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Me Made May 2021

25 Jun

Did you participate in Me Made May this year? I used to be really active in the early days, but over the last few years I have chosen to not participate as I regularly wear me-made clothes almost exclusively, which at that point just seemed a little annoying and self-congratulatory to shoot a whole ass month of photos for something I already do without prompt.

However, in the last year or so, I went through a bit of an existential crisis as far as my wardrobe was concerned. I started with changing my color palette (I’m sticking strictly to warm tones now, and holy shit I can’t believe how all my stuff just effortlessly coordinates now, what a rush), then later playing with different silhouettes. I am now starting to slowly branch out from my own personal self-imposed “style rules” and experimenting with new ways to express myself with how I dress. Clothing is supposed to be fun!

So I decided to participate in Me Made May this year, and see what else I could discover.

What I really wanted to focus on was less the fully handmade outfits, and more something that previous Me Made Mays have absolutely fucked up for me when I participated in the past – allowing outfit / garment repeats, and RTW (ready-to-wear) pieces! Old MMM’s gave me this weird aversion to wearing the same thing twice in one month – because you want every photo to be fresh, right? The major problem with this – for me – was that it trickled into my daily dressing, too. It gave me a weird complex to wear the same garment twice, even weeks apart! Y’all, I get that this is a thing that is really pushed on us with our buy-buy-buy culture, but I honestly cannot articulate how fucking STUPID of an idea it is. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing the same shit on repeat (especially if it’s something that makes you feel really good!). People don’t notice – do you notice when someone repeats a garment/outfit? And realistically, even if you did notice – does it really matter? Like, who really cares in the grand scheme of things? I really needed to hammer this into my own head. Again – clothing is supposed to be fun!

Another reason for joining MMM this year was to simply get more comfortable taking photos of myself, and to try different locations. Let’s be real here – the main reason why I post less and less is directly related to my comfort level with taking photographs. I’ve never liked taking photos of myself, and over the years I find myself avoiding it more and more. By making myself take a photo every single day, I hoped it would force me to get more comfortable with the whole process. And to make things interesting, I decided to take photos in as many different locations as possible. I love creeping on people’s houses in the background of their photos – I think most people do! So even if you don’t care about the Me Made May aspect of these photos, I hope you can appreciate the mini house tour!

Anyway, I think this year was very successful for me! I stuck with it for the entire month and took a photo every single day – even when I was traveling! And I allowed myself to repeat individual garments – and even full outfits! – which made the whole process less stressful. I thought it would be fun to share these here, since I know a lot of people don’t use Instagram and prefer to read blogs. So here you go! My Me Made May results from 2021 – only a few weeks late 🙂


Day 1: Masin Sicily Slip Dress + Alina Design Hampton Jean jacket  / This is my hallway! This photo also marks the first time I joined multiple (vaccinated) friends for a dinner party since COVID! In someone else’s house! What a rush!!


Day 2: (RTW) Elizabeth Suzann Florence pants (I did alter these to have narrower legs and a more cropped length, FYI) + True Bias Ogden Cami + Grainline Studio Driftless cardigan / This is my living room! Obviously I really whooped it up the night before, so I spent my day relaxing on the couch and getting absolutely nothing done 🙂


Day 3: Grainline Studio Scout tee + Closet Core Patterns Ginger Jeans / This is my studio, and I spent most of my day in here!


Day 4: Cashmerette Concord tshirt + Deer & Doe Fumeterre Skirt (made with a rayon from Workroom Social!) / This is my bathroom! I was bound and determined to get a shot in here, but it is VERY small (as is my whole house LOL) so I had to improvise 🙂


Day 5: True Bias Nikko top + Closet Core Patterns Ginger Jeans (again!) / This is my kitchen! Fun fact: I bought wallpaper (to cover the soffits above the cabinets) immediately after taking this photo.


Day 6: (RTW) Skateboarding is Stupid tshirt (cropped + re-hemmed by me) + Closet Core Patterns Ginger Jeans / This is my dining room!


Day 7: Allie Olsen Elio Top + True Bias Lander Pants / This is my bedroom, and also here is an Amelia cameo!


Day 8: Tilly & the Buttons Rosa Shirt dress / Real talk: This is an exact duplicate of the dress in that post LOL I guess I’m a different size now, so I made a bigger one! And I rarely wore it, because it felt so… overwhelmingly denim and kind of heavy. So I cut the sleeves short right before taking this photo, and it feels so much better now!) Anyway, this is my patio!


Day 9: Grainline Studio Archer shirt (made with Spoonflower fabric!) + (RTW) Elizabeth Suzann Cecilia pants (altered by me!) (also discontinued – sorry! But they are super high waisted and super stretchy and really awesome!) / Just hanging out in my giant + empty back yard. I love that the blank canvas gives me the option to do anything I want back here, but also, it is a little intimidating to start from scratch! Eventually I’d like to landscape and add some small gardens and maybe a patio (and someday – a separate studio building!!! #dreams), but for now, I mainly use this space to take blanket naps in the sun haha


Day 10: (RTW) Handpainted denim jacket, Martine Sweater (originally knitted by me, then later overdyed by me!) + Closet Core Patterns Kalle Shirt + Closet Core Patterns Ginger Jeans (again!) / I ran out of rooms so I’m back in my living room, in front of one of my favorite pieces of art! I found this delightfully creepy piece a a thrift store about 10 years ago and it gets a lot of comments (both good and bad haha).


Day 11: Poison Grrls Beauty School sweater + Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans / Ok so this isn’t my house – I was on set (as a tailor!) for a tv shoot! It was a very busy day but I managed to squeeze in a quick bathroom mirror selfie 🙂


Day 12: True Bias Nikko Top + (RTW) Talbot’s Leopard Midi skirt (I changed out the waistband for a soft, wide elastic!) / Took these photos on my front porch to show up my SEXY NEW SECURITY DOOR (here is the one I got!). I’ve wanted this door since I originally bought my house, and it is everything I dreamed it would be! (ps if you think my legs look really airbrushed… they aren’t, it was just kind of cold so I have on skin-colored pantyhose LOL)


Day 13: Tilly & the Buttons Stella Hoodie (shortened into a top and then I added that sparkly cat patch!) + Vogue Patterns 2442 (the original Calvin Klein jeans!) / While I had the carpenter installing that front door, I also convinced him to re-hang the screen door on the side of my house! It’s original to the house, but the sellers took it down and stashed it in the crawl space because it looked “old fashioned.” So I had it re-hung and I love it! There!


Day 14: Megan Nielsen Eucalypt tank + True Bias Lander pants / Just hanging out with the peonies in my front yard! The previous homeowner planted them and I have never loved a flower more!


Day 15: Cashmerette Concord tshirt (again!) + (RTW) Maxi skirt that originally started out as a huge 80’s dress (I cut into a skirt and then later added a wide elastic waistband. Because elastic is super comfortable and I love myself LOL) / This is the other side of my kitchen! And if you peek into the living room behind me, you can see Amelia’s favorite toy – a horrible thing that looks exactly like vomit (brown, fuzzy, and it’s even the same SHAPE ugh)


Day 16: True Bias Rio Ringer tshirt (with an added CAT PATCH!) + True Bias Lander pants / Here’s another little corner of my studio – I painted the mural on the wall!


