Tag Archives: papercut patterns

Completed: Some Tshirts!

26 Sep

Oh hey, head’s up – this post is all cake and no frosting. No apologies, though! Lord knows I can never have enough Tshirts.

Rather than bore y’all with a bunch of posts featuring patterns I’ve made before, though, I’ve compiled a trio of 3 different tshirt patterns – ranging from Free to You Gotta Pay For That Shit – for science and comparison purposes. Who doesn’t love a good Tshirt debate, amirite? Also, I took these pictures before I redyed my hair, fyi. Just in case you were curious, haha.

LET’S TALK ABOUT TSHIRTS NOW, GUYS.

Plantain Tee

First up is the Plantain Tshirt, from Deer & Doe Patterns. This is that free pattern I was telling y’all about. This is a great beginner tshirt pattern – there aren’t a lot of pieces, it includes some new techniques for beginners (such as sewing the neck binding), the instructions are very clear, and the fitting is quite loose at the bottom. I was initially afraid that I wouldn’t like this shape on me AT ALL, but I’m surprised at how much I love it!

Plantain Tee
Plantain Tee

Even though it’s a free pattern, I think it’s far from being a “crappy” pattern, if that makes sense. The sizing is perfect – I sewed up a straight 34, with no tweaks. I used the last scraps of my black merino wool from Organic Cotton Plus to sew this up – I like how the wool gives the bottom some structure (and the wrinkles? Not as much a fan of those, but I’ll live :P). And it’s SO COZY. Cozy tshirts, FTW!

Plantain Tee

I did make a couple of changes to the design of the pattern itself – the main one being that seam that runs down the front and back of the top. This was done out of necessity, as I didn’t have enough fabric to cut on the fold. I simply added a seam allowance and created a CF and CB seam. I topstitched the seams so they’d look more intentional, ha. I also added cuffs to the sleeves – because, I dunno, I like them! There’s a bit of piecing at the neckline binding as well. Since I was making this out of leftover scraps, I didn’t have a long enough piece to cut continuous binding. I don’t think it’s that noticeable, and hell, I’ll deal with some seams if that means I get a merino wool top out of it amirite.

Stripey Renfrew

Next up is my tried-and-true tshirt allstar – the Renfrew from Sewaholic Patterns! I LOVE this pattern, a fact that I believe is pretty well documented. Renfrew is favored by me because I think it most resembles what we think of when we think of a tshirt – slightly fitted, set-in sleeves, and 3 neckline options (in addition to the scoop, there’s also a cowl and a v-neck), as well as sleeve length options. The pattern is written to have a band of self-fabric at the sleeve cuffs and hem, in addition to the neckline. I’ve found that I prefer to hem my tshirts (rather than use the fabric band), and some of the more casual ones I like to hem the sleeves as well. One thing to keep in mind – should you decide to join me in my tshirt anarchy – is to add that length to the sleeves and hem before you cut them out. Otherwise, they might end up short! Ask me how I know about THAT ;)

Stripey Renfrew

Fitting-wise, this is a great pattern, although I did make a lot of tweaks to get to the point I am now. It’s been a long time since I tweaked, but if I recall – this is a size 0, with additional ease removed from the waist. I also shortened the shoulders a smidge and made them slightly narrower. All those tweaks paid off, because this is a pattern I reach for again and again when I need a tshirt. At any given time, if you see me in a tshirt – ask me if it’s a Renfrew, the answer will probably be yes! Seriously! Oh, and my fabric is a striped ponte from Mood Fabrics (the store, not online).

SJ Tee

The last top in this trifecta is the SJ Tee from Papercut Patterns. Another new-to-me top, and I admit this is more like a sweatshirt than a true tshirt (but mostly due to fabric choice). It’s kind of like a sexy sweatshirt, tbh – raglan sleeves and WHOA SCOOP NECK. Forreal, make this in something too stretchy and you’ll end up in boobie city. Again – want to ask me how I know about that? :) haha!

SJ Tee

I’m surprised at how much I like the fit of this, considering that I don’t normally go for things so loose. I did end up taking the CB in by about 1″ – I’d already sewn the neck binding in at that point, so the seam runs clear from the bottom to the top of the binding, oops. But that made a HUGE difference in the fit, especially at the back. I used the size XXS and – other than the chunk taken out of the CB – it’s relatively unchanged. Oh, and I did shorten the cuffs so they’d look more like a sweatshirt. The fabric I used here is the last of my wool knit from Mood Fabrics (the same knit I used to make my grey Jenna cardi), and I had JUST ENOUGH. It’s amazing how much I love such a simple sweatshirt, by the way – I’ve been wearing it every night. It’s so cozy!

Here are the three patterns as modeled on my form:
Plantain Tee
Plantain Tee

Stripey Renfrew
Renfrew Top

SJ Tee
SJ Tee

I think it’s really interesting how something so simple as a damn tshirt can yield such different results, based on pattern and fabric choice. These are all pretty basic designs in the grand scheme of things, but they’re different to stand on their own. Obviously there are many, many more tshirt patterns out there (off the top of my head, these come to mind: Ensis, Briar, Bronte, Coco, and Lord, don’t get me started on dresses that can be hacked into tees), but I stuck with these three because I feel they’re the most basic/versatile. Also, let’s be real – if I fall down a tshirt rabbit hole, it might be months before this post sees the light! Ha!

Stripey Renfrew

Out of all these, I think my favorite is the Renfrew, just because it’s so damn versatile and I love how it fits (not to mention, the slim fit is ideal for layering). It might also have something to do with the Renfrew being my first love – can’t ever abandon her now ;)

I can’t stop thinking about that SJ tee too, though – I already have some future plans for her, including camel-colored boiled wool. Yum!

Plantain Tee

What’s your opinion on tshirt patterns? Do you have a favorite – and if so, dish please!

(psst! Don’t forget to enter the Sewtionary Giveaway, if you haven’t already done so! Entries close on Monday morning!)

