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Completed: Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

3 Jan

Happy 2017, everyone!! I’m going to kick off this year with one of my last makes from 2016 – featuring some uhhh-mazing leopard print silk charmeuse!

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Having spent the last 1-2 years of my sewing working on essential wardrobe basics, my handmade wardrobe is quite practical these days. Lots of pants and jeans, lots of tshirts and button ups, lots of comfortable and stylish casual sundresses. I feel really good about where I’m at when it comes to those needs, and as I mentioned before – right now I am just updating the old/worn out and not really scrambling around to make new stuff anymore. WITH THAT BEING SAID, I ended up with a surprising hole in my wardrobe – fancy dresses! This is somewhat hilarious to me, considering I spent the first several years of my sewing career endlessly making frilly party dresses that I rarely wore (or stopped wearing after I got over the novelty of wearing a party dress to, say, the bar. Hey, if that’s your jam, you keep doing you! Me, I will put on leggings and a giant sweater instead haha). I ended up with a closetful of impractical clothing, and have spent all these years trying to rectify that with the practical. I also did a bunch of purging with what was already hanging around, getting rid of things that no longer fit (or never fit right in the first place) or in colors/styles that I didn’t feel like suited me.

I have done such a great job that once the holiday season hit, I quickly realized that I have nothing to wear. lolwut.

I still have my glorious Marc Jacobs birds dress (which is still my favorite favorite thing EVER), this blue cotton sateen dress via the Sew Bossy challenge, and my sparkly brocade skirt. Both of these have been great to have for festive holiday parties, or the occasional wedding ceremony, or that one fancy date that I get to on on like every 6 months. I am also totally not opposed to wearing the same thing multiple times – having been the sort of person who needed a new dress for every occasion, I would rather now just have a handful of things I really really love that I know I look and feel good in – I felt that it was time to give myself permission to make another fancy dress. Just in time for the holiday season to end, ha! Whatever, I’ll take myself out for a steak date and wear this shit!

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

After some deliberation, I ended up with Simplicity 6266, cos I just can’t get enough of that 70s mock-wrap neckline and those sweet tulip sleeves. Honestly, I wanted to make this version with the long sleeves – but I didn’t have enough fabric to cut everything (which, in restrospect, was probably for the best – I think that sort of style would do better in a solid color. That much leopard print could be overwhelming!) because I’d already cut a little bit off and used it to make a bra. I’ve made this pattern before twice (one and two), and yes, I realize that I basically just made a duplicate of the first version. I totally still have that dress – after a couple rounds of alterations when my weight started changing – and I love it, but the polyester content of the fabric makes it not such a great choice for summer. I’ve always wanted to make another version in a more breathable fabric, so here we are.

My leopard print silk charmeuse is from Mood Fabrics, and while it hung around on the site for months after I bought it, it’s sold out now. I think it was originally Rag and Bone, and it’s been in my stash since 2015 hahaha. It’s a nice weight with a gorgeous drape, and I gave it a cold wash before cutting which helped make the shiny side a little more matte (and now I can wash this dress like any other old thing in my laundry basket, ha!). The shiny side was still a little too shiny for my tastes, so I used the matte side as the right side of my fabric. The added bonus to doing this is that the dress feels REAL nice on the inside now, heh heh heh.

I wanted to try a new way to stabilize the silk for this project – in the past I’ve used Sullivan’s Spray Stabilizer, which works GREAT but it can be $$$. I was tipped off to try using gelatine – yes, basically unflavored Jell-o – and I decided this was the project to test this theory with. You can read the full instructions on how to do this here, but basically – you cook the gelatine in water until it boils, add more water, stir in your fabric and let it sit for an hour to soak everything up, then wring it out and lay it flat to dry. I folded mine in half lengthwise and then used a series of chairs and my drying rack to get it as smooth as possible so it would dry reasonably flat. Once the fabric was dry, it had a much more stiff body – similar to a silk organza before you pre-wash it. To remove the gelatine, you just wash the garment as normal (so, this will only work with something that’s been pre-treated – you can’t use it to sew something you wouldn’t wash, such as a coat lining that’s not removable) and it will soft right back up to how it was originally. It’s still not the easiest thing in the world to sew – I mean, we are talking about silk charmeuse here, y’all, it’s never going to be completely fool-proof – but it was a HELLUVA lot easier to manhandle than it had been before the treatment.

Because of the gelatine treatment, assembling this dress was reasonably easy. I used a brand new, 70/10 sharp needle to sew it, and finished all my seams with a serger and then pressed them open (I know that traditionally you sew silk with French seams – and this is what I usually do – but I was anticipating alterations with this. More on that in a sec). For the hems, I turned them under 1/4″ twice and blind-stitched them by hand. The stiffness of the fabric only moderately affects things, if you’re a fit-as-you-sew kind of person (I am!) – as in, the fit is still accurate, but everything just kind of hangs weird because it’s lacking that drape. My sleeves in particular looked RIDICULOUS, but they are fine now that they are soft again. I left off all the topstitching, except at the waist (only because I felt like the silk needed the topstitching for extra stability), and sewed the ties together into a removable waist tie instead of attached at the side seams. Oh, and I used an invisible zipper instead of a lapped zipper. I added a strip of fusible interfacing to both edges of the dress where the zipper would go, which keeps the area smooth and supported.

