Completed: The Kalle Shirtdress

18 Sep

I’ve still got a few more summer projects that I haven’t shared yet, so bear with me here! Although, to be fair – we should be well within the throes of summer heat for at least the next month here (yes, it did warm up again!).

Chambray Kalle Dress

I made this dress a couple of months ago, so what you are seeing a dress that has been worn, washed, and loved quite a bit before taking photos! As a result, it’s probably not as crisp and perfect as it would have looked fresh off the sewing machine – but on the flip, it’s definitely something that I’ve had time to move around in and really get to know fit-wise in ways that might not have been so apparent immediately after finishing it. Plus, you can really see how this fabric looks after several trips through the laundry. For ages, I was firmly in the camp of photos before I wore anything I made, but I’ve really softened up on that lately. This makes more of a delay in posting (since nothing is stopping me from putting that shit on RIGHT AWAY), but I think it can also create more of an honest post, in the sense of seeing how something feels after it’s been worn around a bit.

Also, about these photos – sorry about the dark door background? I did take my tripod outside, but I had one neighbor chopping tree limbs in one yard creepin on me, and another literally sitting on her front porch just straight-up staring at me and it made me way too anxious hahaha. I may need to get something to hang over that door when I take photos (this is the door that leads to the back half of my house – where the bedrooms are – from my living room), but at least the light is pretty!

Chambray Kalle Dress

ANYWAY, back to the dress!!!

This is the Kalle Shirtdress, from Closet Case Patterns. I made view C in a size 2, with no alterations. This one is straight out of the envelope! I was so excited when this pattern came out and my finished dress did not disappoint – I wear it as much as I think I can feasibly get away with! The good thing about dressing kind of bland (simple shapes, solid colors, etc) means that people are less likely to realize you’re repeating an outfit. Or maybe they do and they are too polite to say anything, I dunno and I also kind of don’t care.

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

I made my dress up in a beautiful, lightweight linen from Mood Fabrics (which apparently is sold out now, sorry!). This fabric is great – it’s light and airy, and almost translucent. It is perfect for those hot summer days when you don’t want anything touching your body. The deep indigo color means that it will also transition nicely into fall – it still looks a bit autumnal, but I won’t be sweating to death in it. Plus, it layers really nicely for those chilly mornings and evenings – it looks great with a cardigan and boots.

I washed my linen three times before cutting it, as I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to shrink at all post-sewing. I believe this also helps keep the linen from wrinkling so much – Carolyn, was it you who told me this? – and I think that may be accurate since this fabric doesn’t really wrinkle much at all now! I’ve worn this dress on all my travels since finishing and it looks great going from suitcase to hanger. I have found that I do need to lightly press the sleeve bands after washing, because they get slightly bunched (probably because the bands aren’t interfaced), but the rest of the dress is fine without any ironing. In these photos, that’s exactly what I did not do. Un-ironed linen dress, y’all!

I finished the insides of my dress with French seams, and topstitched with navy thread. For interfacing, I used this super lightweight fusible interfacing, and then only sparingly – on the button band, upper collar, and outer collar stand – to keep the fabric supported but still soft. The hem is finished with a bias facing, which is an easy way to work with that exaggerated curve. The navy shirt buttons are from Textile Fabrics – and in the true spirit of Textile Fabrics, they are fancy and imported from Italy and cost over $1 each. Ugh. Who knew it was so hard to find navy shirt buttons? Anyway, they look good!

Chambray Kalle Dress

One thing you should know about this dress – it’s not a short dress, but the upper curve of the hem is quite high. And the arm holes are quite low, which means that the dress moves upwards if you need to raise your arms. See how high the dress goes when I reach the sky? Ok, granted – I rarely need to raise my arms *that* high, but it is something to keep in mind! For comparison’s sake, I wear my shorts very very short and only the bottom rose of my leg tattoo sticks out of the hem. If the dress hiked up any higher, you would literally see my underwear. FYI!

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

See how sheer the fabric is? It’s not noticeable when I’m wearing the dress, and also, I wear nude undergarments (nothing patterned).

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

Chambray Kalle Dress

I think that’s about all I have to say about this dress! I really love this pattern and I am excited to try the other versions in different fabrics. I also realize that this is like, my fourth chambray/denim shirtdress – but you know what? I don’t care. At least I’ve figured out what I like, I guess πŸ˜›

Chambray Kalle Dress

** Note: The linen fabric used for this dress was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation with the Mood Sewing Network. As always, all opinions are my own!

