Tag Archives: shirt

Completed: My Perfect Tshirt

18 Dec

One neverending sewing quest of mine (that is admittedly quite stupid, to be honest) is the lifelong search of my perfect tshirt fit. Nice and fitted with good scoop neck – you’d think this would be easy to find, but nooo. I haven’t really found a tshirt pattern that was 100% exactly what I wanted, through and through. There have been plenty of “almosts” – you know the kind, you wear them around for a day, perform a little machine surgery in the evening, and after a couple of tweaks, they’re pretty spot-on. Those are nice. Sometimes, though, you want it to be right the first time. And therein lies my problem.

Heart Sweater

I do love the Renfrew pattern. Loooove it! It’s a really really good beginner tshirt pattern, and I love all the options it comes with. My only complaints are that it’s a bit too loose for my tastes (I think you guys have figured out by now that I prefer my clothing to be painted on), and I feel like the scoop neck sits a little too high. As far as super basic tshirt patterns go – that’s about the only option I’ve tried. Other patterns (Plantain, Briar, SJ, Coco, Bronte, etc etc) are lovely, but they’re a bit more specialized than what I’m going for (aka, PLAIN. Plain tshirt!). Nettie was real close, but it’s just a smidge too tight (I mean, that makes sense – it’s a bodysuit ffs) and I couldn’t get the shoulders and back to work with my body, no matter how much I tweaked them.

The really stupid part about this is that once I started my ~Tshirt quest~, it got harder and harder (or I got pickier and pickier). I admit, I even tried some RTW shirts to see if maybe I should just suck it up and buy them from now on – but those are even worse, not to mention most of them require some kind of tweaking (taking in the side seams, cutting off length, shoulder seams in the wrong spot, *something*). Which, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to pay $30 for a fucking tshirt that I have to then ALTER. That’s just dumb. So I kept looking for a pattern, kept not finding exactly what I wanted.

Heart Sweater

Soooo I *made* my own pattern. Before you get too excited – I didn’t draft this thing (I don’t want to say I’ll never draft a pattern ever, because I know things change – but, right now, I don’t ever want to draft patterns. Nope.). It’s a Frankenpattern that combines my favorite elements of my favorite patterns, and is now my favorite tshirt pattern. Yay for Frankenpatterns!

To make this baby up, I started with the Lady Skater bodice, because I really love the way it fits. I then compared the neckline to the one on the Nettie bodysuit, because, seriously, Nettie has the best neckline options. This resulted in me scooping the front neckline of the traced pattern just a bit more, to get that nice deep scoop (the kind of scoop that would show cleavage, if I still had cleavage to show off. Wah, I miss my boobs!). I kept the back neckline high, like a normal tshirt. I measured the length of the Lady Skater against the length of the Renfrew and some of my favorite finished tshirts, then adjusted accordingly (if you’re curious – I added the length via relatively straight line, aka, did not flare out into an hourglass shape. I don’t wear my shirt hems around my hips, so having the extra room there just looks silly. A straight cut looks better on me). Finally, I traced off the sleeves and bindings for the Lady Skater – this isn’t completely necessary, but I’ve learned that when I steal my pattern pieces from the envelope, sometimes they don’t make it back. It’s easier to just give the Frankenpattern it’s own pieces so I don’t end up digging and hunting later down the line, you know?

Heart Sweater

Heart Sweater

I think the resulting shirt is pretty close to being perfect for me! I probably need to redraw that neck curve – it looks a little square – and maybe add one more inch of length. The length here is fine-ish; I hemmed it that long so it would work with the skirt I’m wearing. But I sort of hate how it looks with pants. Or maybe I should just make higher-waisted pants? That would totally be easier, right?

Heart Sweater

Isn’t this fabric so fun? It reminds me of some of the ridiculous shit I wore in my early 20s – lots of cutesy patterns, hoodies, and hearts (I used to buy a lot of my clothes on the sales rack after Valentines Day and/or Halloween, because those are the best prints haha). I found it on the remnants rack at one of my local fabric shops, Textile Fabrics. There was a yard and a half waiting for me, and the price was something crazy good (I think it was around $11? Yay for the remnant rack! Too bad the normal prices at Textile aren’t that awesome :P haha). It’s acrylic, which is kind of lame and not at all warm (and honestly doesn’t wear toooo well – it’s already starting to pill a little), but at least I can throw it in the washing machine and not worry about wool shrinkage! It’s also fine for layering, as evidenced by my silk georgette button up underneath.

Oh yeah, I should add – if this outfit looks eerily similar, that’s because I took these photos on the same day I took the photos for my last blog post. HAHA. Whatever, my hair looked good that day and I had to take advantage of that.

Heart Sweater

Heart Sweater

Here it is without the under layer. I used a black rib knit for the neckband and cuffs (originally from Mood Fabrics, but it appears to be sold out on their website now), and assembled everything on my serger. The hem is finished with a twin needle. That’s it! Pretty sure this whole thing from start to finish – once I made the pattern, that is – took less than an hour to make.