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Sweaters & Skinnies for Fall!

24 Sep

Ok, I’ll admit – when I first started working on this outfit, the air was a LOT more fall-like than it currently is at the moment. Stupid fickle season, ha!

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

Anyway, I’m totally a trooper so I’m modeling this outfit for y’all nonetheless (photos taken early morning before the temperatures got too high, because, woof.). My first real cold-weather makes – like I said, it’s a little early in the season here, but I like to get a head start so I can actually start wearing this stuff when the weather cools down :) This outfit – or at least the skinnies – is also part of my London wardrobe. I’m officially less than 2 months out, EEEEEP! – so it’s time to really start cranking down and getting my wardrobe act together. Since I’m very limited in suitcase space, I’m trying to capsulate everything to mix and match. So I can bring less clothes, so I can bring home more fabric :) You know – priorities!

ANYWAY, I have a lot of ground to cover with these two pieces, so let’s get started! Sorry in advance for the big photo overload!

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

Let’s start with the sweater. I bought this fabric last month while I was in NYC. This was my first non-spring trip to the city, which meant my fabric shopping was focused on woolens and winter weights (instead of summer fabrics, which I am usually bee-lining for in March). I immediately found this star printed WOOL sweater knit, and promptly flipped my shit over it. It’s SO fabulous – and soft! Even softer than you can imagine, forreal. At $25 a yard, it wasn’t the cheapest sweater knit – but stars and wool? Totally worth it. Plus, it’s not like a sweater takes a lot of yardage – at least not for me. I bought a yard and a half (and I have some leftover.. hmm, what to make with?).

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics
Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

The pattern I used to make this bad boy was actually suggested by Devra (who also bought some of the prized star wool knit, after I peer pressured her into it ;) ) – the SJ Tee from Papercut Patterns. I made a wearable mock-up before the real deal – which I will show y’all later this week – so I was able to figure my fitting before cutting into my precious wool knit. I cut a size XXS and took 1″ out of the center back. The length is the long version (aka, not cropped) and the sleeves are long as well.

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

I used rib knit to finish the neckline and cuffs – it was in my stash, I have no idea where it came from. This knit was way stretchier than the sweater knit, so I had to keep retrying the neckline to get it to lie flat. I ended up cutting the rib to half the length of the neckline and stretched the everloving shit out of it – it could still stand to be a little tighter, but this will do. The neckline also can’t stand to be a little lower, it’s already a little risque (which I LIKE!). The cuffs are a bit looser than I’d prefer, but I wanted to be able to push the sleeves up, like so.

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

I sewed the entire sweater on my serger – you could use a sewing machine (this particular knit does not unravel or shed), but serger is faster :) I did use a twin needle to topstitch the raglan lines, as well as the neckline & hem. Really loved topstitching this sweater; the stitches just sink right in and look soooo good!

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

For the black skinnies, I used a really great stretch twill. I’ve had some hits and misses when it comes to stretch bottom weights – they tend to be a weird weight (either too heavy, or not heavy enough), and the stretch can bag out over time. One thing I’ve learned is that you need a pretty high spandex/poly content to get them to snap back into shape – 5-10% – and you need to make sure they are bottom weight. I actually made Heather Lou source this fabric for me, also in the Mood store. We were initially looking for black denim, couldn’t find a good one (I still don’t really know what constitutes as a good one- you’ll have to ask her! I just blindly followed, ha), and decided on the twill. We did end up finding a black denim, fyi, but not at Mood. Once I sew that one up, I’ll share more about it :)

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

Anyway, this twill is great! It’s pretty similar to what you get with stretch RTW pants – thick enough for a bottom weight, but not tooooo thick (I still only used an 80/12 needle, so no heavy denim shit or whatev). The stretch is crazy good, and it actually snaps back into shape. I can’t give y’all a true verdict on a full day’s worth of wear – the weather jumped back up to hot, so I haven’t had a chance to wear these yet. However, I tried the jeans on a LOT during construction, and they haven’t bagged out yet. So that’s a good sign!

The only drawback to this stuff is that it attracts cat hair like a magnet. It’s not as bad in real life as it is in photos (else I would have lint-rolled that shit, I mean, come on), but it also doesn’t bother me that much. When you have a cat and you wear black pants, cat hair is sorta just a way of life, you know?

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

The pattern I used to make the skinnies is the Jamie Jeans, from Named. I’ve actually had this pattern in my stash for a few months – my friend Carla bought me these (plus a few other Named patterns) as an early birthday gift earlier this year. Then I was a total ass and didn’t do anything with them until just now :P Hey, it’s been too hot! Anyway, I’m glad I put these off because there is no way I would have had such stretch twill success if it hadn’t been for Heather doing that side of the shopping for me. So there’s that.

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

Anyway, this was my first experience with Named. My understanding is that a few things have changed since they initially released this pattern – for one, the instructions include some diagrams now (they used to be text-only), and the prices are a little more competitive. The pieces also aren’t quite as overlapped as they were the first go-round – because, ugh, tracing patterns, ugh. I only had to trace the waistband for these. Everything else was, thankfully, not super overlapped.

I started with the size 2, and made these initial modifications, based on my muslin:
– Added 1″ to the back crotch, for butt room
– Removed 2″ of length at the legs
– Removed 5/8″ at the center back yoke, blending to 1/4″ at the bottom (where the pants meet the yoke)
– Removed 1/4″ from the center back, blending to nothing

Once I started sewing, I ended up doing a few more fit adjustments. I don’t know why these weren’t prevalent in my muslin – perhaps my fabric wasn’t quite stretchy enough? At any rate, these are my additional modifications (and now you know why I pulled them on and off so many times!):
– Sewed the side seams at 1/2″
– Took a 1″ wedge out of the center back of the waistband, tapering to nothing at the bottom
– Removed an additional 3/4″ from the length
– Did some crazy witchcraft to reshape the crotch to be a J (again, NO IDEA why this wasn’t an issue with the muslin, but argh – at least I fixed it? Mostly.).

