Archive | Mood Sewing Network RSS feed for this section

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:)

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:) 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:)

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:) 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:)

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:)

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:) 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😀😀😀 (psst – see that chair in the background? I recovered that bad boy a couple of years ago – also thanks to Mood Fabrics!😉 ). 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:) 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😀

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!:)

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😀

IMG_2438

I love that this machine is pretty enough to make even a subpar photo look great:) 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:)

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:)

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!:)

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😀

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!

Completed: Vintage Simplicity 1799

29 Feb

Raise your hands if you’re ready for spring!

Simplicity 1799 robe

This is the time of year that I spend the majority of my day wrapped up in a robe, at least those days when I’m hanging around the house. My old fleece robe has truly served me well during these trying times, but its really starting to look its age (nearly a decade, I have recently realized!). I wanted to upgrade to something that was a little classier than the ugly fleece – something that wouldn’t make me feel quite so embarrassed to run to the mailbox in. I know, I live in the middle of nowhere – but the moment you run to the mailbox in your robe, that’s the moment someone you know decides to cruise on by.

Simplicity 1799 robe

Simplicity 1799 robe

Simplicity 1799 robe

Since more fleece was out of the question, I went with a soft cotton plaid flannel from Mood Fabrics. Mood has tons of great cotton flannels on their site, but I picked this particular one because it kind of matches my plaid flannel Carolyn pajamas. It’s a thinner plaid, with one brushed side (the other side is smooth, which I used on the inside of the robe). My only complaint is that it’s quite a bit off-grain – which, combined with using a pattern that was decidedly NOT plaid-matching-friendly, meant that I really fucked up the plaid matching on this garment. Or, rather, just threw my hands in the air and gave up about halfway through cutting. I did manage to get the center back and sleeves to have a nice continuous line, but those side seams are all kinds of wrecked. Whatever. Sometimes in sewing, we have to pick our battles. I’m not going to argue with a garment that will get the majority of it’s judgement from my cat.

Simplicity 1799 robe

Simplicity 1799 robe

The pattern I used is Simplicity 1799, a 1940s vintage pattern I’ve had my stash for quite some time. I don’t really sew much with vintage patterns these days – I find the styles to be a little too cutesy and/or dated for how I roll with my clothes lately – but I still collect and appreciate them. And sometimes, you need a little cutesy glamour to make your day prettier, especially when we’re talking about an otherwise ugly robe. Look at how classy those ladies are!

One thing I really love about vintage patterns are all the beautiful details that they include in the design. This pattern has tucks and gathers all over the places, elbow darts, and a boxy 1940s upper silhouette paired with strong shoulders. The instructions are pretty sparse as you can see, but anyone with common sewing sense can easily figure them out. I mostly went my own way – finished all the seams with my serger, left out the shoulder pads, and gave nice 2″ hems on the sleeves and bottom.

It’s really hard to see the pretty details in this, thanks to the plaid clusterfuck I’ve got going on, but I’ll try to show you some highlights:

Simplicity 1799 robe

Simplicity 1799 robe

Simplicity 1799 robe

Simplicity 1799 robe

Simplicity 1799 robe

Simplicity 1799 robe

Not much else to say about this one! Keepin’ it simple and cozy this month!

Simplicity 1799 robe

Note: This fabric was provided to me as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All declarations and opinions are my own!

Completed: Fancy Silk Georgette + Brocade

2 Feb

Here’s something a little different than my normal meat-and-potatoes (mmm… meat and potatoes) sort of dressing – FANCY GARB. YAY!!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Also: SNOW! Like, holy shit it snowed soooo much last weekend! I had a nice snow-in for a few days (it’s true that Tennessee all but shuts down when the snow comes in – but, before you make fun: we don’t have snow tires, we don’t know how to drive in it, and the roads are not properly salted or cleared so they’re actually pretty dangerous. Also, come and deal with our 100* heat in August ffs. Ok, soapbox off haha), which was even better considering that I basically was in a Winter Wonderland. We ended up with a little over 6″ – y’all, I can’t even remember the last time I saw that much snow. Shit was crazy. Also, it all melted within like 3 days, and then the temps went back up to 65*. Yay I love Tennessee and it’s fickle weather haha.

