Tag Archives: tshirt

Completed: The Bronte Top

2 Jul

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

Bronte Top

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

Bronte Top

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

Bronte Top

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

Bronte Top

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

Bronte Top

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

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

Bronte Top

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

Bronte Top

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

Bronte Top

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

Bronte Top

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

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

Bronte Top

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

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

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

wins1

wins2

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

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

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Me-Made-May ’14: Week 1 Round-Up (+ Nettie!)

2 May

We’re only two days into May, so this is gonna be the shortest round-up ever.

5/1 #mmmay14 #mmm14
5/1, Thursday
Hoodie: Traced off a favorite RTW hoodie
Tshirt: Briar (unblogged)
Tank top: So ‘Zo free pattern (unblogged)
Jeans: Imogene + Willie
Shoes: Keds
Undies (no, you can’t see them but I promise they are there :P): So ‘Zo free pattern (also unblogged… geez)

The first day went off with a slight hitch… I had originally planned to wear something different, but it ended up being too cold outside. I’ve been housesitting all week, so while I can get back to my stuff in the afternoon… in the AM, I’m kind of stuck with what I brought. So I ransacked my pile of clothes and ended up with a pretty good pile of Me-Mades that all sort of went together. You can’t see the tank and undies (and I swear, one of these days, I’ll blog about them), but they’re there :)

Oh yeah, and I’m totally in my friend Elizabeth‘s studio here. Isn’t it GORGEOUS?

5/2 #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/2, Friday
Top: Nettie tshirt
Skirt: Gabriola Maxi
Shoes: Jessica Simpson

This is what I had planned to wear Thursday :) I LOVE wearing this maxi! It’s so swishy and fun and I feel so elegant. Gonna be hard not wearing this every day, ha!

So that’s it for week 1! Like I said, pretty short :) We’ll get it really cranking next week, I imagine.

Just so this post isn’t all super short, let’s talk about my tshirt I’m wearing today! This is the Nettie pattern. If you hadn’t heard of it yet, that’s cos it was just recently released so it’s brand spankin’ new!

Nettie tshirt

Nettie is actually designed to be a bodysuit… you know, one piece, snaps at the crotch, that sort of thing. I was asked to be a pattern tester, and I agreed under the premise that I could make mine into tshirts. Bodysuits and I just don’t get along (although, after reading what Heather wrote… I’m wondering if I might like them in winter, for that no-cold-creeping-on-my-midriff factor. Hm.), plus, it’s always nice to see if the pattern has additional options, yeah? So here are a couple of the Netties I made – I actually made 4, but I won’t bore you with all of them (I’m sure they’ll pop up at some point this month).

Nettie tshirt

I love pretty much everything about this pattern. I love that it comes with multiple options – high neck, scoop neck, high back, scoop back, REAL LOW scoop back, short sleeves, long sleeve, elbow-length sleeves.. not to mention, bodysuit/tshirt/dress. Whew! I also love how fitted it is. No positive ease here!

Nettie tshirt

You do have to be mindful of the fabric you’re using, because of the negative ease factor. This mint Nettie is made using a rayon knit (it’s the same stuff I used to make my MCall’s 4488, I’ve been hoarding the remainder in my stash for quite a while now!), and while it’s nice and stretchy, it’s also very lightweight. Meaning you can pretty much see every bump underneath. That’s fine with me, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re not keen on people seeing all your bra hardware.

Nettie tshirt

Here’s another Nettie I made using a thicker stretch knit I bought at Mood Fabrics while I was in NYC (sadly, it’s not on the website… and probably not in the store anymore, either, since I bought like 8 yards of it and made everyone else buy some too HA HA HA). It’s almost like a thin ponte – and very very soft, with quite a bit of stretch. I LOVE this fabric!

I made the size 4, which I fit pretty squarely in, measurement-wise. If you’re looking for something a little less tight, just go up a size or two :) Both of these versions are the scoop front with a high back neckline. I did make a couple with a scoop back neckline, but I’ve learned that I really don’t like the way they look on me, so I’m sticking with high back for now.

Nettie tshirt

As you can see, the thicker fabric results in a smoother look.

