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OAL: The Winners!

4 Aug

Hey everyone! Sorry, one more OAL post :)

I had SO much fun co-hosting the OAL this year with Andi, and I love that we had so many participants (66 posted completed outfits on the Ravelry thread!). I can’t even tell you how much I loved following along with everyone’s progress, and seeing what cool outfits came out of it! I really love the variety of sewing and knitting patterns that showed up in the OAL (some having already moved over to my to-make queue ;)). Such a fun time and I’m really glad I got to host! Thanks to everyone who participated! Y’all are the best! ♥

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Andi & I wanted to sweeten the deal with an opportunity for prizes, so let’s get to that! Our official sponsor for the OAL is Indie Stitches, who generously donated prizes for each of the winners. Those who win get a free pattern of these choosing from Indie Stitches, plus a free knitting pattern of their choosing from the Untangling Knots shop. For the drawing, we compiled a list of all the posts on the OAL Finished Outfits thread that were submitted before the deadline on 7/31 and included a full outfit. The names were put on a numbered spreadsheet, which we used random.org to pull the winning numbers. So, without further ado – our 4 OAL winners~~

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Karen’s Helen bed jacket & PJ’s
Damn, that’s such a good idea – why didn’t I think of that? Classy pjs and a bed jacket for lounging, instead of my ratty workout shorts and an even rattier quilt.

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Roisin’s Myrna cardigan & Vogue 8998
ROISIN! I swear I did not choose her name on purpose; this was purely luck of the draw. I love her little pink Myrna and the fabric for that dress is such a perfect match!

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Kristi’s Myrna & Simplicity 1803//McCall 6696
Such a pretty and classic combination! You can’t see too well in these photos, but go look at her Ravelry page – the top of the dress bodice is outlined in pink piping, which looks fabulous! And the inside is just gorgeous :)

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Martinalici’s Featherweight cardigan & Washi dress
Love this – especially that hand-embroidered collar! Also, that Featherweight Cardigan is going in my queue asap :)

Woohoo! Congratulations, ladies! Keep an eye out for an email from me :)

For those who didn’t win, I still have a lil’ somethin’ for ya – a discount code! Use the code OAL2014 for 15% off your purchase at Indie Stitches shop. This code is valid for 48 hours, so through 7AM August 6 (whew! Is it August already?).

Thanks again to everyone who played along, I hope you had as much fun as we did! To see all the finished outfits in all their glory, check out the OAL Finished Outfits Ravelry thread, the Official Unofficial Flickr Group and the hashtag #oal2014 :)

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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….

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

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

Completed: A Crazy Paisley Hollyburn

12 May

You ever see a sewing pattern and think, “Yeah, that’s too plain… next please!”? This was my thought when I first saw the Hollyburn skirt from Sewaholic Patterns. Cute enough, I thought, but too plain for me to take a second look at. I wanted adventure and excitement in my sewing patterns! I wanted something different.

Paisley Hollyburn

Actually, it appears what I need is to fill some closet gaps. Simple flared skirts and knit tops are one of my favorite casual outfit combinations – you can mix and match them to each other, so they basically do double-duty. My current lifestyle doesn’t allow for much in the way of fitted/pencil skirts – I need to be able to move around and, like, sit on the floor – and I’m kind of over circle skirts at the moment. My skirt experimentation has rekindled my romance for Ginger and Miette, not to mention a fabulously swishy and dreamy Gabriola, but I was ready to try something new.

So I revisited Hollyburn.

Paisley Hollyburn

And we totally fell in loooooooooove ~~~

Paisley Hollyburn

Seriously, guys. There is nothing necessarily ground-breaking about this pattern (although, let’s be real, Tasia’s a drafting genius and I’m like creepy obsessed with her patterns right now), but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good pattern. The beauty is in the simplicity – it’s a simple flared skirt with a simple waistband, a back zip closure, and curved front pockets. Nothing fancy here, but it works and it’s awesome. And I already made two.

