Tag Archives: renfrew

Completed: the Zinnia Skirt

8 Nov

Who doesn’t love to wear wool in the winter time?

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

I feel like a broken record when I start singing the praises of wool, but foreal you guys – this stuff is awesome. It’s super warm and cozy, breathes very well (so you don’t get overheated in all that warm and cozy-ness), and it’s also antimicrobial, which means it naturally repels odors. Which means now you know why I wear so much wool and still manage to keep up with the laundry – it doesn’t need to be washed very frequently! Airing out is fine for day-to-day. Yay for being lazy!

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

So obviously, I was ready to bust the wool out just as soon as the temperatures started dipping. I’ve had my eyeball on that Zinnia pattern, and I paired it up with this beautiful lightweight wool plaid suiting from Mood.

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

I didn’t take any special precautions when sewing this – it’s wool, it’s just easy! The stitches sink in (bad for unpicking, but great for hemming since you can’t see the top stitching ;)), it presses beautifully, and as weird as this is gonna sound – it was really fun to cut, too. My scissors just sliced right through that yardage. I love the colors and it looks just as good paired with black as it does with navy. Double duty fabric and all that.

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

For the skirt, I cut the size 2 (although I did end up taking in the waist so maybe the 0 would have been better). I left the skirt unlined and shortened the hem by about 3″ so I could have a mini. The waistband is cut on the bias and, despite what you might think you see, I promise that the plaid matches up at the side seams :)

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

See?

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

Oh yeah, and I did totally just change shirts. We’ll discuss those in a second.

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

So. About working with this skirt in a plaid fabric. It works – kind of. Matching those side seams was HELL ON EARTH and I’m not really sure why. There are only two pattern pieces, for fuck’s sake! That was also the same day I got my kidney stone (which, if you’re still wondering… it’s still here. Just hangin’ out. Ugh ugh ugh), so I blame it on the pain meds. Anyway, I don’t really think this patterns works very well with a stripe – at least not the stitched-down-pleats version. They just look like a hot mess at the front and back. Might want to save your plaids – or at least your large-scale plaids – for another project.

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

I also had to drastically shorten the hemline – like I said, 3″ and WOO IT’S A MINI – because the longer length just looked dumpy as hell on me. Which means my plans for using a border print probably won’t work with this pattern, at least not the print I had in mind. It’s just too tall for the skirt length.

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics
Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

Also, the fabric I chose maaaay be a little too much for this pattern – seeing as how it sticks out like I have a teeny petticoat underneath it, ha – but I actually like the flared look.

Renfrew top made with wool knit from Mood Fabrics

Oh yeah, my tops! This is a Calvin Klein wool jersey, also from Mood Fabrics (attached link isn’t the same color – looks like they’re sold out of the grey, SORRY – but it’s the same fabric type) and it is deeeelicious. So soft and cozy, and not itchy at all! I used the Renfrew pattern and made the cowl version with 3/4 sleeves. I just love the way the fabric drapes at the cowl – it has enough body so it’s not droopy, yet it’s also not huge and standing up on it’s own or anything.

Also, sorry about the rouge leaf. Didn’t see that during the photos, haha!

Renfrew top made with rayon knit from Mood Fabrics

I made the navy v-neck because I felt like my contribution was a little boring, and also because I wanted to see how good navy looks with this skirt (it does! it does!). I used a rayon jersey from Mood Fabrics that’s been in my stash for ages – originally considered for leggings, until I realized that it was a tiny bit too sheer aka I would be baring my bum. I’m so glad I found a use for it, though, because it is some of the most luxurious fabric I have ever handled! It may just be a rayon knit, but it’s silky smooth and amazing. I really wish I had it in every color! I’m also, like, stupid proud of how that V turned out, by the way.

As usual, I took waaay too many pictures, so I’m just going to dump the rest here.

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

Renfrew top made with wool knit from Mood Fabrics

Renfrew top made with rayon knit from Mood Fabrics

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

The tiny belt loops are my favorite part! So tiny and cute!

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

See what I mean about the plaid? It looks like a hot mess at the pleats. Oh well.

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

One last thing – I wanted to thank y’all for all your advice regarding my muslin, as well as my kidney stone. I’ve decided to set the muslin aside for now; I may revisit it in the future but I think my coat for 2013 will have to be a totally different pattern! So I guess I’ve got that to figure out. As far as the kidney stone… well, it’s still there, taking up residence. Y’all will probably be able to hear me scream from the rooftops once it finally emerges haha. A few people urged me to to go the doctor, and I did want to follow up and let y’all know that I went to both a doctor and a specialist last week, got the x-rays as well as a variety of medications. There’s not much else we can do at this point beyond surgery or shooting lasers (which my uninsured ass is reeeeally trying to avoid), which means I gotta shoot it out! For the past couple days I’ve been on an essential oil regimen, and tonight I will be trying some Coke/asparagus concoction that sounds fucking disgusting but is supposed to work. Anyway, sorry for the TMI, keep thinking happy kidney stone thoughts! haha!

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics
Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

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Completed: A Cozy Kelly Skirt

16 Sep

Look at me, I’m like a 1970s Sherwin Williams swatch book all up in hurr.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I know I haven’t talked about her much since the denim version came out to play, but OMG I LOVE KELLY. I seriously can’t get enough of this pattern – it’s very simple, but delivers maximum effect!

