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 🙂

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!

Continue reading

Completed: Deer + Doe Myosotis Dress

26 Aug

Welp, I see that it has been 3 months since my last post haha! Honestly not trying to kill my own blog but it looks like I’m causing a slow death regardless.

ANYWAY

I have a new project! Yay! This is also 1/2 of my Outfit Along project – the sewing portion. The knitting portion is, unfortunately, still unfinished. More on that in a minute, I want to talk about the dress!

Coral Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

I actually started this dress back in 2018 – I was inspired by Fiona’s gorgeous white version and immediately wanted to make one for myself. I ordered the Myosotis Dress from Deer & Doe, and a lovely white rayon lawn from Mood Fabrics to make it up. I got as far as cutting the fabric pieces and then… just kind of gave up. I’m not sure what exactly caused the flame to burn out – but I stuck it in a drawer and left it alone for the winter. I definitely still had every intention to sew it – it survived a pre-move purge and was shuttled from one house to the next – but not really any current desire. I think I realized that the style + color weren’t really something I wanted to wear (looking at Fiona’s post again, I still think the dress is great but I also don’t know WHAT I was thinking when i decided to make it for myself as it is absolutely, definitely not something I would necessarily wear myself), but since I had already committed and cut the fabric I felt the best solution was to sew it up and at least then I could donate the dress to someone if I still didn’t like it.

So, that’s a long, boring-ass story about how the dress started. This year, when Andi and I planned the OAL, I immediately knew the Myosotis was going to be my sewing WIP. I got the pieces out, and had everything sewn up with a couple of days.

Coral Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

Coral Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

Now, the first rendition of the dress post-sewing looks completely different than the final version. I had a feeling that I was going to want to change the color, but I wanted to give the white version a fair fighting chance before I made that decision. As far as sewing – this was a simple, efficient make. I cut a size 36, with no pattern adjustments. I made version A, with aaaaall the ruffles, and added slim waist ties to pull in the waist a little bit (I can’t take credit for this inspiration, again, this was something I saw + liked on Fiona’s dress!). I sewed all the seams with a fine 70/10 needle and serged the seam allowances. Even though I was fairly certain I was going to dye the dress, I still chose to use white thread since I wasn’t sure what the final color would be. Since the thread is polyester, that meant it would not take the dye – meaning the topstitching would end up contrasting. I was aware of this going into the sewing, and just made sure to be extra careful that my topstitching was even and nice-looking.

One of the biggest complaints I read about this pattern is that people seem to really hate all the gathering. Y’all, I don’t know what kind of lazy sewers are out there but honestly it’s really not that bad and goes together really fast.

Coral Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

Coral Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

Once I finished the dress, I tried it on to confirm that the style was not going to work for me. Again, it’s a beautiful and romantic look – which isn’t how I like to dress. Furthermore, the fine, lightweight fabric was essentially see-through (as clearly seen on my dressform). I’m no stranger to dressing like an absolute hussy in the summer, but even this was a bit outside of my comfort level (and before you get at me with crazy suggestions like “adding a lining” or “wearing a slip,” let me remind you that summer here is very hot and I try to get away with wearing as few layers as possible, ha!).

Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

I knew I’d never wear the dress as it was, so I decided to experiment with dyeing it using coral Rit dye! I followed the instructions for doing this in the washing machine, using about 3/4 of the bottle and allowing it to agitate for about 50 minutes. The resulting color is VERY saturated – much more me! – and also takes the edge off the sheerness so that I can wear this dress without looking like I’m trying to win a wet t-shirt(dress?) contest. I should also report that I was dismayed to discover the dye turned my washing machine pink, despite running a couple of loads with bleach + old towels afterward (as instructed by the bottle). I own my washing machine, so it’s not a huge deal, but it was kinda lame regardless. That all being said, after a couple months of regular laundry, the washing machine is no longer pink whatsoever (I should also did – and did not transfer any dye to my other clothes). So it does eventually come out! Now, the dress itself – I have to wash it by itself as the dye still bleeds. I wash it in the sink using Soak rinseless wash (if you don’t already own this, do yourself a favor and invest. It’s marketed toward knitters but I use it for all my hand-washing, including lingerie, and it RULES) to prevent it from dyeing an entire load of laundry. My kitchen sink is stainless steel so I have not noticed any dye transfer by using this method.