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Completed: My Maid of Honor Dress

18 Aug

Here’s a fun fact about me: I have never been a bridesmaid before. Never! I would almost say I’ve never been in a wedding at all, but I did get to carry the bride’s train in a wedding when I was really young (I think 8 – it was for my mom’s best friend). Is that a bridesmaid? I don’t know, let’s not get nitpicky here. My point being – I’ve never, as an adult, had a friend get married and ask me to be in their wedding. I think it’s kind of a rite of passage for most women at some point – but I’m not complaining, because I am not keen on spending $$$ on a dress I’ll never wear again!!

Anyway, that’s a moot point now because I was just officially in my first wedding last month! My very best friend in the entire world – my BFF, my life partner, and my favorite person everrrrr – was married in July and asked me to stand with her during the ceremony as her Maid of Honor. The bride, Morgan, is a really laid-back person and wanted a laid-back wedding – so I didn’t need to buy an expensive formal dress, or plan a ~cRaZy~ Bachelorette party (sidenote: did you know Nashville is now officially the #1 destination in the world for bachelorette parties? Yeah. And it’s awful. If you’re thinking about coming here and ~getting wild~, please don’t.) or anything like that. It was a small wedding – the bridal party consisted of me + the best man – held in their backyard, with a short ceremony and lots of food, alcohol, and dancing. There wasn’t even a “theme” or particular colors for this – which meant I had a lot of creative freedom when it came to choosing what I was going to wear. Which, of course, I wanted to be handmade by me!

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

Since the wedding was going to be outdoors in July, this limited me to only looking at natural fibers (y’all can defend polyester all you want, but this sweaty gal is not gonna wear that shit under the July sun in Tennessee at 5p girl bye) – I needed something lightweight and breathable. The only thing Morgan said she cared about design-wise was 1. That the dress was not white (obviously); 2. That it had a light, neutral background; 3. That it had some kind of floral design that wasn’t super bright. Finding a fabric that matched this description was surprisingly hard – most floral designs are either really bright, or on a dark background. Or they were polyester! I probably spent an entire month just combing through every fabric website I could think of, and coming up short and a little desperate.

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

I actually found this fabric at the shop I work at, Craft South! It’s a 100% cotton barkcloth from the Outback Wife collection. We had a ton of colorways, and while I admired them when they came in the shop – I didn’t buy any because florals really are not much my thing these days. I love looking at them, but I don’t really like to wear them. That being said, this particular colorway was perfect for the wedding – the fiber content was right, Morgan loved the colors and florals, and I got that sweet employee discount on it (yay!). I bought the last of the yardage (sorry!), but we still have the dark colorway in stock FYI! And here’s the same colorway I used in some random Etsy shop, too!

This barkcloth is a little stiff on the roll, so I prewashed a swatch to see what would happen. It ended up softening quite a bit and getting a nice little drape, although it is very prone to unraveling. I prewashed the entire yardage (cold wash, regular heat in the dryer) and set it aside while I could locate a pattern.

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

Finding a pattern also took foreeeever! I didn’t know exactly what I wanted in a dress – since the fabric had some structure to it, it couldn’t be a really swingy/draped design. I wanted a loose skirt (so I could move about freely during the evening) and no sleeves (sun’s out, gun’s out amirite lol). I ended up finding just the thing in Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book – which I had won ages ago in a giveaway and hadn’t actually made anything out of yet! This pattern is the Floral Surplice Dress – which features a crossed over bodice, a separate midriff piece, and a side-pleated skirt. Done and done.

A few notes about this book – the pattern pieces are overlapped all over one another (like a BurdaStyle pattern), which means you have to trace them. The first half of the book goes into detail about fabrics, seam finishes, special techniques, and fitting – and then the patterns themselves have very brief instructions on how to put them together (assuming that you would flip back to the relevant section in the first half to get full instructions if you need them). I like this sort of layout as I don’t need the hand-holding, and appreciate just having a list of ordered steps. Finally, the pieces are all designed to mix and match with one another – so you can swap out the skirt for a different one, or add sleeves, or whatever. I liked the design of this dress, though, so I stuck with the suggested pieces and finishing.

