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Completed: Runway-Inspired Separates

25 Mar

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

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Then I discovered Alberta Ferretti.

Alberta Ferretti Spring 2014

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

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

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

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

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

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

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

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

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

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

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

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

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

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

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

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

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

Butterick 5526, made with Mood Fabrics

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

Butterick 5526, made with Mood Fabrics

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

Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

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

Butterick 5526 & Kelly skirt, made with Mood Fabrics

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

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Completed: Coco!

21 Feb

YAY I’m so glad I finally get to share this secret with y’all – Coco!

Coco Top

For those of you living under a rock (a… really big rock, I’d assume), Coco is Tilly‘s newest pattern, just released last week! Tilly asked me a few months ago if I’d like to test the pattern, and as soon as I saw the word “knit” in the description, I immediately jumped at the chance. I can’t resist knits, I’m sorry!

Coco Top

Coco is a lovely, simple shape reminiscent of those gorgeous Brenton tops that everyone except me seems to own. Sewn up in a more stable knit (I love my slinky jerseys, but this pattern is not really the place for that… although I will probably experiment with that shit in the future anyway!), it’s very easy to assemble and very forgiving to fit, making it perfect for beginners to tackle. I made the short length with 3/4 sleeves and a funnel neck; there are three views included in the pattern (that you can mix and match for endless variations) – you can see them all in more detail on Tilly’s blog.

Coco Top

For my fabric, I used a heather grey ponte knit from Mood Fabrics. I sewed the entire thing on my serger, although you can absolutely sew this on a regular machine if need be – the pattern even includes some instructions and tips if that’s the case for you! I made no alterations to the pattern itself; just sewed it up in a straight size 1 and followed the instructions to assemble! I used a straight stitch to sew the side slits and the hem, which have held up quite well, despite all the washing and wearing I’ve given this top. This is also the first thing I made using my new gravity feed iron, and WOW you guys – that hem pressed like a dream!

Coco Top

I’ll admit; when I was sewing this up, I was a little afraid it looked a bit Star Trek-y for my tastes, with the solid color and the big funnel collar. I think the end result turned out really cute, though, and it’s sooo comfortable to wear with leggings. I’m wearing this one with my red ponte leggings; it’s like a ponte double-whammy up in hurr, yeah!

Coco Top

Also, check out that throwback hair! You can tell how old these pictures are, ha ;)

Coco Top

I think this would be REALLY cute up in a stripey fabric (which I looked for, but no dice. Whyyy is a good stripey knit so hard to find, anyway??). I’d love to try the variation with the boat neckline and keep the little side slits – maybe even go with the longer length. It’s a simple shape for sure, but it’s also open to LOTS of possibilities!

Coco Top

What do you think? Love Coco or LOVE Coco? Get your copy here!

Completed: the Zinnia Skirt

8 Nov

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

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

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

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

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

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

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

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

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

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

See?

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

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

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

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

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

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

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

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

Renfrew top made with wool knit from Mood Fabrics

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

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

Renfrew top made with rayon knit from Mood Fabrics

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

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

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

Renfrew top made with wool knit from Mood Fabrics

Renfrew top made with rayon knit from Mood Fabrics

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

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

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

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

Zinnia Skirt made with plaid wool from Mood Fabrics

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

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

Completed: Coppélia in Merino

18 Sep

Just a head’s up – this is another kind of boring, repeat pattern post. Sometimes I feel like I’m a bit of a snooze for making the same things over and over, but honestly – I enjoy tweaking my patterns with each make, until I have something that is as close to perfect as humanly possible. It’s a process, to be sure. It’s also the only way I can bring myself to cut into precious fabrics. Don’t wanna goof it up!

Merino Wool Coppelia

So, with that being said – I made another Coppélia cardy! (for previous versions – see one two three). This one in another piece of my prized Merino stash, hence why I needed to perfect this fit.

