Search results for 'dressform'

Review: My New Dressform!

25 Jul

Hey everyone! I have a review for y’all today! I know – blecch ughhhh, review posts are the worst, amirite? But I think this one is actually pretty relevant to everyone’s interests (unlike a good 90% of the review offers I am constantly being offered. Like, once a company offered me padded butt underwear. lolwut!), so bear with me here.

Check out the new lady in my life-

Dressform - The Shop Company

Gorgeous, right? This gal comes courtesy of The Shop Company, who reached out to me about a month ago and asked if I’d like a form in exchange for review. In the interest of full disclosure – I did not pay for this form, although I have been wishful shopping for one for a couple years now (and The Shop Company was actually on my list, after reading Gertie’s review). I currently have a form, but it’s a terrible piece of shit so obviously I jumped at the chance for a nicer model.

Dressform - The Shop Company

I was given full realm to choose any professional form from the site, which I ultimately went with the Professional Female Form with Collapsible Shoulders (although I totally lurked the Full Body form with arms and legs, until Landon told me he’d bury it in the backyard the minute I left the house). Like I said, I’ve been faux-shopping for a form for a while now, so I knew exactly what I wanted and this one checked off all the boxes.

Before we dive too deep into the new form, we should probably talk about my old form – a Dritz My Double (I’m not even going to link you to it, it’s so terrible). I’ve had it for a few years and it’s just really awful – extremely rickety, lightweight, and poorly designed. Every time I moved it, part of the tripod would fall out (which actually happened when I finally dragged it out to the shed the other day. FUCK YOU, DRITZ DRESSFORM). After about a year of use, the “cover” (I use this word lightly because it was really just cheap fabric glued to a plastic core) started to peel off – not to mention, it’s red. Who the hell chooses a red dressform? That shit clashes with everything. The Dritz form claimed to be adjustable, but that never really worked and it also adjusted across all size points (so, say, you couldn’t make it pear-shaped, since increasing the hip size would also make the bust and waist increase). The shoulders didn’t collapse, so getting garments on and off that thing was a nightmare. You couldn’t stick pins in it. Plus, it was ugly. Ugly forms are the worst, amirite?

So what’s so cool about this new form from The Shop Company, and why is it any better than the old one I was using? GUYS, LET ME TELL YOU.

Dressform - The Shop Company

It’s solidly built. The base is extremely heavy (which made for bringing the box inside very entertaining, I’ll have you know)(also, I’ll have to know that I literally fit inside the box because, yes, I tested. What?), so there’s no danger of it tipping over. The wheels roll smoothly, the metal skirt cage doesn’t bend, and all the little metal-looking parts are actually metal – not painted plastic. I have pinned the shit out of the cover over the course of the month, and you can’t even tell – no snags, no pin holes, no marks. I’ve used professional dress forms in the past, and this one feels pretty comparable to the almighty Wolf form – at a fraction of the cost.

Dressform - The Shop Company

Not only does it have markings to aid in draping/fitting/patternmaking, but many of them are raised (including the side seams), so you can feel them straight through the fabric.

The form also raises and lowers via a pedal at the base. Interestingly, I lowered mine as far as it will go… laughed at how short it was…. and then realized it was exactly my height o_O hahahaa whoops!

Dressform - The Shop Company

THE SHOULDERS ACTUALLY COLLAPSE. You have no idea how much this delights me! Sometimes I just stand there and snap the shoulders in and out because it’s fun as shit. Don’t judge me.

Side note: Up until very recently, I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept of collapsible shoulders. Like… what are they collapsing into…? I only learned what that entailed when I was working at Muna’s and I started playing with her dressforms. So, the above image is what it looks like when you collapse the shoulders of your form. You just push them in and they snap into place. It makes getting on garments SO much easier, plus, like I said – it’s fun!

Dressform - The Shop Company

You can also stick pins in it! Not directly straight in – they have to go in at an angle (as with most professional forms; the core is still solid and unpinnable). But hey, they stick and they stay and it’s pretty awesome.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Oh, right, and it’s beautiful! I mean, seriously, look at that gorgeous dress form! It’s currently modeling my Chambray Hawthorn, but seriously, any piles of rags would look beautiful on this thing.

Old Form/New Form

I’m sure you’ve noticed me using the form since I got it – I’ve had it for about a month at this point. I waited this long to post a review because I figured the review would be much more accurate if I’d actually used it for a bit before gushing. The form actually came in while I was writing posts for the OAL, which means I switched that shit out in the middle of posts. This is actually a really good example of the difference a nice form makes when displaying your garments – check out my old form on the left, and the new form on the right. Doesn’t it make a world of difference?

Dressform - The Shop Company

The only downside I can think of to this form is that the sizing is pretty limiting. It’s not adjustable, and it’s a straight size that only goes up to a 20. However, for my size and body shape, the 2 is a pretty close match. I am of the camp that you can’t really use a form for intense fitting purposes (you’ll never 100% mimic your body with a form – and even if you do with, say, a literal body double, it still is rigid in areas that squish), so a close match is good enough for me. Of course, you can always pad out the form (I have used the Fabulous Fit system in the past, but good ol’ batting and a new knit cover will also work) if you need to add some additional curves. I use my form to display clothing, take photos, make minor fitting adjustments, help with design decisions while sewing, hang half-finished garments so they don’t turn into a cat bed, and to creep Landon out. For all these purposes, it works great.

