Tag Archives: plaid

Completed: The Emery Dress

10 Mar

I am SO LATE to this freaking party – but better late than never, right? :)

Emery dress

Behold – it’s an Emery Dress! Sent to me by the lovely Christine Haynes, I was anxious to try out this pattern for myself (have you seen these popping up all over the internet? Everyone’s versions are AMAZING! Some of my favorites – Miss Crayola Creepy, SewTell, The Nerdy Seamstress, By Gum, By Golly!, ShanniLoves, Sew I Thought… ok, I’ll stop now, but you get the idea!). This little lady regularly gets rave reviews on the fit, construction, and overall look, and I think it’s pretty well-deserved.

Emery dress

So, my experience with Emery didn’t go quite as smoothly as everyone else’s – this was the dress that sucked me down the SIX MUSLIN SPIRAL OF DOOM, but once I got that out of the way, the rest of the construction came together easily. Even matching up the plaid was easy, since there aren’t a lot of pieces to contend with (although I totally done goofed mine up… more on that in a minute).

Emery dress

I’ll start with the muslin experience. Since figuring out that I have big back-gaping issues (and since that’s not really something that can be easily tweaked after the pattern pieces have been cut out of the fabric), I always always make a muslin, at least for just the bodice. My muslin for this dress turned out perfect in the front – darts in the correct place, ending at the correct points, perfectly fitting at all key points, yay! – but the back stuck straight out between my shoulder blades. I tried my usual adjustment, and instead of working – it actually made things worse! Thus, I started the muslin spiral: I played with moving around the slash line, I tried adding different amounts, I tried altering the center back seam and I tried adding fucking gigantic darts at the neckline. Those last two attempts were really really awful, by the way – if you tweak the back neckline too hard, you’ll end up throwing off the balance of the front neckline so it pooches out all weird. NOT a good look!

Of course, by the time I realized I couldn’t crack this pattern, I was also 5 muslins in and feeling stubborn enough to refuse giving up. Not to mention, I was getting super desperate and pissy because everyone else seemed to have NO problems whatsoever with fitting this pattern. Look at everyone’s backs – they fit perfectly. This was starting to make me feel like I had a freak body or some shit.

Emery dress

So how did I fix this mystery back pattern? After combing through my fit books and googling everything I could think of, I ended up landing on the narrow back adjustment (this shows something similar to what I did, although I pulled mine from Fit For Real People so it’s slightly different). That did the trick! No gape! I feel like a fitting PRO, y’all!

Emery dress

I think it’s really important to point out that just because *I* had some fitting issues with the back bodice, that doesn’t mean that you should be scared to try this pattern! Like I said, pretty much every other version I’ve seen praises how well it fits straight out of the envelope. Everyone’s body is shaped differently, and it makes me real cringy when I read that someone recommends against a pattern because they had a bad fit experience (unless it’s just a bad fit across the board – which happens, but it’s rare!). Your (or my!) fit experience =/= everyone else’s fit experience, so just keep that in mind! Ok, soapbox rant over!

Emery dress

Anyway, this dress was super simple to whip up after I figured all the fitting shit out. Cutting was a beast; not only did I choose a large scale, unbalanced plaid as my fabric – I only had about 1 3/4 yards, which meant I had to be VERY careful with my layout. Happily, I was able to match up the side seams on the bodice… but check out that skirt seam. I was concentrating so hard on matching up the plaid lines, that I didn’t think to match up the GIANT BLOCKS OF COLOR. Which means the plaid doesn’t match at all on the skirt. Oops! Learn from my mistakes, people :)

Emery dress

Because I barely had any fabric, I had to cut some corners on other parts of the dress. I originally wanted to make the collar in the same plaid fabric – but I couldn’t get the pieces to mirror each other, and it looked really stupid on my dressform, so I used my lining fabric (originally cut to be the underside of the collar) on top instead. I think it actually really works this way – makes the dress a little less twee. My lining fabric is the same silky delicious purple cotton batiste that I used with my Victoria Blazer, and I used every single last bit of those scraps!

Emery dress

I also used the batiste for the pockets, because, again, fabric restraints :)

Emery dress

I think the biggest/most visible changes I made are the lack of sleeves and the shortened hemline. I cut a good 4″ off this hemline – it really helped with conserving fabric, plus, I just don’t like knee-length hemlines on me! – and then folded up a 2″ hem allowance. I didn’t make any bodice changes to account for the lack of sleeves, I just… didn’t add them! Ha! I waffled with the idea of using plaid bias to close the arm holes, but I ran of of plaid… so the arm holes are just slip-stitched closed. Nothing fancy here!

