Tag Archives: rayon

Completed: Boylston Bras; Take 2 & 3

21 Aug

More bras this week! Yay!

Boylston Bra Starting with the prettier one, even though I actually made it second. For both of these bras, I used the Boylston Bra pattern. Guys, I really really love this pattern. I love how it comes together, I love the pretty details (like the fabric strap!), I love that the fabric requirements are so easy to work with (very little fabric, very stable fabric, foam cups, etc), and I just love the shape it gives! It’s a very pretty bra and the pattern is so good. This polka dot bra was the result of a pretty good stash-bust, apart from the foam. Since this pattern is designed for firm woven fabrics – especially with the addition of the foam cups – that means you can make it out of pretty much anything. Sooo I’ve been going kind of crazy with my fabric scraps! I especially thought that this sweet polka dot rayon (the same fabric I used to make my Simplicity mock-wrap dress that I posted last week) would be extra adorable as a bra.

All I had to do was order foam – I had nude and black in stash (from Bra Maker’s Supply, because their stuff is the best). Unfortunately, the Sweet Cups store (the US version of Bra Maker’s Supply) didn’t have any white (see what I mean about limited selection? Wah!), and I wanted white. I bought it from this Etsy shop, which is apparently in the process of closing now :( I’m not really sure what “spacer foam” is, but it works pretty well for a bra. It’s a little stretchier than the stuff at Bra Maker’s Supply, and slightly thinner as well (it’s not as cushiony). I read somewhere that you can buy this by the yard at places like Spandex House in the Garment District, so I will probably stock up when I’m there in November. But even 1/4 yard is TONS of foam, especially if you are making teeny little bra cups like what I require hahaha. Heyo, silver lining! Boylston Bra

Other than the foam, this whole project was a de-stash. All the elastics and underwire channeling are from the Garment District, I think, and the strapping is leftover from my red bra kit (there wasn’t enough elastic included to make full straps when I was using it to make a red bra, so I had to buy red strapping. But that’s fine because the amount they gave me is perfect for fabric straps! Yay!). I know the pattern doesn’t call for a bow in the center, but I like the bows! This particular bow was ripped off of a retired RTW bra. Ha!

Boylston Bra Here’s the back. I used a firm white powermesh (also from the stash) for the back band. I like the mix of white and red elastics and trims. I’m getting better about mixing and matching my lingerie trims, I think.

Not much else to say about this one. Here are some detail shots: Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra UGH at those black dots in the cups! Those are my notch markings for assembling the cups – I used a ballpoint pin (I think I got that tip from Cloth Habit) to mark the notches, since you can’t really clip the notches and my usual fabric markers and chalk don’t really write well on foam. Except, I forgot that ballpoint pin is FOREVER and I somehow managed to mark both sides. So that’s pretty lame, but, whatever. Can’t do anything about it now except acknowledge the lesson and move on with my bra making! Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra If you’d like to see a photo of what the bra looks like on an actual person, click this link. I’m not embedding it into the post (or uploading it to Flickr for that matter, yeesh) to cut down on the number of people who see me in a bra, as well as spare any eyes that don’t want to see that sort of thing (um, hi mom! :)). But I acknowledge that it’s really hard to see how a bra fits if it’s not actually on a person – and my dressform doesn’t really fill it out correctly. And those floating ghost bra pics just don’t cut it (plus they are a pain to make haha!). So pleeease do me a solid and don’t post that photo around the internet or pin it on Pinterest or anything like that :) Posting only for science purposes :) Love y’all! OK, MOVING ON. Boylston Bra

Here’s the other bra I made, using the same Boylston pattern. Nude bras are a SERIOUS hole in my summer wardrobe – er, lingerie drawer. I have a couple, but I always need more. I wear a lot of light/sheer colors in the hot weather! So I really need to make more flesh-colored bras to wear under my clothes, so I can rotate them and let them rest from time to time. This particular make is pretty boring and looks downright sickly on my dressform (don’t hold your breath about me modeling a shot of this one because, eeew), but let’s rejoice that I made it nonetheless! I know it doesn’t look very filled out on this dressform, but I promise it fits me just fine and the cups don’t wrinkle like that.

Boylston Bra Another stash-busting bra, I used silk crepe scraps to make up the outside, and my beloved nude bra cup foam + nude power mesh for the innards. The silk crepe is the same stuff I used for the neck binding of this SJ sweater – which was given to me as a scrap bust, so it’s like, extra extra free. And as sickly as the color looks, it’s pretty close to my skin (did you not click that picture link? I mean. No one is complimenting my ~rosy glow~ over here hahaha). So it works quite well for what I need it to do! Boylston Bra

I had someone ask me about the strap assembly – the fabric straps are made with a piece of fabric folded in half and then picot elastic attached to the outside edge to finish it. There is a little bit of elastic at the back, with rings and sliders. The fabric straps are pretty stable in their own right and work quite well, although these particular straps (and not any other Boylston bra I made, for some odd reason) are a tiny bit too long for me. I shortened the elastic as much as possible and they’re still a little more than what I need, so I really need to just dissemble the strap where the ring is attached and shorten the fabric strap by an inch or so. You know, at some point in my life. Maybe tomorrow.

