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Completed: The Quart Coat, in Alexander McQueen Fabric

14 Dec

Well y’all. This post has been a LONG time coming – hopefully it was worth the wait!

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

I made a coat! Big whoop, amirite? It’s been a minute since I sewed a real coat – I just don’t live in a climate that warrants a serious need for multiple coats. Which is a bummer because I really LOVE sewing me some coats! And I actually sewed two this year – but I just want to talk about this one first. Like I said, it has been a long time in the making!

I received this fabric way back in May of 2016, actually! It took me a solid year to decide what I wanted to make with it, then nearly another year to actually start the project. And while I finished this earlier in 2018 (in February, it appears) – it has taken me this long to get some photographs of it! So yeah, this might be my longest project to date!

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

So – a little bit about the fabric! This fabric is actually Alexander McQueen coating from a prior collection. It is 100% wool, solid black, and has laser printed skulls all over that you really only see in certain lighting. I wasn’t able to find what this fabric was used for in AM’s collections, but it’s essentially a medium weight (on the lighter side of medium weight, to be specific) coating. It’s super, super amazing.

The coating was actually given to me – you know, back in 2016 – courtesy of my friend Anokhee. She originally bought it from Darrell Thomas Textiles in Ottawa, Canada (where she also teaches!). If you are thinking “wow Lauren that’s a really fucking generous gift” YOU WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. I was floored when I received the fabric, and am honestly still a bit dazzled every time I wear my coat. I didn’t really know Anokhee that well when she sent me the fabric – we were email/internet buddies, seeing as she lives in Canada and I’m in Nashville – but this year, I actually got to hang out with her several times when I was in Canada to teach my Jeans Workshops at Darrell Thomas Textiles! I’ve even sat in her hot tub, so, basically, yes she’s an amazing friend.

And speaking of Darrell Thomas Textiles – if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen this name pop up a few times. Darrell’s shop gets some of the BEST high-end designer fabric I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been really lucky to be the recipient of a few special pieces, as well as be able to shop there in person! In addition to this McQueen fabric, I’ve gotten some amazing Dolce & Gabbana prints (stay tuned for a blog post on one of them!), as well as pieces from Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and other gorgeous pieces that aren’t necessarily attributed to a specific designer but are still stunning as hell. While these pieces definitely, absolutely are not cheap – they are unique, special, and high-quality. I realize this post just sounds like a giant advertisement, so I’m gonna stop now, but – just wow. Check out his Instagram if you want some eye-candy to creep on.

Ok, back to my coat!

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

So, yes, I hemmed and hawed when it came to cutting this fabric! First, I couldn’t decide on a pattern. Then, I went through a lot of second-guessing with the fit, post-muslin. Once I powered through and cut all the (many, many) pieces, the actual construction of this garment went pretty quickly (according to my Instagram – it took about two weeks!). I don’t generally second-guess myself and I rarely treat my fabric like it is some kind of precious gold, but in this case, I am glad I took my time to figure out exactly what I wanted because the finished coat is basically perfect as far as I’m concerned!

The pattern I chose is the Quart Coat from Pauline Alice Patterns. I love the military look of this style, and I felt it would pair well with my McQueen fabric. Especially since my fabric can look either solid black or covered in skulls, depending on the light!

I cut a 36, and my preliminary muslin looked preeetty good except that there were some light pulls near the bust, which is usually indicative of needing a full bust adjustment. For the life of me, I could NOT find a way to add room at the bust with these particular pattern pieces! The princess seams come out of the arm hole, not over the bust, and every tutorial I found (or reference in my dozens of fit books) only covered the latter. And half of them wanted to add a dart – which I didn’t want in my coat. I tried several different things and agonized for months. I knew this fabric was expensive, hard to come by, and I wanted to do it right! But you know what? I ultimately decided, fuck it, and went ahead and cut the coat. Part of this was because the drag lines were indeed really subtle – super minor. The other part was me realizing that muslin doesn’t have the same “give” that regular garment fabrics do, and there was a good chance those minor fitting issues would be resolved by simply using a different fabric. I’m not always right, but I was right in this case. The wrinkles disappeared, the coat looks fabulous, and life goes on.

After getting past that and cutting aaaaalll those pieces, I was ready to sew! I actually started a little log to keep track of how long my progress was taking. JUST THE PREP ALONE (cutting, marking, underlining, etc) took 8.5 hours! I stopped keeping track after that (ha!) but I always tell this to people when they suggest I do some custom sewing for them. Bitch, u can’t afford me.

