Tag Archives: Mood Fabrics

Completed: McCall’s 7119

22 Jul

Allow me to introduce you to my ridiculous summer sundress for 2015.

McCall's 7119I guess it’s not really that ridiculous, but it feels a little over-the-top (for me, that’s a good thing haha). This is totally the time of year for getting away with this sort of loud dressing, but I haven’t really taken advantage of it until now! McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119I used McCall’s 7119 to make this, which was originally sent to me by the McCall Pattern Company (contrary to popular belief, I usually buy my Big 4 patterns because I live in the mystical land of $1 Joann sales, but I’ll take free, too haha). I really love the photo on the envelope and was dying to make my own. I was not, however, dying to plunk down $$ for the 3 yards of fabric necessary to make this sucker up. Damn wrap dresses and long maxi-lengths! As if! McCall's 7119

Anyway, I noticed that this blue cotton poplin paisley went on massive sale at Mood Fabrics for all of $4.99 a yard, and I realized that it was perfect – both in weight and cost – for the dress I was wanting to make. I’ve never been a huge fan of paisley – I’ve made a couple garments in the past with beautiful pieces of paisley fabric, yes (and I have a couple more pieces in my stash as of this writing), but for the most part, I’ve always considered it to be kind of an ugly print. Mostly because it reminds me of the horrible ties that my dad used to work to work in the early 90s haha. Sorry, dad! This paisley, though, is definitely much prettier (or that could be the $5 price tag talking to me, I dunno!). I think it’s due to the monochromatic color scheme, which tones down the tack and lets you focus on the pretty design. Or, again, could be that $5 price tag. Whatever.

McCall's 7119Despite this fabric being inexpensive, it’s not cheap. It has a really nice hand and drape, the colors are beautiful and saturated, and it’s opaque enough to not warrant a lining. The right and wrong side are almost identical, which is good for this sort of dress – as you can see the wrong side through the back hem dip. The fabric cut & sewed like a dream, and it is fairly good at resisting wrinkling (see: these photos after a day of wearing). It also feels reeeeeal nice in this heat, a bonus! McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119The pattern was easy enough to make up – I finished it over a long marathon sewing weekend. I started with a size 6 at the bust and an 8 at the waist/hip, based on the finished measurements. I did make a quick little muslin mock-up of just the bodice, to see how the fit was before I cut into my fabric. The bodice fit well enough, except that the center front gaped like crazy! Surprisingly, the easiest fix was also the most efficient fix – I raised the shoulders by 3/8″, and then took 1/4″ off the side seams starting at the underarm and tapering into the existing seamline below the bust dart. I do think the bust darts are a little high – I should have lowered them after raising the shoulders – but the fit is pretty nice as-is, and the print is busy enough to where you can’t see it. Also, I don’t know what the horizontal fold/wrinkle is doing over my boob. I think it’s from how I’m standing, because it’s normally not there. Except, of course, in these pictures, and it’s making my eye twitch. Argh!

The last fitting alteration I made was right at the end – where I took off a massive amount of skirt length. I don’t even know how much, because I kept chopping and chopping. I started with about 4″ off the pattern tissue itself – because the measurements on the back showed that the back dip would drag the floor on me (I’m 5’2″, so, yeah). Upon finishing the dress – well, apart from the hem and closing up the facings – I realized it was still waaaay too long and the whole thing – print+style combo – was totally overwhelming on me. I just kept cutting that hem, and curving into the front wrap (definitely don’t cut too much off the front wrap or you’ll end up with something very indecent!) until the length looked good. McCall's 7119

To sew this up, I used a brand new 70/10 Microtex needle and navy thread. The seams are all French seams – except where the hole is in the side seam (to feed the waist tie through), that one is just turned under and topstitched. I finished the neckline facing with tiny little invisible hand stitches, and the bottom hem is machine rolled. I think that’s it? Pretty straightforward pattern if you ask me!

McCall's 7119McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119I don’t know what possessed me to drag the dressform outside for these photos. I mean, they look really nice, but holy hell that thing is heavy! Never doing that again lolol McCall's 7119

McCall's 7119Here’s the inside – look where my fingers are pointing, you can see the hole for the waist tie. There is also a tiny snap right at the bust where the wrap crosses over, to prevent any northern wardrobe malfunctions. Due to the  wrap, a big gust of wind will definitely show some leg at the skirt. I’m ok with this, though. Legggsssssss. Also, see how similar the right and wrong side look? Because of my finishing, it’s actually hard to tell when the dress is inside-out! I have to look for the French seams :) haha! McCall's 7119

Overall, I enjoyed working with this pattern and I’m definitely not opposed to making it up again – although probably a different view, because this particular one is a little fancy for my daily use. I’d like to try the shorter, mullet-less skirt with some contrast on the facings. Maybe in a silk? Fancy without really being fancy, yeah?