To make my Nettie into a tshirt, I just cut the pattern piece about 1″ above the hipline (where the leotard-ness starts). I also added 1.5″ length at the waist, so the shirt would be long enough to cover my waistband. In case you were wondering why I cut length and then re-added it, well, the bottom of the pattern flares out quite a bit to accommodate hips – which I don’t need in a tshirt. So I added length at the waist instead.

Nettie tshirt

And that’s it! Pretty happy with this new pattern, and while I’m not much of a bodysuit-lover, I DO love me a good tshirt! Especially when it’s super tight with a low neckline. Go ahead, judge me :P

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Completed: The Ensis Tee

13 Feb

I feel like such a bad friend, but I’ve hardly managed to make a ding in my stack of Constellation patterns from Papercut Patterns. Not for lack of inspiration – I have plans for almost every pattern in that horde – but a lack of time. Well, I guess time isn’t such a bad issue now, huh? :) YAY TIME TO GET SEWING.

Ensis Tee - stripes

So here’s the first of the series – the Ensis Tee! Actually, hush hush, but this is the second Ensis Tee I’ve sewn – the first one, I tried to use pieced fabric scraps to make the yoke up and it just ended up a mess of mismatched seams. It’s super comfy, though, so I wear it as loungewear :)

Ensis Tee - stripes

Ensis Tee - stripes

I really love the colorblocking effects with this pattern – I have so many ideas that I want to put into action! Like making it into a colorblocked turtleneck or cutting the yoke out of lace. Such a great little basic pattern!

Ensis Tee - stripes

For this particular Ensis, I used more my stripey ponte from the making of my Stripy Lady Skater, and the matching ivory ponte for the colorblock at the top. I also managed to cut out a Renfrew with the tiny bit of remaining yardage left, so expect one more garment out of this amazing fabric. What? Don’t look at me like that.

Ensis Tee - stripes

I cut the size XXS and the only alteration I made was a nip the waist in just a tiny bit for some added shape. My original Ensis was made using a very drapey Merino wool and the unaltered size is perfect, but when the fabric has a bit more body, you may need to add a little bit more shaping or else run the risk of looking boxy.

Ensis Tee - stripes

Ensis Tee - stripes

I also shortened the sleeves a little, as the originals were too long with the addition of the cuffs. You can’t see too well in these pictures, but the hem is slightly curved. I finished that with a simple twin-needle stitch – the rest of the shirt is sewn entirely on the serger. Yess!

Ensis Tee - stripes

I mostly like this top because I think it makes my boobs look big. There, I said it.

Ensis Tee - stripes

Ensis Tee - stripes

Ok, FINE, I reckon we can now address the elephant in the room – my hair! What is UP with my hair?!

Ensis Tee - stripes

I told y’all it was bright orange!

Ensis Tee - stripes

So, this is phase 1 of a two-part hair makeover. I had it bleached out last week at the salon (my salon does a training program that needed a bleach model, which means I got this done for a STEAL. srsly, srsly cheap), but I haven’t had a chance to deposit my color on it yet – hopefully this weekend. YES, it’s very orange – I had old box color already on my hair, which makes for unpredictable bleaching results. This was as light as we could go without really damaging my hair, and it’s fine for what I have planned. YES, I am aware that orange is not the most flattering color for my complexion, and I don’t intend to leave it like this for forever (although it’s kind of fun right now, not gonna lie!). I’m now working a job that doesn’t require a natural hair color as part of the dress code, so I jumped at the opportunity to do something weird with my hair. It’s just hair, it’ll grow back!

Ensis Tee - stripes

Also, say hello to my sewing room! The winter has been wretched cold, but with enough random warm days scattered throughout so I was able to squeeze in some outside photos from time to time. We’re right in the midst of another below-freezing week, so I’m back to shooting in my sewing room :)

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: The Briar Tshirt (with Bonus Thurlows!)

21 May

Hey, look, I finally got my ass into gear and hopped on the Briar bandwagon! Yay!! I know I’ve hated on the high/low hems in the past (aka mullet hems) but if anyone can make a high-low hem look like something I need in my closet, it’s Megan Nielsen, Our Lady of the High/Low.

