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Completed: My Maid of Honor Dress

18 Aug

Here’s a fun fact about me: I have never been a bridesmaid before. Never! I would almost say I’ve never been in a wedding at all, but I did get to carry the bride’s train in a wedding when I was really young (I think 8 – it was for my mom’s best friend). Is that a bridesmaid? I don’t know, let’s not get nitpicky here. My point being – I’ve never, as an adult, had a friend get married and ask me to be in their wedding. I think it’s kind of a rite of passage for most women at some point – but I’m not complaining, because I am not keen on spending $$$ on a dress I’ll never wear again!!

Anyway, that’s a moot point now because I was just officially in my first wedding last month! My very best friend in the entire world – my BFF, my life partner, and my favorite person everrrrr – was married in July and asked me to stand with her during the ceremony as her Maid of Honor. The bride, Morgan, is a really laid-back person and wanted a laid-back wedding – so I didn’t need to buy an expensive formal dress, or plan a ~cRaZy~ Bachelorette party (sidenote: did you know Nashville is now officially the #1 destination in the world for bachelorette parties? Yeah. And it’s awful. If you’re thinking about coming here and ~getting wild~, please don’t.) or anything like that. It was a small wedding – the bridal party consisted of me + the best man – held in their backyard, with a short ceremony and lots of food, alcohol, and dancing. There wasn’t even a “theme” or particular colors for this – which meant I had a lot of creative freedom when it came to choosing what I was going to wear. Which, of course, I wanted to be handmade by me!

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

Since the wedding was going to be outdoors in July, this limited me to only looking at natural fibers (y’all can defend polyester all you want, but this sweaty gal is not gonna wear that shit under the July sun in Tennessee at 5p girl bye) – I needed something lightweight and breathable. The only thing Morgan said she cared about design-wise was 1. That the dress was not white (obviously); 2. That it had a light, neutral background; 3. That it had some kind of floral design that wasn’t super bright. Finding a fabric that matched this description was surprisingly hard – most floral designs are either really bright, or on a dark background. Or they were polyester! I probably spent an entire month just combing through every fabric website I could think of, and coming up short and a little desperate.

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

I actually found this fabric at the shop I work at, Craft South! It’s a 100% cotton barkcloth from the Outback Wife collection. We had a ton of colorways, and while I admired them when they came in the shop – I didn’t buy any because florals really are not much my thing these days. I love looking at them, but I don’t really like to wear them. That being said, this particular colorway was perfect for the wedding – the fiber content was right, Morgan loved the colors and florals, and I got that sweet employee discount on it (yay!). I bought the last of the yardage (sorry!), but we still have the dark colorway in stock FYI! And here’s the same colorway I used in some random Etsy shop, too!

This barkcloth is a little stiff on the roll, so I prewashed a swatch to see what would happen. It ended up softening quite a bit and getting a nice little drape, although it is very prone to unraveling. I prewashed the entire yardage (cold wash, regular heat in the dryer) and set it aside while I could locate a pattern.

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress

Finding a pattern also took foreeeever! I didn’t know exactly what I wanted in a dress – since the fabric had some structure to it, it couldn’t be a really swingy/draped design. I wanted a loose skirt (so I could move about freely during the evening) and no sleeves (sun’s out, gun’s out amirite lol). I ended up finding just the thing in Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book – which I had won ages ago in a giveaway and hadn’t actually made anything out of yet! This pattern is the Floral Surplice Dress – which features a crossed over bodice, a separate midriff piece, and a side-pleated skirt. Done and done.

A few notes about this book – the pattern pieces are overlapped all over one another (like a BurdaStyle pattern), which means you have to trace them. The first half of the book goes into detail about fabrics, seam finishes, special techniques, and fitting – and then the patterns themselves have very brief instructions on how to put them together (assuming that you would flip back to the relevant section in the first half to get full instructions if you need them). I like this sort of layout as I don’t need the hand-holding, and appreciate just having a list of ordered steps. Finally, the pieces are all designed to mix and match with one another – so you can swap out the skirt for a different one, or add sleeves, or whatever. I liked the design of this dress, though, so I stuck with the suggested pieces and finishing.