Note: Every month, Mood Fabrics gives me an allowance to purchase fabric with, in exchange for writing a post on the Mood Sewing Network. This fabric was purchased with that allowance. The pattern was also given to me by the McCall Pattern Company. I like to think it’s because they love me, because I am forever an optimist :)

Completed: The Mission/Skater Mash-up

10 Jul

Now HERE’S an obvious gap in my summer wardrobe that’s finally been filled! A knit tank dress!

Knit tank dress

I think we can all agree that wearing knit dresses is the ultimate in comfort/secret pajamas. Especially when it’s nasty hot outside!! I looove my knit dresses in every season, but most of them have sleeves and I don’t like wearing sleeves when it’s more than 95 degrees outside. No way.

Knit tank dress

Since I wasn’t seeing a pattern that fit the look I was going for (and I’ll be honest – I didn’t search very hard. I have a LOT of patterns in my stash and I’d rather mash ’em up whenever possible), I used 2 patterns from my stash to create this awesome mash-up Frankenpattern. Most of this pattern – the skirt, the bodice sizing and proportions – were taken from the Lady Skater dress pattern, which is my favorite knit dress pattern ever and is basically the gift that keeps on giving. For the neckline and arm hole finagling, I copied that straight from the Mission Maxi dress pattern. The result you see here is a fitted racerback tank top with a flared skirt attached to it. Which is exactly the look I was going for. Whew.

Knit tank dress

I am all about some Frankenpattern magic, and it’s 1000x easier when you’re working with a knit fabric. Much easier to tweak with the fit, and much more forgiving if you decide to forgo a muslin (like I did. Yay! Consider this my wearable muslin, ha). Plus, if you already have a garment that fits the way you like – in my case, the bodice of this skater dress is ACE – then it’s super easy to change up the neckline/sleeve options/skirt and have a totally different garment that still fits the way you like. I love buying new patterns, but I REALLY love knocking out projects that don’t require too much fit futzing. The only fitting I had to do with this dress was take a little bit out of the underarm side seam – maybe 1/4″ on each side. Since there aren’t sleeves there, the sides need to be a little more fitted so they don’t pooch out.

Knit tank dress

I guess the one downside to this is that you don’t have a set of instructions that are tailored to your garment – but that’s never been a problem for me, as I just kind of pick and choose what techniques to use from which pattern (or I ignore the instructions completely and forge my own method). Again, this dress is a knit, so it’s pretty straight forward. I stabilized the waistline with 1/4″ woven elastic, which keeps it from sagging over the course of the day (truth: these photos were taken on day #2 of wearing this dress. Pretty good recovery there, I’d say!). The neckline and arm holes are finished with the same method outlined in the Mission Maxi instructions – it’s similar to applying bias facing, but you’re not pressing that last 1/4″ under. Instead, you just finish the edge and topstitch it down. Here’s a photo of the guts so you can see –

Knit tank dress

Clear as mud, yeah? :) It resembles a coverstitch, sort of. More like a binding and less like the knit bands that are used on the Lady Skater (and it feels a bit sturdier, which made me feel ok about not stabilizing the shoulder seams). Oh, and I did all my topstitching with a straight stitch/single needle (on my regular sewing machine). A twin needle or zigzag would be fine for this, but I like the way the single needle looks. Since this isn’t an area that gets a lot of stretch, it’s ok to use a stable stitch here. I also did the same with the hem – just sewn with a straight stitch. Again, as long as it doesn’t need to stretch, it’s fine to use a non-stretch stitch!

Knit tank dress

The cotton knit fabric is from Mood Fabrics in NYC, which I bought at the store while I was there in March. I wasn’t sure what I was going to make with it (honestly, I was probably thinking Lady Skater at the time), but I was prettttty happy to use it for this dress! I didn’t bother to match the print – it’s a casual dress, and meh – and I think it looks fine.

Knit tank dress

Here’s the back, again! I like the shape of this racerback because it’s a bit more covered than your standard beater tank. Of course, my bra straps still show – again, meh, whatever. I didn’t bother hiding them for this post, mostly because I don’t hide them in real life and I’m just tryin’ to kEeP iT rEaL~

noragrets

Knit tank dress

Conclusion: this dress was easy to make, is comfortable to wear, and SECRET PAJAMAS. Expect to see more of these as I churn them out.

LLadybird_175_175

One last thing! I wanted to direct your attention to my newest sponsor – Wawak Sewing! Unfamiliar with Wawak Sewing? They’re a giant sewing supply company – offering everything you need for your sewing studio, from Gutermann thread (Mara 100 is the jam – 1000+ yards for $2.50, oh yes oh yes) to invisible zippers (24″ for 88¢? Don’t mind if I do) to professional boiler irons (ok, that’s probably waaay too much iron for the average home seamstress, but we use these at the studio – as well as when I worked at Muna Couture – and they are seriously incredible) to hymo canvas (for tailoring! I always get my hymo/horsehair interfacing from here because the price is unreal). A lot of the items can be bought in bulk, and the price is pennies on the dollar for what you’d pay at a brick & mortar store (I’m not just talking about cheaper than Joann’s – some of this stuff is cheaper than places in the Garment District, but you get the same quality). Plus, shipping is less than $5 (and free if you buy more than $100 worth of stuff)! I highly recommend you get a free catalog because it’s really fun to flip through – like the Toys’R’Us catalog, except for grown-ups :) They occasionally have sales and discounts, so it’s worth it to be on their mailing list! International peeps – you can also join this sewing party, but you’ll need to call or email to place your order (and I’m going to assume your shipping might be a little more than $5, ha).

