Archive | September, 2012

Completed: Another Alma Blouse

28 Sep

I’m still wearing those damn Thurlow jeans, btw. SORRY FOR NOT BEING SORRY.

But, hey, look, new blouse!

Alma blouse

This blouse is extra-special to me because the fabric actually came from Liz – can you believe she dumped this in the swap pile!? I certainly couldn’t! I snatched it up with visions of an Alma floating in my head. I almost felt like I needed to save the fabric for something more, I dunno, substantial – like a dress. But I’m pretty happy with the end result & I think it will get a lot more wear in it’s blouse-form. So there!

Alma blouse
This fabric is pretty amazing, at any rate. It’s actually a double fabric (I’m guessing double-gauze? Maybe? Help me out here.), fused together. Which mean it’s super warm and actually kind of heavy when sewn up into a blouse. Almost like a lil’ non-knit sweater! So obviously, long sleeves were in order. And a peter pan collar because, c’mon.

Alma blouse
I knew I wanted the collar & cuffs to contrast (although I love the look of a solid print on everything, I think this fabric was just a little too much!), but I couldn’t find a suitable match in my stash and I REALLY didn’t want to tromp back to the fabric store after spending so much at Vogue while I was in Chicago. Then I had a no-shit-Sherlock moment when I realized I could just flip the fabric over for the perfect orangy contrast! That’s right – all the orange accents you see here are actually the wrong side of the fabric. I’m so brilliant, durrp.

Alma blouse
There is totally an invisible zipper right in that side seam. Oh, you can’t see it? Neither can I!

Alma blouse
I just think this pattern is drafted so beautifully. The collar pieces include separate under collar pieces, so there is no fug seam ruining my beautiful collar line.

Alma blouse
Really sorry these pictures are so cruddy, by the way. It’s overcast today and I guess my camera is on strike or some shit.

Alma blouse
Since this fabric is so thick, I separated the two pieces for the collar & facing, then interfaced the single layers.

Alma blouse
I actually ran out of interfacing while I was cutting out the pattern, and rather than wait for more to arrive in the post, I kept the cuffs at their double-layer status & just sewed as normal without interfacing. I’m not sure if I’m totally thrilled with the end result, they don’t exactly sit right. Oh well – they have leaf buttons! LEAVES, you guys!

Alma blouse
The fit on this guy is a little different than my previous Alma blouse – I wanted it to be a little more loose-fitting, like a cozy sweater. I did have to shorten the sleeves about an inch, and take about 1/4″ out of the sleeve seams.

Alma blouse
I love the little leaf buttons, as impractical as they are.

Alma blouse

Alma blouse
Thought I’d have a little fun with the different fabrics – surprise undercollar!

Alma blouse
The inside of the shirt is actually quite orange, just the facing matches the outside fabric 🙂 Since this is a double-layer, I was able to catch-stitch the facing down so it doesn’t pop out.

Alma blouse
And here is proof that there actually is an invisible zipper in that side seam. Haha! I’m quite proud of this zipper insertion – it’s a metal invisible zipper, which is probably one of the most wtf sewing notions ever. Seriously, these things suck! They don’t fit in my invisible zipper foot, so I have to use a regular zipper foot & push the needle waaaay over. The teeth don’t press down, so sewing it in is a matter of pushing the teeth down with your fingers & praying that the needle doesn’t sew through something it shouldn’t. And apparently there’s a really fine line between “invisible” and “this shit won’t zip up.” I bought these stupid things at the flea market, and I can’t say I’m surprised that they don’t appear to be manufactured anymore.

The end result is pretty good, though, and yes I’m tootin’ my own horn 😉 Deal with it.

Alma blouse


Completed: The Mustard Renfrew (plus some announcements!)

26 Sep

Let’s get down to business, shall we?

First of all, you guys definitely want a sew-along. And I aim to please! So let me introduce my first sew-along (ahhh!!), for the Thurlow trousers:

Feel free to snag this button for your blog, so everyone will know how cool you are BECAUSE YOU ARE MAKING PANTS.

As it is, I am a bit swamped right now, and I know a lot of you guys are working on jackets & coats with other sew-alongs, so we won’t actually start sewing until the end of October. I am aiming for a start date of Monday 10/29, so there will be plenty of time for everyone to work on their muslins, choose fabric (but maybe hold up a week or two, I’ve got a fabric post cooking right now :)) and of course finish your coat if you’re working on one!

I also opened a Thurlow Sew-Along Flickr Group, so please join so we can all share pictures 😀 We will be posting our muslins for advice on fit, and since I’m not a muslin-master, I’m really hoping y’all can pitch in and help when you see something you know the answer to. Open discussion!

