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Completed: Popover Tank & Lander Pants (Plus: OAL Winners!)

10 Aug

Heeeey everyone!!

Before I dive into garment details, I want to congratulate our OAL 2018 Winners!


Dizzy Erica made a Lady Skater dress + Hetty Cardigan! Interestingly, I was just rediscovering my love for both these patterns the other day! I am happy to see that the Lady Skater in particular is still going strong and living up to it’s awesomeness 😀
Wendy made a Waters tee + an A Frame skirt. I love the colors she choose – perfect summer outfit!


lsorenson7208 made the Rabbitbrush cardigan & Lander Pants! I am really digging this monochromatic look – I always find black and white to be so chic.

Big congratulations to our winners – and thank you to everyone who participated! You can see all the finished outfits in the OAL 2018 Finished Outfits thread on Ravelry. Also, a massive thank you to our sponsors The Confident Stitch & Indie Stitches for supplying prizes! And thank you, Andi Satterlund, for hosting this with me again!

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You’ll notice that I didn’t share my OAL project – and it’s not in this post, either (surprise!). I did finish my Lander shorts and have worn them loads, but sadly my Waters tee is still on my needles as of this posting. Can’t even finish my own outfit in time for the OAL I am hosting, I am the worst! In all seriousness, I started to fall out of love with the project – I’m not happy with my stripe sequence, and honestly, I need to frog it and start over! Rather than force myself to finish something that I likely wouldn’t want to wear, it’s sitting in time-out until I can be sure that I need to either frog it or finish it. I don’t like keeping UFOs, but sometimes you need a breather to think about your options and next steps.

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Ok so anyway, on to this post! Featuring a DIFFERENT pair of Lander pants, mwahahaha!

AMH Popover Tank

But first, I want to share my tank with you because it’s super cute!

AMH Popover Tank

No lie – every single time I wear this top, I get people practically foaming at the mouth to ask what pattern is that! Here’s your answer – it’s the Anna Maria Horner Popover Tank! This is a pattern that Anna released to be used specifically for garment classes at Craft South. I’ve taught this class a LOT – it’s a great first project, easy to sew and looks super cute! And it can be sewn in 3 hours (YES, SERIOUSLY). But I’ve never made one for myself – just loads of samples. When Anna released it as a paper pattern and included a cropped version, I was ready to give it a try.

AMH Popover Tank

This is a super, super simple pattern. Two pattern pieces, then 1″ strips of knit fabric to be used as facings around the neck and arms. No darts, no closures, barely any pattern markings, and an easy fit. Students learn how to sew French seams, apply knit facings, and sew a 1/4″ rolled hem.

One tip I will give if you want to make this pattern is to check the finished measurements, and possibly consider sizing down. I find the recommended sizes to be a bit loose-fitting, especially around the arms, but you can go for it if that is your jam! I made the size XXS, although my measurements put me at the cusp of XS. I like the size of the armholes and the fit of the bust. My fabric is also lightweight with more give than your typical quilting cotton, so that helped.

The only change I made was to swap out the knit facings for actual woven bias facings. I didn’t have any knit fabric that remotely matched my fabric, and I prefer the bias facings anyway. Knit facings are wonderful to keep the class at 3 hours, but when I’m sewing at home on my own time I do what I want! I used some beautiful lightweight cotton voile and applied the bias facings the same way I always do. No need to trim seam allowances, either – the knit strips are also sewn on a 1/4″.

AMH Popover Tank

I love the back – the shoulders wrap around and make a v at the center back, which is then topstitched. I told you, this pattern is easy!

AMH Popover Tank

I should mention my fabric – it’s a beautiful lightweight cotton that I bought at Nagada while I was in Egypt! I only bought a yard – it was expensive, even by American standards – and waited a loooong time to find a good pattern to match it with. The raw applique reminds me of Alabama Chanin, and I love the soft neutrals.

Since the fabric has some texture that makes the thickness a bit uneven, I didn’t do the French side seams and instead just serged them. This is also why I used lightweight voile for my woven bias facings, instead of self-fabric.

Just a head’s up – the cropped version is SHORT. Like, it will expose your belly button. I wanted to lengthen mine… but I forgot and just cut shit out. Oops. Soooo my hem is the tiniest thing ever, serged and rolled under as little as possible. It’s still short, but I like it with high-waisted pants. FYI for your Popover Project, tho.