Also – the price is pretty freaking amazing. It’s $225, which is insane for a form this nice. As a comparison – Wolf forms retail for around $850, and like I said, this one is pretty comparable. On the flip side, the cheapie ones from Joann tend to list around $260 – and while you can get a coupon to knock down the price, I’d really recommend saving your money for this nicer one. More expensive up front, but much much cheaper in the long run.

I am so excited about this new form – mostly because I actually have a legit recommendation now when people ask what kind of form I use! 🙂 Thanks so much to The Shop Company for providing me with this form! If you’re in the market for a new form, definitely check them out – they have male forms, fully pinnable forms, creepy forms with arms, and even child forms. Something for everyone 🙂

What about you? Do you have a dress form? Are you happy with it? Also – what should I name my form? The old one was Dolly. Should this be Dolly 2? Help.

* Disclosure: I received this form from The Shop Company for free, in exchange for a review. I know this review sounds really gushy and biased, but I promise it’s 100% honest; the product is just that good. I was not additionally compensated for this post. Also, despite the number of links in this post – none of them are paid affiliate links. Click away, y’all 🙂

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my dressform, dolly

14 Apr

technically, this is still a work-in-progress, but i am too excited to wait! must share this now!

i have a dressform – she is a dritz mydouble and, eh, i’m really just not impressed with her. “adjustable” means that if you expand one part of the form, the rest will also expand. “rich plum color” means she clashes with EVERYTHING. and that “foam-backed nylon cover” for “easy pinning”? more like hard plastic that you can’t stick anything in. i mostly just use the form for hanging WIPs – it’s not really suitable for anything else, due to it’s limitations.

i’ve been thinking about buying a nice form, either a fabulous fit or a wolf (oooh so dreamy), but they’re both way the eff out of my budget and i’m impatient/saving up for something else. instead, i hit compromise & bought myself a fabulous fit fitting system – they’re on sale right now @ amazon for $69, so yay!

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Completed: A Very Festive Brocade V8998

26 Dec

After many years of saying I was gonna do it and then never actually doing it… I made a Christmas party dress!

Vogue 8998

I wanted something sparkly and festive to wear to Christmas parties (before you think I go to fancy parties… I don’t. I have consistently been the most overdressed person at every party this year, not that I’m complaining!), but every year I put it off until it’s too late. This year, I was determined to use my Mood allowance to make something fabulous, so I forced myself to start early. I’m so happy it paid off!

Vogue 8998

With this make, I chose fabric before the pattern. I had an idea that I’d like to make my dress out of a sparkly brocade – a fabric that I don’t have a lot of experience with. I generally prefer a fabric that has less body, plus, my lifestyle doesn’t really warrant a need for fancy dress. This seemed like a good opportunity to jump out of my comfort zone a little, so I waited until I was back in NYC for another workshop and used that change to stop by Mood Fabrics store to pick my brocade.

I’m not going to lie – I spent over 2 hours in that shop trying to decide. There are sooo many options, it’s a bit overwhelming! I had a couple of things in mind to narrow it down – I wanted a fabric that was primarily black, gold or silver (so I could wear it with my turquoise heels), and I was budgeting $50/yard or less (you’d be surprised how expensive brocade can get! I only needed 2 yards, which helped a lot). I wanted something that was more floral than abstract, and nothing that was super dimensional (I don’t like puffy brocade, I’ve learned). Even with those terms narrowing it down, there was a LOT of fabric to wade through. God bless all the people at Mood who helped me pull bolts and kept their grumbles to themselves every time I changed my mind. I’m sure it helped that I was there on a slow weekday morning, but still! I must have been annoying. Those people are saints haha.

Anyway, I found this fabric and eventually settled on it (someone else was considering it for their wedding party, and decided against it – so she was happy to see me buy it instead!). What you see in my photos is actually the wrong side of the fabric – the right side is more dimensional with silver + gold, as you can see here. I had a hard time deciding what size to use – and even asked IG for opinions – but ultimately decided that the wrong side really made my heart sing. Plus, it looked better with my turquoise shoes (and also, someone on IG pointed out that it looked mature and tbh I just couldn’t see past that after that fact haha). Wrong side it was, then! I did consider adding in a bit with the right side for contrast (such as at the waistband), but upon pinning the pieces to my dressform, it definitely did not work. Rather than look cool, it looked like I made a mistake. So I scrapped that idea and just went with the wrong side all over.

Vogue 8998

 

Vogue 8998

For my pattern, I used Vogue 8998. I cut a size 6 at the shoulders and bust, grading out to an 8 at the waist and hips. I made view E, but changed the skirt gathers to soft pleats. A quick muslin of the bodice showed that I needed to remove about 1″ from the shoulder to make it fit better, and I also removed 2″ from the skirt length before cutting. I made no other fitting changes.

Construction-wise, I mostly followed the pattern but changed a few things to suit me + my fabric. I did not interface the entire bodice – I get why they have you do it, but I felt like my brocade had enough body where it wasn’t needed. I did interface the midriff with silk organza, just to give it some extra stability. I also changed out the lapped zipper for an invisible zipper.