A few people asked if they could join with a different trouser pattern – and the answer is OF COURSE! We will be focusing on the Thurlow pattern specifically, but these techniques should work with any ol’ pants pattern, including the gorgeous new Juniper. However, you may need to draft pieces if your pattern doesn’t have all the cool welts & fly facings & shit.

Also, this specific pattern includes an option for shorts, so if you’d rather make shorts… make shorts! All the construction techniques will still be the same 🙂

Ok, for those of you who dgaf about a sew-along… I have something for you too. But you still have to look at my Thurlows. HEH HEH HEH.

Renfrew & Thurlows
Thought I’d whip up a little tshirt last night 🙂

Renfrew & Thurlows
This is the Renfrew top by Sewaholic patterns. I know what you’re thinking – and I promise I’m not getting paid to wax poetic about Tasia’s patterns every day lol. I just really love them and I want everyone to get excited about them too!

Renfrew & Thurlows
Anyway, I wanted to try the cowl in view C, but I was holding off for the right fabric (and weather conditions). This fabric actually came from the flea market last week – this lady was trying to dump off the remainder of her late mother’s fabric stash and this was in it. It was actually really scratchy & smelled awful, like a moldy basement in the 60s, but I took a chance. Especially since I got a big stack of fabrics for $1 lolz. Anyway, it softened up quite nicely with a wash – and the smell is gone. I just think the color is so perfect!

Renfrew & Thurlows
Here’s a back view. BACK FAT ALERT, BRO.

Renfrew & Thurlows
I feel like it also bears mentioning that this is a perfect every day wardrobe ensemble. Sure, it’s a boring concept – jeans & a tshirt. Who the fuck makes jeans & a tshirt? Actually – I think that’s the beauty of it. Instead of focusing all my sewing power on stuff that rarely gets worn, this is some straight-up cake. I am going to snuggle into this outfit all the time – I would be wearing it right now, if I didn’t work in an office with a dress code 🙂 – and it just tickles me that the entire thing is handmade by meeeee.

Oh, speaking of cake – StephC of 3hourspast just kicked off a presale for her new pattern line, Cake! And it’s a casual knit dress – designed to be worn as every day wear, or, the aforementioned cake. Mmmm, cake.

One thing I hear people mention when they discuss not wanting to sew “every day” items is that they are boring to sew. Boring fabrics (not as many pretty prints!), boring patterns, boring boring. And I get that – I really love digging my teeth into something deliciously challenging. But there are ways to make your plain garments more fun – like making the inside a party:
GOD, what a happy shirt!

At any rate, stick around for Thurlow Extravaganza! I’ll be back next week to start muslin’ing, and we also need to talk FABRIC!!

Renfrew & Thurlows

Completed: Thurlow Jeans

24 Sep

Well. I have some good news and I have some bad news.

The good news is that the trouser portion of the Thurlow pattern is just as good as the shorts portion. One would think that goes without saying, but occasionally I do see patterns that focus all their attention on one component and add the second as a “bonus” without properly testing it (see McCall’s 5971 – the cap sleeves are perfect, but the long sleeves were not properly drafted & cause some funky problems when you try to, you know, move your arms & shit). Anyway, that’s not the problem here. These parts are perfect.

Which brings me to the bad news… uhhh… I hope you like looking at pictures of me wearing Thurlows, because you are about to see a LOT of them. I have fabric picked for 2 more pairs of trousers & one more pair of shorts. And I have ideas for more. Lord help us.

At any rate, I guess I found my new TNT, desert-island pattern! Woohoo!

So, without further ado… let me introduce you to my newest pair of jeans (and also a deliciously trashy part of my back yard):

Thurlow Jeans
Don’t you luurve them!? Omgah, so comfy & flattering.

Thurlow Jeans

Thurlow Jeans

Thurlow Jeans
Check out the rear view!

A few fitting notes – these are a size 0, aka the smallest size. FWIW, my waist is 26.5″ & my hips are 37″. These are a PERFECT fit on me. I did pull the back crotch out to a size 4, because I noticed my shorts didn’t have as much butt room as I prefer (and occasionally hovered near the zones of Wedgie City, eeeew). I did not shorten the front crotch of these, there are a few wrinkles but that’s mostly because of the way I’m standing. LOVE the fit of these. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Oh, they are a little long. What you see in the pictures is the natural length, with a shitty cuff job (sidenote: I have no idea how pants cuffs work, nor do I own any pants with cuffs that I can compare to. I am pretty sure I cuffed these wrong because they fall out often. Help?). I’m 5’3″ sooo take that as you will. Next time I will shorten these before cutting.