Stripey Briar, Linen Thurlows

Actually, I made TWO!!

Red Briar, Linen Thurlows

Oh, and another pair of Thurlow shorts for good measure :)

Linen Thurlows

I mean, why would I pair my beautiful new tshirts with an old pair of shorts? AS IF.

Red Briar, Linen Thurlows

This red one is the first one I made (and sorry in advance for the overly saturated pictures – red is hard to photograph!). I used a super drapey rayon knit from Fabrics for Less in NYC; it’s delicious and airy and PERFECT for this kind of top. I don’t normally wear such loose-fitting clothing (and I know y’all are laughing because this is hardly loose-fitting, but it is for meeeeeee ok!), but I LOVEEE this way this looks and feels. Must make several more.

This version has a tiny pocket (which, yep, you totally can’t see) and I finished the neckline with a binding – partially because the fabric is soo drapey, it wouldn’t work with the normal stretched bands, and partially because I wanted to try a new technique! I must say, I’m really happy with now the neckline turned out. It’s perfect and flat and looks really good. Megan Nielsen, you are a binding genius.

Red Briar, Linen Thurlows

I was smacking a mosquito in this picture (the ‘skeeters were sooo bad this morning, ugh!), but I like that it shows the tshirt doesn’t gape out when you bend over. Nice!

Red Briar

For this shirt, I sewed an XS and took in additional bit at the side seams because it was a little loose. I also cut about 3″ off the length (I cut it off the bottom for this one, but for the next one I did properly slash and shorten the pattern pieces like a good seamstress ;)).

Red Briar

Oh, yeah, and I used the last of my neon yellow twill tape to stabilize the shoulder seams ;)

Stripey Briar, Linen Thurlows

I made the second version immediately after. Ha! This one is a fairly hefty weight knit from Mood when I was in NY. I’ve been hoarding this fabric for the months since and I’m so glad I went with this pattern because I think it’s pretty perfect! Of course, I got way too excited/ahead of myself and neglected to match the stripes at the side seams… oh well!

Stripey Briar, Linen Thurlows

This version is pretty much the exact same as the red one, except that I finished the neckline with a band instead of the binding. I actually tried the binding first, since I loved it soo much – but my machine was NOT having it. The fabric was too thick, anyway. So, band it is!

Stripey Briar, Linen Thurlows

Stripey Briar

I left off the pocket for this one, and also ended up taking in the side seams quite a bit – at least 1″. Since the fabric is fairly heavy, it looked weird all blousey. Like it was too big. This looks much better, and bonus – it looks great tucked in!

Stripey Briar

I really love this fabric and I wish I’d bought several yards of it, oh well!

Linen Thurlows

For the shorts, I don’t have much to elaborate on as this is like my squillionth pair. Haha! I used my TNT pattern and whipped these up in a couple of evenings (they are RILL easy after you made a bunch of them, just fyi!).

Linen Thurlows

For fabric, I used a beautiful, soft grey linen that I got from my new favorite local fabric source, Muna Couture. Muna’s shop is actually a dressmaking shop – and she makes some pretty incredible ball gowns and wedding dresses – but she also sells fabric. Not just fancy dress fabric (although there is plenty of that, and it is AMAZING), but also basic stuff for daily wear, like wools and linens and prints. I got this remnant from her and it was *just* enough to squeeze out some shorts. I love that they’re linen – so breezy and nice for summer! They do wrinkle a bit with wear, but not too bad :) The white lining is fabric leftover from my Madeline bloomers.

Linen Thurlows

This is the only bummer about the shorts – I drew on the fly with my disappearing wax, and it didn’t disappear! WTF!!! I managed to fade it out a bit (put a piece of paper over it, applied heat, and then rubbing alcohol very sparingly, if yr curious), but it’s still pretty disappointing that you can see it. Sooo with that being said, important lesson learned here – ALWAYS test your marking utensils before marking on your fabric! DUH. I should have been doing that anyway, but I wasn’t, and now I know, and it won’t happen again. Learn from my mistakes :)

Side note, today is the last day to get 15% off at Sweet Little Chickadee, so get on it, son! Use the code LLADYBIRDBIRTHDAY and get to shoppin’! You could even get the Briar and Thurlows, y’know, if you wanted to be like me ;) ha!!