Emery dress

I’ll admit, when I finally stuck the zipper in this dress and stood in front of the mirror, I thought it looked really unflattering on me! Listen, I am not the type of person to pretend like I think I’m fat (I know I’m not, and I’m not going to fish for compliments either), but something about that gathered skirt + plaid really made me look wider than I am. Even Landon, who never ever sees unflattering things the same way I do, noticed it. I kind of assumed so since I don’t think gathered skirts are very flattering on my shape, but again – everyone else’s Emery’s were soooo cute and flattering! Ugh, Lauren!

I really think adding the belt helps – it separates the bodice from the gathered skirt, which visually makes me look smaller in the waist. Of course, now that I’m looking at these pictures, it looks totally fine! I think it’s one of those things that just looks better in pictures than it does in real life :)

Emery dress

That being said, I totally plan on living in this dress all summer. The plaid cotton is lightweight and comfortable, it’s super cute, and I just really love it! Although I’ll probably keep the belt; mostly because that vertical line isn’t matched perfectly (due to the gathers) and it’s making me feel twitchy ;)

Emery dress

Emery dress

(psst, aren’t my earrings so perfect for this dress? I just got them from ChatterBlossom, gahhh, she always has the best stuff!)

Emery dress

Emery dress

Emery dress

This pattern is labeled as an Intermediate, but know that the instructions are very very thorough and super hand-holdy, so I think a confident beginner could easily tackle this shit. Christine also has an extremely detailed Emery Sewalong on her blog with lots and lots of pictures, in case you get stuck. But seriously – you can do this!

Emery dress

If you’re lovin on Emery but haven’t made the jump to purchase, keep an eye on this space – I have a copy to give away later this week!

Also, check it out:

Yay spring!

SPRING IS HAPPENING RIGHT HERE IN MY YARD HOLY SHIT.

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Completed: The Vogue Coat

9 Jan

Ahhh, it’s finished! A little past all my self-imposed deadlines, but whatever – I have a new coat! Finally!

Vogue Coat - Done!

Of course, now I wish I’d given it a catchier name than “the Vogue coat,” but ehhh, too late now. Let’s just look at how nice my coat looks, yeah? :)

Vogue Coat - Done!

I guess there’s not much else to say about the making of this coat- I’ve outlined it pretty heavily here and here. Once I finished with all the pad stitching and steaming and general tailoring funsies, the rest of the coat came together quite quickly – especially since I’d already sewn up my lining and had it waiting for me.

Actually, let’s talk about inserting the lining real quick because I thought it was interesting how the pattern had me do it – I sewed the entire coat to completion – finished the backs of the bound button holes, sewed on the buttons, hemmed the bottom and the sleeves, stitched down the facings with long running stitches – and then inserted the lining by hand with slip stitches. At first, I tried to think up ways to not have to do this so I could just bag the lining like in RTW (one thing I learned how to do at Muna’s, man, we sewed sooo many coats there haha), but I eventually decided to just go with the instructions because I liked the way the finished coat felt with everything securely sewn down (bagging a lining, at least the way I learned, means that the facing and hem are left open and then you have to go back in and thread tack everything, which I sort of hated). Plus, the lining will be easy to remove and re-attach should I ever need to replace it. Considering that I plan on keeping this coat for a long time – or, at least, as long as I continue to fit into it :) – I’ll probably end up shredding the lining long before the coat needs to be repaired.

Vogue Coat - Done!

Oh, you wanted to see the lining? Sure thing!

Vogue Coat - Done!

It’s red! Shiny shiny red!!

Vogue Coat - Done!

I can’t even tell you how happy I am that I decided to go with the silk charmeuse instead of the Bemberg Rayon or China Silk that I was originally considering. This stuff is LUSH. It’s so heavy and wonderful, which makes it easy to sew and press, and it’s so shiny and gorgeous! I can’t get enough of it! Totally takes that coat game up a notch, don’t you think?

Vogue Coat - Done!

I am just really happy with this coat. It’s surprisingly warm, considering how light the wool is and the fact that I only underlined it with silk organza – when I took these pictures, it was like 25* outside, and I felt fine. It’s also pretty lightweight, making it easy to carry around (after I took these pictures, I spent the day at the mall with my BFF and the coat fit easily in my purse strap while I walked around. So nice!).

Vogue Coat - Done!

Not to mention, it’s just awesome. I’ve always wanted a plaid coat. And now I have one!