The whole dress is lined in black silk charmeuse, which gives the garment a bit of weight and makes it feel SUPER luxurious when I’m wearing it. There is 2″ wide horsehair braid at the hem to give the dress a bit of extra volume. This is one area that I totally deviated from the instructions. They have you attach the horsehair to the lining and then sew that to the outer fabric, so everything is encased… but I wanted my layers to be separate (mainly so I could show people the “right” side of the fabric haha). So I sewed the horsehair to the outer, and rolled the hem of the lining.

Vogue 8998

After a little bit of internal debate, I also added pockets (also out of silk charmeuse). I figured it would be nice to have a place to hold my phone (or stolen snacks), and I’m glad I did!

Vogue 8998

Oh, right – AND I made a matching clutch, using all leftover fabrics + my new Cricut Maker! More details on that in the next post 😛 But doesn’t it look great with my dress? haha!

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Despite this being a fairly fancy, pretty $$$$ dress made with fine materials… it was really easy to sew. It’s just a basic dress (I mean, style-wise it’s technically a sundress, you know?) that is fully lined with a center back zipper. There aren’t a ton of pieces, and while I can’t say that the silk was the easiest thing I have ever cut… the brocade was super easy to work with. It doesn’t shift around, it pressed fine with high heat + a press cloth (sorry, I’m terrible but I use high heat for everything haha), and all my hand stitches disappeared which made hand sewing the hem very satisfactory! The only downside to brocade is that it sheds like CRAZY… so I just serged all my seams (even the ones that are completely covered by lining) to prevent them from fraying more. I am still finding sparkly bits of brocade in my studio. It’s kind of great.

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

I love the shape of the bodice, and the wide waistband.

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Here you can see the “right” side of the fabric! 🙂

Whew! All right, sorry, that was a load of photos. I am so excited about this dress, though, it’s been a while since I worked on such a big, fancy project!

Vogue 8998

I’m happy to report that I have now worn this dress 4 times – 3 parties, and one night out with my coworkers for fancy drinks! It’s super comfortable to wear, and the silk lining makes it a touch more warm than I expected. A couple of the parties I went to were waaaay more low-key than this dress would require, but it actually looks super cute with my cropped Chuck sweater worn over it with a belt.

Anyway, that’s all for this dress! I’ll be back later this week to talk more about the clutch I made to go with it 🙂

**Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my monthly contribution to the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!

Completed: Addictive Free Canvas Tote from Niizo

4 Dec

It’s that time of the year again – new bag season!!

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

This is the Addictive Free Canvas Tote from Niizo, and my third project made using a kit + pattern from this company. I cannot say enough good things about them – my Freedom Backpack has been the best travel companion I could ask for (I’ve dragged that thing EVERYWHERE – including all the way to Egypt!) and my Craftsmanship Bag gets loads of compliments every time I carry it.

While I wasn’t much of a tote bag user in the past, that has changed recently. Now that I walk to Craft South for classes, it’s nice to have a bag to carry all my junk in. I have also started doing occasional work in alterations for photoshoots and tv, which require me to carry all my supplies on set. I have tons of those free tote bags that pretty much every business gives away, so I’ve managed just fine, but I really wanted something more sturdy that looks professional and doesn’t collapse when you put it on the floor. This pattern checks all those needs, and it’s an added bonus that I made it myself – call it advertising, if you will!

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

The Addictive Free Canvas Tote pattern includes 3 sizes, as well as instructions + a formula to create the custom sized tote of your dreams. I went with the largest size, which is quite large – about 19″ x 9″, and 5 1/2″ deep. I wanted something that would fit my 13″ laptop, as well as my knitting bag with plenty of room to spare.

I used the kit to make this bag, which is 100% what I recommend! Of course, you can buy just the PDF pattern if you want to supply your own fabric, but the stuff that comes in the kit is super nice! It includes medium weight canvas, water repellent nylon lining, thick foam for the bottom of the bag (which helps the bag keep its shape when you fill it with all your crap), a nice metal zipper & magnetic bag closure, and the leather tag that you can choose what words you want to have stamped on it. The medium weight canvas is sturdy enough that it doesn’t require interfacing – the bag stands up on it’s own without it. My backpack & purse are made of this same stuff, and they have held up beautifully over the year that I’ve carried them.

The kit is beautifully packaged, with each piece clearly marked so you know what pattern piece to cut from it. The pattern is a PDF, so while you do have to print it, there is only one page that needs to be taped. I have found the easiest way to cut my fabric is to trace the pieces directly on the fabric with tailor’s wax, and then cut the single layer with a pair of sharp scissors.

Like the other Niizo patterns I have sewn, the instructions are clear and easy to follow! This is definitely the easiest one I’ve sewn – but it has some fun features that keep it from being just a super plain tote bag. There are interior pockets – including a zippered pocket – plus one outside pocket which is the perfect size for my phone. The straps extend all the way to the base of the bag, and they are long enough to hold over your shoulder. There’s also a cute little fabric piece sewn to the back that you can use to attach a charm (or in my case, keys).