I did make a muslin before cutting into my fabric, as bodices like this tend to gape on me. I’m VERY glad I did this, because there is a big sizing error with the midriff piece! It’s about 2″ too small – even after measuring and walking the pattern pieces. I thought I was going crazy because Google wasn’t pulling up anything, until I saw in a forum where someone briefly mentioned it in passing. So I’m not crazy. And also, if you make this pattern – just know that the midriff piece will need to be adjusted to fit your waist (unless you’re in denial about your size and consistently pretend like your waist is 2″ bigger than it actually is, that’s your prerogative). I cut my muslin to the biggest size, then added 1″ seam allowances, and fiddled around with it until I could get it to fit the bottom edge of the bodice (the bodice is graded and sized correctly, as is the skirt waist. It is just the midriff that is incorrect). After I fit my bodice, I took the pieces apart and used them to make new pattern pieces, then made a second muslin bodice to verify that it all fit correctly.

As far as other adjustments, the only things I did was take a little 1/4″ wedge out of the neckline so it fit closer to my body (using this method), and I also shortened the skirt by about 2″.

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - front

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - back

Right after I cut out the pieces, I realized that the dress was going to look like a total clusterfuck unless I did something to highlight the seamlines. So I tailed it to Textile Fabrics and bought a pink linen/cotton blend to create piping (ideally, I would have loved a darker color that wasn’t pink – but this was the only thing they had that matched, and my options are very limited here in town). I added piping to the top edge of the neckline, and both sides of the waistband. This not only breaks up the seamlines so the dress doesn’t look like a hot mess, but also visually separates that neutral background a bit from my skin (which matches a little too close for comfort, in my opinion).

All that aside, the rest of the sewing was pretty easy and straightforward. I used a serger to finish all the seams, which I pressed open. The piping is topstitched with matching neutral thread, to help it lie flat. The zipper is a simple lapped zipper that is pick-stitched by hand. I also added hooks and eyes at the piping intersections in the back, again, to help them lie flat and stay closed. Didn’t want anyone creeping on my zipper! Finally, the hem is serged and blindstitched by hand.

Now, for the mistakes that I made! At one point, I did sew the midriff upside-down and didn’t realize until after I had finished applying the piping – serged and topstitched and everything. I tried to convince myself that it was ok, but honestly one of my favorite parts of the dress design is how the side seams curve down at the midriff – and it didn’t look right when they were flipped the other way. Oh, and it didn’t fit right, either! It was not fun to unpick that mess and re-sew with teeny serged-off seam allowances, but I’m glad I did it. I also originally inserted an invisible zipper, but it was toooo hard to zip up due to the bulk at the intersecting back seams (with the piping). I had visions of the zipper breaking while I was at the wedding, and didn’t want to put myself through that mess. So I unpicked, and added the lapped zipper – which is much easier to zip and unzip!

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice front

Omg, I’m like nowhere near done with showing pictures. I’m sorry.

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice side

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice back

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - zipper detail

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice flat

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice back flat

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - bodice interior

Gertie Surplice Bodice Floral Dress - hem detail

Whew! So that’s a big ol’ post for a big ol’ project! The dress ended up being perfect for the occasion – I matched the aesthetic of the wedding, I was comfortable, and I had room to eat and dance! I am also pleased with myself for remembering to add pockets – those were super handy for carrying things like my sunglasses and hankies for when we started crying! It was a fabulous wedding and I’m so honored that I was able to stand up there with my best friend and be a part of such an important day.

I am going to leave y’all with some photos from the wedding, if you feel like creeping! All photos were taken by Lilika Strezoska, who is based out of Macedonia but came to the US to shoot this wedding. Lilika did an incredible job capturing everyone in a beautiful and candid way – I have really loved looking through all the photos!

