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Completed: Knot-Maste Top + Pneuma Bra

12 Jul

Hello hello! Sorry for essentially dropping off the face of the earth there for a minute – after I got home from Belize, I was immediately sucked into a full week of Maid of Honor duties (yes, my BFF got married!!!), including making a dress to wear in the wedding (more info on that once we get the photos back). The wedding was fantastic and I had loads of fun, but it feels pretty good to not be under anymore deadlines and have a chance to breathe finally!

This project is actually a pretty old one – I finished it ages ago. If these photos are confusing you, just know that I took them back in May when I was still in my old apartment. I was in the middle of packing – I think my sewing room was partially torn down by that point – hence the stack of boxes next to me. But, you know – better late than never!

Anyway, enough with the half-assed apologies – y’all’s is here for the SEWING, anyway!

Knot-Maste Top

This is the Knot-Maste Yoga top from Fehr Trade. When Melissa first introduced this pattern a few months ago, I bought it immediately because, tbh, it’s pretty bomb-ass. I’m definitely not the sort of person who wears workout clothes anywhere except to workout (and I am definitely the sort of person who always wants to ask the Yoga Moms at Whole Foods – you know, the ones in Lululemon with a full face of make-up and perfectly styled hair – how their workout went just because I am also an asshole), and my preferred workout duds can be described as “as little as I can get away with.” That being said, I don’t think this pattern – especially the top – should be restricted to only for exercising. I guess it depends on how much skin you like to bare outside the gym, but I totally saw this top as something I’d wear just as normal everyday clothes. And the bottoms could easily be the comfiest pajamas. Sold and sold!

Knot-Maste Top

Knot-Maste Top

Designed to be sewn in a lightweight, 4 way stretch knit (Melissa recommends using bamboo knit), this pattern features an open back that can be worn 2 ways. You can leave the ends loose for a really nice back breeze, or tie them together to make the shirt look fitted from the front (and also still get a lil’ bit of a back breeze). The idea is to get some airflow while you’re yoga-ing – but still be able to tie that floaty knit out of the way of your face while you’re in downward dog – but, again, it also totally works as something you can wear out and about and yet not look like you’re en route to a gym.

Knot-Maste Top

Either way, it’s a total mullet of a shirt. Business in the front, party in the back – woohoo!

Knot-Maste Top

I also love that it looks like a tshirt dress when it’s untied. Note to self: this is cute, make a tshirt dress.

Knot-Maste Top

Knot-Maste Top

To get the maximum impact of this pattern, lightweight + stretchy knits are key. You don’t want to make this out of anything that is even remotely thick – or even medium weight, to be honest. Think of the slinkiest, most obnoxious-to-sew knit, and that’s probably gonna be your best bet. Lightweight merino, bamboo knit, rayon, and cotton-spandex blends all work great.

For my particular version, I actually used a poly knit that I bought at Walmart, of all places. It cost me about $3 a yard, which I figured was a fair price to pay for what is essentially a wearable muslin. The weight and drape is spot on, but the fact that it’s polyester makes it pretty unbearable in the heat here – even with that back breeze. I know some people can handle poly in the summer, but I cannot! I’ll still wear this one because I’m bound and determined to suffer for fAsHuN, but I would love to make a replacement version in a more suitable fiber.

Knot-Maste Top
Knot-Maste Top

The pattern has some fun details, such as the knotted bands at the sleeves. This results in a completely wack looking pattern piece, but it comes together really satisfactorily. Be warned that there is a ton of hemming with this top – the sleeve bands and all around the bottom hem (if you’re making the longer, non-banded version), as well as the open back. The instructions suggest using a twin needle, but I opted for a zigzag as, again, this is just a wearable muslin. I also topstitched the neckband with a zigzag, so at least things would look cohesive.