I’ve been a loyal customer/rabid fan of Wawak Sewing for years – I started with them back when they were still Atlanta Thread Company – and I’ve had nothing but great experiences with both the service and the products. So I’m pretty thrilled to have them on board as a sponsor, as well as to join their affiliate program (sooo any purchase you make after clicking these links is gonna net me a small commission, fyi!). And you should be thrilled, too, because right now through 9/30/15, you can get 10% off your order of $50 or more at Wawak Sewing if you use the code WLB915. Can’t beat that with a stick! Thanks, Wawak Sewing! ♥

 

Completed: Lace Marlborough Bras

1 Jul

Still on a lingerie kick here! Actually, these are old-ish makes – I finished both of these back in May. Whoops, sorry! Haha! I guess at least I can vouch for their wearability, since I’ve been wearing the hell out of these since I finished ’em!

White Lace Marlborough Bra

I’ll start with the first one I finished, a white lace underwired bra. This is the Marlborough bra pattern from Orange Lingerie (spoiler: so is the other bra in this post). I’ve made this pattern quite a few times, but what’s different about these two bras here is that this is my first time venturing outside the world of pre-cut bra kits. I already mentioned this in my Starwatch Watson post, so here’s the Marlborough edition!

White Lace Marlborough Bra

The white lace for this bra came from a new-to-me source – I have discovered a random fabric store in a REALLY random shopping center in Franklin, TN. I was actually heading into Aldi, prompted by the sweet siren song of cheap pineapples, when I noticed a sign 2 stores over that said “Fabric.” In the middle of a strip mall, no less. Turns out there actually is a quilting shop right there, called the Stitcher’s Garden (I don’t think they have a website). It’s like a quilting shop mixed with a thrift store – piles everywhere, products dating back to the 70s, and the prices are surprisingly cheap (especially considering the part of town we’re talking about here). The selection of quilting cottons available is staggering. I’m not one for buying (or sewing) quilting cottons, so unfortunately that was lost on me – but they did have a nice little selection of elastics and stretch laces! And several colors of stretch rib knit (which I will be back for, because, unf). This stretch lace was, I think, $1 a yard. It’s beautiful and great quality and it’s A DOLLAR A YARD. I bought 10 yards. I want more.

Anyway, I digress. It’s always exciting to discover a new fabric store, though!

White Lace Marlborough Bra

Back to Marlborough. The white lace is way too stretchy to actually use with this pattern – the pattern calls for no more than 10% mechanical stretch, and we’re talking about some spandex shit with the lace here. Taking a cue from my lessons learned during the bra-making class that I took in January, I underlined all the pieces with white power mesh. This worked pretty well, although I think my mesh was still a touch too light (we used a firmer power mesh in the class, with great results), so next time I want to experiment with tricot lining instead (I actually have a package of the stuff that I bought from Bra Maker’s Supply and I haven’t even opened it yet). I did not underline the upper lace cup – I left that with the stretch lace stretchy (I know the pattern calls for rigid lace in the upper cup, but I really like the look/shape I get with stretch), and a bit of 1/4″ clear elastic at the top to stabilize it, as called for in the pattern (I’ve noticed my RTW lace bras don’t have this, so I am thinking about leaving it off for the next bra). The back band is simply one layer of the heavier power mesh.

All notions were procured from my stash. I couldn’t tell you where half of them came from – although I do know that the underwire channeling was from Pacific Trimming in NYC. They have giant rolls of that stuff for super cheap, and the quality is excellent. They only have white and black, but the white can be dyed. I didn’t have any white ribbon, so the bow is nude.

White Lace Marlborough Bra

White Lace Marlborough Bra

White Lace Marlborough Bra

White Lace Marlborough Bra

White Lace Marlborough Bra

I made this bra because I wanted something to wear under my white/sheer clothing without show-through. I know that nude is actually a better color for that, but white was what I had on hand and I didn’t want to experiment with dying just yet. Of course, once I started trying to wear the bra – of course it showed through like CRAZY. Duh! I realized that it wasn’t going to get worn at all the way it was (if I’m gonna wear something that doesn’t require a nude bra, then I’m gonna wear a bra that’s a fun color because come on), so I knew it needed a good dye. I’d received a good tip on Instagram to dye the bra with tea for a nice beige-y color – brilliant! I steeped some very strong black tea (English Breakfast, if you must know), let it cool a bit and then dumped the whole bra in to soak for about 30 minutes.