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

This is my second corduroy Kelly, same difference as the first, although this cord is a much thicker wale with a softer hand. I snatched it up during my trip to NYC – it was part of a swap, although I am a terrible swapper and I don’t remember who it came from :( Sonja? I know the majority of the goods came from your stash haha :)

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

Anyway, origin aside, this fabric is pretty fabulous! It’s super soft with a fair amount of body, and the color is one of those great browns that goes with everyyyyything (except the new top I made, apparently, which is not the same top I’m wearing in these pictures btw. Oh well haha!). I love corduroys, but sometimes finding a good one that’s pure cotton with no stretch and a nice color can be surprisingly difficult!

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I can’t speak much on this pattern because obviously I’ve already made/discussed it, but I will tell you what I did differently this time ’round. For one, I used sew-in interfacing instead of my regular fusible… corduroy can be kind of finicky when you press it (specifically – you risk squishing the wales flat and ruining your fabric and WAH), and a quick test of the fusible proved that I would be making a huge mistake. I used muslin as my sew-in – just cut the pieces, basted them to the waistband and button hole placket, and then proceeded as usual.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I did topstitch my skirt as directed, but it’s not really noticeable due to the thickness of the fabric. It doesn’t bother me – I like the subtle look – but if you’re planning on making this with a similar fabric and want the topstitching to be visible, you will need to use top stitching thread and the accompanying needle.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

Obviously, you want to be careful when pressing corduroy – but some stuff does need a good sharp crease, like these pleats and the hem. To do this, I laid a scrap piece of corduroy on my ironing board, right side up, and put my skirt on top of the scrap right down down (this keeps the nap from getting crushed, as the fabric on the bottom provides some support). I used my silk organza press cloth and steamed the beejeezus out of everything, and then used my clapper to hold everything down until it cooled off.

I love that clapper. I always feel like such a fancy-pants when I use it, ha.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I also omitted the second button on the waistband – I want to wear this skirt with belts, which I can’t do if there’s a giant button in the way. I put in the top button and added a hook and eye where the second button should be.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

Here you can see my hook and eye. The skirt in unlined, but it works fine with a slip underneath in the winter, for wearing with tights. Well, the other corduroy one does, anyway, haha.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

Oh yeah, my buttons were free too! They’re some faux-leather suiting buttons that my Mamaw gave me. She gave me HUNDREDS of them (and my mom took half… but still… that’s a lot of buttons) and I rarely find a change to use them since they’re just really big. But I think they work here! The color looks great with the color of the fabric.

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I almost forgot – look at this cute pocket lining! It’s a tiny little scrap I got at the flea market. The seller threw it in for free (lord, can I say “free” enough in this post??? FREE FREE FREEEEEEEE) with a few other scraps, after I made a purchase pile. It was just big enough to use to line the pockets. I love those colors, wish I could find a big yardage that looked like it!

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

I guess that it’s! Kind of a boring staple to make, but these kinds of basic pieces get a lot of wear in my life :) Plus, it looks sooo good with my mustard Renfrew, which is always a plus in my book.

Tutorial: The Paulie Pocket Top

18 Jan

stretch yourself header
This post is part of the Stretch Yourself Series hosted by Miriam of Mad Mim and Miranda of One Little Minute. This two week series is ALL ABOUT the love of knits, so go check it out!
I’ll be showing y’all some embellishment twist on a classic, along with Jessica of A Little Gray

Here she is – the Paulie Pocket Top!
Paulie Pocket Top
I KNOW. The name of this top is totally ridiculous & tacky – but what part about my life isn’t? :)

Paulie Pocket Top
You will need 3 different kinds of fabric to make this – something for the majority of the shirt (in whatever yardage you need to make your top), something to line the back of the pocket with (half a yard or so should be enough), and scraps for the pocket binding. For the binding, you don’t want to use anything that is too thin/floppy, or it’s not going to sit right – try something with a bit more body, like ribbing or a cotton knit.

Don’t forget your pattern! You can download it here. The edges of the paper are part of the band pieces; the lines just didn’t transfer over during the scan.
Be sure the test square prints out to 4″x4″ (or 10cmx10cm, if you fancy). The stretch guide is there for the binding fabric – you just want to make sure the 4″ piece stretches up to the length provided (or else your binding will not fit in the cut-outs). If it stretches more or less, that is fine, but you will need to adjust your pattern pieces accordingly.

Paulie Pocket Top
Cut all your pattern pieces from the main fabric as normal. For this tutorial, I am using the Renfrew pattern. Sew the shoulder seams as instructed (you don’t *have* to sew the shoulder seams first, but I like to because it helps with pocket placement – you can pull the shirt over your head and double-check in the mirror).

Now push the back of the shirt out of your way. We won’t be touching it for the rest of this tutorial.

Paulie Pocket Top
On the shirt front, measure on both sides the distance from where you want the bottom of your pockets to hit, keeping seam allowance in mind. I usually go with 1 3/4″. Mark this with a pin.

Paulie Pocket Top
Align the bottom of the pocket template with the pin and cut from the front of the shirt only.
(pst! I know my template has different wording – while putting together this tutorial, I hadn’t decided on a ~name~ for my pattern embellishment yet ;))

Paulie Pocket Top
Give the pocket piece to your cat to play with, idk.