Day 17: Sophie Hines Axis Tank + ThreadyMade Sunburst Monroe skirt (this came as a kit but I sewed it together!) / Here is another corner of my kitchen, and at this point you can see I clearly ran out of spaces to shoot…


Day 18: True Bias Lander shorts + Closet Core Patterns Kalle shirt + (RTW) Black sweatshirt (that I added another cat patch to LOL) / Someone thoughtfully suggested I take a photo in the laundry area, so that’s what inspired this hahaha.


Day 19: Helen’s Closet Arden Pants + (RTW) vintage Duran Duran concert tshirt (shortened by me!) / This is another angle of my bedroom, taken while packing for a workshop at Pintuck & Purl.


Day 20: (RTW) Thrifted black tshirt (cut + hemmed into a crop top by me!) + (RTW) knit skirt (brand is A.L.C.) (I did take in the waist elastic to make it a little more fitted; otherwise it is essentially un-alterable due to how it is constructed) + leopard print silk chiffon scarf that is basically a really expensive piece of fabric (Alexander McQueen from Darrell Thomas Textiles) cut into a rectangle and then hemmed / Out of my house for the weekend, and in my temporary digs in Exeter NH while I teach a workshop at Pintuck & Purl! This AirBNB was the *cutest* little space!


Day 21: Cashmerette Appleton Dress / This was my birthday!! Maggie brought me a CAKE – it’s a little pair of jeans with a pincushion that matches my tattoo / blog header, I mean, COME ON.


Day 22: Sophie Hines Axis Tank + Grainline Studio Archer shirt + (RTW) thrifted Leopard bias skirt (hemmed by me) / Day 2 of my workshop at Pintuck & Purl! Also, 2020 was the year I discovered just how much I love wearing bias cut pieces. SO. COMFY. (yet so refined!)


Day 23: Tilly & the Buttons Rosa shirt dress (again!) + silk leopard scarf (again!) / Day 3 + a wrap for my second jeans workshop of the year! I loved wearing this dress so much that I decided to bring it with me and wear it again! Although in retrospect, it might not be the absolute best choice for teaching – the skirt is short, and gets dangerously shorter depending on how I sit. That’s a lot of leg!


Day 24: Poisongrrls Beauty School sweater (again!) + RTW A.L.C. knit skirt (again!) + leopard silk chiffon scarf (again!) / I was traveling all day and this was the best photo I could manage! Also, this whole outfit is repeats. Whatever! Amazingly, I did not vanish into a puff of smoke upon leaving the house LOL


Day 25: StyleArc Patterns Ariana dress + (RTW) Button-up (hand embroidery on the back done by me, and I also shortened it a little!) / Another angle of my living room! This last year I also discovered using button-up shirts as a light layer to wear in the summer. Breathable fabrics such as rayon, silk, linen, and lightweight cotton are perfect for warding off the chill of an aggressive A/C, and also look much more seasonably appropriate (I think!) than a big ol’ cardigan!


Day 26: Sew Over It Penny dress (made with a fabulous Dolce & Gabbana cotton from Darrell Thomas Textiles) / Went out for my birthday dinner (to House of Cards in Nashville which was SO AWESOME and I highly recommend!) and decided to wear an old birthday favorite! I never posted about this dress, but I made it a couple of years ago! Also, I’m standing with my (new to me) truck! This was my dad’s vehicle and my mom titled it over to me a couple of months ago. It’s been a few years since I drove a truck (my old truck was a Ford Ranger, too!) and I forgot how fun they are!


Day 27: Cashmerette Concord tshirt + (RTW) Talbots leopard skirt (again!) / My niece graduated high school this year so I spent the day celebrating with her! I cannot believe it has been 18 years since this little squirt was born. Where does the time go??


Day 28: True Bias Lander pants + (vintage/RTW) Sheer Embroidered top + Sophie Hines Axis tank (worn underneath) / Another side of my dining room. Can you tell I’m over the daily photos by this point? LOL


Day 29: Professor Meow sweater + Closet Core Patterns Ginger Jeans / It got suddenly cold again which meant another opportunity to bust out the sweater collection! Yeehaw! Also, this is the other view from my hallway!


Day 30: Closet Core Patterns Fiore skirt + True Bias Nikko top (again!) / When I made this skirt a couple of years ago, it felt a little risky to sew it in such a weird yellow. But it has ended up being a real workhorse in my wardrobe, and that strange shade of yellow-green matches most of my clothes! I also wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the slightly longer length, but I love it! Here is another side of my living room, and where Amelia spends most of her day when I’m home with the door open (there is a bird feeder hanging on the tree right outside).


Day 31: Closet Core Patterns Elodie wrap dress / Last day of May, finally!! I leashed up Amelia and took her out for a little photo walk! Of course, she’s a cat so our “walk” ended up with her flopping down on the ground, dramatically eating all the grass around her like it was her last meal. Oh well!

That’s all for Me Made May this year! Not putting any restrictions on my outfits (ex., allowing repeats, RTW, etc) made it a lot easier to get dressed and feel excited about what I was wearing! If you’re thinking that there are barely any repeats here as it is – you’d be correct, as May tends to flip-flop a lot weather-wise here in Nashville, with an equal amount of warm and chilly days. So I pretty much had double the options to choose from when it came to clothes!

The biggest improvement for me was narrowing down the colors I wear, and sticking mainly to warm colors with a slightly limited palette (including lots of leopard, obviously #leopardisaneutral). This made nearly all of my pieces effortlessly coordinate, which I love! I still need to do some work when it comes to silhouettes and proportions, but keeping track of everything for a month has been really helpful.

I’m also happy to report that there were only a couple of pieces I wore that I didn’t feel super excited about. I will be removing these pieces from rotation and seeing if there is something that can be altered to make them more appealing, or releasing them into the world for someone else to wear and love.

Did you participate in Me Made May this year? What were your takeaways?

2021 Jeans Workshop Dates (+ a FAQ)!

5 May

Hey friends!

Hope everyone is hanging in there after that doozy of year we’ve just been through. Allow me to grace your feed with a workshop announcement! Yes! We are gonna do some workshops this year, god-willing!

Please note that not all the classes are listed as of this posting (I will update as they are!). I strongly recommend that you follow the shop hosting the workshop, to be notified when the class is listed so you can sign up quickly and hopefully secure a seat! I will update my classes page as workshops as listed, however, I cannot guarantee they won’t be sold out by that point (this appears to be a common theme with my workshops LOL).

All dates and links are listed on my WORKSHOPS page, as well as at the end of this post. For more information, including pricing, please visit the shop’s website or send them an email!

For COVID-19 precautions, most shops are limiting class size to allow social distancing. Also, ya girl is fully vaccinated! Yay!

I also wanted to share with y’all some Frequently Asked Questions, as these tend to pop up regularly any time I announce my workshops. If you’ve got a burning question, please check the list below as I may have already answered it!


What can I expect to learn in this workshop?

My Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend workshop primarily focuses on construction – you will learn all the details that go into making a pair of jeans, including order of construction, seam finishes, topstitching, inserting a fly zipper, attaching a waistband, and loads and loads (and loads) of little tips and tricks sprinkled throughout the weekend. The knowledge you obtain isn’t just jeans-specific – you can use what you learned to apply toward all sorts of future sewing adventures (Denim jackets!! Rad pants! Skirts! Dresses! Bags! Your possibilities are endless!). You will leave with a great pair of jeans, plus the confidence to go home and make more!

Does this workshop cover fit?

We will go over fit, although this is not a fit-specific workshop. The first half day is devoted to choosing our size (including trying on samples!), adjusting our preferred fit, and preparing our fabric for sewing (cutting, marking, etc). We *will* go over minor fitting adjustments as needed for each individual body. We will *not* spend a long time fussing over fit, nor can I guarantee that your first pair will be ~the most perfectly fitting pair of pants you’ve ever worn~. There simply is not enough time in class to allow for us to make multiple muslins for a perfect fit – and to be completely honest, this is hard to obtain without wearing the pants around for a few days to really get an idea of what needs to be adjusted. I don’t say this to discourage you, but rather, to set the expectation of what you will get out of your weekend. We will tweak the fuck outta your pants throughout the weekend (if it needs it – most students find they get a great fit right out of the envelope! #magicpants) and you will leave with something lovely and wearable that I promise you’ll be proud of. Should you need future adjustments, you will be armed with the knowledge to make it happen!

Is this class suitable for plus sized sewists?

Yes! The Closet Core Ginger Jeans pattern is available in sizes 0-20 (up to a 48″ hip). If you need a larger size, the Cashmerette Ames Jeans pattern is a great option, and is available in sizes 0-32 (up to a 62″ hip). Need a bigger size than that? Holler at me and I’ll get it sorted. This class caters to EVERY size, no butts left behind!

I’m a dude, can I take your class?

Of course! Men (whether cis or trans or non-binary) are absolutely invited to join us for the weekend! The Ginger Jeans + Ames patterns are designed for women, however, there are easy tweaks we can do to change the fit as needed.

That being said, my Sew Your Own Jeans workshops are an inclusive, welcoming, FUN space for everyone! BIPOC, LGBT, disabled – I would love to have you in my class! Please let me know your preferred pronouns and if you need any special accommodations in order to make the most out of your workshop weekend. I got you ❤

What experience level should I be at in order to take this workshop?

Believe it or not, this workshop is actually quite beginner-friendly! You don’t need to be a sewing superstar with years of experience under your belt. The prerequisites for class are that you should be comfortable threading and operating a sewing machine, and have experience sewing at least one sewing pattern. That’s it, that’s all you need to take this class!

If you are a very experienced sewist with lots and lots of sewing (and maybe even jeans making!) under your belt, I still believe you will learn a lot in this workshop! I have had a vast array of skill levels in my classes – from the total beginner to the seasoned professional – and everyone leaves with more knowledge than they came with.

I don’t like the pattern, can I use a different one? Can I modify it?

I hate to be a fun sponge, but we really don’t have time in class to make huge design changes to the pattern or try to work with something entirely different. That being said, there are downloadable pattern hacks for the Ginger Jeans that you are welcome to bring to class – Ginger Mid-Rise Jeans and Ginger Flares. We can make additional small fit tweaks (such as opting for a looser fit or straight legs, if you’re not a skinny-jeans kinda sewist), but plan on saving the major changes and additional patterns for your home sewing practice!

Will you ever offer this workshop as an online class?

Probably not! Due to the extremely hands-on nature of this course (including the availability of pre-sewn samples for students to try on!), it isn’t very well suited for online. Also, I don’t wanna do online classes! Sorry, I’m selfish!

Will you ever come to _____________ (city / state / country / planet) to teach this workshop?

I get this question a lot, and the short answer is – I’d love to!! My best advice to make this happen is to holler at your local sewing shop and tell them you want to take a LLADYBIRD Jeans Workshop, and encourage them to reach out to me (lladybirdlauren AT gmail DOT com). This allows the shop to recognize that there is already interest in a workshop, which means they are more likely to get the ball rolling in terms of planning one!


So you signed up for a jeans workshop! Yay! We are so excited to have you in class and I can’t wait to make a lil’ denim believer out of you!! Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your class weekend:


Folks, I cannot stress this enough. Please, please… spend the extra money and buy the kit that I recommend for class. Please do not use this as an opportunity to “use up that old Joann’s denim that’s been languishing in the stash for several years.” On the flip side, for your very first pair of jeans – you maybe don’t want to dish out and use something really precious that you’d be devastated to not have turn out exactly right. I chose the materials in my kits specifically for their affordability, reorderability, and the fact that the shop can sell them directly to you (which in turn supports the shop). My samples are sewn with the exact same materials, so you can get a good idea of what your finished jeans will also turn out like in terms of sizing, ease, etc. If you want the best possible results, please buy the damn kit!


I know this can be really hard for a lot of sewists – but in my workshop, I really encourage you to let go of any ideas of perfection and just enjoy the learning process! By allowing yourself to make mistakes, you take a lot of stress out of class. Believe me, you are going to have some wonky topstitching, and maybe your first go at bartacks will be kind of horrifying. But rather than spend your time stressing and seam-ripping and hyper-focusing on small details – I encourage you to let it go and embrace the fact that you are learning something new! As you continue your practice at home (on your own machine, with no rushing), you’ll further develop your skills and, yes, continually improve! Furthermore, there’s something really sweet and lovely about looking back on your first go at something and recognizing the vast improvement you’ve made over time.


Don’t be skeered, y’all! Can you operate a sewing machine? Do you want to make jeans? Congratulations, you are qualified for this class! In addition to being your (super fun, super awesome) teacher, I’m also your personal cheerleader. I’m here to encourage you throughout the weekend, to tell you that you got this. Bring a notebook (or plan to film lots of video), wear comfy underwear, tell your inner naysayer to shut the fuck up and come sew with us!!


Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
May 21 – 23, 2021
Pintuck & Purl, North Hampton, NH

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
June 4 – 6, 2021
Josephine’s Dry Goods, Portland, OR

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
June 11 – 13, 2021
Josephine’s Dry Goods, Portland, OR

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop SOLD OUT
June 25 – 27, 2021
Domesticity, Baltimore, MD

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
June 30 – July 2, 2021
Domesticity, Baltimore, MD

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
July 9 – 11, 2021
Darrell Thomas Textiles, Almonte, Ottawa Canada

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop SOLD OUT
July 16 – 18, 2021
Pintuck & Purl, North Hampton, NH

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Retreat SOLD OUT
August 5 – 8, 2021
Maker’s Hideway, Stanwood, WA

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Retreat SOLD OUT
August 12 – 15, 2021
Maker’s Hideway, Stanwood, WA

How To Sew Jeans Weekend Retreat SOLD OUT
September 3 – 5, 2021
Madalynne Studios, Philadephia, PA

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
September 17 – 19, 2021
Fancy Tiger Crafts, Denver, CO

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
October 1 – 3, 2021
Stitch Sew Shop, Alexandria, VA

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
October 29 – 31, 2021
Pintuck & Purl, North Hampton, NH