As far as assembly, this was really easy to put together and doesn’t take much more time than sewing a plain tshirt. I did mess up the back overlap (one side is not as overlapped as it should be, whoops), but it doesn’t affect the fit at all. I sewed an XXS in the long (non-banded) version, and am very happy with the fit. I think the sleeves could stand to be shorter (I prefer to wear cap sleeves), if not eliminated altogether (sun’s out, gun’s out, y’all). I started to fiddle with the pattern to try to figure out a tank version and just got overwhelmed and gave up.

Knot-Maste Top

Knot-Maste Top

The only downside to this style of top is that your back bra band is visible no matter how you wear it. And while I am an advocate of going bra-less if you feel compelled to do so, this is sooo not the top for that (unless you get your rocks off being a breeze away from being considered a sex offender, I guess you do u). Which is why you get two projects in this post – I had to make a bra to wear under it!

Pneuma Bra

Pneuma Bra

The sports bra is the non-tank version of the Pneuma Tank from Papercut patterns. I’ve had this pattern in my stash since it was first released, but haven’t had the chance to make it up until this project screamed for it. Which is dumb, because it’s actually a pretty badass sports bra – it looks cool as shit, and gives me enough support for a light run (keep in mind that I don’t *need* a lot of support with the size of my rack so YMMV, my DDD+ sisters). I even wore this shit to powerwash my mom’s side deck. I just love clothing that has multiple uses.

Pneuma Bra

As with the Knot Maste top, the back of the Pneuma tank is my favorite part. LOOK AT THAT SUNBURST OF PURE DELIGHT.

Knot-Maste Top

Knot-Maste Top

I sewed this one up in a size XXS, which is my typical size for Papercut Patterns. All the elastics were raided from my stash of bra-making supplies – including the yellow strap elastic, which I weirdly bought a few years ago and have never had a use for until now (it’s narrower than I like to wear my bra straps, and also a strange shade of yellow to try to match to anything!). The outer fabric is a swimsuit spandex from Mood Fabrics – the particular one I used is now sold out, but ummm they have some pretty rad ones up on their site right now! Apparently this one comes with 50+ SPF and ~aloe vera microcapsules~, whatever the fuck that means. I’ll let y’all know if my skin gets more supple in the future.

Knot-Maste Top

And here’s the back view on me! Despite having more straps than needed, this bra is surprisingly easy to put on (I haven’t had a tangled incident yet, knock on wood) and super comfortable to wear. Now that I know I like it as a bra, I’m even more keen to make the tank version. I’ll let y’all know how that goes when I get around to doing it in 5 years.

Pneuma Bra

Pneuma Bra

Pneuma Bra

A few more construction notes – I lined the front and back with lightweight power mesh, for additional support/compression and a little bit more modesty. The seams are sewn with a serger, and the elastic is applied with a regular sewing machine. I did move the straps to a better position in the front after taking these pieces, so there’s not that weird angle between the top of the front piece and where the strap is attached. I didn’t realize how stupid it looked until I was looking at the photos, ha.

Since this top is sewn with a swimsuit fabric, that means I can actually wear it as a swimsuit! I didn’t make matching bottoms, but my black swimsuit bottoms go quite well with the colors in this one.

Knot-Maste Top

Anyway, I think that’s all for this set! Just writing about how awesome that top is makes me want to make another one in a less shitty fabric, ha. As a side note, I did also make the pants that are part of the Knot Maste duo- and they turned out great, but they are black and really underwhelming to photograph. I will not be writing a post on them, but I’m happy to answer any burning questions about them that you may have!

OAL2017: Invisible Zipper + Hemming

30 Jun

Hello, everyone! I’m back from Belize, burned butt and all (this dum-dum didn’t think about how her ass would literally be the ONLY thing sticking out of the water while snorkeling… oh well, worth it! I swam with sharks and stingrays and even waved at a manatee! He responded by showing off with an underwater somersault!). One more final OAL post, to wrap up our dresses and then get back to normal (post-vacation) (post OAL) life!

This post is pretty redundant as I’ve covered invisible zippers in the past, but I’m always keen to take some ~fresh photos~. Plus, this shows you how to insert an invisible zipper with the facing already sewn in, and a French seam at the bottom!