Another side note, it’s my birthday todayyyy!! Yay!! Happy birthday to all my birthday twins (there were several of you, yay 5/21!!!) and all the other May Babies :)

me & my dad :3

Here is my gift to you, baby L with my dad :) AWWWW!!!

Completed: White Tshirts. Yes, Tshirts.

1 Feb

At the risk of really beating this dead horse to the ground- I like making solid, every day basics. Boring shit like plain pants, tshirts, solid knit dresses, and I’ve got my eye on making underwear as well. I mean, making a bunch of party dresses is super fun, don’t get me wrong – but there are only so many frilly/froofy dresses I can fill my closet with before I start pulling my hair out on Saturday morning whining that I don’t have anything to weeeear. And I, too, have read Overdressed, which basically punched me in the face the same way that Fast Food Nation punched the rest of the world in the stomach. I can’t even walk in the mall anymore now without yelling about polyester and stitch lengths. It’s insane and no one wants to go shopping with me these days… not that I do much “shopping” as it is.

So, I’m ok with sewing my own basics. I like that I make a tshirt for roughly the same cost as something from the mall, except I can control the fit as I like it and I also know the hem stitches aren’t going to fall out the first time I throw it in the wash. Maybe making tshirts is simple and the exact opposite of exciting, but sometimes I’m having a bad day and I just want to make something without thinking to much about it – and for me, that perfect something is the tshirt. Some people bake when they’re in a bad mood. I make tshirts.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Organic Cotton Plus and asked if I would like to sample some of their organic fabrics. Yeah! I chose the white interlock knit and set to work making some basics. In organic because, yeah, I be fancy.

Organic Renfrew- V-Neck
I used my beloved Renfew pattern and made two tops. Here’s the v-neck -probably could have stood to make that v a little more, uh, v-like, but it ain’t too bad for a first attempt. The secret, I’ve learned, is to sew the neck band on a regular sewing machine first, and then serge the edges after. Otherwise, the blades of the serger will chop a big ol’ hole in the middle of your tshirt when you try to pivot (and disabling the blades just makes a huge mess, oh god). I know this because I actually tried to do the v-neck version several months ago, and it failed. Also, I realize I just lied to y’all about this being a first attempt. I’m sorry, I’ll never lie to you again~.

Organic Renfrew- V-Neck
I made no changes to the pattern (other than my initial fitting changes), except I did not add the hem band. I just hemmed the bottom with a double needle and used my walking foot.

Organic Renfrew- V-Neck

Organic Renfrew- V-Neck

Organic Renfrew - Scoop Neck
I also made a scoop neck!

Organic Renfrew - Scoop Neck
Making tshirts is FUN!

Organic Renfrew - Scoop Neck
I actually really really love this fabric. It is the *perfect* weight for a basic Renfrew – super soft, a bit of stretch (but not all slinky like jersey – which I love, but there is a time and a place for slinky jersey) with a good hefty weight. Even though it’s white, it’s actually quite opaque – the scoop-neck top has neon yellow twill tape on the shoulders. Can you see it? NOPE. I’m pretty sure I could get away with wearing a neon bra under these and on one would be the wiser.

Organic Renfrew
Plus, the fabric is less than $9 a yard. So yes, a teeny bit more expensive than F21 – but it’s also light years nicer, as well as ethically-sourced. Which I’m totally willing to pay extra for.

Organic Renfrew

Organic Renfrew

Organic Renfrew

And while we’re on the subject of paying extra for ethical fashion… didja see my new jeans?

Imogene Stretch
WELL LOOK AT THEM.
Before you get all excited and start freaking out, I didn’t make these. As much as I wish I was a jean-making-master like Taylor Tailor, I can’t make a good pair of jeans to save my life. I don’t even think it’s a matter of fit anymore – I just don’t like the denim that is currently available. As much as I love love love my Thurlow jeans, I rarely wear them because the fabric just sucks. They stretch out so much over the course of the day, they are huge and baggy by the time I take them off – and I’ve sized them down twice now. Ugh. So I give up. Jeans, you win. I will buy you from now on.