Morgan's Wedding!

The ceremony. That giant cloud of a dog is Bootes, who absolutely had to be nearby.

Morgan's Wedding!

Here we are looking nice and like adults.

Morgan's Wedding!

And here we are jumping. Also, I would like to point out that this shot actually captured my shoe flying off hahaha.

Morgan's Wedding!

With my bestie! ❤ (she had her dress custom made by a seller on Etsy, I am not sure who the seller is though!)

Morgan's Wedding!

Here we are giggling together and having a BFF moment.

Morgan's Wedding!

And, finally, this is me carrying the Marriage Certificate over to be signed! I was so excited!

Ok, that’s all! Thanks for sticking around for this exceptionally long post 🙂

OAL2017: My Completed Anaheim Sweater / OAL Winners / Updates

4 Aug

Hello hello! A bit of a long post ahead – including my finished OAL sweater (yes! I finished it!) and the randomly selected winner for this year. A few updates/housekeeping before I get into everything-

  • I love Kickstarter, and I love funding new projects and ideas from brilliant people. MyBodyModel is a new one that sounds really incredible – a web app that creates a croquis based on your specific measurements (no more 9-heads-tall fashion sketches amirite)! You can then print the images or edit them from a tablet. I am actually a tester for this service – which I’m pretty excited about! – but they need quite a bit of funding to get it started. You can see all the details on their Kickstarter page (they do a way better job of describing the service than I am doing, ha), as well as back the project. No amount is too small!
  • Totally forgot to mention this, like, AT ALL – but I’m going back to Finch Knitting + Sewing Studio for another weekend garment sewing workshop! The dates are 9/29 – 10/1, and the project is WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT IT TO BE. Seriously! Whether you need a cheerleader to encourage you to start a scary project, a little help whenever you get stuck, or just want to be surrounded by other people who are also doing amazing creative things – this is a great place to do it! Finch is located in download Leesburg, VA; the cutest little sewing shop in the cutest little historic town. We had an amazing time when I was there earlier this year, and I am so excited to come back! You can see more details, as well as sign up for the workshop here 😀
  • OAL winners! I used the handy Random Number Generator to draw our 3 winners this year – and here they are!


First up is Helen, who actually made TWO dresses this year, in addition to her incredible cardigan. I can’t even tell you how much I love that cardigan, y’all. Everything about it – from the color, to the fit, to the beautiful lace work – is perfect. I am bummed that there is not a pattern for it, bc I’d knit that shit up in a heartbeat!


Our second winner is Linda, who also made a cardigan + dress combo! I have had my eye on that Blaster cardigan for a while now, and Linda’s outfit is making me want to add that pattern to my queue! It’s wonderful!


The third winner is Lycaenid, who took things in a completely different direction by crocheting a skirt! I never would have considered a crocheted skirt, but man, it looks pretty great – especially paired with a crisp white shirt. We get a lot of questions every year about if people can crochet instead of knit, or make something other than the standard knitted top/sewn bottom (or dress) – and here’s a perfect example of that working out beautifully!

Congratulations to our 3 OAL winners – please check your emails and/or Ravelry accounts for a note from me about claiming your prize! Each winner receives 2 patterns+shipping of their choice from Indie Stitches, plus 2 patterns of their choice from Untangling Knots. Woohoo!!

Ok, now let’s talk about MY finished sweater!

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

I actually finished knitting this the day that I wrote my post on the OAL dress – I was feeling inspired to get it done so I could move onto other things. There wasn’t too much left to do – I think I had maybe a total of 50 rounds for one sleeve, and then blocking. Not bad! I’m so glad it’s done – partly because it opens up my queue to whatever else I want to work on, and also because it’s a pretty sweater that goes with a lot of stuff in my closet! I’m especially happy with how good it looks paired with my Kim dress.