Paisley Hollyburn

Hollyburn 1, aka, the Crazy Paisley, is made with this amazing paisley rayon I yanked at the Nashville Flea Market. Forreal, is this shit not insanely awesome?? I saw it out of the corner of my eye, in one of those booths along the walkway between buildings (you know those booths are the best because those people always have the weirdest mismash of shit and they’re always willing to sell it for dirt cheap. Especially if you’re nice to them :)), and I immediately ran over to assess. I don’t remember exactly how much I paid for it, but I do know it was $3 or less. Not sure of the age of this particular fabric, but it’s 42″ wide and definitely rayon. Oh, and it’s awesome. Did I mention that yet?

Paisley Hollyburn

I really really really wanted this fabric to be a Gabriola – wouldn’t it make the most dreamy rayon maxi? Ahh so lush. But, dammit, I had under 3.5 yards of this fabric… and like I said, it was pretty narrow, which ended up being the reason things didn’t pan out (believe me, I tried!). So, I decided to stick with the Sewaholic family and try out this Hollyburn that had been burning a hole in my pattern stash. And not only am I super happy with the result – I think it’s quite a bit more wearable than the original maxi inspiration, yeah? I mean, I can totally wear this while riding a bicycle :)

Paisley Hollyburn

Hollyburn is a pattern intended for beginners – just a few pattern pieces, very easy to fit (really, you only have to worry about the waist measurement here), quick to sew up. Besides the agony of cutting that slippery rayon, the actual sewing of this skirt took me under 2 hours. That fast! I briefly considered trying to match the print at all the seamlines – in addition to the side seams, there are also center front and center back seams, plus the curved pockets – but it was giving me a headache and, you know, fuck it. Whatever.

Paisley Hollyburn

For this particular pattern, I was smack between two sizes, so I cut the 0 at the hips/hemline, and graded to right between the 0 and 2 at the waist. I’m pretty happy with the fit – it’s fitted enough to stay put without the aid of the belt (but I like the belt, so belt stays), but it’s not so tight that I need to sneakily unzip anything after a big meal. I went for version 3 – the shortest one – with the added belt loops. I also lopped about 2″ off the length. Short skirts for lifeeeeee!

Paisley Hollyburn

Here it is without the belt. Yay! No belt!

Paisley Hollyburn

And this because, I dunno, my hair looks good here. Also, I probably should not wear that bra with that shirt again, eep (shirt is a Renfrew, btw!).

Paisley Hollyburn

What I love most about this particular skirt (and, I guess, the pattern in general) is how different the shape looks based on what fabric you use. Go look at the pictures on the Sewaholic website – the skirt has a great amount of flare, and it’s pretty structured. Compared to mine, which was sewn in a super drapey rayon, it’s all fluid and flowy and just kind of hangs (but in a good way). Sometimes I get so caught up in wanting to try NEW NEW NEW OMG NEW STUFF that I forget you can easily manipulate the look of a garment just by using a different fabric.

Oh, right, and remember when I said I made two of these? I totally did – the second one is in a much stiffer fabric, and looks totally different. I didn’t get photos in time to cram them into this blog post (which is probably for the best, since I think there are enough pictures of me on here today anyway, lolz), but stay tuned for that! In the meantime, I’ll probably wear it for MMM soon :)

Paisley Hollyburn

Obligatory swish post. Lookit dat swish! ♥

Paisley Hollyburn

Paisley Hollyburn

Sorry these pictures are a little blown out :( I added some topstitching to the pockets and waistband (as well as the hem) and swapped out the centered zip for an invisible zipper. All the inside seams are serged.

One last thing! We have a winner from last week’s giveaway – who’s it gonna be, eh?

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YAY! Congratulations, Melanie! I’ll be sending you an email asap :) Hopefully this book will be just the ticket to get you comfortable manhandling the stretch lace :)

Thanks to everyone who entered! A HUGE thanks to Colette Patterns for not only writing up this amazing resource, but offering a giveaway copy as well! :) As always, you can get your very own copy of The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits from Amazon or directly from the Colette website.