Vogue Coat - Done!
Vogue Coat - Done!

And unlike mall coats, my plaid actually matches ;)

Vogue Coat - Done!

I love the topstitching on this coat. I used proper topstitching thread so you can really see it, and my machine had no trouble plowing through all the layers of coating and hair canvas.

Vogue Coat - Done!

Here’s a dorky fact about me – I love setting in coat sleeves! Really! Instead of using gathering stitches and all that nonsense, I use this cool little trick that uses a bias strip of fabric (for this coat, it was pajama flannel, ha!) to ease the sleeve head before you attach it to the armhole. Lolita patterns has a great tutorial on exactly how to do this, and even some tips of on what kind of fabric to use. I’ve used this technique for all my coats and I pretty much always get perfect results.

Vogue Coat - Done!

Here’s the coat without my distracting cowl. I ended up going with these black glass buttons as I like how they are simple enough to not distract from all the plaid going on with the coat fabric.

Vogue Coat - Done!

One thing that really upped my game with the coat this year was that I had a new iron to steam the shit out of things with! I ended up getting a gravity feed iron for Christmas (yay! Thank you, mom!!) and I can’t even tell you how delighted I am with the pressing output from that thing. It gets SO HOT, doesn’t auto shut-off (!!!) and I also got a shoe with it so there’s no shine or melting. It’s SO awesome. My coat really benefited, too, as you can tell – see how sharp the creases are at the hems and lapels? Love. Love love love!

Vogue Coat - Done!

Y’all probably already guessed this, but I also made my little knitted cowl to go with my new coat. It seemed appropriate, especially since I had a ball of Cascade 128 in the perfect shade of red just waiting to be used. I used the Blue Streak pattern, which was easy enough to memorize so I just carried the project around in my purse and knitted a row or two during downtime. Which was all the time – Christmas morning, knitting a cowl. Sitting in the movie theater waiting for the previews to end before The Wolf of Wall Street started, knitting a cowl. Waiting in line at emissions testing, knitting a cowl. Whatever, I love how portable knitting is! Ha!

Vogue Coat - Done!

No need to knit new gloves, as it goes perfectly with my childish skeleton gloves ;)

Vogue Coat - Done!
Vogue Coat - Done!

In other cool coat-making news, I finally found a home for my Fabiani coat – my mom! It fits her perfectly, so she’s been wearing it for the past month. Yay!

Vogue Coat - Done!

Anyway, I guess that’s it! Yay for coat-making, and yay for this giant project to finally be over! :)

Tailoring the Vogue Coat

5 Dec

When I originally posted my Vogue coat muslin posts, there was quite a bit of interest about what goes in the process of making a coat from start to finish. I’m not one to tease, so here’s a glimpse into what I’ve been up to, coat-wise, for the past couple of weeks.

The first thing I should mention is that coat-making isn’t hard. It is time consuming, for sure, but anyone with a few projects under their belt could easily tackle this. It might take you a couple of months, and you may have some hair-pulling moments (either with deciphering instructions or actually trying follow them), but it’s doable. I don’t know who started this whole thing of ~omg coat-making is so hard~ (probably the same person who said that sewing with knits was also difficult. Nope! It sure ain’t!), but, ugh, just ignore them. It’s not hard. It’s time consuming, it’s expensive, and you definitely need to muslin the shit out of your pattern before you even think about cutting into your coating… but in reality, it’s not terribly different from making a lined skirt or dress. You just need to follow a few more steps. You can also totally omit the whole tailoring part, with the special interfacing and padstitching and bound button holes and all that – and then shit gets super easy (well, as super easy as sewing a lined garment can get :)). Personally, I don’t see the point in spending all that money on a garment if you’re not going to go all out and do the whole nine yards, but then again, I think tailoring is fun. So do what you will.

My first task, post-muslin, was to start cutting the plaid coating. I won’t go into detail on that process – basically the same steps as the tutorial I posted on matching plaid – and it took foreverrrr. Seriously, I think I spent close to three hours just cutting the outside fabric! WOOF. I also had to cut interfacing (I am using hair canvas, which is a hefty interfacing commonly used for tailoring purposes, such as coats!), lining, and silk organza. The silk organza was a last-minute addition – I originally wasn’t planning on underlining, although the pattern calls for it, since I don’t need my coating to be super warm in our mild winters. However, my pattern is a fairly structured peacoat, and the coating has a bit of a loose weave, so I decided to underline with silk organza to give it that nice crisp hand without adding a lot of bulk or unneeded warmth.