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop ONLY 3 SEATS LEFT
November 12 – 14, 2021
Domesticity, Baltimore, MD

Sew Your Own Jeans Weekend Workshop
December 4 – 6, 2021
Sew With Sonia, Menlo Park, CA

Note: All images in this post were taken by Madalynne, at her studio workshop this past April! If you are a Philly local and would like to take a workshop in a very beautiful, very pink environment with your own personal paparazzi that makes you look like a sewing model with every shot, come join us this Labor Day Weekend! 🙂

Swatch Service with The Confident Stitch

6 Jul

TCS Swatch Service

I don’t know about y’all, but my fabric buying habits have dramatically changed since this whole pandemic shit started. While I strongly prefer to buy my fabric in person, I’ve had to learn how to shop online again. It’s been an interesting learning curve, to say the least. How often have we purchased fabric that ended up being wildly different than what we were anticipating? Sometimes this is due to bad photos/monitor situations (like with incorrect colors or very strangely-scaled prints), and sometimes the company just does a piss-poor job of describing their product accurately. Either way, it’s frustrating – not to mention expensive!

For this reason, I love ordering swatches. It’s so handy to get an actual piece of the fabric, that you can, you know, actually get your hands on. This, too, is a little risky though – since there’s no guarantee the fabric won’t sell out before you make your decision!

Today I’m going to tell you about a new way to swatch, as offered by The Confident Stitch and their new Swatch Service!

TCS Swatch Service

The Confident Stitch‘s Swatch Service is pretty straightforward – every 3 months, you receive a card with a selection of fabric swatches for the upcoming season. There is a variety of fibers and weights included, everything from swimsuit lycra to rigid bottom weight. The fabrics are chosen to coordinate with one another, which makes it easy capsulate your wardrobe if that’s your thing.

One thing that I really appreciated is that the swatch cards are available in 3 different options: warm tones, cool tones, and quilting cotton. No more getting a box of swatches in all cool blues when you’re more of a warm red kinda person, or vice versa! Furthermore, the card is limited to 8 swatches, so it’s more of a curated experience and less of an overwhelming “let’s throw everything in the box and hope something resonates!”

In addition to swatches themselves, the cards also include care instructions, fabric facts, and pattern suggestions. For even more in-depth fiber nerdiness, Swatch Service also provides emails (sent after the cards are shipped) with more details about each fabric. There are videos so you can see how the fabric handles (also great for checking out print proportion), links to different color options, and blog posts with more information on each fabric, including tips for cutting and sewing.

Oh, and you also get a discount on all the fabrics featured in your swatch book, which is valid for 90 days!

TCS Swatch Service

The Swatch Service starts at $15 per card/quarter, with discounts for ordering multiple cards and/or months.

The folks at the Confident Stitch sent me both the cool and warm tones swatch cards, so I could get a good look and feel of them in order to write this post!

TCS Swatch Service

The first thing I noticed was how professional they look – heavy cardstock, full color printing, and the swatches themselves are firmly attached to the card (sorry mine are a little beat up – I was carrying them around in my backpack all week!). You can flip up each swatch to reveal essential information (fiber content, care instructions, suggested needle size, fabric width and price per yard). On the left-hand side are pattern suggestions and line drawings, which can be used in combination with the swatches to create a small capsule wardrobe that is suited for the season.

TCS Swatch Service

TCS Swatch Service

As you can see, the fabrics all coordinate with each other quite beautifully. As someone who struggles with creating a cohesive color palette (I end up just making things in every single color and then wonder why nothing coordinates with each other), it’s pretty magical to have the colors and prints already chosen for you!

One thing I really love is that the swatches are all fabrics that are reorderable (if you’re like me and you tend to sew designer end-cuts, I know you feel my pain in regards to non-reorderable fabric lol), so generally these same fabrics will be available even if you take your sweet time deciding on which swatches to pick. This also means that many of the fabrics come in multiple colorways! So maybe you love the feel of the Robert Kaufman Essex Linen, but that blue isn’t doing it for you – just know there’s probably something even better (hint: there is. Essex Linen rules, btw!)

TCS Swatch Service

TCS Swatch Service

I think my favorite thing, though, is the little sewing tip under each swatch! Each fabric has a professional pointer to help with sewing, fabric care, or choosing a suitable pattern. They are fun to read and would be super handy for any beginner who needs a little extra guidance.

TCS Swatch Service

TCS Swatch Service

The Swatch Service is great if you’re the sort of person who needs a little guidance with choosing fabrics for your upcoming sewing projects, or prefers a more tactile shopping experience. I also think this is a wonderful option for new sewists who are still trying to navigate the crazy world of fabric hand, drape, and fiber content – and may not necessarily have access to a local fabric store that carries a wide variety of options. It’s also just a nice little way to support a small business, while also getting a fun (and hopefully inspiring!) piece of mail a few times a year! Are you a mood board / visual sewing planner sort of person? This card already comes with pre-cut swatches and line drawings that you can use! Yes!

TCS Swatch Service

Here are the warm and cool cards next to each other! Personally, I’m really feeling those warm tones – but the cool is pretty nice, too! Which one do you like?

** Just a note: This is a sponsored post. The Confident Stitch sent me these swatch cards for free, and I was compensated for this post. All unbiased views and opinions are my own! 

Completed: Liberty of London Carolyn Pajamas

7 Aug

I hope y’all are ready to look at some fancy shit today.

Liberty Carolyn PJs

Behold, my newest set of pajamas – also known as the most expensive thing I sleep in 😛

Liberty Carolyn PJs

A few months ago, I was contacted by Josephine’s Dry Goods to try out a piece of Liberty fabric from their staggering collection. They actually have a LOT of incredible, high-quality fabric from all sorts of designers (and they always happy to send samples if you are on the fence!) – but I was really keen to try the Liberty specifically because, let’s face it – you should never say no to free Liberty amirite. While I’m not generally a fan of the cutesy floral prints – they are pretty, but they definitely are not my style – there are plenty of non-cutesy non-floral prints to choose from – Adelajda, Weather Wonderland, Oxford, Melting Elements, Lauren’s Leaf (best name ever), Endurance – to name a few!

After a LOT of deliberation, I decided on Fornasetti Forest – I love the psychedelic print, as well as the colors. The colors aren’t necessarily ones that I tend to wear – but I was making PJs with my Liberty, which allows for a little more color experimentation. The fabric was shipped out quickly, and arrived in a beautiful little package.

Liberty Carolyn PJs

Liberty Carolyn PJs

Liberty Carolyn PJs

I used the Carolyn Pajamas pattern from Closet Case Patterns – having made these twice before (in summer linen and cotton flannel – both of which are still nighttime wardrobe staples for me!), I was pretty familiar with the pattern – both in terms of construction and fit – which means that I could get straight into sewing and know that I would be happy with the finished garment. I made a size 2 for both the top and the bottom, which is the same size I made for my other PJs. I went with view C, which features shorts + a short sleeved top, and added the optional piping to really make the style lines stand out.