I did make a muslin before cutting into my fabric, as bodices like this tend to gape on me. I’m VERY glad I did this, because there is a big sizing error with the midriff piece! It’s about 2″ too small – even after measuring and walking the pattern pieces. I thought I was going crazy because Google wasn’t pulling up anything, until I saw in a forum where someone briefly mentioned it in passing. So I’m not crazy. And also, if you make this pattern – just know that the midriff piece will need to be adjusted to fit your waist (unless you’re in denial about your size and consistently pretend like your waist is 2″ bigger than it actually is, that’s your prerogative). I cut my muslin to the biggest size, then added 1″ seam allowances, and fiddled around with it until I could get it to fit the bottom edge of the bodice (the bodice is graded and sized correctly, as is the skirt waist. It is just the midriff that is incorrect). After I fit my bodice, I took the pieces apart and used them to make new pattern pieces, then made a second muslin bodice to verify that it all fit correctly.

As far as other adjustments, the only things I did was take a little 1/4″ wedge out of the neckline so it fit closer to my body (using this method), and I also shortened the skirt by about 2″.

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - front

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - back

Right after I cut out the pieces, I realized that the dress was going to look like a total clusterfuck unless I did something to highlight the seamlines. So I tailed it to Textile Fabrics and bought a pink linen/cotton blend to create piping (ideally, I would have loved a darker color that wasn’t pink – but this was the only thing they had that matched, and my options are very limited here in town). I added piping to the top edge of the neckline, and both sides of the waistband. This not only breaks up the seamlines so the dress doesn’t look like a hot mess, but also visually separates that neutral background a bit from my skin (which matches a little too close for comfort, in my opinion).

All that aside, the rest of the sewing was pretty easy and straightforward. I used a serger to finish all the seams, which I pressed open. The piping is topstitched with matching neutral thread, to help it lie flat. The zipper is a simple lapped zipper that is pick-stitched by hand. I also added hooks and eyes at the piping intersections in the back, again, to help them lie flat and stay closed. Didn’t want anyone creeping on my zipper! Finally, the hem is serged and blindstitched by hand.

Now, for the mistakes that I made! At one point, I did sew the midriff upside-down and didn’t realize until after I had finished applying the piping – serged and topstitched and everything. I tried to convince myself that it was ok, but honestly one of my favorite parts of the dress design is how the side seams curve down at the midriff – and it didn’t look right when they were flipped the other way. Oh, and it didn’t fit right, either! It was not fun to unpick that mess and re-sew with teeny serged-off seam allowances, but I’m glad I did it. I also originally inserted an invisible zipper, but it was toooo hard to zip up due to the bulk at the intersecting back seams (with the piping). I had visions of the zipper breaking while I was at the wedding, and didn’t want to put myself through that mess. So I unpicked, and added the lapped zipper – which is much easier to zip and unzip!

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice front

Omg, I’m like nowhere near done with showing pictures. I’m sorry.

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice side

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice back

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - zipper detail

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice flat

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice back flat

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice interior

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - hem detail

Whew! So that’s a big ol’ post for a big ol’ project! The dress ended up being perfect for the occasion – I matched the aesthetic of the wedding, I was comfortable, and I had room to eat and dance! I am also pleased with myself for remembering to add pockets – those were super handy for carrying things like my sunglasses and hankies for when we started crying! It was a fabulous wedding and I’m so honored that I was able to stand up there with my best friend and be a part of such an important day.

I am going to leave y’all with some photos from the wedding, if you feel like creeping! All photos were taken by Lilika Strezoska, who is based out of Macedonia but came to the US to shoot this wedding. Lilika did an incredible job capturing everyone in a beautiful and candid way – I have really loved looking through all the photos!

Morgan's Wedding!

The ceremony. That giant cloud of a dog is Bootes, who absolutely had to be nearby.

Morgan's Wedding!

Here we are looking nice and like adults.

Morgan's Wedding!

And here we are jumping. Also, I would like to point out that this shot actually captured my shoe flying off hahaha.

Morgan's Wedding!

With my bestie! ❀ (she had her dress custom made by a seller on Etsy, I am not sure who the seller is though!)

Morgan's Wedding!

Here we are giggling together and having a BFF moment.

Morgan's Wedding!

And, finally, this is me carrying the Marriage Certificate over to be signed! I was so excited!

Ok, that’s all! Thanks for sticking around for this exceptionally long post πŸ™‚

Completed: Liberty of London Carolyn Pajamas

7 Aug

I hope y’all are ready to look at some fancy shit today.