White Lace Marlborough Bra - dyed with tea

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

The final color is something much closer to that of my skin. I know I’m pale, but I’m not literally white ;) I was curious to see how well the tea-dye would hold up with a wash – and it’s actually stuck around! I wash my lingerie with Soak, which is nice and gentle and also doesn’t require rinsing (yay!). I figured if the color faded that I’d just re-dye it (I mean, it is just tea after all), but it’s actually not faded at all. Sweet!

The second bra for this post is my floral wild-card and Mood Sewing Network project for the month of June…

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Oh yeah! I found this awesome Multicolored Tropical Lace fabric at Mood Fabrics and immediately knew it needed to be a bra. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s a nylon embroidered lace with a bright all-over floral pattern printed right on top. It also has a cool finished edge (unfortunately they were too abstract for me to include in this project, but it’s there!). There are a few different colorways of the lace, which meant I spent about a week agonizing over which one to get – blue/purple, red/green, blue/beige, and beige – but I settled on this multicolor as I liked the pink repeats with the white background.

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

I’ll be honest – I wasn’t sure how this was going to pan out until the very end (yeah, that was a bit agonizing!), but I think it worked out all right! I used the aforementioned multi colored floral lace for the body of the bra, and cut it according to the grainline on the pattern pieces (as I’ve mentioned, this pattern requires about 10% stretch in the fabric, which usually means cutting it on the bias for firm wovens. This lace had just enough mechanical stretch so that I could cut it according to the pattern grain). Since the lace has giant open holes throughout it, I underlined each piece with a layer of power mesh to add a little bit of opacity. The back band is cut on one layer of firm power mesh. The white lace upper cup is cut using the same stretch lace as from the first bra in this post, stabilized again with 1/4″ clear elastic along the top.

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

For the notions, I decided to go with all white so that the colors in the fabric would really sing. All notions were pulled from my giant stash – I think (think) the bottom scallop elastic came from Madalynne. I’ve been hoarding that stuff for ages because I think it’s really pretty, and this bra seemed like the perfect excuse to finally use it. Oh, and the rings/sliders and pink bow are rescued from an old bra destined for the trash :)

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Sewing this bra was pretty easy, but dealing with the lace was harder than I thought it would be. Because there are such large open holes in the lace pattern, that meant that topstitching the tiny seams took some finesse. I don’t want to say it was necessarily hard, because it wasn’t, but it also wasn’t a walk in the park like my white lace bra was. There were always tiny little pieces of lace that wanted to stick up and poke out and make weird lumpy shapes. And you have to topstitch the seams, because they can’t be pressed (this is a poly lace). I actually wondered if I’d even be able to wear this bra under a fitted shirt, because the topstitched seams look preeeetty lumpy, but it looks fine. Of course, it’s WAY too bright to wear under a white shirt, but whatever. That’s what the nude bra is for, ha :)

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Anyway, bra worked out all right in the end and I’m a happy camper :) I really love the shape and the colors in the lace are sooo pretty! Yeah, that lace was $40/yard, but something like this only requires maybe 1/4 yard, so it’s a good excuse to splurge on the nicer fabric :) Seeing this bra actually work out makes me excited to find more cool non-kit fabrics to make more Marlboroughs out of :D

Floral Lace Marlborough Bra

Speaking of cool fabrics for Orange Lingerie patterns – have y’all seen her newest pattern, the Boylston balconette? OH MAN. I saw sneakies of this when I met with Norma in Paris back in November, and I’ve been soo excited about it ever since. I just bought a copy over the weekend, as well as some lingerie foam, and I can’t wait to start playing around with it! Eep!

* Note: The multi-colored floral lace fabric was provided to me by Mood Fabrics in exchange for my contribution to the Mood Sewing Network. All other fabrics and notions were purchased by me. As always, all opinions are my own!

OAL2015: Fabric, Size & Cutting

1 Jun

OAL_Banner

Happy Monday, everyone! We are officially kicking off the OAL (Outfit Along) this morning, so I hope you’re ready for it! As I mentioned in the announcement post, we won’t actually start the sewing until later this month, on 6/22, since I’ll be traveling outside of the country and won’t have much internet access (and I hate the thought of putting up a tutorial and then not being around to answer questions! Lame!). However, I figured I’d help get you guys rolling in the meantime with choosing your fabric, size, and cutting. Then when I’m back, we can get straight into sewing so you can finish these dresses before the deadline at the end of July! Sound good?

Of course, if you don’t need the sewing tutorials, then you are absolutely free to start the sewing whenever you’d like! This just goes for those of y’all who are waiting for tutorials :) For this year, I won’t be doing a full photo step-by-step of the entire pattern – but if you need those, most of the steps are similar to the ones from The 2014 OAL, so you can always browse through the tag for the tutorials. Things like sewing princess seams, sleeves or bias binding, and inserting a lapped zipper. All good stuff! Since it’s already up on the blog, I don’t see any point in reinventing the wheel (or subjecting those of y’all who aren’t following the OAL to a bunch of repeat tutorial posts, because, boo on that).