Paulie Pocket Top
Cut 2 pieces of pocket ribbing, using the pocket band pattern piece.

Paulie Pocket Top
Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.

Paulie Pocket Top
Pin the pocket band to the pocket opening on the outside of the shirt, matching raw edges, notches, and ends. The pocket band will be smaller than the pocket opening – this is good, we are going to stretch that band to fit and give our pockets a nice curve. Do not overpin this – 3 pins is plenty.

Paulie Pocket Top
Start by anchoring one end of the pocket band to the pocket edge, and stop with the needle in the down position.

Paulie Pocket Top
Sew the band to the edge, stretching the band to fit as you go (don’t stretch the raw edge of the pocket- just the band! It’s much easier if you position it so the band is on top). Sew slowly and take your time. We ain’t in a hurry here.

Paulie Pocket Top
Once the band is sewn down, you can topstitch it on your sewing machine – using a twin needle or a regular ol’ zigzag stitch.

Paulie Pocket Top
You should end up with something like this. Ain’t that fancy! Let’s put a back to those pockets so our sides aren’t hanging out in the glory of the sun – unless you’re into that kinda stuff, eh, no judgement here.

Paulie Pocket Top
Measure from the bottom of the shirt front to about an inch above the pocket band. Mine is 9.5″, which is approximately how tall I need my pocket lining piece to be.

Paulie Pocket Top
Measure that same measurement from the bottom of your shirt front pattern piece and cut that from your pocket back fabric.

Paulie Pocket Top
Finish the top edge of your pocket back fabric – this is optional as we all know jersey doesn’t exactly unravel, but it’ll make the next step a little easier :)

Paulie Pocket Top
Lay the shirt front over the pocket lining piece you just cut, matching all raw edges. Pin along the pocket openings and shirt bottom to keep everything in place.

Paulie Pocket Top
Now, using your fingers to feel the edge of the top of the pocket lining underneath, carefully pin across the front of the shirt so both pieces are pinned together.

Paulie Pocket Top
Flip back periodically to make sure you catch both layers.

Paulie Pocket Top
Topstitch (again – you can use a twin needle or a zigzag) along the line you just pinned. Baste the side and bottom edges together.

And that’s it! You can go ahead and sew your shirt together as instructed by your pattern – treat the pocket-ed front as one piece.

Yay for embellished shirts!

Paulie Pocket Top

Paulie Pocket Top

Paulie Pocket Top

Special shout-out to this awkward picture:
Paulie Pocket Top
No idea why I look so emo here haha

Paulie Pocket Top
There! That’s better :D

Completed: The Mustard Renfrew (plus some announcements!)

26 Sep

Let’s get down to business, shall we?

First of all, you guys definitely want a sew-along. And I aim to please! So let me introduce my first sew-along (ahhh!!), for the Thurlow trousers:


Feel free to snag this button for your blog, so everyone will know how cool you are BECAUSE YOU ARE MAKING PANTS.

As it is, I am a bit swamped right now, and I know a lot of you guys are working on jackets & coats with other sew-alongs, so we won’t actually start sewing until the end of October. I am aiming for a start date of Monday 10/29, so there will be plenty of time for everyone to work on their muslins, choose fabric (but maybe hold up a week or two, I’ve got a fabric post cooking right now :)) and of course finish your coat if you’re working on one!

I also opened a Thurlow Sew-Along Flickr Group, so please join so we can all share pictures :D We will be posting our muslins for advice on fit, and since I’m not a muslin-master, I’m really hoping y’all can pitch in and help when you see something you know the answer to. Open discussion!

A few people asked if they could join with a different trouser pattern – and the answer is OF COURSE! We will be focusing on the Thurlow pattern specifically, but these techniques should work with any ol’ pants pattern, including the gorgeous new Juniper. However, you may need to draft pieces if your pattern doesn’t have all the cool welts & fly facings & shit.

Also, this specific pattern includes an option for shorts, so if you’d rather make shorts… make shorts! All the construction techniques will still be the same :)

Ok, for those of you who dgaf about a sew-along… I have something for you too. But you still have to look at my Thurlows. HEH HEH HEH.

Renfrew & Thurlows
Thought I’d whip up a little tshirt last night :)

Renfrew & Thurlows
This is the Renfrew top by Sewaholic patterns. I know what you’re thinking – and I promise I’m not getting paid to wax poetic about Tasia’s patterns every day lol. I just really love them and I want everyone to get excited about them too!

Renfrew & Thurlows
Anyway, I wanted to try the cowl in view C, but I was holding off for the right fabric (and weather conditions). This fabric actually came from the flea market last week – this lady was trying to dump off the remainder of her late mother’s fabric stash and this was in it. It was actually really scratchy & smelled awful, like a moldy basement in the 60s, but I took a chance. Especially since I got a big stack of fabrics for $1 lolz. Anyway, it softened up quite nicely with a wash – and the smell is gone. I just think the color is so perfect!

Renfrew & Thurlows
Here’s a back view. BACK FAT ALERT, BRO.