Paisley Hollyburn

Now, the next question is – should I or should I not use the remaining paisley yardage to make a matching Belcarra blouse? Before you ask – yes, I would totally wear it with the skirt. FAKE DRESS FTW! Don’t you dare judge me.

Completed: Vogue 1610

26 Feb

Good morning, everyone! Sorry, I took the last few days off of blogging… to be honest, I’d spent the entire weekend in my sewing room futzing with ONE fitting adjustment for ONE pattern, and six muslins later (yeah, just typing that makes me die a little inside), I was done. Not done with the fitting adjustment – I wish! – but rather, done with sewing. I took some time away to do more important, non-sewy things (specifically: binge-watching infomericals from the comfort of my velvet couch and drinking bourbon with ginger beer… yum.), and I gotta say – I feel like a new woman now. Ready to go tackle that god-forsaken fitting adjustment and get back on the ~swagon~.

Speaking of swagon (which is like a sewing wagon, except way funnier), check out my new threads- baby’s first DVF!

Vogue 1610

OKKKKK, it’s not a ~real~ Diane von Furstenberg, obviously, but it *is* a Vogue Designer Pattern, which is close enough in my book. This is Vogue 1610, a classic DVF wrap dress with sleeve and length options. I found this dude at an estate sale a few years ago – in my size, and for $1, no less! – and this is the first chance I’ve had to make it up.

Vogue 1610

Sewing this wrap was an experience, albeit a fairly easy one. Although the pattern came in my size, a quick tissue fit (and by tissue fit, I mean I held it up to my chest and looked in the mirror, ha!) showed that the bodice front was big enough for complete coverage – which, when one is sewing a stretch knit, that is TOO big! You need the pieces to be a little smaller than you are, so they stretch into shape and give you that lovely silhouette that only negative ease can do. Further, this pattern was drafted for stable knits – i.e., pontes and double knits and all those goodies – and the fabric I had was an extremely fluid, extremely drapey rayon jersey. Fortunately, both the style of this dress + knit fabrics in general are pretty forgiving, so I sized down with some experimental hacking and I think it came out pretty good!

Vogue 1610

At the cutting stage, I took 1″ off the center back seam and the front side seam. I didn’t bother changing the pattern tissue itself (have you seen how much this pattern sells for on Etsy? Holy shit.), just folded over the edges to size and pinned them down. When cutting a piece on the fold, I just extended the pattern piece so it hung over the fabric edge by 1″. I also shortened the skirt by, um, a lot. I think 7″ the first time, and then another 2-3″ after I sewed it up (and immediately regretted that decision, because YIKES SHORT AIEEE). I don’t really recommend this type of size hacking unless you are very familiar with sewing and manipulating knits, because you can definitely end up with a surprise outcome, but it all worked out for me.

Vogue 1610

I chose not to follow the instructions that came with the pattern – I’m sure they were fine, but they were also written for stable knits and included things like facings and pockets. I hate pockets on knits, by the way! They always come out lumpy and can’t hold anything heavier than a cell phone. I also hate facings on knits because, whyyyy. Why would you put yourself through that kind of torture.

Vogue 1610

Construction-wise, I sewed everything up on my serger, except where I used my twin needle to topstitch the hems. The hems are stabilized with Stitch Witchery, which seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, but in retrospect, my hems are weird and stiff and lumpy. Not a good look! I also can’t trim any more length off that skirt for fear of indecent exposure. I’ve used Stitch Witchery in the past to stabilize hems, and I stand behind it, but for something as drapey as this rayon, it just didn’t work. Next time, I will probably just steam the heck out of it and sew very slowly to get my hems.

Vogue 1610

I applied my neck binding in the flat (starting at the center back and stretching down each side of the front individually), so I could get it as stretched as possible and cut off the excess. I think I ended up cutting a couple of inches off each end! The final result is a binding that stays in place and does NOT gape – which is important for this wrap style. I like my clothing to stay in place while I’m wearing it, thanks.