If you are sewing a lapped zipper, here is a tutorial for that! Or you can do an exposed zipper! THIS IS YOUR DRESS, U DO U.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Start by measuring exactly where your zipper stop will hit (or use the pattern marking if that’s your jam) and sew up to the marking, starting from the bottom and backstitching to secure. If you are using French seams, clip into the seam allowance right above the marking so the rest of the opening is free and can lie flat.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Finish the seam allowances where the zipper will go (a really lovely touch would be to bind these with self-fabric post zipper insertion, but since my fabric is sooo light, I am just serging here). I also like to apply a length of fusible stay tape along the seam allowance of opening, to give the fabric from extra stability.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Place your zipper with the right side facing down (so the straight side without teeth is next to the finished seam allowance, and the bulk of the teeth is facing upwards), aligning the zipper stop about 1/8″ away from the seam where the facing meets the bodice (if you want to insert a hook and eye, you can lower the zipper stop as needed).

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Start your sewing at the top stop (leaving the tail above the stop free), working your way down to the bottom of the zipper. You will want to use an invisible zipper foot- yesss, you can use a regular zipper foot if you want but OMGAH this foot will make your life sooo much easier I swear. Regardless, you want to line up your fabric edge with the 5/8″ marking on your throat plate (or whatever your seam allowance is) and determine your zipper placement from there. Sew down as far as you can, and then backstitch.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Before you attach the opposite side, zip the zipper closed and mark any matching points (such as the waist seam) with a pin or marking tool. When you place the zipper tape on the seam allowance to sew the opposite side, it makes it easier to match that point so the lines are uninterrupted.

Sew the opposite zipper side as you did the first one, again, starting from the top and working down to the bottom. If your machine does not that seam allowance markings on the left hand side, measure out the distance with a seam gauge and mark it with a piece of tape or a post-it note.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Here is the zipper after it has been sewn in. You can go ahead and try on your dress to make sure you like the fit (as you can probably see, mine was way too loose in the waist and I had to DETACH THE ENTIRE SKIRT to take in the waist seams, lord, my life).

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
If you measured accurately, your zipper *should* have ended right where you stopped sewing your center back seam. If it’s a little off – that’s ok! You can sew it right up, using a standard zipper foot with the needle moved all the way to one side. If you used a French seam, sew up along the seam line, and then zigzag over the raw edge to keep it finished. The bottom of the zipper will cover this, ain’t no one going to see it!

If you’re curious about the bottom of my zipper, I just bound it with self fabric bias because I thought it looked cute.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Next, you want to tack the zipper tape to the seam allowances at the bottom. This keeps the zipper secure and makes it much easier to zip up. I sew right where those pins are, about 1″ – 2″ along the seam allowance. You don’t want to catch the outside of your garment, just sew the tape to the seam allowances only.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Finally, the facing! First, take your little unsewn zipper tape tail (above the zipper stop – if you accidentally sewed this, no worries, just unpick it) and turn it down and out so it points toward the seam allowance. I have pinned this so you can see what it should look like, but in reality I just hold this with my finger when I’m sewing it. This will keep the tail from poking out of the top of your garment when the facing is secured.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Flip the facing down so it completely covers the zipper, with the finished edges lined up. The seam where the facing meets the bodice should be just barely below the fold. Pin in place, and use a zipper foot to sew along this edge. You’ll want to be about 1/4″ away from the zipper stitching – that’s enough to catch the zipper in the seam allowance, but not so close that it makes the zipper difficult to operate.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
This is what it should look like after it’s been stitched.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Push the center back seam allowance to one side, and turn the entire piece right side out. You can pull the top of the zipper to get a more square corner if you need to.

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Ta da! A finished facing with NO HANDSTITCHING CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
The finished zipper from the outside! The top edges should match right up. Feel free to sew a hook and eye here if you would like. I always skip those if I think I can get away with it haha

OAL2017 - Invisible Zipper
Now you can tack down the facings so they don’t flip out when you are wearing your garment (if you opted to include lining, you obviously can skip this step). I attached mine to the seam allowance of all princess seams, plus the side seams.