Things I will change for my next rendition:
– Need to remove some length from the front crotch – you can see that it’s slightly too long (it’s not toooo bad – I doubt anyone will point and be all “HA HA YOUR CROTCH IS TOO LONG HA HA!” But I know it’s there and hey, it bothers me, ok?). Maybe 3/8″ish.
– Rescoop that J a little more out of the crotch. It’s still not perfect, but it’s damn good considering that I did this while the pants were already mostly assembled (for those of you who are all, “Wtf is this J crotch you keep talking about?” Here’s the post where I talk about my pants adjustments, including J crotches. Also, in case you were wondering- those crotch rulers *do* work. I found one in Elizabeth’s studio last week, immediately stuck it on my crotch – and hey, there’s a J! Cool!)
– Need to take a little pinch of fabric out of the inner leg seam – maybe 1/2″

Despite my nitpicky fit adjustments, these aren’t so bad! I’ll still totally wear the shit out of them, at any rate.

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics
Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics
Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

Constructing these was REALLY fun! The instructions – honestly, they’re kind of useless about 70% of the time, but I’ve made enough pants to where I don’t really need them. The seams are all finished with my serger – except the crotch seam, which is flat-felled – and I made use of my edgestitching foot to get all that beautiful topstitching. For the waistband, I used fusible tricot knit interfacing – I fused both the outside and the facing, to give it some stability but retain that lovely stretch. The button & jean zip are both from Pacific Trimming in NYC.

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

I really love the back pockets! And hey, that double line of stitching at the yoke? That was done with a single needle, twice. No twin needle!

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

For the hem, I used the lightning bolt stitch, so it would retain some stretchiness. It looks pretty similar to a straight stitch, but it, you know, stretches.

What else? Here are some sweater close-ups:

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics
Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics
Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

YUM!

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

One last thing – here’s the little watercolor fashion illustration I made for this outfit. GOD, I love painting watercolors! So much fun!

Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics

Ok, I guess that’s it! Now if the cooler weather could please come back – I hate working up a sweat while I drink my morning coffee :) Oh, and in case you were wondering – that’s a fresh dye job you’re looking at, in regards to my hair! I love how neon electric is is :) Yay for fun-colored hair!

PS: Ralph Rucci V1419 Sewalongers – in case you missed it, there’s a new post up on the McCall blog regarding the sewalong. Just some general housekeeping, including blog buttons (yes!) and social media chat. The burning question this week – for general sewalong chat outside of our blogs, do y’all prefer to use a Facebook page or a Flickr Group? Trying to decide which platform to us. Let us know which side you swing!

Completed: The Soma Swimsuit, V2

6 Jun

I’m back again with my second Soma Swimsuit!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Aaaaaand, omg you guys, this is my favorite of the two. Definitely my favorite out of all the swimsuits I’ve made, possibly my favorite swimsuit EVER. Seriously! I really really love it!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Cheeky butt and all ;)

Soma Swimsuit - v2

For version 2, I decided to up the ante and try it in a cool striped fabric – I’ve had this striped swimsuit fabric since 2013; I bought it at Spandex House (or World?) in NYC, along with a nude lining. I’ve always wanted a navy and white striped bikini, and I could not have found a better pattern to make this fabric up in. Although, I still have more that I could potentially make more bikinis with – a yard of swimsuit fabric goes a LONG way. Forreal, I had to recut the bodice on this swimsuit after an error in construction, and I still have sooo much left over. Yay for swimsuits!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

There are tons of ways you could play with the stripes on these pattern pieces – I drew out a few croquis and sketched some stripe variations, which led me to decide that horizontal stripes with a vertical center looked the best (to me, anyway). I also think it would be cool to cut the triangle out of a solid fabric – possibly even the bottoms be solid as well – but I didn’t have any solid navy, so I went with full stripes.

Also, the stripes give my boobs x-ray eyes, which is kinda cool in and of itself.

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Soma Swimsuit - v2

I’m very pleased with how the stripes match up on the sides! To get a good match, I cut the bottoms on one layer (they’re supposed to be on the fold, which means you will need to retrace your pattern pieces so they are a full piece) and cut all the pieces for the cups before cutting the back band. After I assembled the entire front of the swimsuit, I then used the stripes as a guide for cutting the back band, to ensure that everything matched up.

Soma Swimsuit - v2

While my first Soma was sewn entirely by following the directions, I did intentionally veer a little off course with this one. The pattern has you use plain elastic to construct both the top and the bottom – it is folded over and topstitched down, so it is essentially hidden once you put the suit on. I had this cool decorative elastic that I’ve been hoarding since 2013 (bought it on the same trip, from Pacific Trimming), and I was DETERMINED to use it. Katie suggested that I sew the elastic to the right side with the decorative edge facing down (i.e., the straight edge is matched with the raw edge of the suit), and then flip everything to the inside so the decorative edge peeks out and topstitch down. That’s exactly what I did, and I think it worked out quite nicely if I do say so myself!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

I did this for both the top and the bottoms.

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Another thing I wanted to add to the swimsuit was bra cups – as I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of the beach nip. While this suit is lined, one layer just doesn’t cut it for me, so I experimented with my options. My first suit did attempt bra cups, but it ended up a fail. I’m sure there’s a way to get them in there, but you’d have to change the order of construction – this suit is sewn so the lining and swim fabric are attached at the center bust seam, which means you can’t exactly cram a bra cup in there. After some thought and lurking those torn-up swimsuits, I threw out the failed bodice and started over. Ultimately, I decided to just cut multiple layers of lining for the bra cups and use that as a sort of padding – I think there are a total of 4 layers of lining on the bra cups (3 for padding, one for the outer layer), plus the actual swimsuit fabric. By doing this, I was able to follow the instructions as written, I just had a little more bulk to deal with :) Trimming the bulk down and then topstitching made everything lie nice and smooth. And yes, in case you’re curious – the padding did pay off! Woohoo!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Soma Swimsuit - v2

Again, for sizing, I went with the XXS. I’m actually surprised at how well this fits my ribcage – my underbust is 28″, so stuff tends to be waaaay too big right there. This swimsuit has a nice, snug fit, which helps keep it in place while you’re swimming. I did pull my elastic a bit more taut than instructed in the pattern – I don’t want any gaping on the beach, thankyouverymuch – but as far as adjusting the circumference of the longline, I didn’t have to do anything. Also, fyi, as per the last swimsuit – this was sewn almost entirely on my sewing machine. Wooho!!

