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Completed: Another B5526 + Ginger Jeans Get-up

18 May

So sorry to dump this on y’all yet again – another collared shirt + jeans outfit combination. Yawn.

Gingers & B5526

Well, to backtrack – yawn for you, but :D :D :D :D :D for me hahahaha. I will never get tired of this outfit combination. Or, at least, not anytime soon. Maybe never is too strong of a word to use here.

Gingers & B5526

What’s mildly frustrating about writing a long-term blog (at the time of this posting, I’ve accumulated nearly 500 entries since I started waaaay back in 2009, WTF) is that you eventually reach a point when you’re just making the same thing over and over again (well… those of us who don’t make our blog our full-time income fall in this category. I’m sure if I was sponsored out the wazzoo and had all the time I spend at work to spend making content for my blog, it would be a different story, ha.). After re-assessing my wardrobe at the end of 2014 and realizing that I *still* had shitloads of clothing that I made simply for the new and shiny, I have made it a big point to really be honest with myself about whether or not I’ll actually wear something that I make. Like most people, I have a pretty predictable style. And like many sewers, I don’t want to spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel with new patterns if I can get the look I’m going for with an old TNT. So this translates to repeats upon repeats upon repeats.

So, while you might be yawning about the majority of the stuff that’s been posted in 2015… I gotta say, I am elated with the way my closet is looking these days!

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

With all that being said, there’s not much to report on either of these pieces since I’ve made them soooo many damn times. Jeans + collared shirt is totally my go-to when I want to feel comfortable but still look like I made an effort in the AM. I’ve found my TNT patterns and I feel good about the way they fit and the construction methods that I use.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

The top was made using my beloved Butterick 5526. Y’all, I don’t know if I’ll ever sew another button up pattern again! (we all know that’s a lie) I’ve gotten to the point with this one where I can bang one out in a couple of days, which is really nice when you’re coming up on a looming Mood Sewing Network deadline, ha. The fabric is this amazing tigerlily orange cotton voile from Theory, which is a bit more of a coral-y pink than it is orange in real life (I don’t know how the color translates on your screen, but on the Mood Fabrics website it’s definitely pretty muted. The real color is much closer to what you see in my photos. It’s BEAUTIFUL). It has a beautiful chambray weave, which gives the color lots of dimension. This fabric was so so nice to work with – ok, it was a shifty bitch to cut, but once I got past this point, it handled and pressed like a boss. It’s also super comfortable to wear on even the hottest day.

Since the fabric does have a tendency to fray, I used flat-felled seams every where in my shirt. I also left off the sleeves and finished the armhole with self bias binding – it makes the shirt really casual and, again, awesome for hot weather. The pockets are the same pockets that come with the pattern, but I made them slightly smaller because the original size was a little overwhelming on me. Buttons are from my stash; they’re just your standard white shirt buttons. Oh! And the matching thread also came from Mood Fabrics – I noticed that when I was ordering my fabric, there were thread suggestions at the bottom of the page. I figured I’d try out the service – you know, for science – and I’m super pleased with the color match. Even more pleased that I was saved a trip to the fabric store. Mostly because those tend to be very dangerous places for my wallet, ha.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

The good thing about running a long-term blog and making a bunch of pattern repeats is that you will eventually bore of just making things that are passable to wear in public, and start focusing on really honing your skills to the next level. Or, at least, that’s how it worked out for me. Look at those clean finished insides! I should wear this shit wrong-side out.