Renfrew & Thurlows
I feel like it also bears mentioning that this is a perfect every day wardrobe ensemble. Sure, it’s a boring concept – jeans & a tshirt. Who the fuck makes jeans & a tshirt? Actually – I think that’s the beauty of it. Instead of focusing all my sewing power on stuff that rarely gets worn, this is some straight-up cake. I am going to snuggle into this outfit all the time – I would be wearing it right now, if I didn’t work in an office with a dress code :) – and it just tickles me that the entire thing is handmade by meeeee.

Oh, speaking of cake – StephC of 3hourspast just kicked off a presale for her new pattern line, Cake! And it’s a casual knit dress – designed to be worn as every day wear, or, the aforementioned cake. Mmmm, cake.

One thing I hear people mention when they discuss not wanting to sew “every day” items is that they are boring to sew. Boring fabrics (not as many pretty prints!), boring patterns, boring boring. And I get that – I really love digging my teeth into something deliciously challenging. But there are ways to make your plain garments more fun – like making the inside a party:
Renfrew - HAPPY SHIRT
GOD, what a happy shirt!

At any rate, stick around for Thurlow Extravaganza! I’ll be back next week to start muslin’ing, and we also need to talk FABRIC!!

Renfrew & Thurlows

Me Made May – Week 5 Roundup

1 Jun

Well, Me-Made-May is finally over – 5 weeks/31 days of handmade with daily photographs. I’m not even going to pretend I wasn’t relived to NOT take a photo of myself this morning :)

Since I was on vacation pretty much the entire week, I tried to be creative with my photos (mostly because I didn’t want to drag the tripod, camera *and* laptop with me to Florida lol). It was a bit of a struggle on a couple of the days, mostly because I spent lots and lots of time in my bathing suit… but I managed!

5-26
5-26
Shirt: Sewaholic Renfrew – modified some more since it’s original inception; you can’t see it too well but I cut the ribbing off the bottom & replaced it with wide lace (just like my Taffy blouse)
Pants: Colette Clovers
Necklace: Vintage bracelet I turned into a necklace
Shoes: Rugged Warehouse
Shades: Pangea
After a long day of driving (nearly 8 hours in the car! Plus 2 hours at some rando gas station after a belt in Landon’s car snapped & we had to wait for my dad to fix it. Which was preferable to towing it to some shop & paying them assloads of money to fix it, by the way!), we made it to Santa Rosa Beach! This is the view/balcony via our condo.

Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Uh huh.

5-27
5-27
Top: Giant men’s Hawaiian shirt resized by me
Skirt: Vintage, dyed by me
Shoes: Rugged Warehouse
Couldn’t get anyone to take a picture of me, so I settled for one of those awful mirror shots in the fitting room at Goodwill haha.

5-28
5-28
Top: thrifted – from the aforementioned Goodwill, no less!
Shorts: Simplicity 5110
Shoes: Walmart
Hat: Not mine, just trying on the goods
This was taken in a cute little town called Seaside, just a few miles from Santa Rosa Beach. We rode our bikes there, and I spent the entire time dying over the bike paths-
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Totally flat, totally separate from the main road (which is on the left). It was SO NICE! I wish we had commuter/non-greenway bike paths like this in Nashville.

Seaside was really cute – there were tons of bikes
Seaside, FL

And shopping
Santa Rosa Beach, FL

And food trucks
Seaside, FL

And pretty things to look at
Seaside, FL
Santa Rosa Beach, FL

And a bonus outfit shot from Monday, 5/28:
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Birthday dinner with Landon (and the rest of the family). I wore Vogue 1174. I knowwww I should have worn my birthday dress (I even brought it!) but everyone else was pretty casual so I decided on the blue dress at the last minute. SORRY.

5-29
5-29
Dress (worn as a swimsuit coverup): Hawaiian Sundress
Hell yeah I spent the whole day at a waterpark. And then Fudpuckers (where my little brother lost his debit card & the kind man at the bank verified the last transaction was from “pudfuckers” lol), and then some chintzy tourist shop called Alvin’s.
From left to right – Maddie (Matt’s girlfriend), my mom, Caroline (my niece), Matt (little brother!), me, my dad, & Landon.

5-30
5-30
Top: Jalie 2921
Skirt: Vintage, dyed by me
Party Hat: YEP
Last time at the beach! I gave up on trying to wear cute outfits & just put on something comfortable for the drive home :)

5-31
5-31
Dress: Colette Parfait
Shoes: Target
Purse: Thrifted
Scarf (tied on purse): Flea Market
Last day of Me-Made-May! I celebrated by going to my favorite fabric store for their 50% off sale :)

So yeah! I consider this may a total success – albeit not nearly long enough, as I still have masses of handmade clothing yet to be worn. Oh well! Since wearing my stuff wasn’t really much of a challenge, I tried to mix up how I wore it, and I think I did pretty good! I can’t think of anything this challenge made me realize I had gaping, except maybe some summer jeans – which I bought fabric for yesterday, btw! I also used this challenge as a kick the butt to get me into my mending/fit-fixin’ pile, for certain things I never wanted to wear (I’m looking at you, Swiss Dot Violet!)

The only thing that I didn’t like was the daily photos… it got old pretty fast, and felt pretty narcissistic the entire time. I did find myself getting more comfortable in front of the camera, until I got to the point where I didn’t feel like I needed to take 40+ pictures to get that ~one perfect shot~.

