Vogue Patterns: Spring 2018

25 Jan

Well I was planning on posting a sewing project today, but Vogue just released their newest seasonal offering of sewing patterns and I actually have opinions for once! Yay! I swear, the last several offerings have been very… vanilla. Which is great for them, but not so great for snarky posts. Hence why these tend to be so infrequent. It’s hard to poke fun when there’s nothing to poke fun at πŸ™‚

Anyway, let’s get on it!

V9303
Vogue 9303 / Marcy Tilton
Featuring a handy snack pocket, perfect for stashing some tots.

V1579
Vogue 1579 / Badgley Mischka
I mean, I hate the cold-shouldered look too but c’mon man you don’t have to be so dramatic about it.

V1581
Vogue 1581 / Tom & Linda Platt
When you cut your hem crooked and try to pretend like you did it on purpose and it’s actually a design element.

V1576
Vogue 1576 / Tom & Linda Platt
Ever wanted to pretend like you were a flying squirrel? Well, I’ve got a pattern for you…

V9307
Vogue 9307 / Julio Ceaser
You could hide an entire turkey in those sleeves.

V9292
Vogue 9292
Even the model looks bored with this pattern.

V9296
Vogue 9296
Aaaaaaaand now she looks high.

As a side note: I know I am going to get a lot of backlash for this, but I cannot wait until this cold shoulder look goes out of style. It just reminds me of this fucking Replicant shirt I used to own when I was in highschool:


Yeah, I thought those little tiny shoulder slits were suuuper cool. Also, the shirt was very sparkly haha.

Ok, moving on!

V1575
Vogue 1575
Ok, for real I actually like these pieces separate. But together, they look too art teacher chic. And not, like, fun art teacher chic but like… frumpy grumpy art teacher who doesn’t allow actual artistic expression and maybe even took over finishing your project for you because she was such a fucking control freak about it. That kind of art teacher. Anyone else have one of those? Just me?

V9299
Vogue 9299
Really?

V9304
Vogue 9304 / Kathryn Brenne
I don’t even know where to start with these. The front yoke just looks like she’s wearing her pants backwards, especially combined with those weird-ass pockets. The real kicker is how they are sewn on – the corners are loose, left to flap casually in the breeze.

I do like that sweater, though.

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Machine Review: Janome CoverPro 2000CPX

17 Jan

Good morning, everyone! As I mentioned in my year end post (as well as on Instagram a few times!) – I bought a Coverstitch machine in October! Specifically, a Janome CoverPro 2000CPX, which I purchased from Craft South here in Nashville. Now that I’ve had a couple of months to play with the machine and learn more about it, it’s time for a review post! Get a cup of tea, this one is long.

coverpro review

The Janome CoverPro 2000CPX is a 4 thread coverstitch that can accommodate up to 3 needles. It has minimal differences from the 1000CPX, which I also considered buying – basically, it’s a little easier to thread. There is also a 2 needle 2000CPX, but I wanted the 3 needle.

I chose this particular brand for 2 reasons – first of all, Janome tends to get very high praise for their coverstitch machines. This machine is pretty popular and gets great reviews across the board. It’s inexpensive (but not cheap), easy to thread, and provides a nice variety of stitches. Full disclosure for reason #2 – I work at Craft South, and I got a very generous employee discount with this machine purchase. This also swayed my decision, however, I was considering this machine before I even started working at Craft South (and I’m not gonna lie – knowing I’d get a discount on it was part of the reason why I agreed to work there, haha). While I did purchase this machine with my own money, it was discounted.

Why a coverstitch machine? Y’all. I have wanted one of these since 2007, no exaggeration. I put it on my wishlist every single year, and every year I convince myself that it’s a frivolous purchase. Since buying this machine and using it, I have learned that it does do more than just hem – however, it’s still an expensive machine that only does a few things. I ultimately decided to buy this machine because I do occasional alterations + fitting for clients, plus I got that discount, so it made sense for me to own one. However, it took me 10 years to decide to buy one. Don’t feel bad if you are still in twin needle mode when you hem your knits!

