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!

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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!

Completed: The Mélilot shirt

5 Dec

Hey guys, New Favorite Outfit alert!

Mélilot shirt - front

This is the Mélilot shirt from Deer & Doe Patterns. I vaguely remember when this pattern came out – although I didn’t give it more than a second glance (the main version you see on their website is long sleeved, with dropped shoulders and a peter pant collar. It’s very nice, but it’s not really my style). Once I started googling around for the short sleeved version, though – I decided it was super cute and that I wanted to make it in a lovely drapey silk.

(It feels so redundant to talk about silk… I should just dub my 30s “The Silk Decade” because I feel like it’s ALL I sew now haha)

Mélilot shirt - front

Mélilot shirt - side

Mélilot shirt- back

Mélilot shirt- back

I sewed Version B, with the short sleeves, and used the hidden placket from Version A. My shirt is a size 34 (which is what I usually sew from this company) with no alterations to size or length. The instructions were reasonably easy to follow, although the hidden placket info was a bit sparse and took some head scratching before I really figured it out (and don’t ask me for a tutorial, bc I don’t remember exactly what I did haha)

My fabric is an olive green / brown (depending on the light you are in, ha) silk charmeuse with the slightest amount of stretch, from Mood Fabrics. I bought this at the store while I was in NYC in November, with the intention on making this pattern with it. I used the matte side for the body, and the shiny side for the collar stand, pockets, and sleeve bands. It’s a very subtle contrast, but I love the way it looks. I use a Spray Stabilizer on my fabric, which made it easier to cut and eventually sew. One thing I have learned with fabrics like this is to leave the pockets off until the garment is completed. I don’t know what it is – but every time I put the pockets on, the end up super crooked and I have to unpick them and re-sew. Maybe it’s how the garment hangs off my body, maybe I’m just an idiot WHO KNOWS. But I had the same crooked pocket problem with this top (I took a photo, but you couldn’t really tell… but trust me, it was bad in person. Even my mother, who thinks I’m the great sewer ever, laughed when she saw it), so next time I’m just going to wait till the end. No sense in doing things twice!

I will admit that the color of this shirt is kind of ugly… but it definitely works really well with my coloring. How awesome that the doo-doo colors suit me best. Ha.

Mélilot shirt - front

Mélilot shirt- back

Mélilot shirt - front

I just love the fluid drape of this fabric, and the way the little sleeve bands stick up. I am not normally a fan of these deep curved hems, but I think it works well with the style of the shirt. Same with the pockets – this shirt definitely needs the pockets, or else it looks really unbalanced in a bad way. I am thinking this will be a good shirt to take with me to Egypt – it covers my shoulders and butt, and I can button it up pretty high for modesty.

Mélilot shirt - on dressform

Mélilot shirt - on dressform

Mélilot shirt - sleeve detail

Mélilot shirt - hidden placket detail

Mélilot shirt- hidden placket detail

The pattern calls for lined pockets, which makes it easier to get identical, crisp curves on both pockets. For buttons, I actually used the wrong side of a bunch of those shell/mother of pearl buttons that I found in my stash. The back side is a little matted and kind of a taupe color, which went really well with the fabric. Due to the covered placket, you only see a couple of buttons anyway. Oh, and as always – the inside seams (you know, all 2 of them haha) are French seams. FYI, watch those seam allowances if you make this pattern and omit the French seams – because I’m pretty sure the side seams are only 1/2″. The pattern instructs you to sew French seams for these seams, with two passes at 1/4″, which doesn’t add up the standard 5/8″ seam allowance on the rest of the pieces. Just a thought! Also, I always trim down my first pass to like 1/8″ before sewing the second pass, as it ensures that the seam allowance it caught in that stitching. Ain’t nobody got time for hairy seams amirite.

Mélilot shirt - front

That’s all! A pretty simple shirt, but the silk makes it feel super fancy. I am wearing it with my Cecila Pants from Elizabeth Suzann. Y’all, these are magic pants. The denim is suuuuuper stretchy and comfy, and has a fantastic recovery – I can wear these several times before they need a wash to shrink back up. And while I didn’t personally make these pants – I can tell you exactly who did. Her name is Colette 😉

Completed: Plaid Rosarí Skirt

29 Nov

Y’all. I love this skirt pattern.