Here are the rest of MMM’12 posts, if you missed them the first go-round!
Me Made May, Week 1
Me Made May, Week 2
Me Made May, Week 3
Me Made May, Week 4

And a big big BIG thanks to Zoe for pulling the whole thing together! Apparently, this was the biggest Me-Made-Month yet; I hope we made you proud :D

So today is June 1st, and here I am wearing all handmade anyway hahaha
6-1
Top: Leotard reconstructed by me into a tank top
Trousers: Vogue 2925
Cardigan: Thrifted
Belt: Thrifted
Shoes: Thrifted

Me Made May – Week 3 Roundup

18 May

Sorry for the radio silence this week, peepz. I have been house/dog sitting since Thursday night, which means I have not had access to my sewing machine for almost a week! I opted to not bring it with me since there was just so much stuff to carry around (and plus, I make giant messes when I sew ahaha), figuring I would just knit instead. Spoiler alert: didn’t get much knitting done either. Whoops! Anyway, I’m back at home now so hopefully I can get some sewing done over the weekend, maybe :) I miss it so much!

5-12
5/12
Top: Sewaholic Renfrew (unblogged, sorry!)
Jeans: Vogue 2925
Shoes: Walmart
This is basically the same outfit as Friday – I had cute stuff packed, but it ended up being really cold & rainy so I stuck with jeans for the second day in a row.

5-13
5/13 – Mother’s Day!
Dress: Actually, this is two pieces… the dress made me look like a box, so I separated the skirt from the top & sewed white elastic for the skirt waistband. I can wear them together or separately, woohoo.
Cardigan: Agatha – my first sweater :)
Belt: Thrifted
Necklace: Fire Finch (Nashville)
Shoes: Walmart (man those things are filthy… I should wash them)
This is me & my mommy, in her sewing room. Isn’t she so pretty?! Love her :)

5-14
5/14
Top: Yardsale
Skirt: Style 1568; it’s supposed to be culottes but it looked awful in this linen/cotton blend (too stiff), so I converted it into a skirt. The linen would also explain why it is wrinkled as fuq – I swear I ironed the night before!
Cardigan: Thrifted – ended up wearing it tied (like how I have it on 5/15) after this picture was taken.
Belt: Thrifted
Shoes: Nine West
Earrings: Thrifted
Brooch: Flea market – it’s a skunk holding a flower ahaha

5-15
5/15
Dress: Colette Patterns Peony
Cardigan: Thrifted
Belt: Thrifted
Rose Brooch: Crocheted by me :)
Shoes: Target

5-16
5/16
Top: Thrifted, altered to fit by me
Skirt: Thrifted – it was originally a child’s dress. I cut the bodice off & replaced the busted shirring at the waistband. Insta-skirt!
Cardigan: Agatha
Belt: Thrifted
Scarf (worn at neck): Vintage
Shoes: Target

5-17
5/17
Dress: Colette Patterns Ceylon
Shoes: Nine West

5-18
5/18 (today!)
Top: Colette Patterns Sorbetto
Skirt: Colette Patterns Ginger
Belt: Thrifted (holy shit I wear this belt a lot lol)
Shoes: Target kids
Necklace: Flea market

ALSO, today was Bike to Work Day… don’t worry, I managed to wear something Me-Made :)
5-18 - before work
5/18, pre-work
Tshirt: Stenciled & resized by me
Pants: Lululemon (obviously not Me-Made, but I wrote a review on ‘em if you are interested!
Shoes: Converse
It gets very hot/humid here, so I brought a change of clothes for the office haha :) Oh, and I guess you could also consider my basket Me-Made – it started out as a purse from the thrift store, I just cut the handles off & zip-tied it to my bike. Baskets are expensive!

As a side/non-sewing note, Bike to Work Day was really awesome!
Bike To Work Day
There was a great turnout

Bike To Work Day
I mean, really forreal

Bike To Work Day
Tons of food & drinks (including coffee, yeeeeeah)

Bike To Work Day
The mayor even showed up to talk to us :)

Bike To Work Day
The best part, though, was having cycling partners on the commute :D

Did anyone else bike to work today?

Me Made May – Week 2 Roundup

11 May

I know what you’re thinking – two posts in one day? Is the world really in the process of ending? Is Jesus coming back (no, actually, that was supposed to happen last May, except we all know SOMEONE didn’t bother to show up to his own damn party)? At any rate, I hope y’all love meee because you’re going to have to look at my mug twice today, teehee.

I left off last Friday, so we’ll pick this up starting Saturday!

5-5
5/5
Dress: BOMBSHELL
Shoes: Steve Madden
Excuse my disgusting sewing room floor, I hate vacuuming!
Ooh, but see my iPhone!? Landon bought me an early birthday present! He is the best :) I’m on Instagram now if you want to follow me :)

5-6
5/6
Dress: Simplicity 4170
Cowboy Boots: courtesy of my mom’s closet :)
Necklace: Fire Finch, here in Nashville
This is actually the very first dress I made with a pattern – so it’s super pre-blog (I think I made this in 2006). Don’t get too terribly excited about how good it looks, though – the original bodice was total shit – I didn’t line it, didn’t gather under the bust (lolwut), inserted the zipper rather terribly by hand, etc. The bodice you see now is what happened after I learned some skills 6 months later, ripped it off, and re-made. It’s still kind of amateur looking, but that’s ok!

