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Completed: Simplicity 9215

30 Sep

I don’t know exactly how long I’ve had this Simplicity 9215 pattern for, but it has been at least a few years. Maybe even a full decade.

Garfield Top

I originally bought it for the lol factor. I love these old licensed patterns – not necessarily anything hilarious about that – but the cover art is just something else. How cool is that kid with his (handmade)(but properly licensed) Garfield tshirt, matching shorts, and FANNY PACK*? How about those drawings? The cool sk8r boi with kneepads? The coonskin cap (and, bizarrely… wrist guards? Which would make more sense if he was also on wheels). Everything about it delights me to no end. I love it so much.

*It’s a fanny pack, y’all. Stop calling it a ~belt bag~ and get real here.

Garfield Top

Even better – the pattern still had the Garfield iron-on transfer intact. It was just a matter of time before I set about making it myself.

Garfield Top

The pattern actually has you applique the image, using fabric scraps for the main colors and then black thread for all the outlines. I intentionally bought very soft, lightweight knit fabric to sew up the shirt portion, and I was afraid the applique would make it too stiff and it wouldn’t hang right (and while I considered using jersey for my applique pieces, I didn’t want to go through the headache of trying to find the right colors that were also a similar weight). So rather than use fabric, I decided to paint the entire thing directly to the front of my shirt. I did still use the iron-on transfer to get the lines in the right spot – but as this pattern is over 30 years old, it didn’t *completely* transfer so I ended up re-drawing a lot of the lines before starting to paint. After that was done, I spent an afternoon with a small paintbrush and tulip brand fabric paint (this is literally the same brand I bought, and yes it’s from Walmart. Keepin it cheap today, guys!) filling in all the areas with color. After a few coats, I outlined everything with puffy 3D paint (obviously black, not turquoise, but I’m not seeing black on the website for some reason).

Here’s a fun (and also disappointing) fact about modern puffy paint – it’s not actually 3 dimensional! All the beautiful dimension totally flattened as it dried (and before you @ me, I will point out that I grew up during the Puffy Paint Renaissance and yes I know how to apply this shit properly), which is a little surprising considering that they say right on the bottle that it should be 3D. Alas.

Garfield Top

I let my masterpiece dry for a few days before moving onto step 2 (also, hello sparkly cat patch!). Step 2 was sewing it into a shirt, spoiler.

Garfield Top

Garfield Top

Yes, I used the pattern pieces to make the shirt! My copy of the pattern was already cut into a size Small, but after comparing the finished measurements to my own body measurements, I knew that it would fit me just fine. I added about 1/2″ to the side seams for some extra insurance/wiggle room, but ended up removing it when I tried the shirt on. I probably could have swung a little FBA to add more boob room to the front but tbh I’m not that concerned about it.

The fabric is a wonderful organic cotton jersey knit from Blackbird Fabrics (I used a light heathered grey colorway, which I’m not seeing on their website at this time). I was aiming for an “old and loved vintage tshirt” look, which I think this perfectly emcompasses. It was also relatively stable, which meant it was easy to paint on. I used my serger to sew everything together, and coverstitched the hems and sleeve and neck bands.

Garfield Top

The fabric paint instructions have you heat set the paint to keep it bright and intact, but since I was going for a vintage look I chose to skip that step. Look at the difference between the finished Garfield and the one I’m wearing – it faded quite a bit! All of the fading happened in the initial wash – I’ve worn and washed this piece plenty throughout the summer and it really hasn’t faded more than what you see here. And if you can’t tell from the photos – the paint dried to a nice flexible finish, so the image isn’t stiff at all. It feels pretty similar to a screen print.

Garfield Top

Garfield Top

These photos were also taken at Clutch Camera while teaching my second jeans workshop for Josephine’s Dry Goods while I was in Portland OR earlier this year! All weird poses are courtesy of me feeling awkward in front of the camera (I mean, that’s not new – but having an audience is).