Here are some close-ups!

Soma Swimsuit, v2

A couple things I will mention if you plan on making this with decorative elastic: for one, definitely trim those seam allowances before you attach it. The hidden elastic that the the instructions call for is fine for the 3/8″ seam allowance, but decorative elastic needs a much smaller seam allowance (I think this is 1/4″), which means you get overhang if you don’t trim. I figured this out after making the bottoms, which you can see the excess (I did catch it and remember to trim for the top, which you can see a couple pictures down). Not a big deal, but definitely worth mentioning.

Soma Swimsuit, v2

Also, see where the elastic is broken at the leg? It’s actually not broken – it connects in a full circle – but it sure looks like it. I should have cut the elastic to include a full repeat of the decorative part, and then overlapped by at least one scallop just to ensure that there are no broken parts. Oh well! Learn from my mistakes, guys.

Soma Swimsuit, v2

Like the first suit, this one also calls for bra strapping for the straps. Since I didn’t have any on hand (this was before I discovered the white at Joann, which still would not have worked for this particular project), I improvised by using plain elastic and topstitching my decorative elastic right on top. I used two rows of straight stitching since they don’t need to stretch that much.

Soma Swimsuit, v2

I did change one small order of construction when doing the bodice – the way the pattern is written has an exposed edge at the center triangle. I figured out how to burrito roll the fabric (similar to how one attaches a yoke to a button-down, with all seams hidden) so all my seams are enclosed. It was a little finicky but it certainly paid off! I haven’t seen the updated instructions on this pattern yet, so I’m not sure if it’s been changed to reflect that technique (it was part of my feedback when I tested the pattern, but the process can be a little tricky to explain so I’m not sure if Katie included it or not, in an effort to keep the construction very simple), but just know that it *can* be done if you don’t want exposed seams in your suit!

Also, oops, probably should have caught the raw edge at the top of the triangle when I was topstitching down OH WELL.

Soma Swimsuit, v2

As far as support goes – again, I can’t really vouch for it personally, but I will say that this version of the suit has a lot more options if you need a little boost. You could experiment with adding swimwear cups (I feel like even just sewing the bodice cups separately and slipping a swimsuit cup between the fabric and lining would probably work… don’t try to attach it to the lining, though, that’s where I went wrong!) to the bra, boning to the side seams, and potentially even underwire. As it stands for just a fabric+lining+elastic top, though, it’s supportive enough.

Again, these photos were taken before the swimsuit ever saw water, but I managed to wear it twice on my vacation, and it performs just as well as the black one. It may even be a little more secure, since you’re less likely to have a bathing suit malfunction due to the design.

I definitely plan on making this version again – I have plans for this bustier top with the high-waisted bottoms, in some cute lemon/flower swimsuit fabric. I almost made it up during the testing – but then realized I should probably take this striped one out for a spin so I can address any fit adjustments if needed. The suit does not need fit adjustments, btw, but on the next one I will pull the elastic a little tighter around the top edge of the top. It’s not quite as tight as it’s like it.

Also, I think this would make a really cut bralette. Ooh!

Soma Swimsuit - v2

So, who’s convinced they should take the plunge into sewing swimwear? Seriously, guys – it’s really fun, it’s fast (and gratifying!), and once you realize just how little it costs to make a swimsuit, you’ll be side-eyeing the $80 ones at the mall for the rest of summer. Don’t think you have it in you to make a bathing suit? Ladies. If you can sew a tshirt, you can sew a swimsuit. Promise.

Completed: The Soma Swimsuit, V1

4 Jun

As promised, I’ve written up a couple of posts about the new Soma Swimsuit from Papercut Patterns. I was a tester for this pattern, so I’ve actually had this finished and completed for quite some time now! While I initially agreed to test just the cross-over bikini variation, I ultimately ended up sewing BOTH bikinis because they are just so damn fun to make! In this post, though, I’ll be going over the first version – the black cross-over bikini.

Soma Swimsuit - v1

A note on pattern testing – it’s come to my attention that there has been a bit of discussion and debate about what exactly goes on for pattern testing, and what us testers get out of it. Some people have speculated that we are paid off to promote the designs, which could NOT be farther from the truth! Seriously, I WISH I was getting paid to to this – but I’m totally not. Pretty much all I get out of testing is a copy of the beta pattern, hopefully a copy of the finished pattern once it’s gone to print (not all companies offer this for testers but I think it’s a really nice gesture, personally), and a chance to see the pattern before anyone else. That’s it! Sometimes companies will give me fabric for testing – which I will always disclose if that’s the case – but for the most part, I am on the hook for providing my own fabric and notions. It is not required – or even requested – for me to post about the finished patterns, I just do it because I like what I make and I want to share it! I know some of the debate was about the same bloggers doing the testing, and while I can’t speak for the pattern designers, I will say that I have worked with the same designers for multiple testings, and it’s my assumption that they like to stick with the same people because they know they will get relatively consistent results, especially when it comes to sizing (it’s easier to tell if your size whatever has something wrong with the grade if you have that same person testing the same size for you consistently, if that makes sense).

