Tag Archives: Mood Sewing Network

Completed: Fancy Silk Georgette + Brocade

2 Feb

Here’s something a little different than my normal meat-and-potatoes (mmm… meat and potatoes) sort of dressing – FANCY GARB. YAY!!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Also: SNOW! Like, holy shit it snowed soooo much last weekend! I had a nice snow-in for a few days (it’s true that Tennessee all but shuts down when the snow comes in – but, before you make fun: we don’t have snow tires, we don’t know how to drive in it, and the roads are not properly salted or cleared so they’re actually pretty dangerous. Also, come and deal with our 100* heat in August ffs. Ok, soapbox off haha), which was even better considering that I basically was in a Winter Wonderland. We ended up with a little over 6″ – y’all, I can’t even remember the last time I saw that much snow. Shit was crazy. Also, it all melted within like 3 days, and then the temps went back up to 65*. Yay I love Tennessee and it’s fickle weather haha.

Anyway, I wasn’t planning on taking snow pictures – it was obviously very very cold outside, and so bright that I could barely keep my eyes open (sorry in advance for all the squinty haha). But the indoor lighting was just terrible, so I took one for the team and tromped outside. You are welcome.

Ok, back to the real subject of this post!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I made these two pieces about a month apart, so I didn’t actually wear them together for NYE – although I definitely wanted to. Considering I didn’t start sewing for the party until a few days before the end of the year, I knew that shirt would not turn out nice if it was rushed. So I focused on the fancy skirt, and wore it with a fuzzy black sweater knit Renfrew (you can see a photo of the outfit on Instagram). It was the perfect New Year’s Eve outfit for my plans – reasonably warm, yet stylish, and had these big pockets so I could carry my phone, wallet and flask without worrying about a purse. Which, by the way, my phone ended up leaving my pocket at some point that night (I think it was more that it didn’t *make* it to the pocket, rather than leapt out on it’s own accord). Here’s the New Year’s Miracle, though – someone found it – in a pile of trash on Lower Broadway, apparently – and then returned it to me the next day. How awesome is that?! 2016, you’re off to a promising start! ♥

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

The metallic stretch brocade that I used for this skirt has been in my stash for a long time – over a year, at least (if not longer). I never knew what to do with it – it’s kind of thick, it has a really heavy stretch, and it’s pretty freaking fancy. I figured a pencil skirt or bodycon dress would be suitable, but I rarely wear stuff like that. When I was planning my NYE outfit, I decided to find a use for this stuff. I’ve been on a circle skirt kick lately, so that’s what I went with. I used my self-drafted circle skirt pattern (I used Casey’s circle skirt tutorial aaages ago, which I can’t seem to get a valid link to now :( There’s also the By Hand London circle skirt app, which does the maths for you!), pieced to include side seams and a center back seam. This was mainly due to fabric restrictions – I had only a yard of this fabric. It’s super wide, though, so I was just barely able to squeeze it out. I also knew I wanted an exposed zipper and side seam pockets, which mean seams were necessary. The waistband was cut so the greatest amount of stretch ran along the length; I stabilized it with a piece of stretch interfacing to retain that comfy-ass stretch. Yeah man, it’s comfy.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Sewing was easy, and relatively straightforward. My only complaints are that this fabric frays like a MOTHER, and it’s basically all polyester so it’s a nightmare to get a good press. For the fraying, I serged each seam separately to minimize the fuzz potential. For the pressing, I just used my super awesome, super hot gravity feed iron and then just held the seams in place with my clapper until they cooled. One thing I will note is that my iron has a shoe (basically a cover that acts as a press cloth), which keeps things from melting. If your iron does not have a shoe, you’ll want to use a press cloth on poly fabrics + high heat. Otherwise, melting will happen!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I thought an exposed metal zipper would look cool next to the fancy brocade, so I pulled a metal zip from my stash and used Megan Nielsen’s method to insert it (these are the same instructions that are included with the Brumby pattern, fyi). The pockets are silk crepe, also pulled from my stash. Nothing like using silk pockets to stow your whiskey amirite :)

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

This past month, I finally gathered up all my cojones and made the intended matching shirt. Remember when I made Butterick 5526 in silk Georgette? I want to hate that shirt so bad – it’s pretty poorly constructed, I mean, that fabric was EVIL – but every time I put it on, I can’t deny that I like the way it looks. I want more floaty button-ups in my closet. I figured enough time had passed to forget the trauma, and I tried again, this time with much more success.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