Here, have some more photos. I don’t know why I took so many.

AMH Popover Tank

AMH Popover Tank

AMH Popover Tank

AMH Popover Tank

AMH Popover Tank

AMH Popover Tank

Whew.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

True Bias Lander pants

True Bias Lander pants

My second pair of Lander pants! Sorry these photos are basically useless, navy is super hard to photograph.

I didn’t make too many changes on these vs my red pair… according to my notes (that I now take in a little notebook whenever I sew, specifically for this reason haha), I made a size 2 but used the size 4 at the side seams. I made the pockets slightly smaller, although I still think they are a little big. I also shortened the legs by 1″ at the shorten line, and interfaced the fly shield. I’m sure I had to take a little out of the center back, but I don’t remember how much, sorry!

I definitely like these even more than my red ones. I think the proportions and length are a little more flattering, and the fabric is super swishy so they are fun to wear!

True Bias Lander pants

The fabric is a navy tencel twill that I bought at Mulberry Silks when I was in North Carolina earlier this year! It’s a beautiful weight with a soft drape, making my ideal pants! I found this fabric easier to work with than silk, but it was still a little wiggly… like using a heavier weight rayon challis.

I lined the pockets with silk crepe (from my stash), and the buttons are also from Mulberry Silks! Look closely, you can see that I already lost one 😦 This is what I get for wearing my shit before I photograph it! The button stayed intact for months, and I literally lost it on a flight home (I think) the day before I took these photos. I’m sad because I really loved these buttons, but I’m also mad at myself for not buying an extra. As for how I lost it… well, they are wooden shank buttons, and that one button had a tiny crack in the shank that caused it to fly off. I found it the first time, repaired the crack (or so I thought) and decided to just sew the bottom button hole shut so there would be less stress on the button. It worked for a while, but not anymore! I will replace them when I find a suitable button that fits the holes (::sob::), but in the meantime… I’m just gonna wear them with 3 buttons. Who the fuck cares? Did you see that missing button in my photos above? Are you looking now? ZOOM IN, I DARE YOU.

True Bias Lander pants

True Bias Lander pants

Anyway, big thumbs up for these pants! I especially love them for traveling – they are my summer flying pants. I always get cold on planes and in airports, but I hate wearing skinny jeans and then sweating to death when I step in 90 degree heat once I reach my destination. These are perfect because they keep my legs covered, but they are breezy in the heat. The color goes with everything, and the high waist looks great with a cropped something or with a loose tshirt tucked in!

True Bias Lander pants

I feel like this post has gotten out of hand long, so I’m going to stop now. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Tropical Print Chair Cushions (aka boring home decor sewing)

31 Jul

Hello everyone! I’m back again with my annual ONE boring home decor sewing project for the year!

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

When I moved into this place last year, one of the biggest perks was the amazing porch that takes up an entire side of the house! Situated in the perfect spot to catch a good cross-breeze, and shaded by several walnut trees at the peak of summer, it is a seriously cool area (both literally and figuratively) to hang out in. I love sitting out here, whatever the reason – while working in in the morning, while having cocktails with friends, I even use this space to clip my cat’s nails (she loves it haha). Real talk, I am sitting on this very porch right now writing this blog post hahaha.

I brought this patio set (originally from IKEA – here is the table & the chairs)) with me when I moved here – it’s a bit small, as it was originally intended for a MUCH smaller space. Anyway, I have been wanting to add chair cushions to make them a little more comfortable. Since the seats are very small, I couldn’t find any cushions that fit – plus, outdoor cushions are expensive! I figured I’d make my own, which set me on a looong quest to find that perfect outdoor cushion fabric. That fabric ended up being this Sunbrella Fusion Tropics Jungle Leafy Jacquard from Mood Fabrics (surprisingly, still in stock!). I’m loving this botanical vibe that’s currently taking over home design, and this fabric is one of the best ones I’ve seen! Since it’s an outdoor-suitable home decor fabric, I knew it would stand up to the sun, wind, and rain. At $42 a yard, this fabric certainly isn’t cheap – but it’s wide, so even a yard goes a long way.