We also had a fog machine available, so I’d like to introduce you to my band: LLADYBIRD and the Jeans Queens. Unfortunately I did not have time to make a proper pair of graphic shorts or a fanny pack, sorry.

Garfield Top

Anyway, this was a fun project that gave a nice breath of fresh air to the things I’m used to making. I feel like it focused more on the artistic/creative side of sewing (not that sewing is not creative, but I was literally painting a picture to make this piece), similar to the stuff I was into when I originally started making my own clothes. I used to dress real goofy, which is something I’ve lost over the years (prob because I’m not 16 anymore, who would have guessed?), and it has been fun trying to incorporate a little bit of that back into my sewing practice + wardrobe.

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Completed: Bathroom Update + New Shower Curtain!

22 May

WHAT UP FOLKS it’s time for my yearly home decor sewing post 😛

Bathroom Update!

I actually don’t mind this sort of sewing – it’s certainly not something that I would do for income (past Lauren has been there, done that. Ooh, fun fact – I sewed curtains for this guy’s house once for a feature in Better Homes & Gardens lol y’all I can’t make this shit up), but it’s a fun sort of puzzle that requires some mental energy upfront (good) with lots of mindless making once you’ve passed that peak (even better). And, while it’s definitely not cheaper than buying something from Target, it is definitely the least expensive way to have custom soft goods in your home. There is a reason why this shit costs so much to have made – it’s a lot of work!

Anyway, I’ll get back to the whole point of this post! My updated bathroom! Let’s start with a series of before photos:

Bathroom Update - the before

Bathroom Update - the before

Bathroom Update - the before

This pretty close to how the bathroom looked when I first moved into my house. By the time this photo was taken, I had already made a few changes – for once, I changed out the mirror (the original one was just some cheap $25 mirror with a black frame that I’m sure the sellers slapped in at the last minute). I also added a curved shower rod and some hooks to hang towels and toilet paper. Those updates were fine for while I was still unpacking and setting up, but now that the house is in a “normal” state I am ready to really get started on the fun updates!

The main thing I wanted to do was repaint the room. The sellers had everything painted this same shade of gray, I guess to help sell the house to make it look a little more modern and trendy. They also painted all the doors, and some of the window frames, black. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a reasonably inoffensive gray, and I totally get if that’s your thing. More power to you, etc. But, gray is NOT my thing, and now that I can I’m gonna paint every fucking room in this house. It’s been a slow process (I currently have the kitchen & studio changed to white, plus now this room), mostly delayed due to paint color debates. The idea for this coral came pretty quickly, and once I’d decided on the color I got to go on the adventure of finding the right decor items to finish out the space. At some point I’d love to change the flooring to something less grey – however, that laminate is brand-new and I don’t see a point in ripping up a perfectly functional floor so the grey floor stays for now.

Bathroom Update!

Bathroom Update!

The paint color is “Simply Coral” by Behr (edit: Update, the paint is actually by Valspar. I don’t know why I said Behr!) (I know, riveting name choice there). I painted this on a Saturday afternoon, leaving it overnight to do the 3rd coat first thing in the morning. Yes, 3 coats! Despite this gray being fairly light, it did take a bit of effort to get full coverage! Which wasn’t too bad, due to the wainscotting and shower liner taking up most of the wallspace in this tiny room. Also, I feel like it’s worth noting that I actually took some extra effort with this project, including taping off the edges (I am actually really good at edging with an angled brush, but there were so many tight angles in this room that it made sense to take the extra time to tape everything off. Just so we are clear, I still managed to get paint on the ceiling and door trim haha), waiting for the paint to properly dry between coats, and actually doing that third coat (even though 2 would have been “good enough.”). Since I know I’m going to be in this house for an indefinite amount of time – and any poorly done projects will eventually need to be fixed by, well, ME – I really want to do things right!

Bathroom Update!