Vogue Coat WIP

Silk organza can be expensive, and some people like to use poly if it’s not touching the skin… but personally, if I’m going to dump all this time and money into a coat, the couple dollars in price difference doesn’t really effect my final budget. So I went with silk, since it presses nicely along with the wool.

The bonus part of using an organza underlining (or really, any underlining at all) is that you can mark directly on the underlining and you don’t have to worry about it showing through the coat fabric. I totally use a sharpie. Go ahead, judge me.

I underlined my pieces flat on my tabletop (see this tutorial if you need more info on underlining!), using silk basting thread and going alllll the way around each piece. Every piece is underlined except the facing – only because I ran out of silk organza :). I will be interfacing that piece with a fusible. This process took a long time, but it’s pretty relaxing work – perfect for grabbing the computer and watching shitty documentaries. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

After underlining, it was time to put in the bound button holes!

Vogue Coat WIP

I was actually a little scared of this part! I don’t know why – I’ve sewn plenty of successful bound button holes in my day, and used a different technique each time. Maybe I’m out of practice, but for whatever reason, I was not looking forward to this part and I definitely put it off for like, a week. Which is shitty because bound button holes are the kind of thing that get done before you do any other work on the coat, so that meant the project was put on hold until I got my ass in gear and put those damn button holes in the front piece!

To make my button holes, I wanted to try yet another technique, so I downloaded Karen’s e-book on bound button holes and followed her instructions. Folks, these are the prettiest, most perfect button holes I’ve ever made on the first try. Seriously! If you have any concerns about doing these, or have fucked them up in the past, you should definitely check out her book. I think I paid about $3.50 for it after the rate conversion. For $3.50, you really have no excuses.

Vogue Coat WIP

I mean – look at them! I even managed to match up the plaid on that particular one, ha!

Vogue Coat WIP

As I mentioned previously, the instructions include all the steps needed for a fully tailored coat, so fortunately I don’t need to compile a list of steps and modify the pattern to suit my needs. They are a little different from the previous coats I’ve made, in that some of the pieces are sewn together before you start with the interfacing and pad stitching. Personally, I like to do all that before I assemble the rest of the coat because it makes it easier to handle, but I’m also a stickler for following instructions. So, I attached the pocket, the front and side pieces (being careful to match up the plaid, which for some reason took me like an HOUR. Shifty plaid, go die.). I attached the interfacing using long basting stitches with my silk thread. This took a while, but I also recently rediscovered all my favorite awful pop-punk and ska bands from my youth, so I may or may not have had a personal dance party in the process.

Vogue Coat WIP

Here you can see some of the details – the hair canvas, the uneven permanent basting with the silk thread, my underlining, the pressed open seams. It’s coming along, that’s for sure!

Vogue Coat WIP

Next, I sewed my twill tape to the roll line of the collar. This will help the collar keep it’s shape as a wear it, since the twill tape will dictate how it falls at the fold line. You measure your twill tape to the length of the roll line, then subtract 1/4″ from the length and ease the coating to the tape and catch stitch it down. Pretty simple, but it makes a huge difference in the finished coat.

I also marked my pad stitching lines on the collar, but I forgot to take a photo. I totally used that sharpie, too. Ha!

Vogue Coat WIP

So that’s where we are now! The coat fronts have been mostly assembled – I just need to pad stitch the collar, and it’ll be ready to attach to the back and side back pieces. Obviously, it’s not anywhere near completion, but that doesn’t stop me from pinning it to my dress form and pretending it’s a coat. Call it inspiration, or call it a kick in the pants, or whatever. Either way, I’d love to finish this by Christmas, but we’ll see!

I know the plaid looks like it doesn’t match in those pictures, but the fronts are not properly overlapped. Trust me. Three hours of cutting means all the plaid fucking matches, dammit.

What’s on your sewing table this week?

Pattern Testing: The Sigma Dress

13 Nov

Umm, have you guys seen the new Constellation Collection from Papercut Patterns? Obviously, I’m biased here, but it’s pretty freaking amazing! Katie has really killed it this time, with the release of six fabulous new patterns – including a bomber jacket (which, duh, totally making that). I was lucky enough to test a pattern in this round, so I ended up making the Sigma Dress. Want to see? :)

Sigma Dress

The Sigma is a simple dress that can be made up in a variety of views/fabrics to create a different dress each time. What I love best about this pattern is the pure simplicity of it – it can be embellished however you please. Add a sweet detachable collar, sew it up in a fabulous brocade for the holidays, tough it up with an exposed zipper – it’s super versitale! And, I should point out, it’s a great pattern to sew up in a lovely plaid ;)

Sigma Dress

My Sigma has the skirt from variation 2 (small gathers at the waist; kind of hard to see in this fabric, ah!) and a weird mishmash of sleeves from both variations. I reeeeeally wanted this dress to have long sleeves, but I totally borked up the cutting, like, immediately (I blame it on the kidney stone), so I just made the sleeves as long as my fabric would allow me to. Soo, elbow-length it is!