Liberty Carolyn PJs

Behold, my newest set of pajamas – also known as the most expensive thing I sleep in πŸ˜›

Liberty Carolyn PJs

A few months ago, I was contacted by Josephine’s Dry Goods to try out a piece of Liberty fabric from their staggering collection. They actually have a LOT of incredible, high-quality fabric from all sorts of designersΒ (and they always happy to send samples if you are on the fence!) – but I was really keen to try the Liberty specifically because, let’s face it – you should never say no to free Liberty amirite. While I’m not generally a fan of the cutesy floral prints – they are pretty, but they definitely are not my style – there are plenty of non-cutesy non-floral prints to choose from – Adelajda, Weather Wonderland, Oxford, Melting Elements, Lauren’s Leaf (best name ever), Endurance – to name a few!

After a LOT of deliberation, I decided on Fornasetti Forest – I love the psychedelic print, as well as the colors. The colors aren’t necessarily ones that I tend to wear – but I was making PJs with my Liberty, which allows for a little more color experimentation. The fabric was shipped out quickly, and arrived in a beautiful little package.

Liberty Carolyn PJs

Liberty Carolyn PJs

Liberty Carolyn PJs

I used the Carolyn Pajamas pattern from Closet Case Patterns – having made these twice before (in summer linen and cotton flannel – both of which are still nighttime wardrobe staples for me!), I was pretty familiar with the pattern – both in terms of construction and fit – which means that I could get straight into sewing and know that I would be happy with the finished garment. I made a size 2 for both the top and the bottom, which is the same size I made for my other PJs. I went with view C, which features shorts + a short sleeved top, and added the optional piping to really make the style lines stand out.

Liberty Carolyn PJs - on dressform

Liberty Carolyn PJs - collar

Liberty Carolyn PJs - pocket

While this was a pretty straightforward project, I did put some thought into construction before I started. Since the Tana Lawn I used is so fine, I decided to use French seams for all the construction seams – yep, including the armsyces! – well, except for the mock fly, which I ultimately decided to just serge (I did consider binding that seam, but I was afraid it would be too bulky in an area that definitely doesn’t need even a hint of bulk haha). The piping and topstitching are both black – to bring out the black detail in the print and kind of ground it a little. I did have some coral-y orange lawn that exactly matched the orange in the fabric, but I went with black because I think it pulls all the colors together a little better. This print is pretty wild on its own! Getting black piping meant that I didn’t have to make my piping, either – I bought some premade stuff from a local shop here in town and that saved me a bit of effort!

Liberty Carolyn PJs - shorts flat

The top of the shorts waistband has a little ruffle, which is the result of using an elastic that is about 1/4″ too narrow. I couldn’t find elastic in the correct width that was soft enough (I like wearing the really soft PJ elastic, but sometimes you don’t get the best variety of widths), so I went a little narrower. Rather than redraft the waistband to reflect the new width, I just sewed a line of stitching 1/4″ away from the top edge and then inserted the elastic. I did this on my linen pair and I like the way it looks.

Liberty Carolyn PJs - top flat

Liberty Carolyn PJs - waistband

Liberty Carolyn PJs - cuff detail

Liberty Carolyn PJs - inside detail

Working with Liberty fabric was super easy – the Tana Lawn is a nice, tight weave that doesn’t fray much and responds well to pressing. Despite the expense (it’s about $40/yard), this is probably one of the best fabrics to make pajamas out of. Like I said, it’s SUPER easy to work with – even on a more complicated pattern – and it’s also really delightful to wear, as it’s nice and cool in the summer heat. Plus, the prints are really fun – perfect for a wacky night’s rest. Since the fabric is pretty light, I did use a really fine needle – a 70/10 sharp. I also found out that silk pins work best with this fabric, as larger pins will show pinholes (although I also learned that a quick steam will usually make the holes close up pretty easily).

I reaaaaally wanted to finish these in time to wear to Belize (I had visions of getting some island backgrounds in a photo or two), but I pretty much only managed to get them prewashed before it was time to leave. On the flip side, I was able to wear them to a little weekend cabin retreat with my book club – and everyone was really jealous of my awesome sleepwear. I think the top actually would do well on it’s own as daytime wear (with pants, I mean hahaha), which I’ve considered wearing. I just need to get past the mentality of it being PJs, you know?

Liberty Carolyn PJs - full set

Liberty Carolyn PJs

I think I’ve said enough about these PJs for now, but don’t think I don’t have more versions on the horizon – my plaid flannel ones suffered a bit of a dye transfer earlier this year (btw I’m never indigo dyeing anything ever again). While they are certainly still wearable, I’m on the lookout for a good replacement fabric to make a fresh pair!

As a side note – I have officially made all 3 versions of this PJ pattern. Heather, am I the only one? Can I have a trophy?