Liberty Carolyn PJs - on dressform

Liberty Carolyn PJs - collar

Liberty Carolyn PJs - pocket

While this was a pretty straightforward project, I did put some thought into construction before I started. Since the Tana Lawn I used is so fine, I decided to use French seams for all the construction seams – yep, including the armsyces! – well, except for the mock fly, which I ultimately decided to just serge (I did consider binding that seam, but I was afraid it would be too bulky in an area that definitely doesn’t need even a hint of bulk haha). The piping and topstitching are both black – to bring out the black detail in the print and kind of ground it a little. I did have some coral-y orange lawn that exactly matched the orange in the fabric, but I went with black because I think it pulls all the colors together a little better. This print is pretty wild on its own! Getting black piping meant that I didn’t have to make my piping, either – I bought some premade stuff from a local shop here in town and that saved me a bit of effort!

Liberty Carolyn PJs - shorts flat

The top of the shorts waistband has a little ruffle, which is the result of using an elastic that is about 1/4″ too narrow. I couldn’t find elastic in the correct width that was soft enough (I like wearing the really soft PJ elastic, but sometimes you don’t get the best variety of widths), so I went a little narrower. Rather than redraft the waistband to reflect the new width, I just sewed a line of stitching 1/4″ away from the top edge and then inserted the elastic. I did this on my linen pair and I like the way it looks.

Liberty Carolyn PJs - top flat

Liberty Carolyn PJs - waistband

Liberty Carolyn PJs - cuff detail

Liberty Carolyn PJs - inside detail

Working with Liberty fabric was super easy – the Tana Lawn is a nice, tight weave that doesn’t fray much and responds well to pressing. Despite the expense (it’s about $40/yard), this is probably one of the best fabrics to make pajamas out of. Like I said, it’s SUPER easy to work with – even on a more complicated pattern – and it’s also really delightful to wear, as it’s nice and cool in the summer heat. Plus, the prints are really fun – perfect for a wacky night’s rest. Since the fabric is pretty light, I did use a really fine needle – a 70/10 sharp. I also found out that silk pins work best with this fabric, as larger pins will show pinholes (although I also learned that a quick steam will usually make the holes close up pretty easily).

I reaaaaally wanted to finish these in time to wear to Belize (I had visions of getting some island backgrounds in a photo or two), but I pretty much only managed to get them prewashed before it was time to leave. On the flip side, I was able to wear them to a little weekend cabin retreat with my book club – and everyone was really jealous of my awesome sleepwear. I think the top actually would do well on it’s own as daytime wear (with pants, I mean hahaha), which I’ve considered wearing. I just need to get past the mentality of it being PJs, you know?

Liberty Carolyn PJs - full set

Liberty Carolyn PJs

I think I’ve said enough about these PJs for now, but don’t think I don’t have more versions on the horizon – my plaid flannel ones suffered a bit of a dye transfer earlier this year (btw I’m never indigo dyeing anything ever again). While they are certainly still wearable, I’m on the lookout for a good replacement fabric to make a fresh pair!

As a side note – I have officially made all 3 versions of this PJ pattern. Heather, am I the only one? Can I have a trophy?

Note: The Liberty of London fabric that I used for these pajamas was very generously provided to me by the fine folks over at Josephine’s Dry Goods. I highly recommend them for all your Liberty needs!

My Dad <3

24 Feb

Charles Michael Taylor, Sr. // July 10, 1959 – February 18, 2017

My dad passed away on Saturday. For those of you who did not have the privilege of meeting him, he was truly the greatest man I have ever known. I could not have asked for a better father to lead me through life and teach me how to treat people (and show me how to expect to be treated by a man), nor a better love story and ultimate relationship goal than the one he had with my mom. We are absolutely devastated by this loss, but also so incredibly thankful to have had him in our lives for as long as we did. He will truly, truly be missed.

My dad was an absolute badass and he excelled at pretty much everything he did. He was a business owner, a top salesman, a photographer, an incredibly skilled gardener, and could cook you the best fucking steak you’ll ever eat. He was also a distance runner, and when I say distance – I don’t mean 5ks, or even marathons. He regularly ran 500ks (unassisted, I should add) and even qualified and ran the Barkley (if you’re not familiar with this one, there is a fantastic documentary about it on Netflix right now that I highly recommend) – running was his passion, and his favorite races were the craziest ones he could find. The man loved to talk, loved to help people whenever he could, and never met a stranger. He loved to play pranks and is 100% where I get my terrible potty humor and love for butt jokes from. When I was a little kid, he convinced me he could pick up the house and I totally believed him.

Even with his cancer diagnosis, my dad was a fighter who would not be beaten down. He powered through multiple major surgeries (including rescheduling one so that he could run that damn Barkley marathon), chemo, radiation, and endless rounds of hospital and ER visits. I think of him like a blade of grass – no matter how many times he was knocked down, he always bounced right up again. He never once complained, not even when things were at their worst – he was always positive, upbeat, and lived his life to the fullest up until the very end.

The outpouring of support that I (as well as my entire family) have received since last week has been incredible and the sheer amount of comments, messages, phone calls, and texts has been a little bit overwhelming. I can’t possibly respond to all of you, but I do want you to know that I read every single one of them and they were all truly appreciated. To see the impact that my dad made on so many people – both ones he personally knew in his community, and people who never got a chance to meet him but were still inspired by him nonetheless – has been very comforting and has helped me deal with my grief. I really can’t articulate how special this man was – not just to me and my family, but to anyone who had the honor of knowing him. It is an incredible privilege to be the daughter of such an amazing man. There is no doubt in my mind that he loved all of his children and grandchildren, and he was so proud of all of us.

Love to all of you. We will miss you, Charlie T ❤

Completed: More Bras!

23 Feb

You may have heard that the south was hit with a particularly bad ice storm last week. Nashville was coated with a few inches of solid ice, that kept melting in the sun and refreezing overnight, turning all our roads and interstates into some scary-ass ice rinks for the majority of the week. Since we’re not really equipped to deal with that kind of weather (the last time we had an ice storm anything like this was over 20 years ago – it normally just melts the next day and it’s not an issue), that means that most people spent the week stuck inside their house. And by “most people,” I’m specifically talking about myself. I gotta say – it was pretty nice to have nearly a whole snow week! I wasted the first day by being sick (wah), and the remainder of the days it was really hard to get my ass off the couch because our house is REALLY freaking cold (I’m wearing a fleece robe over my clothes and sitting by a space heater as I type this. I love my old house, but man, they are drafty!). I did want to take advantage of all the free time I had from being home for most of the week, so I made a couple of bras. Bra making is great for cold weather sewing, mostly because you don’t have to strip down often for fitting. Really, just once, and that’s when the bra is finished.

I made 2 bras, but I actually have 3 to show y’all. The first one is one that I finished at the end of 2014 (yay!); I’ve had the photos for ages but I never bothered to post it because it seemed like a pretty boring post on it’s own. For each of these bras, I used a fabric+findings kit to assemble them – so hopefully this will help those of y’all who are still trying to figure out what kit works best for which pattern.

Red Marlborough Bra

Bra #1 is this sexy little red lace number. This is the Marlborough bra, and the fabric is from a kit from Bra Maker’s Supply (the lace is something I picked up in London; Bra Maker’s Supply doesn’t include lace with their kits). This is the second bra I have ever made, and while I did have a few learning curves with this one, I really learned a LOT.