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

I did have some snafus with the fit on this dress, which at least I was anticipating. See, my pattern isn’t exactly my size – it’s for a 33″ bust, and I’m closer to 32″. This is why I had to take in the original cheetah version, and I had some fitting tweaks that needed to be made on the polka dot one as well. With both dresses, I didn’t actually record my changes – so I had to start from scratch, again. Awesome. For this dress, I sewed the side seams and shoulder seams at 3/4″, instead of the usual 5/8″. This helped a bit – the dress still isn’t super tight, but I like the drape of charmeuse with a little bit of ease. Interestingly, it was the sleeves that gave me trouble with this dress. First, I sewed them with the wrong side on top – and I didn’t notice until after I had finished the dress (including all the serging) and I was comparing it to the original cheetah version. They look really awful when they are the wrong way, in case you were wondering – and I had to unpick and resew them. Also, the shoulders were strangely wide on this dress – the armscye was the correct depth (thanks to that 3/4″ seam allowance), but the sleeves started past the edge of my shoulder and it was channeling some serious linebacker shit. Of course, I noticed this AFTER I had fixed the sleeves – and I wasn’t about to unpick that shit again! So I added a 1/2″ tuck on top of the shoulder, which only goes about 2″ and then folds into a soft pleat over the bust and down the back. This was enough to pull in the sleeve cap so it actually started where a sleeve cap was supposed to start – and also made the bodice fit a little better, too. It’s not the most elegant of solutions – it’s a total hack job, tbh – but it worked!

I also tacked down the center front invisibly, because the dress wanted to gape open (probably cos my boobs don’t quite fill it out lolz).

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

As a side note, I am trying a new spot to take photos. I had a few people tell me that my other location was too distracting, and, well, it totally is haha πŸ™‚ I don’t know why I never tried this wall – it’s pretty empty and gets ok light. What’s weird is how different it looks with me standing there vs the dress form (I took all these photos in one session). The background is boring as hell but it’s not like anyone is here for my stunning photography. Also I’m not really sure how to get rid of that giant shadow behind me.

And because I’ve gotten some comments on it recently – the thing I’m holding is my camera remote (my camera is old and the only remote that works with it has a giant antennae), not a screwdriver hahaha.

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Anyway, thanks for all of your great comments and insights on my last post. I had a great time ringing in 2017 and I look forward to what this year has to offer!

Note: The leopard print silk charmeuse was purchased with my allowance from Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Chambray Tencel Butterick 5526

3 Oct

Well, surprise surprise…. I am back again with – you guessed it! – another button-up shirt. Ha! Is this all I wear these days? Probably. I’ve been sewing – and making button-ups – for years at this point, but it still tickles me to no end that I can get them to fit every part of my body without bagginess or gaping. To hell with all those tiny safety pins and double-sided tape – I finally have buttons where the buttons need to go! Yay!

So now, my wardrobe is just slowly filling up with the button-ups of my dreams. Also, button-ups are really really really fun to make. You like making jeans and bras? You’ll love making button-ups. So many tiny pieces with lots of precise topstitching I LURVES IT β™₯

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

When I was in NYC earlier this year, I made some time during my trip for a couple hours at Mood Fabrics flagship store in the Garment District. Since I live way way outside of NYC, I don’t generally get this opportunity except once or twice a year – so I try to make it count! I always come prepared with a list and a plan – and while I allow myself to veer off the list if I see something shiny that appeals to my magpie tendencies (very much like when I go grocery shopping, although that sort of veering usually involves chocolate :P), the list is helpful for keeping me on track so my purchases are a little more focused. I don’t know if you’ve had the pleasure of shopping in the physical Mood Fabrics store, but it is QUITE overwhelming if you’re not used to it! The aisles of fabric go on forever, piled to the ceiling – and there are 3 glorious floors of it!

One of the things on my list for this trip was to find a chambray Tencel shirting. I’ve seen this all over sewing blogs and even in RTW – chambray Tencel was apparently very hot last fall (whether or not it’s still hot this fall – whatever, I like it, that’s all that matters!). I wasn’t familiar with Tencel until a couple of years ago, when I was sewing for Elizabeth Suzann and she started using it for some of her designs. Tencel is very similar to rayon – it’s a wood cellulose fiber, so it breathes beautifully, and it has an incredible drape. Unlike most of the rayons I have sewn with, this is a bit thicker and easier to handle – it’s not quite so floaty. My brief internet research also tells me that Tencel is a very environmentally friendly, and the fibers are grown sustainably. Gooooo Tencel!

I found this particular Tencel in the depths of the shirting fabrics in Mood’s store, and it was exactly what I had been dreaming of when I wrote my list. It’s drapey and nearly as soft as a baby’s butt – just like rayon – but with a thicker hand and an incredible sheen. I am pretty sure this is the same stuff available on the website, actually (also FYI, Mood Fabrics now has tons of Tencel on their site – including flannel WUT). I bought enough yardage to make a long sleeved button up, prewashed that bad boy when I got home, and set it aside to allow summer to pass before I cut into it. And finally, here we are!