I also wore my hair up for you guysss! Look at me, branchin’ out and shit :)

Merino Wool Coppelia

This Merino wool is different than the first piece I sewed up (see Coppélia three; the leggings are the Merino!). It is MUCH stretchier, a bit more sheer, and much much softer. Due to the stretch, I did have to take down the pattern size a little to accomodate, but it all came out fine in the end! I was also initially concerned that the color would look bad on me… and maybe it does, but ehhh I don’t care. I love it, it’s so bright and happy!

Merino Wool Coppelia

Let’s see, pattern changes. I started out with my base Coppélia, this time sized down to XXS with 1″ taken out of the center back. I took an extra chunk out of the side seams (maybe 1/2″? I dunno, I just serged it off haha) and about 5/8″ off the under arm and sleeve seam, for a much closer fit. The biggest change I made was to lengthen the top, so it would be wearable with my jeans. I slashed through the pattern about 1″ from the bottom and then added 2″, making sure to true up the lines and everything when I was done. This pulls the cardi down long enough to cover my waistband, which hits right below my navel. Perfect!

Merino Wool Coppelia

Another change I made was to tighten the neck band for a closer fit. I just kind of wing’d (wung?) it up as I went – tacked it down at the center back, then starting at the CB on one side, I pulled the band while I serged it to the neckline. Once I reached the end, I went back to the CB and attached the band from the opposite side. I think I ended up pulling about 2″-3″ off the neckband at each end. The result looks a little gathered when it’s laying flat, but once on it gives a nice snug fit – which is important with a low wrap top like this.

Merino Wool Coppelia

Merino Wool Coppelia

I like the ties wrapped in the front, but after taking these pictures I ended up tying them in the back like the pattern envelope.

Merino Wool Coppelia

And this top looks great with my jeans! Win! :)

Merino Wool Coppelia

So, speaking of Papercut Patterns – I know a lot of people have voiced concerns in the past about the prices of the patterns. So, with that in mind, two things: 1. Make sure you change the currency (it’s at the top right-hand corner) to USD, or whatever works for your country. NZD is the default, and their shit’s a little more expensive! 2. Consider that the price also includes free shipping, if that helps sway ya :) This top is $20.48 USD, which includes the shipping – a top from other indie companies usually runs, what, $14-$18, plus the shipping, which can easily be $5 extra. Just something to keep in mind! :)

Merino Wool Coppelia

Now that I’ve perfected the fit on this, I can’t wait to make a million more and then post them and force y’all to look at multiples of the same shirt.

Merino Wool Coppelia

Merino Wool Coppelia

Ha! Just kidding, I wouldn’t do that to you.

Merino Wool Coppelia

Probably not, anyway.

Completed: Ooh La Leggings

23 Aug

Leggings are one of those types of clothing that have always mystified me. What is their appeal? Why do people insist on treating them as pants? Don’t they have enough decency to cover their asses, for fuck’s sake?

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

And yet, here I am, posing in leggings-as-pants, with a nice dose of cameltoe to boot. The things I do for you guys.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

Haha in all seriousness, though, I don’t actually plan on wearing them out in public without my ass being covered – the fabric is too thin, it’s practically transparent as far as I’m concerned. I wasn’t sure how to treat these pictures – since, if I did cover the top of them, it would kind of cover everything and defeat the purpose of even taking the pictures, yeah? – so in the end, I took one for the team and here I am baring my ass on the internet. Don’t judge me.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

Anyway, back to what I was saying. Leggings! I never got their appeal. Why not just wear… tights? I mean, if you’re gonna wear socks anyway (my feet are always cold, I like the multiple layers). But I gotta say, these Ooh La Leggings from Papercut Patterns were REALLY intriguing to me. They look so cozy and comfortable – and the model just looks super glamorous. Or maybe it’s because she’s gorgeous, I don’t know, either way, it got my attention.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

The pattern is one of those deceptively simple patterns that offers a bit of a kick with the finished piece with all the interesting seaming – front and back yokes and seams down the front and backs of the legs. It’s very easy to put together – I can get these done in a couple of hours, from cutting to hemming – and it doesn’t require a lot of knit finesse or even fitting to get everything looking good. Only 5 pieces, a self-encased elastic waistband, and a quick pintuck of the front leg seams (or leave it off, see if I care) and you’ve got a pair of leggings that has a little somethin’ somethin’.