Anyway, sorry to go on so long about painting! There is a sewing purpose to this post, I swear! Because I made the shower curtain! I actually was not planning on doing this – I am perfectly happy to pay someone else (i.e., a manufacturer) to do my home decor sewing so that I don’t have to. However, I had a specific vision in mind that was apparently impossible to fill! Everything I found was either the wrong colors, bad proportions (I didn’t want leaves that were, like, 5′ long haha) or just didn’t look quite right. The few that I did find that were passable were either 1. Printed directly on plastic, which imho just looks really cheap and was not the look I was necessarily going for! or; 2. Quite expensive (more than twice what I was willing to pay), but not necessarily good enough to warrant the splurge. I am happy to pay extra if I’m getting exactly what I want, but in this case I was not. After a couple weeks of looking, I came to terms with the fact that I’d probably have to sew my own and took a look at some of the home decor offerings on Mood Fabrics. And – lo and behold – my perfect fabric was waiting for me! This tropical home decor print ticked off all the right boxes – medium weight with a nice hanging drape, a beautiful texture that adds some visual interest, and a print with the right colors, proportions, and randomness. This fabric actually comes in a few colors, but I chose the dark green because I thought it would look best with my coral.

Bathroom Update!

Bathroom Update!

I bought 3.5 yards, which put me right at my limit for my monthly allowance. This amount was sufficient, however, a full 4 yards would have been perfect in retrospect. Due to minor fabric limitations, I didn’t have *quite* enough to get the full length that I wanted (more on that in a minute), but I am still pretty happy with the end result!

Before I started sewing, I had to do some basic math so I’d know what dimensions to cut everything to. Funny, this actually isn’t the first shower curtain I’ve ever made – I recall sewing a black one about 10 years ago for a bathroom redo (actually, I’m pretty sure that’s around the same that I bought these curtain hooks HAHA)– but it has definitely been a looong time time I have embarked on this endeavor, and furthermore, I’m definitely a better seamstress now than I was back then!

Bathroom Update!

To start, I measured my current shower curtain and wrote those numbers down (68″ wide by 71.5″ long, which I think is pretty standard). I then added in seam allowances, which gave me cutting dimensions of 69.5″ wide and 75.5″ long. My fabric is only 55″ wide, which meant I did not have quite enough for the full width. And, while 3.5 yards sound like an ass load of fabric – when you cut it in half lengthwise, you only end up with 63″ in length and you will recall that I needed nearly 10″ more than that for my length. Hence why getting the full 4 yards – or even a little more than that – would have been more sufficient. Oh well! I knew going into this that I would need to piece my fabric, but upon receiving the whole piece I realized that the scattered and random print would not lend itself well to matching, which meant a seam right down the middle of the curtain would look pretty shitty. So instead, I pieced along either side of the curtain, adding side panels that were approximately 7.25″ wide. Having them on either side makes them look intentional, I think, and doesn’t make the unmatched design look as jarring. I sewed these on with flat-felled seams, which, again, I think makes it look a bit more intentional.

To preserve as much length as possible, I used leftover fabric (after piecing the sides) to add facings to the top and bottom of the curtain. By using a 1/4″ seam allowance, I only lost about 1/2″ in total which keeps the curtain from being too short. With the hem being 1″ and the top taking about 3″ of fabric (as it is turned the full amount twice), I was able to save quite a bit of length by doing this! I think adding a trim to the bottom – such as a pom pom trim or even a fringe! – would look really cute as well as add some length, but I haven’t found anything I like yet so, current length certainly works for now 🙂

Anyway, once I had my dimensions figured out and my plan written down, the sewing part was very easy and relatively mindless! I pressed all my edges and topstitched with matching thread, added my facings and understitched and topstitched, then sewed the button holes along the top edge for the curtain hooks. I used my old curtain to help me get the spacing right, and then sat and waited while my machine sewed 12 buttonholes. LOL. Interestingly, I did not use interfacing for this part. The original curtain does not use it, so I decided to go with their lead. Since the fabric at the top is turned twice, there are plenty of layers behind the buttonhole for stability. And since I am not using the buttonhole very frequently, there’s not a lot of wear happening up there so I think the uninterfaced part is fine. Time will tell!