Boylston Bra Again, all the little bits and pieces that make up this bra were from my stash. The sliders and bow were taken off another retired RTW bra. The sliders don’t exactly match, but they “go” well enough. Boylston Bra

Again with the perma-ballpoint marks! Argh! I made this bra before I made the dotted one – and cut them both at the same time. This was the bra I realized the error of my ways on, unfortunately. I also dyed that channeling, all by myself. I used coffee this time, which gives a much less yellow beige than tea does. It doesn’t quite match the rest of the beige of the bra, but it’s close enough for me.

Boylston Bra I tried using the 3 point zigzag stitch for the bottom elastic of this bra. I don’t like the way it looks at all – it’s too busy, especially where it intersects with the underwire channeling. I much prefer a standard zigzag set a little wider (like what you see on the polka dot bra). Also, I know that the elastic is super wrinkled and bunchy looking when it’s flat, but it smooths out really nicely when I’m wearing it. That being said, I definitely pulled the elastic too taut when I was applying it – something I was able to fix with my next bra, the polka dot one. You really only need to stretch the elastic ever so slightly under the cups and at the bridge when applying it – mostly so it’ll turn to the wrong side more easily and look smooth. Not look like the hot mess I have going on here. Boylston Bra

One of my favorite parts about this pattern is being able to add a cute little picot edge at the sides. I love the way it looks!

Boylston Bra

Ok, I think that’s it! I’ve got a few more ideas for this pattern, so I hope you’re not sick of seeing a million renditions of it just yet! Up next, I want to try making some lace versions – I have a couple of gorgeous pieces from the Tailor Made shop that I’ve been waaay too scared to use, but i think it’s time to bite the bullet and woman up a bit! I also want to experiment with changing the straps – maybe leaving off the fabric strap and using elastic (either removeable or sewn on) in it’s place. I wonder if this pattern would work as a strapless? Would it be as simple as smoothing down the top of the cup, adding some boning to the side seams and possibly rubber elastic at the top of the cup? What do you think?

As a side note, I wanted to share an update with my Made Up pledge. My first rendition of a swimsuit was a HOT MESS (not so much the pattern or the construction – more like, I wanted a string bikini and I absolutely hateeeee the way I look in them! Definitely should have done some sneaky try-before-you-DIY shopping for that one, it would have saved me a bit of headache), and I was all set to try pattern #2 when I realized that I don’t have enough fabric :( I made an emergency order for a piece of really cool swimsuit fabric, but it doesn’t appear to have shipped out yet. We leave 2 weeks from today, so hopefully it’ll get here soon!

Completed: Simplicity 6266

14 Aug

How often do we fall in love with a pattern and swear that we’re going to make a million versions, and then end up with just the original one? Yeah. I definitely made this pattern like 3 years ago, and I definitely have been saying ever since then that I need to make it again. Whoops. Better late than never, anyway!

Simplicity 6280

The pattern in question is Simplicity 6266, which, 3+ years later, I STILL can’t find anywhere on the internet. EDIT: Definitely had the pattern number wrong. Dunno what that was all about hahah! This post has been corrected :) I made this forever and ever ago in a slinky poly cheetah print, with adorable little tulip sleeves. It’s the best dress. I still wear it all the time – it is kind of awful in the summer (polyester not being breathable and all), but I do it for the ~fashion~. Truth me told, the OG cheetah version is one of the few dresses that I actually altered to fit my new size after I lost weight, rather than get rid of it (which happened to most of my closet, if you were around for the Great Closet Etsy Purge a couple years ago). Now you know that’s true love!

Simplicity 6280

I knew I eventually wanted to make it again – it stayed in my pattern queue piles for years, and I waffled back and forth on fabric choices. I finally decided to bite the bullet and just fucking make it – and I used a special/hoardy fabric to do it. Might as well kill two birds with one stone! Get’er done and all that!

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

Remember when I said that I had to alter the original dress after I lost weight? Well. I knew the pattern was going to need some adjustments, since it was completely unaltered and thus the original size (which was for a 33.5″ bust, sadly larger than what I’m rocking these days), but I threw all fucks to the wind and just charged ahead with making this before I changed my mind. So, there were a lot of last-minute fitting alterations to get this thing even remotely sized like I am. I took quite a bit out of the side seams, as well as raising the shoulders a bit (not much, less than 1/2″. Maybe more like 1/4″. I don’t remember! Sorry!). The resulting fit is pretty good, I think, but it definitely added quite a bit of unnecessary unpicking and re-adjusting that I could have avoided had I bothered to make a muslin and do some flat pattern adjustments. With that being said… did I make those adjustments to the pattern after these alterations? Hell no! Do I look like I operate on common sense?? :P

Simplicity 6280

All that aside, once I got the fitting sorted out – the rest of the dress came together beautifully. This is the kind of project that I just love doing – working with a pattern that I know I love to wear, made up in a beautiful and special fabric, and spending the extra time on parts of the construction, such as blind-stitching the hem by hand (I can’t even remember the last time I did that! What is wrong with me?)

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

I kept most of the construction true to the pattern, but I did change out a few things. For one, I left off the arm hole facing and used bias facing instead. Since there’s a lot of topstitching going on with this dress, the topstitching for the bias facing doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. I also traded out the lapped zipper for an invisible zipper, because it looks a bit more polished. I did not make the waist tie for this dress (on my cheetah dress, I made it, just didn’t attach it to the dress), instead I added some thread loops to hold my belt in place.