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

I used my very favorite shirt pattern, Butterick 5526, to sew this up. I’ve made this pattern dozens of times at this point, so there’s not much I can say about it that I haven’t already said dozens of times. I’m so familiar with this pattern, I’m pretty sure it could sew itself if I gave it a chance. I decided to mix a couple things up to make my shirt look a little more like a workshirt – rugged, casual details, but with that pretty, slim fit that only princess seams can give you. And also to make it look less like I am just wearing the exact same shirt every day. Even though I totally am.

I redrafted the back to include a yoke (and by redrafted – I mean I just sliced off the top of the pattern piece and added seam allowances, ha!) and swapped out the simple bias plackets for a more manly tower placket. I also drafted pointed pockets with matching pointed flaps (again, I am using the term “drafted” VERY VERY loosely here!). Another big change was to topstitch everything at 1/4″, instead of my usual 1/8″ edgestitching. It’s a lot more bold and pronounced, like the RTW stuff I’ve been lurking on, and gives a completely different look! I imagine that over time, the edges will curl and wave a bit and make the whole shirt look more settled in. All the interior seams are flat-felled, with the exception of the yoke – which is faced with more Tencel. Oh, and I added button tabs to the sleeves, so I could roll them up if I wanted to!

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

Working with Tencel wasn’t much different than any other shirting fabric I’ve used, although it does have a tendency to stretch and slide if it things it can get away with it. I added lightweight fusible interfacing to all the normal shirting bits – collar, collar stand, button placket, etc – as well as the sleeve tabs and pocket flaps, just to give them a little more structure. This fabric responds really well to heat, so I was able to steam everything easily into submission, which is a must for shirt making.

I did have one pretty big unpicking session with this shirt – for some reason, the collar ended up too big (I don’t think it stretched out, as the top collar is cut on the straight grain and was also immediately interfaced after cutting – I am thinking maybe I skewed my seam allowances somewhere, somehow?) and went almost to the ends of the collar stand. I noticed it right before I started topstitching, and while I tried to convince myself it was ok – it wasn’t, and I knew deep in my heart of hearts that it looks absolutely fucking shitty. At this point, I had already aggressively trimmed down all those seam allowances and pressed the shit out of everything, and while I could still unpick things – it would going to be a giant PITA. I left the shirt on my dress form for a few days so I could get some space, and upon revisiting, I knew I wouldn’t be happy with the collar the way it was. Considering how much time I had already spent making this shirt (and the uncertainty of knowing whether or not I’d be able to get more of this fabric to cut another one), I ultimately decided it was worth the time to unpick everything, re-sew the collar with larger seam allowances, and then re-insert it. Not gonna lie – it took me about 2 weeks of leaving the shirt wadded up in the corner of my sewing room (so it could really think about what it had done) before I got up the energy to do all that unpicking, and another week or so before I re-sewed everything. But you know what? It looks SO SO SO much better now (it’s not perfect, but it is a 1000% improvement, no question) and it was worth the anguish! Sometimes you just gotta step away from whatever is frustrating you, to get another perspective.

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

Butterick 5526 is *my* personal go-to button-up pattern for sure – I’ve got my tweaks down to a science at this point, and there’s nothing this shirt pattern can’t do for me! I love a good button-up shirt and I’m so happy to see more of this sort of pattern emerging out of the wild these days! Cashmerette’s Harrison Shirt is drafted specifically for plus sizes all the way up to an H cup (like, seriously, the double princess seams with no gape is absolutely mind-blowing to me) and Tilly & The Button’s new Rosa Shirt & Shirtdress is a gorgeous little beginner-friendly piece that will walk you through every single step (stay tuned for my Rosa review, btw, bc OF COURSE I made one of those bad boys!). I also love the Grainline Studio Archer for a more rugged/boyfriend looking shirt (lack of princess seams on this one means less fitted, but also much more suitable for those cozy plaid flannels!) aaaand I just got my hands on a copy of Deer & Doe’s MΓ©lilot shirt so that’s coming up next! What’s your favorite shirt pattern?

As a bonus, the skirt I am wearing in these photos was also made with fabric from Mood Fabrics! I used a cotton corduroy and you can read all about it in this post from earlier this year. This skirt has been on hold during the summer – it’s too hot here to wear cord, plus, it just looks silly in 100* weather – and I am excited to bring it back into wardrobe rotation with these dipping temperatures! Mustard and denim – is there a prettier color combination? I think not!

Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation with the Mood Sewing Network. That fabulous hat is all mine, though πŸ˜‰

Completed: Silk Chiffon Archer Button-Up

30 Aug

So I guess we are now officially in that time of the year again – when the shops are screaming FAAAAAALLL (Wool caps! Corduroy bottoms! Pumpkin spice everything!) but our temperatures are still firmly stuck in summertime. While I’m not ridiculous enough to pull on my Ugg boots when it’s still 100 degrees outside (LOL JK I don’t own Uggs hahaha) (but seriously, Ugg-watching in 100 degree weather at the ritzy mall is absolutely my favorite pasttime during these months. Bonus points if they are wearing a wool hat, too.), I still want to at least look the part of the changing seasons, which still complying with the temperatures outside. For me, that means colors and silhouettes that give a nod to fall – but sticking to lighter-weight fabrics so I’m not sweating my arse off.