Anyway, I wasn’t planning on taking snow pictures – it was obviously very very cold outside, and so bright that I could barely keep my eyes open (sorry in advance for all the squinty haha). But the indoor lighting was just terrible, so I took one for the team and tromped outside. You are welcome.

Ok, back to the real subject of this post!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I made these two pieces about a month apart, so I didn’t actually wear them together for NYE – although I definitely wanted to. Considering I didn’t start sewing for the party until a few days before the end of the year, I knew that shirt would not turn out nice if it was rushed. So I focused on the fancy skirt, and wore it with a fuzzy black sweater knit Renfrew (you can see a photo of the outfit on Instagram). It was the perfect New Year’s Eve outfit for my plans – reasonably warm, yet stylish, and had these big pockets so I could carry my phone, wallet and flask without worrying about a purse. Which, by the way, my phone ended up leaving my pocket at some point that night (I think it was more that it didn’t *make* it to the pocket, rather than leapt out on it’s own accord). Here’s the New Year’s Miracle, though – someone found it – in a pile of trash on Lower Broadway, apparently – and then returned it to me the next day. How awesome is that?! 2016, you’re off to a promising start! ♥

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

The metallic stretch brocade that I used for this skirt has been in my stash for a long time – over a year, at least (if not longer). I never knew what to do with it – it’s kind of thick, it has a really heavy stretch, and it’s pretty freaking fancy. I figured a pencil skirt or bodycon dress would be suitable, but I rarely wear stuff like that. When I was planning my NYE outfit, I decided to find a use for this stuff. I’ve been on a circle skirt kick lately, so that’s what I went with. I used my self-drafted circle skirt pattern (I used Casey’s circle skirt tutorial aaages ago, which I can’t seem to get a valid link to now😦 There’s also the By Hand London circle skirt app, which does the maths for you!), pieced to include side seams and a center back seam. This was mainly due to fabric restrictions – I had only a yard of this fabric. It’s super wide, though, so I was just barely able to squeeze it out. I also knew I wanted an exposed zipper and side seam pockets, which mean seams were necessary. The waistband was cut so the greatest amount of stretch ran along the length; I stabilized it with a piece of stretch interfacing to retain that comfy-ass stretch. Yeah man, it’s comfy.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Sewing was easy, and relatively straightforward. My only complaints are that this fabric frays like a MOTHER, and it’s basically all polyester so it’s a nightmare to get a good press. For the fraying, I serged each seam separately to minimize the fuzz potential. For the pressing, I just used my super awesome, super hot gravity feed iron and then just held the seams in place with my clapper until they cooled. One thing I will note is that my iron has a shoe (basically a cover that acts as a press cloth), which keeps things from melting. If your iron does not have a shoe, you’ll want to use a press cloth on poly fabrics + high heat. Otherwise, melting will happen!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I thought an exposed metal zipper would look cool next to the fancy brocade, so I pulled a metal zip from my stash and used Megan Nielsen’s method to insert it (these are the same instructions that are included with the Brumby pattern, fyi). The pockets are silk crepe, also pulled from my stash. Nothing like using silk pockets to stow your whiskey amirite:)

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

This past month, I finally gathered up all my cojones and made the intended matching shirt. Remember when I made Butterick 5526 in silk Georgette? I want to hate that shirt so bad – it’s pretty poorly constructed, I mean, that fabric was EVIL – but every time I put it on, I can’t deny that I like the way it looks. I want more floaty button-ups in my closet. I figured enough time had passed to forget the trauma, and I tried again, this time with much more success.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