Coral Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

Here is the dress after dyeing! It was almost good but I tried it on one last time and decided the sleeve ruffles had to go.

I cut them off, plus a few more inches so the sleeves would be cap-length. These were turned under and hemmed – using white thread, to match the rest of the topstitching.

Coral Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

Coral Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

The finished dress is definitely much more my style! The saturated coral color is one of my favorites for summer, and loose, swishy shape is perfect for the extreme heat we are experiencing lately. I’m actually surprised at how much I enjoy wearing this dress – it’s still a slight departure from my usual style, but it is a fun little way to change things up.

Coral Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

So that’s my finished sewn garment for the OAL – what about my knitted garment? Well. I had an Improv sweater waiting in WIP purgatory that I had all intentions of finishing for this OAL. I had started it about 3-4 years ago (back when I lived in an apartment in West Nashville)(ooh and here I am back in West Nashville IN MY OWN HOUSE look at how things go full circle yay), got about halfway down the body and decided I didn’t like how loose the fit was. Rather than unknit, I just left it in my knitting basket. Upon rediscovering for the OAL, I tried it on again and was fine with the sizing so decided to finish that.

Unfortunately, since this sweater has been out of my queue for so long, I seem to have lost all the notes I made with the math for sizing. I was able to finish the body, but the sleeves are a little slower going as I had to work out the equations for decreasing, and also try the sweater on frequently to make sure things aren’t going haywire. It is working out fine and I will certainly finish it – it’s just slow-going. At this point, the sweater is too bulky to comfortably carry around outside the house (and again, there’s that whole issue of trying it on as I’m knitting), which means it doesn’t go with me when I travel – which is frequently! AND, in the meantime, another WIP that I started right before the OAL had a major error that required a lot of unknitting so I’ve been focusing on that. So, I didn’t finish my knitted sweater – but I plan to in time for sweater season! Which to me encompasses the general spirit of the OAL that I was aiming for!

I think that’s all for this make! Lord, I don’t know how I manage to take a simple dress and turn it into a giant blog post of verbal diarrhea. If you’re wondering, I’m like this IRL too when people try to talk to me. What can I say, I’m from the South haha. Mindless chatter is our love language.

Coral Rayon Lawn Myosotis Dress

** Note: The fabrics + RIT dye used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewciety Blog (oh yeah, MSN moved!). All opinions are my own!And extra big thanks to my friend Jennifer for being a real pal and taking these photos for me when I was in Brooklyn last month for recent Jeans Making Intensive class at Workroom Social! Which, btw – 2020 for WS dates are listed! Yay! More dates to come as a I finalize them!

Completed: Denim CentaurĂ©e Dress

25 Oct

Good morning, everyone! I am writing this from my local airport lounge, waiting for my flight this morning to San Francisco! Figured I’d take advantage of the downtime (and free WiFi!) and see if I could throw together a little post! I feel like a big part of the reason why I stopped posting as much was because there is so much EFFORT that goes into it – I have this weird need for them to be long and therefore “worth it,” (and a long post takes a really long time to write!) but really, short posts are better than no posts… right? I don’t want to let my blog die!

Another reason why I post less is because I really seem to have hit a hard rut with photos. I just really hate taking them, I feel like they always look shitty and I honestly don’t know how to improve them (one would think that standing in the same spot where I take my dressform photos would work, but nope, sadly not the case). I snapped these very quickly using the self-timer on my phone, right before I took a walk down the block to my local cookie shop (oh yeah). The lighting isn’t great and I have my shades on, but… whatever. It’ll do!