One question that I get a lot is – what is the difference between a coverstitch machine and a serger? Basically, a serger is used for creating + finishing seams – it has a knife blade that cuts the excess fabric so threads can wrap around the edge. It is great for knits as the stitches stretch with the fabric. A coverstitch does not seam, it only finishes. You can use it for hemming, attaching binding or foldover elastic, or creating decorative stitches (but not creating the actual seams). It is also ideal for knits, as the stitches stretch. If you are deciding between the 2 machines, I find a serger to be more useful for the most part. If you are debating on getting one of those 2-in-1 serger/coverstitch combos… don’t. They are a pain to use (you have to pretty much disassemble them each time you want to switch between machines) and cost the same as having 2 separate machines. Unless space is a big issue, get 2 separate machines.

All right, that all out of the way – let’s talk about the machine!

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx

Here is the machine in all it’s glory. Yay!

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - free arm

One of the features it includes is a free arm (so you can sew small things in the round, like the hem of a sleeve). This is the free arm. I don’t know why but this is very hilarious to me, it’s so tiny!

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - threading

When you open the coverstitch, it’s pretty clean and empty on the inside. There is only 1 looper to thread, and it’s very, very easy. Like, threading a sewing machine easy (not like threading a serger).

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - threading

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - threading

One of the nice features of this machine is that the looper has a tab to pull it out so you can more easily thread it (unlike some sergers where you have to use tweezers to weasel the thread in the looper hole under the needle plate, lord, I’m getting the sweats just thinking about that shit lol). This one pops out, so you can thread it and pop it back in.

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - stitch options

The inside of the machine shows all the different stitch types that are available – two and three thread overlock, and a chainstitch. Since the machine has 3 needles, it means you have more options in terms of stitch width and needle position (something I didn’t consider when I purchased the machine but I’m pretty stoked about now!).

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - threading guide

There’s also a diagram on how to thread the machine. See what I mean? Fucking easy.

Using the machine was definitely a steep learning curve for me – my serger (a Babylock Imagine) does automatic tension adjustments, so I don’t have a lot of experience with manually adjusting tension to correct my stitches (that serger is awesome btw, I’ve had it for nearly 10 years and I swear to god if it broke I would buy another one in a heartbeat haha). There are needle tension dials on this serger, plus looper tension, PLUS another switch that goes from “soft” to “tight.” The user manual is very brief, but my understanding is that soft is ideal for your lightweight fabrics and single/double layers that experience fabric curling and tunneling. The tight is for heavier fabrics, multiple layers (such as flatlocking or applying binding), especially if you are prone to skipped stitches. You can also adjust the tension on the needles for tunneling and skipped stitches.

Something else I have noticed with this machine is that it prefers a heavier needle if I am sewing through multiple layers (again, flatlocking or binding, or using a heavy fabric). It really does best with a 90/14. If you experience skipped stitches, I would recommend changing to a heavier needle and see if that helps.

One thing to keep in mind when using this machine is that you have to knot your threads or they will unravel the second you look at them. Once you are finished sewing, you pull the needle threads to the back and knot them by hand. I didn’t realize this at first and could not understand why my hems were coming unraveled so quickly haha.

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - stitches, front

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx - stitches, back

Here are the stitch options, front and back. From left to right:
– Binding: 2 needles + looper. I used a binding attachment for this! There are several size options of attachments, mine is the wider one (42mm-12mm). The finished binding is roughly 3/8″ wide. You cut strips of binding (this example is a woven, but it is AWESOME for knits) or use foldover elastic, feed them into the attachment and the machine wraps it around your fabric and stitches it in one go! It’s super fast and fun, but that shit was a steep learning curve. Also, that attachment is not cheap. Again, I got mine at a discount, but it was still a bit eye-wateringly expensive, just FYI.
– Chainstitch: Single needle + looper. This can be used to baste (apparently, since it’s easy to pull out. Jury is still out on that one in my experience tho), or hem jeans (look at your RTW jeans! The hem is chainstitched!). What I use it for is single-needle topstitching on knits, like on a neckline. It looks really clean and neat – but unlike a regular sewing machine, it also stretches!
– 3 needle coverstitch: 3 needles + looper. This creates a nice, stretchy hem for knits. Another thing you can use this stitch for is a mock flatlock. Serge your seams as normal, then stitch over them with the 3 needle coverstitch, with the needles on the wrong side of your garment (so the looper side ends up on the right side). It functions just like a flatlock – reasonably flat (non-irritating), strong, stretchy, and looks cool!
– 2 needle coverstitch: 2 needles + looper. You have several options for this stitch, since there are 3 places to put your 2 needles. Narrow or wide (shown above is wide), left or right. I have found that I prefer the wide for hemming, and the narrow with both needles to the left when using my binding attachment. You can also use this to do a mock flatlock, but I think the 3 needle version looks better.