Sigma Dress

I cut the size XXS, based on my measurements, and it was a near-perfect fit straight out of the envelope. I did have to add two small 1/4″ darts at the back neckline because it gaped a little, but that’s a pretty typical measurement for me. I also sewed in a lapped zipper at at 5/8″ seam allowance (these patterns use a 3/8″ seam allowance), to tighten the waist seam and also because I didn’t want to math.

Sigma Dress

Fair warning, this baby is SHORT! This is the actual length you see on me, and I’m 5’2″. Katie and I discussed the length, well, at length (hee, we’re like a mini-focus group), and she ultimately decided to keep the original short length because it’s cute as hell and add lengthen/shorten lines to the skirt so you can get on with your bad self and make it whatever length you want!

Sigma Dress
Sigma Dress

See that strange lightened area around the pocket? Yeeeah, that was where I applied interfacing to the wrong side of the skirt, sewed up the pocket, stuck it on the dressform and realized my stupid fabric was identical right/wrong side and I had used the wrong side as the right side. Meaning, my unbalanced plaid did not match at ALL at the waistline. After mulling over it for a couple of days, I carefully shredded off the interfacing and tried to wash the glue off, but as you can see – a little still remains. It’s not totally noticeable, but it *is* there. Something to keep in mind if you’re making this up in a plaid – make sure you’re using the correct side of the fabric ;)

Sigma Dress

“Wait, did someone say pockets? In this dress??”

Sigma Dress

Yep! Yay for pockets!

Sigma Dress

If you were wondering about my fabric choice, it’s really not anything special – some lightweight cotton plaid I got from a friend (who I think originally bought it at an estate sale). It’s actually a bit toooo lightweight for this dress, as it loves to wrinkle up whenever it has the opportunity. But, you know, that’s the beauty of this pattern – you can make it in practically anything. Anything!

Sigma Dress
Sigma Dress

I also think the neckline is just perfect for showcasing those little choker-esque necklaces that I can never figure out what to pair with.

This was my first experience testing for Katie (although not my first rodeo with her patterns, yeehaw!), and it was a very pleasant experience! I really liked that she had the patterns printed and shipped directly to us, as opposed to sending out PDFs to be printed and assembled at home. For one, I hate printing PDFs (and I don’t even have access to a printer anymore after quitting my office job, sooo it’s not like I could print even if I wanted to. Ok, I could go to a copy shop but you and I both know that’s not gonna happen), and for two, I’m not really sure how accurate they are when it comes to testing purposes. Seems like an easy way to fuck things up, size-wise, in my opinion.

Sooo, now that I’ve waxed poetic about this pattern for an entire post, who else is excited to get their hands on it? Or anything from the new collection? I think the next sewalong we have on the Papercut blog will be for this dress – just because I reeeeeally want to play around with different looks (which you can’t really do with a tester pattern, I mean, not the slicing and hacking type of playing :)). Speaking of which, we have a La Sylphide sewalong going on right now if anyone is keen to join!

Sigma Dress

Right now, through 11/15, you can get 15% off this pattern (or any pattern in the new collection) with free shipping! This is a great opportunity to try out a Papercut Pattern, if you’ve been on the fence before. Not to mention, Katie added a new size so they go up to XL now :) What are you waiting for??

Tutorial: Matching Plaids Like A Boss

17 Oct

I know this is going to make me sound like the biggest dork ever, but I loooove matching plaids. It’s really fun and it makes me feel super smart when I get all my lines to match up. I know a lot of people are skeered of dealing with The Plaid (or The Stripes, or the Gingham, or the Buffalo Check for that matter), but I promise they’re not hard to sew! It just takes a little prep, a bit more attention while cutting, and then you’re golden!

Plaid Negroni

The first think you need to do is determine what areas need to match, and what you can get away with cutting on the bias to avoid matching. My biggest #1 tip for plaids is cut whatever the fuck you can on the bias. It breaks up a monotonous pattern, it creates visual interest, and it saves you a few matching sessions. Generally speaking, the parts that go bias tend to be pockets, the yoke and the button placket (on a shirt), princess seams (on a dress), under sleeves (on a jacket) and waistbands (on a skirt or pants), as well as anything that is a small detail (such as pocket welts).