Vogue 1610
Vogue 1610

I was a little concerned that the gathered skirt would look stupid in a knit, but I actually think it’s quite lovely. I think the key here is to go with something lightweight and drapey – bulky fabrics will add, well, bulk!

Vogue 1610

Isn’t this fabric fun, though? It’s the Arc Deco rayon jersey from Mood Fabrics. I snapped up three yards of it while it was on 50% off sale (do y’all get those sale emails? Oh man. Those are dangerous.), specifically with this pattern in mind. It sewed up like a dream, wears like a dream, feels like a dream… just don’t use Stitch Witchery with it ;)

Vogue 1610

Next time I make this, I’ll shorten the bodice a bit – whoever owned this pattern before me had lengthened it about 1″… I left it because it definitely hits my waist, but I think it looks a little long and unbalanced in these pictures. I also promise not to get too scissor-happy with the skirt length on the next go ;) But yeah, I’ll definitely be making this again – I want one in silk jersey, like a proper DVF! Yum!

Vogue 1610

I guess that’s it! Some housekeeping before I dip outta here-

- Clare and I have already started planning the meet-up while we’re in NYC, and emails have been sent! I tried to get everyone who expressed interest, but inevitably I’m sure I missed someone. If you’d like in on the action for Saturday March 15th, holler at me and I’ll get that email out to you! I’m really excited about this trip, can you tell? :)

- Oh, right, giveaway winner! Let’s see, random number generator says…

Ok, for whatever reason, Flickr won’t give me the html code to show the number box (and I don’t have time to futz with it this morning because I need to leave for work in… 5 minutes haha), but you can click this link if you want to see the screenshot. Btw, fuck you, Flickr.

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Congratulations, Stevie Nicole! Watch for my email so we can get your Georgia out to you :)

Everyone who asked – I don’t care if you copy my Georgia! Remember, I copied that lace+emerald combo from someone else. Plus, who doesn’t need a gorgeous sexy lace dress in their life, yeah? :)

Completed: Leopard Skinnies

21 Jan

I never thought I would actually be saying this – but I made myself a pair of leopard skinnies. Wheee!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Grey leopard is a neutral… right?!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

I’m trying to get more into wearing pants that aren’t, well, denim. As much as I love my I+W jeans (so much, in fact, that I went out and bought myself a second pair a couple of weeks ago. I’m bordering on “collector” at this point, eep), sometimes I find myself gazing jealously at the girls in their wacky print leggings and purple skinny jeans. NO FAIR, I WANT TO JOIN THAT PARTY. So when I saw this leopard print stretch twill at the Mood Fabrics site, I knew I’d found the perfect piece for a lil’ toe-dipping.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

This twill is pretty awesome, honestly. It’s got a nice stretch, but it’s hefty enough so you don’t see panty lines (a must with pants this tight… and I don’t wear thongs. TMI? Oh well. Maybe you need magical undie-covering fabric too!). The lycra content keeps the seam allowances from shedding too much – which is good, cos this pattern had me going crazy over the fitting, 1″ seam allowances and everything. Not a good time to start unraveling!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Since the twill is a brushed cotton, it’s even a little bit fuzzy. Love it!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

For my pattern, I used McCall 6440. This pattern is… ok. The fitting was a pain in the ASS, pardon the pun, mostly because the pattern has way too much ease. I’ve actually made these up one time before (but it’s ~top secret~ so you can’t see those quite yet… oops I’ve said too much already ;)), so I knew kinda sorta what I was getting into. The main issue with sewing something out of stretch fabric is that every fabric has a different stretch factor (well, maybe not *every* fabric, but there are certainly enough differences to keep one guessing!), so you generally end up doing some tweaking to get the pieces to look right, in addition to going down a size or two to make up for the negative ease.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

These are a size 6, with some additional tapering taken out at the legs and the waistband. FWIW, the body size for a 6 is supposed to have a 23″ waist. While I can assure you that I do not have a waist that small, I did have to take an extra inch out of the waistband to get it to fit. See what I mean about excessive ease? Measure those pattern pieces, folks! Don’t trust the lies of McCall.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

