Tag Archives: Mood Sewing Network

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: 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!

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 Francoise Dress

11 Mar

Y’ALL. It’s like, practically spring here. After our freak ice and snow storm last week (which was the SECOND one we had this year – never happens! The last big ice storm we had was 20 years ago), the sunshine came back with a vengeance and obliterated the piles of snow (ok, 3″ here. THAT IS A LOT FOR NASHVILLE, OK!) within a couple of days. Thanks to the combination of 60* afternoons and the return of Daylight Savings Time, it’s really starting to feel super good here. Yay for spring!

So, with all that being said – I give you my first official warm-weather make of 2015! Hey, Francoise, how you doin’?

Francoise Dress

Francoise is Tilly’s newest pattern release, and by “new” I mean it’s been around since November. Which is exactly how long I’ve been meaning to make it up. I got my hands on the pattern when I was in London (full disclosure – Tilly gave it to me when we met up and waved her hand when I offered to pay for it. It wasn’t given to me in exchange for a posted review or anything, but, I thought I’d point that out regardless! I know some people feel that a review can be biased if the reviewer didn’t personally pay for the pattern), I made a muslin while I was there, and I looked for my ~perfect~ Francoise fabric on every fabric shopping trip we made. The truth is, I was stunted on fabric choice, so the pattern had to wait while I figured my shit out.

Francoise Dress

Anyway, I think the fabric I ended up with was a pretty PERFECT match, amirite? This gorgeous purple and pink floral cotton sateen is from Mood Fabrics, and it combined with the Francoise is basically a perfect marriage. The small amount of stretch and crisp drape make it perfect for the pattern, and the simple shape and exaggerated flare make the pattern perfect for the fabric. I love it when this shit happens!

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

I made the size 1, based on the finished measurements. The only minor change I made was to take a slightly wider seam allowance at the top of the invisible zipper, just because it was gaping a little. I also removed about 3/4″ from the hem length. I’m 5’2″, so taller ladies may want to consider adding some length because it’s a pretty short skirt!

Francoise Dress

Cotton sateen is REALLY easy to work with – like, beginner-level easy (it doesn’t shift, doesn’t fray, presses well, etc) – so construction was super straightforward. You really just need a fresh needle and a hot iron to coax this fabric into submission. I finished all my seams with my serger, and topstitched the neckline, arm holes and hem. The neckline is finished with a facing, and the arm holes are finished with self bias facing. Both of these are covered in the pattern. I followed the pattern directions as they were written for the bias facing on the arm holes, and while they’re great – I prefer my method, as I think it’s a little easier/fool-proof.

Also, looking at that back view just made me realize that the two back prints are mirrored. HAHAHA uhh… oh, look, there’s a rouge thread, too. GOD, I need to get my shit together. Ok, moving on!

Francoise Dress

Because my print is all crazy awesome and takes all the attention, here’s a close-up of the design elements of the dress that actually make is super cute. I love the raglan seams, and the French darts are so pretty! Also – can we talk about how the floral pattern on the fabric looks like watercolors? YUM.

Francoise Dress

Now here is the dress without me or a belt. I will be honest – when I finally finished everything and put it on, I wasn’t crazy about how it looked at me. I think part of it is the color palette (I LOVE that freaking fabric, but I feel like I look like an ass every time I wear pink or purple. It’s not because of my hair color clashing or whatever. I’ve felt that way about pink and purple for a couple years now) and part of it is the fact that the dress doesn’t have a waist seam. I don’t know why, but I feel like a smooth shape with no waist seam doesn’t look right on me (is that weird?). Once I added black tights and a thin belt, I really started to see the cute factor in this dress. I think the black also tones down the overwhelming girly colors, and I like that too. Ideally, I would have loved to put a black collar on the dress, but I didn’t have any black fabric on hand. Maybe in the future I can make a detachable one, idk.

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

Believe it or not, I didn’t buy that zipper for this dress. No, I just *happened* to have a perfectly-matched lavender invisible zipper in my stash. Again, I don’t really wear purple (and especially not lavender), so I have no idea how that happened, but I’ve had it for a few years now. Glad I finally put that shit to good use lolol

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

That’s all for now! Let’s just cross our fingers that I didn’t inadvertently welcome another fucking 6 weeks of winter by announcing spring’s impending arrival. I did that a lot last year and it was way lame.

