we have to make sacrifices.

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

I started with the bodice from the pattern – I’ve got the fit pretty much perfect as far as those things go. However, I knew I wanted to try a non-gathered skirt and I also needed long sleeves (which this pattern does not provide). Rather than buy myself a copy of Vogue 1548 (and probably sacrificing some goats or some shit as well because, holy mother of god, that price) (ugh, still want that pattern with every fiber in my soul, tho), I decided to take advantage of my favorite pattern – the Frankenpattern. Oh yes, I Frankensteined the shit out of this pattern.

Like I said, the bodice is indeed the original Vogue 1610. I sewed everything as normal (for me – I’ve made some construction modifications to get the neckband to fit better), except I left off the back tucks. For the sleeves, I used the long sleeves from my Lady Skater pattern. For the skirt, I used the Miette pattern and simply flipped it around so the wrap was in the front.

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

And you know what? I think it turned out PRETTY FREAKING LEGIT, which is great considering I just started cutting without any muslins/testing/second thought. This could have been a Disaster Dress. Thank god it’s not.

If you want to Frankenpattern, you definitely need to check beforehand that the measurements for whatever you’re attaching match – so, your bodice will be the same size at the bottom as the top of the skirt (or the sleeve caps match, or whatever). For the sleeves, I just cut them and sewed them as whatever (although, looking back, I think I sewed them with a 5/8″ seam allowance instead of the included 3/8″, so they’re very fitted. Ah! It worked out here ok, but better pay attention to those seam allowances in the future). For the skirt, I did add an extension to the front pieces, so I’d have a facing to fold back (same as on the original gathered skirt). I took a little bit out of the center back seam – enough so that the back skirt measurement matched the back bodice where they connect – but other than that, I didn’t do any other modifications.

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

So. This fabric. I picked this up at Mood Fabrics in NYC when I was there most recently (how many more times can I say that? Sorry, I’m just blasting through all the AWESOME SHIT I BOUGHT). It was up there on the 3rd floor, being my dream wool jersey and all. I can’t remember what designer claims this wool, but, you know… it’s ~designer (ooh la la). It’s also the softest wooly knit I’ve ever been privy enough to touch and omg it’s like a little black cloud of softness. I love it so much.

Pretty sure there was a hoard of women behind me all getting grabby hands as I was getting this cut, too. Raise your hands if you came home with the dream black wool knit! And then please share with the group what you’ll be making from it :)

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

Sewing this up was very easy, very fast. I used my serger for almost the entire thing, and then just slip stitched down the facings and hems by hand. What’s nice about this fabric is that it has a little bit of texture, so stitches don’t show on the outside :)

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

Here’s a horrible picture of the hem/facing. I just serged the edges and sewed them down by hand. Easy!

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

This is probably my favorite part of the dress – an official tag! Yesss!! Kelly sent me this as a little surprise – originally intended for my silk jersey DVF, but it’s been sitting on my pinboard this whole time because apparently I hate modifying things after I’ve finished them (even tags, I guess). I decided to save it for this dress because, well, why the hell not? It looks so good in my neckline, woohoo.

Also, while we’re talking about Kelly – can we talk about her DVF 1548 and oh my god that is stunning and now I’m jealous.

As a side note – that yellow tag is just a little piece of ribbon. I added it so Landon & I would have an easier time doing laundry – anything with the yellow tag can’t be washed in the machine (because, you know, wool). After destroying some wool garments by accidental washing (the saddest were my brown old man trousers, wah), I figured we probably needed a tagging system. I first thought about creating – or buying – care tags, until I realized that was dumb and ribbon is free. So there you go.

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics
Anyway, this dress will make a fine addition to my traveling capsule wardrobe. Solid black, easy to dress up or down, warm (!!!) wool, and check out that wrap! I’d like to see a gusty London wind try to turn me into a panty flasher! Ha ha ha!

DVF Black wool dress made with Mood Fabrics

And now, I have nothing more to say. So instead, tell me – what kind of jewelry would look good with this dress? I just realized I own, like, 3 necklaces and help me I need to adult.

 

*Disclosure: This fabric was provided to me for free, in exchange for contribution to the Mood Sewing Network (well… I think it was free. I got a LOT of stuff that day and dropped a WAD of cash! Ha!).

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