Deer & Doe Centaurée dress made with denim from Mood Fabrics

Anyway – the dress! I made this little denim sundress a few months ago, one last dress hurrah for summer. The pattern is the Deer & Doe CentaurĂ©e dress, which I loved when was first released – it’s a great little basic sundress with some fun details that make it a little more interesting. The bodice shaping is created with interesting seamlines that form a star (y’all know how I feel about a good star), and the edges are finished with a self bias binding that turns into double straps (a super cute detail IMHO but definitely requires no bra or a strapless bra to get the full effect – fwiw, I am bra-less in these photos). The skirt is a simple gathered skirt – no pockets, but I was able to easily add some simple patch pockets.

I cut a size 36 at the bust, grading out to a 38 at the waist and hip. No other alterations were necessary, which is good because I totally threw caution to the wind and make this up without first sewing a muslin o_O haha! Like I mentioned, I did add patch pockets – simple squares (I think I took the pattern piece off my Ariana Dress but they can easily be drafted if you don’t have a pattern to steal from), to bring a little more interest down to an otherwise plain skirt and to also incorporate more topstitching. Everything else about this dress is exactly as the pattern intended!

Deer & Doe Centaurée dress made with denim from Mood Fabrics

My fabric is a lightweight denim from Mood Fabrics. I found this in the store while I was in NYC – I was actually looking for bottomweight to make a pair of jeans with, but this was too good to pass up. It’s a fine, lightweight Japanese denim that is very narrow (like less than 45″). This denim on the Mood Fabrics website appears to be very similar, although it’s a little wider. I originally purchased this with the intention of making a shirtdress – I specifically had a Colette Hawthorn dress in mind, to replace my beloved denim Hawthorn that no longer fits – but decided to try something a little different than my norm SINCE I MAKE SO MANY DAMN SHIRTS.

Deer & Doe Centaurée dress made with denim from Mood Fabrics

Deer & Doe Centaurée dress made with denim from Mood Fabrics

Sewing this fabric was super easy, as most denims are! I used two sewing machines to construct this – one threaded with regular polyester thread, and the second threaded with topstitching thread (you can totally do this one with machine if you don’t mind re-threading over and over!). I chose to highlight all those interesting seamlines with gold topstitching thread, which makes it look more like a pair of jeans, just reincarnated as a dress. All seams are finished with my serger (the multitude of intersecting seamlines on the bodice + the gathered skirt would have made it difficult to flat fell, plus, I wanted the option to be able to let out or take in areas since, again, I did not make a mock-up), and I used self-binding to finish the edges of the bodice as instructed by the pattern.

Deer & Doe Centaurée dress made with denim from Mood Fabrics

Deer & Doe Centaurée dress made with denim from Mood Fabrics

Deer & Doe Centaurée dress made with denim from Mood Fabrics

Deer & Doe Centaurée dress made with denim from Mood Fabrics

The dress closes with an invisible zipper on the side seam. Here’s a fun fact – the only zipper I had in my stash was off-white, and I didn’t feel like going to the shop to grab another one in the right color (another fun fact – I live 3 blocks from one fabric store, and less than a mile from a much bigger one so I absolutely have no valid excuse, #teamlazy)
 so there is a off-white invisible zipper in this dress. You’d never guess it unless you see the zipper pull, which is located under my armpit, and I take a lot of pride in this. Not to toot my own horn, but hell yea my invisible zipper game is strong. You can’t even see that shit.

Deer & Doe Centaurée dress made with denim from Mood Fabrics

Deer & Doe Centaurée dress made with denim from Mood Fabrics

The skirt is finished with a wide hem – I wanted mine shorter than the pattern is drafted for, and I like the way the wide hem looks with the topstitching + pockets. Plus, it will be easy to let the hem out if I decide I want a longer skirt in the future (whether or not that will actually ever happen is up for debate, but at least I have options now!).