So anyway , with all that being said – here’s another button-up shirt! HAHA

Silk Chiffon Archer

I used the Archer pattern to make a fall-inspired button-up, but with a twist – instead of the traditional plaid flannel (which I lurrve, but again – HOT!), I used a light and breezy wide silk chiffon from Mood Fabrics for the main, and woven silk crepe de chine for the collar, collar stand, button band, pockets, and bias facings. Mood Fabrics carries tons of colors of both of these fabrics, but I went with boring ol’ basic black. In the future, I might go completely insane and try this with a PLAID silk chiffon. Maybe.

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

If you are feeling some major dΓ©jΓ  vu about right now, you are absolutely correct – I totally and completely 100% shamelessly ripped off Kendra’s silk Archer from the Grainline blog. I don’t ever think I’ll look as chic as she does, but that doesn’t stop me from trying! πŸ™‚ I followed Jen’s instructions for making the Archer sleeveless (basically shortening the shoulder drop and adding some contour to the back armhole, nothing crazy here) and shortened the length by about 2″. I sewed a size 0, which is what I normally make for this pattern.

Silk Chiffon Archer

While I have made my share of button-ups in tricky fabrics – silk georgette, silk crepe, crazy plaids, and a rayon challis that has yet-to-be-blogged – I did worry a little that this one was going to be a beast to sew. My last experience with chiffon did NOT go well (you didn’t miss anything – this was several years ago), but I think a big part of the problem was the quality of the material I was using (it was pretty cheap poly chiffon). Using a high-quality fabric makes a big difference in the ease of your sewing when it comes to tricky fabrics like this – you know they’re already on-grain (or it’s easy to straighten the grain if you need to) and the natural fiber content means you can actually press them (which, again, makes a world of difference during construction – especially for a pattern like this). With all that being said – I only used a yard of the chiffon to make this sleeveless version, which at $20.99 per yard isn’t really that expensive. I got a yard of the crepe de chine as well, but only used a fraction of that (I use silk bias on everythingggg so I have tons left over for other projects). Even having been made out of silk, it’s fairly economical! And you definitely cannot get a silk button up shirt for less than $50 in retail, at least not new. Plus, I machine-washed all my fabrics before cutting – so my silk is machine washable now πŸ˜‰

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

So anyway, about that sewing! I didn’t do any sort of prep before getting into cutting – in the past, I’ve used fabric stabilizer to stiffen the fabric so I’d have an easier time cutting and sewing (and yes, it does work – see the aforementioned silk georgette button-up post for my full review on that), but I didn’t bother with any of that this time. It certainly would have been easier if I had, but obviously it was doable without πŸ™‚ I did trade out my scissors and use a mat and rotary cutter to cut this, which was tremendously helpful.

Sewing was really easy and straightforward – I used a sharp 70/10 needle, polyester thread, and a lot of high heat from my iron. All seams are enclosed – the yoke and collar cover most of that, but the side seams are French-seamed, and the arm holes are finished with silk bias facing. The hem is just a simple rolled hem (I usually use bias facing there as as well, but I was afraid the crepe de chine would be too heavy for the silk chiffon). I used a super lightweight interfacing (which comes in black!) for all my interfaced areas – it gives some stability without making them weirdly stiff, which is important when you’re dealing with silk chiffon. The buttons are some vintage glass buttons that I’ve had in my stash for ages. The only thing I’m not thrilled about is the pockets – the crepe de chine sags a bit on the chiffon, so they’re not perfectly smooth when I’m wearing it (or when it’s hanging on the wall, for that matter). And also – they are a bit lopsided! Whoops! I hesitate to unpick them because I am afraid it may damage the delicate chiffon, but thankfully no one notices it – even when I point it out. Of course, that may be all you see now πŸ™‚ Sorry πŸ™‚

Oh, and in case you were wondering – I am wearing a black tank top under this, and I did not make the shorts (I WISH I did, though! Because then that would mean that I had found awesome fabric like that!). They are from Express, but the shape is quite similar to the Rite of Spring shorts. The fabric is a nice rayon challis. I pretty much never buy clothes these days, but these were given to me by my boss while she was cleaning out her closet in preparation for her cross-country move (she also gave me a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. Um, I WIN.). Speaking of which, I will be flying up to Rhode Island this week to orchestrate all the unpacking and whatever else you’re supposed to do when one moves cross-country (I’ll be staying here in Nashville and working remotely after that). I’ve never been to RI before so I’m excited to check it out! Wish me luck!

Silk Chiffon Archer

I don’t have much else to say about this pattern that hasn’t already been said to death, so I’ll keep this post reasonably brief. Yay for silk chiffon button-ups! Once we get into full-on winter mode, I think this top will continue to be useful as I can wear it under my cozy sweaters for an extra layer of warmth.