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Since the coating is on the lighter weight side, I opted to underline all my pieces with a cotton flannel. This adds a layer of support (necessary as this is a quite structured coat) as well as additional warmth. I used a Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel for this purpose; I had purchased it with the intention of another project that I ended up scrapping. If you’re curious, this is the specific flannel I used inside my coat haha. While I find Mammoth Flannel to be really reasonably priced (and it is SO NICE!), it is a bit expensive to use as underlining. That said, I already had the fabric so I didn’t see any point in buying something else, even if it did cost less.

Underlining definitely took the longest. I like to underline by hand, which means a looong time of sitting at my cutting table, with endless hand-basting. I use cotton thread (silk is nice too, but cotton is what I had on hand!) and create long basting stitches, which are then removed as the pieces are sewn together. After the pieces are sewn by machine, I trimmed all the flannel from the seam allowances and then catchstitched the seam allowances down (again, by hand) to keep them nice and flat. It’s a lot of extra effort, but this fabric deserves that effort!

The lining is a solid black silk charmeuse, which I bought at Mood Fabrics on one of my many trips to NYC. I love, love LOVE using silk charmeuse for coat linings – it’s heavy and warm, and it looks expensive as hell. Just the way silk charmeuse catches the light when you wave it around delights me to no end. Why I chose black – well, I had considered using a fun lining color, like red or teal. But while shopping, nothing at the store really appealed to me. I also feel like most RTW (not all, but a lot of them) use coordinating and matching linings, rather than contrast. I wanted my coat to look like it could have come from the shop, and also, black on black just looks good.

Since my coat was all black, that gave me a little freedom to choose something more contrasting for the buttons and sleeve zippers – so I went with BRIGHT SHINY GOLD!!! I just love how this turned out, I think it really adds a luxurious touch that isn’t over-the-top. My buttons are from Mood Fabrics (they are actually Marc Jacobs hahahaah!), and my zippers are from Sil Thread (in the NYC Garment District). I spent a long time trying to find hardware that had the same tone and brightness, so they match well.

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

A few things about the construction – one, I definitely put the pleats in backwards. Whoops! It doesn’t bother me, but, if you noticed that – yes, I am aware. I did not do any traditional/heavy tailoring with this garment. Part of this is because I just wanted to finish the damn thing – and part of it is because I’ve learned I don’t really like wearing heavily tailored coats. I dunno, they just feel a little too precious to me, and I’m scared I’ll mess them up somehow! Also, my padstitching always ends up going wonky if the coat gets stored with the lapels in the wrong place, and I can’t ever seem to steam them back into submission. So while this coat has some basic tailoring – the fronts are interfaced (with a fusible weft, before I added the underlining), there is a back stay, and I added both shoulder pads and sleeve heads – I left off the fancy stuff like horsehair, padstitching, and bound button holes (just machine ones here!). Sacrilegious? Sure. Whatever you say.

I don’t know what else to say about this project, so just have a photo dump:

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

Oh! Here’s another piece from Darrell Thomas Textiles – one of my precious Burberry wools! I actually have two of these (the other one is the classic tan, which I believe they just got a new shipment in at the shop), both of which I made into simple blanket scarves. I started with a yard of fabric, which I cut in half lengthwise and then seamed together (with a flat-felled seam) to create a rectangle that is 28″ wide by 70″ long. I then hemmed the two long sides with a 1/2″ seam folded twice and edgestitched down. On the tan scarf, I also hemmed the short ends – and on this one, I teased out a little fringe! I have always wanted one of these Burberry scarves – and while the fabric was not cheap (I don’t remember the exact amount, I think it’s somewhere in the realm of $150-$170 CAD per yard), it is definitely cheaper than buying from Burberry! And it’s basically a giant blanket, which is the best thing ever 🙂

Quart Coat made with Alexander McQueen fabric

So, there’s the long story saga of my Alexander McQueen coat! Cheers to you if you’re still here reading 🙂 Big thanks to Anokhee for her incredibly generous gifts – both the fabric and for introducing me to the wonder that is Darrell Thomas Textiles! Another giant thanks to my student Elisa, who graciously took these photos for me during my workshop at Stitch Sew Shop earlier this month! In closing, I will leave you with this beautiful cheese plate that we destroyed immediately after:

and a cheese plate <3

Have a great day, everyone!

