Tag Archives: simplicity

Completed: Simplicity 2145

10 Feb

Happy Monday, everyone! I have some good news and I have some bad news. The bad news is – I didn’t make it through the first round of Project Sewn. Bummer! Although, I’ll be honest right now – as soon as I saw who I was competing up against, I immediately figured I’d be one of the first to go :) On the flip side, my girl Oona made it as the winner for the first round! YAY OONA GET IT GIRL. Can’t wait to get some celebratory drinks with you when I’m in NYC next month!

Speaking of my short stint with Project Sewn – I’ve received lots of sweet messages and comments since I was eliminated, and I am absolutely floored by all the support. Aw! You guys! I think some of you were more upset about the elimination than I was :) I’m actually a tiny bit relieved to have that heavy workload off my shoulders. I’m not gonna lie – it was tough trying to coordinate all that sewing (for PS, as well some other ~secret~ side projects, stuff for the Mood Sewing Network, not to mention this blog!), and it got a bit stressful. SO MANY UFOS ALL OVER MY SEWING ROOM. Which is certainly a first world problem, don’t get me wrong, but it is what it is. I really don’t know if sewing contests are for me at this point – I always feel too rushed when I’m making my shizz, and half the time I end up with something that isn’t up to my personal standards. I really loved participating in Project Sewn, and I don’t regret my decision to join one bit, but but I think from here on out, I’ll be staying out of contests like that :)

So, anyway, the GOOD news – my pink dress is already finished and photographed, and since I’m not one to let a perfectly good project go to waste, I’ll be showing y’all a whole DAY earlier than originally planned. Woohoo!

Simplicity 2145

The color is a deep magenta, although it looks quite red in these photos.

Simplicity 2145

This is Simplicity 2145, which is one of those ~be your own designers~ Project Runway patterns. I’m just going to throw this out there – I don’t like the PR patterns. Sorry! The drafting is fine for what it is, but the method of construction (and instructions) is usually pretty subpar in my experience. I suppose the drafting is more important than the instructions (ok, I KNOW the drafting is more important than the instructions, ha), but they are generally intended for “emerging designers” and I think they just set a bad example. I’ve sewn lots of these patterns in the past – they usually have some neat style lines that I don’t find replicated in other patterns – and if I was dealing with those instructions as a beginner, I think I’d give up on sewing entirely. Lots of unfinished edges, missing information (I can’t remember the particular pattern, but I do recall one that spent 3 paragraphs explaining how to sew a dart, and then forgot to tell you to close the side seams. Really!), and the yardage requirements are waaaay too generous.

I guess my point is – if you want to sew these patterns, great, but make sure you have a good instruction book close by. That is all.

Simplicity 2145

ANYWAY, back to the matter at hand – I think this particular dress turned out great! I really love the front wrap and the pleated skirt, and I think it’s a cute (and flattering!) look. I believe this pattern was intended to be a knockoff of Princess Kate’s engagement dress, although let’s all take a moment to acknowledge that she looks 1000x better in hers than I do. Must be the silk jersey ;)

Simplicity 2145

My version is made from wool crepe, which I picked up at Textile Discount Outlet while I was in Chicago last year. It was cheap, too – I think I paid less than $10 a yard for it (and it’s pure wool, according to my burn test. Nice!). I used a scrap of baby pink Bemberg Rayon to underline the bodice, and left the skirt unlined (only because that’s all the lining I had). I decided to go with underlining because the thought of trying to draft a lining for this style gave me a headache, haha. Underlining also meant that I got to keep the facings without there being a lot of bulk. I like facings.

Simplicity 2145

One thing I will warn y’all about this pattern is that it runs LARGE – like, super duper large! Holy shit! According to Simplicity’s size chart, I should be wearing a size 10. Well, I know how much they (and the rest of the Big 4) looove to make things way too fucking big, so I double-checked those finished measurements and ended up sewing the 4. So freaking ridiculous!

On the flip side, I didn’t have to make many adjustments to get a good fit. I did make a muslin – this has become a very regular thing for me (more so than usual) because I’ve learned that my posture means the back is too large at the top and needs a flat pattern adjustment. So I have to muslin everything I make now. It’s a pain for sure, but I will admit that it is REALLY nice to not have a big gape at the back of my neck! This one didn’t need much of an adjustment – I did a 3/8″ rounded back adjustment, and the fit at the back is pretty much spot-on now. The only other alteration I made was to shorten the sewn-down part of the skirt tucks. They were a little too long on me and it just looked weird.

Simplicity 2145

The dress also has two tucks at the back, which upon viewing these pictures appears to hit a somewhat unflattering spot right above my ass. Oops.