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

I bought some inexpensive upholstery foam from Walmart and used the seat measurements to make a very basic pattern (basically 2 big rectangles, then 4 smaller rectangles to go around it). I wanted a cushion cover that would box around the entire block of foam, with a zipper at the back so I could remove it to wash if needed. The foam I used is quite thin, so I doubled it for a cushier chair pad. The metal zippers were pulled from my stash.

I debated on whether or not to pre-wash the fabric before sewing – ultimately, I decided against it. The fabric is polyester, so I don’t think it runs the risk of shrinking. That being said, it does fray like CRAZY (seriously, my studio was covered with little green hairs after this project), so I serged every single seam before attaching pieces together. I don’t sew a lot of home decor projects, so I want the ones I do manage to make to last!

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

To attach the cushions to the chairs (mainly so they don’t fly off during a windy day!), I added long velcro strips that wrap around the metal parts of the chair. In retrospect, I’m not crazy about how this looks – I may take those out and replace them with self-fabric ties. But they are functional for now. I had also considered getting fancy and adding piping around the seams, but, again, real talk – that shit was never gonna get finished if I kept upping the ante. Basic and boring is about all I can manage these days.

Chair Cushions made with Mood Fabrics

And that’s pretty much it for this project! Short and sweet, pretty simple, but a nice touch to my outdoor space! I actually finished these a couple of months ago and they have been living on my porch since then – through Tennessee summer storms and crazy sunshine (although my porch is pretty shaded, so not *that* much sunshine), and you can see how well the fabric has held up! The colors are still nice and bright, and the cushions have avoided stains. I will bring these inside when winter comes, of course, but they are great for staying out all summer long.

Writing this post made me realize that I have been in this house for a solid year now, and still haven’t shared my new studio! I finally got around to taking photos over the weekend, so I’ll be sharing those soon 🙂

Chair Cushions made with Mood FabricsSoooo then – who’s coming over for a cocktail?!

 

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

Completed: Scuba Watson Bra + Bikini Set

26 Jun

I can pretty practical when it comes to sewing garments – I’ve figured out what I will and won’t wear, and stick with those styles & colors pretty consistently across the board (save for the occasional wild hair because YOLO). However, this goes completely out the window when it comes to making lingerie.

Me: I should really make some neutral bras, almost all my summer clothe are see-through.
Also Me:

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

ha! I realize there is a trend right now of wearing your underwear as outerwear, and while I did not sew this set with that intention in mind, I will certainly mostly definitely be following it. Because, again, YOLO. btw, sorry about the YOLO.

In all seriousness, though, I actually do need some new bras in my wardrobe. Most of the stuff I sewed in the past has gotten quite ratty and stretched out, and definitely needs to be replaced. I also appear to have gone up a cup size (wah), so they don’t quite fit right, either. It seems really silly to have the ability to make beautiful underwear and yet still be wearing the faded/ratty pieces that give me quadboob, so I’m slowly trying to fix that.

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

Sooo, this fabric! This is the Italian Red & Orange Floral Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics. I’ve been creeping on this fabric for a minute now (it’s actually still available if you want to creep, too!) but I honestly don’t like the way Scuba feels and didn’t have any interest in sewing anything out of it. It seems that the thickness and body of Scuba – aka, the two features that people enjoy the most – were everything I did not want in a fabric. Eventually, the creeping got to me and I decided to buy a yard and see what I could figure out.

You know what works splendidly with this fabric? Lingerie. There’s enough stretch for comfort (assuming you are making a pattern that requires stretch), and the additional thickness means you get a little extra coverage. So I decided to make a Watson Bra & Bikini set with this fabric. If you look at the product listing for the fabric, you’ll see that the floral design is fairly large scale, which means it got chopped up to make the cup pieces for the bra. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like that; turns out I LOVE it. It turns this decidedly floral style into something more abstract and a bit painterly. I think it’s very pretty!

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

I did have to do a bit of testing to figure out the best way to sew this scuba – needle choice is very important, otherwise you’ll get skipped stitches (and there is a lot of topstitching here, so I definitely wanted to avoid that). I actually tried every single needle in my arsenal before determining that the 70/10 Jersey needle (not stretch, not ballpoint) was the way to go. After that – it was pretty smooth sailing! I don’t know how well Scuba does or does not press, but you don’t have to press it for lingerie (hence all the topstitching) so that wasn’t an issue.