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

A couple things I never cut on the bias – sleeve plackets (those shits are fiddly enough without throwing bias in the mix), shirt cuffs (tends to be too busy; just accept that the lines won’t match up all the way across and get on with your life), collars and collar stands (you can’t see the collar stand, and a collar doesn’t have to match up to the lines on the shirt if there’s a bias piece underneath it. And, again, too busy). It should go without saying, but try not to sew bias pieces next to each other. They are good for breaking up the lines, but use them sparingly!

Gingham Shorts - front

Once you’ve determined your bias pieces, now is the time to locate all the seams that need to match up. Generally, it’s not very many – for my Archer, I matched the side seams and the sleeve seams. The back yoke, pocket and button placket were cut on the bias, and the remaining pieces (collar, collar stand, sleeve placket) were cut without any matching. Sounding easy so far? Ok, let’s get cutting!

Now, just a head’s up – I don’t cut my plaids on a folded layer. I know a lot of people do it that way but I personally have never ever had any luck with that method – there is always oneeee line that is slightly off, and ugh, do not want! So I cut my shit on a single layer whenever I can get away with it. This goes the same for bias pieces (if your piece is on a fold – like the back yoke – trace it so it’s a full piece and cut it on one layer. Trust me.).

1 matching plaids

Of course, there are some pieces you have to cut on the fold – like the back for the Archer shirt. Start with this piece. Fold just the amount of fabric you need, being very careful to match up every single line (and now you realize why I cut shit on the single layer, right? This part is maddening!).

2 matching plaids

Once you’re satisfied with how everything matches up through both layers, pin the selvedge down so the fabric won’t shift. Cut out your pattern piece and clip all your notches.

3 matching plaids

For the next piece – in my case, the two front pieces – open out your fabric so it’s a single layer. Take the folded piece you just cut and open it up (hope you marked those notches, buddy!). Line up the side seam – the part that needs to match – with the plaid lines on the fabric. Get it so it’s totally even and basically plaid camouflage.

4 matching plaids

Then take your front piece and align it on the fabric so the side seams match, from underarm to hem. I know it’s hard to see the in the picture, but the piece I’m holding at the bottom is my back piece, lined up with the remaining fabric.

5 matching plaids

Make sure your notches are aligned on the same bit of plaid, and then cut your one front piece. Don’t forget to clip your notches!

6 matching plaids

Now take the piece you just cut – the front piece – and flip it over on the single layer so the pieces are mirrored with the same sides together. Take care to match the lines on every single cut edge.

7 matching plaids

If you squint your eyes and can’t see the piece you pinned down, you know it’s matched up there perfectly.

Once you cut this piece, you should have two front pieces that are a perfect mirror image of one another – this means that the side seams will match the back on both sides, as well as the center front matching (since it’s a mirror).

I’ve found this technique to be much more successful as you have complete control over the matching and cutting since you are doing everything on a single layer (so no unhappy fabric-shifty surprises when you open up the pieces). And bonus – cutting a single layer means you use less fabric. Seriously! I think I eeked that Archer out in like, less than a yard and a half of fabric. Crazy talk, y’all!

Also, I should probably point out now that once you’ve cut all your pieces, you don’t have to give any other thought to matching the lines as they should perfectly fall into place. Yay for mindless sewing that looks difficult!

Lumberjack Archer; Ponte Leggings

Now go forth and match up those plaids like a BOSS!

boss
Man, this shit will never not be funny to me.

Completed: Deer & Doe’s Bleuet Dress

3 Jul

One thing that I love so much about the sewing community is the neverending supply of fresh patterns, made by small-beans businesses. I find them soo much better than the offerings from the Big 4 – the style lines are more unique, the instructions are easier to follow, and there tends to be a HELLUVA lot less ease in the finished pieces (ask me about Simplicity’s “close-fitting” dresses with 4″ of bodice ease. No, wait, don’t. I’m getting all ragey just thinking about it).

Bleuet Dress

This is the Bleuet Dress by Deer & Doe, a sweet pattern company based in France. (Actually, Google tells me that Bleuet translates to Blueberry – but I like the French word, it sounds FANCY. Also note that I took 2 years of French in high school and I need Google Translate to tell me the word for blueberry. Bitch pls) (Also, I was just informed that Blueberry only applies to Canadian French, not French French. The things I learn on this blog! :)). Deer & Doe is a fairly new pattern company – the first set of patterns were released only in French, but now they offer English translations and I’ve been ALL UP ON THAT. I should probably also point out that the English translations were done by Anna, which means that they are actually concise and easy to read and understand, as though they were actually written in English to begin with. Nice!

