Tag Archives: sewaholic

Pattern Testing: The Saltspring Dress

2 Aug

I looove pattern testing, but what I don’t love is the part where I have to keep my mouth shut about my project until the pattern becomes officially available to the rest of the world.

Well, Tasia just released the Saltspring Dress, so I guess I can talk now! YAY!!!

Saltspring Dress

Here’s another pattern that is quite a bit outside my ~personal style comfort zone~ – that blousey look is not something I normally go for – but I actually like it a lot, surprisingly! It’s very comfortable and cool for summer, while still managing to look pulled-together (or, eh, as pulled-together as one can look in FLORAL ANIMAL PRINT lolz).

Saltspring Dress

This is view A, size 2. I didn’t make any significant changes to the pattern – since I was testing it, I wanted to try it straight out of the envelope. I’m happy to say everything came out great, with no alterations, although I should probably trim down those tie straps a little :)

Saltspring Dress

The construction of this dress is very interesting, and Sewaholic’s pattern design chops really shine here. There are actually two layers to this dress- an smooth, semi-fitted underlayer, and the top blousey layer. The underlayer is shorter than the top layer, so that it “blouses” itself without needing to be tucked in. It’s kind of genius! There is elastic at the waistband, so this is the perfect dress to wear while eating a big meal ;)

Saltspring Dress

I’m wearing a belt with this dress because I personally don’t like the look of exposed elastic casing, but it’s not needed to get the bloused look. The dress does that by itself!

Saltspring Dress

Isn’t this fabric so fun? I’ve actually had this in my stash for a few years… Morgan’s grandmother gave it to me after a giant destashing effort on her part. I’m not completely sure of the content – based on a burn test, I believe it is rayon, but it also has a weird crinkly texture and a slight stretch – but what I can say is that woman has some FINE taste in fabric, so I’m fairly certain this is some nice stuff. It sure feels nice, anyway!

In retrospect, I don’t know if this fabric was truly my best choice, because it doesn’t drape as well as it needs to. The top of the dress doesn’t exactly look structured, but it’s not as flowy and drapey as it needs to be. But, you know, I think the print actually makes up for it a bit :) Hard to be mad at the world when you’re wearing this kind of awesome island tiki type shit, yeah? :)

Saltspring Dress

The only “drawback” (if you can even call it that) to this pattern is that it does not look flattering AT ALL until you actually put in the zipper and the elastic. I don’t know how many of y’all try stuff on as you sew it (I do – constantly – which is why I mostly sew in my underwear ;) haha), but I just thought I would point that out. Obviously it works out in the end, but I was a little terrified for a minute there :)

Saltspring Dress

Anyway, this is a great pattern – very easy to make up (perfect for beginners!), comfortable to wear in the summer, and I think you can really try a lot of different options with the design. Personally, I’d love to try this up without the overblouse, just a slim-fitting, spaghetti strap top with a flared skirt. Ah, that sounds so perfect right now!

Want a copy of your own? You can buy the Saltspring here!

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Completed: A Hawaiian Lonsdale

13 May

I actually had this finished a couple of weeks ago, but it’s taken me this long to post since I had to get a special bra to wear with it. And by “special,” I mean strapless. I don’t know why I’m talking about my bra right now, let’s talk about this dress instead!

Lonsdale

This is the Sewaholic Lonsdale dress. REAL TALK: When this pattern first came out, I had absolutely no intention of sewing it up as I assumed it would be mega unflattering on me. Not because of the bra issue, like most people pointed out – I have no problems with wearing a strapless bra, it’s like a staple in my lingerie wardrobe (and yay that I finally have one that fits!) – but because the bodice doesn’t have any darts, which I figured wouldn’t work with a large bust. Also, this pattern eats up a lot of fabric and I just wasn’t feeling it. So no Londsale for me, at least not while everyone else was snapping them up.