All in all, I spent about 3 hours on this project. That included all the measuring, cutting, and sewing. Obviously with the cost of the fabric, this was not a money-saving project – but it could be, if you used less expensive fabric. For me, it was a way to get exactly what I wanted and I could not be more thrilled with the outcome. I especially loved figuring out ways to solve the puzzle of getting this to work with the amount of fabric that I had.

Bathroom Update!

Bathroom Update!

Oh! One last update I did – I added some color to the mirror. I’ve actually had that mirror for many years (I bought in my early 20s, from a thrift store for a solid $24.99), and it’s changed colors a few times as well as moved from room to room. It’s also gone through a few repairs, but it still hanging out strong! Like I mentioned, the original mirror in this bathroom was really boring and uninspiring, but as soon as I saw it I knew I could replace it with something more fun! I wasn’t terribly thrilled with how the plain creamy white frame looked in the bathroom, so for fun I used my coral paint to color in the flowers. It’s a very slight update but I really love the way it looks!

Bathroom Update!

This was a really fun project to work on, and surprisingly not too expensive when all was said and done! Here’s a cost breakdown of all my updates:
– Paint: $36 – I only needed about 1/2 a gallon (Lowes)
– Shower curtain: c/o Mood Fabrics (price would have been $104.95 without my allowance, though!)
– New bath rug: $24.99 (Walmart)
– Towels: Approximately $100~ (Target) (I don’t have an accurate amount since I bought them in phases, so this is just an estimate. Also, new towels definitely aren’t necessary but I have been wanting to replace mine for a while so I used this as an excuse! Buying towels specifically to match my bathroom sure feels grown-up lol)
– Wicker Shelf: $8 (Nashville Flea Market) (fun story: I offered the guy $10 for this shelf and he haggled me DOWN to $8! What!!)
Plants: The one on the windowsill was a cutting from my mom, in a vase that I got from a wedding. So, free! The one on the shelf was $9 from Lowes.
Make-up Mirror: $4.99 (Ikea)
Towel hooks (silver): $.499 (Ikea)
Hand towel hook (lemon): $1 (Nashville Flea Market)
Window Privacy film: $13 (Amazon)
Monstera Leaf Painting: Painted by me! Eventually I’d like to build a simple frame and hang it on the wall.
I also changed out the light fixture globes, although I don’t have a before photo of what used to be there! (I tried to find a photo and Google is failing me… imagine a shallow glass shade. Believe me when I say it looked terrible.) These came from Habitat for Humanity and were $6 for both. Eventually I’d like to replace these with something that looks like flowers, but they are good enough for now!

Bathroom Update!

ANYWAY I guess that about wraps this post up! I am really happy with how the bathroom turned out – it brings me joy just to be in there now! And as an added bonus, coral is a SUPER flattering color for me, so I basically am always feeling my look when I’m getting ready in the morning haha.

I’m not sure what room I want to work on next, but I’m excited regardless – I feel like this house is one big neverending art project, and I am here for it!

** Note: The fabrics used in this project were provided to me in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!

Completed: Cherry Print Knit Boylston Bra

4 Apr

What’s up everyone! I’m bringing it back a little old school today with a lingerie project – yes! I haven’t shared one of these in ages, since I feel like they can get a little redundant to talk about (I mean for me specifically, as the writer. How many times can you discuss the same pattern repeatedly before you get bored as hell? Yeahhh I’m not doing that!). But this project in particular is a little different and I think warrants its own blog discussion. So here we are!

Also, side note – I’m in the airport lounge as I write this and despite trying to find a sneaky little place where no one could see behind me, I think I failed and undoubtedly there is someone who is watching me upload photos of my underwear to the internet. So, there’s that too.