There are two major factors that contributed to the success of this version of B5526 in silk Georgette. First of all, I chose the fabric in-person, rather than blindly ordering online. Which means I don’t have a link for the exact fabric I used – I bought it at the Mood Fabrics in NYC when I was there in November. I have since ordered some swatches from the website, and it’s definitely not the same fabric as what I have here. Mine is more like a double Georgette – it’s much thicker, and less see-through (I’m not wearing anything under this top, except a bra. I think it’s a nude bra, but I’ve worn a black one underneath too and no one has noticed, HA!). That alone made a world of difference in handling the fabric. I also prewashed it in the washing machine/dryer (just a cold wash, ma’am!), which helped beef it up a little more. The second factor is that I used a spray stabilizer on my fabric before cutting or sewing. I’ve heard of people using a spray stabilizer – and allegedly, you can also soak your fabric in unflavored gelatin for the same effect, although I haven’t personally tried this yet – but I never cared to try it myself because I wanted to be able to tackle the fabric without any outside help. Also, a can of that shit is like $12, which is way too rich for my blood (says the girl who is currently looking at $45/yard silk faille lolwut). It just seemed silly and unnecessary. I always felt like using outside tools like that almost negated my skills as a seamstress, but you know what? That’s not true. It’s not any different than using a special presser foot to get good edgestitching. Whatever works… it just works. And that’s ok.

I am not going to go into too much talk about using spray stabilizer because this was my first experience with it – and I want to try it a few more times before I give it a big write-up (aka I don’t want to eat my words later haha). But I will say that it REALLY changed how the fabric handled, in a good way. Instead of it slipping around like butterfly wings, it held more like a silk organza. It made cutting things straight much more easy, and the shirt fits better as a result. I think my topstitching looks really good, and all those fiddly pieces weren’t quite as fiddly. Spray stabilizer isn’t going to turn your silk into quilting cotton – you still need some finesse with those fine layers – but it helps tremendously. It won’t work for anything that you can’t wash it out of – such as a coat lining (unless, I guess, you assembled the lining separately and then wash/dry it before putting it in the coat?) – but it’s perfect for this sort of project. These photos are post-washing, so it has the proper drape, fyi. I soaked it in the sink with some lingerie wash, hung it to dry, and then re-pressed. I have since worn the shirt and washed it in the normal wash, and it’s held up fine.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

All that being said, I don’t think there’s much else to say about the sewing of this shirt. I’ve made it like a dozen times at this point, so there’s nothing new for B5526. The shirt is constructed with French seams and I used a very lightweight interfacing to stabilize while retaining that beautiful drape. I added buttons and button tabs to the sleeves, so I can wear this shit into the warmer weather. Yay!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I finally go to use some of my fancy vintage glass buttons for this top – yay! I didn’t have quite enough, so I had to mix them. There are beautiful black/green/gold Art Deco buttons for the front placket and sleeve tabs, and then solid black faceted buttons for the cuffs and collar. The white buttons you see on the inside of the placket prevent gaping at the boobs (I can’t take credit for this tip – I got it from Emmie and Jane). Speaking of which, if I’m getting boob gape… that probably means I need to start doing a FBA to my pattern. Sigh. Or else just keep adding hidden buttons hahaha.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I think I’ve run out of things to talk about with this outfit, so I’ll wrap up. What’s your best tip for sewing the slinky? Have you tried spray stabilizer? Hey, how was your New Year’s Eve, anyway?

Note: Fabrics were purchased with my monthly allowance for the Mood Sewing Network. Also, there are affiliate links in this post FYI. Click at yo’ own risk.

Completed: A Cozy Wren Dress

17 Nov

I really love summer, but man, I LOVE winter clothes. I think most people in general just look a lot classier with some added layers, and I really embrace the opportunity to dress in head-to-toe black and pretend like I look chic and not at all like an angsty 15 year old wandering into Hot Topic circa 2001. I can and do look like a total slob in the summer time, but add a little windchill into the mix and I’ll dress like I’m heading straight into the office.

Colette Wren dress - front

So, today, I give you Wren. A pretty little transitional dress that works SO WELL with a heavy knit and sleeves. If I still worked in an office, I’d rock this shit every day.

Colette Wren dress - front

This dress is a story of fabric + pattern both acquired without any pairings in mind. I was actually sent an advance copy of Wren from the team at Colette Patterns – no strings attached, just as a gift. They made it very clear that they weren’t expecting a review post in exchange for the pattern. I thought it was a pretty pattern and I knew I wanted to make it up at some point, but I wasn’t sure what fabric. I love the solid colors they use for the promotional shots, but I rarely feel compelled to sew solid colors (which is something I’m working on, because lord knows I like to wear solid colors!).