OAL2017 - Hem
Last step is hemming! I turned my hem up 1/2″ twice (for a total 1″ hem) and then topstitched by machine.

That’s all for this dress! Hang around a few weeks while I work up the nerve to take photos outside (I have a yard in this new house, but it’s not fenced and on a very busy cross street and therefore I have no privacy D: D: D: help), then it’s Big Reveal time!

How are you coming along with your garments? As always, let me know if you have any questions!

OAL2017: Pintucks & Gathers

16 Jun

What up y’all, welcome back. Let’s get into this!

Short week here – we are basically assembling the skirt and attaching it to the bodice. I don’t think any of this warrants a full-fledged tutorial, but as always – I have some tips!

The first step is sewing the pintucks to the bottom of the skirt. You may have transferred those markings when you cut your fabric and marked your pattern pieces – if you didn’t (guilty!), it’s easy to draw those in now. I just measured the distance from the bottom to the lowest pintuck, and then the distance between pintucks, and used those to draw my lines on with a ruler and a chalk pen.

OAL2017- Marking pintucks

Since I wanted to see my lines from both sides of the fabric – and also because chalk tends to rub off – I thread-traced those same markings with a needle and thread. I just made giant basting stitches and went across the width of each piece. This makes is easier to see the pintucks when you are sewing them.

OAL2017 - Finished pintucks

To sew the pintucks, simply bring the two lines together and sew along the markings. Remove your markings (whether they are basting threads or just drawn on with chalk or a tailor’s pencil) and give the pintucks a good press to encourage a sharp crease.

Now you’ll want to sew your skirt pieces together at the side seams (you can also do this before you sew the pintucks, but I found that the skirt pieces are HUGE before they are gathered and that’s just too much for me haha). Finish your seams however you desire – I used French seams for mine (here is a link to the post last week about sewing French seams). Don’t worry about the center back seam just yet.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

There are several ways to gather the skirt before attaching it to the bodice – you can baste with a hand sewing needle as the instructions suggest, or sew 2 lines of basting stitches on your machine – but this is my preferred method as I think it’s the fastest and you don’t risk snapping your basting threads. Get a long piece of cotton crochet thread or very thick thread (such as buttonhole twist) – or even unflavored dental floss. Whatever it is, it needs to be a bit longer than the entire width of your un-gathered skirt. Take it to the machine and lay it over your seam allowance where you are gathering, then use a zigzag stitch to attach it to the fabric. Your zigzag should just straddle the string – not actually pierce it – so you may need to adjust the width of your zigzag if it’s too tight. Leave long string tails on either end.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

Here is what the string looks like after it’s been zigzagged. You are basically making a zigzag tunnel that the string feeds through.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

Now pull your string tails, which will cause the fabric to gather. Keep gathering until the skirt fits the circumference of the bodice (this is a super gathered skirt, so be patient!), match the side seams and center back/center front, then adjust the gathers so they are even all the way around the skirt. Sew into place with a straight stitch, remove your gathering string, and finish the seam allowance. Real talk: I serged this one. I am not even going to try French seaming that mess lol

OAL2017 - Gathers

My gathers!

OAL2017 - Dress

And now it looks like a dress!

All that’s left now is inserting the zipper and sewing the hem 🙂 FYI – I am going on vacation next week (to BELIZE), so the blog will be quiet! I will not have access to my computer at this time, but will be back in business after I get home on the 27th. If you have burning questions, ask them now – or wait a few days 🙂

Happy Friday, everyone!

OAL2017: Assembling the Bodice

9 Jun

Hey everyone, and welcome back to the second week of the 2017 OAL! This post today is all about assembling the bodice of the dress – stabilizing the neckline, sewing French seams, and attaching the facing.