**Note: The fabrics for this project were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

12 Jul

Since moving into my new apartment last month, I have been busy discovering all the cool stuff in my area (bonus that it’s all pretty walkable/bikeable, unlike at my last place in the middle of nowhere :P). One major selling point for me was that I am now super close – about 2 blocks, and again, walkable – to a really great greenway. The multi-use paths are nice and wide, mostly shaded by the trees, and there is a big creek that runs through it which means lots of cool bridges to cross! It’s a fantastic area for both cycling *and* running, and I’ve been taking full advantage of it.

While I have my fair share of workout wear, it quickly became clear to me that what I had was lacking pretty badly, at least for running. My preferred workout of choice has traditionally been hot yoga – where I tend to wear leggings or capris (you know, for the sake of whoever is unfortunate enough to practice right behind me hahaha) and they don’t need any pockets because you are standing in one place. I find those long pant lengths to be way too hot and restrictive for running, at least in the summer time. And I definitely need a pocket to hold my phone and keys, so I can listen to music and/or podcasts and keep my hands free! I noticed that Mood Fabrics has added a lot of performance/activewear fabric to their site, so this seemed like a good excuse to stock up and try them out.

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

I ended up making 3 pairs of shorts and a sports bra. The first pair uses Midnight Black Max Dri Performance jersey, although you can see here that they are much closer to a darker grey. I love these mottled jerseys and bought them in several colors!

Also – hello from my new studio! I’m still trying to get the hang of taking photos indoors (not cool enough to lug a tripod down the greenway and take action shorts, sorry guys), so I’m sorry that these are subpar.

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

The pattern I used is the Sewaholic Pacific Leggings – although, obviously, I made some changes to the pattern to turn them into little running shorts! This was as simple as drawing a line where I wanted the new hemline to be, making sure to include a 3/4″ seam allowance for hemming. I started out with a 4.5″ inseam, based on a pair of shorts I already had, but ended up taking another inch off before hemming. I like my shorts short enough for some buttcheek to peek out. Ain’t no shame in that.

I made this pattern before earlier this year, for a couple of full-length yoga pants (which I never posted about, ha). It’s pretty great in terms of fit. I sewed my usual Sewaholic size – a 0 – and even though the line is geared toward pear shapes, my un-pear-shaped ass fits in it just fine. The pattern has some cool seaming on the legs (which is awesome for color and pattern blocking), a nice snug waistband that stays in place, and a back zippered back pocket that is actually big enough to hold my iPhone 6 – check it out!

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

Now I can run to my heart’s content and know that my phone is safe and secure without worrying that it’s going to bounce out. This pocket is also big enough to hold my key and cash, should I need it (laugh all you want, but the greenway in question actually connects to a Target, soo… I’m just saying.).

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

The second pair of shorts is pretty much the same as the first pair, except I used the Husky Grey colorway instead. You can barely see the zipper in this picture – it’s pale blue (that was the closest match I had on hand in my stash).

As with the first pair, I used a combination of my serger + sewing machine to construct these. The zipper area gets stabilized with a piece of fusible stay tape (to keep the fabric from going haywire while you’re putting the zipper in), so it’s really easy to sew in. The waistband has clear elastic sewn inside the seam allowances at the top to keep things snug and in place. The only part I did not enjoy sewing was the gusset – that thing is super tricky! I found the only way to get it in even somewhat nicely was to baste with my sewing machine first (because you are gonna end up ripping it out multiple times, so you might as well make it easy on yourself) and then go over the basting with my serger. I am still not a huge fan of the gusset – it kind of gives me cameltoe, if we’re being completely honest here (aaand now that I’ve said THAT word, I’m gonna get some weirdos in here via Google search, lord). I just ignore it and figure – if someone is staring there hard enough to judge the ‘toe, I’ve got a much bigger problem on hand hahahah.

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts

Last pair of shorts! These are a boring, basic black. The fabric is one that I have had in my stash for a couple of years – it’s a another dry-wicking activewear fabric, although I think it’s actually from Nike. My girl Lola sent me a yard of it way back in the day, so I’m not sure where it was purchased from. What I can tell you is that I put it in a really weird stash place and couldn’t find it for those 2 years, whoops. Imagine my delight when I unearthed it while packing for this recent move! Yay! In comparison to the stuff from Mood, this fabric is a lot thicker and more robust. It wears and dries about the same, but the heavier weight does make it feel like it’s a higher quality. It was a little more difficult to sew because it is more slippery, but not too bad. Even with adding a zipper and dealing with a tricky fabric, these shorts don’t take a lot of time – or fabric! – to make. And they are SO MUCH cheaper than buying some shitty Lululemon or whatever.

(In case you were curious, the yellow/grey sports bra is not a handmade – it’s RTW. I like the color combo though and would like to try something similar! Also, I have no idea what happened to the lighting in those photos! Took them at the same time as the others, wtf)

Sewaholic Dunbar Sports Bra

Finally, the sports bra! I’ll be honest – I am 100% a-ok with the stash of RTW sports bras in my drawer. I have a fairly small bust, don’t need a lot of support, and fit well within the size ranges that are available at the store. I tend to buy them on clearance, so they rarely cost me more than $15 a pop. I wasn’t totally interested in making a sports bra because what I already have works, but the Dunbar top pattern (also from Sewaholic) caught my attention enough where I figured I’d try it. I like the details and fabric combinations, and being able to use one of the cool printed Activewear fabrics that Mood Fabrics carries (or even just making a bra to match my shorts because I am SO that person) was a plus. So I tried it out, and I’m a fan! I spent a really long time debating what size to sew – and even traced the pattern just in case I chose the wrong one – but ultimately, went with my usual size 0 and the fit is pretty good. I ended up taking in the band elastic a LOT more than what the pattern calls for, but I have a small ribcage so that’s not surprising (I think the pattern calls for 26″ of elastic at the band, and my ribcage measures 27″. I needed more negative ease than that!). For the record, my full bust measures closer to the size 4, but the 0 was just the right amount negative ease for me.