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Completed: Pinnacle Sweatshirt

11 Dec

Have y’all seen the new Geo Collection from Papercut Patterns? It’s no big secret that I am a DIEHARD Papercut Fangirl, but this recent collection really blew me away more than usual (which is saying a lot!). I love everything that was released and have many plans!

To start, I wanted to try out the Pinnacle Top. I find this pattern really interesting as it can be made with either a woven or a knit, which really changes the finished look! I love the geometric design on the front, and the pattern itself has some crazy looking pieces that come together in a very origami-like fashion. Pretty standard of Papercut Patterns, which is part of what I find so appealing about them!

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

I really want to try the v-neck version of this pattern, in a soft linen or even a drapey silk – but for this time of year, the sweatshirt is king. I love that I can sew my own sweatshirts, which gives me the ability to add cool design features or use fancy fabrics. Nothing like the basic stuff I wore when I was a kid! And this pattern looked like it would be fun to put together, and I assumed correctly.

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

I had this super soft bamboo French Terry in my stash that I purchased from Mood Fabrics earlier this year… it comes in a load of amazing colors, and while I WANTED to stick with my TNT black/grey colorways, I went a little wild and ended up with 2 yards of Moroccan Blue. Almost more like a teal, this is a very deep, rich blue. I love it and I’m happy to report it’s seamlessly worked its way into coordinating with *most* of my wardrobe (unlike some colors that I try out and then realize I have nothing to wear them with!).

The fabric itself is amazing. Like I said, it is super soft on both sides, thanks to the bamboo. The terry loops are very fine and small, which means the fabric isn’t bulky – but it is dense and heavy. It also has a great amount of 4 way stretch, which makes me think this would be an ideal fabric for lounge pants (leggings, joggers, whatever keeps ya warm on the couch). At $20/yard, it certainly is not cheap – but it’s super fucking wide (I still have quite a bit left from my 2 yard cut after making this sweatshirt) and it washes and wears great. The only downside I have noticed is that it does wrinkle when you store it folded in the drawer – which is easily solved by tossing it in the dryer for a few minutes before wearing (and bonus, it’s like PUTTING ON A HUG! omg you guys why I am I so alone). Traveling or don’t have a dryer? Laying it out flat in the bathroom while taking a hot shower also does the trick!

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

I’m sorry, I don’t know how I ended up with so many of what is basically the same picture. It’s either feast or famine when it comes to me and my camera, deal with it.

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

So, the pattern piece for this shirt is really interesting! It’s GIGANTIC (which means you really do need to pay attention to the fabric requirements), and goes together in a way that makes a shirt with no shoulder seams. The pieces are assembled with center front seams (in the form of this cool-ass triangle) and a center back seam, then closed with side seams (which gives you the chance to tweak the fit a little if needed). I made mine with one piece of fabric, although the geometric design on the front would lend itself well to colorblocking. For a little added interest, I used the wrong side out on the top triangle of my shirt, so you can see the texture of the French terry there, but the shirt in general is pretty monochromatic otherwise.

I sewed a size XS based on my measurements, which gives a nice, roomy fit. For future makes, I may side down to the XXS as I feel like I’m swimming a little in this version.

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

Construction-wise, not much to report here. I sewed this almost entirely my serger, which made this a really fast and efficient make. My one tip is to be careful with where the seams intersect at the center front, and baste them in place (either by machine or by hand) before sewing them for real. The seamlines matching are pretty essential to this shirt looking good, and if you baste them first, you can rip them out if they don’t match up!

Pinnacle Sweatshirt made with Mood Fabrics

I’ve been wearing this sweatshirt a lot since I finished it – it’s perfect for staying cozy around the house, but also looks pulled-together if I need to step out or have an unexpected delivery. Secret pajamas are always a go in my world!

*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 are my own!

Completed: Niizo Be Strong Backpack

30 Nov

I made another backpack! While my original Freedom backpack from Niizo has been holding strong (and been schlepped across the US many times over the past 2 years), a couple months ago I was offered the opportunity to try the newly updated Be Strong backpack pattern from Niizo. While I don’t necessarily need a new backpack (what is a “need,” anyway, amirite), I was looking forward to the chance to sew one up! Niizo patterns – as well as the kits – are some of my favorite satisfying projects to work on.