There are two major factors that contributed to the success of this version of B5526 in silk Georgette. First of all, I chose the fabric in-person, rather than blindly ordering online. Which means I don’t have a link for the exact fabric I used – I bought it at the Mood Fabrics in NYC when I was there in November. I have since ordered some swatches from the website, and it’s definitely not the same fabric as what I have here. Mine is more like a double Georgette – it’s much thicker, and less see-through (I’m not wearing anything under this top, except a bra. I think it’s a nude bra, but I’ve worn a black one underneath too and no one has noticed, HA!). That alone made a world of difference in handling the fabric. I also prewashed it in the washing machine/dryer (just a cold wash, ma’am!), which helped beef it up a little more. The second factor is that I used a spray stabilizer on my fabric before cutting or sewing. I’ve heard of people using a spray stabilizer – and allegedly, you can also soak your fabric in unflavored gelatin for the same effect, although I haven’t personally tried this yet – but I never cared to try it myself because I wanted to be able to tackle the fabric without any outside help. Also, a can of that shit is like $12, which is way too rich for my blood (says the girl who is currently looking at $45/yard silk faille lolwut). It just seemed silly and unnecessary. I always felt like using outside tools like that almost negated my skills as a seamstress, but you know what? That’s not true. It’s not any different than using a special presser foot to get good edgestitching. Whatever works… it just works. And that’s ok.

I am not going to go into too much talk about using spray stabilizer because this was my first experience with it – and I want to try it a few more times before I give it a big write-up (aka I don’t want to eat my words later haha). But I will say that it REALLY changed how the fabric handled, in a good way. Instead of it slipping around like butterfly wings, it held more like a silk organza. It made cutting things straight much more easy, and the shirt fits better as a result. I think my topstitching looks really good, and all those fiddly pieces weren’t quite as fiddly. Spray stabilizer isn’t going to turn your silk into quilting cotton – you still need some finesse with those fine layers – but it helps tremendously. It won’t work for anything that you can’t wash it out of – such as a coat lining (unless, I guess, you assembled the lining separately and then wash/dry it before putting it in the coat?) – but it’s perfect for this sort of project. These photos are post-washing, so it has the proper drape, fyi. I soaked it in the sink with some lingerie wash, hung it to dry, and then re-pressed. I have since worn the shirt and washed it in the normal wash, and it’s held up fine.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

All that being said, I don’t think there’s much else to say about the sewing of this shirt. I’ve made it like a dozen times at this point, so there’s nothing new for B5526. The shirt is constructed with French seams and I used a very lightweight interfacing to stabilize while retaining that beautiful drape. I added buttons and button tabs to the sleeves, so I can wear this shit into the warmer weather. Yay!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I finally go to use some of my fancy vintage glass buttons for this top – yay! I didn’t have quite enough, so I had to mix them. There are beautiful black/green/gold Art Deco buttons for the front placket and sleeve tabs, and then solid black faceted buttons for the cuffs and collar. The white buttons you see on the inside of the placket prevent gaping at the boobs (I can’t take credit for this tip – I got it from Emmie and Jane). Speaking of which, if I’m getting boob gape… that probably means I need to start doing a FBA to my pattern. Sigh. Or else just keep adding hidden buttons hahaha.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I think I’ve run out of things to talk about with this outfit, so I’ll wrap up. What’s your best tip for sewing the slinky? Have you tried spray stabilizer? Hey, how was your New Year’s Eve, anyway?

Note: Fabrics were purchased with my monthly allowance for the Mood Sewing Network. Also, there are affiliate links in this post FYI. Click at yo’ own risk.

Completed: A Cozy Wren Dress

17 Nov

I really love summer, but man, I LOVE winter clothes. I think most people in general just look a lot classier with some added layers, and I really embrace the opportunity to dress in head-to-toe black and pretend like I look chic and not at all like an angsty 15 year old wandering into Hot Topic circa 2001. I can and do look like a total slob in the summer time, but add a little windchill into the mix and I’ll dress like I’m heading straight into the office.

Colette Wren dress - front

So, today, I give you Wren. A pretty little transitional dress that works SO WELL with a heavy knit and sleeves. If I still worked in an office, I’d rock this shit every day.