I used – again! – the Max-Dri Performance Jersey, this time in Midnight Blue – for the main color of my top. For the dark blue contrast, I used navy nylon spandex. The top gets its support by compression – which is achieved with an underlayer of Powermesh . I can’t speak for every boob out there, but my experience with the support in this bra was great. Again, I ain’t rocking a huge cup size here and I don’t need much support to begin with, so take that as you will πŸ™‚

Sewaholic Dunbar Sports Bra

Sewaholic Dunbar Sports Bra

Sewaholic Dunbar Sports Bra

Anyway, the sports bra was a bit fiddly with all the little pieces – but it was overall easy to make. I used my sewing machine for the majority of the construction and elastic application, just as you would with a regular bra. I think it turned out quite nice! I think the ability to have really cool patterned/colored sports bras (especially using some of my leftover swimwear spandex, which I am totally eyeballing now) negates the downside of how fiddly it was to sew. It wasn’t even difficult to make, just time consuming with a lot of tiny pieces. Sort of like, I dunno, a bra. lolz.

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts

I’m feeling pretty good about these new additions to my drawers! I didn’t realize how much more fun it is to exercise when your clothes are fun too – even if you’re going to get all sweaty, it’s nice to feel like you look nice while you’re doing it. And speaking of sweaty – these performance fabrics have definitely lived up to their “Max-Dri” hype. I still sweat – a lot! – but they dry very quickly, which is awesome.

Sewaholic Pacific Shorts + Dunbar Sports Bra

I am pretty sure one of the things I said I would never make is activewear – so, I guess I take that back! Honestly, though, I’m running (lol) out of practical holes to fill in my closet, at least in terms of fun practical. Now I’m down to sewing things activewear, white tshirts, and panties. I really love the experience behind sewing and creating, but I don’t want to be wasteful and make things just to make them, you know? So this feels like a good compromise, even if it’s not a necessarily interesting end result.

Note: The fabrics used for some of these projects were supplied by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. I should also point out that Tasia of Sewaholic sent me all the patterns in the Vancouver collection – which includes the Dunbar Top and Pacific Leggings – free of charge last year when the line launched. There was no stipulation that I needed to review the patterns, Tasia is just a nice person πŸ™‚ And I have nice things to say about her patterns because they are fucking awesome. That is all.

Sewing For My New Apartment!

28 Jun

All right, y’all, time for something different – another round of HOME SEWING PROJECTS (heh heh heh!). No wait, come back! I promise it’s at least somewhat interesting!

So, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly – I moved this month! Yay! From a basement apartment in the middle of the woods, to a second floor apartment with masses of windows in my favorite part of Nashville. Literally movin’ on up, here! :B Since things go all kinds of haywire during moving month (from packing, to moving, to unpacking, to figuring out your new neighborhood bar, etc etc), I knew I probably shouldn’t devote myself to trying to make a whole outfit or something crazy for this month’s MSN project. Never mind that I actually unpacked and set up everything in 3 days hahaha. I decided to focus my efforts on sprucing up and decorating, to get the new place real pretty instead. Not to mention, this gave me an opportunity to actually shop the home decor selection at Mood Fabrics. Yes! I don’t normally sew with home decor fabrics, like, ever (too stiff to wear, at least for me!), so that whole side of the website was so fresh and new and different and ahh I love it.

Linen apron

First up is a basic (but so useful!) apron, made using this Blue and White Striped Linen. I know, aprons are generally one of those things that people make when they are first learning how to sew haha. To be completely honest – I’ve never actually sewn an apron before (as with all my adult learning, I jumped straight into the “difficult” stuff). But I knew I needed one because I am a helluva messy cook – I get splatters everywhere and I’m always wiping my hands off on my clothes. I’m also a really clean cook – in the sense that I clean as I cook (seriously – I won’t even sit down to eat until all the cooking dishes are washed, unless there’s something that needs to be soaked. A sink full of dirty dishes stresses me out!) – so I’m also usually covered with water by the end of the prep. Using an apron might actually make me feel more like a grown-up. Plus it would be cool to wear one while whipping up a delicious meal to impress whatever man I have over. If that ever happens. BTW, Tinder is incredibly depressing hahaha. ANYWAY, MOVING ON NOW.