So far, I’ve used my machine to make loads of underwear and tank tops. The binding attachment is perfect for finishing all the edges very quickly (again, you can either use strips of knit fabric or foldover elastic) while still keeping them stretchy like you’d get with regular lingerie elastic. The 3 thread coverstitch is awesome for activewear and creating flatlock seams that don’t rub or chafe and also look super professional. And, of course, I love using the 2 or 3 thread coverstitch for hemming my knits!

If you’re interested in seeing how the binder on this machine works, I have made it a highlighted story on my Instagram (computer users, I think you have to be on the actual app to view it). It’s pretty awesome! I will write a more in-depth post on using the binder, stay tuned for that.

So, do you need a coverstitch machine? Honestly, I can’t answer that question for you – it depends on how much you sew, your budget, and the amount of space you have to store one. Since I do this work professionally (and also sell these machines at the shop!), it made sense for me to own one. This machine does do a great hem on knits, but there is certainly a learning curve involved and it’s pretty expensive considering it only does a handful of functions. I also really really REALLY love that binding attachment; it’s great for finishing edges on underwear and activewear. However, a regular machine can also apply binding – albeit not as quickly and not with quite the same finish.

In regards to the learning curve – well, there is one. It took me several days of playing around with the machine, testing different stitches, settings and fabrics, before I felt like I really had a good handle on how the machine works. The only way to get past the learning curve is by PRACTICE. No amount of blog posts, YouTube videos, internet research, or telling everyone how scared you are of your machine is going to magically make it suddenly easy to understand. Get a glass of wine, put on some Duran Duran, and get to know your machine. Learn what works, what doesn’t work, try different needles and tension settings, rip out your stitches, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and take a lot of notes because I guarantee you won’t remember half this shit the next day. Like parallel parking a car for the first time, yes it’s a hot mess in the beginning. But eventually you get past fear and start working in autopilot. And also, for the record, I am an excellent parallel parker (after many, many years of practice lol).

Janome Coverpro 2000cpx

If you are considering this machine, my advice NOT to buy this online (even if it’s cheaper). Your local shop will be able to show you how to use the machine and answer questions and troubleshooting you may have. I also am real big into supporting your local shop, and keeping them in business πŸ™‚ If you don’t have a local shop that sells Janome – and this post swayed your decision to a yes – you can buy one from me at Craft SouthΒ πŸ™‚ We ship to anywhere in the US for free and offer a discount below the MSRP you see on Janome’s website. There are no affiliate links in this post, however, I do receive a commission for every machine sale I make through our shop. FYI!

Whew! Ok, I think that’s a long enough post so I’m gonna wrap this up. Did I miss anything about this machine that you still have a burning question for? Do you have a coverstitch machine? Are you gonna buy one now? πŸ˜‰

2017: A Year in Review

31 Dec

I literally said this last year, and I’ll say it again: I can’t believe this year is over! It’s amazing how much faster time goes by the older you get.

yay!

This was definitely another slow sewing year for me. There was a lot of shit that happened this year (some good, some not good) that affected my time and energy in relation to sewing. I’m still slowly working on updating and replacing key pieces in my wardrobe, repairing and altering ones that need it, and trying to be more mindful about what fabric I’m buying and what I’m making with it (my suitcases flying home from NYC are getting lighter and smaller with each trip haha!). I think this is pretty apparent with my favorite and not-favorites from 2017! To see everything I made this year, you can always Lurk my Closet.