This is actually my second pair of Ooh La Leggings… I made another pair a couple of months ago, in red rayon knit. I never bothered to take photos (again, I wasn’t sure how to go about modeling them), but I can assure you that they get worn frequently. They are SUPER comfortable and they’re red!

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

I cut the smallest size – the XXS – and took about 4″ off the hem. I should point out that the waistband hits very high on these – above the belly button.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

The grey fabric is a lovely merino wool, straight from New Zealand. Katie sent me a big, gorgeous stack of this shit earlier this summer, and I’ve been hesitant to cut into any of it because I didn’t know what to make with something so special! Leggings, I think, are a good choice – I can layer them in the winter when I’m biking, or wear them as loungewear.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

If you’ve never used merino wool, let me be the first to tell you that this stuff is AWESOME. It’s soo soft and warm, and you can wash and dry it like normal in the machine! It doesn’t slip around while you’re cutting it, nor do the edges roll up when you’re sewing it. There is a good elasticity and stretch recovery as well. The fabric of the gods, basically!

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

The only drawback (which I don’t consider a drawback, since I don’t wear these as pants!) is that this stuff is a little thin. Thin enough where you can see everything under my leggings – including my panty lines (hey, at least you know I’m wearing undies amirite) and all the muscles in my legs. I was a little hesitant to post these pictures because I don’t think they’re terribly flattering – are my thighs really that big?! – but, you know, whatever. Them’s my legs and that’s just what they look like.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

I also made my top, do you like it? The pattern is the Coppelia, and if you’re keeping track here you’ll know that it’s my third one (others are here and here). For this one, I sized down to the XXS and lengthened the bottom by 2″. I also shortened the neckband because it was gaping a bit, but I think that’s my fabric choice. Speaking of which, this is some type of rayon knit from Mood Fabrics, and it’s really weird. It feels like a cheap polyester, but it’s definitely rayon (I burned it and everything). Also, it’s kind of see through, despite being a bit thick. So weird!

Anyway, whatever, white wrap top/good layering basic.

I just realized you can totally see a mosquito on my chest in this picture. HAHA. Omg I hate mosquitoes.

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

Consider me a leggings convert! I still don’t know if I would willingly leave the house without something covering my ass (I say this as I have posted pictures of myself ON THE INTERNET with my ass out, and everyone knows the internet never forgets), but maybe with a thicker fabric, I could see it happening. I think these would be really wonderful in a ponte knit. You know I’m gonna try it!

Ooh La Leggings & Coppelia Cardy

Did I show you how good my ass looks in these? Because… look at how good my ass looks in these things.

Completed: Advance 8511 in Gingham

19 Jun

In an attempt to catch up on all the stuff I’ve finished that I haven’t posted yet (I just counted and there are 8… yikes), here’s a gingham top I made using Advance 8511, which is a vintage pattern.

Untitled

Gingham Top

I also forgot to mention that the pictures are REALLY bad; this is what happens when you don’t wait for it to finish raining (hence, me standing on the porch) and then position yourself so that the sunlight is directly behind you, and then try to lighten the pictures and when they turn out grainy and grey, you say, “Eh, fuck it.” and post them anyway.

Not that I know anything about that.

Anyway, I’m sorry.

Gingham Top

This was a fun little pattern to make! It would have gone together a lot more quickly if I didn’t have so many fit issues. I don’t think the fit of the pattern was too bad – the size was a little big, but nothing too tragic – but rather, my fabric was a terrible choice for this pattern. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

This pattern only has 4 pieces – a front, a back, a back neck facing (the front facing is all attached to the front as one piece) and the collar (no undercollar). The armholes are bound with self-made bias tape and it only uses 4 buttons. So economical!