Heart Sweater

Anyway, it’s nice to have a go-to pattern now that I know I can whip up and not have to fiddle with fitting! I think this particular pattern could use a couple more small tweaks, but it’s definitely on it’s way :) I’ve already made a few lightweight undershirts with it, and those are great in this cold because they are fitted enough to keep the heat around my body where it belongs.

What about you? Do you have a perfect-fitting tshirt pattern (either one I’ve mentioned that just ~does it~ for you, or maybe you have a new love that you want to introduce me to!)? Have you ever Frankenpatterned something to suit your needs, or are you the sort of lucky person who gets their TNT from a purchased pattern? Are you sick of me talking about tshirts? Man, I love tshirts.

deal with it

Completed: Butterick 5526, in silk georgette

15 Dec

Ah, Butterick 5526. I just can’t quit you.

White Silk Double Georgette B5526

This pattern is truly a TNT//tried’n’true for me at this point. I’ve made it several times – in various fabric weights and drapes, always tweaking the fit as I go – and it’s turned out to be my very favorite shirt pattern. I am pretty sure I’m repeating myself at this point, but JUST IN CASE YOU WEREN’T READING THE FIRST TIME – I fucking love this pattern!

Since I’ve already beat this pattern to the ground as far as shirting fabrics are concerned, I figured I might give myself a little challenge for the next make. And by “challenge,” I mean went temporarily insane and decided to make this up in some silk georgette.

White Silk Double Georgette B5526

White Silk Double Georgette B5526

And it turned out pretty good! Just don’t look too close ;) Silk georgette is a slippery little beast, after all. Also, sorry about all the creases – I took these photos after wearing the shirt all day with a sweater over it. Turns out silk REALLY likes to set itself some creases!

White Silk Double Georgette B5526

I was bound and determined to have this ready in time for my London adventure – I just knew the shirt would look great under my various sweaters, as well as on it’s own (well, with a tank underneath it. It’s pretty sheer on it’s own! It’s not so noticeable in these photos, but… trust me.). The fabric is very thin, lightweight and drapey – which meant I could even get away with wearing it under a ponte tshirt. I knew silk would be a good bet because it’s so warm, plus, it would give me an entirely different look from my white cotton B5526 (nothing wrong with that shirt, by the way – except that the weird sleeve length means I can’t wear it with long sleeves. Which is why I’m making a second white button up. No judgement here). Based on my experience with the birdy silk geogrette of my dreams (and no, I still haven’t cut into my remaining yardage – too many options to choose from, can’t decide, HALP), I thought I’d give the fabric another try. At any rate, at least it won’t be shiny satin silk. I hate that stuff when it’s not part of a lining. Sorry.

I bought this silk double georgette from the Mood Fabrics website, sight unseen, only to find out that… well, it wasn’t *quite* the same as the bird silk. It’s much thinner – it’s basically sheer. I understand that the description explicitly states that, yet I still ignored it. It also has quite a bit of stretch, which is not ANYWHERE in the description. Whoops. Shoulda ordered a swatch, but I didn’t have time to wait. And I didn’t have time to buy something else, so I dealt with the cards fabric I was given.

White Silk Double Georgette B5526

Like I said, it’s mostly good. The worst part of the process was cutting this beast – talk about a PAIN IN MY ASS. The fabric is so shifty and I swear those pieces were moving around just to torment me. I usually don’t have too much of a problem with cutting shifty fabrics – I just rip the cut edge to get a straight line, match the selvedges and pin the hell out of them (buying a decent-quality fabric that’s already on grain really helps, fyi. If you’re going to go sheer/shifty, don’t cheap out!), and then pin all my pattern pieces as well. That simply did not work as well for this fabric. It basically didn’t want to be made into a shirt, and it fought with me every step of the way.

But I ended up winning, so there’s that.

White Silk Double Georgette B5526

To sew, I used my finest needle (70/10 Microtex) and my walking foot (since, again, shifty fabric). I used French seams for every part of this shirt and omitted most of the topstitching. I say most because I did topstitch the button band, but it ended up causing so much shifty drama that I decided to skip the rest and finish the collar stand by hand.

For the hem, I used bias facing, since the thought of rolling that hem made me want to cry. Bias facing was certainly easier, but it’s not really my best work on this shirt. For one, I didn’t have the right fabric – I was completely out of georgette (used up the whole yardage cutting the pieces, go me) and I don’t have any lightweight white silk in my stash. I did have some peach-colored silk (the same stuff I used to finish my boiled wool SJ sweater neckline), which worked out since it matches my skin tone at least. I must have done some crazy witchcraft distortion on the hem because it is now VERY wavy. But, you know what? Fuck it. I plan on wearing this thing tucked in for the most part anyway.

Also, it wasn’t until after I finished the shirt that I remembered I wanted to try to draft a v-neck for it. HA HA HA! Obviously that did not happen! Better luck next time!

White Silk Double Georgette B5526

Anyway, whatever. It’s pretty. I finished it on time. I wore the shirt out of it in London. People there probably think I don’t have any other clothes. Yay!