Thurlow Jeans

Thurlow Jeans

Thurlow Jeans
I did minimal topstitching with these (just around the welt pockets, top of the slash pockets, and the zipper – all in navy) as I wanted them to be very sleek and, er, trouser-like. Also, these are one hundred thousand times better than my previous denim trousers, fyi.

Thurlow Jeans
The insides are the best part! I had plans on using a piece of floral cotton I had floating around my stash, but the lining for these pants actually take a fair amount of fabric. So I went to the flea market on Saturday morning in hopes of finding something suitable… and welllll, look what I found! Had exactly enough, too!

Thurlow Jeans
I mean, are these like the happiest jeans or what.

Thurlow Jeans
Another rear view. These are probably my best welt pockets yet.

On a slightly frustrating note, it would seem that I’m not capable of keeping pants hooks & eyes in my possession. I lost my first pack in the move, somehow. So when I found them at Vogue Fabrics while I was in Chicago, I rejoiced & bought the biggest pack they sold. Come Saturday evening (*ahem*, yeah, I sewed these up in a day…), they were nowhere to be found! I KNOW I bought some because they are in my gloat picture of all the goodies I brought home. I’m fairly certain I threw them away with the plastic bags. Along with the sweet marking wax stuff that I also bought… ::sob::. So these hooks & eyes come from Walmart. And they are just as terrible as you would guess, but hey at least they were cheap!

But, whatever, I have new jeans so I guess it all evens out…

Thurlow Jeans

In closing, a few questions for y’all:
1. Since I’m planning on making a few more of these anyway, is anyone interested in a little sew-along? Might be closer to the end of the October before I can start, but I’d be happy to take pictures of the more confusing steps & hand-hold if necessary! C’mon! It’ll be FUN! And the pattern includes both pants & shorts, so those of you in warmer climates don’t have an excuse to back out, nyah nyah nyah.
2. What is your TNT pattern? Is it a Sewaholic pattern? Is this some kind of conspiracy?

The Chicago Meet-Up!

20 Sep

Chicago meet-up: definitely a success! Chicago itself: definitely one of my new favorite cities. You guys. The public transportation. I can’t even.

knitting on the bus

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve already read about the meet-up experience – it lasted two days (you jelly?) – but I wanted to add my two cents as well 🙂 I met up with Liz, Tasha, Meg & Nancy this past Saturday, bright & early. We started out at Bite Cafe, for a meet & eat and a swap that turned out to be of massive proportions. I should point out right now that Liz bent the fuck over backwards in arranging this whole meet-up – she planned the locales, drove our asses around, brought champagne to brunch, even made macarons for us to snack on. Seriously, Liz basically made the day. MADE IT. And I love her for that, and also because she is just awesome 🙂

Anyway, our swap turned out so big that the poor waitress didn’t have anywhere to put our food. Wah!

I swiped this picture from Liz, this was after we cleared out about half of it lol.
I even came home with a clown sewing pattern. You will all see that later, I promise.

After brunch, Nancy had to go home but the rest of us got to go fabric shopping!

Our first stop was Fishman’s. Doesn’t the store look kind of terrifying? It is, a little. Everyone warned me that it was super expensive, but honestly the prices aren’t that different than how they are here in Nashville. Ouch! We have a low cost of living, but I guess fabric isn’t considered part of that 😉 Anyway, lots of oohing & awing to be had – and much fabric petting. I touched so many beautiful pieces of cashmere that I actually did lose feeling in my fingertips for a minute there. No one bought anything – I was saving up all my energy for Vogue. And Vogue, you crazy bitch – you did not disappoint.

Fabric shopping... Dying right now.
Also, pretty much everything was on sale! Aieee!!!


I am not even ashamed for all my yelling, grunting while pulling logs of fabric out from under other logs of fabric, and using said logs of fabric as a third leg to hobble around the store. I am also not ashamed of the towering pile of fabric we all contributed to, which took up a significant part of the cutting counter.


We took a short break in the parking lot, in which Liz took the opportunity to reveal the very best part of the day:
Don’t they look like tiny, delicious hamburgers?!

I love this picture that Tasha took, of us taking pictures of them first hahaha.

After that, we went to Loopy Yarns, where I picked up some harlot red yarn to make my next sweater. They were *also* having a storewide sale, so my total came to under $25 FUCK YES.

Finally, we ended our shopper’s high at Hackney’s, for beers & ciders. I made our waiter take a picture of all of us:
Final stop! Love these ladies!!
This was the second attempt; my eyes were closed in the first one! I may or may not have upset the waiter by demanding a retake haha.