The tutorials I’ll be covering on this here blog are changing out the lining for bias facing (which can get a little weird around that back cutout, but don’t worry, I got your back!) and adding pockets. I will only be sewing View A, with the back cutout and no sleeves (that’s a lie, I’m still debating if I want to add the little cap sleeves. Decisions, decisions!). Again, the ~official~ dress pattern for the OAL is McCall’s 6887, but you are totally welcome to sew whatevererrrrr pattern you like!

First of all, here’s the fabric I’ve chosen for my dress!

OAL2015 - Fabric

This is some uhhhh-mazing Ikat cotton that I picked up from Mood Fabrics in NYC when I was there… um… March 2014. Ha! I’ve been apprehensive to sew it up because the print-matching looked to be a nightmare, and also, the fabric is pretty thick and I wasn’t entirely sure what kind of garment it would work with. I think it’ll be really nice for this dress; it has a good structure for the skirt, and the print is so fun! I haven’t decided what color bias binding to use for the insides – common sense would tell me black or white, but I’m thinking I might look for some turquoise or hot pink :) Something to add a little splash of color to the inside :)

OAL2015 - Fabric & yarn

Here it is with my yarn for the sweater portion – this is good ol’ Cascade 220 (my one true yarnlove), in a gorgeous mint color.

Don’t know what kind of fabric to choose for your dress? First of all, think about how you want the finished dress to look – do you want a bit of structure in the skirt and bodice, or do you want everything to hang in soft folds? You will want to choose a fabric with a weight and drape that work with what you have in mind. For this particular pattern, I really like how it looks with more structured fabrics – such as linen, cotton eyelet, cotton sateen, or even quilting cotton! This blog post I wrote for last year’s OAL goes over all the details for choosing and weight and drape, and shows you the differences between several fabrics. I’d recommend checking that out first, if you’re confused!

Here are some fabrics I’ve pulled off the ‘nets that would be lovely for this pattern –

coral eyelet
Italian Red Coral Eyelet – from Mood Fabrics
This would be a great choice for adding a lining – or if you want to skip the lining and still go with bias binding finishes, make sure you get an appropriate underlining. You could also sew a matching slip :)

tropical sateen
Tropical Cotton Sateen – from Mood Fabrics
Busy prints are great for hiding wonky seams, if you’re concerned about neatness :) If you plan on sewing this pattern with a stretch fabric, you may want to consider sizing down (make a muslin out of similar weight/stretch fabric first, to check!).

abstract sateen
Abstract Cotton Sateen – from Mood Fabrics
I couldn’t resist. This fabric is AMAZING.

seersucker
Red and White Striped Cotton Seersucker – from Mood Fabrics
Easy to sew and lovely to wear, cotton seersucker is a great option if you live in a hot climate. I love the classic red and white stripes!

linen
Pinstriped Linen from Blackbird Fabrics
Another good option for hot climates. This linen is similar to the stuff I used to make my linen pajamas :)

shirting
Denim Chambray Cotton Shirting – from A Fashionable Stitch
Ain’t nothing that says you have to use shirting to make shirts. Make yourself a comfy little dress instead :)

agf
Art Gallery Fabrics: Arizona from Grey’s Fabric
Quilting cotton is a surprisingly good choice for this pattern, since it has the weight and drape that looks best with the bodice and skirt – and you have aaaalll kinds of fun prints to choose from :D I’ve never personally sewn with Art Gallery Fabrics, but everyone on the internet seems to go apeshit over them. At any rate, this is one helluva fun print!

A few notes about fabric:
– As I mentioned, if you’re sewing stuff that’s on the sheer side and you don’t want to mess with a lining, make sure you get an appropriate underlining fabric. I prefer to use white cotton voile or batiste (or black, or, whatever color looks best with my fabric), as it doesn’t add too much weight. If you aren’t sure about the weight, hold it with a piece of your main fabric and see how you like the way it feels. I won’t be covering underlining in this OAL, but I have a tutorial on my blog if you need help!
– Those of y’all sewing stripes or directional prints (meaning if you turn it the other way, it’s quite obviously upside-down) – make sure you buy extra fabric! Depending on the width of your fabric and the size you’re cutting, 1/2 yard – 1 yard will do.
– Prewash your fabric, however you plan on sewing your final garment. For me, that’s a cold wash and a low tumble dry (I hang my dresses to dry once they’re done – only because I hate ironing! Ha. But I always pre-shrink in the dryer just in case it accidentally gets tossed in there later down the line!).
– For your bias facings (and pockets, for that matter!), you may want to use a lighter fabric if your main fabric is a bit bulky. This is the case with my Ikat – I don’t want bulky facings, so I’m getting something lighter. Again, cotton batiste or voile is a really good choice for this, as is quilting cotton or cotton shirting. You can use almost anything, but remember that you’re dealing with skinny strips cut on the bias, so maybe don’t try the silk right now (unless you’re feeling really brazen!). Also, get something that presses well – like cotton or rayon. You will be pressing the hell out of your facings, and you want something that will respond to that. Polyester is not a good choice for this. I always stash-raid for this kind of thing, but if you’re buying, you’ll need about 1/2 a yard (and you’ll have tonssss left over to make even more bias binding, so get something you really love :) ). Of course, you also buy those pre-made bias tapes – I don’t care for them, because I think the fabric is too stiff to look nice (and the color selection is very limited), but it’s definitely a lazy option if you don’t want to make your own. You’ll need the kind that is 1″ wide.
– To make your dress, you will also need interfacing, an invisible zipper (I prefer this dress finished with an invisible zipper, but you can try a lapped zipper if you’d like) and at least 3 buttons for the back, if you’re making the scoop back version.