Gingers & B5526

I did shorten the length of the shirt by about 2″ – I think the original length was just sliiiightly too long for my height. This way I can wear it untucked or tied at the waist. If I do a half tuck, it doesn’t pooch out all weird like some of my longer shirts tend to do. As always, I finish my shirt hems with self bias facing. I think it makes for a much cleaner finish, and it’s must easier to press and sew those curves with the bias tape instead of trying to wrangle the hem itself.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

For my jeans, I used my now-favorite-ever-pants-pattern, the Ginger Jeans. I’ve made this a few times before (and I definitely don’t plan on stopping – I finally was able to invest in one of the denim kits because YAY) and I’m just really happy with the way this pattern fits my body. The fabric is a cool metallic gold stretch denim. I was actually looking for white denim to make this up, despite me being a stain magnet when it comes to white. At any rate, this denim’s wrong side actually is white flecked with very subtle bits of gold, and these very well almost became white jeans. I talked myself out of it because I was afraid the not-quite-pure-white would make the jeans look like they were dirty, plus again, stain magnet. So I stuck with the gold side. Also, this denim doesn’t have as much stretch as my other denims, so the jeans are a bit tight. I had to let the side seams out to 3/8″ or else I would have never gotten these things over my ass. They’re still a bit tight – mostly around the calves – but I’m hoping that they will loosen up a little with wear.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

Not much to report on construction. I used a combination of flat-felled and serged seams (as how most RTW jeans are made) and a triple stitch to really make the topstitching stand out. I would have loved to use topstitching thread, but I couldn’t find a good match with what is admittedly kind of a weird denim color. It’s gold, but it’s also kind of beige. Fortunately, Mood Fabrics REALLY came through with that thread match, as you can see in these close-ups.

What else? I did not interface the waistband (I like my jeans with an uninterfaced waistband; it’s much more comfortable. Not sure how that would work with a lower rise, but for the high rise version, it’s perfect). The jeans button is from Pacific Trimming, and the cotton pocket lining is left over from this crazy blue dress.

I will admit right now that this outfit inspiration came way of my boss’ closet. Since I do all her laundry for her (if you are new to this blog and that sounds REALLY WEIRD, I should probably point out that I’m a personal assistant :) ha!), I’m always lurking on her clothes and I’m always finding inspiration in some of the strangest ways. She has a similar coral chambray shirt – hers has sleeves and a lace inset at the yoke, though – and white jeans. And I wanted that outfit for me. So I made it :P

Gingers & B5526

So, hey, in other news that doesn’t involve me making my fifty billionth b5526 – I’ve got an article out in the current issue of Seamwork Magazine! If you haven’t heard of Seamwork, it’s a sewing magazine that is published online by the masterminds behind Colette Patterns. The magazine is free to read and there are optional pattern downloads with each issue (the patterns you pay for, however). ANYWAY, my article is all about visiting Nashville! I had so much fun writing a city guide about my favorite city in the entire world, and I hope you have fun reading it (and are inspired to come visit because, hey, Nashville is awesome! Really really awesome!). You can read The Seamworker’s Guide to Visiting Nashville at Seamwork. My first published article! Yay!

Completed: A Cardigan, a Skirt, and a Tshirt!

30 Apr

Woohoo y’all get a damn TRIFECTA of garments for today’s post! Lucky you!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

For my monthly Mood Sewing Network post, this month I wanted to focus on that amazing striped sweater knit that you’re probably staring at (you should be staring at it, it’s fucking awesome). But I felt really boring just making *a* sweater (a sweater that took maybe 2 hours, tops, to complete), so I overcompensated and made my entire outfit. Yay!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

We’ll start with the cardigan because it truly is the star of this outfit. It’s another SBCC Cabernet cardigan, this time with my minor adjustments made to the flat pattern (you can see my leopard Cabernet cardigan here, btw!). Since I’ve already made the pattern once, there’s not really anything new to report in terms of construction.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

I bought the navy and white striped fabric while I was at the Mood Fabrics flagship store in NYC in March. I got soooo much good stuff while I was there, but this particular piece really takes the cake. I swear, if the bolt hadn’t been so heavy, it probably would have jumped off the shelf and fallen directly into my arms. We were like star-crossed lovers when we caught sight of one another.