Gingham Top

The fabric, again, is from Mood Fabrics in New York. It’s really lovely stuff – a cotton gingham seersucker with lots of texture and LOTS of stretch – but that damn stretch was nearly my undoing. I kept taking in the side seams over and over to get this shirt to fit (I know slightly-loose button-ups can look good, but not this shape/style with a woven stretch. Just… no), and I think I ended up removing a good 2″ from each side, possibly more. I don’t think stretch wovens are inherently bad (take a look at my fabric stash if you don’t believe me), but they really should not be used for a pattern that is already a little big to start.

Gingham Top

You can’t see too well (because the pictures are so bad, again, SORRY), but there are tucks at the front and back waist, and soft pleats at the neckline under the collar. I had to extend the front tucks to be longer (originally they were only about 1″ long) because they ended up giving me this weird fullness in an area where it wasn’t needed. I don’t know how I feel about the neckline pleats – they are beautiful in theory, but in this fabric I think it kind of looks like I messed something up and hid it under the collar. Oh well.

Gingham Top

Hey look, Dolly went on a diet and now she can actually model my clothes again! And they BUTTON UP. Holy shit!

Gingham Top

Gingham Top

I had to add a pleat to the center back because it was MASSIVE compared to the collar. Seriously, the width of that pleat is how much bigger the back was than the collar. I double checked my pattern pieces and they don’t match either, so I’m assuming someone was hitting the bottle hard at the Advance pattern drafting headquarters that day.

Gingham Top

Despite the fitting issues, I do love my little shirt! Navy gingham goes with everything, surprisingly.

By the way… check out my new back porch!

Back Porch

I wish you could have seen what it looked like before (if you think it looks trashy now, let me tell you… this is an improvement). The previous renters laid this horrible fake hardwood all over the porch – you know, the kind that is supposed to go INSIDE a house – and didn’t even cover the whole flooring area. There were bare spots of concrete by the stairs. It was just drab and ugly and sad and we mostly ignored it for the past year. A couple weekends ago, we tore up the flooring (yes, we are renters, but I’m pretty sure my landlord dgaf), bought and painted the screen door, as well as hung the curtains and that tapestry. Now I am on the lurk for a tiny bistro table to fit back there.

Back Porch

Here’s another view – and there’s the old shed! I reckon you can guess where at least one of those chairs went ;)

Back Porch

Now we are actually inclined to hang on the back porch, IMAGINE THAT. If only I could figure out a way to permanently fend off the ‘skeeters…

Completed: A Chambray La Sylphide – AND THE BOMBSHELL WINNER

17 Jun

OMG you guys. I am so backed up with posting finished garments… this top is from TWO WEEKS ago. Woof.

Chambray La Sylphide

This is the La Sylphide from Papercut Patterns. I know, I keep meaning to make the dress version – it’s so pretty and floaty on the pattern picture, ahhh! – but this damn top keeps seducing me with it’s own version of awesome.

Chambray La Sylphide

This is pretty similar to my Dude’d Up La Sylphide – I sewed a size XS, took 1″ out of the back and no other alterations. The sleeves are just rolled up in these pictures, btw.

Chambray La Sylphide

The fabric is a chambray from – who else? – Mood Fabrics, which I bought while I was in New York. They have a lot of chambrays there and while I almost picked a gorgeous sateen-esque chambray that had just come in from some designer, I ended up with the more muted one because I wanted my shirt to be a little more rugged. Also, it was cheaper by like $2, ha.

Chambray La Sylphide

Ok, CONFESSION TIME: I TOTALLY stole this idea (for a chambray La Sylphide) from my friend Colleen, who suggested it first. Although, to be fair, she also voted pearl snaps – and this one just has grey buttons that I had in my stash. So, while not a 100% idea rip, it’s still an idea rip and I’m sorry.

Chambray La Sylphide

Also, I just realized I really need to repress the tips of those bust darts. HIIII.

Chambray La Sylphide

I wasn’t expecting to be able to wear this top with these linen shorts, but I actually quite like it.