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

My little leather patch says L.Taylor, but you can customize it to say anything! I’m not going to lie – I had to actually talk myself out of asking for it to be stamped “butts.” Butts on everything, man.

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

You have the option to add stitching lines to the flat pocket to make it whatever size you want. I added a section for a pen and made one side big enough to hold a small notebook or my phone.

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

Here’s a picture of the tote on my dressform, to give you an idea of it’s size!

Anyway, if you made it this far – congratulations, now you get to learn about Niizo’s holiday sale!

4th -18th December
♥︎ All items 10% off in niizo Etsy shop.
♥︎ Participate #mapofbagmaker event to get a 15% off coupon code
– Post a photo of your SELF-MADE bag in a scene that could represent where you are.
– Name your location
– #mapofbagmaker @niizocraft
(the code will be sent via ig private message, one account one coupon, valid until 31st Dec)
for more information please follow @niizocraft in instangram

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

I think that’s about all I can say about this one! Happy bag-making, friends! ❤

Note: I was given this bag pattern + kit free of charge, in exchange for writing a blog post about it. All gushy opinions are 100% my own. Get you a niizo bag kit, they are worth it! Really!!

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 😛

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 designers (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!

Completed: Deer & Doe Réglisse Dress

23 May

I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve made a pretty dress. To be fair, it’s also been a long time since I’ve felt like wearing a pretty dress – something about the cold and winter just makes me want to dress in head-to-toe black, and only wear pants (very, very stretchy pants, I should add). Once the sun starts heating up our side of the world, though, I’m ready for pretty dresses, bright colors, and fun shoes!

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

I was anticipating this a few months ago while still stuck in a winter spiral, so I planned for this one early. I knew I wanted to make the Deer & Doe Réglisse dress – it’s a pretty design, without being toooo frou-frou (I admire everyone who can stick to that look, but my style has really evolved to that point where that is totally not me anymore).

The original plan was to make this out of a traditional white/blue striped cotton seersucker, which I bought several yards at Metro Textile while I was in NYC. Unfortunately, my fabric – ok, actually the entire load of laundry – was victim to a laundry mishap, and now I have a bunch of indigo-dyed stuffed that was not supposed to be indigo dyed (and as of now, indigo dying and myself are NOT FRIENDS and don’t try to get us to kiss and make up, it won’t happen). I can probably salvage some of that yardage by cutting around the spots – or even re-dye the whole thing – but I was feeling a little over that particular piece of fabric so I decided to make the pattern out of something else entirely.

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

Anyway, it ended up working out in the best way possible because I am super happy with the end result! The Réglisse can run the risk of looking very juvenile if you’re not too careful – which, again, isn’t a bad thing, but it’s definitely not my style these days. Using a solid fabric really toned down the sweetness of the design, and also makes the dress a little more versatile. I’m trying to make myself be better about repeating outfits, and it’s easier to repeat an outfit when you know it’s not an entire statement piece on it’s own, you know? This solid navy is a great neutral for me, and goes with pretty much all of the rest of my wardrobe. Including all my shoes 🙂

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

The fabric I used for this dress is just a simple lightweight woven cotton, but it’s quite special to me because I bought it when I went to Egypt! It’s very soft and a little translucent, so I knew it would be really lovely to wear in the heat. Again, the deep navy color is a color that I wear a LOT, so it goes with most of my wardrobe. I only bought 2 yards, so I had to be a little creative with my cutting layouts – like, the undercollar is pieced, instead of cut in one piece – but I was able to eek it out!

I sewed this dress over the course of a few days. It was a nice, relaxing sew, which I really enjoyed. I cut a size 34, which is a little bit smaller than my measurements. I decided to do this because some of versions of this dress I googled seemed to run a little large, and I didn’t want it to be too blouse-y on me. As it stands, I think the arm holes are a little too deep – any lower and they would definitely show my bra – but the overall fit is good, and I am happy with it. I chose the elastic length by putting it around my waist to determine what was comfortable. My experience with using elastic is that I tend to pull it too tight, and it ends up being so uncomfortable that I never wear the dress (which means that, right now, I am in the middle of Operation Remove All Elastic And Replace With Longer in my wardrobe). So I left this one a little loose, which ended up being sooo much more comfortable.

All the seams are finished with my serger – I used 3 threads instead of my usual 4, since it’s a little narrower and worked better with the delicate fabric – I serged them individually and pressed the seams open as instructed. The bodice and skirt are cut on the bias, so I made sure to really stabilize the neckline with staystitching before handling it, to prevent it from stretching. The skirt needed to hang on my dressform for about 48 hours before I could hem it, and it was super uneven after all the bias settled and dropped. I did make a couple of changes to the construction – added some topstitching where it wasn’t required (mostly because I thought it looked better that way) and I sewed the elastic waistband casing so that there are no raw edges. I don’t have any pictures of the inner construction, so, sorry, you’ll have to trust me on that one haha.

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

I was a little afraid up until the very end that I wasn’t going to like this dress – the sweet little collar and bow were making me a bit nervous. But I am happy with how it turned out, and I think the solid dark color helps with that! I experimented with tying the neck ties so that it’s more like a necktie, but I actually like it as a bow. I knotted the ends because, I dunno, I like the way it looks haha.