Also, for some reason, I had a DEVIL of a time inserting that invisible zipper. I don’t know why – invisible zips don’t really give me much trouble! – but my feed dogs were trying to make it gather on one side. So weird! I’ve since inserted several invisible zips, and they go in flawlessly. I don’t know if it had something to do with the wool crepe or what. If you super zoom into this photo (which, I mean, uh, don’t. Haha), you can see that my waistline seam at the zipper is off by about 1/4″. That was the closest I could get it, after ripping the zip out like 4 times. Stupid zipper!

Simplicity 2145

Another thing I don’t care much for about this dress is that the sleeves are SUPER tight and it’s difficult to raise my arms very high. So it’s ok for wearing if I’m going to be sitting all day/not moving around, but that’s about it. I need to rip them out and reinsert them and see if that helps. I’ve been told that if the sleeve isn’t eased in the right areas, it can make it difficult to move your arms, but I was pretty careful about that while I was setting these in. I’m thinking it might be another pattern adjustment that I need to address, because it happens a lot to me. Anyone have a suggestion on what I should be looking for? The armhole is high enough (I believe) and the circumference around my bicep is the correct size, so I’m not sure where to go from here, or even what to research.

Simplicity 2145

Sleeve issues aside, the rest of the dress is right up my style alley. You can get a better idea of the true color here – it’s a very rich, deep pink, and it looks super fabulous with all the wool crepe-y texture.

Simplicity 2145

Simplicity 2145

Simplicity 2145

Wish I’d actually had the correct thread color on hand – I had a pale pink, which in retrospect was a horrible decision (you can sort of see it at some seams when I’m wearing the garment, ugh), but at least it matches the lining, I guess?

Simplicity 2145

Oh yeah, and if you were wondering why my hair looks SO good in these pictures – I’d just had a haircut and that blowout they gave me was LEGIT. God, I wish I could afford regular blowouts haha! As it stands right now, my hair doesn’t even look like this anymore. I had it bleached last week, and now it’s neon orange. More on that later ;)

A couple things before I dip outta here:
- Remember Joanna Baker, she of the sweet sewing prints giveaway? Well, I just heard back from her (she’s been busy getting married since then!) and she has listed the 3 sewing prints in her shop for a limited time. I know some people were interested in purchasing them, so if that’s you – here are the dressform, button collection and thread prints.
- Also, She’ll Make You Flip is currently offering a nice discount – use the code VALENTINE25 for 25% off your entire purchase, good through 2/24/14! Someone should go buy this and hang it on their wall, because that is EXACTLY what I would do with that pattern. Ok ok, in all seriousness, how cute is this pattern?? AND IT’S IN MY SIZE. EEP, my neverending quest for the perfect stripe fabric continues!

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Completed: A Very Purple Simplicity 3178

16 Jan

Y’all. Can we talk about wool crepe for a minute? I just love this shit to tiny threadbare pieces and I wish everything I made had a wool crepe option. I love the spongy texture, the glorious drape, the magical body-temperature-regularity (yay, wool!), and the COLORS. Truly, everyone should have at least one experience rolling around in a uncut length of wool crepe. Especially if it is a jewel-toned wool crepe. Ooh la la.

For my first Mood Sewing Network project, I wanted that experience to include wool crepe. I have a beautiful 1940s Simplicity pattern that I knew would look amazing done up in such a fabric. And since we’re talking about ~my first time~, I decided to go all out with my bad self and splurge on silk crepe de chine lining and satin bias tape as well. The end result is very… purple.

Simplicity 3178
The pattern I used is Simplicity 3178, which is undated but looks to be from the late 30s/early 40s. I love vintage patterns because they always have sweet little details, like the darts on the elbows that provide gentle shaping for the sleeves and the shoulder yokes that are actually pockets (!!).

Simplicity 3178
The skirt is bias cut, so I finished the hem with 1″ horsehair braid to give it a nice flare.

Simplicity 3178
The pattern gives a couple of options for finishing the neckline – I went with the double collar (self fabric on top and ivory wool crepe at the bottom) and a giant bow!

Simplicity 3178
I didn’t have to make too many changes to the pattern to get a good fit. I took in the side seams by 1/2″, tapering up to the underarm. I also removed a whopping 9″ of length from the skirt – the original pattern pieces came all the way down to my ankles! Yeech!

Simplicity 3178
I reckon the pockets are totally unnecessary, but ughhh I love those little fuckers!