Simplicity 6280

The fabric was another gift from the fabric goddess herself, Sunni. This, too, was part of the awesome care package she sent me last year. I’ve been waiting so long to figure out what to use with it, but I’m happy that I decided to match it up with this pattern! This fabric is rayon challis that has the most gorgeous, fluid drape. Really really lovely stuff. It shed like a hairy little monster, but otherwise sewed and pressed well. It is slightly translucent, so you can see the facings shining through the front in some lights, but that doesn’t bother me. I just wear skin-colored undergarments and get on with my life.

Simplicity 6280Similar to the cheetah version of this dress, I tacked the front surplice together to prevent it from gaping when I bend over. Unlike the cheetah version, I literally just sewed the two pieces together (see the stitching line? It’s aligned with the topstitching so it doesn’t show from the outside), instead of using a snap. A snap seems kind of silly with a mock-wrap dress – I mean, when am I going to unsnap it? Never, that’s when!

Simplicity 6280

Because the fabric is so drapey and shifty, I added a strip of stay tape to the waist seam to prevent it from stretching over time. Just sewed it to the seam allowance at the waist, and then topstitched it down on the outside. Not shown but also there – I interfaced the zipper seam allowance with a strip of fusible interfacing, before I added the zipper. This not only adds strength, but also keeps the fabric from wrinkling by the zipper. I know there are still a few puckers – alas, the nature of the beast – but it’s not nearly the horrifyingly wavy thing that it was threatening to be pre-interfacing.

Simplicity 6280

I love making belt thread loops! Ha!

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

One of my favorite parts of this dress is this section right here – the dart + the lines of the surplice neckline. I just think it’s so pretty!

Simplicity 6280

Really glad to finally get a good idea for that fabric so I could give it the love it deserved! I actually almost made a Hawthorn with it – but decided at the last minute that it might look a little too cutesy with the polka dots. This sleek 70s mock-wrap is a good alternative because it’s a classic style in it’s own right, and I know I love wearing it. Ideally, I’d like to make this again for winter with the long sleeves – but I also know I’d have to do a lot of pattern adjustments to the tissue before that happens. We’ll see!

In the meantime – I used some of the remaining fabric to make a really adorable bra, so stay tuned for that!


As a side note – have y’all heard about the Made Up Initiative that was just launched yesterday? Karen and Love Sewing Magazine have dreamed up a great fundraiser, where you pledge a donation and set your own challenge to make something before September 10 (it doesn’t have to be sewing related! It can be anything!). There will be prizes for those who complete their personal challenge on or before the deadline. All the money raised goes to the National Literacy Trust.

I love the idea of pulling the sewing community together to accomplish something like this, and bonus if it’s for literacy! Reading was a huge part of my childhood and I fell in love with it at a very early age. I come from a family of voracious readers and it saddens me that not every child (or adult, for that matter) has those same opportunities that I did. So I’m definitely on board with this, and have contributed and made my pledge – I will be making a swimsuit before we go on vacation next month. It’s a pretty simple pledge – I really wanted to make something show-stopping, like a coat or some shit – but I realized that time is pretty short right now and I need something low-key if I actually want it to be finished by the deadline. Plus, I want an excuse to use this 70s-fabulous string bikini pattern that I bought at the flea market a couple of months ago. We are going to Cancun, Mexico, the first weekend of September, so time is short!

I encourage all of you to consider joining the Made Up Initiative and set your own challenge! Again, it doesn’t have to be a big fancy project – it can be as small as making a couple of napkins – or even sewing related. You just need to make something by the deadline. And even if you don’t think you can manage anything by the deadline, maybe consider donating anyway. Even $5 makes a difference!

For all the info on the Made Up Initiative, check out Karen’s blog post. You can also donated directly to the Just Giving page – as of this publish, it’s at 91%, which is awesome. Think we can double that? C’mon, y’all! Do it for the books! ♥

Completed: Some Tshirts, + thoughts on Me-Made-May

5 May

Good morning & happy May, everyone! Today we are gonna talk about my tshirts! I briefly touched over this pattern in my last post (and also when I made this ~heart-on~ sweater), but I’ve done some more tweaking to my pattern so I thought I would share some updates.

My first renditions were pretty awesome as far as the fit of the body was concerned, but were quite lacking in the neckline department. I love a deep scoop neck, but something about that neckline was practically square and it just drove me way crazier than it should have. I ended up retracing my pattern and substituting the Briar neckline and binding, which I think makes for a much more flattering scoop neck. I also lengthened the body just a bit more and copied the hem off the Ensis Tee because I really loved that subtle curve.

Just to be clear – I did not do ANY drafting with this pattern. I’m not a pattern drafter; I’m a copier and a tracer and I loves me a good Frankenpattern. I copied the body and cap sleeves from the Lady Skater. Obviously this pattern is just for my personal use, but it’s pretty easy to hack out your own if you’ve got patterns on hand with elements that you like and want to mash up into one pattern :)

Soooo anyway, here are my finished tees as of these latest adjustments. I used a few different types of fabrics, so they’re all slightly different looking and feeling (probably not so much in the pictures, but definitely so much in real life).