Have some close-ups and I will point out my mistakes so we can laugh together:

White Silk Double Georgette B5526

The tag is accurate. It is also hiding a big pleat in the collar stand facing that mysteriously grew longer than the interfaced side (I dunno, either).

White Silk Double Georgette B5526

I was ridiculously proud of how nice the sleeve plackets turned out, until I tried on the shirt and discovered that the sleeves were somehow too long (they still are, if you didn’t notice). I trimmed them as much as I dared, and as a result – my placket is maaaaybe 1″ long. It’s the saddest little weenie placket ever. I mean, it’s not the worst deal because I can still roll my sleeves up, but… yeah. Fuck you, weenie placket.

White Silk Double Georgette B5526

Here is my faced hem. Hey, it actually looks pretty nice in this picture!

White Silk Double Georgette B5526

Ok, I think that’s it! I do love the shirt – it hasn’t deterred me from my beloved B5526, or even silk georgette for that matter (I will try you again, and I WILL conquer your ass. I will also buy a swatch first, because, ~*YOLO*~). Despite the dramz that occurred to make this shirt (and also the fact that it took like 2 months to complete because I was right in the midst of the V1419 sewalong, argh), I feel pretty good about it. It’s definitely a good staple for the ol’ closet, and it served me well in London.

Sidenote: I did also make the shirt I’m wearing in these photos. It’s a Colette Mabel and I used this incredible black virgin wool sweater knit that is now sadly sold out of the Mood website. It’s super thick and cozy and I LOVE it. That is all.

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.

Completed: Butterick 5526, in Chambray

18 Jul

Good morning, everyone!

Sooo, anyway… remember when I said I was going to use that other chambray to make Butterick 5526 but ended up coaxing it into a Hawthorn instead? Well, I still wanted that damn chambray shirt – lucky for me, I had more in my stash! Check it out!

Chambray Buterick 5526

GOD, I JUST LOVE CHAMBRAY.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Seriously, tho, if you follow my Instagram, you probably noticed a couple weeks ago that it was Unofficial Chambray Week in my sewing room. Part of the reason for that is because I have been experimenting with starting multiple projects at once, then working through them all in succession. That probably makes no sense. What I mean is, I’ll prep 2-3 projects at once (cutting, interfacing, marking), pile them at the end of my table, and then complete each project by itself. I’m still working on one project at a time – but I’ve prepped multiples in the queue, so I don’t have to stop and cut the next one, thus losing my steam (oh, who the fuck am I kidding, I never lose steam. Not when it concerns sewing, anyway :P). This particular week, I was trying to stick with projects that use the same color thread/serger thread, because I dunno. Changing thread isn’t exactly difficult, as we all know.

But anyway, that shit’s fun – to get all the cutting out of the way at once, and then you have a glorious week to focus on dressmaking (or whatevermaking). I’ve blabbed on and on about taking advantage of short time chunks, and I’ve found it’s much easier to do that when you don’t have to set aside time and space every time you want to cut a new pattern (I don’t know about y’all, but I like to do it all in one fell swoop. So when it’s time to get my cut on, I need a long uninterrupted stretch of time to take care of business).

Chambray Buterick 5526

So anyway, I cut a Hawthorn AND a button down, and they were both chambray because they both used the same thread (and dammit, I want both of those chambray goodies in my closet by the end of the week, DAMMIT!) and there’s that.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Also, you probably noticed, but I’m wearing my Crazy Paisley Hollyburn AGAIN. That skirt with this top is just too good.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Chambray Buterick 5526

I’m still tweaking this pattern every time I sew it. Isn’t that what makes something TNT – you’ve used it enough to where you’ve ironed out every little kink in the fit and construction, so you just know it’ll work when you make it up? Butterick 5526 isn’t quite a TNT for me, yet, but it’s on it’s way! I’ve made it 3 times now (see versions one and two), and each version just gets a little better than the previous.

Chambray Buterick 5526

I tried to make the sleeves the correct length on this version. My first one – the white button down – used the 3/4 sleeves that were really more like 7/8 sleeves. Like, wtf, those things looked like they were just a couple inches too short! So, with that in mind, I knew I wanted long sleeves for this shirt (not for now, but maybe in the future, or when I complain about the cold if/when the night temperatures drop to 75 lolz), so I checked against a couple other long sleeved shirts in my closet and transferred that measurement (minus the cuff, of course) to my pattern piece. I double-checked every measurement, but still ended up with something slightly too short! DERP. So the sleeves on this shirt will just be perma-rolled up. And that’s ok! It’s all a trial and error at this point anyway :)

Chambray Buterick 5526

Chambray Buterick 5526

They do look good rolled up though, huh? I can’t even tell you how pleased I am with those sleeve tabs. BEYOND pleased!

Chambray Buterick 5526

Chambray Buterick 5526

This chambray is pretty freaking amazing. It’s from The Fabric Studio here in Nashville. Where my Hawthorn chambray has a crisp drape and loads of body, this one is so lightweight and soft that it’s a little bit see through. Which is why I thought it would make a great button down – even with the sleeves – since it’s like I’m wearing chambray colored air. The looseness of the shirt really compliments the drape of the fabric, and the color almost has a sheen. It also doesn’t wrinkle as much as you would think – I took these photos after a full day of wearing the shirt, and while it has some “wearing” wrinkles, they just look comfy and relaxed, you know? I. LOVE. IT.