Imogene Stretch
So here’s the deal – like, I dunno, every single woman I know, standard jeans just don’t fit me right. They are too big in the waist, too tight in the thighs, and the length is always much too long (and I’m too lazy to hem my own jeans, let’s be real here). I guess I could fix the waist issue by wearing a belt, but I hate wearing belts with pants, not to mention I don’t even own any belts that fit around my hips. Plus, the denim is just shitty. I bought some GAP jeans a couple of years ago and they’re already getting holes – and I barely even wear them! So I recently got rid of all my jeans – I had almost a dozen pairs – and bought one pair. I only own one pair of jeans now, and here they are.

Imogene Stretch
These are made by Imogene and Willie, and they are the Imogene Stretch. I’m not going to sugar coat – they were fucking expensive. Actually, these jeans are the most expensive piece of clothing I have ever owned. This is also the first piece of new/non-sale clothing I’ve bought in several years (and yes, I bought them with my own money. Ha, I WISH I+W would give me free jeans!). So, why would I spend $200+ on one pair of jeans, you might ask?
- They are made here in Nashville, TN, by a small business. I like supporting small businesses. I like knowing my money is going back into my community.
- The materials are amazing. The denim is high-quality and wears beautifully (and it’s woven in the USA! Yeah!). I also get 3 free repairs, should I happen to gouge a hole in them or some shit.
- The fit is better than any pair of pants I’ve ever owned. I dunno about you, but I’d rather own one pair of well-fitting pants than a dozen pairs of ill-fitting pants. I have no waist gap, the legs fit perfectly, and the length was hemmed to my exact measurements when I bought them.
- THEY LOOK DAMN GOOD ON ME.

Also, the workmanship is just beautiful-
Imogene Stretch
The topstitching is three different colors. Can you see it?

Imogene Stretch

Imogene Stretch

Imogene Stretch

I’m not posting this because I secretly want everyone to stop shopping at fast fashion places (ok, I kinda do – in a perfect world. But that’s not really attainable right now, and not everyone has that kind of budget! ;)). I mean, I just bought a pair of Keds the other day. Whatever. But… know when to pick your battles. Know what matters to you, and what you can let slide. And personally for me – I’ll make what I can, and buy local when I can find and afford it, and not feel bad if I occasionally have to buy shoes at Macy’s. Small changes eventually equal big changes.

Organic Renfrew

Organic Renfrew

~*~Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post, although I did receive a fabric sample from Organic Cotton Plus to review & keep. All opinions on this product are my own.

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

Completed: Simplicity 5110 (and a Renfrew!)

12 Apr

See also: Sewing to soften a bad mood.

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew

I made these shorts last night (well, cut the pattern & sewed the pockets down on Tuesday evening, if we’re being totally honest here), the Renfrew was thrown together over the weekend. Both of these pieces are significant in the sense that I made them when I was stressed & stewing up a terrible mood. I know lots of us prefer to knit or clean or whatever tv when we’re stressed, but personally I like to sew! I find the strict attention to detail – even on something totally quick’n’dirty like a pair of shorts & a knit tshirt – to be very calming & it definitely puts me in a ~zen~ state. Being able to focus all my energy on something that is completely unrelated to whatever may be stressing me out is really beneficial in getting me to take a step back and drop my bad mood. Always works like a charm, too!

I will point out that sewing when you’re in a bad mood really isn’t a good idea if you’re working on something that tends to stress you out even in the best situations – hence, why my Bombshell dress is still sulkingsitting on my dress form. Actually, the Bombshell dress is a big contributor to my stress (the other big one is that I’m STILL SICK – although now I sound less like a man and more like a boy in the middle of puberty – and still carrying around a hacking cough that sounds suspiciously like the dreaded Smoker’s Cough). I chose to put it aside for a few days & focus on something that I know is going to be easy & fit the way I like it without a lot of fuss. It’s good to have a few TNT patterns just for this reason! And in the meantime – I filled a gap in my summer wardrobe! Double win!