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

In case you missed it, the pattern I used is Anaheim, which is the official knitting pattern for the OAL2017. This is a relatively simple garment, knitted top-down in one piece with an easy to memorize lace pattern (which I say easy to memorize, I mean that even my dumbass could handle remembering it! Ha!). It’s pretty mindless – so you can work on it while doing something else, such as watching tv or working in a craft shop (guilty!), but it’s also interesting to knit so you don’t get bored. I really enjoyed working on this pattern, although I did have a bit of trouble with the icord edging – I simply could not wrap my head around the instructions. I chatted with Andi about and she wrote a blog post that goes into a lot more detail, which was immensely helpful. Unfortunately for me, I stalled waaaay too long with even starting the icord edging, which is a huge reason why I didn’t finish my sweater in time. Oh well! It’s done now, and that’s really what matters!

For yarn, I used Quince + Co Phoebe, which is a DK weight merino wool yarn, purchased from Craft South. This yarn is incredibly soft and just lovely to touch – and it’s so beautiful! I really enjoyed knitting it and it’s a great color for my personal wardrobe palette.

I knit the size XS – which is my usual size for Andi’s patterns – and was able to get gauge with my yarn, so I didn’t need to change needle sizes. Besides the icord edging drama, this knit up easily and quickly. I will be honest – I wasn’t sure if I’d ever wear this sweater because it didn’t seem like really my ~style~, but I am really really happy with how it’s turned out, and how it looks with other pieces in my wardrobe! I think it’ll be great for the transitional weather in spring and fall, and again, the color is spot-on to pair with basically everything I already own. I am even scheming ways to wear it without a shirt underneath – just a pretty bralette! We’ll see how brave I get when the time comes, though, ha!

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

The sweater is intended to be worn with the fronts crossed over and buttoned at the side – can I just say how happy I am that there are NO ties involved?! – but you can also wear it open. I’m not really a fan of the open look – I don’t think it looks quite right, as much yarn doesn’t have very much drape. But I love how it looks buttoned up! I just used buttons that were in my stash, although I think I need to reposition them slightly.

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

OAL2017 Anaheim Sweater

I do want to touch on something I brought up in my last post – about not having any creative energy. Since losing my dad in February, it has been a strange and very sad year. I think that’s to be understood- losing anyone is hard, losing a parent is absolutely traumatizing. After the shock of the first week and then immediately trying to dive back into “normal life,” I thought I was ok. I thought, oh, I’ve dealt with my grief and I have survived this. You know what though? That’s not how grief works. Grief is sneaky, and it will creep up on you when you are not expecting it. It will affect your life in ways that you don’t even realize it is doing, and you won’t know why. At least, that was what I found myself dealing with when May rolled around. All of a sudden, I just felt sad all the time and I didn’t know why. I slowly lost the ability and desire to do anything – I didn’t want to be active, I didn’t want to see anyone, I didn’t want to leave my house, and I didn’t want to spend any time in my studio. All of this is stressful, but my lack of creativity was stressing me out the most and just making it so much worse. I make things because I find it therapeutic and calming – so losing that outlet was very worrying to me. I had a lot of trouble making any sort of emotional connection with people, and I was just sad all the time. This is NOT how I normally am, and I didn’t know what to do about it. I ended up having a meltdown while with a group of friends, and I realized that shit was not normal and I needed to do something about it if I ever wanted to feel like myself again.

So, I started seeing a grief counselor, which has been immensely helpful. I’ve slowly incorporated exercise back into my routine (running and yoga), which makes me feel good both mentally and physically, as well as helps my sleep. The creative energy has taken the longest to return – I had to stop trying to force it. I have been gentle and kind to myself, and patient. I really had no interest in sewing whatsoever during the OAL – it just felt like a chore. It wasn’t until the very end that I could feel my creativity reigniting, and I started getting excited about future projects. Knitting wasn’t as much of a struggle, as you can do that pretty mindlessly (I just like keeping my hands busy, really). I actually got a lot of knitting done during this time because it was the only thing I could really bring myself to do, in those weird weeks where I was so incredibly lonely but also completely isolating myself from everyone. For those who have reached out to me in the past months – whether it was to offer condolences, or to see how I was holding up – thank you. I really appreciate every single message I received, even if I couldn’t necessarily bring myself to reply to all of them.