I personally test my patterns the same way I sew a normal pattern – make a muslin if needed, do any alterations for fit that are necessary, and change the construction steps if I think it makes more sense to do so (and sometimes that ends up in the finished pattern – such as the lining method for the Flora dress, some of that was my feedback :) ). I provide very detailed and honest feedback (VERY! Like to the point of maybe even being annoying :P haha), and I always meet the relatively short deadline. I would like to assume that’s why companies continue to reach out to me for testing, however, I’m recently aware that there are probably also people who use my feedback strictly for promotional purposes. If I offer good feedback and I don’t see translate to the finished pattern, that’s my sign that they probably don’t actually want my feedback and I just don’t work for with company anymore. Further, I don’t always blog my finished test makes (sometimes I only have time to do a fit muslin and tear the instructions a new asshole), so if anyone is contacting me in hopes of getting a sales boost from a finished project, they may be in for a rude awakening hahah :)

I’m so sorry if anyone got the wrong idea when it comes to pattern testing; the unglamorous truth is that we have a quick turnaround to check out the fit and instructions of the pattern and provide as much feedback as we can before the release. That’s it! Obviously I’d love to earn money doing this (ahh, who woulnd’t??), but the pattern barter is fine with me for now. I like helping my friends and giving them feedback so they can put out an even better product. Any other questions about testing from a tester’s perspective? Holler at me in the comments!

Ok, now that that’s off my chest – swimsuit time!

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Like I mentioned earlier, this is the Soma Swimsuit from Papercut Patterns, version 1. I’m afraid I went the boring route for this one – I had black swimsuit fabric & lining on hand (destashed from a friend’s supply, so I’m not sure where it originally came from) with the intention of making a black bikini, and I liked Katie’s version in the promo photos soo much that I decided to blatantly copy it because I have no shame.

Soma Swimsuit - v1

This swimsuit includes a lining, regular elastic, fold over elastic, and little bra notions (hooks, rings, and bra strapping). While I did have the fabric and lining on hand, I had to venture out to the fabric store to buy everything else. I was able to find almost everything I needed at Joann; however, be aware that they have a VERY limited selection of colors in these notions. Basically, they only have black and white – and their fold over elastic is expensive as shit, btw. I recently discovered Peakbloom as a wonderful source for FOE- seriously, look at all the prints and coloursssss omg – but I have yet to actually purchase anything from them. If you’re stuck in a FOE desert and need something other than black or white, definitely give them a look!

Soma Swimsuit - v1

The only thing I could not find at Joann was bra strapping. I actually didn’t even realize that’s a thing that exists! It’s not exactly the same thing as elastic – it’s sturdier, it doesn’t stretch as much, and it just looks more polished. After making this swimsuit, I did eventually find it at Joann’s (it’s in the section where you buy trim by the yard), but it only comes in white. For my bathing suit, I took a more creative approach and bought a bunch of $1 elastic headbands from Walmart (the kind that feel like they’re made from bra strapping, hahaha) and cut those apart to use. They probably aren’t ideal – they are starting to fray where I cut them and it looks kind of bad – but it’s a good option in a pinch.

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Another notion I used that is not listed in the instructions is bra cups! I don’t know about y’all, but I absolutely abhor the idea of nipping at the beach, so a little extra coverage was a must. While the insertion of bra cups is not included in the instructions for the swimsuit, it was pretty easy to figure out. After sewing the darts, I placed the lining over the bra cups in the correct position and smooshed the cups down flat. I sewed around the entire cup with a zigzag stitch to secure it, and then assembled the bikini top as instructed. That’s it! It was really easy and YAY NO NIPPING!

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Oh, and in case you were curious – my bra cups are cut from old swimwear. I pick up tops at the thrift store when they’re on sale for $1, and I cut the cups out. It’s cheaper than buying new cups (which I’ve found can run as high as $8 a pair, ouch), it recycles the old cups, *and* I’m 100% sure they are swimwear appropriate since I literally cut them out of swimwear.

Soma Swimsuit - v1

This was my second attempt at sewing fold over elastic (my first attempt is now buried in the trash, ha)(first attempt was not this swimsuit, btw, it was a few months ago) and I think I did a pretty ok job, all things considered! I was originally trying to sew the elastic in one fell swoop – which seems to be the way most people instruct you to attach it. The instructions for this suit instead have you sew it on in two gos – once with the elastic flat, and once with it folded over itself (on top of the first stitching). It takes a tiny bit longer since you are essentially sewing the same seam spot, but it actually goes faster since you don’t have to worry about your fabric sneaking out of the elastic. Which is AWESOME. Consider me a FOE convert – this stuff is fun!

Soma Swimsuit - v1

The swimsuit bottoms just have plain ol’ elastic encased in the legs (just like the Bombshell swimsuit). I used black because that’s what I had on hand. I love the high cut of the back leg – cheeky! :)

Soma Swimsuit - v1

The instructions on this pattern are really great, by the way! From attaching the elastic (both plain and FOE), to dealing with the bra straps, everything is very clearly written out and has helpful illustrations. I especially like how the lining is attached to the fabric – the bottoms have some pretty clever attaching so there are no exposed seams. Everything is attached flat, similar to underlining, which means you don’t deal with a lot of fabric shift.

For sizing, I chose the XXS, which is my normal size for Papercut Patterns. I didn’t have to make any alterations for fit – this is exactly how the pattern is drafted, both the top and the bottom. For fit reference, I generally wear a 28DD in bra and a S in underwear.

Here are some close-ups of the construction:

Soma Swimsuit - v1

I know these don’t look lined, but I promise they are. My lining is black, so it matches the outside fabric ;)

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Almost this entire bikini was sewn on my sewing machine, btw. I did use my serger to construct the main seams of the bottoms, as well as for finishing all the edges when attaching the lining to the shell, but that’s just bc it’s faster! All the finishing was done with a zigzag stitch. You can ABSOLUTELY make this on a standard sewing machine – I (mostly)did!

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Soma Swimsuit - v1

Soma Swimsuit, v2

Soma Swimsuit - v1

I’ve had a few people ask me about the support on this bathing suit, and I’m afraid I can’t really give you a good answer as I don’t personally need a lot of support for my lil’ boobs. I’d venture to guess that it probably gives about the same as a string bikini – it’ll keep the girls in place, but you prefer a lot of lift this probably isn’t the pattern for you. As far as adjusting the cups for a bigger size, again, no idea! This size fit me straight out of the envelope.