I didn’t use a pattern to make this, just this adjustable Unisex Apron tutorial from Purl Soho. You basically make a series of measurements directly onto the fabric to get your pattern. From there, it’s just a lot of folding, pressing, and topstitching. The tutorial was really easy to follow, and this linen was even easier to sew up. I did find that the straps were a bit too low to hit my waist – so to fix this, I folded over the top by another couple of inches and topstitched it down, which shortened the apron enough so that everything hit me in the right spot. A better fix would be to reduce the angle and length of the diagonal cuts, obviously, but since my pieces were already cut at this point, this was a quick and dirty fix!

Other changes I made to the ~design~ was to leave off the pocket (what’s the pocket for, anyway? Dirty spoons? Secret snacks? Seriously, I am not putting my phone in that mess) and also to change the webbing to some 1″ twill tape. I did try the webbing, but it was WAY too stiff to be comfortable or even tie easily. The twill tape is nice and soft and it’s much more comfortable. I also topstitched along the edge of the apron where the twill tape goes around the neck, because otherwise it tends to slide off when you’re putting it on. The topstitching anchors everything so it stays in place at the neck, but the sides/back are still adjustable πŸ™‚

Linen apron

Linen apron

Linen apron

Linen apron

Linen apron

Once I finished with the apron, I realized I had quite a bit of fabric left over (I had bought 2 yards). Not enough to make a full garment, but certainly enough for some kitchen linens! Yeah, Friday night just got WILD up in here!

Linen napkins

Linen napkins

I was able to squeeze out 7 cloth napkins, and 3 dishtowels. Yay! For the napkins (pictured above), I cut 13″x13″ squares (I know there are lots of sizes for cloth napkins, but I personally like mine to be about 12″ square) and folded each edge under 1/2″ twice, and then topstitched. Really easy, and very fast when you sew it assembly-line style πŸ™‚ This was definitely not the most exciting project, but it is certainly useful! I am trying to move away from using disposable products as much as I can, including paper products like napkins, mostly cos I’m sick of having to buy them over and over. Plus, cloth really does wipe your face off better than paper does. Now if I could just get my visiting friends to stop using paper towels to dry their hands (whyyyy do people do this, use a real towel ffs).

Linen kitchen towel

The dishtowels have a finished measurement of 25″ x 14.5″, and were sewn in the same manner as the napkins. Again, definitely a useful thing for my kitchen! I prefer smooth tea towels over the really plush terrycloth kind, at least for kitchen use, and these work exactly the same way. I love the blue stripes and I love how they look in my (admittedly boring off-white) apartment kitchen πŸ™‚

Now, linen does tend to wrinkle up like crazy and this particular linen was no exception! I will point out that it was very stiff and flat when it arrived, but washing it made it soften up very nicely. I actually washed my linen 3x in hot water (and dried on extra hot) before cutting into it, to get it to shrink as much as possible and also because that does help with preventing future wrinkles. As you can see, they still wrinkle when they are laundered, but it’s not terrible. I’ve learned that just giving them a good shake after pull them out of the wash helps a lot. I do put mine in the dryer, however, line-drying will also prevent wrinkles as well.

My last home project doesn’t involve sewing at all – just fabric and hot glue πŸ™‚

Recovered Lampshade

I’ve had this cool gold floor lamp for several years (and my grandpa had it in his home for even MORE years before I got my hands on it), but the drum shade has definitely seen better days. It’s pretty old and brittle and will crack if you so much as look at it funny. I also wasn’t a big fan of the yellow-y off-white color, especially not for my new place. Rather than try to buy a new drum shade (because those things are $$$ – if you can even find one!), I recovered this one!

Recovered Lampshade

Recovered Lampshade

The fabric is this beauuuuutiful Peacock Geometric Chenille. The colors were perfect for my new living room, and I just love the chenille texture! The fabric was wide enough so that I only needed a half yard to cover my lampshade, but I may end up buying more to cover some pillows for my couch as well πŸ™‚ Because it’s THAT beautiful!

Anyway, covering the shade was really simple! I cut the fabric to be a couple inches taller than what I needed to cover the shade, and then turned under one long edge by 1/4″ and hot glued that to the wrong side of the fabric (since it does fray a lot, you’ll want to cover your raw edges or double turn them). Then I carefully wrapped the shade with the fabric, hot gluing as I went. The edge at the top of the shade was left raw, and then covered with this gold metallic braid. The bottom has an overlap of about 2″ of fabric (the edge with the 1/4″ turn under). When I came back around to where I started, I turned the fabric under 1/4″ and glued it down before overlapping. Done and done!

Recovered Lampshade

Here is the shade in all it’s glory, in my NEW LIVING ROOM πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ (psst – see that chair in the background? I recovered that bad boy a couple of years ago – also thanks to Mood Fabrics! πŸ˜‰ ). Also, I totally knit that white blanket – using size 50 needles and fluffy wool roving that basically feels like a cloud. It’s a simple k2 p2 rib, and just big enough for me + my cat to cuddle up. Ravelry notes are here, if you are interested!

Ok, so real talk – sewing things for the home doesn’t exactly top my list of favorite things to make, but it’s fun to switch things up every now and then! Not to mention, in a world where greys and chevrons are the current fashion, it’s really nice to have full control over my decor (even if it means I have to be a little bit more hands-on than just throwing something in my shopping cart at Target). What about you? Do you even sew (or hot glue) for your home?