For choosing your size, again, I will refer to you to Last year’s post in the OAL. Scroll past all the fabric, and there’s a section on choosing your size based on the finished measurements. McCall’s patterns can have quite a bit of ease in them, so this is a more accurate way of choosing the correct size. This is how I size *all* of the patterns I make, and it has yet to let me down :) As an example – my body measurements put me into a size 10, but I sew the 6 (graded to 8 at the waist) for my finished garment, and it fits perfectly. Check those finished measurements!

If this is your first time making the pattern, I would strongly advise you to make a muslin mock-up of at least the bodice so you have a good idea of how the finished garment will fit. This gives you a good opportunity to make any necessary adjustments before cutting into your fabric. It’s also important if you’re sewing the version with the scoop back – I found the scoop came up higher than my bra band, and this may be the case for you as well. Can’t fix it once you’ve already sewn it up! For the muslin, you can make the whole dress if you’d like – but I just sew up the bodice and leave off any finishing. Pin the back shut as best you can to get a good assessment of the fit.

Once you’ve got your size and muslin done, THEN it’s time to cut your fabric! Refer to this post about cutting and marking fabric (also from last year’s OAL hahahaha sorry) if you need any help :) You will be following the cutting guidelines that are included in your pattern; make sure you follow them carefully so you cut the correct number of pieces. The side skirt piece should be cut TWICE on the double layer, for a total of 4 pieces.

OAL2015 - Cutting the back bodice

You may also want to consider adding a little extra fabric allowance below the scoop back, just to give yourself more bra coverage (I added about 1/2″). There is also a 5/8″ seam allowance there, and we’ll be sewing at 1/4″ to apply the bias, so keep that in mind as well. Your muslin will tell you exactly how much you need to add (if any at all!) to cover your bra band. Or maybe I just wear my bra band low, ha.

FINALLY, if you’re cutting stripes or plaids and need help matching – here’s another tutorial link for that. Man! I’m so glad I already wrote all these tutorials haha!

Ok, whew, I think that about covers it! Do you have any questions about the prep work that I haven’t covered in this post? Let me know before I ditch town on Thursday 6/4 and I’ll be happy to answer them as best I can :) Have you chosen your fabric and yarn yet? Let’s have a look, please! :)

Completed: Another B5526 + Ginger Jeans Get-up

18 May

So sorry to dump this on y’all yet again – another collared shirt + jeans outfit combination. Yawn.

Gingers & B5526

Well, to backtrack – yawn for you, but :D :D :D :D :D for me hahahaha. I will never get tired of this outfit combination. Or, at least, not anytime soon. Maybe never is too strong of a word to use here.

Gingers & B5526

What’s mildly frustrating about writing a long-term blog (at the time of this posting, I’ve accumulated nearly 500 entries since I started waaaay back in 2009, WTF) is that you eventually reach a point when you’re just making the same thing over and over again (well… those of us who don’t make our blog our full-time income fall in this category. I’m sure if I was sponsored out the wazzoo and had all the time I spend at work to spend making content for my blog, it would be a different story, ha.). After re-assessing my wardrobe at the end of 2014 and realizing that I *still* had shitloads of clothing that I made simply for the new and shiny, I have made it a big point to really be honest with myself about whether or not I’ll actually wear something that I make. Like most people, I have a pretty predictable style. And like many sewers, I don’t want to spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel with new patterns if I can get the look I’m going for with an old TNT. So this translates to repeats upon repeats upon repeats.

So, while you might be yawning about the majority of the stuff that’s been posted in 2015… I gotta say, I am elated with the way my closet is looking these days!