I know, this pattern is super duper similar to the Clover pants from Colette, which is another pattern I have. I ended up with this one because I’ve never really gotten those Clovers to fit right, despite all my tweaking a couple of years ago. I wanted to try a new pattern, and I liked that this is a Palmer/Pletsch – I love their fitting books Fit for Real People and Pants for Real People, so I was banking that I’d love the pattern, too! And I guess I kind of did, minus that ease thing. For one, the crotch curve is pretty much perfect for me – something of a Holy Grail among pants sewists. That Clover pattern, not so much :) (but maybe it’ll be perfect for you!). I also liked how high the waist is, the seam down the back of the legs (that you can’t see because it’s ~camouflaged~ by the leopard, ooh, see what I did there?), and the leg options included with the pattern. Spoiler alert – I went for the straight leg, but maybe I’ll experiment more in the future! Baby steps for now, starting with this outta control print. Oh yeah, and just an advance warning – these were exactly the right length for me, and I’m 5’2″! Tall ladies, beware!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Speaking of how high the waist is – see what I mean!? I don’t think this is supposed to reach *quite* as high as it does on my petite frame, but the waistband just covers my belly button. Which means, obviously, I’m gonna be Bettie Pagin’ the shit out of these with heels and a crop top come spring, yaaay!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Whenever I post a photo of myself wearing something with a ridiculously high waist, someone always inevitably comes out of the woodwork to tell me that my outfit isn’t flattering. So, here I am, brushing the dirt off my shoulder in advance because la la la I don’t care!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Like I said, I had to adjust the leg seams to get everything as fitted as it is. Not to say the leg width of this pattern is bad – it’s just more straight than what I wanted for these pants. I wanted to be able to tuck them into boots! Since the pattern is drafted with 1″ seam allowances on all side/leg seams, this made things a tiny bit difficult once it came time to start poking myself with pins – those seam allowances get bulky when you’re sewing something like twill!

What I ended up doing was just focusing on one leg – pinning, basting, fitting, and then stitching the final line once I got to the desired tightness. To mirror the second leg, rather than taking measurements or repinning, this is what I did- I learned this trick at my stint with Muna!:

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

First, I stacked my legs on top of one another and pinned along the seam lines, making sure they matched on the opposite side.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Then, with the adjusted leg on top, I pinned along the new stitching line I had created.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

When you flip the fabric over, you can see the pinned original seam line and the new seam line marked by a second row of pins. Make sense?

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

From there, I just connected the pin lines with a my handy marking tool, which gave me a new stitching line. Super easy, and now both legs exactly mirror each other!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

These pants are finished with serged seam allowances and an invisible zipper. Speaking of which – I learned a slightly different way to insert an invisible zip, also courtesy of Muna. Anyone interested in a tutorial? It’s not OMGSODIFFERENT, but there are a couple of tweaks that make insertion practically flawless.

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

One thing that made me irrationally happy was that the fabric is lightweight enough so I could face my waistband with self-fabric, instead of trying to find a matching cotton. As much as I like contrasty facings, I also like matchy-matchy!

Leopard Skinnies made with stretch twill from Mood Fabrics

Not sure what I was thinking when this photo snapped, but it looks like a roar so we’ll leave it at that.

Finally, we have a winner Andi Satterlund knitting patterns giveaway! Before I drop that bomb, I just gotta say… that was by far the biggest response I’ve ever had to a giveaway. Who woulda thunk I’d have so many knitters who follow this blog and love Andi as much as I do? :) Thanks y’all – I appreciate every single one of you! Wish I could give you all patterns, too, but unfortunately I’m not that rich… yet :)

Anyway, without further ado – who’s the lucky number today?

winner47yay

winnerAlexandra

Yay, congratulations, Alexandra! Expect an email from me with how to collect your prize – I can’t wait to see how your sweaters turn out :)

Thanks to everyone who participated, and big huge thanks to Andi for providing the big prize :) For everyone who didn’t win – Perhaps I can entice you with one of Andi’s many freebies?