5-7
5/7
Dress: Vogue 1086
Cardigan: Thrifted, reconstructed by me
Belt: Handmade
Necklace: Thrifted bracelet, reconstructed into a necklace by me
Shoes: Target

5-8
5/8
Top: Jalie 2921
Skirt: Express
Sweater: Free People, sized down quite a bit by me (it’s supposed to be loose-fitting)
Shoes: Steve Madden

5-9
5/9
Top: Simplicity 4400
Skirt: Thrifted, sized down & repaired (the shirring at the waistband was completely busted so I sewed in new elastic… does this count as Me-Made?)
Belt: Thrifted
Shoes: Jessica Simpson
Earrings: Thrifted
The light was really bad that morning, so here you get to see the side & crawl space of my ugly house!

5-10
5/10
Top: Sewaholic Renfrew
Skirt: Colette Ginger
Cardigan: Thrifted
Belt: Thrifted
Feather Earrings: Tennessee Renaissance Festival
Shoes: Giani Bernini

5-11
5/11 (today!)
Top: Jalie 2921
Trousers: Vogue 2925
Shoes: Walmart (lol yep)
Scarf: Flea market

If you don’t recognize my top, that’s because it’s very new & very un-blogged! This top was actually the whole reason why I bought the Jalie pattern – I thought it looked quite similar to Colette’s Jasmine pattern, except in a nice knit instead of bias-cut woven. I’m not going to make a separate post for this top, just because I would basically be repeating my last one, but I will go over the minor pattern changes I made:
- I shortened the neck ties quite drastically. I can’t give you a real measurement – I just put on the pink top, pinned the ties until I liked the length, and copied that to my pattern piece.
- Instead of arranging the ties as suggested by the pattern (through a hole in the front seam, tied, or fastened with a buckle), I wrapped a small piece of matching bias tape around them & sewed it into place by hand.
- Took in a little bit at the side seams to make it more fitted.
- Shortened the sleeves to cap sleeves.
- Top-stitched the hem & sleeve hems with a double needle in matching blue thread.

I am rather pleased with the result! Although, it is quite sailor-y so I definitely run the risk of looking really costume-y… I think I kind of look costume-y in this outfit, actually, but IDGAF.

Oh, I should probably talk about that ADORABLE dog standing behind me… that’s Turtle :) She is the dog of my bestie/life partner, Morgan (the one who moved to Macedonia!). Her mother is keeping Turtle while Morgan is fulfilling her time at the Peace Corps. Anyway, she’s actually out of town visiting Morgan, & the originaly dogsitter had some medical problems so I’m taking care of the dogs for her until then! I just love Turtle, she’s such a little sweetie (and Percy, the other dog, was lounging on the steps directly behind my camera FYI :) I’ll try to get a picture of her at some point). This also explains why I’m suddenly standing in an area with an amazing garden backdrop – it’s her house! And look – you can see my little truck in the background :)

Me & Turtle :)
Man, I love this dog. She’s such a ham.

Completed: Simplicity 5110 (and a Renfrew!)

12 Apr

See also: Sewing to soften a bad mood.

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew

I made these shorts last night (well, cut the pattern & sewed the pockets down on Tuesday evening, if we’re being totally honest here), the Renfrew was thrown together over the weekend. Both of these pieces are significant in the sense that I made them when I was stressed & stewing up a terrible mood. I know lots of us prefer to knit or clean or whatever tv when we’re stressed, but personally I like to sew! I find the strict attention to detail – even on something totally quick’n’dirty like a pair of shorts & a knit tshirt – to be very calming & it definitely puts me in a ~zen~ state. Being able to focus all my energy on something that is completely unrelated to whatever may be stressing me out is really beneficial in getting me to take a step back and drop my bad mood. Always works like a charm, too!

I will point out that sewing when you’re in a bad mood really isn’t a good idea if you’re working on something that tends to stress you out even in the best situations – hence, why my Bombshell dress is still sulkingsitting on my dress form. Actually, the Bombshell dress is a big contributor to my stress (the other big one is that I’m STILL SICK – although now I sound less like a man and more like a boy in the middle of puberty – and still carrying around a hacking cough that sounds suspiciously like the dreaded Smoker’s Cough). I chose to put it aside for a few days & focus on something that I know is going to be easy & fit the way I like it without a lot of fuss. It’s good to have a few TNT patterns just for this reason! And in the meantime – I filled a gap in my summer wardrobe! Double win!

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew
These are my TNT patterns – Simplicity 5110 (shorts!) and the Renfrew top. Both are pretty quick to sew up and have already been fitted to my liking. I made the shorts up last year in red and they get a LOT of wear – so comfy, and I think they’re flattering :) I made them in the same manner this time, except in khaki, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for about a year now. The green stripey knit for my Renfrew has been in my knit stash for god knows how long – I think I bought the original yardage at Walmart actually. It’s nice & slinky and feels good against the skin. I decided to keep the stripes on the neck & arm bands, although I did not sew on the hem band because I wanted this shirt to tuck in without a lot of bulk. The hem is stitched with a double needle on my sewing machine, and I did a terrible job & no I’m not going to show you a picture. Sorry.