Plaid Rosari Skirt - front

I’ve made it in corduroy, stretch twill, and Cone Mills denim, and I’ve had my sights on making a plaid version as well. Nothing like channeling your inner Cher Horwitz with a plaid mini amirite? This pattern is especially great for plaids as it doesn’t involve a lot of matching – just center front, center back, and the side seams – and you can add some ~visual interest~ by cutting the pockets and waistband on the bias.

If you didn’t already figure it out, this is the Rosarí Skirt from Pauline Alice Patterns. I made the mini version in a size 34, and added curved front pockets and a lining (this is not covered in the pattern, but it was pretty easy to figure out).

The plaid fabric is from Mood Fabrics. It is listed as a cotton flannel, but I think “flannel” is a bit of a stretch. It is VERY slightly flanneled if you look at it really really closely, I guess. Honestly, it just looks like a plaid shirting to me. It’s definitely cotton, just the flannel part isn’t exactly accurate. While I had visions of a cozy flannel skirt when I ordered the fabric, I think the smooth cotton works just fine. Probably makes it look a bit less like pajamas, ha. With that being said – if you are wanting to order any of this fabric, definitely get a swatch first!

The lining is Bemberg Rayon that I had in my stash (I’d say it was a miracle that I had a perfect color match, but ha ha have y’all seen my stash?), and the buttons are also old stash (I think they are originally from the flea market, though, probably).

Plaid Rosari Skirt - front

Plaid Rosari Skirt - side

Plaid Rosari Skirt - side

Plaid Rosari Skirt - back

Sewing this up was really easy and mostly uneventful, considering I’ve already made this pattern so many times. Like I said, I added a lining so that I could wear this with tights – the one thing that bums me out about my other Rosarí skirts is that they stick to tights and ride up (generally right in between my legs, which is sooo attractive I know) (I ended up making a teeny half-slip out of stretch silk charmeuse to wear with those – so problem solved! This is the tutorial I followed, FYI!). To add a lining, I cut the lining from the front and back pattern pieces, and sewed them together like a lining skirt. Then I attached them to inside along the top edge of the plaid pieces (also assembled together), and then treated everything as one piece. The lining is basically flat-lined to the outer fabric, except the side and back seams are enclosed. The front button band and hem are turned to the inside as per the pattern and topstitched down.

The only part that was eventful about this sewing – the fit! I was nearly finished – like, button holes sewn in and marking button placement nearly finished – and I tried the skirt on to mark those damn buttons. That’s when I realized that it was too tight – way too tight. I could get it to close, but it was less “cute plaid skirt” and more “sausage stuffed in a casing,” if you know what I mean. I couldn’t figure out why it was too small – did I gain weight? did I fuck up the seam allowances somewhere? – because, again, I’d made this skirt several times, all in the same size, and THOSE still fit just fine (I went in my closet and tried them all on to be sure haha). Then I threw it on the cutting table and plotted how I was going to fix this mess.

Well, first of all – I figured out why it was too small. See, all 3 previous versions were made using stretch fabric. Due to the addition of the lining, this skirt didn’t have any give to allow for a little more room (actually, the fabric itself wasn’t very stretchy either, so – that factors in as well). I probably also fucked up a seam allowance somewhere, idk.

To fix the skirt and actually make it wearable, I removed the waistband entirely. I let out the side seams until the skirt fit comfortably (I think I ended up with 3/8″ seam allowances – I don’t remember), in both the outer and the lining. Then I cut a new waistband and reattached everything. As you can see, it now fits. Success!

Here are a lot more photos. Sorry about that giant-ass wrinkle on the right, by the way.

Plaid Rosari Skirt - on dressform

Plaid Rosari Skirt - on dressform

Plaid Rosari Skirt - on dressform

Plaid Rosari Skirt - flat

Plaid Rosari Skirt - flat

Plaid Rosari Skirt - flat

Plaid Rosari Skirt - flat

I guess that’s it for this post! Moral of the story – even if you’ve made a pattern numerous times, always ALWAYS check that fit as you go! Your fabric can really change the fit of the garment. I generally do this when I sew, but the ONE time I did not, I ended up regretting it!

Plaid Rosari Skirt - front

Completed: Denim Rosa Dress

16 Nov

Good morning, everyone! As I write this, I am preparing to experience what will probably be the shittiest day of my life (literally – I have a colonoscopy tomorrow and today is prep day) (lol) (bet you never expected to read THAT on a sewing blog). I haven’t had solid food since last night and I’m stuck in this house for the rest of the day. Lucky for you, I am writing this blog post to pass the time!