Lonsdale

While I was in NY, we had a mini sewing stuff swap (which I’m REALLY sad I missed out on dumping into… I will have to come back with a suitcase full of patterns and we can do it again, ok?? Hmm plane tickets appear to be cheap right now…) and Sonja added this to the pool, encouraging me to try it. So I snapped it up and found this fabric the next day… it’s from Chic Fabrics, and it was $5 a yard. HELLS YES. Lonsdale, comin my way!

Lonsdale

As I was trying it on (no muslin, and not really even a tissue fit… I just based my size off the finished measurements and started cutting), I realized that this dress is SUPER cute and flattering. A bodice with no gathers or bust darts, who woulda thunk?

Lonsdale

I also totally get why everyone keeps freaking out over the skirt, it’s really flattering!

Lonsdale

(Not really sure what I’m doing here… smelling the breeze, maybe?)

This is a size 0, by the way. I did not make any alterations to the pattern, except my zipper insertion (lapped instead of centered) and I cut something crazy like 5″ off the hem. I like my skirts to hit above my knee.

Lonsdale

Sorry for the shit picture and my sad little droopy bow, but isn’t the back cute?? I LOOOOVE that the straps are adjustable, since I can never seem to get them right on the first/second/eighth try. Now I don’t have to worry, whoop whoop.

Lonsdale

I definitely want to make a couple more of these – or even just Lonsdale skirts, gawd – as I can see myself wearing these aaaall summer. I think you could probably reduce the amount of fabric needed, too, with some careful planning. Part of the bulk of fabric yardage comes from the bodice being double-layered (you can see the second layer a little bit in my close-ups, as my fabric is slightly sheer), and the ties are one big long piece that goes into forever. I think this could be REALLY fun with the lining being a contrasting fabric – you’d see the contrast in the ties and around the neckline.

Lonsdale

Here’s a terrible close-up. Sorry! The sun was REALLY bright and I don’t do that whole wait-until-it-gets-less-bright patience thing very well ;)

Lonsdale

Lonsdale

If you’ve been holding out on this pattern because of the large bust issue, maybe this will sway ya ;) It swayed me, anyway!

Can’t wait to bust this shit out on my vacation! LONSDALE 4 LIFE.

Completed: The Minoru Jacket, Round 2

25 Feb

Hey, look, I made another Minoru Jacket! And it’s even better the second time around, yeah? :)

Orange Minoru

Ever since I made this my first go-round as a pattern tester, I’ve been dying to revisit this pattern and improve on my finished version. Not that the pattern written as-is needs improvement – it’s pretty wonderful! But there were definitely a few things I wanted to change from my original white version.

Orange Minoru
First and foremost – the size. I don’t know why I did it to begin with, but I definitely cut the wrong size on my first incarnation. It was just toooo big! I cut this one in a straight size 0, with no alterations, and I think the fit is superior.
(As a side note – I know a few of y’all use me as your ~size double~, so I think it’s important to point out that I am not the same size anymore. I don’t know if you can tell from the pictures, but I have lost quite a bit of weight over the last few months and my measurements decreased by a couple of inches. I am now 34-26-35 – just FYI! So with that in mind… the 0 fit me perfectly, and did not need a FBA.)

Orange Minoru
Second necessary change to this pattern – the FABRIC. Oh godddd, the fabric! While I really really loved the idea of white corduroy in theory, the reality was a sad floppy, blindingly white mess on me. While I have seen a few versions that do beautifully with a softer drape to the fabric, I think that in general, this jacket needs a bit of structure. As well as color :)

Orange Minoru
For this jacket, I used a fairly thick cotton twill that I picked up at Vogue while I was in Chicago. I knew I wanted something orange or yellow, for visibility. What I didn’t consider was how difficult it would be to pair up colors with this shade of orange, without looking like I was rooting for some shitty sports team. I’m pretty sure I had buyer’s remorse over this fabric almost the instant I bought it, hence why it sat on my sewing shelf for, oh… six months or so.