In the meantime, I’d been eyeballing this black cozy knit fabric from Mood Fabrics (their description, not mine. But it is a black cozy knit. It’s also super sold out, and I can’t find a link to it. Sorry! I’m pretty sure I bought the last yardage. Not sorry about that!). I had my swatch and I knew I wanted it for… what? No matter, I bought 2 yards of it and figured I’d figure that shit out later.

It wasn’t until I saw Deepika’s classy black and white Wren dress that I had my aha moment of fabric and pattern marriage. As in, I totally copied Deepika’s dress. Thanks for the inspo, Deepika! I hope you are ok with being my twinsie :)

Colette Wren dress - side

Colette Wren dress - side

These pictures are borderline awful, by the way. I was waiting for the golden hour, and I think things got a little too golden. Oh well!

Colette Wren dress - back

The Wren dress is a lovely knit dress that features a surplice/wrap-style bodice, set into a closed skirt (aka, it’s not a true wrap dress). You have the option of adding either a gathered or a fitted, 6 gored skirt, and the bodice can be sewn with or without sleeves. My favorite part of the dress are the soft gathers along the neckband, which are so feminine and pretty (and you can barely see them for this print that I used haha oh well). The sleeves included in the pattern are just for short sleeves, but it’s pretty easy to lengthen those to whatever suits your needs. Colette patterns did offer a sleeve download when the pattern was first released – for both a long sleeve and a 3/4 sleeve – which is what I used here. I actually cut the long sleeves, but they were weirdly tight below the elbow. Hence, my elbow-length sleeves. All good here, though, because those long sleeves looked a little overwhelming with this print!

Making the dress was super super easy. Since it’s a knit, I whipped everything through my serger to piece it together, and used my twin needle to hem the neckline and sleeves and hem. I was a little concerned about the top gaping since it’s only hemmed (and not finished with a knit band, which is my preferred method), but I figured I’d give it a try and I have not experienced any gaping. The only thing I’d change in the future is to deepen the hem on the neckband – at 3/8″, it’s a little shallow, and I just think it would look better and the stitching would lie more flat if it was closer to 5/8″.

For size, I cut an XS based on my measurements. I’m really pleased with the fit – and this is straight out of the envelope, no additional shaving off side seams or anything like that. I will mention that the waistline is pretty high on me – and I’m of average torso length – so that’s just something to be aware of. It’s definitely higher on me than it is on the model or in the illustration, but my knit does have only a 2 way stretch so that’s likely the case.

Colette Wren dress - front

Colette Wren dress - back

The ~black cozy knit~ is pretty awesome! It’s a poly knit, which I’d normally stay far far away from in the summer months – but I’m ok with poly in the winter. It sewed and pressed fine, and it’s just a really nice fabric. It feels a bit like lightweight ponte, with a nice heft and weight to it. The design is woven, so the wrong side is pretty cool too. My favorite part is that the right side is a little fuzzy and feels like a cozy sweater. My other favorite part is the print- up close, I think the white design looks like a city skyline :)

Colette Wren dress - front

Here it is without the belt!

I don’t think there’s much else to say about this simple dress, so have some more photos:

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - front

I think the dress looks pretty classy – it would be awesome for all those fancy dinners and evening concerts that I don’t attend. HA! Or maybe just wallowing around on the couch, I dunno. Actually, my roommate and I are going to see Neil deGrasse Tyson this week and I’m TOTALLY wearing this shit for that. I am going to be so comfy while I simultaneously have my mind blown about the universe, wheee!

* Note: This fabric was given to me in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. The pattern was also given to me from Colette Patterns, as a gift and with no strings attached. Per usual, all the opinions you are reading here are my own!

Completed: The Sway Dress

3 Sep

Y’all, this heat is making me do crazy things this year. As in, I made a tent dress. Out of LINEN. I’ll just let that one soak in for a minute.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

I doubt it’s the most flattering thing I could be putting on my body, but you know what? Fuck it. This shit is BEYOND COMFY.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

Katie sent me this pattern, the Sway dress, right after the launch of her most recent collection, Chameleon. While I loooove the way it’s styled on the envelope (especially that winter version with the turtleneck! Ahhh it looks so chic and cozy!), I was pretty sure there was no way in hell I’d be putting this kind of tent shape over my body. My waist, the world has to know that I have a waist!!!1!