A few things before we jump in:

  • The pattern I using is the Kim Dress from By Hand London, but these method should apply to most any pattern that you are sewing!
  • If you missed the first post, you can find it here.
  • If you don’t give a shit about sewalongs and hate me right now (it’s cool, I don’t give a shit about anyone else’s sewalongs either haha), I promise it will be over soon! 😉 It is impossible to please everyone, but lord knows I try!

Your fabric should be cut, your markings all clipped and transferred to your pieces, and you should be ready to sew!

OAL2017: Stabilizing Neckline

OAL2017: Stabilizing Neckline

Before you drag your pieces over to the sewing machine, it’s a good idea to stabilize your neckline first. This will prevent it from stretching and distorting over time – which can happen both during the sewing, and over normal wear. They are multiple ways to stabilize a neckline – such a staystitching or using silk organza (here are 3 methods, all with their own tutorial!) – but for the purposes of this particular garment (considering how lightweight the fabric is, and also the overall casual-ness of the dress), I chose to use a lightweight fusible stay tape. This “extremely fine fusible knit stay tape” is the exact one I used – I bought it at my local Bernina dealer years ago, and it is especially helpful to stabilize shoulder seams on knits! Since it’s knit, it curves very easily, which makes it perfect for this pattern.

I fused my stay tape to the curved edges of both the front and back neckline, ending just before the tips of the strap ties. Since the seam allowances are 5/8″ and my stay tape is 1/2″, I made sure it was 1/4″ from the edge so I would be sure to catch it in my stitching. Since I am using stay tape, I did not staystitch these areas.

Now you’ll want to sew your front and back princess seams. Because my rayon is nice and lightweight, I using French seams, which I love because they conceal the raw edges beautifully. Pretty sure I don’t need to throw out another French seam tutorial into the WWW, but I was really having fun with this white piece of posterboard backdrop SO HERE YOU GET IT ANYWAY:

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

I start by placing the pieces WRONG SIDES TOGETHER and sewing with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Lay the piece flat and trim the seam allowances down quite aggressively – to about 1/8″. You want them to be smaller than the second seam you sew, so they don’t peek out.

I should mention – this is assuming you are using a pattern with a 5/8″ seam allowance. If your seam allowance is larger or smaller, you’l want to adjust your math accordingly.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Press the seam allowances open as best you can. They are tiny, so this won’t be the easiest thing – I’ve found I get the best luck if I use my fingernail to pry them open, and then the tip of the iron the whole way down. If you found you have cut them *too* small and simply cannot press them open, it’s acceptable to iron to one side.

At this point, your bodice is going to look at sorts of wrong. Just trust me here.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Now flip your pieces so the right sides are facing, effectively sandwiching the seam you just created. I like to take this to the iron and press right around the seamline I just sewed, so everything lies flat. Then sew along the edge at a 1/4″ seam allowance.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Press your seam allowances to one side, according to your pattern instructions. In the case of this pattern, we are pressing them toward the side seams.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Repeat for the remaining princess seams. Your front and back pieces should look like this.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Finally, sew your front and back pieces together at the side seams. Again, I used French seams for this.

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Now to attach the facing! Start by fusing interfacing to the front and back facing pieces that you created. I used a very lightweight interfacing, and opted to cut it so that the interfacing does not extend all the way into the ties (I want those to stay soft and floppy!). To prevent a hard ridge from showing where the interfacing ends, I cut that with pinking shears.

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Attach the front and back facings at the side seams, and press the seam allowances open (don’t worry about using French seams for this, unless you wanna be super extra or some shit). You will also want to finish the lower edge of your facing – I serged mine, to prevent it from fraying and also from showing bulk from the outside. You can also using pinking shears here, or bind the seam allowance.

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Attach the facing to the bodice, all the way around the neckline and strap edges. Trim the seam allowances down, and then understitch to help turn the facing to the inside. You won’t be able to understitch all the way if you are doing tie straps – just go as far as you can.

Turn the facing to the inside of the bodice, and give it a good press. You’re done!