Niizo Be Strong Backpack

I also, in all honesty, have been yearning for this specific pattern since I first discovered Niizo a couple of years ago. The patten was only available as a PDF with no included kit, and I wanted the kit… so I stuck with the Freedom backpack. But now the Be Strong backpack has been updated with some new features, and comes with a kit option. Yeah! And let me tell you – it is as good as I was expecting it to be!

Niizo Be Strong Backpack

Niizo Be Strong Backpack

Niizo Be Strong Backpack

The Be Strong backpack is a bit similar to the popular Herschel backpack – with a large zippered opening (no flap) and a 3-D zippered pocket on the front. The backpack features padding in the back and the straps, adjustable straps, a few interior pockets and exterior pockets, and a leather-wrapped handle. It also has a cool hidden pocket on the side that can be used to hold small items that you need to reach quickly – such as your phone, wallet, passport, etc (I don’t think this pocket is exactly pickpocket-proof, as it’s pretty visible, so obviously use some common sense if you are traveling somewhere that this could be an issue. But for schlepping around the airport and not wanting to dig through a huge bag to find your cash, this thing is AWESOME).

Niizo Be Strong Backpack

Niizo Be Strong Backpack

Of course, you can buy the pattern solo and use your own fabrics, but I wanted one of those sweet kits! I chose the kit with the waxed canvas, in the khaki colorway. The lining is waterproof nylon fabric, and the contrast is a basic cotton. The kit also includes all the zippers (with leather pulls!), leather pieces (with the holes pre-punched, as well as waxed thread for sewing them), nylon strapping and adjustable sliders, and foam. Basically, all you need to supply is the thread and sewing machine.

Niizo Be Strong Backpack

Niizo Be Strong Backpack

I wasn’t sure what waxed canvas would be like to work with, but this stuff was really nice! The biggest thing I noticed was that it finger-pressed with absolutely NO effort – I didn’t need to use my iron at all! And while it does have a good amount of body (the backpack is completely empty in these photos, fyi), it isn’t hard to wrangle around and manipulate under the sewing machine. Although, there were a couple of points when I was literally sweating while I was sewing it haha. For the most part, it was fairly straightforward and super relaxing to make up. I found it easier to sew than the Freedom backpack – primarily because you don’t have to pull the entire backpack through a small hole in the lining (which can get difficult with all those layers + foam). Instead, you assemble + line the front and back, and then connect them. That connecting seam is then covered with a cotton binding. It looks REALLY nice and makes sewing the backpack soooo much easier!

Niizo Be Strong Backpack

I did encounter one big problem when I sewed this – I actually finished the entire thing (including hand-stitching the binding for a really clean and flawless finish), went to put it on… and realized I’d attached the zippered panel in backwards. Which meant the bulk of the backpack went toward the back of the pack, not the front. I don’t know how i managed to mess that up, but after a few minutes of thinking about what I was going to do, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to be happy with a half-assed backpack. I knew I’d never use it. So… I ripped the pieces apart and re-did the backpack. It added an extra day to this project, but I’m so glad I fixed it!

Niizo Be Strong Backpack

Niizo Be Strong Backpack

The backpack is slightly smaller than the Freedom backpack, but still big enough to carry my laptop (a 13″ MacBook Pro), along with my ipad, Kindle and Field Bag full of whatever I’m knitting. I prefer a smaller backpack as it means I’m not tempted to overpack, which can get quite heavy! This one has been the perfect size for the last 2 trips I’ve brought it on. I especially like that it holds its shape when it’s less full, which makes it good for a daypack to carry while exploring around a city.

Oh, and in case you were wondering – the “Nope” patch is from Mood Fabrics!

And, because I’m a spoiled brat… I also got a kit to make the Fortune Wallet:

Niizo Fortune Wallet

I’ll spare you another 20 photos and direct you to this Instagram post, where you can see lots of sexy close-ups (or just stay here and admire how beautiful this wallet looks when taken in Portrait Mode haha).

The kit I chose was the royal blue colorway, and again, it included everything I needed to sew the wallet. This was a SUPER easy project that I finished in the course of a couple of days, to warm myself up for the backpack. Not really much to report here – everything came together perfectly and now I have an adorable wristlet that I can carry when I just need my wallet/phone and am lacking pockets.