My favorite makes of 2017:

Kelly Anorak in Organic Cotton Twill from Mood Fabrics
Kelly Anorak

UGH I LOVE THIS PIECE SO MUCH. It’s the perfect transitional jacket for spring and fall, and the color goes with almost everything in my wardrobe. I wore this jacket so, so, so much, and got loads of compliments every single time. It was a joy to make and even more fun to wear!

Re-Lining a Coat - after
Re-lining a RTW Coat

I’m so glad that I finally bit the bullet and did this! Re-lining a coat isn’t high up on my list of favorite things to sew – in some ways, I think it’s actually easier to make one from scratch rather than tear out the old and sew in a new one. However, I really loved this jacket and I’m so happy that I can continue to wear it again! And yes, I DO love wearing green jackets… why do you ask? πŸ™‚

Liberty Carolyn PJs
Liberty of London Carolyn Pajamas

I feel so fancy when I wear these PJs! Spending a lot of dough on fabric to sleep in probably isn’t what most people would do, but there’s something to be said about pampering yourself even when you’re lounging around. One thing I especially appreciate about these PJs is that they work well as separates in every day wear, too! I don’t think I’d go as far as to wear them together out in public, but either the top or the shorts do well paired with something else. I wore the top a few times with jean shorts; next summer I want to make an outfit with the shorts!

Lemon Rayon Alder Dress
Lemon Alder Dress

TBH, probably my favorite thing I made this year. I LOVE WEARING THIS DRESS. It’s so comfortable – the loose fit and breathable rayon make it perfect for summer, and it’s drapey enough that I don’t look completely shapeless underneath. I wore this dress on a lot of first dates and everyone loved it. But especially meeeee.

Chambray Kalle Dress
Linen Kalle Shirtdress

This was about the time I decided there was no problem with me owning several shirtdresses in the same shade of blue. This Kalle dress is the closest I’ll get to having anything that works with a capsule wardrobe. I like how well it works both on it’s own or paired with other pieces (different shoes, accessories, etc), and that it’s plain enough so people don’t notice right away that you keep wearing the same dress (or maybe they do and they are too polite to say anything).

Martine Sweater - front
Martine Sweater

Yay! This might be my favorite handknit sweater to date (until I finish the one I’m currently working on… time will tell!). I loved every single part of making it, and I’m so happy with the quality of my finishing. It’s another great transitional garment, since it’s knit with a cotton yarn. While it sucks that the fabric grows as I wear it, it does easily shrink back up with a wash + dry. And now I know to check that with future cotton sweater knitting!

Plaid Cotton Flannel Archer
Flannel Archer + black stretch twill pants

Can’t go wrong with these two basics. Now that the weather is colder, I am getting sooo much wear out of these!

Addictive Free Canvas Tote
Niizo Canvas Tote Bag

I did not realize how much I needed a bag like this until I finished it! It has been super useful for carrying supplies to and from Craft South. I prefer this bag over other tote bags as I like the structure and the included pockets. I don’t feel like the bottom is going to bust open and drop my laptop on the sidewalk (which would be terrible).

Misses of 2017 (… not very many this year!):

Cropped Ebony Tee
Cropped Ebony Tee

I like this top in theory, but I never wore it. Mostly because the neckline gape when I bend over, and you can literally see my belly button. Which means I have to wear a tank under it, and nope. Barely wore this.

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi
Lemon Cardigan

Ugh this one pains me because I LOVE it and I ADORE the fabric but it really doesn’t go with much in my closet! I think I’d get more use out of it if it were cropped, then I could wear it with dresses (the current length is just long enough that it looks weird with dresses). I may cut it shorter and see if that makes me wear it more. Or make another bra out of it – my Lemon Watson bra made with those scraps gets worn quite frequently!