Orange Minoru
In the end, it was the lining that saved me. That, and a VERY unlikely fashion inspiration.

Orange Minoru
I will tell you who it is, but you have to promise you won’t make fun of me.

Orange Minoru
Orange Minoru
PROMISE?

andy2
That would be ol’ Andy Bernard from the US version of The Office.
I told you it was weird (and the ~punk rock~ 15 year old in me is weeping right now), but for real – he wears some of the most amazing preppy color combinations! Pink, navy, orange, red, yellow – it’s all sooo good. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy, but I want my whole wardrobe to mimic his, at least as far as the colors go.

Orange Minoru
Which is exactly why my Minoru turned out awesome. Navy polka dots fix EVERYTHING.

Orange Minoru
And check it out: It matches this sweet silk scarf my mom bought me (now I need to find a way to wear it so it doesn’t look so much like a tie, hmm)

Orange Minoru
Anyway, enough about Andy & Co, back to meeeee

Orange Minoru
I only made a few changes to the pattern – the most noticeable being that I lined the hood. I think the lining is so bright and fun, I wanted it to show when I had the hood out!

Orange Minoru
I omitted the elastic cuffs at the bottom of the sleeves – I found that the original length of the sleeve was long enough without an added cuff. And anyway, I don’t care much for elastic cuffs. As a bonus, I can flip the hem of the sleeves up and show off that fun lining :)

Orange Minoru
Oh, yeah, and I added side seam pockets!
This was EASY: I used the pocket piece from my Tiramisu patttern (you can use whatev, but I love the size of this one – it’s perfect for what I need to carry) and inserted the pockets about 1.5″ below the waist markings, understitched, and then sewed up the sides as normal (no topstitching, though, I didn’t want to sew those pockets closed!). Note – when hemming, make sure you don’t grab those pockets before you topstitch the hem :) Depending on their size, they may hang low enough.

CIMG0051
The final change I made was to add lining to both pieces of the collar – the pattern only has you line the side where the zipper is inserted (for a clean finish all the way around, and yeah it’s pretty brilliant). However, when you open up the zipper and pull out the hood – you can see the “wrong side” of the collar fabric. I just basted another piece of lining on top of that; now you can see the lining when I pull the hood out.

Orange Minoru
Orange Minoru
I love the hood – it makes me feel all fancy.

Orange Minoru
I have NO IDEA what I’m doing in this picture, but I thought it was too hilarious not to share!

Orange Minoru

Orange Minoru

Orange Minoru

Orange Minoru
My only beef with this jacket is that the material is quite thick, which means the collar is all kinds of crazy huge when the hood is stuffed into it. See what I mean? This wouldn’t be nearly an issue with a lighter weight fabric. The collar isn’t even interfaced – the fabric is just, well, ~robust.

Orange Minoru
But, you know… I think it looks pretty good :)

One more secret and then I’ll stop – I couldn’t find 2″ white elastic for the life of me. I ended up having to this stuff:
Orange Minoru
Underwear elastic. So yeah, anytime you see me in this coat… that’s underwear elastic in the back.

One last thing, assuming you’re not experiencing a Lauren Overload right now (sorry sorry!)- I wanted to give a head’s up that I’m participating in Marie’s Watch This Lace group project, and my make just got posted up yesterday! Yeah!

Lace Cinnamon Slip

If you want to read more about it (and see more pictures!), hop on over and take a lurk!

Orange Minoru
Ok, that’ll be all.

Pattern Testing: The Alma Blouse

2 Aug

I actually finished this blouse almost 2 months ago ago & I have been DYING to share it with you guys! This is Sewaholic’s newest pattern, the Alma Blouse. I got to be one of the pattern tester’s for this. I LOVE being a pattern tester, by the way – something about being able to not only see a pattern before the rest of the world, but even sew it up?! Count me in! It doesn’t hurt when the pattern in question is something totally awesome that I absolutely would have bought anyway. Double yay!