Completed: The Owls Sweater

2 Jan

Happy New Year, everyone!! Gah, I feel like I really dumped a load on y’all with my last post… sorry about that! I promise to keep things much more concise, at least with the current offerings :) And before we get too far into the new year, I do have one small confession – I actually finished this sweater at the very end of 2013! Whoops! So it’s not my first completed garment of 2014 (and it’s sweater #9 of 2013, wow!), but we’re going to count is as such since that’s when the pictures surfaced :)

Let me introduce you to: Owls!

Owls!

I’m sure a lot of you knitters already recognize this pattern, since it’s insanely popular on Ravelry. Truth, this was one of the sweaters that really made me want to improve my knitting skills enough to be able to have one of my own! This is the famous owls pattern by Kate Davies and there’s a good reason why it’s so overplayed (in the best way, I mean) – it’s a simple, quick knit and looks flattering on pretty much everyone who makes it up!

Owls!

Like I said, this has been in my queue for aaaages. So long! Part of what made me waffle on starting it up was finding a suitable bulky weight yarn that didn’t cost a fortune – some of the stuff I was looking was pretty pricey! Eep! I was actually gifted the pattern by Jo for my birthday last year (did you know you can gift patterns on Ravelry? So dangerous…), which really pushed me to try to find a good yarn.

Owls!

What ended up working for me was the Valley Yarns Northampton Bulky from good ol’ yarn.com. What I loved about this yarn was that it was cheap (I think I paid $3.99 a skein, but it’s normally $5.99!), 100% wool, and it came in colors that didn’t suck. I know a lot of people love that Cascade 128 that comes in a giant yardage, but I never cared for the colors offered and plus, with the amount I needed I would end up with a lot of unneeded yardage. So this worked out perfectly.

Owls!

Thanks to the bulky yarn, this pattern knit up SUPER fast – I finished it in a little over 3 weeks. That’s a record for me! Definitely needed after how long I toiled on my A to Z cardigan :) The construction for this was pretty interesting – it’s knit bottom-up to the armpits, then you knit each sleeve from the bottom up, then you connect everything and finish the owls and the neck binding. It gets a bit heavy at the end, but fortunately there’s not too long of that.

Owls!

I love how the owls wrap around the shoulders. So cute!

Owls!

I knit the pattern as-is, and there were a few things I didn’t care much for during the process. For one, the back decreases were kind of… weird? I think it also gives me a slightly poofy upper back, although it’s more noticeable in pictures. I would have changed to side decreases – it was even suggested to me by a few people – but the construction was so weird that I didn’t quite understand where the sides started, so I just followed the instructions blindly. Oh well! It doesn’t look bad, I just think the bad is a weird place to put decreases! Another thing I did not like was how the sleeves were attached, because you end up grafting stitching at the underarms. There are 4 stitches to graft, but my holes were WAY bigger than 4 stitches! It was like an armpit window or some shit! I managed to close it up and you can’t even tell, but man, that’s more sewing than I want to do on a knit. Sorry.

Owls!

One last beef, and you’ll probably notice this the second I point it out (if you didn’t notice already ;)) – I ran out of yarn at the very end! I bought the recommended yardage (oh ho ho, I actually bought a whopping 5 yards more than required, like, I’m such an adult), but I obviously goofed something because I ran out of skeins while finishing the owl cables. Shit! And since I ordered this online, I didn’t want to pay for shipping to ship one whole skein to me for like… 5 rows of knitting. I unraveled my two gauge swatches (bummer, because I was saving them to make a blanket o’ gauge swatches, like, someday haha) and still came up short. I hemmed and hawed for a few days, dug around my stash, lurked the yarn store by my house… and eventually realized that the black yarn I used to knit my Blagatha was an *almost* perfect match. Not quite, but close enough. Since the donor yarn is a lighter weight, I held it double and it worked out fine to finish the ribbing. It doesn’t quite match, but it blends into kind of an ombre effect. Fancy!

Owls!