Colette Wren dress - front

This dress is a story of fabric + pattern both acquired without any pairings in mind. I was actually sent an advance copy of Wren from the team at Colette Patterns – no strings attached, just as a gift. They made it very clear that they weren’t expecting a review post in exchange for the pattern. I thought it was a pretty pattern and I knew I wanted to make it up at some point, but I wasn’t sure what fabric. I love the solid colors they use for the promotional shots, but I rarely feel compelled to sew solid colors (which is something I’m working on, because lord knows I like to wear solid colors!).

In the meantime, I’d been eyeballing this black cozy knit fabric from Mood Fabrics (their description, not mine. But it is a black cozy knit. It’s also super sold out, and I can’t find a link to it. Sorry! I’m pretty sure I bought the last yardage. Not sorry about that!). I had my swatch and I knew I wanted it for… what? No matter, I bought 2 yards of it and figured I’d figure that shit out later.

It wasn’t until I saw Deepika’s classy black and white Wren dress that I had my aha moment of fabric and pattern marriage. As in, I totally copied Deepika’s dress. Thanks for the inspo, Deepika! I hope you are ok with being my twinsie:)

Colette Wren dress - side

Colette Wren dress - side

These pictures are borderline awful, by the way. I was waiting for the golden hour, and I think things got a little too golden. Oh well!

Colette Wren dress - back

The Wren dress is a lovely knit dress that features a surplice/wrap-style bodice, set into a closed skirt (aka, it’s not a true wrap dress). You have the option of adding either a gathered or a fitted, 6 gored skirt, and the bodice can be sewn with or without sleeves. My favorite part of the dress are the soft gathers along the neckband, which are so feminine and pretty (and you can barely see them for this print that I used haha oh well). The sleeves included in the pattern are just for short sleeves, but it’s pretty easy to lengthen those to whatever suits your needs. Colette patterns did offer a sleeve download when the pattern was first released – for both a long sleeve and a 3/4 sleeve – which is what I used here. I actually cut the long sleeves, but they were weirdly tight below the elbow. Hence, my elbow-length sleeves. All good here, though, because those long sleeves looked a little overwhelming with this print!

Making the dress was super super easy. Since it’s a knit, I whipped everything through my serger to piece it together, and used my twin needle to hem the neckline and sleeves and hem. I was a little concerned about the top gaping since it’s only hemmed (and not finished with a knit band, which is my preferred method), but I figured I’d give it a try and I have not experienced any gaping. The only thing I’d change in the future is to deepen the hem on the neckband – at 3/8″, it’s a little shallow, and I just think it would look better and the stitching would lie more flat if it was closer to 5/8″.

For size, I cut an XS based on my measurements. I’m really pleased with the fit – and this is straight out of the envelope, no additional shaving off side seams or anything like that. I will mention that the waistline is pretty high on me – and I’m of average torso length – so that’s just something to be aware of. It’s definitely higher on me than it is on the model or in the illustration, but my knit does have only a 2 way stretch so that’s likely the case.

Colette Wren dress - front

Colette Wren dress - back

The ~black cozy knit~ is pretty awesome! It’s a poly knit, which I’d normally stay far far away from in the summer months – but I’m ok with poly in the winter. It sewed and pressed fine, and it’s just a really nice fabric. It feels a bit like lightweight ponte, with a nice heft and weight to it. The design is woven, so the wrong side is pretty cool too. My favorite part is that the right side is a little fuzzy and feels like a cozy sweater. My other favorite part is the print- up close, I think the white design looks like a city skyline:)

Colette Wren dress - front

Here it is without the belt!

I don’t think there’s much else to say about this simple dress, so have some more photos:

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - front

I think the dress looks pretty classy – it would be awesome for all those fancy dinners and evening concerts that I don’t attend. HA! Or maybe just wallowing around on the couch, I dunno. Actually, my roommate and I are going to see Neil deGrasse Tyson this week and I’m TOTALLY wearing this shit for that. I am going to be so comfy while I simultaneously have my mind blown about the universe, wheee!

* Note: This fabric was given to me in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. The pattern was also given to me from Colette Patterns, as a gift and with no strings attached. Per usual, all the opinions you are reading here are my own!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,108 other followers