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Ok, that’s all for this week! As always, let me know if you have any questions! 🙂

Completed: Jedediah Pants

7 Jun

Hi everyone! It’s been a wild two weeks over here… I turned 32, my mom got a hip replacement (she’s doing great!), and then I moved to a new house (which means NEW CRAFT ROOM coming soon!)! Lots of stuff going on, which meant less time for pretty much anything except packing and then unpacking. But I’m finally set up and settled in, and ready to get back to a more normal routine. This project is from last month’s Mood Sewing Network post, and I’m only just now getting around to having time to properly write about it – finally!

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

The most mind-boggling part about this post, I reckon, is that I MADE SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Clearly, that’s not me in these pictures! Although it’s my baby brother, so it’s bascially me with a beard haha. That being said, I rarely make anything for ANYONEEEE else, so this is a bit of a departure from my usual sewing. It’s been a long time since I’ve made something for a dude! Or anyone else for that matter haha.

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

My reasoning behind this project is pretty solid. Back around the holidays, I was wearing a reasonably new pair of Ginger jeans that I’d made for myself out of some really fabulous, really really really stretchy olive green twill. I love those pants and I’d still be wearing them right now if it wasn’t so damn hot outside! But I digress. Matt (little brother) noticed them and mentioned that he’s been looking for pants exactly like that for ages and he wished he had a pair, too. Now, Matt actually knows better than to ask me to make anything for him – he’s asked me millions of times and pretty much always gotten shot down – but I know he’s always wanted something handmade by me, his sister. His timing was good this time, though, as I’d just recently had the realization that while I loveeeeee sewing pants, I was kind of reaching a limit with what one person could reasonably wear during a season (I know I counted them, but I’m too scared to remember the exact number in my drawer. I think it was 19 D:). It was a good compromise, and I was in a good mood – so I agreed to make him his own pair.Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

Based on the style of pants he wanted, we decided on the Jedediah Pants from Thread Theory. I’ve never sewn with a pattern from this company – it’s primarily menswear, and remember, I don’t sew shit for no one else lolz – but I’ve followed them for ages and was excited to give them a spin! Rather than go by the sizing on the envelope, Matt supplied me with a pair of well-loved pants that had his perfect fit, and I used those measurements to choose his size. This ended up being a 32, although I think a 30 would have been better (but he is pleased with the fit, so whatevs! And don’t even get me started on the brain-bending behind making loose-fitting pants out of stretchy fabric. I don’t understand it, either!). I did not make any adjustments to the size or length – this is straight out of the envelope. I know they look short, but they are actually too long – Matt likes to wear weird socks and roll his pants to show them off, and we purposefully kept them long in case he ever wants to wear them to a more normal length. They can easily be re-hemmed!

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

The fabric is from Mood Fabrics, which I picked up when I was in NYC in March. I found the original olive fabric that I used for my pants there, and I was hoping there would still be some left when I came back. Unfortunately, that was not the case – but this one is fairly similar. It’s the exact same color (I actually wore my pants to the store to try to fabric-match, ha!) with about the same amount of stretch, but the fabric is quite a bit thicker. It’s almost spongey and there’s definitely a good amount of poly in it, as it doesn’t really press too well. Not my favorite fabric to work with, but doable!

As far as sewing the pattern, I only about half followed the instructions. I’ve made so many pairs of pants, I have a preferred order of steps and way of doing things. For example, I sewed the inseam before the side seams – this was for two reasons. One, it allowed me to flat-fell the inseam (Matt skateboards and he wears his clothes HARD, so they need to be as durable as possible), and two, I was able to baste the side seams and have him over for a quick fit before I finished everything and added the waistband. I also went my own way with the waistband insertion; I didn’t do that weird rolled thing that the instructions tell you to do (that shit makes absolutely no sense to me and if you’re confused, I can’t explain it. It’s witchcraft and I hate it haha), but instead just applied the waistband the same way you do for the Ginger jeans. I did opt to finish the facing edge with a length of bias, instead of turning it under, because it looks super cool on the inside now and that makes me happy.