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew
These are my TNT patterns – Simplicity 5110 (shorts!) and the Renfrew top. Both are pretty quick to sew up and have already been fitted to my liking. I made the shorts up last year in red and they get a LOT of wear – so comfy, and I think they’re flattering :) I made them in the same manner this time, except in khaki, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for about a year now. The green stripey knit for my Renfrew has been in my knit stash for god knows how long – I think I bought the original yardage at Walmart actually. It’s nice & slinky and feels good against the skin. I decided to keep the stripes on the neck & arm bands, although I did not sew on the hem band because I wanted this shirt to tuck in without a lot of bulk. The hem is stitched with a double needle on my sewing machine, and I did a terrible job & no I’m not going to show you a picture. Sorry.

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew
It’s actually not warm enough to even wear this outfit – we got another cold snap, ew!, and I was FREEZING in these pictures. The things I do for y’all!

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew
The pockets are lined with that mystery polka dot fabric – I love a fun lining!

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew

Khaki Shorts
The only thing I’m not happy about is how weird the waistband is sitting – what’s up with that little pucker at the top of my zipper? Also, I need to push the closures over closer to the edge of the waistband, so it doesn’t stick out like that.

Khaki Shorts
Other than that, the zipper went in without a single hitch! I have always had issues with my front-fly zippers going in wonky (or backwards, or sewn completely shut lol), until I sat down & sewed a bunch up & figured out the most efficient way to get them in the pants. Here is my tutorial on front-fly zippers, if you want to benefit as well :)

Green Stripey Renfrew
I love how the green stripes look with the khaki. Such a nice color combination!

Khaki Shorts

Khaki Shorts
The zipper is just something I had in my stash… as was the fabric and everything else. Free shorts, yo!

Renfrew

Renfrew - yellow twill tape :)
Here is my favorite part about the Renfrew – the twill tape on the shoulders is yellow! NEON yellow!

I think I’m ready to re-asses that Bombshell dress – just needed a few days to step back & think about something else (something easy!). In the meantime, I have cut out the pieces for my next Renfrew -
next Renfrew - red & grey stripes!
You know, in case I hit another stumbling block :)

Khaki Shorts & Green Striped Renfrew

What about you? Do you find it relaxing to sew when you’re stressed, or does it drive you completely mad? What do you like to do to calm yourself when it’s desperately needed?

Completed: Another Stripey Renfrew Top

17 Feb

Didn’t see this one coming, did ya? :)

I bought this stripey jersey fabric on my last big fabric excursion, right before I enabled The Ban. Actually, I bought it because I *thought* it was navy/white striped, but upon closer inspection it would appear to favor black over navy. Oh well! Anyway, this top was screaming to be a Renfrew – so there ya go! I’m clearly not the only person who wanted their Renfrew to be stripey-delicious, although mine is a little different because I didn’t cut my bands out of the stripey fabric. Solid black over here!

I did save my stripey pieces, though, so watch out for them – they may end up banding a solid colored shirt :)

Stripey
Not much else to report here – it’s a tshirt, and I made it up (cutting included!) in less than 2 hours. LOVE.

Stripey
I’m actually pretty surprised I got the stripes on the sleeves (mostly)matched up with the stripes on the body. That definitely was not something I made an effort towards.

Stripey
The sides match up until about 3″ below the armpits. I think anyone who is staring at my armpits long enough to realize that the stripes don’t match up has bigger problems than me, just sayin’.

Stripey

Stripey - topstitching
I managed to get a much more clear shot of the double-needle topstitching.

SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS PATTERN, Y’ALL.

In other news – I signed up for a Twitter account! Actually, I think Twitter is kind of stupid but since I don’t really venture into blogland on the weekends, I like the idea of having Twitter around for communication. So please add me – I went through a few fellow sewists friends lists and added 6 people (and Pee Wee Herman because, well, why not?) but then I got overwhelmed and gave up. And now my only follower is some spambot who keeps tweeting about sex & debt, ew. So if you have Twitter, let’s follow each other! I’m LLLLADYBIRD!

Also, check out my sweater progress -
Agatha sweater - right side
Kinda looks like a tiny vest, amirite?