I’ve made this pattern numerous times before, so nothing new to report on that end. I did go up a cup size, which means I sewed a 30E for this piece. I lined the entire bra with lightweight power mesh – this isn’t necessary (the scuba is comfortable enough on it’s own), but I like the clean interior finish. The bridge is also lined with sheer cup lining under the power mesh, for added support. All elastics are from my stash; likely mostly from Pacific Trimming or Tailor Made Shop. I kept all the elastic white except under the arms, which is orange (just cos a little to get a little wild sometimes).

Oh, I also made some matching underwear, too!

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

Watson Bra made with Scuba Knit from Mood Fabrics

I am making it a point to sew 1-2 pairs of underwear with each bra that I make – so that I actually have matching sets (and stop complaining internally that my lingerie doesn’t match). I did cut two pairs here, but I wasn’t careful about pattern placement and the other pair looked like there was a flower exploding out of my butt. So. Scrapped that one, will revisit later haha. The underwear is single-layer scuba (no power mesh), except for the crotch lining, which is 100% organic cotton (cos I’m a fancy bitch). Again, all white elastics.

AND A BONUS HERE’S ANOTHER WATSON I MADE:

Spandex Watson Set

AKA my attempt at pretending I was going to sew something neutral (this dusty rose is pretty neutral on me, fyi). It all went great until I decided to add black elastics 😛

So I actually bought this fabric from Spandex House back in March – it’s just a basic, I dunno, spandex knit – in order to sew some underwear. I had just bought the Joan bra from Agent Provocateur and was considering the matching underwear, except they were slightly uncomfortable, very unflattering (on me) and also $60 and you know what, let’s not. So I took my bra to Spandex House and found the exact same spandex, figuring I’d sew my own matching underwear for WAY less than $60/pair. Which I did, but I also decided to make this non-neutral Watson bra, too!

Spandex Watson Set

Spandex Watson Set

So yep, there’s that. Same 30E, but the regular (not longline) version. Lined with matching powermesh (also from Spandex House), with black elastics and topstitching. It’s… neutral-ish. I like it! 🙂

Spandex Watson Set

The matching underwear is unlined and finished with black foldover elastic.

Next up – I need to make some underwired bras in my new cup size, and realistically at least one needs to be neutral. I am hoping to combat the beige boredom by finding a pretty lace to compensate, and sewing it up in the Berkeley Bra pattern. Stay tuned!

**Note: The floral scuba knit was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All other patterns, notions, and spandex were purchased by me, though!

Completed: Cropped Linen Kalle Shirt

11 Jun

I finished this shirt about 2 months ago but am just now getting around to posting it! I have worn it TONS since finishing, and it’s definitely one of my 2018 Summer Staples.

Linen Kalle Shirt

This is the Kalle Shirt from Closet Case Patterns. I made the dress version in linen last year, and I wore it a LOT, so I was interested to try the shirt for this summer. It’s a basic little collared/buttoned shirt that has plenty of options (exposed or hidden placket, collar or no collar, cropped or long), and I like the nice loose fit paired with the banded kimono sleeves. I always felt so pulled together when wearing the dress, and I figured the shirt would make me feel similarly.

Linen Kalle Shirt

I did make a few changes to the pattern due to fabric amounts & personal preferences. Having sewn a few Closet Case Patterns in my time, I find the cropped version of the tops to be VERY cropped. I measured the length of this top and realized it was going to be too short for me to comfortably wear, so I added an extra 2″ of length, which makes the finished top reach right at the waistband of my pants (the shorts I’m wearing in these photos are just thrifted jeans that I cut off, FYI, but they hit close to the same spot that my Ginger jeans do). I added length to both the front and the back, however, I thought the back looked ridiculously long once it was finished so I chopped that added length back off. The back is still longer than the front, only not as dramatic now.

The other changes I made were due to fabric shortages, as I was working with a very small piece of fabric for this shirt. I had an offcut piece of medium weight white linen that measured out at less than 1.5 yards (I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was definitely less than the suggested 2 yards that the pattern calls for), which I was bound and determined to use. It was just *barely* enough to eek out the main pieces of the shirt, and I did not have enough fabric to cut the facings or the pocket. I made an executive decision to finish the hem with a bias facing (made of an entirely different fabric – cotton lawn to be exact) and leave off the pocket.