Working with the fabric wasn’t terribly difficult, but like I mentioned, it didn’t really want to respond to pressing. I have found that with poly-rich fabrics – such as this one – it helps to use high heat and lots of steam (I have a shoe on my iron that protects my fabric – but if you don’t have a shoe, you’ll want to use a presscloth, else you gonna melt and/or scorch that shit), and then hold the pressed seam (or seam allowances) in place until they cool completely. One way to do this is with a clapper – or, if you hate waiting, you can do what I do and just pin them down. Easy and fast!

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

My favorite thing about making pants is all the fun ways you can customize them with topstitching – thread colors, designs, all that! Of course, Matt is a boring piece of shit and wanted NONE of that on his pants (jk ilu Matt)(but still, boring), boo! So we stuck with dark olive green thread – I used a single spool of all-purpose poly, and a triple stitch to get a nice thick topstitching line – and brown thread for the bartacks. The metal zipper and button are from the Garment District, from Sil Thread and Pacific Trimming, respectively.

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

I *was* able to have some fun with the inside! I used a plaid cotton that was in my stash (I think I got it from my Mamaw’s stash, actually haha) to line the pockets and add that bias trim around the edge of the waistband facing. It’s the same cotton that I used for the pocket bags of my olive pants, actually. Matt was actually pretty excited about how cool the insides look, which pleases me!

Because this is my little brother we are talking about, it was nearly impossible to have a normal photoshoot for these poor pants…

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

“Matt, smile or something.”

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

“Matt, turn around so I can get a photo of your butt.”

Thread Theory Jedidiah Pants for Matt

Anyway, Matt is thrilled with his new pants (in fact, the actual word he used was “stoked) and I’m happy that he’s happy! I hope he wears them until they fall apart – whether or not I make him a replacement pair, that is TBD. I think I’m all selfless-sewing’d out for the time being, ha!

Oh, and ladies, in case you were wondering… Matt is single 😛

**Note: The main fabric used in this project was supplied to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my monthly contribution to the Mood Sewing Network!

OAL 2017: Getting Started!

1 Jun

Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2017 Outfit Along! My apologies that this post is a bit late – I moved house yesterday, and only just got my internet turned on in the new place. Taking a short break from unpacking to get this OAL rolling! Let’s do this!

The official pattern for this year is the Kim Dress from By Hand London. There are a few options for this pattern – choose between a straight or sweetheart neckline, and a gathered skirt with pintucks at the hem or a sleek tulip skirt. I will be making the sweetheart neckline with the gathered skirt, but obviously feel free to make whatever your heart is calling for – whether it’s another variation of this pattern, or a different pattern completely! We want you to love and wear what you make, so don’t waste your time on something that doesn’t check those boxes for ya 😉

As I mentioned in my announcement post, I will not be running a full, in-depth sewalong for this pattern. I will be popping in every week with updates on my progress, as well as tips and tricks (with tutorials!) that you can apply to any pattern you are sewing – not necessarily specifically this one. However, if you are feeling that you need that extra help – there is a great sewalong on the By Hand London blog for this pattern, so please feel free to utilize that! You got this!!

For the first post, I’m gonna keep this one reasonably short and sweet!! This week is all about preparation!

If you still haven’t chosen your fabric, you will probably want to do that first 😉 This particular pattern works well with a smorgasbord of fabrics – from crisp cotton lawn to slinky silk, the sky is really the limit here! The main thing you want to keep in mind when deciding on fabric is how you want the finished garment to hang when you are wearing it. Do you want a more structured garment or one with a soft drape? Choosing a fabric with the correct amount of body and drape is key for this. That cotton lawn will result in a more structured bodice and full skirt that wants to stand out on it’s own, verus the slinky silk will give you a soft, floaty bodice with a skirt that drapes beautifully around your body. For more in-depth information about this, see this post from a previous OAL that goes over the differences in drape and body in fabric.