Chambray Buterick 5526

It’s also, like, $8 a yard. So it’s affordable chambray perfection! (and before you ask – yes, The Fabric Studio will ship! Contact Nancy here!)

Chambray Buterick 5526

For a fabric as light as this stuff, it didn’t take a lot of extra effort when it came to sewing everything together (or cutting, for that matter). It is on the delicate side, so be aware of pin holes (or use fine silk pins, if you got ‘em!) and be careful ripping out stitching because you will totally rip the fabric (ask me how I know about that…). But, just like the heavier chambray – it sews and presses like a dream. I enjoyed every single minute of working on this shirt, and it totally shows!

Chambray Buterick 5526

Look at that beautiful topstitched cuff! I only interfaced one side of the cuff (the pattern has you interface the entire cuff piece, so when it’s folded you will have two layers of interfacing), so the fabric would maintain it’s pretty lightweight drape. Too bad no one will ever seen the cuff since the sleeve is too short! Ha!

Chambray Buterick 5526

There’s another one of those sleeve tabs that I’m just stupidly proud of. I think they really make the shirt.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Oh yeah! The buttons are also from Fashion Sewing Supply – just classic white shirt buttons. Very simple, but they look so polished and clean with this chambray.

Chambray Buterick 5526

So, yeah. Another basic closet staple that should be boring (and y’all might be yawning, but oh well, my blog->my rules, aka sorry not sorry), but it’s pretty exciting to me! Chambray goes with everythingggg, so this is a great top to have to pair with all my skirts and pants. I would almost say this is the kind of shirt one could wear for a week straight without anyone noticing, except, I definitely did that as a preteen and someone definitely noticed*. Then again, do I really care? Naw.

Couple more things-
– Damn, y’all went crazy over my recent Vogue pattern review. There are a lot of good comments on that post – some defending some of the patterns (even comparing them to runway version, which is all kinds of awesome to see), some making their own hilarious jokes, oh, and some from The McCall Pattern Company themselves. Forreal! If you haven’t had a chance to read through the comments on that post, you should definitely give them a lurk – McCall’s (who owns the Vogue Patterns line) has proven themselves to have an amazing sense of humor, as well as a really graceful way of handling some not-so-nice feedback. They have been very active in the comments – not in a butthurt way, so sorry if you’re looking for dramz ;) – and answering questions from readers. I, for one, had no idea that the designers actually choose the fabric that is used for the designer patterns. Vogue has nothing to do with that (although they do choose fabric for all other pattern categories, just not designer). So some of those awful fabric choices should have their blame shifted to the designer. The things you learn!
more u
– Omgg you guys – my Weekend Pants-Making Intensive class at Workroom Social has officially sold out! Cannot WAIT to meet, hang, and of course, sew with y’all who all signed up! It is going to be a fabulous weekend! Didn’t make the class and are regretting that decision? You can sign up for the wait list here and cross your fingers :) Everyone else – I’ve got a free afternoon/evening on Friday, where I plan to destroy my bank account with fabric purchases. Anyone want to join me in the Garment District and/or possibly for drinks afterward (I hear there is an outdoor bar at Bryant Park nearby, which sounds amazing!)? Shoot me an email! lladybirdlauren at gmail dot com :)
– Lastly (and I know this has NOTHING to do with sewing but it’s my blog and duh I do what I want), have y’all ever heard of the ride service Lyft? It’s like a taxi service, except the drivers use their own cars and the costs are much much cheaper. Everything is run through the app, including payment – so you don’t have to deal with cash or credit cards, and you can pay up to 24 hours after the ride has ended. It’s really fun and a great way to get around if you don’t have a car/plan on drinking/hate driving. Anyway, the reason why I’m telling you this is because my best friend recently signed on to be a driver, and that means free Lyft rides for everyone! Really! If you’ve never used Lyft before, download the app and use the code MORGAN1407 for a free ride up to $25. No strings attached (unless you go over the $25 credit, but that would be a looong ride. One person I know here managed to hit $30 once, and that was for a 20+ mile ride), just free ride goodness! It does have to be active in your city, but the company is growing fast so definitely check! Just remember to input the code into your app (in the payment section) BEFORE you take your first ride, so you can actually use the credit. And, sorry babes, but this is first-time riders only (I know!!). But yeah! Go forth and get you some free rides!

*ok, it was a shiny blue polyester button down from Rave, and it was totally my favorite shirt. Also, when it was pointed out that I’d worn the same shirt for multiple weeks in a row (so not technically days in a row, but every Sunday to church. For at least a couple of months, haha), I was so mortified that I never wore it again. RIP, shiny blue shirt.

Completed: The Bronte Top

2 Jul

This is totally my new favorite outfit. I TOLD y’all I was gonna wear the hell of out this navy Hollyburn skirt! I love looking like an American Flag, ok.

Bronte Top

Today, though, let’s just focus on the top.