Now, if you want to talk about whether or not this guy is suitable (lolz) for actual swimming – I can vouch for that! While I did take these photos way before I actually got in the ocean (in retrospect, probably should have waited… I’m not quite as pale anymore! SORRY FOR MY WHITENESS Y’ALL), I wore this suit twice while in Florida, both times in the ocean. I’m not a crazy swimmer or anything – more of a jump in the waves and bob around on a float kinda girl – but I had no issues with the suit falling open or anything like that. It’s comfortable *and* cute! What more could you ask for?

Soma Swimsuit - v1

I guess that’s it for now! Big thumbs up to Papercut for offering up such a great pattern – I’m so excited to see everyone’s versions that come out of this!

A couple things before I sign off here -

- Please give a warm welcome to my newest sponsor, Indie Stitches! Caitlan has a gorgeous little shop full of some of the best handpicked indie patterns – and she’s currently offering 10% off all purchases through June! Use the code LLADYBIRD to claim yo’ discount!
– As a side note, whenever my sponsors offer a discount to my readers, you can find it by hovering over the badge in my sidebar. If there is a discount offered, it will show in a white box if you hover your mouse over it. Just an fyi :)
– Lookeeeee me, I got my first ~magazine spread~! My favorite machine needle company, Schmetz, has a free online magazine Inspired to Sew and I’M IN THE JUNE ISSUE. A whole two-page spread, woohoo!! You can download the free issue featuring moi here. Let me know what you think!
– Also, I’m apparently in a recent issue of All You magazine as well. Nothing super exciting – it’s just a photo and quote about my experience with Healthcare Bluebook (that shit is awesome, btw. Saved my ass when I was stressing over a kidney stone+no insurance last year!). If any of y’all see my mug in there, pleaseeeee let me know! I’m dying to know what part of my conversation they quoted haha :)

Ok, that’s all! Stay tuned later this week for version 2 of the Soma Swimsuit! :DDD

Me-Made-May ’14: Week 5 Round-Up

30 May

Ahhhh, you guys! Me Made May (and thus, the daily photographs) is almost over! Can I get a FUCK YEAH!?

This is going to be a longer than usual round-up, because I went on vacation and obviously I had to change outfits a couple times each day. That’s what you do on vacation, right? ps, sorry in advance.

5/24
5/24, Saturday
Dress: Lady Skater
Shoes: Keds

First day of our vacation! Here we are en route to Santa Rosa Beach, at a food truck somewhere in Alabama. I knew we’d spend the day in the car, so I opted for a comfy knit dress. I’ve always thought this dress was very fall-like, due to the colors, but the fabric is definitely summer-appropriate as well :)

5/25 pt. 1
5/25, Sunday I
Pajamas: Lakeside pajamas

I’ve been wearing various other me-mades throughout the month that haven’t made it into photos (workout wear, pajamas, leggings, underwear, etc), so here’s some proof! I brought two pairs of Lakeside pajamas to wear while on vacation – the ones you see here, plus a new set I made a couple days before (I used this cute strawberry print cotton lawn to make them, if you were wondering!)- and wore them all week. In addition to being awesome pajamas, they also make a great swimsuit cover-up! Although, to be fair, I started out wearing the set and ended up in only the shorts(+ bikini top, obvs) by the end of the week.

Speaking of bathing suits…

5/25, pt. 2
5/25, Sunday II
Swimsuit: Papercut Patterns Soma Swimsuit (no blog post on this… yet! But here’s the link to the pattern :))
Sunglasses: Franco Sarto
Hat: Scarlet Begonia

Hell yes I came with a handmade swimsuit! THREE, in fact! This is the first – the result of my pattern testing for Papercut Patterns a couple of months ago :) I haven’t had a chance to write up a proper blog post, but here’s a sneak preview :)

5/25, pt. 3 (sorry! Last one for today)
5/25, Sunday III
Top: Refashioned from a men’s Hawaiian shirt
Shorts: Rite of Spring shorts
Shoes: Keds

After spending all afternoon at the beach (no, really, I laid up on a float and bobbed around in the ocean for hours and it was glorious), I reluctantly put on clothes and walked around the shops with Landon. I didn’t buy stuff, but I did buy liquor. Priorities, y’all.

Also, that shirt. This is the third vacation I’ve dragged it to (and no shit, I literally wore that same outfit last May HAHAAHAHA whatever, it’s good, I’m not apologizing for shit), so it’s basically my official vacation shirt at this point. Unfortunately, it’s also way too big now. My alterations were pretty shoddy (it was a very last-minute job), and I’m thinking I may just need to send it to the nice Goodwill Bin in the sky at this point.

5/26, pt. 1- my other @papercutpatterns Soma bikini + a photo bombing niece  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/26, Monday I
Swimsuit: Papercut Patterns Soma Swimsuit
Sunglasses: Franco Sarto
Hat: Scarlet Begonia

Exact same get-up as the day before, but check out how different it turned out! This is version 2 of the Soma Swimsuit, and the second one I tested (yeah, I tested both. I wasn’t asked to, but after making the first one I kind of went crazy. I almost made 3, tbh). I used this version to play with stripes and decorative elastic, and I LOVE how it turned out. Seriously, my favorite swimsuit ever! Again, expect a blog post on these bad boys soon :)

Oh yeah, and that bratty kid in the background is my niece :) I told her she could photobomb my picture and she sure did me proud.

5/26, pt. 2- dress: Sewaholic Lonsdale; shoes: Fergalicious.  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/26, Monday II
Dress: Sewaholic Lonsdale
Shoes: Fergalicious

I wore this for a dinner out with my parents+Landon’s parents (the first time they met! It went very well :)), and unfortunately forgot to take a photo until right before bed. Oh well! Also, I love this dress and I should totally make it again.