Note: Fabrics were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Butterick 6019

27 Apr

Butterick 6019

DRESS IS DONE, Y’ALL.

Butterick 6019 - complete!

As much as I *truly* enjoyed all the work and care that went into the making of this dress – it sure feels good to be finished with it!

A brief overview, before we go into a major picture dump – the pattern is Butterick 6019, and I made the view with the circle skirt and the halter strap. I sewed a size 6 at the bust, grading to an 8 at the waist. I also shortened the bodice 1/2″ and raised the neckline by 5/8″.

My fabric is solid black silk Faille from Mood Fabrics, which is used for the entire outside of the dress as well as the partial self-lining of the bodice. The bust cups are padded with bra foam (from my stash), the side back pieces are shirred with black elastic thread, the bodice includes lots of fabric covered boning, and the hem has 2″ wide soft black horsehair braid to give it that lovely fullness (that’s right – no petticoat or crinoline was worn for these photos!).

This dress was made entirely on my Spiegel 60609 sewing machine! It handled all those Faille layers like a champ, and even pleasantly surprised me with how well it shirred the back panels. In case you missed them, here are the posts I wrote detailing the making of this dress: Part 1 & Part 2.

There’s not much else to discuss since I went into a lot of detail already, so have some pictures!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

So did I actually wear it to prom? You bet I did! Pretty much exactly as you see here (yeeeeah I ain’t about to spend $$ getting my hair or make-up done for some high school event lolz) – I ended up wearing simple black flats, instead of my Converse, because they seemed like a nice compromise of comfy and still a little fancy. Although my Converse would not have been out of place there – I saw lots of sneakers! Except mine are pretty dirty in comparison πŸ™‚ Speaking of high school fashions, everything is quite… sparkly these days. I definitely had THE plainest dress out of everyone there, due to my lack of beading and rhinestones. Not complaining! And it seems like long dresses – especially ones with cut outs, or two pieces that show a little midriff – are still the majority rule, at least for the school that I was at.

Here’s a picture of me + my bestie on prom night! Sorry for the grainy quality – it was dark. Hopefully we’ll have some good professional photos to share once those are developed πŸ˜€

Butterick 6019 - complete!

That’s all for now! Thanks for indulging my fancy dress dreams, y’all! And thanks to Mood Fabrics and Spiegel for letting this lil’ former homeschooler finally make it to prom! πŸ™‚

Note: The materials for this dress were provided to me from Mood Fabrics as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Silk Polka Dot Blouse + Corduroy Skirt

29 Mar

Its time for the ~big reveal~ – my first completed outfit, sewn entirely on my new Spiegel 60609 sewing machine πŸ˜€

IMG_2438

I love that this machine is pretty enough to make even a subpar photo look great πŸ™‚ Ha!

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

I covered a lot of ground about the making of these garments in my previous posts, however, I’ll include some notes and highlights in this post in case you missed/skimmed/didn’t care then but suddenly care now πŸ™‚

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

The silk top was made using silk crepe from Mood Fabrics (purchased at the NYC store last year) and a combination of Butterick 5526 (my TNT button-up shirt pattern) for the body of the blouse, and vintage Simplicity 4676 for the tie neck. I used Sullivan’s Spray Stabilizer to wrangle the drapey silk into submission for ease of cutting and sewing, which worked great! The shirt is finished with French seams and self-bias facing at the arm holes and hem.

Full details on the silk top can be found in this blog post πŸ™‚

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

I wanted my first project on the Spiegel 60609 to be something silk, because, honestly – I wanted to see how it could handle working with a notoriously difficult fabric. Of course, stabilizing the whole yardage first definitely helped, but that doesn’t solve all issues (such as when your sewing machine tries to eat delicate fabrics – not a problem with this one, I will add!). I’m really impressed with how the machine sewed through this fabric with absolutely no issues – it even did a great job on the button holes! I do wish that the measurements on the throat plate were marked differently, as it’s hard to get a narrow seam with what’s standard on this machine, but that’s a relative non-issue (I just use post-it notes to mark my seam allowance lines and it works fine). So yeah, Spiegel 60609 + silk gets a thumbs up from me!

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

The mini skirt was made also on my Spiegel 60609! I used the Rosari skirt from Pauline Alice Patterns and some lightweight/stretch corduroy from Mood Fabrics. The skirt includes pockets, bound seams on the inside (for a bit of extra pretty cos why not?) and professionally set snaps down the front.

Full details on the corduroy mini can be found in this blog post!

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I don’t necessarily find corduroy difficult to sew – most of the problem lies in making sure everything is cut and pressed correctly, as not to mess too much with the nap. Sometimes, depending on what machine I’m using, it’s a good idea to use a walking foot to help keep all layers feeding evenly, but I didn’t have any of these problems with the Spiegel 60609. The feed dogs were good enough on their own without any extra help. Always a plus! πŸ™‚

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

Corduroy Mini Skirt

Corduroy Mini Skirt

That’s all for this outfit! Stay tuned next month for that project – all I can say is, it’s gonna be FANCY πŸ˜€

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

Note: The fabric used is part of my monthly allowance from Mood Fabrics, as part of my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network. The Spiegel 60609 was given to me by Spiegel, and it’s awesome!