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Anyway, about the bra in question! This is the Boylston pattern from Orange Lingerie. I’ve made this pattern a few times in the past, but it has admittedly been a minute since I whipped one up. My cup size has changed in the past couple of years, and while I wasn’t entirely sure what the new size was, I knew it wasn’t whatever I had been previously sewing. This is a balconette-style pattern, but it was, um, VERY balconette on me haha. I know one of the biggest hesitations that people have with starting to sew lingerie is the understanding that your first project(s) may not fit! And while I totally believe that it’s not an absolute waste if you were able to learn from the process, it still really sucks to make something that doesn’t fit the way you intended! This is where I stood with Boylston (and honestly, most bra patterns) until I finally sucked it up and just tried out a cup size bigger to see what would happen. And guess what?? EVERYTHING WAS FINE.

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

So that’s where this bra comes into play! I made the size 30DD, which is exactly the right amount of cup coverage (finally!). For fabric, this bra is made with… wait for it… jersey knit! Yes! Ever since this pattern was released, I have been DYING to try it in a jersey, which I believe was originally suggested by Norma in the big reveal. Since this pattern relies on foam cups, you can use pretty much any fabric as that area is already stabilized. I fell in love with the idea, but honestly, it took me almost this long to find a fabric that I felt deserved to be made into a bra.

My jersey knit is from Mood Fabrics and it was one of those last-minute purchases that grabbed my attention when I was filling up my cart and I just couldn’t say no. Y’all know I love a good cherry print – however, I don’t wear light blue. But it was on saleeee and it was cherriessss and I just… well it arrived at my house and I had to do something with it. This print was a great contender for turning into a bra as it is reasonably stable (not super flimsy and lightweight, like the knits I like to wear as garments) and the print is small so it’s not totally cut up by the pattern pieces. This specific fabric is unfortunately sold out, but Mood Fabrics has tons of other fun prints available on their website. The Cotton Jersey Prints specifically is the line that I pulled this one from, FYI!

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

After I pre-washed my fabric, I cut a small yardage off and block fused the entire thing with lightweight fusible weft interfacing. I wanted the knit fabric to be stable so that it would be easy to handle, and also work for a bra pattern (this pattern does not call for stretch fabrics, except at the very back band, so you want to stabilize your fabric in order for the garment to fit properly). Once the fabric was fused, I then cut all my pieces except for the back band (which, again, needs to remain stretchy). I also cut the cups out of foam, the bridge and frame pieces with sheer cup lining, and the back band pieces with medium weight powermesh. I like my bras to be lined (hence the sheer cup lining) and the powermesh was needed to keep the uninterfaced knit back pieces from stretching out over time.

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Once all that was cut, this project sat in a WIP box for about a month. Ha! (not for lack of wanting to sew – but for traveling + moving house!) But once I was back in Sew Mode, this came together in a couple of hours! I raided my stash for notions and was pretty pleased with how well everything matches! I’m actually trying not to stash lingerie notions anymore (it can be really obnoxious to have everything you need for a project except some weird width of elastic in a particular color, or whatever) and in the future will just buy on a per-project basis. But in the meantime – I need to work through my stash. Other than the cherry fabric, this was 100% a stash-busting project! Yeah!

One question I get pretty frequently whenever I post a lingerie project is whether the pattern (whatever pattern I’m sewing) is good for a first-time bra sewer. While I do generally recommend Orange Lingerie as a good resource for first bra patterns (my first bra was a Marlborough!), I honestly would not recommend the Boylston for your *very* first. Making and inserting the foam cups can be a little confusing, and if you’re already embarking on a new adventure in lingerie then you probably don’t want to add any more stress than necessary! Once you’ve sewn up a bra or two and understand the general idea of how they are put together, though, I think this is a great next project!

After I finished the bra, I had enough fabric left over to make some matching undies!

Acacia Undies made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

I used the knit fabric (uninterfaced, to retain the stretch), and finished the edges with red fold over elastic. The pattern is the Acacia Underwear from Megan Nielsen patterns. These were super fast to sew and look really cute with my new bra!