As a side note, the patch pockets on this dress are perfectly sized to hold a Christie Cookie
 speaking from experience here. And! After I finished taking this photos and took my walk, I ran into the sweetest little cat:

neighborhood cat

That’s all for this make! Admittedly, we are a little late in the season now for a sundress (Tennessee appears to have completely skipped fall and jumped straight into early winter
 wah!), but if I was a cooler person I could totally rock this with a white t-shirt underneath. Alas, my inner Cher Horowitz definitely won’t be making an appearance, but I do think this dress would look cool with a cropped sweater over it (like my Chuck!). So, sundress or not, this can definitely be a transitional garment!

Deer & Doe Centaurée dress made with denim from Mood Fabrics

Anyway, I’m out! Berkeley, I will see you soon! For those of y’all in the area – Stone Mountain & Daughter Fabrics is hosting a meet-up tonight at 5:30PM. Full details are on my IG 🙂

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

Studio Tour!

7 Sep

Hey everyone!

It’s been over a year since I moved into my new house, so you know what that means – time for an updated studio tour!! Yeahhhh!!

2018 Studio - room

Same as with my last delay, I kept putting off sharing this room with y’all because I really wanted to feel like it was “done” first. Even though, realistically, nothing is ever finished in my home – I’m always moving things around! I had a little kick in my pants via a Sewing Space feature over at Tilly & the Buttons , which forced me to suck it up and take the dang photos already. What you’re about to see is my studio in it’s natural state – it’s tidy, but not show-room perfect (i.e., I really should reorganize my fabric shelve, but, priorities).

While I was compiling the photos for this post, I ended up falling down a pretty deep rabbit hole of my past studio spaces. You may not be aware of this, but I’ve had a dedicated sewing room in some shape or form since 2006. My tastes & decorating have definitely changed a lot over the years, which I personally find pretty interesting! I think it’s also relevant as a lot of people comment on how well-organized my space is – which, it should be, I’ve been working on it for over 12 years! 😛 So before we jump into the NEW studio, I want to share a little bit of my evolution first!

Apologies in advance for the poor photos – it looks like my photography skills have also evolved, at least a little 😉

2006 sewing room - Broadway

2006: My very first dedicated sewing space, back when I lived in Midtown in Nashville TN. I loved that apartment so, so much and stayed there for several years – it was a beautiful old building with crazy cheap rent. I eventually couldn’t handle the poor maintenance or the noisy bars getting built up around me, so I moved… but not before moving my sewing room all over this one apartment. First stop was in what I think was the dining room – or possibly a small servant’s quarters (it was a 100+ year old building right by Vanderbilt with a layout that suggested this might have been the intention). It was a VERY small room – like I’ve had bigger walk-in closets than this space – but it was perfect for a tiny sewing set-up.

Also, if you are curious – the dress I’m wearing is New Look 6557, which was the first proper sewing pattern I made by myself and I made DOZENS of that dress lol

2007 sewing room - Broadway

2007 sewing room - Broadway

2007: Still in the same apartment in Midtown, but I moved shop into what was the bedroom (with my bedroom in the living room, and the tiny dining room being a sitting room). My ex boyfriend and I painted the room orange, and then he claimed it for his office (a bold move considering he never paid any rent). As soon as I kicked his ass out, I reclaimed the room for myself. So this is my “fuck you” sewing room haha. I also got Amelia, my cat, around the same time – for the same reason 🙂

Very little of this room is still in my possession! I have all new sewing machines and furniture. The only things I still have are the desk chair and that Little Prince poster. Also, lol at another New Look 6557 being on the dress form. And, yes, I had 4 irons. I did a lot of dumpster diving at Vanderbilt University back then and irons were a popular thing to throw away I guess.