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew
It’s actually not warm enough to even wear this outfit – we got another cold snap, ew!, and I was FREEZING in these pictures. The things I do for y’all!

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew
The pockets are lined with that mystery polka dot fabric – I love a fun lining!

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew

Khaki Shorts
The only thing I’m not happy about is how weird the waistband is sitting – what’s up with that little pucker at the top of my zipper? Also, I need to push the closures over closer to the edge of the waistband, so it doesn’t stick out like that.

Khaki Shorts
Other than that, the zipper went in without a single hitch! I have always had issues with my front-fly zippers going in wonky (or backwards, or sewn completely shut lol), until I sat down & sewed a bunch up & figured out the most efficient way to get them in the pants. Here is my tutorial on front-fly zippers, if you want to benefit as well :)

Green Stripey Renfrew
I love how the green stripes look with the khaki. Such a nice color combination!

Khaki Shorts

Khaki Shorts
The zipper is just something I had in my stash… as was the fabric and everything else. Free shorts, yo!

Renfrew

Renfrew - yellow twill tape :)
Here is my favorite part about the Renfrew – the twill tape on the shoulders is yellow! NEON yellow!

I think I’m ready to re-asses that Bombshell dress – just needed a few days to step back & think about something else (something easy!). In the meantime, I have cut out the pieces for my next Renfrew -
next Renfrew - red & grey stripes!
You know, in case I hit another stumbling block :)

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew

What about you? Do you find it relaxing to sew when you’re stressed, or does it drive you completely mad? What do you like to do to calm yourself when it’s desperately needed?

Conquering Knits: A Self-Help Guide

23 Feb

Chevron Renfrew

So you wanna sew some knits, huh? Maybe you picked up the Renfrew pattern and haven’t worked up the courage to slice into the pattern tissue yet. Or maybe you’ve been romanced & wooed by all the amazing printed knit fabrics out there. Or maybe you’re just ready for a new challenge that doesn’t involve zippers! Whatever you reason, it’s time to talk knits. Get a coffee and get comfy, this is gonna be a long ‘un.

First off, let me say something very important.

Knits are not scary or super difficult to work with!

I don’t know who is responsible for freaking out millions of sewers to be afraid of knit fabrics, but I wish I did know so I could stick some needles in his (or her!) face. Knit fabrics are actually MUCH easier to work with than a basic woven fabric. Yes, you have to pay special attention to the grainline, but aren’t you doing that anyway with your other sewing projects? ;) Yes, knits do curl up – but they don’t unravel! Yes, you have to use a special stitch & needle to keep your seams from getting too wavy and/or snapping – but what’s so scary about that?

Here is what is so awesome about knits. I made you a list.
- Don’t wanna hem? Don’t hem! That shit ain’t going nowhere.
- No tedious fitting! Cut your size correct size based on the pattern measurements and let the stretch of the knit do all the work handling those sexy curves you were blessed with.
- No zippers, buttonholes, or closures in general! Pull that shit over your head and get on with your life!
- Finding the grainline is easy – just follow the direction of the greatest amount of stretch.
- Knits are great for using teeny tiny scraps – you can piece the hell out of them (call the seams a ~design feature~) and use them for things like side panels, cuffs and collars, contrasting yokes, colorblocking, insets, creating stripes, pockets, etc. As long as you are paying attention to that grainline, you are pretty much limitless with what you can make!
- You are not limited to *only* using knit yardage to make tshirts – use your pattern to resize a large shirt! Add zippers and hoods or just play with the colors to jazz it up!
- While you don’t need a serger to sew knits, it’s your bestest excuse for buying one :)

Now that I’ve gotten you all excited about your new life with knits, let’s talk about those stitches.


Whether or not you plan on using a serger to sew up knits, you will want to keep a pack of Ballpoint Needles on hand. These are perfect for knits because the tip is slightly rounded, which means they push between the loops of the fabric, rather than pierce little holes to make their way through – this is bad for knits!

Stripey - topstitching
You may also want a twin needle for topstitching – especially if you don’t have a coverstitch machine (Does anyone here have a coverstitch machine? Can I borrow it?). Twin needles are awesome because they will do a perfect row of double stitching on top, and a neat little zig-zag on the bottom. You can get these in all sizes, weights – including ballpoint! – and stitch widths. I use them in place of the zig zag for my top stitching, as I think it looks a little more professional. Keep in mind these are for topstitching only; the stitches they produce are not strong enough to handle seams. You do need two spools of thread to use a double needle; wind some thread onto a bobbin if you don’t have a second spool on hand.

Special stitches are used to construct knits (assuming you aren’t using a serger – if you are, high five!) – you want the stitch to stretch with the fabric, or else you’re going to hear a lot of popping when you pull on your new tshirt. A straight stitch won’t do. And by “special stitches,” I am referring to the good ol’ zig zag stitch. If you want to make your seams a little more sturdy, adjust the zig zag width to be slightly more narrow – but not too narrow, or you’ll make the stitch too dense to actually stretch. Play around with a few scraps of your fabric and see what works best for you.

If your machine is computerized and has the ability to end a stitch in the “needle-down” position, go ahead and engage that – it it helpful for stretching as you sew, without risking pulling everything off the sewing machine. If your machine doesn’t have this feature, just turn the handwheel until the needle is down before you start pulling on your fabric.