Bronte Top

This is the Bronte top, a new release from Jennifer Lauren Vintage. Sewn up in a knit fabric, this is obviously not your standard tshirt – the lapped shoulder/neckline detail almost make it look like you’re wearing a dainty shrug, and it’s a nice nod to the 40s without looking super costumey vintage. As soon as I saw this pattern, I knew I had to have it. Don’t get me wrong – I love plain, basic tshirts. I make and wear them all the time. But, let’s be real – there are only so many ways you can design a plain tshirt. This pattern gives a little extra oomph in an unexpected way, and I love it!

Bronte Top

Upfront disclaimer: I was given this pattern free of charge, in exchange for a review. Although, I’ll be honest – I was planning on buying it anyway, because it’s a really cute style that’s completely different from anything I’ve seen around the sewing world. I was also madly interested to learn how the neckline was finished. This review is going to sound completely biased because I really love the pattern and how the finished top turned out. Sorry! It’s just that good.

Bronte Top

Like I said, this pattern is designed for knits, and the first couple of pages are dedicated to helping you choose an appropriate fabric and set your machine up to handle sewing it (assuming you don’t have a serger). Pretty helpful stuff if you’re a knit n00b! One part even compares the appropriate fabric to feeling the same way as underwear fabric, which cracked me up to no end (seeing how much I talk about butts on this blog, I’d reckon y’all probably know how much I appreciated that reference ahaha). But, I mean, it makes sense! The same weight of knit fabric that’s used to make comfy undies would be PERFECT for this top. Plus, you could use the extra yardage left over to make, well, undies.

Bronte Top

I sewed up the size 6, and made no alterations. I’m pretty happy with the fit, although I think I got a little too stretch-happy with the binding and now it sort of gathers where it should lie flat. Oops. I’m so used to modifying my bindings for every top I make (I guess I just like them tighter than how they’re drafted), that I did it without even really thinking. Next time I make this, I’ll go with the binding length as written in the pattern, because as you can see in my photos vs everyone else’s – the binding should definitely sit more flat. Oh well, live and learn!

Speaking of the binding, if you’re curious – it’s sewn on the same way as I think most of us are familiar with. Folded in half, sewn to the right side and flipped back. Works pretty well, though!

Bronte Top

I did make a few changes to the construction, just because I like my knits sewn a certain way, which may not necessarily be the “easiest” way (but I think it looks the nicest!). I did not hem my sleeves until the side seams were sewn up – I like my hems to be a complete circle, don’t like a seam cutting them in half. I also only turned the bottom hem up once, instead of doubled-up. The instructions are very beginner-focused, but they’re easy to skip over if you don’t need the hand-holding.

Bronte Top

My fabric is this red and white striped cotton jersey from Mood Fabrics, with the white binding being some leftover cotton knit from Organic Cotton Plus. The jersey is a little lighter than the pattern suggests, but it works out very nicely. Getting the stripes to match wasn’t much of an ordeal as there are only a couple of pattern pieces to deal with. I sewed everything up on my serger, minus the topstitching, which I did with a twin needle.

Bronte Top

The pattern has you tack down the overlap at the very end – if you don’t attach it down somehow, it will flop open and look stupid. I just went back over my topstitching a second time in that one little section (for each side), but you can also use buttons or other trims to embellish the neckline.

Bronte Top

One surprising thing I really LOVED about this whole experience was the printing part. Ok, actually, I hate printing PDF patterns – like, I’ll go out of my way to avoid it. First I have to find a fucking printer (which I don’t have – well, not one that works – and yes I know it’s the 21st century), then I have to print a bunch of test pages to get the sizing right, then I have to take the thing home and tape it together before I can even start sewing! Argh! Taping together is the worst part, forreal. So, let me back up. I didn’t enjoy the actual printing of this pattern (which I’m pretty sure no one does, amirite), but the taping part was significantly less traumatizing than it normally is. The way the pages are taped together means that each piece gets it’s own set of taped pages – so, instead of ending up with a giant swath of tiled paper (that’s the part I hate – it’s always too big for my table, and takes up the entire floor and I have to crawl around it like a fucking insect. Whyyyy), you’ve got a little stack of smaller tiled papers, each one with one pattern piece to cut out. GENIUS. That shit is pure genius. Why doesn’t everyone tile their PDFs like this?

I also used a tape gun to stick the whole thing together, which made the whole process move a helluva lot faster. Mine’s not pink, though, I kind of wish it was now.

Bronte Top

So that’s it! Overall, I really like the pattern and I’ll definitely sew it again (I’d love to try the long sleeve version, but I’m going to wait until the temperature here is a little less like Hell). You can buy the pattern here, should you feel so inclined :)

Also, just a fun fact – but my name is Jennifer Lauren too :) Obviously I go by my middle name, but HOW COOL IS THAT.