I see that Deer & Doe have updated their pattern to include an option without the bow – which I may try in the future. I’ll have to draft it myself, though, since I have one of the older paper copies, before the rebranding.

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

I think that’s all for this dress! BTW, as a side note – I have some more workshops coming up! And don’t forget about the OAL, which is kicking off very soon! 😀

Garment Sewing Weekend July 14-16, 2017
Three Little Birds Sewing Co., Hyattsville, MD
Come spend a weekend working through a sewing project of your choosing with meeee as your guide! For 2 glorious days, work on the project of your choice in the Three Little Birds Sewing Co. space. The beauty of this workshop is that each students get to choose their own project. Do you need help with fitting? With construction? Interested in bra making? Perhaps you’ve had your eye on a garment you don’t feel comfortable tackling on your own.  I will guide you through all of these and more!

Jeans Making Sewing Intensive August 11-12, 2017
Workroom Social, Brooklyn, NY
Let me show you how fun and fulfilling it is to make your own jeans! In this class, we will work out way through the Ginger Jeans pattern (my personal favorite!), learning the basics of fitting and construction for making your own jeans. We will also go over all the fun extras that separate jeans from mere pants – topstitching, fancy seam finishes, and installing hardware. Yay!

What are your sewing plans for this summer?

Completed: Linen Archer Button-Up

11 May

Does anyone remember my first linen Archer shirt, and the disaster that it was? Like, I don’t even think I wore that thing out in public one time. I’m pretty sure it went straight to Goodwill, where a less discerning eye was hopefully excited to find it. Hopefully.

Well, I always said I’d revisit this pattern+fabric combination again, once I’d had a little more practice with it – and here we are! I can’t believe it’s taken me nearly 4 years to actually get around to making that linen button-up of my dreams, but better late than never, I reckon!

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Basic details first: This is the Archer button-up from Grainline Studio. Sewn up in a size 0, with all my former modifications (shortening the hem, shortening the sleeves, and also adding a tower placket to the sleeve instead of the bias placket, which I’m sorry but I just don’t like). I’ve made this shirt several times, so if you want more in-depth info from an earlier version – check out this tag! The only former modification that I did NOT make to this version was to sew the side seams at their 1/2″ seam allowance (all my other versions, I used a 5/8″ seam allowance for this, to make the the body a smidge narrower. But for this one, I kept it as-drafted).

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Ok, boring shit out of the way – what makes this one so special is the fabric I used! Omg you guys. It’s hard to convey in a photo – even harder with these less than sub-par ones I have going on (and yah, I’ve already started packing for my move at the end of the month. Backgrounds are about to get a lot sadder ’round here haha) – but this particular linen is one of the prettiest solids I’ve ever seen! It looks like a basic chambray from a distance, but once you get closer – it’s really more of a periwinkle blue, with a definite purple sheen to it. I am not a huge fan of purple – and honestly, wasn’t a huge fan of linen until recently (something about getting old idk but god bless I feel like I sweat more than ever now, which is disgusting I know) – but this one is pretty freaking special.

I got my magical linen from South Street Linen, waaay back in 2015 when I was in Portland, ME for my first retreat at A Gathering of Stitches. We took an impromptu class field trip to the shop after we’d been told there was a linen sample sale going on… and DUDES WHAT A SAMPLE SALE. So many amazing pieces of absolutely beautiful linen, priced according to their yardage. You couldn’t get the pieces cut, but it was easily enough to split with someone else (we’re talking bundles of 6-10 yards per piece, so some people split 3 ways and still had tons). I personally got 2 pieces myself – both shared splits – and this is one of them. It’s been so long that I don’t actually remember what I paid, but I’d guess probably $30-$40 for 3 yards. Maybe less, again, I don’t remember!

Again, these pictures do not do this fabric justice – but it is even more beautiful in person. It’s also incredibly soft – not rough at all like some linens can be. It’s a slightly heavier weight, too, which means it’s more opaque and a bit less prone to wrinkling and fraying. I’ve been sitting on this piece of fabric for a very long time, waiting for inspiration to strike, and I’m glad I waited! I like the idea of having a summery button-up shirt (I’m not opposed to wearing my flannels in the summer, but this just looks better, yeah?) that is made of a nice breathable linen, with long sleeves that can protect my skin from the sun and/or insects (seriously, Morgan had one of these in Peru and I was SO JEALOUS of it!)…. or more specifically, air-conditioning, ha!

Construction-wise, this was waaaaay easier than my first linen attempt. I suspect part of that has to do with my now experience sewing this type of pattern- and part because of the fabric itself. Being a heavier linen means it is less shifty and less prone to fraying, which made the entire experience a BREEZE to navigate.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

An unexpected perk of this style is how good it looks when it’s unbuttoned to be borderline scandalous. Since I’m not rocking much in the boob department these days, I can totally get away with these things hahahaha.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

A few more minor construction notes: the shirt is finished with flat-felled seams, for a neat and durable finish. I did add a tower placket to the sleeve, as mentioned, so it would be easier to roll up (I use the placket pattern piece from the Colette Negroni pattern, but there are other options available). I also added button tabs (nabbed from my copy of B5526) to further aid with rolling up the sleeves (sorry, I didn’t think to take a photo of them rolled up – but you can see a shot here on my Instagram). The topstitching is off-white, and the buttons are just standard off-white shirt buttons, nothing fancy.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

I guess that’s all for this make! I have already worn it several times since finishing (hence the wear-wrinkles in my “modeling” photos – but as you can see, it doesn’t wrinkle that much! And there are pressed fresh-off-the-sewing-machine shots on my dressform, if you’re a hater of wrinkles!) and it’s been a nice and cool alternative to my standard cardigan. I like that the purple makes it a little less plain than an ordinary chambray, yet it’s still a really versatile color that can be worn with most of my wardrobe.