If you have a walking foot or dual feed, these are also very nice for keeping the knits from getting too ripply. If you don’t have anything like that, no worries! You can still sew up some pretty knits :)

stripery dress with pink colorblocks

Knit Tips!

When sewing with woven (aka non-stretchy) fabrics, you can kind of fudge the grainlines. It’s not ideal, but the garment will still work as long as you’re not trading bias for straight. With that being said, this does NOT work with knits! It is important to place your pattern on the fabric according to the stretch direction (if you’re not sewing up a 4-way stretch jersey or whatever), otherwise you may not be able to get that shirt over your head.

You want your stretch to run horizontally across the body, not vertical. For neck/sleeve bands, the stretch needs to run the length of the band. I know this sounds really “Well no shit, Sherlock” but you’d be amazed at how many failed knit projects I chucked in the trash due to not figuring out where stretch was necessary. Learn from my mistakes.

Sewing on knit bands with a serger

Using the stretch to your advantage is the easiest way to get your knit garments looking supa fly. I am a big fan of foregoing an actual hem on my knits and just making little neck and arm and hem bands to keep everything nice & clean. However, these can really make or break a garment – especially if they end up too loose & floppy when sewn in. The bands need to be a bit shorter than the edge that they are being sewn onto, especially when dealing with necklines & arms. This allows the band to curve nicely and lie flat, without the use of additional stitches to hold it down. If you are sewing up your Renfrew top with something more stretchy than a stable knit, you will want to cut your neckband pieces down an inch or so to take advantage of that nice stretch. When you sew up your pattern, carefully stretch the band to fit – you should just be able to pull gently. It helps to sew with the band on top, so you can control how much you pull.

If you do want to make a hem on your knit that doesn’t involve bands, you can do a nice basic hem using your twin needles. Patty’s Knit 101 post has a lot of great info for this!

Knit - stabilizing shoulders
Make sure you stabilize your shoulders – otherwise you will risk stretching them out. A little piece of twill tape or clear elastic is perfect for this. I like to pin mine to the back, centered on the seam, and then top stitch with a double needle. Quick and gets the point across!

PROTIP: Knits look wavy when they are laying flat on a table. This does not mean you failed at sewing. Nine times out of ten, when you put the garment on, the fabric will stretch to accommodate and smooth itself out. Don’t stress unnecessarily over a wavy seam!

white/purple plaid sweater dress

I think that about covers the basics – really, the best way to learn is to just jump in & play around with fabrics & stitches! Try starting out with something really basic & easy – the Renfrew is a great, hand-holding pattern. You could even use it to resize a larger tshirt, which will help you get more comfortable with stretchier fabrics & that zig zag stitch. Don’t worry if your first few attempts leave a little to be desired – it takes practice!

Fabric Stash - knits
A giant stash of knit fabrics to play with doesn’t hurt either :)

I am by no means a professional, but I’ve definitely sewn up my share of knit fabrics :) Have any questions you don’t see covered here? See any designs you want a tutorial on? Leave a comment & I’ll see what I can do!

Completed: Another Stripey Renfrew Top

17 Feb

Didn’t see this one coming, did ya? :)

I bought this stripey jersey fabric on my last big fabric excursion, right before I enabled The Ban. Actually, I bought it because I *thought* it was navy/white striped, but upon closer inspection it would appear to favor black over navy. Oh well! Anyway, this top was screaming to be a Renfrew – so there ya go! I’m clearly not the only person who wanted their Renfrew to be stripey-delicious, although mine is a little different because I didn’t cut my bands out of the stripey fabric. Solid black over here!

I did save my stripey pieces, though, so watch out for them – they may end up banding a solid colored shirt :)

Stripey
Not much else to report here – it’s a tshirt, and I made it up (cutting included!) in less than 2 hours. LOVE.

Stripey
I’m actually pretty surprised I got the stripes on the sleeves (mostly)matched up with the stripes on the body. That definitely was not something I made an effort towards.

Stripey
The sides match up until about 3″ below the armpits. I think anyone who is staring at my armpits long enough to realize that the stripes don’t match up has bigger problems than me, just sayin’.

Stripey

Stripey - topstitching
I managed to get a much more clear shot of the double-needle topstitching.

SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS PATTERN, Y’ALL.

In other news – I signed up for a Twitter account! Actually, I think Twitter is kind of stupid but since I don’t really venture into blogland on the weekends, I like the idea of having Twitter around for communication. So please add me – I went through a few fellow sewists friends lists and added 6 people (and Pee Wee Herman because, well, why not?) but then I got overwhelmed and gave up. And now my only follower is some spambot who keeps tweeting about sex & debt, ew. So if you have Twitter, let’s follow each other! I’m LLLLADYBIRD!

Also, check out my sweater progress -
Agatha sweater - right side
Kinda looks like a tiny vest, amirite?

Agatha sweater - on form
I put it on my form, but my circular needles are just barely long enough to knit this comfortably, so I didn’t stretch it to pull across the front. So here’s the back! I’ve knitted a few rows since taking this picture – that yarn-butt on the shoulder is now part of the sweater, and I’ve officially started my second ball of yarn :) Yay!

Ok, I’m going to go figure this Twitter thing out some more.

Stripey

Happy Friday! :D

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