A couple more things!
– Say helloooo to my newest sponsor, Indie Sew! Indie Sew doesn’t just sell sewing patterns (but they do – they have lots of great PDFs from various designers); they are also a sewing community for sharing and discovering new blogs. I especially love how they have a gallery where you can upload your creations – and it shows up on the pattern sales page (which I find EXTREMELY helpful, since sometimes the pattern artwork doesn’t necessarily appeal to me for whatever reason). I just love what they’re doing and I’m super excited to watch this community grow and flourish. Check them out!
– This has been EXPLODING across the blogosphere last week, so sorry to cram this shit down your throats again – but have you heard about Capital Chic Patterns? Run by Sally of Charity Shop Chic, these patterns are a little different from what we currently have on the market. For one – the styles are very fashion-forward, runway-influenced. Don’t get me wrong, I love vintage styles, but Sally’s right in that we kind of already got the market cornered on that ;) For second – the patterns themselves are aimed for intermediate to advanced sewists, not beginners. Can I get a halleluiah?! MAN. I love me some quick’n’easy beginner patterns, and I know the beginners sure love them – but it sure is nice to have patterns that are aimed to flexing our sewing skills. If these two points haven’t convinced you, just take a lurk at the lookbook and drool away.
With all that being said – I actually tested the Cosmopolitan (but I only got as far as a muslin for fit and instructions, as my time was very limited during testing), and I can’t wait to get my hands on some nice wide lace so I can sew it up proper; it’s GORGEOUS. I’ve also got my hands on that White Russian, which I will be sewing up when, again, it’s not Hell Fahrenheit down here.
– We have a winner for the Fashionary Giveaway! Lucky number generator says….

wins1

wins2

Woohoo, congratulations, Trinity (and high-five for committing to a lifetime of crafty!)! Hope you love the book as much as I do :D

Thanks so much for entering and playing along, y’all! It was EXTREMELY interesting to read what kind of crafty/artsy things everyone is into – seems like we have a lot of knitters, musicians, and scientists who hang out over here :) While I’m sorry to say that I only had one Fashionary to give away – otherwise I’d give all y’all one – you can still buy the red book if you want to join Team Matchy :) (go on, do it, you know you wanna~!)

Completed: The Striped Button-Down

14 Apr

A couple of weeks ago, Landon and I went to the mall – specifically, Gap – to find him a new pair of jeans. While we were browsing around (well, he was browsing – I just kind of lurking and judging the shit out of everything SORRY), I came across this stripey button-down goodness. I was mostly enamored with the horizontal stripes – loose fitting shirts aren’t so much my bag, and besides, those long sleeves would get worn for about two weeks in this climate – so I thought I’d make my own with a few modifications.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

And make it I did! Woohoo!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

This was definitely a waffling sort of project – I waffled on what style of shirt to cut, I waffled on stripe direction, I waffled on sleeve length, and I waffled on buttons. Fortunately, everything came together quite well and I’m super pleased with the end result!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

I started out with my base pattern, Butterick 5526, since I knew this little dude already fit me pretty well. I knew I’d be using this pattern from the start, but what I waffled on was which view to cut – straight lines or princess seams? Obviously the straight, less fitted view would be more true to the original inspiration – not to mention easier to cut and match up those stripes. However, I don’t really like weight loose-fitting clothing – and when I do, it either better be something super drapey (which this shirting fabric is not) or, like, the dead of winter. Princess seams were the next option, which seemed like a good idea until I realized that the stripes would start staggering over the bust and not match up properly as a result. I considered cutting the stripes vertically, until I realized THAT would even be a hotter mess – plus, the horizontal stripes are what drew me to the shirt in the first place.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

I took a sewing break to watch some infomericals, and thus realized the answer to my problem:

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

POCKETS!

Hell yeah Imma slap a pocket right over those broken stripes and NO ONE WILL BE THE WISER.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

So. Let’s talk about horizontal stripes across princess seams. As you can see here – it *can* be done. Obviously the stripes won’t match all the way to the top of the seam, but you can cover the worst parts with a pocket, or just pretend they’re not there. I cut all my fabric on the single layer and I’m pretty happy with how my stripe-matching turned out – if you stand back and squint, you can’t even tell that there are seams down the front of my shirt! Yeah!!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

I used this Marc Jacobs red striped cotton shirting from Mood Fabrics to make my stripey shirt. You’ll probably notice that the stripes in the picture are vertical – I had to cut the pattern on the cross grain to get those horizontal stripes. Doing so sacrificed the tiny (like, super super miniscule at best) amount of stretch on the grain, but I think the shirt fits fine as it is. Fair warning if you are working with a more fitted pattern – take the lack of stretch into account if you’re cutting on the crossgrain.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

To match up the stripes, I just sewed reeeeally really carefully (after accurate cutting, I should add!). I really love sewing plaids and stripes – I find the challenge refreshing, and the end result is SO freaking gratifying!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

If you’re at all familiar with this Butterick pattern, you’ll know that it doesn’t come with an option for short sleeves – just long, and 3/4 length (or, rather, on me – almost-but-not-quite-full-length, wtf). Also, the sleeves in this pattern kiiiinda suck – they’re really huge and wide, and the sleeve cap has waaay too much ease, at least for the princess seamed version (the plain version has a lower armsyce, since it’s more loose-fitting. My guess is that Butterick didn’t feel it was necessary to redraft the sleeves to fit the princess version, which is lame and shitty and boo on you, Butterick).