A Very Belated Tour of My Sewing Room

3 May

Hey! Remember when I moved last year and promised I’d share photos of my new sewing room? Well, we’re almost a year overdue – but I’m finally making good on that promise! Truth be told, I kept putting off the ~big reveal~ because there was a never-ending list of things that I wanted to change about the space – first I wanted a new ironing board cover, then I needed new lights over said ironing board, then I thought I’d wait until I got new sewing tables… like I said, never-ending! I have since realized two things:

1. The list of changes is going to be never-ending. That’s the nature of decorating. Once you’re happy with one thing, you want to tweak something else. Ok, maybe you don’t decorate that way – but I do! Keeps me on my toes, keeps that DIY spirit alive or whatever.
2. I decided to move in June (more on that in a minute!), so I better document this room before it becomes a maze of boxes! Argh!

Anyway, better late that never! I always have a studio in every place that I live, and I like to document these snapshots of my life, so I wanted to include this one on the blog as well 🙂 If you’re interested in seeing my other sewing spaces from past homes, check out this tag 🙂

LLADYBIRD Studio

Here is what you see when you first walk in! It’s an average sized room (11′ x 12′, which isn’t super tiny – but it makes for a small studio, especially when you have a giant cutting table in the middle of it!), so it was hard to get good shots of everything, but I tried!

If you’ve followed my blog for a while and are familiar with my former sewing spaces, you probably noticed that this room is super white! In the past, I’ve always had lots of color on my walls – which I love, especially when it’s turquoise! – but I ended up keeping this room white. The landlord and I had a bit of miscommunication about the painting – he agreed to paint it turquoise, I sent him swatches, he said he didn’t get the swatches, I agreed to just go with white (it was originally that horrible beige-y rental color that no one loves), figuring I’d repaint it myself if it bothered me. But I’ve really grown to love it, it’s so fresh and bright!

LLADYBIRD Studio

The view from the door to the sewing station. I love having a window at my sewing station, even if the bright light makes my photos look awful 🙂

One of the things that I wanted to change about this room – and will change in my next studio – is to exchange those two sewing cabinets in favor of a long worktable that I can roll back and forth at in my chair. I love my cabinets, but they aren’t practical with multiple machines (plus, I can’t use the knee lever with my Bernina! Boo!).

LLADYBIRD Studio

Starting next to the door, on the right-hand side of the room – is my desk (or as they love to say on MTV Cribs “where the magic happens”). Since I primarily work from home, it’s great to have a dedicated desk space where I can keep my computer and all my office and art supplies. I also blog from this desk, and sometimes it holds fabric + pattern overflow when I’m on a giant cutting binge 😉

LLADYBIRD Studio

Next to the desk is my ironing station – yes, with a new ironing board cover (finally haha!). The lights over the ironing board are suspended on a cord that plugs into a power strip below. These lights provide two purposes: one, to give me more working light (despite how bright these photos are, the corners of the room are actually quite dark, so it needs a lot of light to be comfortable to work in!), and two, to let me know when the iron is on! I use a gravity feed iron that does not have auto shut off, so I keep it plugged into a power strip with lights above it. When the lights are on, I know the iron is also on!

The shades over the lights are Joxtorp shades from Ikea. They are cheap little cardboard things that I just spray painted a different color. Nothing fancy, but better than a bare bulb! I used paper lanterns in the past, but I lost one of them during the move and figured it was time for a change anyway!

LLADYBIRD Studio

Over the ironing boards, I keep my rulers and cork boards – one for inspiration and general things that make me happy, and one to plot out future projects.

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

My sewing machines and serger are against the wall opposite the doorway, right by that beautiful window! All my thread is on racks on the wall (serger thread by the serger, sewing machine thread by the sewing machine), and notions in the shelf above my sewing machine. Plus, my dressform!

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

Continuing toward the right, this wall has a full-length mirror and a few shelves. The floor shelves hold my sewing books and yarn stash (yeah, it all fits in ONE BASKET woohoo), and the wall shelves have bra making supplies and zippers. And also fake plants along the top, cos green stuff is pretty stuff. I also keep a big roll of craft paper on top of the floor shelves.

LLADYBIRD Studio

Next to the shelves is where I keep my printer (FYI there is nothing fun in those drawers – it’s all products and samples that I send out for my other job haha).

LLADYBIRD Studio

Finally, at the end of the room – next to the door – is the closet. Since this closet is really big (like 7′ wide) and didn’t have doors, I just stuck my entire fabric stash in there, shelf and all! The shelf fit in perfectly with some extra space on the sides, plus there is storage along the top closet shelf for all my sewing patterns. My apologies for the bare shelves – I’d already started packing my fabric at this point, and I wasn’t about to unpack it for one photo! Just imagine that those shelves are full of lovely, colorful fabric 🙂 hah!