Chambray La Sylphide

I really love this pattern because the top looks just as good with the peplum tucked, as you saw during Me Made May. As much as I love the peplum, sometimes an outfit just doesn’t work with it – like the Kelly skirt. Too much flare going on! And as much as I love making and hoarding clothes, I don’t need two chambray shirts… so I’m ok to let this one do double-duty.

Chambray La Sylphide

And I guess that’s it for this post.

OH WAIT NO IT’S NOT!!! We have a Bombshell winner! There were 354 total comments (my most commented-on post EVER, thanks guys haha), but I had to pull a few out for dupes/replies/no entries.

winner
It landed on my lucky number! GOOOOOO 7!!!!

… Which makes our winner Joanne!
Joanne
Joanne, I think this pattern will work out for you a lot better :) And I want to see that neon floral fabric, because it sounds awesomeeee.

Thanks to everyone who entered! The pattern is available on Etsy for those who did not win. Don’t forget to join the Sewalong, it starts today! I can’t wait to see everyone’s Bombshells! :)

Completed: The Pavlova Wrap Top

25 Mar

Well, you guys. I done goofed. I put this outfit together in hopes of the emerging spring – and oh, it is indeed emerging… so much that Landon had to mow the freakin front yard a couple weekends ago because it was sooo lush and green and, like, springy – but today is heartbreakingly gray, freezing, and the windiest of windys. I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me before I left the house this morning, but a giant circle skirt is NOT appropriate for this kind of wind. I managed to learn this lesson immediately after I flashed everyone on West End Avenue. Hope someone out there was nurturing a stockings fetish! Ahhh!

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

Anyway, I think this skirt fabric is a pretty amazing floral for the weird transitional months – it has those pretty, bright, springy flowers, but they’re smashed up against a black background so it’s still a little srs bsnss. And it looks great with black tights (I always get all weird about what color tights to wear with my spring dresses, ok!). I got it at the flea market last year and I’ve been hoarding it ever since.

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

I originally cut this skirt out a couple of months ago, during an afternoon sewing date with my boo Lauren W. My fabric was large enough for me to cut a full circle, but hers wasn’t, and I wanted to be a good friend (and also get an idea of wtf I was doing before ripping into her fabric), so we pieced the pattern out so it has 4 skirt pieces, and then added pockets. You can’t see my skirt seams because my fabric is so robust and floofy, but trust me, they’re there.
Anyway, the sewing-date ended with a fully seamed skirt with pockets, and then it sat in my sewing room for… well, until last Friday. Lauren has been making progress on her own skirt at home (aw yay!!) so I decided to finish mine up, so I could wear it with my new wrap top. Don’t they match so well?! Like it was ~meant to be.

You probably guessed that the skirt is not the Pavlova circle skirt – it’s just my standard, self-drafted circle skirt pattern. It’s like a sneaky Pavlova, since it was cut into 4 pieces. Also, it’s not hemmed with anything but a very simple narrow hem. The fabric has a lot of body, so it stands up pretty well on it’s own. Which is great, because I don’t have any horsehair braid right now :P

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

Anyway, let’s talk about the top! This is the wrap from the Pavlova pattern. I’m not even going to lie, I was a liiiiiittle apprehensive about sewing this pattern – something about that lapped seam on the neckline, not to mention the shoulder darts, looked intimidating! I really shouldn’t have worried, though – Steph has an incredible way of relaying instructions that makes them sooo easy to understand. The only problems I had with making this top was my topstitching – and I fault that to my fabric and lack of fusible hem tape to keep shit in place. I sewed a size 30 and made no alterations to the pattern.

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

My fabric is from NY – I bought it at Fabrics For Less. This was my very short, very solo return to the Garment District on Monday afternoon. Yes, after 2 full days in that madhouse, I WENT BACK. And I bought more fabric. Honestly, I was very upset about the lack of knits in my suitcase, so I got this mint cotton jersey as well as a matching red, and also the french terry for my Avocado hoodie. What? Why are you looking at me like that?