The most agonizing part about the whole yarn ordeal was that once I blocked the sweater, I realized the sleeves were too long! DERP. So, yeah, I totally had enough yarn! Whatever, fuck that shit. They’ll just stay cuffed and maybe my arms will magically lengthen someday :B

Owls!

You probably also notice that I left off the eyes on all my owls. I started to sew on buttons, but decided I like them more subtle. So there!

Owls!

Owls!

This puppy is WARM! I’ll probably live in this for the remainder of winter. I love how it looks with this silk skirt (which, btw, is vintage, not me-made – but now I’m thinking, ooh, silk Zinnia??). Anyway, full Ravelry notes here!

Owls!

One last thing… we have a giveaway winner from last year! Ooh, so who’s the lucky recipient of the $25 credit at She’ll Make You Flip?

win79

winmeow

Congratulations, SewMeow! Go check your inbox! :)

Thanks to everyone who entered, and thanks to She’ll Make You Flip for offering such a lovely prize! Guys, if you’re still eyeballing a sweet vintage pattern, let’s up the ante a little! Use the code LLADYBIRDNY25 for 25% your total purchase through January 15, 2014! Yeah! Now don’t say I never did nothin’ for ya ;)

Christmas Wishies – 2013 Edition

16 Dec

I reckon I’m a little late to the game this year with my wishlist (honestly, I’ve been having a bit of a bummer month so I haven’t really felt much of the ~Christmas spirit~ if ya know what I mean. Not a sob story, just statin’ facts!), but better late than never! There’s sooo much good stuff out there this year that I’ve got eye on; the hunt is almost as fun for me as actually receiving something! Take a look…

THE PATTERNS:

portsidecover
Ever since Jen released the Portside Travel Set, I’ve been dying to make my own! I don’t know what the deal is, but something about having matching luggage just makes me so, so happy. I would make mine in this striped cotton twill with accents of organic cotton twill. Well, that’s a safe version – have you seen some of the awesome twills on Mood Fabrics, lately?? Check out this
crazy Art Deco print and this paisley twill.

One thing I really want to explore this next year is trying some new pattern companies! I love the indie offerings we all obsess over, with their lovely packaging and clear instructions, but I also really want to try something that’s a little less spoon-fed, just to stretch my sewing muscles. I have heard a lot about Marfy Patterns, over the years and even through some blog comment encouragement, and I’ve been casually browsing the offerings and really falling in love with some of the patterns! Check them out -

2758_01
Marfy 2758, the glam coat dress.

M3015
Marfy 3015, the pintucked Redingote coat

M2240
Marfy 2240, the ruffly-collared riding coat

Aren’t they beautiful?? True, I’ve been put off by Marfy for many years (the patterns don’t include instructions, seam allowances, multi-sizes, etc), and part of me is slightly concerned that the smallest size is a little too big for me (I should be wearing a size 40 according to their size chart). But, I want to try them! 2014, let’s make it my year!

Another pattern company I’ve been lurking on lately is Stylearc. Some seriously cool, seriously fashion-forward (lolz, like I’m a fashion-forward kind of dresser. WHATEVS). They’re pretty expensive when you factor in shipping, but they reviews are pretty much raves across the board. And there are definitely some styles I don’t see anywhereeeee else. Check them out:

ALISHA-DRESS
The Alisha Dress, a beautiful lace sheath with a matching slip pattern. Like I need more excuses to get my lace on.

ZIGGI-JACKET
The Ziggi Jacket. GUYS IT’S A MOTO JACKET, GUYS I WANT IT.

STACIE-JACKET
The Stacie Jean Jacket. Gah, I’m dying over this one. I love denim jackets but I can neverrrr find one that fits the way I like. I altered an old one I had laying around, but the construction is subpar at best and, honestly, I want to just make one. This pattern looks fabulous.

S3514
I really love these 1940s dresses, like Simplicity 3514. I don’t even care how twee they are – I’d even go the extra mile and make it SUPER TWEE with some Marc Jacobs daisy print fabric because, yes.