Then I turned 30, then it got really hot, and then Katie is basically like my mom because she knew better before I even realized it for myself.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - side

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - side

If this dress looks like it took 2 hours to put together, that’s because it did. It was super fast, super easy, and a really satisfying project to work on. The pattern is extremely simple – front, back, facings, and then pockets. That’s it! No darts, no tricky seamlines, no closures. I cut the size XXS with no alterations, and made this up in an afternoon. The directions are clear and straightforward, and I really like that the facings are all-in-one, so that the arm holes and neckline are all encased at the same time and everything stays in place really well. it’s a nice, clean finish, and it looks really good from both the outside and the inside. Letting the dress hang for 24 hours to stretch out the bias was the most time-consuming part of the whole sewing process, but even leveling the hem wasn’t that bad.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - back

AND, because the dress only really fits at the shoulders and falls loose everywhere else – it’s totally reversible! You can wear the front to the back, or vice versa. Say what now?! I was originally Team V-neck, but after wearing the dress around a bit, I actually like the v in the back.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - pockets

Since the dress is already totes appropriate for hot weather, I went the extra mile and made it out of some dark blue heavyweight linen to keep things extra cool and breezy. I really did not know what to expect with this linen – I’ve bitched and moaned before about how much I don’t like linen for it’s shifty nature and constant wrinkles – but this particular linen is a lot more tame than most of the ones I’ve sewn with. Because it’s so heavy, it’s not as prone to shifting around or wrinkling (while I did take these photos before wearing it around, I have since worn it for a full day and even with a couple hours of driving involved, it barely wrinkled at all). It does still fray like mad, so I made sure to finish all my seams with the serger and that solved that problem. This is the kind of linen that would get me sewing with the fiber on the regular – and now that I’m looking at the Mood Fabrics website, it looks like they added more colors! Yay!

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - neckline

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - necklineThe only part where I deviated from the pattern was to cut the pockets out of a lightweight china silk, instead of the heavy linen. I’m sure the linen would have been fine, but I like how light and not-bulky the silk pockets are. Plus, they feel gooood on my hands!

One thing I will change for future makes of this pattern is to raise the arm holes, because they are pretty low on me! It might just be because I’m petite, but I was showing a little bit of bra when I first tried on the dress. I took in the underarm seam just a bit, which helped a lot, but I do need to be careful of which bra I wear with this dress because it definitely can and will still show at my underarms. I think raising the underarm about 1/2″ will take care of that. Also, if you plan on making this pattern – watch the length! I did not adjust the length whatsoever and it’s preeeeeeetty short on me (I’m 5’2″). Like, if I raise my arms too high… y’all are gonna see some cheeks. No, seriously, I tested that shit in front of a mirror. The struggle is real.

That being said, I love the micro-mini length combined with the exaggerated tent shape. I especially want to put this into action in a cozy black wool, and wear it with black tights.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - detail

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - detail

Inside guts. It’s a simple dress, so really not much to see here!

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - twirl

I’m still not 100% that this is the best look for my body (I’m sure there is someone out there who thinks I’m trying to hide a pregnancy), but I am 100% in that this dress is SUPER comfortable and perfect for the summer heat!

As a side note – I’m off to Cancun, Mexico this weekend! Gonna lay poolside with my bae and drink something with an umbrella sticking out of it (wearing my new Made Up bikini, naturally! Yay for finishing by my self-imposed deadline!). Cannot even wait. Suffice to say, this blog will be pretty quiet for the next few days. This girl needs a vacation!

Note: The fabric for this dress was purchased with my allowance for the Mood Sewing Network. Pattern was given to me as a gift. All comments on this blog post are just, like, my opinion, man.

Completed: The Summer DVF Wrap Dress

17 Aug

What? Did you think I was going to make it an entire year without busting out this pattern? Ha ha! Forget about it!

Vogue 1610 // DVF(No idea why I’m standing pigeon-toed in this photo, eh.)