Simplicity 3178

Simplicity 3178
This baby is also lined! Wool crepe really begs for a nice lining to give it some additional structure, and although the pattern doesn’t include pieces or instructions for adding a lining, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out. Unfortunately, I didn’t correctly calculate my yardages, so I didn’t have enough lining for the entire dress – which means the sleeves are not lined. I’ve noticed a distinct lack of lining in lots of dress sleeves, so this doesn’t bug me too much. Bonus plus: now you can see the pretty bias tape at the sleeve hems!
Also: lol at this hideously unflattering photo of me. IT WAS WINDY WHEN I TOOK THESE PICTURES, OK.

Simplicity 3178
The instructions do call for the sleeve slit and hems to be finished with bias tape, and then closed with a series of snaps. After trying the dress on during one of many fittings, I decided to flip the hems back to show the bias tape since the dress really needed a bit of color breakup. I pressed the cuff (wool crepe really does press so beautifully) and tacked down each side with a couple of hand stitches to keep everything in place. The neck bow is the same bias tape, just pressed completely open.

Simplicity 3178
I think the shoulders are my favorite part of the dress! Instead of using shoulder pads, I made a small stiff rectangle with horsehair interfacing and tacked that to the armholes like a sleeve head. It keeps the pleats from dropping too much and gives the dress those badass strong shoulders that were so fashionable in the 40s.

Simplicity 3178
Here you can better see the yoke pockets. I just think they are the coolest little detail! I wish they were big enough to hold my phone, but they’re just baarely too small. Hm, what do you think I could use them for? My seam ripper seems to fit :)

Simplicity 3178
Simplicity 3178
I worked hard to make the inside of this dress just as pretty as the outside. The yoke pockets and neck facings are lightly interfaced with silk organza, the facings are finished with satin bias tape, and I even rolled the hem lining and used tiny hand stitches to secure it. The collar is detachable – it’s current state of attachment involves basting stitches.

Simplicity 3178
Overall, I’m very happy with my dress – I love it’s snuggly wool warmth and did I mention purple? Because purple.

IN OTHER NEWS:
- Brittany of Viva Bang Bang, one of the MANY local Nashville bloggers who I’m just obsessed with (check out my sidebar; there are tons of us! WE ARE EVERYWHERE, YO), came to my house over the weekend and took a bunch of pictures of my sewing room. If you thought it looked cool before, definitely go check it out now because she made it look fucking amazing. Yay! Thank you so much, Brittany!!
- I’m sure some of y’all are into Project Runway, yes? Even if you’re not (that would be me, haha. Guilty!), you should totally watch this season because my homegirl Amanda Valentine is one of the designers and she is super rad and you should support her. I mean, they called her a bitch in the season preview. How sweet is that?! Haha!

Completed: Simplicity 3688 Trousers (with bonus crop top)

5 Jul

I just realized I should probably call this ensemble the ’88 or something of that nature, since both pattern numbers end in 88. What are the odds, eh?

Anyway, new outfit! I’m not even going to both separating these into 2 posts since they are pretty simple on their own. Both pieces were SO quick & simple to make – that crop top took maybe 2 hours. Amazing!

Simplicity 3688; McCall's 4488

I made the trousers first, so we will start with those. They are Simplicity 3688, you know, the incredibly-famous-incredibly-flattering-incredibly-EASY pattern that everyone has been raving about? I was mildly curious (and also interested in making some high-waisted trousers that didn’t involve a front-fly zip), so I picked it up at the most recent $1.99 sale. This pattern is pretty sweet, I must say! I only made a couple of very simple adjustments – tapered the waist in to fit, and added a little bit of room at the back for teh heiny – and the fit is pretty spot-on. I didn’t even have to adjust the crotch length like I normally do. SWEET. SO SWEET.

Simplicity 3688
Here they are with my very favorite crop top, a sweet little embroidered Hungarian piece from the 60s. I love this top, but unfortunately it is old as shit & totally falling apart (it’s made out of some class of sheer cheesecloth-type fabric). So I have to be careful with it when I do wear it – otherwise, it is restricted to wall art haha.

My only beef with this pattern is the available sizing – it only goes down to a 10. I really should have graded down the waist to an 8 or maybe a 6, but it doesn’t go any smaller than the 10. Sadly, I don’t think I will be making the blouse or the jacket from this pattern – as darling as they are – because they are simply too big. BOO. Why not offer all sizes, Simplicity? I’ve seen you try to do this with the bigger sizes too. Sneaky sneaky.

Simplicity 3688; McCall's 4488
The fabric is a *very* lightweight denim chambray – it might even be too light for pants, these kind of looks like pajamas. Perfect for summer, though :) The waistband has a bit of horsehair interfacing for stability.