ANYWAY, gushing aside – what we have here is a cotton double knit that works and feels like the perfect sweater knit. It’s wonderfully thick and squishy, and while it does drape a little bit, it also hold it’s shape quite well. It was really the perfect fabric for this pattern, as it responds really nicely to pressing and topstitching. I was careful in my cutting to not only match up the stripes at the side seams, but also the stripes blending into the sleeve cuffs and hem bands. The neckband is actually the same striped fabric – I just positioned the pattern piece so that the widest navy stripe was the only thing that showed when it’s folded in half. I knew I wanted a solid color at that neckband, but I didn’t want to try to color match, because nope.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Because the striped knit is so thick, it was a bit of a beast to manhandle. Cutting it was painful (I REALLY need to get my scissors sharpened, dammit!) and the sewn seams were lumpy and wavy before I pressed them. It’s super important to press if you’re dealing with a fabric like this – the flatness is what makes the finished piece look so polished. Topstitching down the seam allowances also helped. As with my last cardigan, I used the straight stitch on my machine and a walking foot. The rest of the seams are serged.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

The skirt is another one of my beloved Hollyburn skirts. I cannot stress this enough, but I LOOVE this pattern. SO MUCH. As soon as I finished the denim polka dot Hollyburn, I started lurking hard for a yellow twill to make another one. I really love this neon delight of a yellow, but it’s hellish looking against my skin – so obviously, the next best thing is a skirt.

I found the fabric also while I was in NYC, also at the Mood Fabrics flagship store (sorryyyyy not sorry). I actually spent a good deal of time looking for this one – I knew I wanted yellow twill, but the stuff in the twill section wasn’t quite up to snuff. Too pale, too lightweight, too much of something. This particular fabric was actually located in the denim section – I imagine there is someone, somewhere, who has made an amazing pair of jeans with this fabric.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

This is a stretch cotton twill with lots of lycra in the content, giving it a super heavy stretch. Even though it’s on the lighter side (heavy enough to be considered a bottomweight, however), it has plenty of body that gives this skirt a great structure. The only downside to all that lycra is that it made the fabric really hard to get a good press. I ended up topstitching all the seams to keep them flat, about 1/4″ distance (as opposed to my usual 1/8″). The wider topstitching paired with this fabric really gives it a nice denim-y look, which I like. I thought about topstitching around the pocket bags to give those definition too, and “thought,” I mean I tried it and it looked absolutely terrible so I ripped it out. Don’t do that.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

The back closes with a simple lapped zipper, and all the inside seams are serged. Basic stuff!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Finally, the most basic of the basics – my tshirt!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

This is SUCH a simple tshirt that it hardly bears a mention, however, we’re here and it’s here so let’s just roll with it. The fabric is this sheer white slubbed rayon jersey, which was WAY more sheer than I was expecting but it’s sort of awesome. It’s suuuuper soft, drapey, and the texture of the fabric makes it a tiny bit more interesting than your average plain white tshirt. I used my always-tweaking-almost-done-tweaking Frankenpattern’d tshirt to make this. The neckline is bound using Megan Nielsen’s bound neckline method, which is hands-down my FAVORITE way to finish a neckline on a slinky knit like this. It just looks really really good, and it’s nice and sturdy. I love the traditional method, of course, but some of the more drapey fabrics don’t do so hot with that method because you have to REALLY stretch them to keep them from being floppy, which ends up with a tight neckline that’s practically gathered.

Speaking of slinky knits, binding that neckline was about the only easy part of sewing this tshirt. Talk about the slinkiest knit ever! It was worth it, though, because I can always use more white tshirts. Even if they are see-through. And yes, the pocket is totally in the wrong place and I’m totally not picking it off because I don’t think the fabric can survive that kind of trama.

Detail shots:

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

(that’s a Sewn with Mood Fabrics tag, by the way! :) )

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

PHEW.

Ok, one more picture:

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Only including this one because I look like I’m about to eat whatever is in my line of vision haha.