LLADYBIRD Studio

Since that shelf is about 5′ wide, there’s at least a foot of space on either end to store things. One end has my sewing machine cases and tracing paper (boring), but this end I stuck a tension rod so I can hang my working PDF patterns from! I can clip all the pieces and then hang them from the rod, and that way they don’t get folds before I have a chance to use them (PDF patterns that I’m not currently using are stored in a binder system – which I keep behind one of those doors in the big shelf).

Speaking of printing PDFs – I have started using a local printer to print copyshop versions, instead of cutting + taping a million pages together. My research in the past showed that places like Kinko’s charge about $10/page, which just crazy (especially if you are unfortunate enough to have a pattern with multiple pages!). I found a local printer who will print them for $2.18 per page, and holy shit y’all they are amazing. If you are in Nashville, check out CCAD Reprographics, seriously! If you’re not local, I think they will ship 😉

LLADYBIRD Studio

This is on that time wall space between the door and the closet. The hook is good for hanging WIPs (or stuff that I need to do some alterations or repairs on), and I found that postcard at my local yarn store, Haus of Yarn!

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

The cutting table takes up the space in the middle of the room. On one end, I have a bar where I store my cutting tools. The boxes in the cubes hold silk scraps, leather scraps, Papercut Patterns + Vogue patterns (since they don’t fit in the comic book boxes with the rest of my patterns), and my dyeing stuff.

The opposite end of the table has some drawers where I keep a bunch of tools and interfacing scraps, and the bins at the bottom hold swimsuit fabric and an enormous stash of zippers.

I love this cutting table! I “built” it out of two shelves and a tabletop – all stuff from Ikea – and put it on casters so I can easily roll it around if I need to (the casters also lock, so that shit will also stay put if I need it to). It’s a great size and height for cutting! For more information on how I built this, check out my former sewing room post.

LLADYBIRD Studio

What’s rad about this table, is that the middle is open and tall enough for me to roll this cart underneath, so I can easily pull it out when I need supplies (or shove it under the table when it’s in the way).

hellooooo
Hi!

So that’s my sewing room! I have really loved creating in this room – it’s such a lovely, bright space and it is really the perfect size for my needs. I’m going to miss this room (not to mention THAT CLOSET), but I’m so excited about my new place!

Oh, and more about that! I really love this apartment, and I have enjoyed living here this past year. However, one of my friends got me a great hook-up on an AMAZING house (seriously, look at how cute it is!), which I jumped at the opportunity. I am excited to have yard access again, a private driveway – and I’ll be walking distance to my part time gig at Craft South (not to mention, all the other cool stuff in that area!). The house was built in 1935, which means it is incredibly charming and has really really small closets 🙂 I am seriously SO sick of moving (just thinking about my to-do list is giving me anxiety), but I know it will be worth it! My new sewing room is going to be a hair smaller than this one – it measured around 11′ x 11′ – which means I need a bit of an overhaul on my organization / storage (for example – taking advantage of all those drawers!). I am up for the challenge, though! I love decorating new studios haha 🙂

Side note to my Nashville friends – if you are looking for an apartment, this one is available! Send me an email if you want more info 🙂

LLADYBIRD Studio

Completed: Craftsmanship Bag

23 Mar

Hi!

Another bag post today 🙂 I’ve been making clothes – tons of clothes – but haven’t had the will to drag myself in front of a camera quite yet. Also, my sewing mojo completely disappeared for a minute there, and this particular project is responsible for reviving it – so it seems appropriate to give it a shoutout!

(My apologies in advance for the quality of these photos – I got a new computer and my photo editing software doesn’t work on the new one, so I’m going through a pretty intense learning curve right now. Also, way to learn on something red. Brilliant move, Lauren :P)

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Anyway, my new bag! This one is another pattern/kit from Niizo, it is the Craftsmanship Bag. I have mentioned before that I don’t care to make bags (I’d rather just buy one really nice one and let someone else do all the sewing work!), but I do really love the ones from Niizo. I think one of my biggest beefs with handmade bags is the materials – they just always look, well, homemade. Quality materials is a big part of making your bag look nice – and it’s hard to source all that stuff, let alone get it to match. Then there’s the issue with the patterns themselves – they are usually much more simple than what you see in a RTW bag, which adds to that whole homemade factor. Thus is the reason why I like sewing bags from Niizo – her patterns have those cool features you see in bags at stores, and you can get a kit with all the supplies you need. The patterns are easy to follow, and the finished bag always look professional. This is my second pattern I’ve sewn from this brand (my first one was the Freedom Backpack,which you can read about my experience here. I have carried that thing several times on my last few trips – including when I went to Egypt – and it is fabulous!), and I had just as good of an experience with this project.