Red Marlborough Bra

Red Marlborough Bra

I really love the kits from Bra Maker’s Supply – they are a good price (less than $30 USD) and the materials are pretty nice quality. I’m not super crazy about the fabric, but it looks nice when it’s sewn up (I like to use the side that isn’t shiny, so it looks less costume-y). The only thing I’ve had a problem with is that they don’t indicate what elastic is for what part of the bra – it’s kind of assumed that you already know. For this bra, I mixed up the lace edge elastic with the underarm elastic, whoops. So now the underarms are lacy, and the top of the lace… isn’t. I doubt any of y’all would have even noticed that if I hadn’t pointed it out, but, it is what it is. It’s not uncomfortable or itchy, at least.

I made this bra exactly the same way as I sewed my black Marlborough, except I left off the clear elastic and lining on the lace (I used the underarm elastic at the top of the lace, to stabilize it). I only made a couple minor fitting changes to the pattern, based on what Norma and I talked about while I was in Paris (scooping about 1/4″ off the bottom of the bridge and adding about 1/4″ to the edge of the upper cup, also moving the straps out about 1/2″). When I finished the bra, I put it on – and it was COMPLETELY unwearable. The back straps were so far apart, they were riding up the back of my armpits. Really really uncomfortable. So I threw the bra in the corner and ignored it for about 3 weeks while I debated what to do. The bra was already finished at this point – underwires inserted, hook and eye sewn in, everything – and I didn’t want to trash it after putting all that work and money into it. This here is the downside of bra making. You can’t really fit-as-you-go.

Spoiler alert: I fixed it and it’s now wearable. I had to unpick the entire back, but I made it work. What I ended up doing was unpicking all the stitching and elastic from the back band, all the way to the frame, and then removed the back band. I measured the pattern band against the band of my favorite bra, and redrew the back curve to match the RTW one. This ended up making the back band bigger as well – so I’m not sure the bra size anymore, since it’s bigger than the 30D I originally cut. Doesn’t matter, though, because whatever the size it is – it fits ME. Anyway, I recut the back pieces in power net and reattached them to the frame, pieced the elastic (since what was attached to the bra was now too short for the band – fortunately, the kits give you more than enough elastic so this was not an issue), and reattached the hook and eye. The bra now fits really well. The band is big enough – it was a smidge too tight before – and the straps are in the right spot. I’m really glad that I took the extra 2+ hours out to rip out and fix the bra, because now I have a wearable red bra!

Red Marlborough Bra

Here it is on me. This the only floaty ghost bra picture you get in this post, fyi. And only because I did this one agessss ago, ha. You actually see a bit more nipple in real life, but I was feeling modest so I pushed them out of the way. You’re welcome, I guess.

This is the bra that I showed Maddie when I was in Philly for the bra making class. I wanted her to see my fitting changes and tell me if there was anything else I need to tweak. Thankfully, the bra looks pretty good – so I’ve got the go-ahead to keep cutting this size, with my new back band piece and all that.

Soooo, here’s the next Marlborough that I made over the snow week!

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

No fitting changes to this bra, just fabric changes (and a different kit). I really like that red bra, but I REALLY LOVE this one! I think it turned out sooo pretty! And, while I’m not the kind of person to sit here and wax poetic about my boobs or anything (I mean, they’re boobs, there’s nothing any more special about mine than, say, yours), this bra makes them look really really good. Gives them a nice lift and shape. I’m so happy with it!

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I used one of the kits from Grey’s Fabric to make this one up (I don’t see it on the stock page anymore, but it was black and nude). These have the same duoplex fabric as the kits from Bra Maker’s Supply, but unlike BMS – they also include the lace, underwires, and enough strap elastic (you don’t get enough with Bra Maker’s Supply, fyi! Make sure you buy extra if you order from them). I did change out the ribbon decoration to a black one – and sewed a little rhinestone button in the middle, BECAUSE IT’S ADORABLE – but everything came with the kit. I like that.

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

The major difference between this bra and the red one is the lace – the red lace is very stable, so it doesn’t stretch. The black lace here is a stretch lace that I did not stabilize. That alone made the biggest difference in the fit.

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I’m just including this picture because Amelia looks like a deer caught in headlights hahaha

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I’m really happy that this lace had a scalloped edge, so I could use that in the bra. I think it’s really pretty! I stabilized the scalloped edge with a piece of clear elastic – this wasn’t included in the kit, but I have tons of it on hand, so not a big deal. All the findings are the same nude color; the only black is the lace and the power net (and the bow I made – I thought it looked better than the nude bow).

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

Now that I’m feeling pretty good about the fit, I’ve started experimenting with finishing the seams. I used a 3 thread overlock for this one – at the advice of all my favorite bra makers, basically. You just have to be careful with 1/4″ seams; you don’t want to accidentally cut too much off (I know you can disable the knife blade, but me, I like to live on the edge). Oh, and you can see the little nude bow that I didn’t use! Maybe for my next bra.

Finally, I also made another Watson bra!

Green and White Watson Bra

I LOVE this one so much! I talked myself into buying that kit one day (I don’t know why, but I was convinced that I needed a green bra – like, who doesn’t need a green bra?); the nude/black kit was actually bought at the same time so I could get free shipping, ha. I used one of the lace Watson kits (the one I bought appears to be sold out, but this one is similar).

Green and White Watson Bra

I admit – when I first received the kit, I was completely confused. The lace only has a minor amount of mechanical stretch – i.e., no spandex – and there was a TON of powermesh. I wasn’t sure if the bra would even fit, considering the blue Watson I made used a very stretchy material. I sat on this one for awhile because I wasn’t sure how to proceed, but I think I nailed it.

The cups and bridge are obviously cut from lace, with what little stretch there is going in the direction it’s supposed to. The bridge is also stabilized with the included lining from the kit. All the lace is lined with powermesh, and the back band is only power mesh (so it gets the stretch it needs). I’m really pleased to report that it fits very very well. The rigidity of the lace gives it quite a bit more support than the stretchier bra has, so that’s nice. Plus, it almost looks like a real piece of clothing now (I mean, not lingerie haha), with all the lace and shit. Now I’m wondering if this pattern would work with a bias-cut woven fabric for the cups and frame – that’s about the amount of stretch you get with this lace+mesh. Might be something to experiment with later!

Green and White Watson Bra

All the trim is white; pretty much the only green is the mesh. You can see that I used the picot lace elastic for the upper cups on this one, as well as the underarms. This kit only came with one trim, instead of two. I finished all the seams with the 3 thread overlock, same size and everything as with my last one.

Green and White Watson Bra

Green and White Watson Bra

I took a tip from Maddie’s bra making class and used a new method to cut this sucker out. First I used Sulky Temporary Spray Adhesive (that links to the exact one I use; but any temporary spray adhesive suitable for crafting/sewing should work), then I used a teeny tiny rotary cutter to cut all the pieces (this isn’t the exact one I used, but it’s close enough – 28mm Olfa Rotary Cutter. I got it in the bra making class I took). The spray adhesive held everything together while I sewed it, which was extremely helpful – especially when basting the lining to the cradle fabric. No wrinkles there, yay!