I can’t say for certain, but I believe the fabric came from an Elizabeth Suzann sample sale last year (hence the weird size). It’s a nice medium weight linen that feels wonderful and also does not wrinkle as much as the lighter weight linens – it’s actually very similar to the Vivaldi Linen from The Confident Stitch (I think the Vivaldi is slightly softer, but that also may be because I’ve washed it more), if you are looking for a good sub 🙂 (and go back a couple posts to my OAL Announcement for a discount code that’s still good as of this writing :)). This shirt has done really well with traveling especially – the worst wrinkling I get is at the collar, which I usually end up fixing with my flat iron 😛 As you can see, it does rumple a bit but I actually like that.

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

Sewing up the shirt was easy – I’ve made dozens of these sorts of patterns, so I feel like I can almost do it in my sleep at this point. The seams are flat-felled and there’s lots of satisfying topstitching (albeit white). I realized about halfway through that the shirt really, really needed that pocket – I think it just looks barren without it. But, y’all, I am not exaggerating when I say that I had fumes of fabric leftover after cutting. You’d think I’d be able to squeeze out a pocket – it’s a tiny piece, after all – but I was playing some serious Fabric Tetris as it was and the leftover pieces were miniscule. After thinking on it for a minute, I realized I did have a couple of pieces that were about half the size of a pocket… so, again, I made an executive decision and decided to sew them together to make a full sized piece that I could then cut the pocket out of. To make this look a bit more intentional, I flat-felled the connecting seam. I can’t even tell you how pleased I am with this save; the shirt looks great with the pocket and that flat-felled seam look intentional as fuck amirite.

Hemming was a whole other beast that I had to work my mind through before I came to a solution. I usually just hem my curved woven hems with a bias facing – it creates a beautiful finish with minimal effort – but the way the side seams are curved on this top doesn’t work terribly well with bias, it really needs a facing. Especially when you are connecting that to a flat-felled seam (which would otherwise be hidden under the facing). I ended up hemming the front and back separately, then clipping the side seam and bartacking it down over where the curved side meets. One thing I didn’t consider is that the seam allowance for the hem (due to the facing) is 5/8″, and you sew a bias facing on at 1/4″… so my side seams have extra seam allowance and thus overlap differently than the pattern intended. It’s not a bad thing, but it is different! Something to keep in mind if you decide to omit the facing and use bias instead.

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

It looks cool buttoned up all the way, but let’s be real – I won’t wear it like this, like, ever haha

Linen Kalle Shirt

Linen Kalle Shirt

The aforementioned side seam with overlapping curves and a bartack!

Linen Kalle Shirt

My cool little pocket 😀

Linen Kalle Shirt

I think that’s all for this little shirt! I’m surprised at how much I love wearing it – it’s been in regular rotation since I’ve finished, as it’s light and airy in the heat but still looks very pulled together – and I get loads of compliments on it. I’d love to make another in a different color or even a patterned fabric, once I find something suitable. Making collared shirts is so much fun!

Completed: Black Merino Wool Joni Dress

31 May

Well, I definitely made a wool dress and here are photos of me modeling it in 90 degree heat.

Merino Joni Dress

To be somewhat gentle on myself, I started (and finished) this dress when there was still a bit of a chill in the air. I didn’t think to take photos until the other day, and even by 8AM it was solidly hot and humid outside. Case in point: I curled my hair about 15 minutes prior. Can you tell? Nope!

This isn’t even my worst offense when it comes to seasonally-inappropriate garments… I still have a (truly fabulous) coat that hasn’t made it’s rounds yet. I even took photos, but I just looked at them and am pretty sure they need to be retaken. But probably not until next year because LOOOOL Y’ALL IT BE HOT OUTSIDE.

Merino Joni Dress

Anyway, I posted a dress so I’ll talk about the dress! This is the Joni Dress from the new Tilly & the Buttons book, Stretch! – it is also the same dress Tilly is wearing on the cover. While the twisty front looks complicated (I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t feel a LITTLE intimidated to start sewing it! We all get our weird cold feet sewing hang-ups from time to time!), it is deceptively simple! This is a book designed to introduce beginner sewists to working with knits, after all!

Anyway, what I liked about this dress – other than that twisty goodness – was the fitted shape with the swirly skirt. I have seen a lot of knit patterns with the twisted detail (JFC how many more times am I gonna say twist in this post I’m so sorry), but not many with the very fitted look in conjunction. I like, I like!