Note: The Liberty of London fabric that I used for these pajamas was very generously provided to me by the fine folks over at Josephine’s Dry Goods. I highly recommend them for all your Liberty needs!

OAL2017: My Completed Anaheim Sweater / OAL Winners / Updates

4 Aug

Hello hello! A bit of a long post ahead – including my finished OAL sweater (yes! I finished it!) and the randomly selected winner for this year. A few updates/housekeeping before I get into everything-

  • I love Kickstarter, and I love funding new projects and ideas from brilliant people. MyBodyModel is a new one that sounds really incredible – a web app that creates a croquis based on your specific measurements (no more 9-heads-tall fashion sketches amirite)! You can then print the images or edit them from a tablet. I am actually a tester for this service – which I’m pretty excited about! – but they need quite a bit of funding to get it started. You can see all the details on their Kickstarter page (they do a way better job of describing the service than I am doing, ha), as well as back the project. No amount is too small!
  • Totally forgot to mention this, like, AT ALL – but I’m going back to Finch Knitting + Sewing Studio for another weekend garment sewing workshop! The dates are 9/29 – 10/1, and the project is WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT IT TO BE. Seriously! Whether you need a cheerleader to encourage you to start a scary project, a little help whenever you get stuck, or just want to be surrounded by other people who are also doing amazing creative things – this is a great place to do it! Finch is located in download Leesburg, VA; the cutest little sewing shop in the cutest little historic town. We had an amazing time when I was there earlier this year, and I am so excited to come back! You can see more details, as well as sign up for the workshop here πŸ˜€
  • OAL winners! I used the handy Random Number Generator to draw our 3 winners this year – and here they are!


First up is Helen, who actually made TWO dresses this year, in addition to her incredible cardigan. I can’t even tell you how much I love that cardigan, y’all. Everything about it – from the color, to the fit, to the beautiful lace work – is perfect. I am bummed that there is not a pattern for it, bc I’d knit that shit up in a heartbeat!


Our second winner is Linda, who also made a cardigan + dress combo! I have had my eye on that Blaster cardigan for a while now, and Linda’s outfit is making me want to add that pattern to my queue! It’s wonderful!


The third winner is Lycaenid, who took things in a completely different direction by crocheting a skirt! I never would have considered a crocheted skirt, but man, it looks pretty great – especially paired with a crisp white shirt. We get a lot of questions every year about if people can crochet instead of knit, or make something other than the standard knitted top/sewn bottom (or dress) – and here’s a perfect example of that working out beautifully!

Congratulations to our 3 OAL winners – please check your emails and/or Ravelry accounts for a note from me about claiming your prize! Each winner receives 2 patterns+shipping of their choice from Indie Stitches, plus 2 patterns of their choice from Untangling Knots. Woohoo!!

Ok, now let’s talk about MY finished sweater!

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

I actually finished knitting this the day that I wrote my post on the OAL dress – I was feeling inspired to get it done so I could move onto other things. There wasn’t too much left to do – I think I had maybe a total of 50 rounds for one sleeve, and then blocking. Not bad! I’m so glad it’s done – partly because it opens up my queue to whatever else I want to work on, and also because it’s a pretty sweater that goes with a lot of stuff in my closet! I’m especially happy with how good it looks paired with my Kim dress.

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

In case you missed it, the pattern I used is Anaheim, which is the official knitting pattern for the OAL2017. This is a relatively simple garment, knitted top-down in one piece with an easy to memorize lace pattern (which I say easy to memorize, I mean that even my dumbass could handle remembering it! Ha!). It’s pretty mindless – so you can work on it while doing something else, such as watching tv or working in a craft shop (guilty!), but it’s also interesting to knit so you don’t get bored. I really enjoyed working on this pattern, although I did have a bit of trouble with the icord edging – I simply could not wrap my head around the instructions. I chatted with Andi about and she wrote a blog post that goes into a lot more detail, which was immensely helpful. Unfortunately for me, I stalled waaaay too long with even starting the icord edging, which is a huge reason why I didn’t finish my sweater in time. Oh well! It’s done now, and that’s really what matters!

For yarn, I used Quince + Co Phoebe, which is a DK weight merino wool yarn, purchased from Craft South. This yarn is incredibly soft and just lovely to touch – and it’s so beautiful! I really enjoyed knitting it and it’s a great color for my personal wardrobe palette.