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

Reducing the sleeve cap ease was easy – I just followed Casey’s method. Figuring out how to get my beloved fitted, short sleeve started another bout of waffling. I waffled on sleeve length, I waffled on fit, I waffled on whether or not to add a cuff. In the end, I took about 1/2″ off each side of the sleeve seam, and put the sleeve on and marked where I wanted it to hit. I finished it with a 5/8″ narrow hem. It’s pretty simple, but sometimes simple is the best option, yeah?

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

The only thing I would change for the next round is to lower the pockets – I went with the markings on the pattern, but I think they are a little too high and should be about 1″ lower.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

The pockets were REALLY fun to sew, by the way! Lots of ironing little creases, and turning sharp points, and precise topstitching (my favorite!). I just love how they look, especially with the little pleat in the middle.

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

As with my previous shirt, the seams are finished with a simple serge (I generally prefer flat-felled seams on this style of shirt, but flat-felling princess seams is NOT something I want to try to attempt right now!) and topstitched with a slightly longer stitch length. Besides the trauma of cutting and matching all those pieces, the actual construction of this shirt came together pretty quickly.

Also, I should note that I totally boringed-out on the buttons for this guy, and went with plain off-white shirt buttons. I like the way they look, though! :)

Butterick 5526 - stripes!

And I just love how it turned out! Simple, summery, and a little nautical – without looking costume-y. A win in my book!

As a side note – I mentioned this on Twitter and Instagram last week, but in case you haven’t heard – I’m teaching Introduction to Fashion Sewing this summer at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film! The 9 week class runs all the way through June and July, and I’m so excited about it! Nashvillians, if you’re interested – you can see the summer course catalog here (I’m aaaall the way toward the end, on page 13). Yeeeah summer crafty time! :D

Completed: Runway-Inspired Separates

25 Mar

So, everyone at the Mood Sewing Network decided a couple of months ago that we would challenge ourselves to make pieces that were inspired by the Spring 2014 runway. Real talk: this shit sent me into a panic. Runway? I can honestly say I have never even so much as glanced at a series of runway photos, let alone determined an outfit based on what I saw (I’m not saying this in an ~ooh, I’m so cool I just don’t even pay attention to fashion~ way, more like, yo clueless!). Furthermore, it’s difficult for me to grab “inspiration” from something without just blatantly copying it. I spent an entire month agonizing over designers, pouring over runway sets at style.com (holy crap, there are a lot of them) and wringing my hands over what to make.

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Then I discovered Alberta Ferretti.

Alberta Ferretti Spring 2014

I still don’t know who this designer is, exactly, but the entire runway show is magical. Bright, saturated colors! Crisp white accents! Flowers! Stripes! This is the kind of inspiration I can get behind! I decided to make myself a *wearable* (emphasis on wearable ;)) version of my favorite look.

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Figuring out the fabric and patterns I would use was almost as difficult as picking a designer! I knew I wanted to make a striped skirt with pleats similar to the runway version, because I just really love how that turned out (plus, who doesn’t love a good striped skirt?), but finding a good striped fabric on the Mood Fabrics website was haaard. I mean, they have all sorts of good stripes to choose from – but very little in that specific combination of wide, irregular stripes in bright saturated colors. I know, I know – this is supposed to be an inspiration, not a literal interpretation. But dangit, I wanted those irregular stripes!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I’m not going to tell you how long I spent picking through the Mood website with a fine-tooth comb; let’s just say I probably know every apparel fabric they sell now. I did finally find my big prize, though – this amazingly bright orange stripe cotton sateen is the clear winner. Woohoo! Of course, it clashes with my hair like big time crazy bad, but whatever, I picked all this shit out pre-blue LT. Anyway, I just love love LOVE the bright colors of the stripes – it’s not quite the same colors as the inspiration skirt – it’s way more happy springy! Yay spring colors!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I was originally going to make the fabric in a skirt that is more similar to the runway inspiration – no button front + pleats all the way around – but at the very last minute (like, right before I cut into the fabric, lolz), I changed my mind and decided to go with a pattern I knew I would actually wear and love. Enter the Kelly skirt! Cutting that shit took forever, btw. I agonized for a long time on how to cut the stripes – where each color and wide stripe should hit. I used the inspiration photo to help me decide how to cut the waistband (it was originally going to be a mess of stripes on it’s own, but I like it as one solid, thick stripe!), and was careful to match up the stripes along the side seams, the button front, and the pockets. Like I said, it took forever, but once I got the pieces cut, the actual assembly took no time at all.