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

As I said, sewing this dress up was pretty easy. There’s a little bit of stay-stitching, a clever twist (sorry), and then your basic knit fabric sewing construction. The waist has a length of elastic sewn to it to keep the skirt from drooping over time, which is a feature I always appreciate in a knit dress. The neckline is finished with a self fabric facing, which gets topstitched down. I used a serger to sew most of the dress, except that facing part – the first time I tried that, it was too damn bulky! So I seam ripped it out and started over, using a regular sewing machine with a zigzag stitch to attach the pieces. This made for a much smoother and less bulky finish. Other than that, really straightforward for the most part. I added the little elastic runching to the sleeves (a hack option outlined in the book) and let the skirt hang for a couple of days before hemming, which I used my coverstitch to do. Oh, and I made a size 2 with no other fit adjustments (including length).

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

A little chat about the fabric now: wool, huh? Yeah baby THIS IS MERINO WOOL! Or, specifically, merino/bamboo jersey – and it is DREAMY. I found it on the Mood Fabrics website, which has delighted to me to no end. You may or may not know my love for merino – it’s been a hot minute since I had my hands on a piece to sew up. I love merino for it’s warmth and breathability, that it’s anti-microbial, and machine washable. It is my dream fabric and I’d probably use it for nearly every knit I make (at least in the winter), but unfortunately it can be a bit cost-prohibitive. The stuff I found at Mood Fabrics is still a little high at $30/yard, however, it’s here in the US so at least there are no international shipping fees to deal with (in the past, most of my merino came from New Zealand!). There’s not a huge color selection available on their website at the moment, but, y’all know I dress like a tragic goth in the winter so black is totally fine with me!

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

Merino Joni Dress

This merino is pretty lightweight, with a lovely drape and a nice soft hand. Mood’s website says that it is slightly translucent, but idk I’m wearing this with some pretty neon undergarments and you can’t see through shit – so take that as you will. It was very easy to work with – reasonably stable (as much as 4 way stretch jersey knits can be, anyway) and it did not curl when I cut it. I only had a chance to wear this dress twice before it got too hot, but I look forward to snuggling back up in it again when the weather allows! It is super comfortable and I think it looks pretty good!

Merino Joni Dress

Here’s a terribly overblown photo so you can see a little more detail.

Merino Joni Dress

That’s all for this dress! I’ve love to have a summer version – maybe made up in a patterned (or striped!) knit – but I’m trying to be realistic about how many clothes I truly *need* in my closet. So we’ll see if that actually happens or not. And, as a side note – yes, I got bangs again! Felt tired of looking at my face and decided to change up my look 🙂

** Note: The fabric used in this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. As always, all opinions are my own!

Completed: French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

1 May

Here we have a tale of fabric bought wrong, then made right. Gather round, my children.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I bought this french terry from Mood Fabrics on a whim back in September. I usually swatch fabrics before ordering online – even with my knowledge of fabric and fibers, you can still be surprised by texture, hand, and color – but sometimes I get a little wild and order shit blindly. It usually works out fine, but every now and then it can backfire. Guess what happened here.

So, the french terry – it’s a glazed french terry from Helmut Lang (since sold out, yo’re welcome), which I figured would be great because 1. Helmut Lang is always expensive; and 2. It’s fucking french terry, how could you go wrong?

This, this is how you go wrong. This is one of the weirdest fabrics I’ve ever received from Mood. It was stiff and kind of scratchy, remarkably similar to how your bath towel feels when you dry it on a clothesline. I’m not going to sugarcoat this – I was really disappointed that I wasted part of my allowance buying it, because I absolutely hated it. The color was nice, but color doesn’t mean anything if the fabric itself scratches you when you touch it.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I did try washing the fabric multiple times to see if perhaps there was a sizing on it (or if the glaze has something to do with it?) that would be removed and thus soften it – but no matter what I did (hot water, cold water, different detergents, high dryer heat, etc), it didn’t change the hand of the fabric. I stuck it on my shelf and tried to figure out if there was something I could do with it. I don’t back down from a challenge, but sometimes I have to roll a problem around in my head for a minute before I come up with a solution.