Green and White Watson Bra

Then I made the matching undies with the leftover! Didn’t realize the lace was supposed to be used for the front part (it’s in the project description now, but it wasn’t there when I bought it), so I just made the whole thing from powermesh. I used the wider elastic for the waist, and the decorative for the legs. These are okay; I need to practice more pulling the elastic because it’s not quite stretched enough. But it works well enough.

Anyway, that’s it! I love all these kit options for bras, because it saves me the headache of trying to source all the matching supplies myself (plus, I’m such a sucker for a good kit. Especially when it comes in it’s own box and everything is individually bagged; makes me so happy!). Now that I’ve used a few of the kits and gotten a general idea of what elastic to use in which part (and what it looks like, etc), I feel a lot more confident to buy all the supplies myself and not have to rely on a kit. That being said, I love the kits and I am looking forward to some new color options for sure!

Out of all the kits, I’m not sure if I have a favorite. I love the Bra Maker’s Supply ones because they’re really good and basic – everything is dyed the same color and it matches perfectly. The Grey’s Fabric kits are nice because they have a nice range of colors and they’re not just one solid color, plus, I like the pretty strap elastic and picot edged stuff too. I really love the hardware that comes with the kits from Blackbird fabrics, however, I think I prefer the more rigid lace + powermesh for a Watson, as opposed to the super stretchy millskin. Just a personal preference! The millskin almost feels like a swimsuit. If you’re trying to decide which kit to buy from where, I think it really boils down to your color preferences and how much the shipping will cost. There are lots of options, and they’re all really great!

Ok, I think I’ve done enough bra and boob talking for today! What’s your favorite bra out of these 3? Are you ready to start making your own now? Is there another kit option I should be looking into? I want to try the Merckwaerdigh kits next, I really love the color and pattern options!

TUTORIAL + GIVEAWAY: The Sewtionary (+ last week’s giveaway winner!)

22 Sep

Sorry, y’all, I’m in giveaway overload this month! Can’t help it if my friends are releasing awesome shit all at once, you know?

Adobe Photoshop PDF

I’m sure most of y’all have heard all about this fabulous little book by now – The Sewtionary, written by Tasia of Sewaholic (one of my FAVORITE sewing pattern companies! Seriously, some top 5 shit right there). A couple of months ago, Tasia reached out and asked if I’d like to be a part of her Sewtionary Blog Tour to help promote the book. While I do realize that blog tours can be a little redundant if you read the same blogs over and over (I know I can sometimes get jaded at looking at the same photos/reading the same gushing daily for 2 weeks or whatever), I really wanted to help promote this book because I really do give a shit about Tasia and her business. She’s one of my friends, and I like to do things for my friends. Plus, the book is beyond excellent- a great resource of 101 sewing techniques, written out like a dictionary. The photos are beautiful, each technique includes why it’s necessary (something my nerdy brain just loves), and it’s spiral-bound, so it’ll lay nice and flat on your sewing table. Lots of wins here!

Anyway, that’s about as much of a review as you’ll get from me (if you want a true review, definitely check out some of the tour stops that I’ll be linking at the bottom of this post!). Today, I wanted to do something different. I’m going to share a tutorial from the book with y’all .Everyone likes tutorials, right? 🙂

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway

Today’s tutorial: Making a Tailor’s Ham & Seam Roll.

First up – you’re probably thinking, “What the hell are these things and why the fuck would I spend my time making them?” Well, I’m so glad you asked! Both are used as pressing aids – the Tailor’s Ham is a big pillow-shaped tool that is used for pressing curved areas (such as darts and necklines), and the Seam Roll is a long, narrow stuffed tube that is used to press hard-to-reach seams (such as the inside of a sleeve), as well as a helpful way to avoid making seam allowance impressions on the right side of your garment. While I have a Tailor’s Ham that I’ve used for for years (and no lie, my cat literally uses that shit as a pillow when she naps on my ironing board), I’ve yet to get a Seam Roll. They are both great to have, but can easily cost you $20+ a pop when you buy them from the fabric store. So here’s where we learn to make our own – at the delightful price of FREE NINETY-NINE. You heard me!

You will need:
– Large scraps of wool fabric & cotton fabric. Try to choose something with a dense weave that does not stretch, that is 100% (aka – no poly blends!). I used leftover wool coating from my Vogue Coat and black quilting cotton.
– Something to stuff it with. Traditionally, these things use sawdust. You can also use cedar shavings (from a pet supply store), wool fabric scraps, or even old nylon stockings. For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using sawdust. It is *extremely* messy. It is also extremely free. No lie, I just waltzed right into my local Home Depot and asked for a bag of sawdust, back where they cut wood to spec. I can’t speak for other countries (Tasia tells me that you can’t sell sawdust in Canada, say whaaaat), but here in the good ol’ US of A, lots of hardware stores will give you free sawdust because they would otherwise throw it away. My sawdust man also informed me that it makes a nice mulch for the garden. Isn’t that handy!
– Sewing machine, thread, and hand sewing needles.
– Outdoor space, or a really really good broom. I told you, this shit was messy. You have been warned.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway

Here are the instructions, Sewtionary-Style. Told y’all that book is just lovely.

Now here are my steps.


How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
I found it easiest to start with a paper pattern piece, since the shape is so weird. You’ll want to make your ham 14″ long; 10″ wide at the wide end and 8″ wide at the narrower end. This will result in a bit of an egg shape.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Using your paper pattern piece, cut one egg from both the wool and the cotton.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Pin the pieces, right sides together, leaving a nice 5″ gap at the wide end. PROTIP: Whenever I’m sewing something that requires an unsewn gap, I mark each end with a double pin. This reminds me to stop sewing when I get to the double pin! Otherwise, I’ll just keep going my merry way and complete the circle, which is exactly what we don’t want right now.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew around the entire circumference of the ham, again leaving that 5″ gap at the wide end. Make sure it’s 5″, too – you’ll need the room for stuffing (don’t make it more than 5″, or you’ll hate yourself for it).

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Turn the ham right side out.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Ok, time to get messy! Take that ham outside and start stuffing your stuffing in it! If you are using sawdust, expect a big mess that will get everywhere.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Instead of just quickly trying to fill the ham with sawdust, take the time to pack down the sawdust with each handful. The narrow end of the ham especially needs to be packed pretty tight, or else it will collapse. Once you’ve packed it down, work on the next section and pack that. Again – this IS messy, and it will take longer than you think, because sawdust loves to pretend it’s tightly packed when it’s secretly not. You want the ham to be pretty hard so it will retain it’s shape. When you think it’s full – keep stuffing. Then stuff some more.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
In the meantime, here’s a photo of my cat glaring at me for daring to sit outside without her, haha.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Once you are sure the ham is packed as tight as it can go (Are you sure? Are you sure you’re sure?), it’s time to sew it up!

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Holding the ham between your legs (do as I say, not as I do – don’t set it on the ground; you don’t want to push the narrow end back in!), turn under the seam allowance on one side and lap it over the opposite side. Using a tight whipstitch, sew the opening shut by hand.