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

With all that being said, there’s not much to report on either of these pieces since I’ve made them soooo many damn times. Jeans + collared shirt is totally my go-to when I want to feel comfortable but still look like I made an effort in the AM. I’ve found my TNT patterns and I feel good about the way they fit and the construction methods that I use.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

The top was made using my beloved Butterick 5526. Y’all, I don’t know if I’ll ever sew another button up pattern again! (we all know that’s a lie) I’ve gotten to the point with this one where I can bang one out in a couple of days, which is really nice when you’re coming up on a looming Mood Sewing Network deadline, ha. The fabric is this amazing tigerlily orange cotton voile from Theory, which is a bit more of a coral-y pink than it is orange in real life (I don’t know how the color translates on your screen, but on the Mood Fabrics website it’s definitely pretty muted. The real color is much closer to what you see in my photos. It’s BEAUTIFUL). It has a beautiful chambray weave, which gives the color lots of dimension. This fabric was so so nice to work with – ok, it was a shifty bitch to cut, but once I got past this point, it handled and pressed like a boss. It’s also super comfortable to wear on even the hottest day.

Since the fabric does have a tendency to fray, I used flat-felled seams every where in my shirt. I also left off the sleeves and finished the armhole with self bias binding – it makes the shirt really casual and, again, awesome for hot weather. The pockets are the same pockets that come with the pattern, but I made them slightly smaller because the original size was a little overwhelming on me. Buttons are from my stash; they’re just your standard white shirt buttons. Oh! And the matching thread also came from Mood Fabrics – I noticed that when I was ordering my fabric, there were thread suggestions at the bottom of the page. I figured I’d try out the service – you know, for science – and I’m super pleased with the color match. Even more pleased that I was saved a trip to the fabric store. Mostly because those tend to be very dangerous places for my wallet, ha.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

The good thing about running a long-term blog and making a bunch of pattern repeats is that you will eventually bore of just making things that are passable to wear in public, and start focusing on really honing your skills to the next level. Or, at least, that’s how it worked out for me. Look at those clean finished insides! I should wear this shit wrong-side out.

Gingers & B5526

I did shorten the length of the shirt by about 2″ – I think the original length was just sliiiightly too long for my height. This way I can wear it untucked or tied at the waist. If I do a half tuck, it doesn’t pooch out all weird like some of my longer shirts tend to do. As always, I finish my shirt hems with self bias facing. I think it makes for a much cleaner finish, and it’s must easier to press and sew those curves with the bias tape instead of trying to wrangle the hem itself.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

For my jeans, I used my now-favorite-ever-pants-pattern, the Ginger Jeans. I’ve made this a few times before (and I definitely don’t plan on stopping – I finally was able to invest in one of the denim kits because YAY) and I’m just really happy with the way this pattern fits my body. The fabric is a cool metallic gold stretch denim. I was actually looking for white denim to make this up, despite me being a stain magnet when it comes to white. At any rate, this denim’s wrong side actually is white flecked with very subtle bits of gold, and these very well almost became white jeans. I talked myself out of it because I was afraid the not-quite-pure-white would make the jeans look like they were dirty, plus again, stain magnet. So I stuck with the gold side. Also, this denim doesn’t have as much stretch as my other denims, so the jeans are a bit tight. I had to let the side seams out to 3/8″ or else I would have never gotten these things over my ass. They’re still a bit tight – mostly around the calves – but I’m hoping that they will loosen up a little with wear.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

Not much to report on construction. I used a combination of flat-felled and serged seams (as how most RTW jeans are made) and a triple stitch to really make the topstitching stand out. I would have loved to use topstitching thread, but I couldn’t find a good match with what is admittedly kind of a weird denim color. It’s gold, but it’s also kind of beige. Fortunately, Mood Fabrics REALLY came through with that thread match, as you can see in these close-ups.

What else? I did not interface the waistband (I like my jeans with an uninterfaced waistband; it’s much more comfortable. Not sure how that would work with a lower rise, but for the high rise version, it’s perfect). The jeans button is from Pacific Trimming, and the cotton pocket lining is left over from this crazy blue dress.

I will admit right now that this outfit inspiration came way of my boss’ closet. Since I do all her laundry for her (if you are new to this blog and that sounds REALLY WEIRD, I should probably point out that I’m a personal assistant :) ha!), I’m always lurking on her clothes and I’m always finding inspiration in some of the strangest ways. She has a similar coral chambray shirt – hers has sleeves and a lace inset at the yoke, though – and white jeans. And I wanted that outfit for me. So I made it :P

Gingers & B5526

So, hey, in other news that doesn’t involve me making my fifty billionth b5526 – I’ve got an article out in the current issue of Seamwork Magazine! If you haven’t heard of Seamwork, it’s a sewing magazine that is published online by the masterminds behind Colette Patterns. The magazine is free to read and there are optional pattern downloads with each issue (the patterns you pay for, however). ANYWAY, my article is all about visiting Nashville! I had so much fun writing a city guide about my favorite city in the entire world, and I hope you have fun reading it (and are inspired to come visit because, hey, Nashville is awesome! Really really awesome!). You can read The Seamworker’s Guide to Visiting Nashville at Seamwork. My first published article! Yay!

Completed: A Cardigan, a Skirt, and a Tshirt!