2008 sewing room - Broadway

2008 sewing room - Broadway

2008 sewing room - Broadway

2008 sewing room - Broadway

2008: Decided I was DEFINITELY worth the biggest room in the apartment, so I moved my studio to the living room (and took back the bedroom for, well, my bedroom). This room was massive and I looooved that space so much. Painted it green, which in retrospect… not my best idea. I built a makeshift long table out of some old cabinets and a piece of plywood covers with peel and stick tile. And I upgraded my machines – I still use both of those today! Actually found the receipt the other day while I was cleaning out my files; I bought them at the end of 2007 :3

2008 sewing room - Broadway

For funsies, here’s a photo of me at that time – scene hair and all! I made that dress with knit fabric from Walmart haha

2009 sewing room - Broadway

2009 Sewing Room - Broadway

2009: Same room, with some updates! I repainted the entire thing bright turquoise (which became “my color” as far as studios are concerned!), as well painted my furniture. Got a cutting table (just one of those cheap ones from Joann’s), some new storage, and made curtains. This was taken over Christmas, hence the sparkly tree (which I still have today!)

2010 sewing room - South Nashville

2010: Ok, last one! This is the saddest looking photo ever, ha, but it’s literally the only one I have! I ended up moving out of my Midtown apartment and in with a friend who lived in South Nashville. He never used his living room, so I took it over as my sewing room! I had to work around the existing furniture, but I made it work. Lived here for about 2 months and then I moved to East Nashville to live with my BFF.

Other sewing spaces have their own blog post!
2011: Yellow Sewing room in East Nashville, TN
2011: Pale Blue sewing room in East Nashville, TN
2012: Giant Turquoise sewing room in West Nashville, TN
2015: Oddly Shaped Turquoise sewing room in Kingston Springs, TN
2017: Apartment sewing room in West Nashville, TN

Whew! Ok, this post has gotten long already and we aren’t even at the good stuff yet!

Anyway, here is where I am today! I moved into this sweet 1935 Tudor in 12 South/Nashville a little over a year ago. It’s a wonderful house + neighborhood and I really love living here. I use the second bedroom as my studio – it’s very small (just barely 11′ x 11′), and there are two doors, plus a closet, which made furniture arranging a little bit of a challenge! I had to take a lot of measurements and draft up a few room layouts before I figured out a good fit for everything, but it was definitely worth it.

The back half of the house was originally carpeted, and before I moved in I negotiated with the landlord to have the carpets removed (they were gross. Not, like, “ewwww carpet, gross” but like “10+ year old covered in stains gross”) and we were both delighted to discover the original hardwoods underneath. I also had her paint the walls a bright white, which really helped the overall vibe of the room. Before I moved in, this house was dark and dirty… it’s pretty fabulous now, though. I love it so much.

Also, because this comes up often – yes, I move a lot. I’m a renter, and my city is unfortunately going through some growing pains with skyrocketing rents + half the affordable houses either getting bulldozed (to build more $1M houses) or turned into AirBNBs (do not even get me started on the tragedy that is AirBNB over here, omg. It is a big, big problem and I encourage you if you visiting a popular city like Nashville to be very weary of any AirBNB that clearly is *only* an AirBNB and not someone’s home). I would love to buy and stop moving, but right now it just is not feasible. I like to think I’ve found a great long-term home here, but this is an expensive/trendy neighborhood so fingers crossed my landlord doesn’t try to turn it into a short term rental or sell it to the highest bidder.

Details about all products (including furniture & decor) are at the end of this post!

2018 Studio - doorway

Here is the studio when you enter through the hallway in the back of the house!

2018 Studio - room

As full of a view of the room that I could get!

2018 Studio - sewing machines

The back wall (facing the door you enter through) holds all my sewing machines. I built the long table with IKEA components (this will be a running theme in this room haha), because I wanted to house all my machines on one single table that I could just roll down in my chair. There are lots of drawers which is great for storing notions and supplies. The windows get a lot of light and a very pretty view, but there are several mature trees in front so I also get some privacy.

2018 Studio - sewing machines

Another view of the table and machines. You can also see part of the side porch through the window.