Simplicity 3688; McCall's 4488

Simplicity 3688; McCall's 4488

Simplicity 3688
I finished these as simply as possible – serged seams, topstitched waistband, side lapped zipper. They close with 2 hooks & eyes.

Now for the crop top, McCall’s 4488…
I just love sewing skanky crop tops!
Ahahah, I bought this pattern at the flea market a couple of months ago. It’s so ridiculous! Honestly, I thought the seaming was kind of tacky, but it actually looks a lot better made up. The fabric is some weird stretch knit that I bought at the thrift store for $2.

Simplicity 3688; McCall's 4488
There’s not much to say about this shirt. It’s very simple, and actually kind of flattering. I’d like to make it in a longer version, maybe even with long sleeves for winter.

Simplicity 3688; McCall's 4488
The side stripes did originally match up, but I had to take quite a bit in to get it to fit, so now they don’t match. Wah wah. They actually look quite good, considering that I did not take the stripes into account AT ALL when cutting this.

Simplicity 3688; McCall's 4488

McCalls 4488
Here’s a scandalous mirror shot of how it looks without the high-waisted – HAHA. Ummmm I don’t think I’ll be wearing it out like this!

McCall's 4488

McCall's 4488
The finishing was pretty interesting for this – there is a very narrow facing at the neckline, which is folded back & then top stitched according to the instructions. It looks very similar to ribbing, actually. The sleeves & hem are just stitched down with a twin needle.

On a side note, yesterday we celebrated America by eating hot chicken. In 100*+ degree heat.

Hot Chicken Festival
At the Music City Hot Chicken Festival – we waited in line for over an hour!

Oh yes, this was painful.
Hurts so good.
If you’ve never had hot chicken… uhhh I don’t exactly know how to properly describe it. It’s not necessarily spicy. It just sets your mouth on fire. Definitely an experience if you like to inflict pain yourself haha.

So there ya go. AMERICUHHHH.

Simplicity 3688; McCall's 4488

Completed: A Totally Tubular Simplicity 1803

27 Jun

“Tubular” is such a weird word. I mean in the sense when people use it as a synonym for awesome or rad. I mean… it’s literal definition is something that is tube-shaped. What is so rad about a tube? English language, you mystify me.

You know what is pretty radtubular, though? This Simplicity 1803 pattern, yeah! Now that we have set aside our differences, a beautiful relationship can be allowed to bloom. With this in mind, I would like to introduce you to my latest incarnation of Simplicity 1803, heading straight up Awesomeville.

Simplicity 1803, v2
This print is pretty loud in comparison to what I normally wear, but I like it!

Simplicity 1803, v2
There’s not much to say about the construction here – it’s pretty much the exact same as my Disaster dress, although a bit more simple (no underlining, machine-stitched hems, etc). I did discover that the fabric has a very subtle stretch, which made the dress a bit too big… so I ended up with some pretty giant seam allowances at the zipper. We’re talking 1.5″ seam allowances. Yeesh! On the fip side, the stretch makes the dress quite comfortable.

Simplicity 1803, v2
I remembered to put the pockets in the correct place this time! No princess-seam pockets for this girl!

Simplicity 1803, v2
This fabric is just fabulous… a nice, drapey rayon with a hint of stretch, and a really busy pattern that hides sweat – which is quite important these days, considering we are gearing up for a high of 108* later this week. I KNOW.

Simplicity 1803, v2
I did make the waist tie this go-round, although it blends in pretty well with the busy print. Oh well, I guess it provides a bit of texture?

It was difficult to get pictures of this dress – most of them ended up totally blown out with light. I kept moving around to different areas of shade.

Simplicity 1803, v2
Then I noticed the awesome neighborhood stray cat in my back yard!

Yay kitty!
This cat is so cool! He’s super friendly and VERY vocal, and he loves having his belly rubbed. I know he’s skinny as shit, but I’ve actually tried feeding him before & he refuses it. He looks pretty healthy and is definitely quite social, which gives me reason to believe he’s probably someone’s pet prowling around the neighborhood. I see him about once a week and we are best friends. I have named him Bobby, fyi.

THIS CAT
Told you he was friendly ;)

:3
Although he never sits still long enough to get a good picture!

Simplicity 1803, v2
This is the dress front. Again, I went with soft pleats instead of thread gathers on the skirt. I’m a big convert of the soft pleat!

Simplicity 1803, v2
Dress back, lapped zipper.

Simplicity 1803, v2
Orange zipper! Also, check out my massive seam allowances lol

Simplicity 1803, v2
I’m trying it with a belt for work today, I think I like it better than the tie… it breaks up the pattern a bit.

As a side note – I’ve got one sleeve on my Miette sweater now!