** Note: All fabrics for this project were provided to me in exchange for a review post as per my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Floral Butterick 5526

4 Feb

What’s that, you say? This is Butterick 5526 overkill?

deal with it
noragrets

~I DO WHAT I WANT~

B5526 Floral

In all seriousness, though, I did have a small internal debate about posting yet another shirt of the pattern I’ve talked about to death, but ultimately – I mainly use this blog as a sort of digital diary of my projects (truth: the entire purpose behind my tagging system & the Lurk My Closet pages are specifically so I can quickly find old projects without having to spend a lot of time searching haha), and I think this particular shirt has earned a spot in the archives. I’m really pleased with the resulting fit and finish, and I feel really good about the particular fabric I used (print aside – although, I gotta say, it’s pretty gorgeous!).

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

Unfortunately, that means I have less to talk about as I think I’ve pretty much milked this shit for all it’s worth. Fortunately, I feel really really confident in my shirtmaking skillz. I’ve pretty much got my construction down to a science, I know what fabrics are best suited for this style + the way I like it to look, and, dammit, I just really really love shirtmaking. So precise! So clean! So wearable every day basics!

B5526 Floral

As I mentioned, this is Butterick 5526, sewn up in a beautiful cotton shirting that I bought on Goldhawk Road in London. A lot of people have pointed out that the print resembles a Liberty print – and, while I agree, I also am pretttty sure it’s not the real deal. For one, I don’t remember exactly how much I paid for it, but I know it was less than the £25 they charge per meter at the Liberty store. Also, the selvedge is blank, if not missing entirely. That being said, it’s a very fine, soft shirting cotton – so maybe it fell off the truck? Maybe it’s an end bolt? An ~inspired~ knock-off? I dunno.

At any rate, it’s gorgeous. I just love the colors – the florals are a little less girly here, a little more of that 60s groovy that I’m really drawn to lately. The fabric itself is soft and has just enough drape to really make the shirt hang nicely. I’ve learned that I don’t care for true cotton shirtings in this pattern – when they’re stiff, I don’t think they look right on me. Give me something softer with a little bit of drape, like a cotton voile!

B5526 Floral

I don’t have any ~special tips~ for working with this fabric. Same as it ever was – just use a new needle, take your time with cutting and sewing, enjoy the ride, etc etc.

B5526 Floral

Oh, I think I nailed down a good sleeve length! Butterick 5526 in polka dot chambray (that’s my favorite one and I wear it ALL THE TIME. I have to hide it from myself so I don’t have too much of a good thing, ha) started out with sleeves too long, and I debated shortening them – but after a conversation with Landon, he brilliantly pointed out that they might shrink up a little after a couple of washes (even with prewashing, this can happen – which is always something I consider with pants, but never shirts. Which is why all my flannels have sleeves that are too short now haha). So I decided to leave the sleeves long and wait – and I’m so glad I did, because that’s exactly what happened. They shrank and are the perfect length now. So for this shirt, I used the same sleeve length and I think it’ll shrink up just right. The placket fits and it’s the right length (unlike my silk georgette B5526, wah), which is pretty prime if you ask me.

B5526 Floral

The only change I made to this version was to remove a few inches of length. I’ve always felt that my collared shirts were a little too long, at least when worn over my higher-waisted pants (and no matter what I do, they look weird tucked in. Half tuck, full tuck, no tuck, doesn’t matter. I get this weird tuck gut and, ugh), so I copied the length from my Liberty button up and transferred it to this pattern. I am MUCH happier with the length now; I think it works better with my proportions.

B5526 Floral

The shirt is constructed entirely with flat-felled seams. Here is a flat-felled boob for your perusal.

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

I also added sleeve tabs, so I could roll up the sleeves when the weather decides to warm up. Didn’t want to choose between long or short sleeves, so I chose both! Also, bonus background cat. I think she was screaming for me to feed her at that point (I’m sure you can tell just by looking at my portly feline that she is indeed not starving, but she would lead you to believe otherwise).