THE PINK LADY: This is the first one I made – I used some fabric in my stash that I only sort of cared about (cared enough to wear if it worked out, cared little enough to not cry if it didn’t) to make sure my adjustments all translated into something cohesive at the end. I bought this fabric at Textile Discount Outlet when I was in Chicago like… 2 years ago. Eep. It’s a soft poly knit that was pretty inexpensive but has held up surprisingly well and resisted pilling. I actually bought enough to make a maxi dress – I 100% blame this on the girl who was cutting it, because she told me she would make a maxi with it and then that’s all I could see for the rest of the day – and then I cut said maxi dress and SOMEHOW LOST THE BACK PIECE. I honestly have noooo idea where that piece went. I literally crawled around on the floor of my sewing room like a dog in search of it. It disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle or something, idk. I’ve even purged my sewing room and moved since them, and still can’t find that damn back piece. No idea, y’all. No idea.

Also – green hair & different background! How old is this picture?! Ha! Before you get all up in arms about how bad my hair looks – I know it looks bad. This was during the very end of my green, when I was intentionally fading it so it would be easier to color correct at the salon.

Some flat shots:




To make these, I just whip them through my serger and use this method to apply the neck binding. The hem and sleeves are finished with a twin needle. Super easy!





THE WALDO: To be honest, this particular tshirt is 100% the reason why I was hacking around with this pattern so much. The fabric is an amazing rayon/spandex that I bought/splurged on at Cloth House during my big shopping day with Tilly (don’t ask me which Cloth House; we went to both but I can’t remember which one ended up taking my money haha). It was pretty pricy – I think around £18 per meter – but I only needed a small amount to make a tshirt, so I justified it. Also, it came in an adorable little bag that made me feel like I was carrying around a present, so that was nice haha. It’s a thin knit, but it’s not sheer. The added spandex gives the fabric a bit of heft, so it kind of sucks in and holds up and doesn’t really drape. It also holds it’s shape REALLY well. I wish I had more of this fabric in every color of the rainbow, it’s incredible.

ANYWAY, I have a similarly-striped vintage Henley that has 3/4 sleeves (well, long sleeves… but it’s child-sized, so 3/4 sleeves on me, ha) that I love wearing, but it’s falling apart so I’ve been looking for a replacement ever since. This is not an exact replacement – lack of Henley buttons and short sleeves and all that – but it’s a bit more appropriate for the climate I live in, as I can wear short sleeves almost year round. Awesome.



THE BLAQUE: I’ve been lacking a simple black tshirt (and white, for that matter) for a looong time, so obviously that was the next wardrobe filler to make. This fabric is from Metro Textile, and I bought it back in March. It’s another rayon/spandex, similar to the Cloth House fabric, but a little lesser quality (that’s not to say it’s bad quality – but nothing can compare to that striped dream above. Nothing.). It has the same sucking-in and holding-it’s-shape qualities as the striped rayon, but it has a little bit of a drape. The fact that it doesn’t bag out over the course of the day means that this one will get a lot of wear. Hate having clothing that grows 3 sizes by the end of the day.

Also, um, sorry bout the deo stain by the hem. Whoops. At least you know my pits smell fresh.



THE WHITE W(H)INE: My least favorite of the bunch, if only because of fabric choice. It’s funny how you can make the same freaking pattern and still have each finished garment look different depending on the fabric you used. This fabric was also from Metro Textiles, and it’s also a rayon, but it’s lacking that sweet, sweet spandex. As a result, the fabric is very lightweight, borderline sheer, and drapes like a dream. It also meant that the shirt was a bit too big, especially around the bicep. I tried it on before hemming and sucked in the side seams about 1/2″ on each side and took about 1″ off the sleeve circumference. It’s still a little loose – and the lack of elasticness in the fabric means this will grow over the course of the day – but I think it looks all right. Next time, though, I’m sticking with knits that have some spandex.

Couple of other things – my shorts are linen Thurlows from a couple of years ago. They’re a little big in the legs, but the looseness is ok for now because that is a pretty fresh tattoo you’re seeing on my thigh. No close-ups because it’s in the gross peeling stage right now, but here’s a shot taken immediately after it was finished.

So anyway, going back to the title of this post – Me-Made-May has just started, and my Instagram feed is delightfully full of endless selfies featuring handmades. To those of y’all who are unfamiliar with MMM, it’s a month-long challenge to get you wearing your handmades and figuring out wardrobe gaps (check out the link; Zo does a much better job of explaining it than I do). I have participated for a few years now – 2012, 2013 and 2014 – and I always enjoy it, except for the whole daily photo part :P This year, though, I have decided to opt-out.

For one, I make everything I wear now. I own very little RTW, and none of it is new – it’s just stuff that managed to survive several closet purges. Wearing handmade is something that I do daily, from my pajamas to my jeans to my tshirts to even my freaking underwear. It seems a bit silly and redundant to spend a month documenting it at this point. There’s nothing novel about it for me, it’s just my daily life. Also, I HATE taking daily photos. Gets old after about 3 days.