During this time, I was sent an advance copy of Tilly’s newest book, Stretch! (hello, hi, that’s an affiliate link). I love most of the patterns and projects in that book, and the one that really stuck out the most to me was the Stella Hoodie pattern. I am not a huge fan of the athleisure trend, so the joggers were a bit lost on me (it’s fine if you wear them, but those are PJs are far as I’m concerned, and I don’t wear PJs in public), but I looooooved the pictures of the hoodie lengthened into a dress! I thought my weird french terry might work with that pattern – and, at the very least, it would probably function great as a swimsuit coverup.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I made the size 2 of this, based on my measurements and the suggested size from the book. I don’t remember how much length I added, whatever the book suggested (probably 8″ or 10″ – and then I cut some of it off when it came time for hemming). I did simplify mine a bit from the book – rather than line the hood and the pocket, I just turned under the seam allowances and stitched them down. The whole thing was sewn on my serger, other than the button holes (which my machine had no problem sewing, although I did back them with a little piece of fusible interfacing first), and the hems were done on my coverstitch machine. This fabric was very, very, very easy to work with – stable, not at all shifty of curly, and only shed a little bit when cut. It pressed nicely, which was great for getting those sharp hems.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

I originally envisioned a black drawstring for the hood, but red was all I had on hand. I actually like it! It’s a nice little sporty pop of color. God, I sound annoying.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

If you’re curious about my leggings – they are the Virginia leggings, made ages ago (in 2015, I think). My fabric is a wool knit from Paron in NYC. And those white lines are mock flatlocking done with my serger (where you sew the two layers together and pull them apart, or whatever it says to do in the instruction book I honestly I don’t remember haha) – which I 100% did because I didn’t have enough yardage to cut full length legs, so they had to be pieced. I added additional piecing so it would look intentional. It actually, in retrospect, looks kind of stupid, but honestly I usually wear these as long underwear so whatever I don’t care.

French Terry Stella Hoodie Dress

So that’s about it for this little dress! I actually quite like how it turned out – despite being apprehensive up until the very last minute of hemming. It’s cute and sporty and I feel cute in it. I think it will make for a good swimsuit coverup – but it also works as a cute little dress. As much as I didn’t like the fabric when receiving it, it works really well for this garment since it hold its structured shape. And since the garment is not close-fitting, the fabric isn’t scratchy or uncomfortable to wear. A very pleasant surprise!

In other news, if you’re still holding out for a good french terry, may I recommend this french terry from Mood Fabrics. I got a few yards of this and it is GREAT – super soft, super stretchy, super drapey, super bamboo (yas bamboo). Plus it comes in tons of colors!

**Note: The fabric used in this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. I also received the Stretch! book from Tilly & the Buttons as a gift, but was under no obligation to post a project from it (I just really like the book!). All opinions, as always, are my own!

Completed: Red Linen Lander Pants

20 Apr

Well, y’all, it’s official – I’ve given up on sewing any more cold weather clothes for this season (although I still have a coat project that I haven’t shared – yet!! Keep an eye out for that one; I promise it’s worth the wait!!). It may still be spring here with some seriously flip-flopping temperatures, but I’m planning for the heat that I now is coming!

Red Linen Lander Pants

First up, some new pants! Yah, I have ENOUGH pants, we are all aware of that – seriously, my pants drawer is a bit much! – but most of what I have are jeans and skinny pants, better suited for cooler weather. When it’s warm outside, I need some space between my legs and my pants so that I can catch that breeze! I have a great pair of linen Florence pants from Elizabeth Suzann, which I love but could use some improvements to better match my needs (pockets + a flat non-elastic waist, plus a sliiiiightly lighter weight linen). I do love the shape of those Florence pants, though – the wide leg is perfect for a warm-but-not-quite-warm-enough-for-shorts day, the cropped length looks great with both flats and heels, and the high waist means I can wear them with cropped shirts.

With these changes in mind, I find the Lander pants from True Bias fits all those needs. I still have the high waist, cropped length, and wide leg, but with a slimmer fit through the thigh, a flat waistband (no elastic!) and pockets. I’m not the sort of person who thinks pockets should be in EVERYTHING, but I do like them in my pants! And while I respect that a slim pant can’t always have a pocket without adding additional bulk, this pattern does a fine job of giving me a place to stash my stuff without ruining the sleek style lines.