Also, these patterns are ADORABLE. Like, um, why do I not own this? Or this? Or this jacket SWEET JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL.

Bleuet Dress

So, I really love this dress. Like, a lot.

Bleuet Dress

I bought this fabric in NY, at one of the random tiny shops in the Garment District (Fabrics for Less? Chic Fabrics? Halp.). I was originally drawn to it because, well, that colorway is pretty fucking awesome. I thought it would look totally ace as a shirtdress. Of course, I didn’t bother to actually check the fabric before buying 3 whole yards of it (I’m going to blame that on being starstruck at the presence of Sonja and Oona, as well as on a total fabric high), but IF I HAD BOTHERED, I would have noticed that the seersuckery-ness of the fabric actually meant that it had LOADS of stretch. Which, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that sort of fabric if it’s your jam or whatever, but I’ve learned my lesson and I tend to stay away from woven fabrics that incorporate a lot of stretch.

That’s part of the reason I delayed cutting into this for soo long. I had the perfect pattern in mind and everything – plus I’ve been hoarding these purple buttons I got at the flea market months ago – but it was cut to my current size, and this fabric has enough stretch the necessitate sizing down. Add that to matching up all those checks (what was I THINKING?) and fugeddaboutit.

Bleuet Dress

This Deer & Doe pattern seemed like the perfect match – the princess seams allowed me to cut the sides on the bias (less plaid-matching, yay!), as well as making it easy to fit as I sewed. I cut the very smallest size, the 34 (ok, I lied, I actually TRACED it. Can you believe that shit?! Hell must have frozen over), and combined with the stretch of the fabric, the dress fit almost perfectly from the get-go. I had to let out a tiny bit of seam allowances at the bust, but other than that – perfect.

This pattern is rated “Advanced,” but I think a very confident beginner could easily tackle it. The instructions are good, there are lots of diagrams, and the pieces are pretty easy to figure out on their own. Make sure you use the right weight fabric, though – mine is a bit too flimsy, as you can see. A shirt dress like this really needs a fabric with a bit of body to give the dress structure – even a quilting cotton would work here.

Bleuet Dress

My line-matching is… ok. I got the front lined up beautifully, but the sides are less than perfect. Somehow, I didn’t think to double check those – I was just excited that the bias on the sides meant that I didn’t have to match them at the princess seams. LOLLLL.

Bleuet Dress

Anyway, this side is worse than the other. Oh well!

Bleuet Dress

I LOVE THE BACK THO. Look at that cute little bow!!! Ack, it’s so sweet!!

Bleuet Dress

You probably noticed that my dress has a placket, while the pattern doesn’t call for one. Actually, it’s a mock-placket :) I had the dress almost entirely assembled – everything but the buttons – and when I put it on, it just looked wrong. I couldn’t figure out why it looked so weird, so I set it aside for a couple of days and considered my options. Eventually, I realized that the stripes matching across the front meant that there was a big ol’ uninterrupted chunk of lines going right down my center. I don’t think this necessarily looks bad across the board – but in this small/busy print, it just seemed unfinished. I considered adding bias tape to the center front, or even rick-rack, but a quick Google of “vintage plaid shirtwaist” gave me my aha moment when I saw all the bias plackets. That’s it!

Since my dress was mostly assembled at that point, I fixed it the cheater way. I cut a bias strip of my plaid, folded the raw edges to the inside, and topstitched that little shit right on top of where the buttons would go. It’s only on the outside layer – the under (where the buttons sit) is still the straight plaid. Considering I can’t wear this unless it’s buttoned all the way up to the collar (my fabric is reeeal flimsy; it droops all sad-like), it’s not really a big deal. And it instantly made the dress look SO MUCH BETTER.

Bleuet Dress

I also omitted the sleeves. I had every intention of adding them, but there was just too much plaid going on. I finished the insides of the arm holes with black self-made bias tape. Easy!

Bleuet Dress

The pattern calls for you to face the hem, but I did not because my fabric was being really obnoxious. In retrospect, I may go back and face it anyway with something non-stretch, like a cotton batiste, because it’s obvious that it needs a little bit of structure, at least where the buttons are.