Agatha sweater - on form
I put it on my form, but my circular needles are just barely long enough to knit this comfortably, so I didn’t stretch it to pull across the front. So here’s the back! I’ve knitted a few rows since taking this picture – that yarn-butt on the shoulder is now part of the sweater, and I’ve officially started my second ball of yarn :) Yay!

Ok, I’m going to go figure this Twitter thing out some more.

Stripey

Happy Friday! :D

Completed: The Renfrew Top (and why I love knits!)

7 Feb

Omg you guysssss have you been lurking the Renfrew top as hard as I have? I was seriously excited when Tasia released this pattern – I love working with knits and I want everyone else to love them, too! Honestly, I already have a tshirt pattern block and I’ve got a pretty good handle on knits – not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve been pumping out knit tshirts/dresses for a few years now (mostly LLADYBIRD stuff. But I bought this pattern anyway – for SCIENCE. Despite making hundreds of tshirts, I’ve never actually sewn with a pattern for knits. So I was curious to see what it was like, and I wanted to report back to y’all. Also, SCIENCE.

Chevron Renfrew

I do love how versatile this pattern is – and not even with just what is offered on the envelope! You can seriously butcher this pattern up to make all kinds of other designs! I do like it better than my personal block, although it took some tweaking to get the fit correct. My biggest issue with Sewaholic patterns is the bust size – the measurements are so much smaller than mine, and since I already have to do a FBA with normal patterns, it’s not usually worth it to go the extra step with something that will take even more flat pattern adjusting. Knits, however, are very very forgiving. You don’t have to do a FBA so much as you just cut a bigger size :)

I was a little confused with the finished measurements – they include a few inches of ease, which is guess is necessary for a stable knit. Me, I use super stretchy knits – I have a whole cabinet full of them! I cut my pattern to accommodate for this – a 4 at the bust, reducing to a 0 at the waist/hip. I left the sleeves at a 4 (I have big upper arms for my size, I guess) and the shoulders/neckline are a 0. I also reduced the shoulder width just a hair past 0 as my first prototype was in danger of falling off my shoulder.

Speaking of my first shirt, I’m not going to show it to you. There’s nothing wrong with it – the fit is great – but it’s a boring red long sleeve shirt with a scoop neck. BORING. Who wants to look at that?

The whole pattern is great. I love the fit and the instructions are very clear and concise. I love the bands – this is not a new concept to me, personally, as I’ve been using this method for a few years, but it was reassuring to know my method was the right method :)

I do have one small change I made to the pattern that I think makes a huge difference with the finished neckline, though – if you are sewing this up with a stretchy/slinky knit (i.e, not something stable), cut the neckline band an inch or so shorter than the pattern piece indicates, and then stretch it to fit as you sew it on. The ending result is that the band shrinks down to fit the neckline and you get a perfect curve without needing to top stitch it down. As far as how much to cut off – well, I wish there was a formula to tell you, but it’s really dependent on how stretchy your knit is. Usually an inch is enough, but you might need to experiment! It is definitely worth it for the end result, though.

Chevron Renfrew

The fabric requirements on this pattern, btw, can easily be fudged. If you play around with the cutting layout, you can definitely save on fabric. Fabric can also be pieced at certain points if you don’t have enough length – this particular shirt is pieced right down the front. Partially to form the chevrons, but mostly because I barely had any of this stripey fabric.

Chevron Renfrew - back
And look – the back is solid black :)

Chevron Renfrew - side
I love the way it looks from the side (and no, I have no idea what is going on there with my hand)

Chevron Renfrew

Chevron Renfrew - top stitching
I tried to get a picture of my top stitching but you can’t really see it, even with my super obvious ‘shopping :( Instead of using the zig zag (which I think looks kind of amateur on knits), I used a double needle and stitched with the seam in the middle of the needles. This is something I see on lots of RTW and I think it looks pretty professional! The bobbin stitch in a double needle is kind of a zig zag, so you still get a little stretch even though the top stitching is straight :) I also did this with my shoulder seams when I stitched down the twill tape.

So… as a lover of knits, my final verdict on this pattern is a definite WIN. I can’t wait to play around with this pattern some more; I’ve already pulled out a giant stack of knits from my cabinet to see what else I can cook up :D

Chevron Renfrew

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