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

I actually have tons of this fabric leftover (I think I bought 2 yards and lingerie sewing just barely sips on fabric yardage), so I may make some matching knit PJs. It’s a little too thick for what I like to wear as a tshirt, and the color isn’t something I’d reach for in the every day – but who knows, maybe wearing this set will change my mind 😉

Boylston Bra made with Cherry Cotton Knit from Mood Fabrics

Anyway, I think I’ve waxed poetic enough about this pattern *and* I’m pretty sure they just swapped out breakfast for lunch at the buffet which I desperately need to investigate so consider this blog post officially done!

Have you tried this pattern before in a knit fabric?

** 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!

Competed: Wiksten Haori

14 Mar

Good morning, everyone! I started this post a couple of weeks ago while I was waiting in the airport, and I’m just now finding time to revisit (naturally, while in the airport AGAIN. Yes, class season is ramping back up woohoo!). My February has been weirdly busy – I worked on two massive photoshoots, and also represented the Craft South booth at Quilt Con here in Nashville! On a more personal note, February was the 2 year anniversary of my dad’s passing, and, as it did last year, shit hit me like a ton of bricks. And finally, I bought a house! I closed last week and have been tackling my to-do list like crazy to get everything ready before I move in.

The bad news is – there has been very little time for sewing (to be honest – I haven’t touched my sewing machine since, well, February!). But the good news is – a new studio is a-coming 😉 I took some photos of a couple of completed projects so I have something to share here, now the challenge is finding the time to sit down and type everything up!

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

Today’s offering is something that has been finished since January, which means it has gotten a lot of use during recent months. My current house (the rental that I’m fixin to move out of), is a beautiful 1935 stone Tudor. Built before central a/c (which has been retrofitted in this house now, thank god!), and located in a very hot part of the country – this is a house that was designed to stay cool. It’s quite lovely in the summer, but LORD it stays chilly in the winter! And due to the old windows, plaster walls, and overall poor insulation – there’s not really much of a point in trying to keep the place warm, as the (really expensive, I should add) gas heat just slips right out. So I spend most of my winters wrapped in robes, electric blankets, and rolling a space heater around each room. Not gonna lie – as much as I love this house, the chill is one thing I will NOT miss! I’ve been wearing the robe I made when I first moved in, but it’s always made me feel like… well, like I’m wearing pajamas. Don’t get me wrong – it is warm and cozy and certainly serves its purpose, but I don’t even like to answer the door in this thing because I know it straight-up looks like I rolled out of bed when I have it on. I do work from home, but I still put on “real” clothes and style my hair. Wearing PJs makes me feel like I am having a sick day, and that’s exactly the vibes this robe was giving me. I wanted to make something that would serve a purpose of keeping me warm while inside my house, but still look pulled together enough to wear outside the house should I choose to do so.

So, anyway – that was an unnecessarily long intro to tell you that I made a Wiksten Haori, which is sort of like a literal house coat as far as I’m concerned.

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

This plaid flannel from Mood Fabrics has been rolling around in my stash for about 2 years now. I originally bought it to make an Archer button-up, but upon receiving I realized it was a bit too heavy for a shirt – and also a bit too light to be a proper coat. I’ve hung onto it since, and while some pattern contenders have certainly caught my eye, it has remained uncut this entire time. Once I acknowledged my need for a house coat, I remembered this fabric and decided to give it a go. Being a nice thick wool flannel, it is perfect for this application – it is warm and cozy, but still reasonably lightweight. And the colors just make so me happy (even if they don’t necessarily coordinate well with my all-black-tragic-goth look that I typically wear in the winter). I bought this fabric long ago enough that it is no longer available, but Mood Fabrics has tons of other lovely wool flannels to choose from should you want to make your own!