I knit the size XS – which is my usual size for Andi’s patterns – and was able to get gauge with my yarn, so I didn’t need to change needle sizes. Besides the icord edging drama, this knit up easily and quickly. I will be honest – I wasn’t sure if I’d ever wear this sweater because it didn’t seem like really my ~style~, but I am really really happy with how it’s turned out, and how it looks with other pieces in my wardrobe! I think it’ll be great for the transitional weather in spring and fall, and again, the color is spot-on to pair with basically everything I already own. I am even scheming ways to wear it without a shirt underneath – just a pretty bralette! We’ll see how brave I get when the time comes, though, ha!

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

The sweater is intended to be worn with the fronts crossed over and buttoned at the side – can I just say how happy I am that there are NO ties involved?! – but you can also wear it open. I’m not really a fan of the open look – I don’t think it looks quite right, as much yarn doesn’t have very much drape. But I love how it looks buttoned up! I just used buttons that were in my stash, although I think I need to reposition them slightly.

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

I do want to touch on something I brought up in my last post – about not having any creative energy. Since losing my dad in February, it has been a strange and very sad year. I think that’s to be understood- losing anyone is hard, losing a parent is absolutely traumatizing. After the shock of the first week and then immediately trying to dive back into “normal life,” I thought I was ok. I thought, oh, I’ve dealt with my grief and I have survived this. You know what though? That’s not how grief works. Grief is sneaky, and it will creep up on you when you are not expecting it. It will affect your life in ways that you don’t even realize it is doing, and you won’t know why. At least, that was what I found myself dealing with when May rolled around. All of a sudden, I just felt sad all the time and I didn’t know why. I slowly lost the ability and desire to do anything – I didn’t want to be active, I didn’t want to see anyone, I didn’t want to leave my house, and I didn’t want to spend any time in my studio. All of this is stressful, but my lack of creativity was stressing me out the most and just making it so much worse. I make things because I find it therapeutic and calming – so losing that outlet was very worrying to me. I had a lot of trouble making any sort of emotional connection with people, and I was just sad all the time. This is NOT how I normally am, and I didn’t know what to do about it. I ended up having a meltdown while with a group of friends, and I realized that shit was not normal and I needed to do something about it if I ever wanted to feel like myself again.

So, I started seeing a grief counselor, which has been immensely helpful. I’ve slowly incorporated exercise back into my routine (running and yoga), which makes me feel good both mentally and physically, as well as helps my sleep. The creative energy has taken the longest to return – I had to stop trying to force it. I have been gentle and kind to myself, and patient. I really had no interest in sewing whatsoever during the OAL – it just felt like a chore. It wasn’t until the very end that I could feel my creativity reigniting, and I started getting excited about future projects. Knitting wasn’t as much of a struggle, as you can do that pretty mindlessly (I just like keeping my hands busy, really). I actually got a lot of knitting done during this time because it was the only thing I could really bring myself to do, in those weird weeks where I was so incredibly lonely but also completely isolating myself from everyone. For those who have reached out to me in the past months – whether it was to offer condolences, or to see how I was holding up – thank you. I really appreciate every single message I received, even if I couldn’t necessarily bring myself to reply to all of them.

I’m happy to say that my creativity has come back with a vengeance – it was hard for me to sit down and write this post, because I really want to go back in my studio and make some stuff! πŸ™‚ I feel inspired again, and that’s such a good feeling. More importantly – I feel happy. I still have a ways to go – and I know that the grief will never truly go away. But I am learning how to deal with it when it rears its ugly head, and I know now when to give myself kindness and grace.

OAL2017: My Completed Kim Dress

31 Jul

Good morning, everyone! It’s the last day of July, which means the deadline to finish + share your OAL garments! Today, I’m going to show y’all my finished dress – because my sweater actually isn’t done yet! LOL for being the worst host ever. Whatever! It’s been a crazy last few months, I’m not even going to apologize. Instead, I am going to celebrate actually FINISHING something! Yay!

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

Another thing worth celebrating – actually going outside to take photos! Β Another yay! Now that I’m in a house with a semi-private yard (I share the space with my upstairs neighbor, and we are on the corner of a somewhat busy street. Also, there is no privacy fence!), I feel more comfortable going outside to take my photos. The lighting is certainly better, and the background a bit prettier than a white wall πŸ™‚ I still go outside really early so that it limits the amount of people rubbernecking as they drive by, but, you know… baby steps. haha. For someone who doesn’t give a fuck about a lot of things, I DO give a fuck about my neighbors watching me take ~fashun photos~ with a fucking tripod in my backyard hahahaha.