B5526 Floral

Here it is with the sleeves rolled up. I love these tabs because I think the rolled up sleeves look neater when buttoned into place. Of course, that means there is a visible button and some stitching on the outside of the sleeve, but I can deal with that. I was curious as to whether I’d find the tab annoying when it’s not being used (aka rubbing against my arm on the inside of my sleeve), but I have some pajamas that use the same concept and they don’t bother me at all.

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

Did you notice the buttons? Here’s a close-up:

B5526 Floral

Haha! I always save the buttons from Landon’s shirts when they are getting thrown away (we are talking super worn out to the point of not being worthy of donated), since I tend to be pretty conservative with my button choices and, hey, free buttons. I almost didn’t want to go with these because I’m not crazy about the branding on them, but, whatever. They match the print really well. Can’t argue with that. And I do love American Eagle – or, at least I did when I was a teen (yes, this is the same teen/same time when I was wearing black vinyl pants. What can I say, I like their take on the classics haha), I haven’t been in there recently enough to form an judgement opinion.

B5526 Floral

That’s all I got! Kind of a boring post, but quite a useful garment. I am really enjoying making the same pattern over and over – no need to reinvent the wheel with my fitting, and it’s kind of fun to see the obvious improvements with each make. I’ve had a few people ask me if I have plants to make the new Sewaholic Granville Shirt, and while the pattern looks beautiful, I think I’m just going to stick with what I know I already love and has been fitted to my liking. Again, not trying to reinvent the wheel here! Although, I’ve been watching the shirtmaking posts with great interest. There’s always so much to learn, I love it!

As a side note – those are my Ginger jeans I’m wearing in these photos. I’ve been wearing them off and on for about 2 weeks, and they’ve held up their shape really nicely. I’m actually pretty surprised – most of my handmade pants need to be washed after about 2 wears because they stretch out all crazy and don’t recover until they hit the dryer. The denim I used for these jeans is nowhere near the quality of my I+W jeans, but I don’t have any complaints (except for that I didn’t consider shrinkage when drying, and now they are a tiny bit short. On the flip side – this might be the first time pants have ever had too short of an inseam on me, which is sort of exciting it’s in own way). Now if only I had more… Heather, will you pls go denim shopping with me again? Thnx.

Completed: Ooh La Leather Leggings

26 Jan

Ok, so, the title of this post is a tiny bit misleading – these aren’t leather leggings so much as they just have a panel of faux stretch pleather. BUT, it sounded catchy (as long as I ignore all the weird Google search terms that will likely lead people straight to this post, aiee), so it stays.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Anyway, like, ~Ooh La La Leather~ or some shit, amirite?

Leggings & Ensis Tee

In all seriousness, I’ve mentioned before that this is my favorite leggings pattern. I have a couple more patterns in my stash that I haven’t even bothered to try because I JUST CANNOT QUIT me some Ooh La Leggings. I love the way they fit and I love the seaming detail. Made up in a thicker ponte, they almost pass for actual pants. Made up in a thinner material, they are great for lounging and sleepwear. Made up in some crazy lycra, they make amazing workout/yoga pants. Basically, they are my dream leggings and you will have to pry this pattern out of my cold, dead hands.

Because I love this pattern so so much, it goes without saying that I’ve made a metric Shit Ton of these leggings over the past two years. Obviously most of them haven’t made it to the blog – after sharing a couple pairs, they kind of get redundant. And y’all know how much I hate redundancy, at least when it comes to my own blog. So while you might occasionally see a pair pop up in a post (without needing to be the center of attention), they spend much more time in the real world than they do the blog world. And I do wear the shit out of all my pairs, so there’s that.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

With that being said, I think it’s ok/non-redundant to post about this pattern if I’ve done something ~unique with it. Which is exactly what I did. Check out my (faux)(p)leather (paneled) leggings, y’all!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