ANYWAY. If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’ll know that I loveeeee me some knit wrap dress action. Specifically, some Diane Von Fürstenberg knit wrap dress action. I just think she makes the prettiest dresses and I can’t get enough of them (and by “them,” I mean “knock-offs”) in my closet! I have a few that I made last year – The Wearable Muslin, The Silk Jersey and The Chic Black Wool. And now, here’s #4: The Bold Graphic Print. Just in time for the last few weeks of summer! Vogue 1610 // DVF

I have an original copy of Vogue 1610, which is a (vintage) Vogue American Designer pattern (this one featuring Diane Von Fürstenberg, obviously). I found it – in my size, no less – at an estate sale for around $1 a few years ago. It’s a beautiful pattern that really lends itself well to all the hacking and modifying I’ve put it through. It’s certainly a bummer that Vogue won’t re-release this pattern for the modern sewist – and before you start pointing fingers, this has nothing to do with Vogue and everything to do with DVF not renewing the license. I’m pretty sure the McCall Pattern Company wants to re-release some DVF love just as much as you want to buy it (I mean, can you imagine how much $$ they’d make? Who can say no to that?), but it’s not really up to them to decide. Seems like the designer just doesn’t want her name on sewing patterns anymore :( DIANE, WHYYYY.

Anyway, back to my dress!

Vogue 1610 // DVFVogue 1610 // DVF

Taking a cue from the black wool version, I kept the original bodice from the pattern and changed out the skirt for a simple wrap skirt (specifically, I used Tilly’s Miette skirt and just made it so the wrap is in the front). I added 1″ to the overlap, so I’d have a little bit of fabric to fold back and topstitch. I like the gathered skirt that the pattern is drafted for, but I wanted this version to be a little more sleek. I originally planned this dress to include small cap sleeves – I was going to take them off my Lady Skater dress pattern – but when I tried the dress on sans sleeves, I really liked the way it looked so I kept it as-is.

Vogue 1610 // DVFI also kept a slightly longer skirt length (I know, I know… nothing about “practically knee-length” qualifies as “long,” but considering I’ve basically been exposing ass cheeks all summer, this is long for me), again, something I liked when I tried it on during construction. Vogue 1610 // DVF

Vogue 1610 // DVFI also tried something different with the front band. Normally, I sew it on like how you finish the neckline of a tshirt – stretching the band so that it fits snugly against the bust when worn. However, I lurked in on some actual DVF wrap dresses while I was in Harrod’s last year in London, and noticed that they finish their necklines a little differently. No knit bands to be found anywhere – most of them use a binding or a facing. I was keen to try this myself, so that’s what I did. I cut the band as usual and interfaced it with a lightweight knit fusible (so it has a little bit of structure, but it’s still quite stretchy). I finished one edge, sewed the facing to the outside of the garment, flipped it to the inside and understitched, and then topstitched 1″ away from the edge on the outside. I was 100% certain that I’d fucked up the dress beyond repair at that point – the back had some puckers and everything just looked kind of strange – but it all sorted itself out once I put it on and my body stretched it into shape. The addition of the interfacing gives the neckline a little bit of height, almost – especially around the neck itself. The facing is much smoother and sleeker than any band. And I can pull the dress apart a little and show some 1970s ~natural cleavage~ if I feel so inclined. Yeehaw! Vogue 1610 // DVF

Vogue 1610 // DVFNot really much else to report on construction – much of the same old, same old. I used my serger to construct, my Bernina (+ walking foot // ballpoint needle) to topstitch. For the arm holes, I just serged them and turned the hem under and topstitched with a straight stitch. So easy! I think I finished this whole thing in less than 3 hours. Vogue 1610 // DVF

Isn’t the fabric so good? When I saw it on Mood Fabrics recently, it immediately screamed WRAP DRESS and it knew it had to be mine. Sometimes, I find buying knit fabric online to be a bit of a gamble – you can’t really tell weight/hand/stretch recovery (not to mention color) from a photo and description, and occasionally I end up with stuff that wasn’t at all what I was expecting. This fabric definitely exceeded my expectations – it’s so beautiful! Very dense with a good stretch (and an awesome recovery; I wore this all day last week and it didn’t bag out at all), and the color is super saturated. It’s a little on the heavy side – but not bulky. It feels very fluid and luxurious. I wish all knits were like this. This stuff is awesome! Also, the color is “poppy” which I kept seeing as “poppy,” so, like, there’s that.

Vogue 1610 // DVFHere’s a shot of the inside. Super clean finish, yay! Vogue 1610 // DVFI think the color and style of this dress will be good for transitioning into the fall months here – where we want to pretend like it’s tall boot and wool hat weather, but it’s actually still 90+ degrees. Which means I can wear this and look cool, but still be cool. Also, I am not ready for summer to end just yet – I have a few more projects left to finish!

Note: The fabric for this dress was purchased with my allowance for the Mood Sewing Network. All comments on this blog post are just, like, my opinion, man.

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!

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