M7399
I also love this jacket pattern, McCall 7319 (what is it with me and jackets lately? IT’S NOT EVEN THAT COLD HERE). I could totally see this made up in a lovely charcoal alpaca wool, lined with a plaid wool (!!!) flannel.

THE FABRIC:
FS12614
I was recently gifted the Aubépine dress from Deer & Doe and I’ve been having a lot of fun looking through my fabric options! Wouldn’t it look lovely in this Marc Jacobs dotted cotton/silk?

FC22718-f
Another contender is this floral cotton silk voile. A bit summery for sure, but could easily be layered up for the current season.

302721
Wouldn’t this floral velveteen be perfect for a pair of Chataigne winter shorts? Also in my lurk: mink solid velvet. YUM.

303135
Love this leopard stretch cotton twill, I can imagine it made into a pair of skinny stretch jeans. Just need to find me some new boots!

303069
Soo, I reckon y’all have seen By Hand London’s newest pattern, the Georgia dress, yes? I have a copy burning a hole in my pattern cabinet, and I’m DYING to make it up, but I haven’t settled on a good fabric yet. Something glittery or brocade-y (or even sequin-y, for the masochist sewist in me) is high on my list for a fun party dress. Then I discovered this stretch buffalo plaid. Amazing! I need all the plaids, all of them.

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I’m really digging this Marc Jacobs star cotton fabric. Couldn’t you see this made up in a woven skater dress?

303887
Mood actually has this navy zigzag sweater knit in several other color combos, but the blue is my favorite. The perfect little knit wiggle dress!

FP19600
I also can’t get enough of all the gorgeous special occasion fabric I have been seeing lately. Like this Carolina Herrera rose brocade

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And this Italian metallic brocade

FS12610
And ESPECIALLY this Oscar de la Renta polka dot silk taffeta. bleeechhhhh get in my life!

vichy_square
Gingham jersey? SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.

THE OTHERS:
rooster
Still obsessing over Jamie’s jewelry. I recently got this peacock necklace, but that doesn’t stop me from checking out the other goodz she has available. Love this Rooster necklace! You know I would totally turn wearing that into a neverending dirty joke ;)

Simflex1
Why don’t I have one of these expanding sewing gauge doohickeys?

71-FhaIYk2L._SL1500_
My current iron (a Rowenta that’s more than 6 years old) has been slowly dying over the past year – the shut offs are more frequent, and the water reservoir doesn’t hold for shit. A new pressing tool is definitely in the future, and I’ve been eyeballing this gravity feed iron for what seems like forever. Fingers crossed that Santa heard my wishies!

BLCS2_1_med
File this under things that I really really want but can’t afford – a coverstich machine! I know, there are other brands that are equally loved, but I’m a Babylock girl when it comes to my sergers and the like. I’ve tested this machine in the past, several years ago (yeah, I guess I’ve been lurking on this for a while!) and it’s fucking amazing. Totally deserves a spot in my sewing room.

Hey, putting this post together was really fun! Like shopping without actually spending money (or getting product, but let’s not think about that right now). I love it!

A couple more things while I have your attention!

First, I owe y’all a giveaway winner. Random number generator says….
wins

winsss

Lauren Talley! Congratulations, Lauren! Great name ;) hee! Expect an email from me soon!

For everyone who inquired about the sewing prints being in Joanna’s shop… I believe they will be offered soon, but give her a couple of weeks because she’s in the process of getting married :) So sit tight!

Finally, can I ask a tiny favor of my local/Nashville readers? I have a friend who is doing some research for a local fabric store (and I swear, this is not a thinly disguised “friend” who’s really me, or anything like that. Promise!) and she needs a few more opinions. If you’re in the Nashville/Middle Tennessee area, or come here frequently to buy fabrics, she would loooove your opinion to help her research. Click here to take survey. Again, local people only, please! I love you all but your buying habits on the other side of the country are not relevant for this particular purpose ;)

Ok, I guess that’s it! Now let’s get back to the fun part: PRESENTS. What’s on your wishlist this year?

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