30 Apr

Woohoo y’all get a damn TRIFECTA of garments for today’s post! Lucky you!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

For my monthly Mood Sewing Network post, this month I wanted to focus on that amazing striped sweater knit that you’re probably staring at (you should be staring at it, it’s fucking awesome). But I felt really boring just making *a* sweater (a sweater that took maybe 2 hours, tops, to complete), so I overcompensated and made my entire outfit. Yay!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

We’ll start with the cardigan because it truly is the star of this outfit. It’s another SBCC Cabernet cardigan, this time with my minor adjustments made to the flat pattern (you can see my leopard Cabernet cardigan here, btw!). Since I’ve already made the pattern once, there’s not really anything new to report in terms of construction.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

I bought the navy and white striped fabric while I was at the Mood Fabrics flagship store in NYC in March. I got soooo much good stuff while I was there, but this particular piece really takes the cake. I swear, if the bolt hadn’t been so heavy, it probably would have jumped off the shelf and fallen directly into my arms. We were like star-crossed lovers when we caught sight of one another.

ANYWAY, gushing aside – what we have here is a cotton double knit that works and feels like the perfect sweater knit. It’s wonderfully thick and squishy, and while it does drape a little bit, it also hold it’s shape quite well. It was really the perfect fabric for this pattern, as it responds really nicely to pressing and topstitching. I was careful in my cutting to not only match up the stripes at the side seams, but also the stripes blending into the sleeve cuffs and hem bands. The neckband is actually the same striped fabric – I just positioned the pattern piece so that the widest navy stripe was the only thing that showed when it’s folded in half. I knew I wanted a solid color at that neckband, but I didn’t want to try to color match, because nope.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Because the striped knit is so thick, it was a bit of a beast to manhandle. Cutting it was painful (I REALLY need to get my scissors sharpened, dammit!) and the sewn seams were lumpy and wavy before I pressed them. It’s super important to press if you’re dealing with a fabric like this – the flatness is what makes the finished piece look so polished. Topstitching down the seam allowances also helped. As with my last cardigan, I used the straight stitch on my machine and a walking foot. The rest of the seams are serged.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

The skirt is another one of my beloved Hollyburn skirts. I cannot stress this enough, but I LOOVE this pattern. SO MUCH. As soon as I finished the denim polka dot Hollyburn, I started lurking hard for a yellow twill to make another one. I really love this neon delight of a yellow, but it’s hellish looking against my skin – so obviously, the next best thing is a skirt.

I found the fabric also while I was in NYC, also at the Mood Fabrics flagship store (sorryyyyy not sorry). I actually spent a good deal of time looking for this one – I knew I wanted yellow twill, but the stuff in the twill section wasn’t quite up to snuff. Too pale, too lightweight, too much of something. This particular fabric was actually located in the denim section – I imagine there is someone, somewhere, who has made an amazing pair of jeans with this fabric.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

This is a stretch cotton twill with lots of lycra in the content, giving it a super heavy stretch. Even though it’s on the lighter side (heavy enough to be considered a bottomweight, however), it has plenty of body that gives this skirt a great structure. The only downside to all that lycra is that it made the fabric really hard to get a good press. I ended up topstitching all the seams to keep them flat, about 1/4″ distance (as opposed to my usual 1/8″). The wider topstitching paired with this fabric really gives it a nice denim-y look, which I like. I thought about topstitching around the pocket bags to give those definition too, and “thought,” I mean I tried it and it looked absolutely terrible so I ripped it out. Don’t do that.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

The back closes with a simple lapped zipper, and all the inside seams are serged. Basic stuff!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Finally, the most basic of the basics – my tshirt!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

This is SUCH a simple tshirt that it hardly bears a mention, however, we’re here and it’s here so let’s just roll with it. The fabric is this sheer white slubbed rayon jersey, which was WAY more sheer than I was expecting but it’s sort of awesome. It’s suuuuper soft, drapey, and the texture of the fabric makes it a tiny bit more interesting than your average plain white tshirt. I used my always-tweaking-almost-done-tweaking Frankenpattern’d tshirt to make this. The neckline is bound using Megan Nielsen’s bound neckline method, which is hands-down my FAVORITE way to finish a neckline on a slinky knit like this. It just looks really really good, and it’s nice and sturdy. I love the traditional method, of course, but some of the more drapey fabrics don’t do so hot with that method because you have to REALLY stretch them to keep them from being floppy, which ends up with a tight neckline that’s practically gathered.

Speaking of slinky knits, binding that neckline was about the only easy part of sewing this tshirt. Talk about the slinkiest knit ever! It was worth it, though, because I can always use more white tshirts. Even if they are see-through. And yes, the pocket is totally in the wrong place and I’m totally not picking it off because I don’t think the fabric can survive that kind of trama.

Detail shots:

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

(that’s a Sewn with Mood Fabrics tag, by the way! :) )

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

PHEW.

Ok, one more picture:

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Only including this one because I look like I’m about to eat whatever is in my line of vision haha.

** Note: All fabrics for this project were provided to me in exchange for a review post as per my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network.

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 ;)

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