Next, you’ll probably want to beat the shit out of your ham (if it’s covered in sawdust like mine, anyway). I just pounded mine against the porch railing until all the dust was knocked off.

This post is turning into one long “That’s What She Said” joke, isn’t it?

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
End result: Completed Tailor’s Ham!

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Unlike the Tailor’s Ham, I didn’t bother making a pattern piece for this one – I just drew it directly on my cotton with a Chaco pen. Draw a 14″x5″ rectangle and round the four corners.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Cut one of each of these rectangles from both your cotton & wool.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew the two rectangles, right sides together, leaving a 5″ opening in the middle of one long side of the seam roll (I have no idea why I don’t have a photo of this, but I trust you can work this step out). Turn the roll right side out.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Time to stuff that bad boy!

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
As with the Tailor’s Ham, really stuff and pack each long narrow end before focusing on the middle of the roll. This will ensure that your roll is nice and tightly packed, and hard enough to hold it’s shape.

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
Once you’ve packed the roll nice and tight with sawdust, turn one seam allowance under and lap it over the opposite side of the opening. Sew this closed by hand.

Again, you’ll probably want to beat the shit out of that thing to get all the dust off. Be aggressive! Honey Badger Seam Roll don’t care!

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
And here’s the finished seam roll!

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway
And here’s my new pressing family! Yay!
BTW, be sure to save some of that remaining sawdust – once you use the ham or seam roll, you may find the sawdust settling and thus need to be repacked to firm up the shape. Unless you just really love having an excuse to go to Home Depot – in that case, don’t let me stop you.

All right, I promised y’all a giveaway so let’s get on that. To win your own copy of the Sewtionary, simply comment on this post and tell me your favorite sewing technique. Are you a freak about pressing (high five!) or is sewing patch pockets your thing, or…? You tell me! This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the entries a week from today, on SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 AT 7:00 AM CST. Good luck!

If you’d like to buy your own copy of the Sewtionary, you can pick up a signed copy at the Sewaholic website (or a boring ol’ unsigned copy on Amazon). Thanks so much, Tasia, for letting me be part of this book tour & for generously donating a copy to giveaway!

How to Make a Tailor's Ham & Seam Roll - Sewtionary Giveaway

Want to read some more Sewtionary reviews and/or enter some more giveaways? Check out the full blog tour here:

ONE LAST THING – We have a giveaway winner to announce! Lucky number generator says:



Donna, you’re a winner! Is this now offically the second time I’ve made your Monday exciting? 🙂 Congratulations! Sending your email now!

Everyone else (and there were a lot of y’all – nearly 400 entries, wow!) – I’m not turning you away completely empty-handed. Kat has generously offered a coupon code, which is awesome! Use the code LLADYBIRD to get 15% off the purchase of the Jenna Cardi from Muse Patterns, good through 9/29. Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway! Y’all are the best 😀

Completed: The Out & About Dress

28 Mar

Hey everyone! Today I’m participating in the tail end of a blog tour for Sew Caroline‘s newest pattern, the Out & About Dress!

Out & About Dress

Described as a year-round, day-to-night sort of dress, the Out & About dress is a simple knit dress pattern with a scooped front neck, gathered skirt, and binding to finish the neckline and sleeves. The pattern comes with two hem options (knee-length and maxi), as well as two sleeve lengths (elbow and full). It’s also pretty easy to customize, based on your styling whims.

Out & About Dress

Since the dress does not have a lot of pieces – just a front, a back, a skirt, two sleeves, and those bindings – it’s ideal for using large scale knit fabrics that may be difficult to print match, since you really only have to worry about matching the side seams. Even easier, cut the bodice in a solid color and the maxi skirt in the print and let it really take center stage!

For my dress, I went the simple route and let this cool striped fabric steal all the thunder. Yay stripes!

Out & About Dress

I wish I could tell you where the fabric is from, but it was actually a stash busting gift from my gal pal Elizabeth, so I have no idea of it’s origins. What I do know is that it is super slinky and fun to wear, but that also meant it was a gigantic bitch to work with since the fabric wanted to shift around the entire time I was cutting and sewing. Don’t look too closely at my waistline seam, because the stripes get a bit funky over there. Oh well! It’s a loungey happy dress, not like I’m going to the Oscars or anything in it 🙂

Out & About Dress

Like all other knit patterns I love and trust, this one was super easy to sew up. Caroline’s instructions are all full-color photos, which makes things very clear if you’re a knit n00b and can’t swing the diagrams (I personally loove me some diagrams, but I know from experience that a photo is MAJORLY helpful when you’re a beginner!). The dress is assembled with the side seams sewn last, which makes it easy to tweak the fit to your preferences.

Out & About Dress

To make this bad boy, I cut the size XS, but ended up taking another inch out of the side seams because I wanted a fit with negative ease (and also because my fabric is reeeeal stretchy!). Since the fabric is so drapey, I stabilized the shoulders and waistband with 1/4″ elastic to prevent those areas from drooping over time. This is not something that is included in the instructions, but it’s SUPA easy to do – just align the elastic on the wrong side down the middle of the seam line, sew it down with a zigzag, and then put the pieces together as normal. I also cut about 4″ off the skirt, because I just don’t care for anything knee-length on my frame.

Out & About Dress

I used the included neck binding to finish the neckline, but I did not bind the sleeve hems and instead just topstitched them down with my twin needle (same as with the hem). Other than the twin needle stitching and zigzagging on the elastic at the beginning, this entire dress was sewn up on my serger – even the gathering was done on my serger. Wooho!

Out & About Dress

Ok, party time fun aside, here’s my secret shame – the stripes on the side seams don’t match up perfectly! Wah! I did cut these with matching in mind, and they were beautiful and straight and matched when I first closed up the side seams… but then I took that extra inch in, and things went haywire. Since this is a knit, i definitely could have manipulated those stripes to match by stretching one of the fabrics, but then the waistline seam wouldn’t have matched. I figure it’s better to have a nice waist seamline (even if I wear a belt over it) than perfect stripes, so the stripes had to bear the brunt of my wrath. Actually, it’s not so bad now that I’m looking at the photos, but I was PISSED at myself when I was staring at it in the mirror. Ha!

Out & About Dress

But, hey – at least the skirt side seams match, as do the sleeves. So there’s that! Maybe I’ll just stand with my arms down my side all day 🙂

Out & About Dress

I really like how this black and white striped fabric looks with other colors – like turquoise (don’t groan yet, but I was definitely belt-inspired after seeing how the fabric looks with my hair lolz). Makes it a little less Beetlejuice, don’t ya think?

Out & About Dress

I love my new dress and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can give it some proper wear out and about (see what I did there? :)). Right after I took these pictures, the weather got all stupid and cold again. ARGH! I swear, I’m not taking any more bare-legged photos outside… clearly I am angering some Winter God or some shit.

Love the Out & About and want your own? Get your copy here! Now, go forth and check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour:
Adventures in Dressmaking
Four Square Walls
Alida Makes
Paisley Roots
Lexi Made
True Bias
Sewing Like Mad
A Golden Afternoon
LLADYBIRD (that’s meeee!)
House of Pinheiro

Out & About Dress