I’ve had quite a few people ask me when this project was going to be posted (Rosa made her debut on my Instagram nearly 2 months ago, and I’ve worn her several times since – including to all the workshops I’ve been traveling to in between!), and honestly, the only reason it’s taken so long is because I really hate taking photos! So, with that being said, sorry in advance for the quality of these – namely, how freakin’ wrinkled the dress is! It looks much worse in photos than it did in real life – otherwise I would have at least steamed it a little – however, I have been wearing it pretty rumply in real life so I guess this is as close to authentic as one can get.

Also, I’m sorry if I don’t make any sense in this post. I’m blaming it on the lack of food.

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Rosa is one of Tilly & the Buttons‘ newer patterns, and it includes options for both a shirt and shirtdress. The pattern features front and back princess seams, a pointed back yoke (which I LOVE!), plus all the features that make for a proper button-up shirt – collar, collar stand, button placket. There’s also an online video workshop if you need help with the steps, although I didn’t use this (I’ve made plenty of these sorts of garments before, and plus, the instructions are pretty great as they are).

I made a size 1, as I wanted a very fitted dress. I made a muslin before cutting into my real fabric, which I’m glad I did because the arm holes ended up needing a little adjusting for me. Apparently I have very small armscyes – arm holes almost always tend to be too low and/or too large for my body, which restricts movement when you add sleeves to the equation. The sleeves in this dress weren’t necessarily bad as-drafted, but I knew they could be better. I ended up raising the armscye 3/4″ higher at the bottom, and also adding 3/8″ to the back arm curve, which made the entire arm hole that much smaller. I reduced the sleeve cap ease, so that the sleeve would properly fit without a bunch of gathers. This worked perfectly and I have a full range of movement with my dress, woohoo!

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Style-wise, I shortened the hem 1″ for a real mini length, and also added a curved cuff so that sleeves would be full-length (the bracelet-length sleeves are sweet, but as I mentioned before – it’s either full sleeves for me, or none at all!), as well as a tower placket so I can roll the sleeves up if I need to. I left off the sleeve tab, because it just ended up feeling too bulky with all the denim. To make the curved cuff, I used the straight cuff from my B5526 pattern and just curved the edges using curved ruler. The tower placket pattern piece is from my Negroni pattern.

The denim that I used to make this dress – honestly, I have no idea where it originally came from, ha! It was in my stash and it’s a much lighter weight than what I would use to make jeans. I imagine I probably bought it intending on a skirt, but I don’t think it would really even be suitable for that (considering how easily it wrinkles). It’s a woven cotton denim with no stretch, and clearly I should have pre-washed it at least one more time because it has shrank a little since I finish this dress. On the flip side, I intentionally made the sleeves a little long in anticipation of that – and now they are the correct length. On the downside, the dress is even shorter than I was planning and it pulls a bit across the bust now. Oh well! Lesson learned haha.

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

My inspiration for this dress came from the Rosa inspiration post, in fact. The top left denim dress immediately caught my attention and I knew that was exactly what I wanted mine to look like. A few clicks later brought me to the Net-A-Porter page, which at the time showed close-ups of the dress from several angles (unfortunately not the case now, I guess, since it’s sold out – sorry!). This was extremely helpful in assisting me with my blatant rip-off.

I used a brown/taupe thread for all my topstitching – it’s just some weird cotton crap I had in my thread rack, and I used the triple stitch on my machine so that the stitches were nice and thick like topstitching. Most of the topstitching is two rows – the first row 1/8″ from the edge, and the second row is 1/4″ from that first line. Instead of doing a true flat-fell seam, I just mock flat-felled them as per the instructions (stitch as normal, serge, and then topstitch from the right side). The tops of the pockets are secured with bar tacks. The snaps are gunmetal snaps done up with an industrial snap setter (I use the one at Elizabeth Suzann’s production facility bc they haven’t shooed me away yet haha). I LOVE hulking out of this thing at the end of the day, y’all!

What else? I think that’s about it. Have a picture dump (pun intended looool):

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

As I said, I am pretty happy with this finished dress and I have worn it tons! It’s a nice autumnal version of my beloved chambray Hawthorn (which, 2 years later, is still one of my most worn me-mades to date) – a good neutral base that can be worn as-is with flats when it’s warm, or layered with tights and a slip when it gets cold. I’d love to make another version in corduroy – currently on the lookout for a good one if you have any suggestions! 🙂