Alma Blouse
Am I right, though? This blouse is totally cute – and I love that it’s a woven top that is *not* a button-up. Those kinds of options are few & far in between. This is version A, with the cap sleeves & notched neckline.

I did make a few changes to the pattern – you’ll notice that it is much more form-fitting than Tasia’s sample photos. I did originally cut it in a straight size 4, but the muslin was a bit more blousey than what I am comfortable wearing. The final piece is a size 4 at the bust, tapered to a 0 at the waist & a 2 at the shoulders & hips. I did not do any sort of FBA besides grading the pattern sizes. I did take about 1/4″ out of the center back seam, but the end result is a little snug so I’ll probably slap that back in for future Almas (and yes, there will be future Almas). I pinched about 1/4″ out of the sleeves because they originally stuck out too far – I have small shoulders, though, and this is a pretty typical alteration for me.

Alma Blouse
One thing that I love about this pattern is that it closes with a side invisible zipper – which makes it possible to be so form-fitting (yet still be able to get it on).

Alma Blouse
Man, I love those tiny cap sleeves. They are super flattering!

Alma Blouse
Also, I can personally vouch that this pattern is suitable for plaids – everything matched up beautifully! And since there aren’t a lot of pieces involved, the process of cutting/matching isn’t really much of a horror story.

Alma Blouse

Alma Blouse
Look at how much shorter my hair is in these pictures! Haha! I took these about 2 months ago :)

Alma Blouse
The only design changes I made were actually post-construction – I felt like the notched collar was getting lost in the plaid, so I added a row of rick-rack 1″ from the edge. I also cut a tiny pocket on the bias, because tiny pockets are adorable.

Alma Blouse
I love the waist tie! I think that might be what sets this blouse over the top – of course, it looks great without the tie, but one of my favorite ways to wear it is tucked in to a high-waisted skirt with the tie as a belt. Of course, it looks great untucked too!

Alma Blouse
Sorry the lighting in this picture is so bad! The fabric is a light cotton/poly plaid seersucker, one of the many that my mom picked up at a yard sale for me a few months ago :) Thanks, mom!

Alma Blouse
The pocket is really simple to make – I sketched until I had a shape that I liked, then traced it onto a cardboard template. When I cut the fabric, I added my seam allowance & used the cardboard template to press the seam allowance back so everything would be crisp & even. I figured out the placement by putting the shirt on & holding the pocket up until I was happy with the way it looked. Easy!

Final words: I’m totally happy with this pattern, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a way to make tops with wovens that don’t involve a bunch of button holes front & center. There are several options in the pattern, which is great since that makes it work for all seasons :) Thinking about making a long sleeved version next – with embroidery on the peter pan collar! Ooh la la!

Alma Blouse
Now run – don’t walk – over to the pattern store & pick up your own copy!

Completed: Gingham Thurlow Trouser Shorts

23 Jul

Fair warning: I am way WAY excited about pattern. Words cannot express.

When Tasia announced that she was releasing a Trouser pattern specifically for those of us with a generous lower half, I was already pretty excited. As with, well, *everyone* who sews pants, there are always mounds of alterations that need to be done before you can even cut into your fabric. For me especially, it’s the kind of stuff that requires a muslin & flat pattern adjusting – the adjustments don’t fare well with pinching & letting out seams. So naturally, I’ve kept my eye out for pattern companies that cater to my body shape so I can deal with less alterations. I already knew this pattern was going to be a go, regardless of the style – but wait, have you actually seen these trousers??? OMG WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE.

I think Sewaholic might be my new favorite pattern company. I’ve made up a handful of her patterns, and the more I see/work with, the more I’m just incredibly impressed. This pattern is no exception – it is wonderful. Thanks to the extra ease allowed for curvy hips & full thighs (and a narrow waist!), these fit almost perfectly straight out of the envelope. There are a million little pieces, but everything goes together supremely well & the instructions are clear & straightforward without being dumbed down. These shorts weren’t just sewn – they were practically engineered.