OAL2017 - my fabric

Here is the fabric I am using this year – a soft rayon print from Mood Fabrics with a nice drape to it. I love wearing rayon in the summer – it breathes really well in the heat, and a dark color/pattern means that sweat is less likely to show. Rayon traditionally can be a little tricky – both to work with and care for – but I ultimately think it is worth the additional effort. This particular rayon is pretty stable and easy to work with, compared to other rayons I’ve used in the past, so I will not be doing any sort of pre-treatment to aid with sewing. That being said, if you are sewing one of the aforementioned slinky rayons – or a silk, or slippery poly, anything that wants to float off the table when you try to cut it – you may want to consider pre-treating your fabric to be a bit more stable before you cut it. You have a few options for this – for something quick and easy with no mess, spray stabilizer works very well. Just spray it on your fabric, allow to dry, and then treat it as usual. Once you are finished sewing the garment, it easily washes out so your fabric goes back to it’s glorious, drapey self. For a cheaper option, I’ve been very happy with the results I’ve gotten from using gelatine. This method is more time-consuming, but also WAY cheaper. You basically boil the gelatine in water, soak your fabric, and then spread it flat (or hang) until it’s dry (Threads has a full tutorial on their website). Again, this washes out easily once you are finished. The major downside is finding space to dry it flat – if you live in a small space, that can be tricky – but it’s a fraction of the cost of using spray stabilizer and works just as well one it has dried. I have used both of these methods with great success, it just depends on your time and budget!

Make sure you pre-wash your fabric before you do anything – you want to make sure you get all the shrinkage out before your pattern pieces are cut. I wash and dry all my fabric the same way I plan on treating it once it’s been turned into a garment. For delicate fabrics like rayon, you don’t necessarily want to throw it in the dryer every time you launder it – over time, this will break down the fibers. But I do think it’s a good idea to use the dryer for the very first pre-wash, as it will shrink up the fabric sufficiently and then if the garment does accidentally end up in the dryer, it won’t shrink more!

As a side note, there are plenty of “dry clean” only fabrics that actually can be washed in a machine. Fibers such as silk and rayon are totally machine washable – you just want to ensure that you are washed them before they are cut, again, so that you get all the shrinkage out. I wash all my silks and rayons on cold water, use the dryer for pre-washing (and hang to dry once they are finished) and have not ruined anything yet. Keep in mind that this will take a bit of the shine and stiffness out of your fabric, but I think it’s worth it to not be a slave to the dry cleaner! When in doubt, test with a swatch to make sure you are ok with how the fabric looks after it’s been laundered.

I am making a few changes to my pattern that are a bit different from how it’s drafted:
– I converted the straps to tie at the top (instead of being a continuous loop)
– Rather than line my bodice, I drafted all-in-one facings to clean finish all the top edges

For the tie-top straps, I used this tutorial from By Hand London. It’s super simple – you just trace your pattern piece, and then extend the top strap by 6″-7″, rounding out the end to a nice shape.

To draft the all-in-one-facing, here is what I did:
OAL2017 - drafting a facing

First, I marked my seam allowances on all the bodice pattern pieces. Since these bodice pieces have princess seams on both the front and back, we want to eliminate those so that the facing pieces are one continuous piece.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

Once the seam allowances are marked, I overlapped the pieces as they would be sewn together (center back to side back, and center front to side front). Then I laid my pattern pieces on a sheet of blank paper (mine is just kraft paper from a roll, but you can use whatever you have on hand) and traced around the neckline, arm holes, and straps. I drew down the side about 3.5″ and center about 4″, which will be the depth of the facing.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

I used a curved ruler to connect the center back/front with the side seam, just to give it a gentle curve. Then I transferred all my notches and grainlines, and marked the pattern pieces.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

It’s a good idea to lay your drafted piece under your pattern pieces, just to make sure everything fits and matches up. Which this one does! Yay!

That’s all for this week! You’ll want to cut and mark your pattern pieces, and be ready to sew next week! Let me know if you have any questions about anything covered in this post or, you know, life in general 🙂

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?