Knot-Maste Top
Knot-Maste Top

Love the top, don’t love the fabric. I want to make it again in a better (read: more breathable) fabric and get rid of this poly one. As a side note, that bra I also made is AWESOME. It has been fantastic for working out, and I’ve also worn it as a swimsuit top (with my black bottoms) while kayaking this past summer!

***

I’m so glad I took more time off this year from blogging! It might not seem like very much, but pretty much ever since I started this blog I have been aiming for 1 post a week – sometimes more. In the past, I’d feel guilty about skipping a week, which is stupid because there is no one holding me to any sort of deadline. I definitely don’t feel that way about my Instagram, which I tend to be more active on. As with last year, I didn’t post everything I made this year – some stuff was just kind of redundant, or didn’t warrant a post – but a lot of it gets posted there if you are interested!

Rather than blogging (which, sadly, doesn’t pay my bills haha), I focused more on teaching this year! I am really happy with how far that got me throughout the year – I taught several workshops in Brooklyn NY, Leesburg VA, and also here in Nashville! I also taught a TON of classes at Craft South in Nashville, smaller/less expensive project-based classes that were finished in an evening. I averaged 2-3 per month, and we’ve got plenty more on the calendar for 2018 if you are local or visiting and want to take a sewing class – including a Sew Your Own Jeans Workshop in January!

Also related to sewing, I got connected with a local talent agency here in Nashville and now I occasionally freelance as a on-site tailor for photoshoots and commercials. It’s not a very consistent gig – not everyone has the budget to bring a tailor in for the day – but it is really really really awesome when I can get them. I’ve worked with a handful of big corporate names and celebrities, and also met some super cool people that way!

Job-wise, I’m still working the same 2 main jobs that I had last year – a personal assistant (not sewing related, but still pretty awesome), and the Education Coordinator for Craft South. Both jobs now allow me to work 100% from home, which I LOVE. I’d like to take a working vacation at some point, since I’m not tied down to being in a specific place or even time frame to perform my job (as long as I can bring my laptop and access the internet, I can get my work done). I also worked a little bit for Elizabeth Suzann on an as-needed basis this last quarter, to help them get caught up on orders before the Christmas season. It’s amazing how much that company has grown by leaps and bounds since I started there only a few years ago, and I just love having the opportunity to go in there. I averaged about 5-6 garments per 3 hour session each time I was there, not bad!

my house!!!

Some highlights from this year:
– I was fortunate enough to travel out of the country twice this year – my first trip was in January, and I went to Egypt for 10 days! Y’all, that was without question my favorite vacation I’ve ever taken, and I did it all by myself! I had an incredible time and got to know some really amazing people, including the very fun and extremely generous couple I stayed with, and a reader who met up with me a couple times and showed me around Cairo!Β Here is my recap of that trip if you are interested!
– I also went to Belize this year, in June, with my best friend! No blog post for that one – it was a personal trip, and to TBH I was drinking rum pretty much the entire time (helloooo we were on vacation!), but I had a blast and I’m so happy that I got to go!
– I moved this year! Yes, again!! I loved that little apartment that I was in, but I was offered a really amazing house in an even more amazing neighborhood for not much more than I was already paying. My new house is walking distance to Craft South, and it is the sweetest little 1935 stone cottage. Oh, and did I mention that I have my own laundry facilities, (giant) yard, and driveway!? Three things that apartment was sorely lacking πŸ™‚ I’ve been here since June and I love it so much! Studio tour coming soon – this one might be my favorite yet!
– My best friend and life partner got married in July, and I was thrilled to be her Maid of Honor. I also made my dress for that, which you can see here!
– I finally got to meet *MY* sewing hero, Gertie! She is just as pretty and delightful in person as you’d expect πŸ™‚ And I talked her into coming back to Nashville to teach at Craft South in 2018! We’ve got her for a one day circle skirt class AND a weekend workshop – cannot wait!
– In addition to all the workshops that I taught, I also assisted two classes, which was really fun! Both were for bra-making with Amy of Cloth Habit, who is such a great person to work with (and as the person who coordinates all the workshops for a fabric store, I can also say that she was the EASIEST instructor to work with in terms of getting everything planned, from a shop perspective. Amy is delightful!). We taught together at Craft South in September, and then again for Camp Workroom Social in October with Allyson Dykhuizen (whoΒ is also incredibly fun to work with and has the most splendid positive energy of anyone I’ve ever met!). It’s really nice to be the assistant of a class and let someone else to all the heavy lifting (although I do love running my own classes, too!). And speaking of bra making – Amy is coming back to Nashville in 2018 to teach the class again! Seriously, y’all should just look at the upcoming weekend workshops at Craft South for 2018 because we have so much fun stuff planned!
– After 10 years of putting it on my Christmas list, I finally bought myself a Coverstitch machine – a Janome Coverpro 2000cpx. We are still getting used to each other, but I am very happy with my purchase! I will be writing a review post about it in January, stay tuned πŸ™‚