Red Linen Lander Pants

Pattern in hand, the next task was to find a good linen that fit my needs and preferences. I wanted something with a lighter medium weight – not as heavy as the Florence pants (they can get a bit warm when humidity rises), but with enough heft to still look ok as a bottom weight and not be as prone to wrinkles as a light weight. Not to mention, color is important! My Florences are navy, so I wanted to try for a different color (as much as I love navy, I don’t need two pairs of navy linen pants!). I reached out to my friends at The Confident Stitch for some ideas and swatches, and y’all, did they deliver! I decided to go with the Vivaldi Linen in red, which was exactly the weight + color I was hoping for (Vivaldi linen also comes in other colors – royal blue and taupe – if red ain’t your thing! They also have a great Brussels Washer Linen from Robert Kaufman that I considered, but ultimate decided it was a hair too light for the pants look I was going for).

I washed + dried my linen 3 times to get as much shrinkage out before cutting (I have been told this also helps with preventing wrinkles, which I can’t say for sure if that’s true, but this linen hasn’t been very prone to wrinkling!), using hot water and high heat. While the color did not bleed, it did turn my dryer lint bright red which sometimes got on my clothes (I just brushed it off, it didn’t stain anything. But it did make for a delightful dryer discovery). This Vivaldi linen was absolutely lovely to work with – it pressed and sewed without any trouble, had minimal fraying (I used my serger to finish all seams to further cut down on fray potential) and I didn’t have any issues with it shifting around during cutting. Just a great experience overall!

Red Linen Lander Pants

Red Linen Lander Pants

Before sewing up my pants, I made a muslin of the shorts version to see if I had any fitting adjustments to make. Based on my measurements, I started with a size 2 but they were pretty tight. Letting out the side seams about 1/2″ (the pattern includes 1″ seam allowance at the side seams for fitting) gave me a much better fit. I also took out about 1/4″ in the length of the crotch, fading to nothing at the side seams.

For the pair in red linen, I went up to a size 4. The overall width of the legs and length of the crotch is good, however, the center back needed to be taken in quite a bit to account for my hip to waist ratio (I think this pattern is cut for a more straight figure). This is an EASY adjustment to make; you just try on the pants before you add the waistband and take in the center back as needed for a closer fit. I took out an extra 3/4″, but honestly could have stood to remove more (I didn’t want to risk making them too tight at the waist – which I am guilty of doing, like, often, so I’m wearing them with a belt to cinch them in a little more). I almost removed another 1/4″ from the side seams, because my linen has more give than the muslin.

I cut the pockets for the size 4, but I think they are too big for my frame, especially after taking in that center back. There are two back pocket sizes for this pattern – a small pocket (sizes 0 & 2) and a slightly larger size (4 and up). In retrospect, I should have cut the smaller sizes, which I will do for the next pair. I just think they are slightly too big and a little overwhelming on me.

Finally, the length is the exact length called for in the pattern for the cropped version. I am a hair under 5’3″ so I wasn’t sure if they would be too long on me. I actually think they could stand to be shortened maybe 1″, but several people told me they are the perfect length (to me, they look almost like they accidentally shrank in the wash!). I am not going to mess with this pair, but next pair I may shorten them just a bit.

Red Linen Lander Pants

Construction-wise, this pattern is great. I’ve made DOZENS of pants at this point, so I’m not exactly a n00b to this, though. I had no problem following along for the steps, including the button fly. One thing I would change for the next pair is to interface the fly shield because it can definitely use that support, especially when sewn up with a linen.

Lander pants in red linen

Lander pants in red linen

Lander pants in red linen

What else? I used bemberg rayon (a scrap in my stash) to line the front pockets, and the buttons are from my local fabric store, Textile Fabrics. Took me foreeeeever to find a perfect matching red but I’m so glad I did! As a side note, these flat photos were taken after wearing the pants around for a full day, so you can see exactly how much the linen wrinkles (i.e., not much at all!).

Red Linen Lander Pants

So I think that’s all for this post + project! I’ve already worn these pants several times (as the weather allows) and have really loved that they provide a little warmth and coverage while still being light and breathable when the sun starts getting crazy. The high waist works great with a lot of my crop tops, which I’m excited to bust out!

Big thanks to The Confident Stitch for sponsoring this post and making my red linen pants dreams come true! As a side note, the links used in this post are affiliate links and will net me a percentage of any purchases you make through that site if you click the link (which in turn gets dumped directly back into my FABRIC FUND amirite woohoo). Thank you for supporting my blog, y’all!