I’m happy to say that my creativity has come back with a vengeance – it was hard for me to sit down and write this post, because I really want to go back in my studio and make some stuff! 🙂 I feel inspired again, and that’s such a good feeling. More importantly – I feel happy. I still have a ways to go – and I know that the grief will never truly go away. But I am learning how to deal with it when it rears its ugly head, and I know now when to give myself kindness and grace.

OAL2017: My Completed Kim Dress

31 Jul

Good morning, everyone! It’s the last day of July, which means the deadline to finish + share your OAL garments! Today, I’m going to show y’all my finished dress – because my sweater actually isn’t done yet! LOL for being the worst host ever. Whatever! It’s been a crazy last few months, I’m not even going to apologize. Instead, I am going to celebrate actually FINISHING something! Yay!

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

Another thing worth celebrating – actually going outside to take photos!  Another yay! Now that I’m in a house with a semi-private yard (I share the space with my upstairs neighbor, and we are on the corner of a somewhat busy street. Also, there is no privacy fence!), I feel more comfortable going outside to take my photos. The lighting is certainly better, and the background a bit prettier than a white wall 🙂 I still go outside really early so that it limits the amount of people rubbernecking as they drive by, but, you know… baby steps. haha. For someone who doesn’t give a fuck about a lot of things, I DO give a fuck about my neighbors watching me take ~fashun photos~ with a fucking tripod in my backyard hahahaha.

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

Not too much to say about this one, since I covered all the construction in previous OAL posts. To summarize – the pattern is By Hand London‘s Kim Dress, modified to include tie straps and a facing (no lining). I used polka dot rayon challis from Mood Fabrics – both for the outer and the facing – and added an invisible zipper and pleats at the hem. All seams except the gathered waist are finished with French seams (you can totally French seam a gathered waist seam, FYI, but I just didn’t feel like unnecessarily torturing myself haha).

Here are all the tutorials from the OAL, in case you missed them!

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

This is a great dress for summer – it’s a bit more loose fitting than what I would wear in the past, and the rayon is nice and breathable. So it’s super cool in this humid heat we’re going through right now, and the navy + white polka dots is the perfect print + color combination! Black bra straps aren’t necessarily the best choice for this look, but I’m hoping to make a strapless (currently creeping SO HARD on the Esplanade bra pattern! Soon!) before summer ends! Navy bra straps would also work, which I need to get on making. I have several tops that would benefit from a bra with navy straps!

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

Considering I talked a LOT about this dress during the OAL, there’s not much else to say! One thing I will point out is that this particular project was going on while I was in a big funk earlier this summer – I completely, 100% lost my sewing mojo and pretty much all creative energy (I continued knitting, but mostly because it was something to do with my hands while I watched tv -so that I didn’t feel like a complete lazy loaf). Knowing that I had to finish this dress due to my commitment to the OAL was the only reason why I even started it – and it’s also what eventually reignited my creative energy. I may talk about that more in detail in a future post, but basically – I’m back! I feel good and I’m sewing up a storm again! It’s pretty amazing!

OAL2017: Finished Kim Dress

How is your summer sewing going? Did you participate in the OAL this year? LET ME SEE YOUR PROJECTS please and thank you!

* Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

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!

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!

Completed: Deer & Doe Réglisse Dress

23 May

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

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

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

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

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

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

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

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

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

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

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

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

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

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

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

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

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

What are your sewing plans for this summer?

Completed: Linen Archer Button-Up

11 May

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

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

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

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

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

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

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

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

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

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

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

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

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

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

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