Miette Progress
My sleeves is a little shorter than the pattern calls for (I skipped a few rows of stockinette), but I still think it’s a little long for my preferences. I guess that means I have T-Rex arms hahaha.

Miette Progress
This sweater has been really fun to knit, but I’m looking forward to finishing it so I can work on something a little less mindless :)

Simplicity 1803, v2

Also, don’t forget to enter my Shabby Apple Giveaway if you haven’t done so already – it closes this Friday :D

One last thing – I just looked up tubular, and according to dictionary.com: excellent. (Surfing and later general youth slang. Having to do with a tube [wave] that is good to surf in.) : That pizza was totally tubular!

A Day At The Flea

25 Jun

Alternately titled: Why I Love Tennessee And It’s Awesome Flea Market!

The flea market here is monthly, and I do try to go every month (last month I had to miss because I was in Florida – but I’m not complaining!!). The whole thing is MASSIVE – and full of vendors selling all kinds of stuff, from priceless antiques to dirty junk. I personally like the dirty junk :) There are also vendors who sell boring shit like socks & discontinued Clariol hair dye & door mats with whimsical pictures of your preferred dog breed, but I tend to avoid those booths because, well, boring!

Anyway, I took my new friend Jenna with me this time, as she had never been before! We met up with Lauren Winter after about an hour. We also ran into Kaelah as we were leaving – Nashville is such a small town! I’m not going to go into detail over what everyone else bought – let’s just say we had to make an extra trip to the truck about an hour in, because we already had too much stuff to carry around! :)

I didn’t make out with quite as much bank as I customarily do – no huge garbage bags of fabric for $4, or stacks of patterns for pennies apiece – but I did come home with some perfect little gems.

$15, yo!
My absolute favorite thing I bought was this dress – I bought it right before we left (after seeing it first thing & obsessing over it for the next few hours, ha!). I haggled the lady down to $15, which is totally a steal I think. The fabric feels like some kind of silk-blend; it is unfortunately much too hot to wear during out 100*+ days. Anyway, the colors are kind of autumnal. But I love it so much!

Silk Shirtwaist Dress
I did end up swapping out the buttons to these – the ones on there obviously weren’t original, as they didn’t match the dress at all. Also, there was one missing. I am quite sure I bought these brass buttons at the flea as well, so it seems like a good fit :)

Silk Shirtwaist Dress
Those are the old buttons on the right – silver rhinestones. lolwut

Silk Shirtwaist Dress
One thing that really delighted me about this dress is that there is a lot of hand-mending all over it – including these little darned holes at the hem. It was obviously a favorite dress.

Embroidered Pillowcase
I also bought this pillowcase (filled it with polyfil from my sewing room – for some reason I have like 3 bags of it?) for $1 – I love all the embroidery! The lady who sold it to me said the woman who did the embroidery was in her 80s at the time. I just think it’s so pretty!

Brooches
Some pretty brooches – the pinecones came from the same booth that the silk shirtwaist dress is from.

As far as sewing notions, I found a few…

Crazy Zipeprs
Crazy zippers! Lol I have NO idea what I will do with these, but they had to come home with me.

Bias Tape!
Crazy bias tape – I see a floofy Christmas dress in my future…

Plaid Taffeta Fabric
Plaid taffeta… good for another Christmas skirt? Man, I love Christmas.

Green Lining Fabric
Celery green lining fabric… kind of boring, but it was also kind of only a $1 sooo no complaints here.

In the world of things I didn’t buy but considered taking home with me anyway -
The puppy that @bloomingleopold tried to buy today.
THE CUTEST PUPPY I’VE EVER SEEN
He’s a miniature Australian Sheepdog! At 19 weeks, he weighed about 6 pounds. We all fell IN LOVE, but apparently he already sold (lol who sells a dog at the flea market anyway?).

I love the flea market, but this is creepy as shit
Well, no, I didn’t actually want to buy this. Thought I would share anyway. Apparently, this is Farrah Fawcett’s head, in a wooden box.

I actually started – and mostly finished – a new dress over the weekend, but the weird slinky poly was giving me an absolute fit, and the pattern wasn’t looking too hot on me (maybe because of the fabric?), so I ended up tossing it (rather violently, I might add) in the corner & instantly felt 100% liberated. I haven’t had a proper UFO in about 2 years, so this is a very new experience for me.

In the meantime, I started a new dress – we are revisiting Simplicity 1803. In the loudest print I have ever purchased.
Simplicity 1803
Headed toward Tackyville, y/n?