And thus ends the tale of the first day: The Day That We Filled The Trunk Of Liz’s Car With Fabric And Yarn And Macarons.
trunk full o'fabric

The second day, Liz & Felix picked us (us being me & Landon!) up for some vintage shopping with Tasha & Mel at the Vintage Garage. I confess I did not actually go with the expectation of buying anything – the flea market here has me really spoiled when it comes to prices – but I did manage to come home with 3 pieces of clothing, the whole lot for under $50 🙂 I met Leilani of Thriftaholic and she snapped pictures of me with two of the pieces, so hopefully I’ll see them on her website later! And ooh, even Landon found some cool vintage prints to take home. Which means now I get to shop for vintage frames woohoo.

All in all, a fabulously perfect meet-up. I had a WONDERFUL time & I will definitely be back in Chicago – especially after getting a look at their fabric prices. Liz seriously deserves a gold medal in hostessery for all that she pulled together to make everything special. Also, I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard for so long but I’d like that to be a daily event in my life, please & thank you.

Now, for some more not-sewing-related-but-still-Chicago-related pictures:

Hellooooo Chicago.
Riding the bus into the city. FUCK this place is huge!

City skyline

The other half of the skyline. Again: huge.

WTF @ this geyser
This geyser was just way too excited I think.

Giant sunflower
The park that we were strolling around had these massive gardens – some full of flowers, some full of vegetables (!!). I couldn’t get over the sunflowers, personally. They were as big as our heads!

I have no idea what this thing is but I kind of love it.
This is the Millennium Park Amphitheater – isn’t it insane looking?!

In front of the Bean :)
Me & Landon in front of the Bean. I hated that Bean, it’s so weird & creepy. SORRY FOR NOT BEING SORRY.

lol crafty beaver
I snapped this on the way to the Vintage Garage. So many dirty jokes come to mind.

Where we stayed in Chicago
This was where we stayed – obviously not a hotel. We booked a room through Airbnb, since even the cheap hotels outside the city are terribly expensive. It was a great experience & I’d do it again in a heartbeat – our host was really freaking cool (I mean, you have to be cool to live in an adorable apartment like that, amirite) and we paid less than half of what we would have paid with a traditional hotel. And coffee was on the house 🙂

Oh, wait, I guess you wanted to see what I came home with:
fabric spoilz
Fabric & yarn – this does not even count all the goodies I came home with post-swap!

Yesterday was a good day for vintage.
Vintage duds 🙂

Oh, and for the lurkers in all of us – check out everyone else’s meet-up posts!
Liz’s post, day 1!
Liz’s post, day 2!
Tasha’s post!
Meg’s post!

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I have beautiful fabrics that I must turn into beautiful garments 🙂

Planning Ahead: Fall/Winter 2012

13 Sep

Ugh, guys, I miss sewing so so much. And by “sewing,” I mean, “making stuff that I want to make that is going to be worn by me.” Boo! I’m still slogging through THAT pile of stuff, but in the meantime, I thought I’d get my fall/winter planning a little under control. Plus, I really like making these little collages. Don’t stare too hard at my ‘shooping, though – it’s pretty bad. I’m sure all my web design friends are cringing right now lol.

Anyway, I made myself a big ol’ shopping list to take to the fabric store(s); most of this is procured from my stash, although there are a couple pieces that I’m currently on the hunt for. Won’t you take a walk with me?

Here is one of the fabrics I don’t actually have yet – I’m hoping to score big and find something EXACTLY like that delicious tweedy brown wool, though. I want old man pants and I want to wear them all winter. I had a really wonderful pair when I was 16-20, but unfortunately for me they were a size 10 in little boy’s & I grew an ass so they definitely don’t fit anymore. Good thing I can sew!

Velvet Shorts
In addition to trousers, I’d love to make some winter-appropriate shorts. I know that sounds like a total oxymoron, but I have a vision & it involves velvet & tights. It’ll be totally ace, promise.

Brocade Dress
Who else has Gertie’s new book? Who else wants to make EVERYTHING in it?? Me me me! I actually picked this fabric up at the flea before I got the book – and I think this pattern is perfect match. Fingers crossed that I have enough!

Scallop Waist
Also courtesy of Gertie – a circle skirt with a scalloped waist. Yes, please!

Red Pencil Skirt
A sexah classic – the red wool pencil skirt.

Collared Dress
A sweet little collared dress, made up in grey wool with white accents. This will likely end up with long sleeves.

Scarf Dress
Another grey/white (I know, the color is really off in this picture) dress, this time with a scarf neck. This fabric is totally luscious, btw – it’s a linen & silk blend that I’ve been hoarding for like 2 years now.