I found this stretch pleather on Goldhawk Rd while fabric shopping in London. It was one of the very few things I had on my list to buy, as I knew I’d need to be able to actually touch the fabric to make sure it stretched enough and wasn’t toooo shiny. Not that I’m against shiny pleather pants – I had a pair when I was in high school, back when I worked at Hot Topic and thought I was sOoOoOo punk rock (and no, I have no idea why my mom didn’t veto those things! HAHA! I must have looked like such a little baby hooker!) – but, being nearly 30 now, I’m an adult and I have to tone things down just the tiniest bit, at least when it comes to my pants. ANYWAY, this pleather is pretty good, I think – as far as pleather goes. It’s very stretchy, it’s not too shiny, and the wrong side has a nice fabric backing so it’s actually quite comfortable against the skin. Or, rather, as comfortable as pleather leggings can get.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Since my pattern was nice enough to already have all the piecing done for me, I just cut the side panels in the stretch pleather, and the remaining pieces (front and back legs, as well as the yokes) in this black polyester Ponte de Roma. The Ponte de Roma was pretty shiny on one side – like, way more shiny than I was expecting – so I sewed it with the wrong side facing out, which looks a bit more polished. I sewed everything on my serger, as I do, and omitted the topstitching as I was afraid that piercing the pleather would cause it to wear holes that would eventually tear.

As far as actually sewing the pleather, that part was surprisingly easy! Keep in mind that stretch pleather (as well as non-stretch, as well as leather, etc) does show pin holes, so you need to be reeeeeally mindful of your pin usage (aka, don’t use ’em if you can’t pin inside the seam allowance!). I traced my side panel piece with a Chaco liner before cutting on a single layer. I did not pin my pieces together, except for one part at the hem just to hold it in place while I topstitched (I usually don’t pin my hems for knits, just press them – but you can’t press pleather! One little pin hole at the hem is ok with me, anyway). The sewing part did not require any special forethought or tools – due to the fabric backing of this material, it went through my machine just fine without the need for a Teflon foot. I used a regular stretch needle. Et voila!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

While I’ve got your attention, I guess I’ll also talk about my shirt – because y’all know I made that shit too!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

The pattern is the Ensis Tee, also from Papercut Patterns (ooh, I just heart me some Papercut!). I’ve made this before, albeit in a thicker/less drapey knit, so I think this version deserves a little bit of spotlight :) It’s amazing how different it looks with a drapier fabric, yeah? Honestly, I like this version a lot better – I think it’s a lot more flattering (plus, it’s wool, so it’s pretty snuggly!). The top yoke is a piece of wool knit I bought in Paris, and the bottom is this cool steel grey sweater knit. I bought that knit on a whim, and it’s pretty cool – it has a lot of dimension to the color, and you can really see the knit stitches due to the somewhat loose gauge. It’s also wide and VERY stretchy in both directions – I might use the rest to make a pair of tights. Also, I need some kind of grey knit intervention. I keep buying pieces and this shit is getting out of handddd. Like, I really want that pewter grey but I’m gonna resist. I must resist.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

This is basically the same picture as above, just without my head.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

This tee whipped up fast! I had it cut and sewn within a couple of hours – and honestly, it took that long because of all the topstitching I added. I topstitched the colorblocking at the yokes and sleeves, as well as the neckline, using my stretch twin need and wooly nylon in the bobbin. I think it adds a little extra to an otherwise plain tshirt. Oh, and that yellow tab at the neckline is my laundry reminder not to wash this in the machine – because it’s wool :)

Leggings & Ensis Tee

I kept the curved hem, left off the hem band, but added cuffs to the sleeves. Happy sweater-hybrid-tshirt-thing!

Leggings & Ensis Tee

And here are my leggings again, because I know you’re just dying to see them one more time. As a side note – I used a different method to attach the elastic waistband (rather than feed it through a hole like the pattern instructs). I took some pictures while I was doing this, which I’m hoping to make into a tutorial at some point later this week.