5/27, pt. 1- swimsuit: closet case files bombshell  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/27, Tuesday I
Swimsuit: Closet Case Files Bombshell
Sunglasses: Franco Sarto
Hat: Scarlet Begonia

Last bathing suit! This is one I made last year, and I still love it :) Especially good for those days when I realized I’ve just been drinking beer and eating key lime pie all weekend and oh god it’s time for the beach. Hahahaha!!

5/27 forgot to upload this yesterday! Drinking wine in Seaside, FL :) top: thrifted; skirt: Tilly's Miette (tie-less); shoes: Fergalicious #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/27, Tuesday II
Shirt: Thrifted
Skirt: Tilly’s Miette
Shoes: Fergalicious

Post beach, Landon and I spent the afternoon in Seaside, checking out the cute houses, the shops, and drinking free wine (the best part!). Again, with the top – that’s another unofficial vacation top (that I bought… 3 years ago, at the Goodwill on Santa Rosa Beach, ha!) that’s about to get the Goodwill shaft. It’s just too big :(

5/28 channeling my inner mermaid before heading back to Tennessee ☀️ top: Megan Nielsen cropped briar; skirt: Megan Nielsen cascade.  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/28, Wednesday
Top: Cropped Briar
Skirt: Cascade

Last day on the beach! I thought it would be fun to take the photos of my Cascade by the cascading waves (you can’t even tell in this picture but they were AMAZING that day!). The wind was blowing like crazy, and I think it makes for a really cool picture :) This picture also vaguely reminds me of <a href="this picture from the Little Prince, which makes me happy :)

5/29 dress: deer & doe Belladone; shoes: Sam Edelman; necklace: Fabu #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/29, Thursday
Dress: Belladone
Shoes: Sam Edelman
Necklace: Fabu

Back to Nashville! It was at this point that I realized we were almost at the end of May – and I haven’t worn some of my favorite stuff! So out comes the Belladone :) I tried to style this a little differently than usual – I generally wear it with brown or yellow, but I do like the red :)

5/30
5/30, Friday (today!)
Dress: Simplicity 1803
Belt: Thrifted
Necklace: Chatterblossom
Shoes: Born

My other favorite dress – and our star pattern for the OAL. I love this pattern and I’m glad I finally have a reason to buckle down and make another! Which reminds me – the sewalong starts on Monday! Eep! :)

Speaking of which – those of you who are participating, do you feel like you need a post that covers fabric selection? I was planning on skipping straight ahead to cutting and marking, since I figured most everyone’s already chosen their fabric (and thus makes a post on fabric selection a moot point) – not to mention a lot of y’all are sewing different patterns (which means different fabric requirements) – but you tell me!

Sooo I guess that’s almost it for Me Made May! We do have one more day of the month (and you bet I’ll be wearing me-mades and begrudgingly taking a photo, ha), but I’m not going to include it in this round-up because it doesn’t fit with my ~schedule~. Sorry! If you want to view the rest of the weeks, here they are:
Me-Made May: Week 1
Me-Made-May: Week 2
Me-Made-May: Week 3
Me-Made-May: Week 4
I also have a Flickr Album of all my MMM photos, if that’s more your jam.
If you’re sick of looking at me, that’s ok too – I’m sick of looking at myself at this point :B

I am glad I participated this year, because I definitely learned a lot about what’s lurking in my closet – namely, that there is WAY more than I think there is! Seriously, so many pieces didn’t even make it out this month, and that’s kind of sad considering I only repeated one skirt and a couple of tshirts. I’ve had some size fluctuations over the past couple of years, which means a lot of my summer wear doesn’t fit anymore (and while I altered some of it – such as the Simplicity dress I’m wearing today – a whole bunch of it got sold/donated instead). After that giant purge, I was under the impression that I didn’t have a lot left to wear in warm weather – which is clearly not the case! With that being said, despite my overabundance of clothing, there are still tons of pieces that my wardrobe is lacking. I’ve got plans to make more separates, including shorts (gah, I can’t believe I didn’t wear shorts once this month, wtf?) and tshirts, as well as workout wear, loungewear, and more bathing suits! Serious question… how many bathing suits is too many? They are REALLY fun to make, ok.

How did your Me-Made-May turn out (if you participated)? Did you learn anything life-changing about your closet? Are you SO sick of taking photos? :)

Ohh, I almost forgot – I promised y’all outtakes! Let’s revel in the unflattery together:

MMM'14- Outtakes
Most of my photos end up looking like this haha. I dunno why, but I always close my eyes when the picture is being taken (not to mention… whatever my mouth is doing. I guess I was in the middle of talking haha. OK FINE I BASICALLY NEVER SHUT UP)

MMM'14- Outtakes
If anyone happens to see where I left my arm, I’d appreciate your help.

MMM'14- Outtakes
Original photobomb did it better

MMM'14- Outtakes
Look at the fear in Amelia’s eyes hahahahahaha

MMM'14- Outtakes
I just think this is cute. Amelia doesn’t care much for being held (despite my consistent grabby hands at her), but she loooves having her butt scratched.

MMM'14- Outtakes
Hey, that’s almost a good picture! Until you zoom in a bit…

MMM'14- Outtakes
That, my friends, is the face of a cat who’s completely given up on life.

MMM'14- Outtakes
Ok, this is my favorite outtake and the one that made me laugh the hardest. This is a really unflattering picture of both of us – I’m pulling some kind of weird face (again, seriously, probably in the middle of talking) and Amelia just looks PISSED.

MMM'14- Outtakes
If that doesn’t look like the devil incarnate, I don’t know what does.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Completed: the Meissa Blouse

28 Feb

I think every sewist has a dream fabric that they’ve spent years searching for in vain. It’s not necessarily a weird combination of prints and colors on a totally inappropriate weave, but whatever the specific end result is, it’s nowhere to be found. I have two – a wide (like 3″ or more) white and navy striped twill, and a bicycle print that is NOT quilting cotton.