Also, sorry for the lack of flat shots! It slipped my mind until literally just now, oops! Speaking of taking pictures – I bought a new camera over the weekend! It’s a Canon G12, and I’ve been having a lot of fun learning how to use it! These pictures were taken on my old camera, but you should see some stuffs with the new camera next week :D

Anyway, I love my finished dress – but next time, I will make it in a firm woven fabric. If I want stretch, I’ll buy some fucking jersey knit.

Bleuet Dress

I guess that’s it. My office gave me a 4 day weekend, so I’m off to go celebrate America and Hot Chicken and sticking it to the man or whatev.

Have a great weekend!

Completed: La Sylphide, Dude-Style

4 Jan

Ok, I actually finished this *before* the Coppélia, making this top the very last thing I sewed for 2012 (finishing up on 12/30, no less!). I hate posting stuff out of order because I’m weird like that, but it is what it is!

Anyway, here she is – the La Sylphide, another sweet gem that Katie from Papercut Patterns sent me. I’m not sorry if I’m coming off as a bit of obsessed – I think this pattern line may be my new fave for 2013! Yay!

La Sylphide
As you can see, my version is quite a bit different from the pattern cover – I really dude’d this one up with the plaid and pearl snaps. Yeehaw!!

La Sylphide
This is technically a wearable muslin – I wanted to test the fit before I made my ~real~ version, hence why it’s a top instead of a dress. And if you think I’m wack for making a muslin with plaid… I guess I am kind of wack. But the shirt turned out really awesome, so no complaints here!

La Sylphide
Size-wise, I cut the XS. The ONLY alteration I made was to suck in the center back by 1″. Again, this is a pretty typical alteration for me as I have a small back (I wear a 32 or 30 bra band, fyi). Everything else fit perfectly! So happy!

La Sylphide
The pattern calls for a floaty/drapey fabric, which is what the samples are sewn with. They are totally lovely – and totally what I want to make my future dress with – but I’m actually really happy with how this cotton/poly plaid ended up looking with the pattern. It doesn’t have as much body as say, quilting cotton, but you can see there’s not a lot of drape to my top. It has a nice structure that really makes the peplum stand out. And the bow! I love how crisp the bow is in this fabric!

La Sylphide
Sorry this picture is blurry. You can see my center back seam here. Well, sort of.

La Sylphide
I’m pleased to report that the plaids matched up pretty well here. I probably could have done a better job with the peplum at the center front – but I was running low on fabrics, and I guess this is acceptable for a wearable muslin. I also think this would look much better with the tie cut on the bias, but again, low fabrics means we make do with what we have.

La Sylphide
I am going to change my name to the Plaid Boss. Because, FUCK, I love plaid.

La Sylphide
Don’t worry – the stuff under the bow matches too :)

La Sylphide
I decided to go with pearl snaps instead of buttons for this guy. I was eager to try out the buttonholer of my new machine, but I also really love using hammers on my sewing projects. Plus, pearl snaps just really fit with this style of shirt, you know? The original pattern calls for 4 buttons on the top, but I was getting too much gape so I added a few more. I am also fully aware that the snaps are on the wrong sides. I thought I was being sneaky and clever by checking Landon’s shirts and doing my snaps the opposite way, but I forgot that pearl snaps are the opposite of buttons, so I ended up with a double negative button situation. Oops.

La Sylphide
I love the way the sleeves are sewn here – there is light interfacing at the bottom, which with the top stitching makes a little built-in cuff. The sleeves are attached to the bodice in the flat, and then the side seams are sewn up after. It makes easing everything in much quicker!

La Sylphide
Also, I’m sorry for the weird wrinkles. I took these pictures after a full day of wear, so the peplum is a little squashed at the back.

La Sylphide
Pearl snaps are awesome because at the end of the day you get to rip your shirt off and pretend like you are the Hulk.

La Sylphide
As a side note, did you notice my cute little tights!? DID YOU??

Tights!!:D
Rain and lightning! Aren’t they the cutest!? I love that the lightning cloud looks like the TCB bolt hahaha.
My friend Victoria just opened a Galaxy Cauldron Tights and she sent me a couple of pairs to try out. These are the Stormy Skies. I was pleasantly surprised at how thick they are – not as thin as those cheap $5 ones from Target (which was what I was expecting, tbh). There’s a bit of heft to them, and the design is my favorite thing ever right now. I guess you could also wear the print at the back, like calf tattoos, but I like them on the front. They make me so happy! I thought y’all would like them too :)

La Sylphide
I guess that’s it! I’m fully infatuated with Papercut Patterns at this point and I can’t wait to make the full dress of this (and maybe some more plaid peplum tops, because of reasons).

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