Francoise Dress

** 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 Portside Travel Set

22 Jan

For the past couple months, I’ve been planning to up my luggage game. Over the years, I’ve made do with a fairly old suitcase (handed down from my parents – I’m not sure exactly it’s age, but I know there are receipts in the pocket from when we went to Disney World in 1994, so at least 20 years!) and a really ratty/cheap duffel bag. My travel schedule is starting to ramp up this year, and one thing I don’t have is a duffel bag that is suitable for a weekend getaway. The aforementioned ratty bag was pretty small and difficult to carry comfortably. Also, I broke the zipper while I was in Paris – rather than repair it (it was really REALLY cheap – even down to the hardware, which I also threw away with the bag haha), I decided to make a new set, courtesy of Mood Fabrics.

Portside Travel Set

The Portside Travel Set is the perfect pattern for my casual luggage needs – a roomy duffel bag, plus a matching dopp kit and a small zippered pouch. The pattern is designed so you can really play with color blocking and fabric options, and it’s not difficult at all to put together. The duffel bag is nice and big (20″ x 11.5″ x 12″), and includes both hand and shoulder straps (the shoulder is adjustable, as well as removable!), a zippered top, and two exterior pockets. The dopp kit has both a zippered top and a zippered exterior pocket, plus a small handle. The little zippered pouch is one of the most basic things ever – like the kind of pouch you’d make in a ‘learn to sew zippers’ class – but I can see it being very useful. And it all matches! Yay!

Anyway, let me also point out that making this set gave me an excuse to peruse the home decor section of Mood Fabrics. I rarely sew with home decor fabrics (I know some people love them for clothing, but I’m not much of a fan, unless it’s for a very specific purpose), but I totally jumped at the opportunity! There are SO many cool designs, it was really hard to narrow it down to just 3! I started with this cool turquoise geometric print, matched it to a charcoal grey faux suede, and lined the inside with grey and white polka dots (I’ve been eyeballing that polka dot fabric for over a year now – so glad to finally have an excuse to buy it!).

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

I went over all this briefly in my post for the Mood Sewing Network; here I’d like to talk a little more about the pattern itself. Overall, it’s a great little pattern – good instructions, the pieces fit together, and I think the end result is really nice. There were a few points in the pattern that I found a bit confusing, though. For one – I completely mixed up the main and contrast fabrics when I was planning my fabrics! I assumed the contrast was the bottom half – i.e., the part I’ve made out of suede. That’s actually the main fabric, as far as the pattern is concerned. The contrast is the top part. This isn’t marked anywhere on the pattern except on the pieces themselves, which meant I ultimately ended up marking the line drawing with a map of what piece was what before I knew what piece to cut from which fabric. The contrast and self changes for the dopp kit and pouch, so I would really recommend at least mapping out the design before you start cutting. I know I would have been PISSED if my bag had ended up with the suede being the top sections, ha.

Speaking of the suede, that wasn’t difficult to sew at all. I used a standard 80/12 needle and my normal machine feet (no need for a special Teflon foot or anything), and since my iron has a shoe, I was even able to press it and fuse interfacing to it. The bag is lightly interfaced – more so to keep the cotton from wrinkling, less for structure. It’s pretty floppy when it’s empty.

Portside Travel Set

The instructions, like I said, are pretty good. The only part that really confused me was assembling the shoulder strap for the duffel bag. I have made plenty of stuff with sliders – hell, even all my bras have adjustable straps with sliders – but this bag uses D-rings for the sliders. I could not figure out how Jen did this, and even googling didn’t really help (turns out everyone else uses sliders too, who woulda thought?). I just ended up playing around with the straps and rings until it worked. Couldn’t tell ya what I did to get to that point, sorry! At least they look good now!

Portside Travel Set

Also, sewing up the little dopp kit was… interesting. Not all the pieces matched up perfectly (I read this in a random google review of the pattern as well – so either we cut it wrong, which is possible, or there’s a minor drafting error. I know Jen is really precise with her drafting so I hesitate to believe that it’s an error on her part, but I thought I would point that out), but I just trimmed off the excess. We are talking about rectangles that form a bag, after all – no crazy fitting or anything. I really struggled to get the bottom sewn on square – it’s passable as it is, but it’s not my best work.