The bigger reason why I’m choosing to opt out is because my participation has given me this weird complex about repeating outfits. I don’t know why! Outfit repeats used to be a big part of my style (I like it and I latch onto it, ain’t no shame in that) – but something about spending a month documenting your wardrobe and trying to intentionally wear different outfits every day really started to make me feel like I *needed* to always have something fresh and new. That’s not really a sustainable way of dressing – and having a giant closet of things I only sorta like is surprisingly stressful. I went down a weird rabbit hole of not ever wearing my favorite pieces, because I wanted to “save” them for… something. Which is REALLY stupid! I wear (and make!) clothes because I like them and I feel good in them. If I want to wear the same dress three times in one week, I should just do it. If anyone notices that I’m wearing the same dress 3x in one week, then that’s their problem, not mine. Unless I smell, which in that case someone should definitely say something.

While I love and appreciate what Me-Made-May stands for and how it helps people get out of clothing ruts and determine wardrobe holes, it’s just not working for me. So I won’t be participating this year, and y’all can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that you don’t get blasted with 31 extra photos of my mug this month :)


On that note – how’s your Me-Made-May going? Are you participating? Have you opted out? Are you enjoying the daily updates of outfits as much as I am?

Completed: Two Colette Mabels

8 Oct

I totally skipped all the hullabaloo that came out when the Colette Patterns Mabel skirt was released – but that’s ok! I’m here now, reporting for duty!

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

I actually made two – just to be safe!

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

Let’s start with a basic Mabel lowdown. I made the grey version first, out of some leftover ponte knit that I used to make a pair of Ooh La Leggings (not pictured – because neither photographed nor blogged, but they are basically the same thing as these black ponte leggings except, you know, grey). I actually have no idea why I bothered saving that little piece of fabric, because it was about half a yard and thus not enough to do anything with – and the ponte is pretty thick, which means it wouldn’t work for something like, say, colorblocking a tshirt (which can be a good use of leftover knit scraps, if you tend to get hoardy like I do). Anyway, it’s a good thing I did, because I had exactly enough to make a little Mabel mini! Yay! I love it when these things work out!

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

Mabel Mini 1 is view A, size XS. I sewed the pattern exactly as per the directions, except I opted to understitch the waistband lining (I used my machine’s lightning bolt stitch – kind of like a very short zig zag stitch), to keep it from sticking out. The seams of the skirt were sewn on my serger, and the hem is done with a twin needle. From cutting, to sewing, to hemming – this entire thing took… I dunno, maybe 30 minutes? It was VERY fast.

I didn’t really use the instructions – I mean, it’s a knit skirt, it doesn’t need much introduction – but they looked to be pretty good, based on my glance over. Like the Moneta pattern, they include lots of tips and info on how to sew knits with a regular machine, which is always nice. The only thing I did not like about this pattern was taping it together (I have the PDF). Holy shit, talk about too many pages! My disdain for PDFs is no secret (I get why other people like/need them… no defense necessary :) But for me? Nope, no way! Can’t do it!), so maybe I’m biased – but this one seemed to be unnecessarily large & unwieldy. My advice: get the paper pattern. Ha!

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

Anyway, speedy instaskirt is the reason why I obviously needed to jump right into Mabel Mini 2 immediately after :P

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

I made a couple very minor changes for this one – I took in the center back and side seams by about 3/8″ (in retrospect, I should have taken in more, because it’s still a little loose around the waist and thus rides down farther than I want the rise to sit), as well as the waistband by the same amount. I used the last of my black striped ponte from Mood Fabrics NYC store. Again – 30 minute skirt. Talk about fast fashion, amirite.

Colette Mabel
Colette Mabel
Colette Mabel

For both skirts, I used a lightweight black rayon jersey (the same jersey that my black tshirt is made out of, incidentally. That tshirt is a Renfrew, by the way!) to line the waistband. I considered using a self-lining – but decided the fabric was a smidge too bulky, so I went with a lighter weight lining, which ended up being a Good Decision.

Oh yeah! I made that plaid flannel button down too! SUP!

Grainline Archer

This was made using the Archer pattern. I actually finished it waaaay back in… March. Yep. I got it in my head that I needed to make a new plaid Archer to wear when I went to NY, so I nearly killed myself trying to finish the shirt in something crazy like 2 days. I did end up finishing it – and bringing it to NY to wear – and I learned two things about the experience:
1. My life did not suddenly become more fabulous because I had a new shirt to wear while on vacation; and
2. Pushing myself to the point of exhaustion to finish something for a self-imposed deadline is not fun at all. Seriously – it’s shitty, it makes me anxious for no reason, and I didn’t enjoy any part of sewing that shirt. Which is sad, because button downs are one of my favorite things to sew! I love how precise the stitching is, and all the little details that make it special. I unfortunately didn’t get to enjoy any of that because I was too rushed trying to hurry up and finish (when, realistically, I should have either started earlier, or accepted that I just wouldn’t finish before I left), and yeah, that’s just lame.

So, with that being said – no more unnecessary last-minute vacation sews with shitty deadlines! If I need clothing that quickly, I will buy it (lol jk I’LL NEVER BUY CLOTHES AGAIN)(ok, seriously, kidding with that last part… mostly.). So far, I’ve done a decent enough job of putting this into practice, so that’s good!