Meissa Blouse

I gave up on the stripes, but the bicycle print really haunts me. I’ve seen some cute little stylized bikies (see my Bicycley Belladone for an example), but I was holding out for that literal printed-bike-on-some-lightweight-cotton-in-a-nice-color-combination that didn’t seem to exist. And NO pennyfarthings! I want real bikes, not some super hipster twiddly mustache crap.

Meissa Blouse

I had this particular fabric in mind when I was contacted by Organic Cotton Plus with offers to try out some of their yardage. I’d just been back from snooping at Brooks Brothers, specifically zeroing in on this Bicycle print button-up. Isn’t that shit amazing? Argh! So I thought to myself, “Cool, well I’ll just get a stamp and make my own, yeah? Oh, they don’t have any batiste in good colors… but they do have dye…”

And this, my friends, is how I ended up with two yards of white cotton batiste, emerald green Procion dye and some weird little bag of soda ash. Have I gotten in over my head? Probably.

Meissa Blouse

My first couple of days were preparing the fabric – first, I dyed it in a bucket (for real; I stood at the kitchen sink with a my Kindle on Netflix and squished it around the water while wearing gloves, ha!). I wish I would have used a bit more dye in my mix; the end result color is pretty, but it is lighter than the emerald green I was anticipating. On the flip side, though, the dye took evenly all the way across the fabric, so yay!

After I finished the dye bath and let the fabric dry, I took to stamping the entire yardage with a rubber stamp and fabric paint (I blobbed my paint into a dried-up ink pad to make it easier to use). I thought this part was gonna take forever, but it wasn’t too bad! Since stamping tends to look pretty, well, stamped (i.e., it’s not exact and you won’t get a perfect image transfer every single time), I didn’t follow any straight lines and just kind of stamped around haphazardly. After I cut the pieces, I re-stamped a few that had big gaps. This particular ink is great because you don’t have to heat-set it to keep it from washing out (which is good bc I’d spent long enough prepping the fabric, so one less end task is good in my book!), and the ink itself absorbs into the fabric and is not stiff.

Meissa Blouse

Other than the dye reaction it had (which is I think my fault for not making a strong enough dye bath, oops. Live and learn!), I really enjoyed working with this fabric. The batiste is one of those good ones that feels like there’s silk or something smooth and luscious blended in the fabric, but it is truly 100% cotton (and organic, no less!). Because it is cotton, it presses well, which makes it perfect for shirtmaking. It’s also not super sheer like some batistes – even the virgin white would be fine for a shirt. Always a plus in my book!

Meissa Blouse

The pattern I used is the Meissa Blouse from my beloved Papercut Patterns. I love this pattern because it’s a casual button-up without being an Archer (which I obviously LOOOVE, but hey yo, a girl’s gotta branch out!), ha. The little feminine details – the rounded collar, the shoulder yokes with the little gathers, the double buttons – seemed like a good match for this fabric, and a nice nod to my original inspiration without being a blatant copy.

Meissa Blouse

The pattern instructions make this thing really, really easy. Katie has had lots of praise around the webs for how good they are, and it’s all try! Really basic, really straightforward, and beautiful results. I did change a few things just because I’ve hit my personal shirtmaking stride – I flat-felled every seam (the way the shirt is made, only the side and underarm seams are not enclosed, so it’s not like you have a flat fell a million seams to do this) and I pulled in the waist an additional 1/2″ or so. I also shortened the sleeves by about 1″.

Meissa Blouse

Meissa Blouse

Whatever I did to the sleeve seams now means that I cannot button the cuffs around my wrist – they are WAY too small! Whoops! Oh well, this is totally a summer shirt, and I’ll never wear those sleeves rolled down anyway. Ha!

Meissa Blouse

Meissa Blouse

To keep the shirt from being overwhelmingly green, I added some cotton braid to the inside of the button band (butted up right against the stitching line) and inside the sleeve cuffs.

Meissa Blouse

Meissa Blouse

The sleeve cuff treatment is something I saw on the Brook’s Brothers shirt (seriously… if you have a Brooks Brothers in your area, you should snoop it. Some of the finishing inside the clothes there was pretty awesome!). There was a little piece of petersham ribbon tucked in the seam at the top of the cuff, which shows when you flip up the cuffs. Using that inspiration, I tried to do the same thing with my shirt. It’s a liiiiiittle sloppy because I was experimenting, but I like how it turned out! It even makes me ok with the fact that I can’t use the cuffs :)

Meissa Blouse

I’m super happy with all the detailing on the shirt. I used lots of topstitching so it would really stand out.

Meissa Blouse

And hey, check it out – the shirt is long enough to where I can tie the bottom in a knot, like a fashion blogger or some shit.

Meissa Blouse

Meissa Blouse

~So fashun.

Meissa Blouse

I still have quite a bit of the dye & soda ash left over. I’m thinking I may buy a load of silk and sandwash the shit out of it. My friend Elizabeth uses soda ash to prewash her silks into this amazing textured wonderland, so I can’t wait to try that! I will definitely report back with results. First, I gotta find a washing machine, though ;)

Ok, ONE last thing – and I promise this is a good one! Remember The Great British Sewing Bee and how we (we as in Americans, ha) bitched about not having a US version of the show? Well, I was contacted by a Love Productions, who is in the process of producing and casting a pilot for – you guessed it – an American version, called The Sewing Bee! They are currently on the hunt for amateur sewists in the NY, CT & NJ area (although if they get picked up, they will expand to nationwide). I actually ended up talking to one of the producers on the phone and I’m really excited to hear about the plans they have in the works – such as, the show will differ slightly from the UK version in that there will be a different set of contestants and winners every week. One thing that is similar is how they plan on editing – as far as I know, it will be as drama-free as the UK version, which is what I like most about it!

img-227171148-0001
Click here for a bigger version of the flyer

If you’re in the area (or don’t mind traveling and camping out for a couple of weeks, I guess), you should definitely try out for the show! And then report back to me, because I want to see y’all on the teeeveeee!

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