So anyway, let’s talk about my shorts!

Gingham Shorts
This gingham was one of the few pieces I allowed myself to buy during the biannual 50% off sale at my local fabric store (I’m saving my pennies for Chicago, eep!). I REALLY wanted giant gingham shorts, although a few people gave me the side-eye when I showed them the fabric lol. Whatever, I love them! The fabric is quite sheer, so almost every single piece (save for a couple facings) is underlined with cotton batiste. Cutting out all those pieces, plus making sure the gingham matched up, plus underlining – I think I spent close to 3 hours just prepping everything for sewing! Totally worth it, though. And as an encouragement to anyone who fears plaids – cutting it out kinda sucks. A lot. But once it’s cut, everything goes together with very little drama.

Gingham Shorts
Like I said, the muslin fit pretty well straight out of the envelope. I usually have to make a few drastic changes to my pattern (adding room for a full butt, reducing the waistband circumference & shortening the crotch), so this was a relief! I did pinch out the tiniest bit of length from the front crotch – about 1/4″ maybe, tapering to nothing at the side seams. I also added another small wedge extension – again, about 1/4″ – to the back crotch for a tiny bit of extra room. These are a size 0, btw. Haven’t fit into that size in a few years haha :)

Gingham Shorts
The only design change I made to the pattern was cutting the waistbands & welt pockets on the bias – I didn’t want to deal with matching those stripes. I do have a little bit of rippling at the waistband, which I also had with my Clover jeans (which, come to think of it, that waistband was also cut on the bias. Hmmmmm). But it’s no big deal – I just pressed the shit outta it. Ironing solves everything!

Gingham Shorts
I also took about 2″ off the hem – the original length is a smidge too long for my frame. And anyway, I like wearing short shorts. Deal with it.

Gingham Shorts
Don’t my welt pockets look gooood? I think those & all the action going on with those fly facings (patience, grasshopper, we’ll be looking at that in a minute!) make these pants look super nice. I may make the pockets a little deeper next time, however – these are only about 2″ deep! No room for the wallet!

Here are some close-ups (I told you! I’ve gone craaaazy!)
Gingham Shorts

Gingham Shorts
(I am very sorry, I have no idea why this is so blurry!)

Gingham Shorts
As you can see, I couldn’t get the pocket area to line up perfectly, gingham-wise. The lines on the leg are straight, though, so I guess it’s ok!

Gingham Shorts

Gingham Shorts - front

Gingham Shorts - fly facing
Isn’t the facing fabric so pretty?! It was a (handmade)pillowcase I found at the Goodwill Outlet. I barely had enough to cut all my facing pieces. I just love the colors against the black & white gingham.

Gingham Shorts - inside
You know, in retrospect, I should have checked that the bobbin thread was white when I was stitching on the waistband – that black thread on the waistband facing looks kinda dumb.

Gingham Shorts - back

Gingham Shorts - welt pockets
Close-up of welt-y goodness :)
Oh, and just for the record – I used ONLY the instructions to assemble these. No additional help via books or blog posts for that fly/facing or the welt pockets (these are the first welt pockets I have ever sewn, btw). The instructions were great & I am pleased with the results!

Gingham Shorts - inside welt pocket
Oh, and not only do the pockets have these fun insides, but they are also faced with the gingham so it doesn’t show when you’re just walking around or whatever. I’m telling you – this pattern is legit!

I’m so so thrilled with my first pair of these – I can’t wait to make more! I want to make some corduroy shorts for winter (I’ve never been one for shorts with tights but I think this style of short would actually look really good!), and of course trousers. Trousers in every color, wheee!

Gingham Shorts

Gingham Shorts

me-made-may'13

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