2018 Studio - sewing machines

Above the machines, I hung lights for some extra brightness in the room. True story – I rarely use these lights, as I realized immediately after that the main overhead light could hold 3 bulbs and 2 were blown out. I replaced all the bulbs with super high wattage daylight bulbs and HOLY SHIT BRIGHTNESS BATMAN. It’s like high noon in this room now, all the time! It’s amazing!!! Y’all can have your ~ambient lighting~ all you want but I am all bright, all the time haha

side wall

Looking to the left of the machines, this is where I keep my bookshelves that hold sewing/knitting/art books, Papercut Patterns, and knitting supplies. All my yarn fits in that one big basket 😛 I also keep WIP patterns in the magazine holder on top of the bookshelf. Over the book shelves, I hung two long wall shelves – the boxes store swatches, zippers, and lingerie supplies, and the top shelf is purely decorational. Those plants are fake as fuck, btw.

2018 Studio - books and shelves

Here’s another angle – thread racks, an extra stool, and a lamp that rarely gets used (again, daylight lightbulbs are the BOMB you guys).

2018 Studio - dressform

If you continue down that wall to the left, you’ll end up back at the door in which you entered. There is a door in the middle of the wall that leads to the side porch. This is where my dressform lives. I wasn’t crazy about the large blank wall, but didn’t want to spring for wallpaper (or bother painting… I like painting, but I’m not a fan of painted accent walls and I didn’t want to paint the entire room), so I bought these wall stickers on Amazon and made a dotty wall! It makes me so happy! 🙂

2018 Studio - fabric

So, going back to the machines and swinging right – you will get my fabric stash! Really thought about reorganizing this for the photo (it actually does need to be sorted and culled), decided not to haha. My old shelf that I’ve been using since 2009 wasn’t going to fit in this room, so I passed it on to a friend and bought something a little more modular. This area holds my fabric, PDF patterns, embroidery and art supplies, and my snap setters.

2018 Studio - ironing board

Next to my fabric is my ironing station! I started out in this room with a proper ironing board, but I desperately needed more storage so I swapped it out for a tabletop ironing board. I can’t take credit for this – I totally took the idea from Jasika as she made the exact same thing. It’s perfect! I padded out the top of an IKEA kitchen island with a few layers of cotton batting, then wrapped fabric (it’s Robert Kaufman Essex linen, specifically, if you are curious lol) around the whole thing and stapled it down. The station has drawers that hold ironing supplies and camera equipment, and shelves to hold my current projects and my Cricut Maker. The bucket of fabric next to the table holds scraps that are too big to throw away but not big enough to justify putting back on the shelf.

My iron is a gravity feed iron (I’m still using the same original one I got back in 2012!); the tank is suspended from the ceiling with a heavy duty plant hanger. Rather than keep the iron on my table, I found a small metal shelf on Amazon (used to house tv speakers) and attached that to the wall. This frees up space on my board, plus makes me feel a little less wigged-out about having an iron on top of cotton + wood. Over the station, I have a hanging light that is plugged directly into the same power strip that powers the iron. This way, I always know if the iron is on or off – and I never leave it on by accident!

The ironing station my cat’s favorite place to perch (second favorite is behind the sewing machines), so she can look out the window! I have a really great back yard, but unfortunately my crappy back neighbors tore down the entire tree line that separates us so I now have to stare at their house instead of beautiful green trees (and now no privacy! Boo!). Also, unfortunately for them, this has not deterred me from changing directly in front of that window haha

2018 Studio - desk

Next to the ironing station is my desk! This is where I get all my work done, unless I’m sitting on my porch (which is equally pretty great). On the wall beside my printer is where I hang my rulers, as well as an inspiration bulletin board and my fabric swatch board (where I keep track of the fabrics I want to sew next).

2018 Studio - closet

Next to the desk is the tiny closet. Sorry about this picture – this was the only way to not make it loo horrifying haha. I keep the rest of my patterns in here, organized in boxes. PDF patterns that I am working on are hung with clips on a small tension rod, and rolled PDF patterns are stored in a small trash can on the floor. I also keep supplies for my other job in here, on the top shelf. Rather than stack things, I built shelves with plywood so this closet is basically a giant shelf behind a door.