Renfrew Tops
Some fun tshirts in some wacky prints!

Mustard Jacket
As much as I love my original Minoru, I really want to make an improved version with the hood. This is also fabric I’m currently trying to hunt down, I think the mustard will be visible enough at night without washing me out like most yellows tend to do. Plus, dots!

Plaid Coat
And, finally, what’s a winter sewing plan without a coat? I know, this is not the coat I was originally planning… but then this fabric came to me, and I could not say no. I love the idea of taking a beautiful feminine pattern like the Lady Grey & toughing it up with some fugly plaid. What color lining should I seek out? Mustard? Brown? Black? SOMETHING RANDUMB?

There are so many other patterns I want to make, and so much more fabric that hasn’t found it’s pattern-match yet. I want to make a set of classic flannel pajamas. I also want to make hats and gloves because, well, why not?

A few things worth mentioning:
Colette Patterns is releasing two new fall patterns TODAY at noon (!!!). I’ve already had the sneakiest sneak peek that ever was at the both of them, and believe me when I say they are AMAZING. You will want to drop by and check them out. Trust me like you’ve never trusted me before.
– Need some new patterns to up your fall wardrobe? Sunni just took 30% off all patterns in her shop – so start stocking up!
Andi just released a new sweater pattern and it is AMAZING. And perfect timing, too – since I’m ready to invest in some more yarn. I can’t wait to knit this one up!

All right then, I’m off to Chicago! We are having a small meet-up on Saturday morning – if you missed the first post about this, it’s not too late to come out! Send me an email (lladybirdlauren at gmail dot com) and I’ll pass on the deets 🙂

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Completed: The Blagatha

4 Sep

Hey look, I finished another sweater! That makes 3 sweaters now – not bad for someone who’s only been knitting 9 months, eh? Instead of a baby, I made sweaters trolololol


I still don’t think I look nearly as gorgeous as Andi + her sweater in the Agatha pattern photos, but hey, I’ll take this!

For those of you who are new, this is my second Agatha sweater – I loved it so much, I wanted a second version. I am calling this one the “Blagatha” because, well, it’s black & saying Blagatha is kind of fun (another word I really enjoy saying is “goo.” I’m sure you are just fascinated with this). Anywhoodoo, this is pretty much the same as my first one – I knit the size small, using heathered black Cascade 220 & size 5 needles. My gauge must have loosened quite a bit since the first sweater because this one barely needed any blocking to get it to fit – I mostly just blocked to even out the stitches. On the mustard sweater, I really had to stretch the sleeves because they were soooo tight. Not with this one! With that in mind, it is also a bit longer than the mustard one. The sleeves are super long. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

I’m sorry these pictures are so crappy. It’s rainy, grey, overcast, and black just does NOT like being photographed! Meh!

This is my back/side porch, by the way. I promise my entire backyard isn’t a mud pit – just that section. Fine with me! I hate mowing haha.


These are really awful. Here are some flash-photos, so you can see the lacy details!






I just love all the side & waist shaping – it really makes the sweater extra-awesome.

Oh, and of course – it looks good unbuttoned too 🙂



Blagatha - buttons
Aren’t the buttons cute? I actually found them at Joann’s, although they definitely have a sweet vintage vibe to them

Blagatha - Buttons & Petersham
The button bands are backed with petersham ribbon for stability. I used my sewing machine to sew the button holes on first, then hand stitched everything to the sweater. It took 3 episodes of Arrested Development, whoop.

And for those of you who want to know how I get all this knitting done – I knit on my lunch break at work 🙂 I get a full hour, so it’s perfect for squeezing in some tv or music & just chilling out for a bit. I don’t really knit much at home, home time is sewing time! Unfortunately for me, my sewing time right now is completely wrapped up in draperies. BORING. At least now I can *see* the light at the end of the tunnel!

Oh, I also embroidered this:
Peacock Embroidery
It’s old-ish – I was working on it during that hellish week when everything was packed but we hadn’t actually moved yet. I’m not sure what I want to do with it, though. Maybe a pillow? Eh.

For my next project, I’m taking it easy with a hat. Well, it has cables.
First attempt at knitting cables!
How exciting! I’ve never worked with cables before 😀

I’ll be starting another sweater as soon as I can afford the yarn 🙂 Buying all that yarn at once is such a debbie downer, btw – yarn stores should have some kind of yarn layaway where you can set aside all the yarn you want in your preferred dye lot, but you can pick it up a ball at a time. Actually, I’m not really sure how that would work. Someone make it happen!!

Now let’s see some cold fronts so I can start parading this new wool baby around!