Grainline Archer

And, for what it’s worth – I do like the shirt. I could have done a better job with it – the topstitching is not my best, and the grain is all wonky because the plaid fabric was hideously off grain (like, to the point where I actually cut the entire shirt twice. Yes. I did that. And it’s still pretty bad) – but it is what it is. It’s snuggly, it’s warm, and I also just realized that I made it to match the leggings that I made with the rest of that grey ponte fabric hahaha omg my life is fabulous.

Grainline Archer

Anyway, I hope you liked my Archer story. Have some pearl snaps.

Grainline Archer

And a sleeve placket while we’re at it!

Ok, so here’s my dilemma – and I’m hoping y’all can help me. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WEAR WITH THESE SKIRTS. I feel like everything I put on just gives me weird proportions! The tops I’m wearing here are ok, I guess, but that’s about the extent of what my closet can offer. Most of my other tops just look… weird? I think the biggest problem is the waist line- it kind of hits at a strange place:

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

See what I mean? It’s about right at my belly button – which isn’t quite high waisted, and not quite low waisted. I can’t tuck anything in – partially because it’s very lumpy under the ponte, and partially because the waistline hits at a sort of wide point on my body. Untucked, most stuff just looks sloppy or gives me that weird long-abdomen proportion that we just loved soo much in the early 00s (y’all know what I’m talking about!). So yeah, can’t figure that one out. Any suggestions? Should I stick with more fitted, cropped sweaters (such as what the model is wearing on the website)? HELP ME I CAN’T ADULT.

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

Anyway, let’s talk! Answer one or more of the following:
– What shirts should I be wearing with these skirts?
– Have you ever made yourself sick by rushing to complete a garment before going somewhere?
– What happened when you finished it? Did a unicorn grant you 3 wishes or did you just realize that life was still doing life things and dammit is it Monday already?
– Seriously, though, what should I wear with these skirts?

** Necessary disclaimer: I received the Colette Mabel skirt from Sarai of Colette patterns, gratis. No review was requested – but as always, all opinions are my own. All fabrics in this post were purchased by me :) I do get a monthly Mood allowance, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t also spend plenty of my own money there! Just wanted to clear that up :)

Completed: Butterick 4066

5 Sep

Ummmm so this may or may not be the third garment I’ve posted this week that is made of rayon challis.

Butterick 4066

No shame.

Butterick 4066

These pictures are also horrifyingly bad and blown out, but… meh. We all know y’all don’t come here for the ~dazzling photography. Again: No shame.

Butterick 4066

I picked up this copy of Butterick 4066 while I was last at the flea market in July. The cover art is a little outdated (and not in a cool vintage way, but rather, I feel like I can probably smell my Mamaw’s house if I lean in too close. Wait, just kidding, my Mamaw’s house smells great. That shit probably smells like someone else’s Mamaw’s house, maybe), but the line drawings looked promising enough – almost like the Kelly skirt and Hollyburn skirt had a secret affair that ended up with a little love child.

Butterick 4066

It’s hard to see, thanks to my terrible photos, but the skirt has pockets, a smooth A-line shape with no darts or tucks, and buttons down the front. I used this shameless 90s black floral rayon challis from Fashion Fabrics Club, as I knew the shape would look great with a drapey fabric (just like my Crazy Paisley Hollburn).

Butterick 4066

My skirt pattern was just a smidge too big (not the fault of the pattern itself – my copy is a size too big, since we don’t normally get to be choosy when it comes to buying vintage patterns!), but that was easily fixed by taking in the side seams before attaching the waistband. The big challenge was cutting off length – a LOT of length. Even after I’d shortened the shortest version of the pattern tissue by a good 6″, I had to go back after making the skirt and hack off another 4″! Shortening the length did wonders for the overall look of the finished skirt – before, it was pretty dowdy and outdated looking (mostly due to fabric choice, I mean – we are talking about the 90s here), but I think it looks pretty cute now! Shorter skirts FTW!

Butterick 4066
Butterick 4066

I finished the seams with my serger and used these pretty black and gold buttons that I had lurking in my stash.

Butterick 4066

I love how the finished skirt turned out – and I think it’ll transition really nicely for our “fall”**, since it’s so cool and lightweight, but still has those nice dark fall/winter colors. That being said, it’ll look great with tights and a sweater, too :) (maybe with a silk slip, though! It’s not very warm!) I’m interested to try pairing this print with black and white stripes – I can imagine it in my head, but until I start sewing up the striped knits I got while I was in Mood last month, your guess is as good as mine.

** Tennessee Fall: Beyond gorgeously colorful (visiting Tennessee in the fall should be on every single one of y’alls bucket lists), but still blazing hot and, yes, we absolutely make fun of those dumbasses who insist on wearing wool caps and jeans tucked into tall boots while marinating in giant pools of sweat. I mean, COME ON LADY, it’s 90* outside FFS! You aren’t fooling anyone!

One last thing – Giveaway Winner! Lucky number is…



Congratulations, Sue Martin! I love your method of sneaky inspiration by way of shop dressing rooms – something I’m too chicken to do myself (I got major stink-eye once while manhandling a rack of dresses in Buckle and I’m kind of traumatized now haha). As far as adding hours in the day – well, let me know when you figure it out! :) haha!