My biggest advice for making one of these patterns (whether you buy just the PDF or order the kit – but – you should order the kit! They are really nice!!) is to TAKE YOUR TIME. Don’t try to rush the project – go slow, take accurate measurements and rip out stitching when you fuck something up. The #1 reason why these look so good is because I didn’t cut corners at any point in the construction. My other smaller tip is to try using a e-reader or your computer for the instructions, rather than print them out. I use my iPad – this was originally to save on paper, but I found that I can zoom in on the photos if a particular step is confusing. Can’t do that on a printed sheet of paper! (or can you? Are we in the Matrix yet?)

Niizo Be Strong BackpackLast thing! Niizo is currently offering a discount on all items in their Etsy shop! Yay!

🍎Dec 1st −13th 10% off on all items in the niizo Etsy shop

🍎Find out the coupon code in the maze. It is valid from Dec 1st − 7th, 15% off (when you spend over US$15)

To get the secret coupon code, you must solve this maze. Need more clues? Visit these websites for the other pieces of the map:

https://lladybird.com/

https://www.instagram.com/trine.schroeder

http://bymyhand.net/

Completed: Professor Meow Sweater

31 Oct

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to knit an official cat lady sweater, but, here we are.

Professor Meow sweater

The sweater in question was actually knit much earlier this year – I finished it way back in April – but barely had time to wear it, let alone photograph it, before the weather warmed up too much. I’ve really enjoyed rotating it back into my regular wardrobe now that the temperatures have cooled down a bit, so here it is! Never too late for a blog post!

Professor Meow sweater

Also, if my surroundings look different – well, they are! I’m currently on the other side of the US, a little more than halfway through my 10 day stint in Berkeley, CA while I teach some workshops at Hello Stitch! This adorable AirBNB is probably the cutest place I’ve ever “lived” (other than my own house, OBVIOUSLY) and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take some photos while I’m here!

Professor Meow sweater

Professor Meow sweater

Professor Meow sweater

Professor Meow sweater

So what is this magical garment of Peak Cat Lady, you ask? The pattern is Professor Meow from KnitPicks. I found this pattern entirely by chance – I wasn’t necessarily looking to make a cat sweater (although, clearly, I think I should have been), but once I saw it I knew that was going to be my next project. I stuck with the suggested yarn, Knit Picks Wonderfluff, which really is pretty wonderful and fluffy. I don’t typically knit with acrylic blends, but this one has some additional alpaca and merino which makes it super soft with a nice fuzzy halo. Since it’s a bulky yarn, it knits up really quickly. A quick swatch had me go down a needle size to a #10 , which is typical for me.

The sweater is knit flat in 2 pieces, with the cat design achieved by some basic intarsia. This actually isn’t my first intarsia project – I have another sweater that I finished right before this one that that I’ve yet to actually photograph/share (in my defense… it’s even warmer than this one, so the weather hasn’t really cooperated YET haha) – but it was good for practice! After the front and back are knit, the pieces are seamed, then the little sleeve ribbing is knit in the round, as well as the neckline. I did change how the neckline was knit, as I didn’t like the way it was written in the pattern (a basic ribbing with a bind off at the end). Since knitting my last couple of sweaters, I’ve really come to love and appreciate a nice knit neckband that is folded over with the live stitches secured down, like with my Martine Sweater. So that’s what I did with this one, and I think it looks much nicer. I *generally* try to follow knitting instructions as they are written, but sometimes a girl’s gotta go her own way!

Professor Meow sweater<

Professor Meow sweater

After blocking the sweater (which, even if you normally skip blocking I do HIGHLY recommend blocking this yarn, as it really softens and relaxes with a good block!), I used yarn to stitch the whiskers on as directed by the pattern. I left off the kitty pupils because I like the way the cat looks without them.

Hmmm what else? I knit a size 37, so that the sweater would have a little bit of relaxed ease but not be quite as loose as it is on the pattern images. I went boring with the yarn colorway and just got grey on grey, which OF COURSE goes with everything in my closet so I’m pretty pleased with that. Full Ravelry notes are here!Professor Meow sweater

I always love the sweaters that I knit, but this one may be my favorite! It’s pretty silly and quirky, but not so much that I feel ridiculous wearing it in public. Despite being short sleeved, it is quite warm, and the yarn is super soft and fuzzy. It’s definitely pretty attention-getting, and in all honesty I typically prefer to wear this bad boy on first dates. What is it they say – if you can’t handle me in my cat sweater… ? I don’t know.