Leggings & Ensis Tee

Anyway, that’s mah new threads! Basics with a lil’ twist! What do you think? Am I going to burn someone’s eyes out with my leather leggings? Should my mom have not let me leave the house in those pleather pants? Man, I wish I had pictures of that ensemble. Sooo glad the only social media platform we had back then was makeoutclub.com HAHAHA.

As a side note – if you think my hair looks green, it’s because it is! It was due for a redye, and I decided to go green :) I’m using a new dye that I bought in London, at the suggestion of Nicole – we’ll see how it holds up! I gotta say, I’m not looking forward to the fading… green always fades so ugly. Also, these pictures are REALLY deceiving. It’s much brighter and more emerald in real life. I took these pictures on a grey and overcast day, so the color is kind of sludgy here. I don’t know how to color correct my photos, so this is what you get. Sorry, not sorry :)

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: Boiled Wool SJ Sweater

7 Nov

I’m just gonna come out and say it: “boiled wool” is the grossest fabric name. It just sounds disgusting – like some kind of rubbery, overcooked fabric food that you’re only putting in your body because there is literally nothing else in the house and you are starving to death. Am I right? Am I right?

Wool SJ Sweater

When it comes to fabrics, though, boiled wool is pretty amazing. I had some spend some time working with it – sewing up a storm at Elizabeth Suzann‘s, making sweaters and kimonos and coats (so, so, so many coats. I am the coat whisperer now, y’all). After spending so much quality time handling this fabric – pressing (boiled wool loooves steam) and sewing (where the stitches just sink right in) – I found myself anxious to buy some and make a luxe sweater/sweatshirt for myself. So I bought some – off Elizabeth herself (she lets me ride the coattails of her wholesale orders and, um, you guys, I’m not even going to tell you how little I paid for this wool. NOT EVEN.).

Wool SJ Sweater

It was a borderline agonizing choice, but I ultimately decided to get the camel color (next time, though, I will be getting some black. And some moss. Dammit, I want them all!) because I had ~visions~ of it looking gorgeous with my polka dot chambray button-down. Doesn’t it? I also love camel because I feel like it looks equally good with black and brown (and navy, for that matter!).

Wool SJ Sweater

As I mentioned, I’ve had some time to work with this fabric and get an idea of how to handle it. They very first thing I did was prewash the yardage – the same way I wash/block my handknits. I soaked it in gentle wool wash (I use Soak, which I actually buy from my local yarn store, but here it is on Amazon), used a towel to wring out the excess, and then laid it flat to dry in the yard. This particular boiled wool (and maybe all boiled wools?) shrinks up quite a bit after it’s been washed, giving the fabric more of a felted quality than it is when you first pull it off the roll. You can also steam-shrink the fabric (which is what we do at the studio), but I knew I’d be washing this stuff here on out, so I wanted to get all the shrinkage eliminated before I started sewing.

Wool SJ Sweater

For construction, there is not much different you need to do from sewing, say, a very stable ponte knit. I just used a regular 70/10 needle (not even ballpoint – the wool is felted so it’s not necessary to preserve the knitted loops or anything) and sewed everything on the sewing machine. I left my seams unfinished and pressed them open with lots of steam. I think the open seams look a little neater this way, plus, they’re not as bulky as they’d be if I serged them. Again, since the wool is felted – nothing is going to unravel. Even for the hems, I just turned up the allowance and topstitched it down.

Wool SJ Sweater

The only part I struggled with (and I’m still not 100% happy about, if we’re being honest here) was the neckline. Not because it was difficult to sew – but because I didn’t know how I was going to finish it! At Elizabeth’s, we just turn the hem allowance under and topstitch. This is absolutely fine for finishing boiled wool – but we’re talking crewneck sweaters here, and mine is obviously very scooped. I needed a finish that would pull in the neckline just a little – like a ribbing. Except I didn’t want a ribbing, because I wanted this sweater to be ~fancy.

The first thing I did was try to turn the hem allowance under, and then sew clear elastic into the neckline like an invisible banding. That did not work out. I don’t have any photos, but it looked like shit and you have to trust me.