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

This jacket is fully lined, and rather than go with a traditional slippery lining, I kept things casual with a matching lightweight cotton voile. This jacket is oversized enough that it’s easy to put on (including the sleeves), and the nature of how this is sewn means that it is completely reversible. Also, cotton voile is incredibly easy to handle, which made the sewing on this jacket a total breeze.

For the pattern, I sewed a size XS based on my measurements, although in retrospect I think the XXS might have been a little better. This is a nice oversized fit that works over multiple layers, but the sleeves are a bit wide and they get in the way when I’m trying to wash the dishes (or even my hands, for that matter). I usually wear them slightly rolled up to bracelet length, so they are out of the way but can easily be rolled down if I need the extra warmth. I waffled on which length to sew (there are 3 lengths included in the pattern) but ultimately decided on the happy medium of the mid-length. I’m pretty satisfied with this decision, and I had just enough fabric to make everything work.

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

I used the main fabric for the neckband, rather than the lining contrast, as the pattern calls for. I also opted to not interface the neckband pieces, since my wool flannel is so thick and didn’t really need the extra support. This also gives the jacket a bit of a softer structure, which I think is nice for a house robe. For visual interest, I cut the pockets on the bias. Since they are lined with che cotton voile cut on the straight grain, they should stay supported and not stretch out.

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

So. About this fabric. It was super easy to sew + press (it is, after all, wool flannel), but in retrospect this pattern really isn’t suited for a plaid design. I promise I actually did try to match the plaid lines – which was reasonably successful at the side seams, but failed miserably anywhere the sleeves were involved. OH WELL. I figure – this is a house coat, I don’t give a shit if it’s less than perfect. Even with mismatched plaid lines, it is still lightyears ahead of of the old fuzzy robes I used to wear.

Wiksten Haori made with Mood Fabrics

I made this jacket out of a pretty desperate need (it was quickly getting cold and I couldn’t face another winter of wearing my old robe around the house), which means the sewing was a little rushed. The pattern is super easy – it’s just a series of rectangles, for the most part – but I always find rushed sewing to be kind of unpleasant. To be completely honest with y’all, I did not really enjoy sewing this jacket at all specifically for that reason. Plus, when I finished it and put it on for the first time, I was pretty underwhelmed with how it looked on me. It is REALLY oversized and boxy, which isn’t necessarily a look that I tend to gravitate to. It is, however, very comfortable – and very warm – and as far as the type of garment I was aiming to make, it pretty much fit the bill perfectly.

I will say – despite my initial reaction after finishing, this jacket has really grown on me! Like I said, it is warm and comfortable – like being wrapped in a cozy blanket. The pockets are absolutely enormous, too – like, big enough to hide a kitten in (I think. Does anyone have a kitten I can borrow to test this theory?). I’ve taken to wearing this when I need to pop out to the grocery store or to check the mail, and the pockets are really useful for replacing my need to carry a purse. So, this is basically a blanket with storage. Like, what more do you need in life?

** 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: Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

13 Feb

I don’t think I need to introduce anyone to the sewing superstar Gertie, right? The sewing blogger, pattern writer, fabric designer, and workshop leader WHO LOOKS LIKE A LITERAL PORCELAIN DOLL (not even exaggerating… it would be maddening if she wasn’t also an incredibly delightful person to interact with!)? Yes. That one. If you don’t know who she is – well, welcome to the online sewing community! Now read up on the OG superstars!

I’ve followed Gertie for years – she’s actually the reason why I started my blog! – and cheered her on with every new business venture. While my tastes have definitely skewed away from vintage style, I still really love to see the stuff that she puts out. When Gertie was in Nashville last year for a workshop, she brought a few patterns from her new line, Charm Patterns, and I picked up the Rita blouse to try out. I like this pattern that it does look vintage, but not quite so costumey (no hate on y’all who do the costumey vintage; I fucking LOVE it but it just really isn’t a style I like to wear these days).