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

Not too much to say about this one, since I covered all the construction in previous OAL posts. To summarize – the pattern is By Hand London‘s Kim Dress, modified to include tie straps and a facing (no lining). I used polka dot rayon challis from Mood Fabrics – both for the outer and the facing – and added an invisible zipper and pleats at the hem. All seams except the gathered waist are finished with French seams (you can totally French seam a gathered waist seam, FYI, but I just didn’t feel like unnecessarily torturing myself haha).

Here are all the tutorials from the OAL, in case you missed them!

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

This is a great dress for summer – it’s a bit more loose fitting than what I would wear in the past, and the rayon is nice and breathable. So it’s super cool in this humid heat we’re going through right now, and the navy + white polka dots is the perfect print + color combination! Black bra straps aren’t necessarily the best choice for this look, but I’m hoping to make a strapless (currently creeping SO HARD on the Esplanade bra pattern! Soon!) before summer ends! Navy bra straps would also work, which I need to get on making. I have several tops that would benefit from a bra with navy straps!

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

Considering I talked a LOT about this dress during the OAL, there’s not much else to say! One thing I will point out is that this particular project was going on while I was in a big funk earlier this summer – I completely, 100% lost my sewing mojo and pretty much all creative energy (I continued knitting, but mostly because it was something to do with my hands while I watched tv -so that I didn’t feel like a complete lazy loaf). Knowing that I had to finish this dress due to my commitment to the OAL was the only reason why I even started it – and it’s also what eventually reignited my creative energy. I may talk about that more in detail in a future post, but basically – I’m back! I feel good and I’m sewing up a storm again! It’s pretty amazing!

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

How is your summer sewing going? Did you participate in the OAL this year? LET ME SEE YOUR PROJECTS please and thank you!

* Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Knot-Maste Top + Pneuma Bra

12 Jul

Hello hello! Sorry for essentially dropping off the face of the earth there for a minute – after I got home from Belize, I was immediately sucked into a full week of Maid of Honor duties (yes, my BFF got married!!!), including making a dress to wear in the wedding (more info on that once we get the photos back). The wedding was fantastic and I had loads of fun, but it feels pretty good to not be under anymore deadlines and have a chance to breathe finally!

This project is actually a pretty old one – I finished it ages ago. If these photos are confusing you, just know that I took them back in May when I was still in my old apartment. I was in the middle of packing – I think my sewing room was partially torn down by that point – hence the stack of boxes next to me. But, you know – better late than never!

Anyway, enough with the half-assed apologies – y’all’s is here for the SEWING, anyway!

Knot-Maste Top

This is the Knot-Maste Yoga top from Fehr Trade. When Melissa first introduced this pattern a few months ago, I bought it immediately because, tbh, it’s pretty bomb-ass. I’m definitely not the sort of person who wears workout clothes anywhere except to workout (and I am definitely the sort of person who always wants to ask the Yoga Moms at Whole Foods – you know, the ones in Lululemon with a full face of make-up and perfectly styled hair – how their workout went just because I am also an asshole), and my preferred workout duds can be described as “as little as I can get away with.” That being said, I don’t think this pattern – especially the top – should be restricted to only for exercising. I guess it depends on how much skin you like to bare outside the gym, but I totally saw this top as something I’d wear just as normal everyday clothes. And the bottoms could easily be the comfiest pajamas. Sold and sold!

Knot-Maste Top

Knot-Maste Top

Designed to be sewn in a lightweight, 4 way stretch knit (Melissa recommends using bamboo knit), this pattern features an open back that can be worn 2 ways. You can leave the ends loose for a really nice back breeze, or tie them together to make the shirt look fitted from the front (and also still get a lil’ bit of a back breeze). The idea is to get some airflow while you’re yoga-ing – but still be able to tie that floaty knit out of the way of your face while you’re in downward dog – but, again, it also totally works as something you can wear out and about and yet not look like you’re en route to a gym.

Knot-Maste Top

Either way, it’s a total mullet of a shirt. Business in the front, party in the back – woohoo!

Knot-Maste Top

I also love that it looks like a tshirt dress when it’s untied. Note to self: this is cute, make a tshirt dress.

Knot-Maste Top

Knot-Maste Top

To get the maximum impact of this pattern, lightweight + stretchy knits are key. You don’t want to make this out of anything that is even remotely thick – or even medium weight, to be honest. Think of the slinkiest, most obnoxious-to-sew knit, and that’s probably gonna be your best bet. Lightweight merino, bamboo knit, rayon, and cotton-spandex blends all work great.