The next thing I did was try to use the boiled wool as a self-fabric band for the neckline. It sort of stretches, so it sort of works.

Wool SJ Sweater

This picture makes it look way better than it did in reality. What you don’t see here is that the binding would NOT lay flat – especially at the center front. It is standing almost straight up in some sections, like the weirdest little funnel not-collar. Believe me, I pulled and stretched as hard as I could to encourage the neckline to ease smaller (and thus lie flat), and then steamed the beejezus out of it, but there’s only so much you can do with boiled wool. It’s not a true knit, so you can’t really treat it as one. Furthermore, the inside just looked raggedy with the self fabric neckline. Too many unfinished seam allowances (I know, I know, I just said the unfinished edges were fine – but even I have neckline limits, ok), too bulky, and noooope!

nope

Wool SJ Sweater

My solution was to apply a bias facing to the neckline, stretching the bias to get it to lie snug and thus pull the neckline in. I used this method to sew it on, and the bias is a piece of silk charmeuse that I got from Elizabeth’s scrap pile (surprisingly – it was the result of a botched dye job, although it matches the wool quite beautifully, so yay for me!). I think this netted the best result, although I think the neckline is still a little wide for this sweater. Oh well. That’s just my fault for choosing this pattern. Better luck next time!

Wool SJ Sweater

The pattern I used is the SJ Tee from my beloved Papercut Patterns. I raised the neckline a couple of inches – not that you can tell! – but the rest of the pattern is sewn as-is, using my previous adjustments. Other than the bias faced neckline, I didn’t make any construction changes. Oh, no, wait, I did leave off the sleeve ribbing. I just turned that hem allowance under and topstitched it down! The boiled wool does not have nearly as much stretch as a standard knit, however, this pattern is a little loose-fitting on me as it is, so I think it turned out fine. If you want to make this in a wool and retain the design ease, I’d recommend sizing up.

Wool SJ Sweater
Wool SJ Sweater
(sorry ’bout the color discrepancy! The less-washed out photos show the true color. And that yellow tag is there to remind us NOT to wash this sweater with the laundry, since it’s wool :) )

Wool SJ Sweater

As you can see, this sweater is not ideal for a completely 100% no-gape neckline. That’s ok, though, since I’ll likely be wearing it with something underneath (this boiled wool is soft, but it’s still a little bit itchy!). I am pretty happy with how this turned out – I like the shape, the raglan sleeves, and how lush the fabric is (aka makes it look expensive. Ha!) – but I’m still iffy on the neckline. I think it’s too wide. It looks ok with the collared shirt underneath, but… eh. I don’t know. Obviously I can’t do much to change this current sweater – so I’ll be wearing it regardless – but for future makes, I need to refigure that silhouette. What do you think? Too much of a scoop? Am I way out of left field and overthinking?

Speaking of the collared shirt – I still haven’t made any changes to the sleeves. I decided to wait until it’s been laundered a few times – that way, if it shrinks, I won’t be up shit creek. In the meantime, I do like the fit/length of the sleeves under a sweater, so there’s that!

Wool SJ Sweater

At any rate, I’m pretty happy with boiled wool! Gross name and all :) Tell me – have you ever sewn with boiled wool? Would you? Or do you think the name just sounds nasty? :)

Last thing – time to announce last week’s giveaway winner! After a harrowing 208 comments, random number generator chooses….

winner2
winner1

Yay! Congratulations, Dawn! I will be in touch to get that book to you – so you can start making those pajama bottoms asap! First time for everything ;) (also, can we kill that rumor that Random.org never chooses the first or last number? Because, clearly, not the case!).

Thanks to everyone who entered, and thanks for all your lovely comments on the post (and thank you, Roost Books, for letting this giveaway be possible!). If you’re still itching to buy yourself a small piece of Tilly, you can buy Love at First Stitch from Amazon, or directly from the magic-maker herself.

Happy Friday, everyone! :)

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