For more info about how I organize my patterns, please check out this blog post!

2018 Studio - cutting table

One side of my cutting table has drawers (holding pincushions, muslins, extra interfacing scraps, and lesser-used sewing tools) and bins (holding swimsuit fabric and… well I just realized that other bin is empty lol it was holding a WIP that I finished).

2018 Studio - scissors

The other side of my cutting table holds all my scissors, and more bins (boxes have leather scraps and silk scraps, bins have classroom supplies and supplies for when I need to take my machine on the road for my job).

2018 Studio - supplies cart

Finally, under the table is space for a big trash can and a rolling kitchen cart, which I use to hold sewing supplies and general art supplies.

Some detail shots:

2018 Studio - shelves

This wall makes me so happy! That jar is holding all my broken/used needles and pins.

2018 Studio - windows

These lights make me happy, too! I could only find them in black, so I spray painted them gold.

2018 Studio - Embroidery

Embroidery designed and stitched by me 😛 😛 😛

Ok, so almost done! Finally, here are the links to sources for furniture & other stuff. Most of the things in this room are either from IKEA, or secondhand. Spoiler alert! Also please be aware that a lot of these links are affiliate links, meaning I will get a small commission if you click them and end up purchasing something. Just a head’s up!

Wall paint color: Seriously, I have no idea. White?

FURNITURE:
Sewing machine table: ALEX drawer unit + LINNMON table top
Vintage desk chair: Thrifted
Cutting table: 2 KALLAX shelves + LINNMON tabletop + 2 KALLAX drawers + 4 KALLAX casters. Scissor rail is BYGEL RAIL + s-hooks
Fabric Shelves: HEJNE shelving unit
Bookshelves: thrifted
Ironing Station: FORHOJA kitchen cart + metal dvd wall shelf
Printer table: KLIMPEN drawer unit
Writing desk: Nashville flea market
Desk chair: Nashville flea market, spray painted gold and white
Wall shelves: EKBY JÄRPEN / EKBY BJÄRNUM
Turquoise utility cart: RÅSKOG
Dressform: Professional female dressform with collapsible shoulders (also: full review here!)

ACCESSORIES & DECORATIONS:
Yellow & white storage boxes: DRÖNA
Large white storage boxes: IKEA, discontinued (these are similar)
Small white storage boxes: IKEA, discontinued (these are similar)
Fake plants: FEJKA
Industrial paper roll: Given to me when my old job (advertising) was downsizing and clearing out the art room!
Ceiling light (over ironing board): KNAPPA
Ceiling lights (over machines): Geometric Light bulb cage pendant (spray painted gold) + Edison light bulbs + HEMMA cord set
DMC thread organizer: thrifted
Thread racks: given to me by Elizabeth Suzann, but here are some similars on Amazon- thread rack + serger thread rack
Sewing room art: Joanna Baker, via Madalynne giveaway
“I’ve Made A Huge Mistake” chalkboard sign: Custom made by Kaelah
Sewing machine print: Madalynne
Polka dot stickers: Gold polka dot wall decals
Baskets: thrifted & spray painted gold
White floor lamp: NOT floor lamp
White desk lamp: Another score from the art supply room cleanout at my old job
Small turquoise/white stool: Nashville Flea Market
White cutting mats: The Shop Company
White deer head: Gift from Elizabeth Suzann
Snap setters (only people people always ask!): Purchased secondhand from Elizabeth Suzann

2018 Studio - Amelia

Ok, I think that’s all! Hope you enjoyed the tour 🙂

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 RĂ©glisse 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 RĂ©glisse 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 RĂ©glisse 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 RĂ©glisse dress

Anyway, it ended up working out in the best way possible because I am super happy with the end result! The RĂ©glisse 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 RĂ©glisse dress

Deer & Doe RĂ©glisse 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 RĂ©glisse dress

Deer & Doe RĂ©glisse dress

Deer & Doe RĂ©glisse 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 RĂ©glisse 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.