Thanks to everyone to entered the giveaway – and thanks to Laurence King for providing us with a copy to giveaway! Friends, if you’d like to buy your own copy of Casual Sweet Clothes, use the code LLADYBIRD35 to get 35% off! The code is good through 10/1/14 :)

Completed: A Jumpsuit, of sorts

3 Sep

A couple of months ago, I was asked by the ladies at By Hand London if I’d like to test their new Holly Jumpsuit. I’m always a sucker for these gorgeous patterns, but then they went and threw in an offer of testing-fabric from Grey’s Fabric to really seal the deal. Consider me sold, name signed in blood and all (forreal, though, I’ll do anything for love free fabric).

Holly/Tania Mash-up

I finished with good time, sent my testing notes in, and took some photos (I could pretend my hair grew like that overnight, but in reality, these photos are just that old. Haha!). And then I waited. And waited. Right before the pattern was to be released, there was a design snafu that meant the pattern had to be reworked, which set things back by… well, a lot. Fortunately, the kinks have been worked out and the pattern is now officially for sale! Which means I can finally show you mine! Yay!

Holly/Tania Mash-up
Holly/Tania Mash-up

You may have noticed by now that my jumpsuit* looks nothing like the pattern – and you would be right. That’s because at this point, no part of my jumpsuit is actually part of the pattern! Whoops!

Holly/Tania Mash-up

However, it is still technically a jumpsuit (right? The two-separate-holes-for-each-leg dictate that… right?), so there’s that.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

There’s a method to this madness, I promise. As a pattern tester, I always make my first version (usually a muslin), exactly as drafted and written by the pattern. After I have taken my (usually very unflattering)photos and made my fitting adjustments, I will transfer those adjustments to the pattern and make it up in my fashion fabric (if not a second muslin entirely). I started out with the shorts and Variation 2 bodice, which was surprisingly a pretty good fit straight out of the envelope. The butt of the shorts was a little tight (it is my understanding that this ended up being a grading error that has since been amended), and I needed to shorten the straps – but overall, things were looking good. It wasn’t until I had made this up in my beautiful rayon challis – i.e., the good stuff – that I realized the entire ensemble just made me look like a giant toddler. Especially when combined with this fabric – while beautiful, it’s pretty juvenile looking. Eep!

After some chatting with the BHL ladies, we ultimately decided that it would be a shame to sew something I’d never wear (and I know I occasionally wear some out-there ensembles, but again, looking like a giant toddler is NOT one of them) , so I was given the green light to swap out the bottoms for another pattern. Specifically, I chose the Tania Culottes because FUCK YES I DID.

After that, things went haywire in the design department and my tested version of the bodice ended up getting scrapped and redesigned. Which means my tested Holly jumpsuit is now basically anything BUT Holly! Oh well! I tried!

Holly/Tania Mash-up
Holly/Tania Mash-up

Anyway, let’s talk about the construction of this jumpsuit. To combine the bodice with the Tania culottes, I added a 2″ wide straight waistband (interfaced on one layer, and faced with self-fabric on the inside) that connects the bodice to the skirt. Ideally, I would have shortened the bodice and raised the rise of the culottes, as I think the waistband sits a little low, but that’s life. The Tanias are sewn as normal, just without a waistband.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

All edges were finished with my serger and I used my rolled hem foot to make the prettiest little baby hem.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

The end result is a sweet little flouncy tank dress that has an amazing twirl factor – and thanks to the culottes, is less likely to fly up and flash any innocent bystanders.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

As I previously mentioned, my beautiful rayon challis came courtesy of Grey’s Fabric, specifically to be used to test this pattern. I just love the smooth silhouette and fluid drape that comes with rayon challis – not to mention, it’s ridiculously comfortable to wear in the heat. Rayon loves to wrinkle like crazy and this fabric is no exception, but at least the busy print and voluminous skirt hide most of that.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

Anyway, despite my design changes+unexpected pattern snafu changing things to the point that my tested pattern ended up being something completely different, I am happy with said end result – not to mention, it’s absolutely something I would wear (and have worn! Lots!). Again – if you plan on buying this pattern, please keep in mind that absolutely nothing about my version matches what is included in the final pattern – although it would be pretty easy to Frankenpattern this one with a couple indies.

What do you think of the Holly Jumpsuit? Are you Team Jumpsuit – craving dangly earrings, sparkly eyeshadow, and a Studio 54 vibe (I mean, ugh, that new Variation 2 bodice is KILLER, ain’t it?)? Or do you feel like an overgrown toddler who would prefer to stick with dresses and two pieces, thank you very much?

* I think the leg-shorts mean this thing is actually a romper or a playsuit, not a jumpsuit. However, the thought of saying that I’m wearing a playsuit makes me feel, again, like an overgrown toddler, so fuck that. I’m calling it a jumpsuit, as that sounds a lot more grown-up. My blog, my sewing, my rules :P

In other news-
1. The new class schedule is up at The Fabric Studio! Lots of fun classes coming up – including an Open Sewing Lab hosted by yours truly! Those of y’all in Nashville can come hang out in the studio to sew and drink tea with other crafty peeps :) I’ll be on hand to answer questions and assist as needed. This is a great alternative to a structured class since you can work on whatever you want, come whenever is convenient for you, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a private lesson :) Check out the classes page to sign up (my class is at the bottom). I am REALLY excited for this; I love sewing with company! Yay!