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

I always get bored with sewing winter stuff around this time of year – although I feel like this year it started a bit earlier. I’m also making a bigger effort to work my way through my stash, both patterns and fabric. I remembered this pattern a couple of weeks ago and decided to sew a test version. When I bought the pattern, I originally envisioned using a beautiful Dolce & Gabbana stretch silk with it, but I wanted to try the pattern with a less precious fabric before committing.

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

The test fabric is actually… wait for it… fabric from Gertie’s fabric line! Ha! I don’t see it available on her website now, but it’s a lightweight cotton with a really brilliant, colorful print. I received this fabric as the winner of a giveaway on Gertie’s old blog, back in like… 2015. Ouch. I actually got a few fabrics, as well Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book. Truth be told, this fabric isn’t completely my style… I don’t wear lot of florals, I don’t wear much black in the summer (and to me, this is a summer print) and I also don’t wear this shade of blue. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely fabric… it just doesn’t fit well with my wardrobe. And, of course, I got something crazy like 4 yards of it. So when I was looking for a fabric to use in a test Rita, I rediscovered this piece and thought – eh, why not? No huge loss if it doesn’t work out, but I’ll still prob wear it if it *does*.

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

I’ve never sewn a Charm Pattern before, so I paid close attention to the size chart when choosing my size. There isn’t a lot of guidance on how to choose your size, so I just went with what my measurements are. The part I found most confusing was the underbust measurement – it seemed really tiny. And with a 27″ underbust, mine is already quite small! I was a little concerned about the amount of ease there, as I didn’t want it to be too tight if I take a deep breath. I ended up going with a size 4 and a C cup, again, this is based off my measurements.

I think the fit is pretty much spot on. There’s a little bit of ease around the waist, a lot of ease at the bust for all those gathers, and the bottom flares out a little for your hips. I think the pattern looks and fits exactly as it was intended to. And as far as the underbust – it’s perfectly comfortable. So yay for that!

Construction-wise, this was easy to sew. The hardest part was feeding the elastic through the channeling – the pattern has you create a 3/8″ wide channel for the 1/4″ elastic, and I must have made mine a bit smaller than that as I had a really hard time getting my elastic to relax out completely despite lots and lots of effort. I ended up shortening the elastic around the arms by about 1″ and the neckline something like 4″. I feel the arms are ok, but the neckline is slightly tighter than I’d like and it feels like it wants to pull up at the bust.

I serged all the seams as a sewed them (together, not pressed open like the pattern suggests. This is a test blouse, ain’t nobody got time for that!). There is an invisible zipper at the side; mine is a little shorter than the pattern calls for as it was all I had in my stash, but I don’t have any problem getting in or out of the shirt.

This was a quick project; I had everything traced and cut in about an hour, then the blouse sewn up the next afternoon minus the hems. Hemmed it the next morning and wore it out to see a friend that afternoon. Not too bad!

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

So… I think the blouse does look cute, and I like the way it looks in photos. I’m still not totally convinced that it is something I want to wear, though, both in style and due to fabric choice. It feels a little dressier than what I’m accustomed to. I originally envisioned wearing this tucked into my black pants, but the side invisible zipper makes a weird lump when I tuck it (this may not be an issue with something that is a true high waist – like, over the belly button). It doesn’t look bad untucked, but I’m not crazy about it. I like it, but I don’t LOVE it. And I have decided that there isn’t space in my wardrobe for things that I don’t actually love. I have enough clothes as it is!

I think I may actually remove part of the bottom and attach a skirt to it, and just turn the entire thing into a dress. I think that might be a better use of this fabric (especially since I have so much more of it leftover!) and I would enjoy wearing that more than the top. It would certainly be fun to wear in the summer, and lord knows I won’t wear pants when it’s hot out! And yeah it’s gonna be costumey AF, but I’m kind of loving that idea.

Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

Anyway, just thinking out loud! In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t use my special D&G fabric to make this as, like I said, I’m not 100% on the style. I am interested to see if that opinion changes when I swap out for a skirt. I need to dig through my patterns and see if I have something suitable, and I will return with an update!