Completed: Simplicity 1803, aka, The Disaster Dress

19 Jun

I am calling this The Disaster Dress, but it’s really not that bad. Promise! My main issue could have *easily* been solved in the muslin stage – had I actually been paying attention when I tried it on.

Simplicity 1803

Anyway, this is the ever-popular Simplicity 1803. If my dress looks familiar, it is because I was quite obviously influenced by Gertie’s perfect version. I had to have one for myself!

I guess I should mention exactly why I chose to call this dress a disaster. It doesn’t look much like a disaster now – I worked around all the fitting issues. But hoo boy, getting there was an adventure! This pattern has some wacky shit going on with it, y’all. WACKY, I tell you. First, we have the issue of ease. I know this has been talked to death about all over the sewing blogesphere, but seriously – this dress has a LOT of ease. Let me put it this way: according to Simplicity’s size chart, I fit in the 12-14 range. I cut a 4 in this pattern and it fit perfectly. There is about 4.5″ of ease in this pattern… consider yourself warned. Anyway, I cut my 4 & sewed up the muslin, put it on, glanced in the mirror, and started working on the real dress. I am a fit-as-you-go type sewist – constantly pinning & basting to double-check the fit. Right before I sewed up the shoulder seams, I realized that the curves of the princess seams were nowhere near the fullest part of my bust – how I missed that, I have no idea. The shoulders were WAY too short – which is actually kind of ironic, since I usually have to shorten that stuff quite a bit for my teensy shoulders. Of course, I already had the bodice half-sewn (and underlined!) at this point. Long story short, my shoulder seams are sewn with the scantest of scant seam allowances – like, less than 1/4″. The fit and everything is in it’s proper place – but barely. Also I have no idea exactly where I’m going with this story, except that you should definitely scrutinize your muslin.

Also, another beef I had with this pattern was that they skipped some vital steps in the instructions – such as sewing up the side seams. Wtf, Simplicity? You will give me half a page on ~how to sew a dart~ but then forget to tell me to sew up the side seams? You cray.

This is part 2 of Stuff I Made Using Birthday Gifts – the teal Bemberg rayon lining was sent to me by Alicia of Iron On Maiden (can we also collectively agree that she has the coolest blog name ever? Yes.) for my birthday! Yeah! It is underlining this awesome black eyelet from Mood. I also finally got to test out my new interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply – I used the light-weight fusible and it is AWESOME. I never thought I would actually like fusible interfacing, but I think I just officially converted.

Simplicity 1803

Other than the above rant on sizing/fit (and lack of side seams), this dress went together pretty quickly. The only other change I made to the pattern was to swap out the gathers for soft pleats – there was a LOT of gathering involved, and my fabric is quite thick so I was afraid it would get too bulky around the waist. To make the pleats, I matched up all the seams/notches as I would if I was gathering, and then just pleated the fabric until everything looked good & matched up. Pretty easy! I think I like this much better than I would have liked the gathers, too!

The pockets are really fucking stupid, though. They are in the right place according to the pattern – but WTF!? Who puts pockets on the princess seams of a full-skirted dress?! I know the Iris Shorts have similar pockets, but they actually contribute to the design… in this dress, they’re hidden in the folds. Of course I didn’t notice this until I actually sewed them in – and of course it is displayed prominently on the envelope. Oh well.

Simplicity 1803
This is how I feel about the pockets.

Simplicity 1803
I do like the scoop back!

Simplicity 1803
Bonus drunk-looking picture of me.

Simplicity 1803

Simplicity 1803 - bodice, belt
Do you like my birdy brooch? :) I tore up an old necklace (well, it was already broken), glued a pin to the back & spray painted it blue.

Simplicity 1803 - no belt
Here it is without the belt!

Simplicity 1803 - Bodice, no belt

Simplicity 1803
I love how bluuuue the inside is. The facing is a simple black broadcloth – again, the eyelet was too bulky for facing. I trimmed it with some matching rayon seam binding (also in the package from Alicia – told you she was awesome :D) and catch-stitched it to the lining.

Simplicity 1803

Simplicity 1803

Simplicity 1803
Lapped zipper & soft pleats (and that red spot is from my camera – I was wondering why it kept leaving a spot of haziness in every picture. Then I noticed that the lens was incredibly dirty. At this point, I am sure you are questioning how much I actually pay attention to things. Not much, I’m afraid).

Simplicity 1803

Anyway, despite all the shit I went through to get this thing put together, I’m absolutely happy with the finished dress! I think it’s quite flattering & can be worn for a number of occasions (and seasons, for that matter!). So yeah! Now that I’ve sorted out my issues, I will probably make another one… I have this awesome/wacky rayon fabric that I picked up at Goodwill recently; I think it’s perfect for this style. What do you think?