Then again, it’s a dopp kit. I’m not unpicking that shit hahaha.

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

I love all the neat details in this tiny bag, though! The front zippered pocket is a personal favorite – also love that little leather zipper pull! And check out that print-matching at the top zipper! That was actually unintentional, but it worked out amazingly well. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super impressed with myself haha.

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Like I said, the pouch was really easy – like, sewn up in under 20 minutes easy. Since it’s unlined, I serged the inside with matching aqua thread (it was almost navy because I didn’t feel like re-threading the serger, until I reminded myself that I paid for this serger specifically because it self-threads haha). The zipper pull – as well as the pulls for the dopp kit – is loosely based on the pattern included in the travel kit. I had to change it up a bit to get it to fit my smaller-than-normal zippers.

Portside Travel Set

One thing I did not anticipate when I started this project was how much all the materials were going to cost me – and how difficult they’d be to source. The fabric wasn’t terribly expensive (and since it’s a project for the Mood Sewing Network, it was free for me), but all those little extras add up! I found my swivel hooks and D-rings at Joann’s – not in the sewing section, but in the… dog-leash making section? Joann’s, keepin’ it weird as usual. I bought my cotton webbing from A Graff Supplies on Etsy. This was after shopping around quite a bit – Joann’s didn’t have the right colors and widths, Mood was sold out of most everything, and any other supplier I found only carried one of the two widths I needed. A Graff Supplies had both widths, with a great selection of colors – and while I did spend $15 on JUST WEBBING, I can’t imagine it being that much cheaper anywhere else. I would have loved to find nylon webbing, but cotton was much more prominent in my searches. All my zippers are from my stash – the black zip on the duffel bag is new (I bought it for a dress, which I obviously never made haha), the rest are vintage. Been looking for a use for those turquoise zippers :) Oh, and the little leather scrap for the pulls is from a shop on Goldhawk Road in London. I bought it because I loved the color, bonus that it matches my bag!

Portside Travel Set

The bag is REALLY floppy when it’s empty (to get these photos, it’s stuffed with every pillow from my couch, plus a couple of blankets), so it was hard to get an inside lining shot! The lining is all polka dots – the self fabric at the bottom is actually a fabric-covered removable piece of thin plastic, to keep the bottom from sagging open.

Portside Travel Set

This isn’t in the instructions (hence why it’s self-fabric – I ran out of lining!), but it’s a trick I learned when I made one of those Amy Butler Weekender bags years ago (which I still have, and yes, it’s too small for a weekend! More like an overnight bag haha). You cut the plastic the same size as your bottom, remove the seam allowances, and make a fitted sleeve to cover it. I like that it’s removable because now I can roll the duffel up if I need to. As far as sourcing plastic – I ended up buying it on Amazon. The EZ Quilting Template Plastic is 18″ x 24″, which I needed (anything sold at a craft store is usually 12×12) for the base. It’s quite a bit flimsier than what I wanted – I doubled up and bought two, but it’s still not as rigid as my Weekender. Still, it’s better than nothing. Plus, I have quite a bit left that I can use for bra pattern templates, yay!

So, in case you couldn’t tell – this bag is pretty big. Like, I could probably squish myself into it if I tried hard enough:

Portside Travel Set

But, like I said – it folds down pretty flat for storage (or putting in a suitcase, which is what I usually do – then I have a bag for all the fabric I buy hahahahaha):

Portside Travel Set

Anyway, I’m happy to check this off my to-do list – and I can’t wait to put it to good use! It’ll definitely come in handy for my trip to Philly at the end of this month. Now I guess I just need to start looking for a new suitcase – mine is starting to give signs of wearing out (wires poking out, the zipper is struggling, corners are threadbare – I told you it was old! And very well-used ;) ).

Portside Travel Set

Just look at that unintentional print-matching. If that doesn’t make you want to run out and SEW ALL THE DUFFLES, then I don’t even know who you are anymore.

** Note: All fabrics for this project were provided to be as per my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network. Notions and pattern were purchased by me!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,676 other followers