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

The fabric is described as a lightweight cotton sateen, but it’s weighty enough to work as a bottom weight. There is definitely some texture in the weave, and it stretches quite a bit. I made sure to stabilize the waistband and button placket so the fabric would keep it’s shape in those areas, and used a long stitch on my machine for all the topstitching. It presses very well – really easy to get a sharp crease in there, yeah! – but it also tends to leave pin holes. For areas that needed to be pinned together and topstitched (such as the button band and inside of the waistband), I fused the pieces with a long strip of stitch witchery instead of pinning; this keeps everything in place and makes topstitching SO much easier! Especially if you tend to miss spots and only discover them after you’ve finished topstitching the seam, which means they gotta be ripped out and restitched so you catch the entire fold (er… not that I would know anything about that…). That shit’s not a problem at all when you’ve got Stitch Witchery on your side. Yay, Stitch Witchery!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Since my skirt is so bright and colorful, I went the boring route with my top and made a classic button-down shirt. I seriously considered adding embellishment – or even making it into a crop top, because, why the fuck not? – but in the end, I stuck with the classic tried and true. Mainly because my wardrobe is sorely lacking a solid white button down with sleeves, so I know this shirt will get quite a bit of wear with other pieces to mix and match. I used this Theory lightweight cotton shirting – which, if you were wondering, took almost as much agonizing as find the perfect stripe. There are SO MANY WHITE SHIRTING FABRICS available at moodfabrics.com! SO FUCKING MANY. Like, how do you even choose? I figured that I’ve had really good experiences with all the Theory denims I’ve bought, so the shirting fabric must be just as excellent. Which ended up being true – this shit is soft as angel’s wings, presses and stitches beautifully, and it’s right along that line of being *almost* sheer because it’s so lightweight. A skin-colored bra is a must with this fabric. The only drawback is that since it’s 100% cotton, it does wrinkle like crazy. Like, when I pulled it out of the dryer, it was a hot mess of wadded wrinkled ball I don’t even know what. Good thing it presses well! :)

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

For my pattern, I used Butterick 5526. Like I said, I knew I wanted a classic button-down shirt but nothing in my stash was exactly what I wanted – everything was either a relaxed fit, or had something twee like a peter pan collar or an abundance of ruffles cascading down the front. Which is fine – clearly I like these patterns enough to even have them in my stash – but I wanted something super basic. Butterick 5526 perfectly fit the bill – I went with the princess-seamed version with 3/4 sleeves, and I’m actually a little surprised at how much I like it. I made the size 6 with no muslin, with the hopes that the princess seams would give me enough room to play around with the fitting. It actually came out perfect straight out of the envelope – I KNOW, RIGHT? – although next time, I will shorten the sleeves because they are stupid long. They’re supposed to be 3/4 and they come to right above my wrists – in that weird spot that’s not quite long sleeve, but rather looks like I measured my arms wrong. Wah wah! I’ll just wear these rolled up, I guess. I also may reduce some of the ease out of the sleeve cap in the next version; these were pretty hard to ease in smoothly and there are still tons of wrinkles. But, for the most part – it ain’t bad!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I did try to jazz up the shirt a little bit by adding topstitching, but for the most part – it’s just a plain jane backdrop to an awesomely loud skirt. I love it!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Ok, now I have to tell you my secret – I didn’t start sewing this until Saturday morning! On top of that, it had to be finished and photographed before dark on Sunday – and I had a wedding to attend on Saturday night. I spent so long agonizing over my designer inspiration, then the fabric, then the pattern – that by the time I had everything (mostly)figured out, it was time for me to get on a plane and head to NY. When I got home on Monday, I had another more urgent deadline that needed to be taken care of asap (more on that later), which put this project on the backburner for a few days. Needless to say – I was pretty stressed come Saturday morning! I like to think I’m pretty efficient when it comes to making things quickly, but even that’s a stretch for me, especially two garments. I’ll be honest – I was tempted to half ass this one, just for the sake of time, but I decided early on that it wasn’t even worth my while if I didn’t end up making something that would be wearable past this photoshoot. Which means I forced myself to slow down – I made time for fitting, for the details like topstitching, for fixing mistakes (oh yeah, I totally sewed that collar stand on backwards the first time NO BIG DEAL), for eating lunch. But hey, look – not only did I actually get it done, but I actually made something nice without cutting corners.

Butterick 5526, made with Mood Fabrics

Butterick 5526, made with Mood Fabrics
I mean, check out that topstitching!

Butterick 5526, made with Mood Fabrics

Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics
Lots of topstitching on the skirt too, woohoo :)

Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

I know my outfit isn’t quite as fashion forward as what I could have done, but I am elated with how both pieces turned out and I can’t wait to give them some proper wear to welcome spring in with loving arms. Come on, spring! I know you’re lurking back there somewhere, time to come out of hiding!

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

One last thing – most of y’all are probably aware by now, but just in case you weren’t… By Hand London is going to start printing fabrics on-demand! How freaking awesome is that?? They need some help with costs to get production started, so they’ve got a Kickstarter going to raise funds. You can get some pretty sweet loot in exchange for your money – from tote bags, to coffee mugs, to free patterns, to private sewing lessons – but even $5 helps. Every little bit adds up! I am so so excited for this new venture that the BHL ladies are seeking out, and I really hope they meet their goal so it can become a reality (especially if it means I can start printing wildly tacky fabric to my heart’s desire). You can check out the Kickstarter here – watch the super cute video, and I dare you not to fall in love. I dare you.

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