Simplicity 1803

Underlining: The Why & How

15 Jun

I’m currently working on the madness that is Simplicity 1803 (seriously thinking about calling this dress The Disaster Dress, if that means anything) and I thought I would share a few of my trials & tribulations with y’all. I’ve had a lot of comments requesting a tutorial for underlining (or even just asking wtf underlining is exactly), and while I haven’t been able to fulfill those requests in the past – but today is your lucky day! Underlining day, yaay!

First up, let’s talk shop. What exactly is underlining? Some people tend to confuse it with lining; this is incorrect. Lining is a duplicate garment that hangs separately inside your dress (or skirt, or pants, or whatever) that covers all seams for a nice clean finish. It is constructed separately and generally only attached by a few seams – perhaps a neckline, or the waistband of your skirt. The hem usually left free-hanging for ease for movement. Consider lining the inception of sewing – a garment within a garment (see what I did there?).

Underlining is when you sew two pieces of fabric together & treat them like a single piece – kind of like some relationships (ahhh I’m on a roll today here). Since the underlining is actually sewn to the back of your fashion fabric, the seams do show & the inside of the garment doesn’t necessarily have that clean finish.

Underlining is wonderful for a variety of reasons – you can use it to stabilize your fashion fabric to give it a bit more body (like with my Bombshell dress), to add a layer of opacity to an otherwise sheer fabric (my Swiss Dot Violet really benefited from a batiste underlining), to add a layer of warmth to a coat (the lining of my Lady Grey is underlined with cotton flannel), or even to brighten up your fashion fabric a notch (look at the difference underlining made on my Gingham Peony!) If you were concerned about the integrity of a delicate fabric – lace, or vintage, or… I dunno, vintage lace – you could underline every piece for additional strength. Underlining has lots of uses, it’s awesome!

For my dress in question, I am using this pretty black eyelet from Mood. The whole thing is quite see-through so I knew ahead of time that it would going to need some kind of backing to keep certain places under cover. I originally planned on just dropping a whole lining in the thing & calling it a day, until I realized that you would see every single seam through the eyelet – and by every single seam, I mean eyelet seams & lining seams. I’m using Bemberg Rayon here (LOVE!!!!!) and that stuff frays like nobodies business. I started imagining little shreds of turquoise popping out all over the place & it gave me the willies.

So I decided to underline instead. An added bonus is that it totally negates the two issues I was having with the individual fabrics – the Bemberg was sliding all over the place, and my sewing machine was throwing a giant fucking fit every time I tried to sew over the textured eyelet. By sewing the two fabrics together, the Bemberg stays put & provides a layer over the eyelet that keeps the needle from freaking out. Yeah!

This process is pretty easy. I’m almost embarrassed to even post this.

1
Cut each pattern piece from both your fashion fabric & preferred underlining fabric (as I mentioned here, I’m using Bemberg Rayon – which is traditionally a lining fabric, but it’s main job for this dress is opacity). The pieces should be mirror images of each other. I like to go ahead & snip all my notches, it makes things easier to match up. Don’t worry about your pattern markings (the kind you use chalk or tailor tacks or whatever for) just yet.

2
Place the underlining on the wrong side of the fashion fabric. If your underlining has a right side, make sure it is facing the wrong side of the fashion fabric (so when you flip the whole thing over, both right sides should be facing up). Pin everything together – I used these tiny silk pins because my lining shows pin holes.

3
Then you just sew the lining to the fabric! Here are some tips:
- Yes, you can sew it by machine. I chose to sew by hand because the rayon is super slippery & I wanted it to shift as little as possible. It also makes ripping the basting stitches out MUCH easier. If you sew by hand, you want to keep things as flat as possible – sit at a table! It’s very mindless work, so feel free to watch a movie (or two!).
- Sew giant basting stitches using one strand of thread. Pick something contrasting so it’s easier to pull out the stitches after you sew the seams. I used orange thread; I thought it was pretty haha.
- Try to stay well within your seam allowance – you can see that mine is less than 1/4″ from the edge. I think this makes it easier to pull out the stitches (it’s not anywhere near the 5/8″ SA, so I’m not actually sewing over the basting with my machine) and it hides any pin-marks that may get left behind on delicate fabrics.
- You may also notice that I did not sew along the bottom edge of the piece. Call me lazy, idgaf. The basting for underlining is really there to hold the pieces together until they are properly sewn. I’ve found that I can usually get away with omitting the bottom hem & any seams that extremely short (such as the point between the princess seam & the armscye). Play around & see what works for you!