For my particular version, I actually used a poly knit that I bought at Walmart, of all places. It cost me about $3 a yard, which I figured was a fair price to pay for what is essentially a wearable muslin. The weight and drape is spot on, but the fact that it’s polyester makes it pretty unbearable in the heat here – even with that back breeze. I know some people can handle poly in the summer, but I cannot! I’ll still wear this one because I’m bound and determined to suffer for fAsHuN, but I would love to make a replacement version in a more suitable fiber.

Knot-Maste Top
Knot-Maste Top

The pattern has some fun details, such as the knotted bands at the sleeves. This results in a completely wack looking pattern piece, but it comes together really satisfactorily. Be warned that there is a ton of hemming with this top – the sleeve bands and all around the bottom hem (if you’re making the longer, non-banded version), as well as the open back. The instructions suggest using a twin needle, but I opted for a zigzag as, again, this is just a wearable muslin. I also topstitched the neckband with a zigzag, so at least things would look cohesive.

As far as assembly, this was really easy to put together and doesn’t take much more time than sewing a plain tshirt. I did mess up the back overlap (one side is not as overlapped as it should be, whoops), but it doesn’t affect the fit at all. I sewed an XXS in the long (non-banded) version, and am very happy with the fit. I think the sleeves could stand to be shorter (I prefer to wear cap sleeves), if not eliminated altogether (sun’s out, gun’s out, y’all). I started to fiddle with the pattern to try to figure out a tank version and just got overwhelmed and gave up.

Knot-Maste Top

Knot-Maste Top

The only downside to this style of top is that your back bra band is visible no matter how you wear it. And while I am an advocate of going bra-less if you feel compelled to do so, this is sooo not the top for that (unless you get your rocks off being a breeze away from being considered a sex offender, I guess you do u). Which is why you get two projects in this post – I had to make a bra to wear under it!

Pneuma Bra

Pneuma Bra

The sports bra is the non-tank version of the Pneuma Tank from Papercut patterns. I’ve had this pattern in my stash since it was first released, but haven’t had the chance to make it up until this project screamed for it. Which is dumb, because it’s actually a pretty badass sports bra – it looks cool as shit, and gives me enough support for a light run (keep in mind that I don’t *need* a lot of support with the size of my rack so YMMV, my DDD+ sisters). I even wore this shit to powerwash my mom’s side deck. I just love clothing that has multiple uses.

Pneuma Bra

As with the Knot Maste top, the back of the Pneuma tank is my favorite part. LOOK AT THAT SUNBURST OF PURE DELIGHT.

Knot-Maste Top

Knot-Maste Top

I sewed this one up in a size XXS, which is my typical size for Papercut Patterns. All the elastics were raided from my stash of bra-making supplies – including the yellow strap elastic, which I weirdly bought a few years ago and have never had a use for until now (it’s narrower than I like to wear my bra straps, and also a strange shade of yellow to try to match to anything!). The outer fabric is a swimsuit spandex from Mood Fabrics – the particular one I used is now sold out, but ummm they have some pretty rad ones up on their site right now! Apparently this one comes with 50+ SPF and ~aloe vera microcapsules~, whatever the fuck that means. I’ll let y’all know if my skin gets more supple in the future.

Knot-Maste Top

And here’s the back view on me! Despite having more straps than needed, this bra is surprisingly easy to put on (I haven’t had a tangled incident yet, knock on wood) and super comfortable to wear. Now that I know I like it as a bra, I’m even more keen to make the tank version. I’ll let y’all know how that goes when I get around to doing it in 5 years.

Pneuma Bra

Pneuma Bra

Pneuma Bra

A few more construction notes – I lined the front and back with lightweight power mesh, for additional support/compression and a little bit more modesty. The seams are sewn with a serger, and the elastic is applied with a regular sewing machine. I did move the straps to a better position in the front after taking these pieces, so there’s not that weird angle between the top of the front piece and where the strap is attached. I didn’t realize how stupid it looked until I was looking at the photos, ha.

Since this top is sewn with a swimsuit fabric, that means I can actually wear it as a swimsuit! I didn’t make matching bottoms, but my black swimsuit bottoms go quite well with the colors in this one.

Knot-Maste Top

Anyway, I think that’s all for this set! Just writing about how awesome that top is makes me want to make another one in a less shitty fabric, ha. As a side note, I did also make the pants that are part of the Knot Maste duo- and they turned out great, but they are black and really underwhelming to photograph. I will not be writing a post on them, but I’m happy to answer any burning questions about them that you may have!