As a side note – my jeans in this photo deserve a shout out! These are, of course, jeans made by me. But wait, there’s more! These are my ORIGINAL Ginger jeans, the first pair I ever made! I can’t believe they still fit (I’ve gained weight since I made them, but I guess the fabric has stretched along with me, ha!); they’ve been going strong since 2014! If you look closely at the butt, you can see where I have patched them a few times – the fabric is getting thin, and there was one unfortunate incident where I actually tore a hole in the butt immediately at the end of a jeans workshop (hm good thing I had access to a sewing machine to patch it, yet?), but amazingly they are still holding up! Yeah for handmade jeans!

Completed: Denim Centaurée 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 Centaurée 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!

Completed: Seren Dress

9 Oct

I am not one to apologize for a lack of posting, but HOLY SHIT Y’ALL has it seriously been a month since my last post!? My poor little neglected blog 😦 I don’t even have a good excuse… I’ve been sitting on these photos since August haha.

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress
Look, a rare photo that does not involve the privacy of my own home / backyard! 🙂

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

This is the Seren Dress from Tilly & the Buttons, released earlier this summer. I loved this pattern the minute I saw it; I love that it’s a simple sundress with some fun details. While I personally don’t care for the ruffle version (again, not really a ruffle girl here), I was ALL ABOUT that little midriff slit! It’s hard to tell in the pattern photos, but this dress is actually one piece – not two. True story, I thought it was a two piece dress right up until I started sewing it haha. I think it would be easy to modify to be two pieces if that’s what you’d rather wear, but I had a lot of people comment that they’d never wear it because they don’t like to expose their midriff. As you can see in these photos, it certainly doesn’t expose very much!

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

Sewing this up, I made a size 2 which is based on my current measurements. I followed the instructions as written and made no adjustments to the sizing. Honestly I don’t remember much about making this dress, seeing as that I finished it back in JULY (sheesh), but I do recall it being really quick and satisfying to sew.

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

The fabric is a custom printed piece from Spoonflower, given to me by my favorite blue haired angel mermaid, Paula. Mine is printed on their fabulous lawn, which is sadly discontinued (sorry!). This might be one of my favorite fabrics I got this year – the colors are so happy, and I just love the print! I don’t typically wear pink, but I actually really like how it looks with the green. Like all lawns, this one was easy to work with and it also super easy to care for (wash & dry as normal with the rest of my clothes – no special treatment required). I do wash this dress pretty frequently and haven’t noticed any color fading.

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

Since finishing this dress, I’ve worn it a surprising amount – considering I don’t typically dress up, and it does feel a little dressy! This dress has taken me to the downtown Art Crawl, various parties and first dates, as well as to Canada and New Hampshire for nice dinners out! It’s easy to wear, but is also quite the statement dress. I’m happy I went a little out of my comfort zone with the fabric, because that’s definitely the best part!

Speaking of New Hampshire, that’s where these photos were taken! When I was up in Exeter back in August for my jeans workshop at Pintuck & Purl, Maggie took me out for a really nice dinner on the beach, and helped me get some photos right as the golden hour happened! It’s definitely a better backdrop than where I usually take my photos, ha! And in case anyone was wondering… I ordered the steak for my meal. I ALWAYS order the steak.

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

Unrelated to my dress, but we also got some photos of the white denim jacket I made (also earlier this year)!

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

This is the Hampton Jean Jacket, which I made after I finished my first jean jacket. It’s pretty similar to the first one, except I cropped about 4″ off the bottom, removed the inseam pockets (bc the jacket is now too short for them haha) and used a stretch denim for a little added comfort. All topstitching is white, so the gold buttons really pop! I have enjoyed wearing this over dresses and with skirts, the cropped length is perfect for anything with a high waistline.

Some photos of the dress:
Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

I guess that’s all for this project! I have enjoyed wearing this dress all summer, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to busting out my beloved jeans and handknit sweaters as the weather cool down! JK we all know it’ll stay hot here through the end of November, ha! 🙂

Tilly & The Buttons Seren Dress

Note: The Seren pattern was given to me by Tilly & the Buttons, with no obligation to post about it! And while my fabric was made by Spoonflower, it was given to me by my friend Paula!

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 🙂