BONUS TIP:
Next project involves eyelet... And a ridic amount of underlining, ugh
(sorry about the crappy Instagram picture!)
For super precise darts, thread trace the dart legs through both layers after you have basted the pieces together. This keeps the fabrics together while you sew the dart, and eliminates any weird bubbling that may otherwise happen.

4
Here is the other side of my underlined piece. Cute!

Now that you’ve got your pieces all basted together, you can treat them like one piece of fabric. You can transfer your fabric markings to the underlining side of the fabric so it doesn’t show on the front. Sew as you normally would, and make sure to pull out your basting threads as you sew each seam.

Here is how my bodice is looking as of this morning
5
Since this is an underlining, and not a proper lining, you will still have to finish your seams & deal with facings. My seams are serged; my facing is a simple cotton broadcloth as the eyelet was too bulky.

7
I love the subtle peek of turquoise :D

6
I am including this picture because it looks like a uterus, and that is funny to me.

So that’s it! Hopefully this brings a light to some of the mystique :) As always, let me know if you have any questions!

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?

Completed: Floral Minidress

5 Apr

sundress

I know I have this labeled as a “sundress,” but we’re just gonna go with minidress because… this shit is itty-bitty.

I used McCall’s 2185 to make this up. The fabric is some class of sheer cotton that has the appearance of printed cheesecloth… it’s really interesting. It was actually given to me by the same friend who provided me with that awesome slinky cheetah print – I know you are all totally jealous of this friendship right now (did I mention she is also my Life Partner? Truth.), I’m kind of jealous of myself tbh ;). Anyway, the fabric is super duper see-through so I had to underline the whole thing to keep things (somewhat)modest. I used batiste, and I’m actually kind of pissed right now because I’m not 100% thrilled with the finished dress and woe is me, that was most of what was left of my batiste :( BOO.

Floral Minidress

Anyway, the pattern was fairly easy to work with. It’s a size bigger than what I have been using lately (34 bust instead of my usual 32 bust), so I did pull in the seams an extra 1/2″ or so at the waist because the original look was pretty sack-like and extremely unflattering. Interestingly, the seams at the hip were WAY too tight – despite the fact that this is supposed to be an A-line dress! – and I had to skimp by on 1/4″ seams to make room for my legs. So weird. It’s still not flared enough, but ehh can’t do anything about that.

I also ran out of batiste on the length-wise so the hem is pretty fiddly. I had a good 4″ or so of dress fabric that was not underlined and it looked really awful. I ended up putting a facing of sorts at the hem, using bleached muslin (because I’m not wasting anymore batiste on this dress!), and then flipped it up to meet where the underlining ends. I had to hem the dress twice, but it works I guess. I considered adding a line of ribbon around the bottom of the dress to cover the seams, but they’re not terribly noticeable and I honestly don’t care about this dress anymore anyway. It’ll be good for puttering around the house on weekends – nice and cool for summer – but that’s about it. It’s so short!!

Floral Minidress

There was supposed to be a self-fabric belt, which I planned on making, but I was having major problems turning it right-side out – the flimsy fabric kept pulling past the sew-in interfacing & I ended up ripping a giant hole in it, ahem, mostly on purpose because I was angry and I wanted to destroy something. Whatever, belt, no one wanted you anyway! I like this turquoise belt better anyway. Isn’t it awesome? God, this belt is so awesome.

Floral Minidress
You may notice that I did not photoshop my roots in these pictures. Today I just can’t be arsed to care. Any they kind of look like shitty highlights, anyway lol.

Floral Minidress
I did photoshop a piece of trash out of the background though. Photoshop is awesome!

Floral Minidress

Floral Minidress

Floral Minidress
I know the facing isn’t even at the top of the zipper… NO CARE.

Floral Minidress
Underlining! And check out the zipper -

Floral Minidress
Have you ever seen a metal invisible zipper? I hadn’t!
It’s a little too thick for my invisible zipper foot, though, so as you can see, it’s not exactly invisible. Still kinda cool, though :)

Oh, here it is without the belt
Floral Minidress
Boooooo

Floral Minidress
I guess I can muster up a smile, though.

Kinda bummed that I’m not OMGWTFBBQ about this dress, but ehh life goes on. I think it looks better in the pictures than it does in real life, to be honest :) I still had a metric shit ton of this fabric (the original length I was given was over 7 yards and I’d be shocked if I used 1.5 yards on this dress), so I definitely want to make something else with it. I’m thinking the Chantilly. Thoughts?

Floral Minidress

I also just realized my birthday is in like a month and a half. Ack! Better get started on my Bombshell Birthday Dress :D

me-made-may'13

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