***

On a more somber note, 2017 was also the year that my dad passed away. He battled colon cancer for 4 years, and the entire time he stayed strong and optimistic. After our big scare in September 2016 (where he ended up on life support for a week), he never quite bounced back the way he had done so many times before. His younger brother, Kenny, also suffered from cancer and died at the beginning of February this year. I think that was the last straw for my dad, he didn’t hold on for much longer after that. Losing a parent was an incredibly traumatic experience that has absolutely changed me as a person. I struggled a lot with my grief + feelings this year, especially in those months immediately after. I couldn’t understand why I felt sad, why I basically lost my will to do anything. I spent a really long time feeling sorry for myself this year. It’s been an uphill battle dealing with everything – I see both a therapist and a grief counselor now, and that has been helpful. Living alone + being single has also presented its own challenges, mainly in that it’s very easy for me to isolate myself, which is not the healthiest thing for me to do right now. I am making efforts to get out more and meet and interact with people, but it can be really hard sometimes.

The rest of my family is doing ok. My mom is completely heartbroken, but she’s taking small steps to take care of herself. My brother Matt ended up moving across the country; he’s in Portland, OR now. My other brother Mikil has really stepped up to help and be the man of the household as much as possible. I don’t know where we’ll be at this point next year – but I told my mom we should consider going somewhere exotic for Christmas in 2018, and just treat ourselves proper.

Anyway, all to say that it’s been a hard year, one of the hardest for me yet. I miss my dad so much, and while I get around in my day to day life pretty normally for the most part, I still think everything sucks a lot of the time. It really pains me to think that he won’t be there for my next milestones, or even to see what I’m doing right now. He would have loved this house so much, and he would have thought what I’ve done with my year was so cool. I’m so thankful that we had him for as long as we did, and I’m so proud to be the daughter of such an amazing man. My dad was truly one in a million.

running is stupid

***

So what does 2018 hold? Well, I hope it’s better than 2017 was! My last absolutely horrible year was in 2006, so I am really counting on another bad year not happening for at least a decade. 2018 needs to cut me a fucking break already!

I would like to expand into more teaching – especially jeans-making (whole post about that coming up!) – and I’d like to go on at least one fun / non-work trip (or, as I mentioned – working vacation. Just something that I’ve planned for myself without any outside obligations!). I would also like to get into doing short tutorial videos – I think it would be fun! I inherited my dad’s GoPro camera (my mom says it’s “on loan” but let’s be real, she’s never getting that thing back lol) and have been playing around with iMovie. I am taking content suggestions, so let me know if there is something you would like to see!

Anyway, I think that’s pretty much it for this year. I hope everyone has a fabulous and safe holiday! Here’s to a beautiful 2018!

Completed: Simplicity 8012

29 Dec

As I mentioned in my last post, I also made a clutch to go with my dress, using leftover scraps of fabric!