As I mentioned, I used the Craftsmanship Bag kit, as it includes all the materials you need to make the bag (except thread and your sewing tools). I love the quality of the materials that you get – medium weight canvas for the outer, Oxford cotton for the lining, beautiful brass hardware, rugged metal zippers – and that it’s all collected in one neat little package. You also have the option to buy the pattern separately, should you want to use your own materials for this bag. But I like having everything handed to me, so I opted for the kit! It was REAL HARD not to get the same olive green as used in the product photos, but I ended up going with red because I’ve always wanted a red handbag! I love the rich color, especially in contrast to the beige lining. It’s so pretty and happy 🙂

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

This pattern looks deceptively simple, but it has a lot of great features that really make it special. The purse is fully lined with pockets on the inside, and includes a covered zippered pocket on the back, roomy side pockets finished with self-piping, handles and a long adjustable strap, and hand-stitched leather details. The lining pieces are interfaced for additional support (since the outer is a medium weight canvas, this makes the bag quite sturdy), and there is foam at the bottom of the bag as well. I forgot to take a photo of the bottom, but I attached mine with long diagonal rows. You can do any sort of design you want, though, which is kind of fun! 🙂

Sewing-wise, this was much easier to make than the Freedom Backpack. There are tons of little pieces (like the pockets, the straps, etc) that are quick enough to put together so that you can work on this project in short little bursts. I wasn’t sure if I would have a hard time going through all the layers of at those side pockets – with the self-piping, it’s quite thick – but my sewing machine handled it fine. I used a 90/14 needle and didn’t even break one this time! 🙂 I think Amy also increased some of the seam allowances on this pattern, so they’re slightly wider (still 3/8″ and under, but not like, less than 1/4″ as in the version of the backpack I sewed) and thus easier to sew. The instructions were very easy to follow and I had no problem sewing any of the pockets or zippers. Turning the bag right side out was MUCH easier than it had been with the backpack!

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

If you get the kit, you have the option to get the front leather piece stamped with whatever phrase you want. Obviously, I went with my own name, because I am totally one of those people who loves their name. No shame about that.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

The long strap is attached by a swivel hook, so it’s completely removable if you want to carry the purse by its handles.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

To be honest, I was the most excited about sewing that zippered top! I have always wanted to learn how to add a zippered top to a lined box bag, and this pattern totally delivered! It’s kind of a weird pattern piece, but it comes together SO satisfyingly and all the seams are completely enclosed.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Here is the inside of the bag. Ha! There are lined pockets on both sides. I just sewed straight down the middle of each one, so they are all the same size, but you could customize these to be whatever size you wanted – including making little pen holders.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

I anticipated that it would be impossible to get a shot of the lining, so here it is flat before I put it in the bag. The lining is an Oxford cotton – about the same weight as a quilting cotton. All the lining pieces are interfaced, with the exception of the pockets. I love how the pockets are finished – they are lined with the nylon lining (the same stuff that I lined my Freedom backpack with), and the pattern pieces are measured so that the nylon is longer than the cotton, which when everything is turned and stitched down, you have a nice nylon edge. It’s a really pretty detail.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Since the bag outer is red, I decided to topstitch the lining with red thread to bring everything together. I used the triple stitch on my sewing machine so that the stitches would be thicker and thus more visible. I love the way it looks – shame it’s on the inside of the bag, ha!

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Here is a picture of the bag with some of my stuff in it, to give you an idea of it’s size and what it can carry! (I should mention – the above photos are all with the bag empty. It holds its shape really well!). The side pockets are big enough to carry a water bottle – there is a dart at the bottom, so they are shaped (not flat). The water bottle in my bag is a S’Well mini, but I reckon most bottles would fit. The bag can also comfortably hold a full-sized iPad Air, and you can zip it closed. I didn’t take a photo of this, but the back pocket also easily holds my phone (which is an iPhone 6 – but there is lots of extra room, so I think a bigger phone would fit too) or my wallet. The interior pockets are also phone-sized.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

And here is the bag on my dressform, to give you an idea of the size in proportion to a person. It’s not a super tiny bag, but it’s also not giant. The dimensions of my finished bag are approximately 13″ long, 7.5″ tall, and 6″ deep – which is a great size for my needs! The size is pretty similar to the handbag that I use daily, which is a Coach Crosby. Big enough to hold what I need, but not so huge that I’m tempted to fill it with everything I own.

Since I already have a nice leather handbag, I probably won’t be using this bag on the daily (unless I’m going somewhere dirty, like the flea market haha). I primarily made this bag as a replacement for my travel purse. For years, I have used a Po Campo Roscoe Crossbody bag, which I LOVEEEE, but the lining is finally falling apart. I was looking for something to replace it with that was a bit wider (the Roscoe is super flat, which is nice, but then you stuff it with your crap and then it’s not exactly flat anymore haha), and the Craftsmanship bag is exactly what I wanted. I think it’s ideal for travel – you have the option of hand or shoulder straps, there are pockets to hold a water bottle, the top zips shut and there’s a zippered pocket in the back. I haven’t traveled since finishing the bag, but it’s ready to go when I take my next trip!

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Anyway, I guess that’s all for this bag! Who else is into making bags? Have y’all tried a kit/pattern from Niizo yet? What’s your favorite bag to carry – pattern or store-bought?

*Note: Niizo sent me this kit for free, as a thank you for reviewing the Freedom Backpack. I was under no obligation to post about this project, but I truly love how it turned out and felt like it deserved to be shared!