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

I don’t know if this jersey was the very *best* choice for this top – you can see everrrrrry single little lump under there (fyi, the line across my chest is actually from the hem of the wrap top, not my bra. Just so we’re clear ;)), as it’s super drapey and tissue thin. I just love the color though, and it goes with a huge chunk of my wardrobe! Word of warning – this is a short top. The front barely clears my waistband (which comes above my navel), and all my pants are too low to wear with it. The back is nice and long, though, which is sweet.

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

Also, this is one hell of a twirly skirt.

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

I forgot to mention – I added a thin line of mint piping between the waistband and the skirt, using a perfectly matching bias tape I had in my stash. Yes! I love it when these things work out!

Pavlova Top/Circle Skirt

Soooo… what’s next? Do I need plead a special case to the Sun God or what??

Completed: The Kelly Skirt/Jalie 2921

4 Mar

I’m doubling up on this post – I hope y’all don’t mind. Just didn’t think either of these pieces deserved a whole post of their own :) This is pretty basic cake stuff we’re working with here.

Also, this is a result of me waking up on Sunday morning and going “OMG I’M GOING TO NY NEXT WEEK AND I HAVE NOTHING TO WEEEEEAR!!”
(not literally – I mean, have you seen my closet?)

Anyway, I’d just picked up the Kelly skirt pattern and I was dying to try it out. I found this giant yardage of navy corduroy in my stash – I’m trying to stash-bust as much as I can before I overfill my sewing room with more fabric next week heh heh – I think I got it at a yard sale a few years ago?

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
It works great for this pattern although it is very STIFF… you can’t see too much from these pictures, but the skirt just balloons away from my body and stays that way. Now, I like me a stiff skirt as much as any girl, but this is almost comical. Next time, I will opt for a slightly softer fabric. I may try to wash this skirt a few times in the meantime and see if I can beat down the stiffness a little as well.

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
This pattern was soo easy to whip together. There are just 5 pieces, a little bit of topstitching, and a smattering of buttonholes. I had the whole thing made from start to finish in less than 3 hours. Now that’s what I call fast fashion, derp.

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
The only change I made was to not interface the waistband – like I said, my corduroy is very stiff. Also, I am lazy. I think it holds up fine, though.

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
I made a size XS and it’s a tiiiiny bit big at the waist, but nothing that I can’t cinch in with a belt.

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
I can see this pattern working beautifully with a wide range of fabrics, from a lightweight chambray to a nice cotton twill. Ooh!

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
I also made my top over the weekend, same Sunday, even! Before you get too excited – it’s a knit top, which takes me like an hour to put together. Srsly, I looove sewing knits. The pattern is Jalie 2921, and the fabric is this Coral rayon jersey from Mood. More Nard-Dog colors, sorry y’all.

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921
I only made a couple of changes to the pattern – had to shorten the sleeves because there were REALLY long, and I also shortened the ties because they overwhelmed the shirt. There was no scientific method to shortening the ties – I just put the shirt on and hacked away. Instead of leaving a hole in the center front seam to pull the ties though, I sewed it up all the way and just looped the ties over each other. The fabric is too heavy to make a proper bow. I feel like this look is kind of jaunty, with the ascot and preppy colors.

I did experiment with my hems on this top – I found a bunch of wooly nylon in my stash that I’d forgotten about (oops) and I wound some of that in the bobbin and then did my usual twin needle topstitching. I LOVE the result; the stitches are very uniform and there are no ridges or rippling. Worked like a charm!

Kelly Skirt

Kelly Skirt - pocket!
Since the cord was so thick, I used this fun quilting cotton to face the pockets :) Isn’t it sweet? Kiddie cowboys!

Jalie 2921

Jalie 2921 - hem

Kelly Skirt, Jalie 2921

As a side note – if you didn’t see the first post announcement – I’ll be in New York this week and planning a meet-up for Saturday! If you’re in the area and want to join for some fabric shopping, send me an email and I’ll pass on the details :)

Tutorial: The Paulie Pocket Top

18 Jan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yay for embellished shirts!

Paulie Pocket Top

Paulie Pocket Top

Paulie Pocket Top

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

Paulie Pocket Top
There! That’s better :D

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