2. Don’t forget that the Casual Sweet Clothes giveaway ends on Friday! If you haven’t already entered, here’s your hint :)

Completed: The Belcarra Blouse

1 Sep

I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that this make is over 3 weeks old at this point*. What? I’ve been busy, ok??

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

This is the Belcarra Blouse from Sewaholic Patterns. Described as a super simple/wardrobe staple top, this bad boy has no darts or tucks (ladies, can I get a hell yeah?), raglan sleeves (requiring no setting like a traditional sleeve, which means – let’s have another hell yeah!), and a simple bias bound neckline. I knew it would be quick and easy, but I wondered – would it be flattering?

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse
Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Obviously, that crazy paisley fabric would hide a lot of sins (if there were any to hide mwahahahaha), but I think it’s safe to step out of my cave and say, yes! Yes, this shit is flattering! Yes, it’s comfy! Yes, it’s breezy and cool to wear when the temperatures are still hanging out in hell territory. Yes yes yes!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I shit you not, I made this in an afternoon. From cutting, to sewing, to finishing – it only took a few hours. I followed the instructions as written – except in the case of the neck binding, I found that I needed to shorten it to get it to lay right (which I was anticipating, because my rayon challis has a slight stretch to it). I cut a size 0, which is my usual Sewaholic size, and took in the side seams an extra 1/2″ because it seemed a little overwhelmingly big when I first tried it on. Otherwise, pretty good straight out of the envelope! Good and fast.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse
Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

My initial concern was whether or not this would actually be flattering, as I’m not one to really embrace loose shapes (I’m trying, though! It makes for a more comfortable summer when a breeze can blow between you and whatever unfortunate piece of clothing you happen to be wearing!). To be honest – when I first saw the pattern, I brushed it off as ~not me~. It wasn’t until I found myself staring at this silk Georgia tee from Elizabeth Suzann** that I realized the key to making this pattern look good on me was using a fabric with a gorgeous, fluid drape (and it doesn’t hurt that the Georgia tee is a VERY similar style and shape – albeit with kimono sleeves instead of raglan, and no waist shaping – so I could see this put into action).

I know I joked about making this pattern with this fabric so that it would match my Crazy Paisley Hollyburn, but forreal, these two are a match made in heaven. The rayon challis has pretty much no body to it whatsoever – just a nice drape that flows like water. This keeps the top from being too structured, and thus the excess ease hangs in soft folds, instead of sticking out all crazy and giving me a weird shape. I like it! And next, I want to make this shit up in some SILK!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

To further prove my point, here is the top when worn loose over jeans. Doesn’t that look lovely?

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

I kept this particular style very simple (well, as simple as you can be when you’re dealing with a fabric design that wack-o, amirite), but I’d love to experiment with different fabrics and textures to really play up on the raglan sleeves. I’d love to try it with a two-sided silk satin – keeping the body matte, with the cuffs and bias binding shiny. Or even make it out of two different colors of silk, as a sort of fancy baseball tshirt!

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Not a lot of shots of the inside, but here you can see the guts. Serged seams, self-cuffs cut on the bias, and self bias neckline that is topstitched down.

The only thing I will change about future Belcarras is that I’d like to take the neckline in to be a bit less wide. The wide neckline is lovely, but it also means that bra straps are constantly getting flashed. I also feel like it almost looks *too* wide on me – and that it’s not balanced. Thoughts? I’m also waffling with shortening it, because it seems too long when it’s tucked in, but I think it looks just right when it’s untucked. Decisions, decisions!

Oh, one last thing-

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

You know I totally tried that shit on with my matching Hollyburn – and it surprisingly works! Really! Even Landon agreed (after laughing at me when he saw me pulling both pieces out of the closet). It might be that the fabric is so busy, you can’t really see what’s going on – but, fuck, it sure looks like a dress to me. Y’all have no idea how tickled I am about this discovery.

Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the Belcarra? Love it? Hate it? What’s your go-to woven tshirt pattern?

Ooh, one more thing! As you’ve undoubtedly already heard all about, I’m going to be teaching a small class while I’m in London this November, over at Tilly HQ, in her gorgeous new studio!! My Zips+Buttonholes Worshop will teach you how to insert both invisible and lapped zippers, and also guide you through sewing flawless button holes (for both one-step/automatic and four-step/manual). Afterwards, we will celebrate with a delicious cocktail and we can talk about how typing ‘buttonholes’ usually ends up being ‘buttholes’ (just me?).

If any of y’all Londoners are sad that you have to miss my class at The Sewing Party due to international restrictions – here’s your make-up chance (except this one is better, because it’s in PERSON! Actually, that might be worse, depending on how annoying you find me HA HA HA). Sign up for the Zips+Buttonholes Worshop here, or peruse all the neat workshops here (wish I could take that copy your clothes one taught by Zoe! Argh!).

* As of publishing, I still have 3 unblogged garments to post – I seem to have no problem finding the time to sew; my issue is finding the time to write about it!
** You’ve probably already picked up on this at some point, but yes, I work for Elizabeth part-time as a production seamstress (my ~main money~ income is being a personal assistant for another entrepreneur. Yeah. It rules.). I sew on some of the coolest industrial machines, handle gorgeous silks and linens all day, and watch a loooot of Netflix. It’s just as awesome as it sounds.


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