Simplicity 8028 clutch

As silly as it sounds, this is something that I have been needing – particularly for this dress, but also in general. See, I own a very nice leather purse – but it’s brown, and it’s a decent-sized handbag (it is actually quite small as far as most handbags go, but it’s bigger than one would need for an evening out). I have been wanting a black bag in a smaller size, something big enough to just hold the essentials (wallet, keys, lipstick, gum, phone). While I normally find clutches pretty silly (you mean I have to HOLD my purse wtf), I think they are fine for evening wear. Gives me something to do with my hands that isn’t smoking a cigarette πŸ˜›

Anyway, I decided to make a small bag after I cut my dress and realized I had quite a bit of yardage left over – both with the outer and the lining. I also chose to use this opportunity to try out the fabric cutting function on my Cricut Maker!

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Using the Maker to cut my purse was pretty straightforward. I looked through the available projects on the app and decided to make Simplicity 8028, which is a simple clutch with a zippered top. After purchasing, I changed out to a rotary blade on the Cricut and started loading up my fabric mats.

In addition to cutting, the Cricut Maker also marks your pattern pieces using a water soluble marking pen (both the actual pattern markings and it also numbers the pieces so you know which one is which). The notches are cut in outward triangles (the old school way). One thing I didn’t notice until after the fact is that the screen before you start the project labels all your mats with pieces + fabric (i.e., “Mat #2 will cut pieces 2 and 3 out of lining fabric” or whatever). This is not anywhere in the app once you start the project, so I would recommend writing them down so you know which piece gets cut from which fabric. I was losing my MIND trying to figure out which fabric to load on which mat and ended up cutting a few pieces from the wrong fabric (fortunately, I had enough to re-cut). Learn from my mistakes!

FYI, I was unable to use the pattern marker with my fabric, since it is so dark (it’s one of those light blue marking pens). This was not a huge problem – the pieces are basic shapes, and the app actually shows you them on a gridded mat so you can easily figure out where, say, the strap marking is based on the size of the pattern piece + the measurements on the mat behind it.

After everything was cut, I downloaded the PDF instructions and sewed up my bag! That part was pretty easy. If you’ve sewn up any sort of zippered pouch, this bag goes together in a similar way. It took me about 45 minutes to sew, start to finish!

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Simplicity 8028 clutch

I debated on using the other side of the fabric for this clutch, but in the end – I decided the predominantly black side would work better with the rest of my dresses, should I need a black clutch for any of them. The leather piece + wrist strap is leftover from my Pulmuu skirt kit, and the bag is lined with black silk charmeuse.

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Simplicity 8028 clutch

The clutch is basically a long rectangle pouch with a zipper at one end, that folds in half and closes with a magnetic snap. The snap, zipper, and gold D ring were all sourced from my local fabric store.

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Simplicity 8028 clutch

The pattern calls for a swivel hook to be sewn into the wrist strap, so you can remove it if you want a plain clutch. While I loved that idea, I couldn’t find a swivel hook in the correct size (my fabric store only had really big ones in stock, plus, the were silver and I wanted gold). So instead I used my industrial snap setter to put a snap in the wrist strap; now it just snaps on or off. Easy!

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Overall, I think it turned out quite nice! It’s the perfect size for the handful of things I need to carry when I go out, and easy to hold (it also fits in the giant pocket of my faux jaguar coat, so that’s pretty rad haha). Not to mention, it feels good to use the last scraps of something – especially when it’s an expensive fabric!

Ok friends, that’s all for this project! I will be back in a couple of days with my year in review post πŸ™‚

** Note: Cricut generously sent me the Cricut Maker machine + a bunch of supplies at no cost to me, in exchange for writing about my experience. All opinions are my own! Also, FYI, this blog post contains affiliate links. That is all!

Completed: A Very Festive Brocade V8998

26 Dec

After many years of saying I was gonna do it and then never actually doing it… I made a Christmas party dress!

Vogue 8998

I wanted something sparkly and festive to wear to Christmas parties (before you think I go to fancy parties… I don’t. I have consistently been the most overdressed person at every party this year, not that I’m complaining!), but every year I put it off until it’s too late. This year, I was determined to use my Mood allowance to make something fabulous, so I forced myself to start early. I’m so happy it paid off!

Vogue 8998

With this make, I chose fabric before the pattern. I had an idea that I’d like to make my dress out of a sparkly brocade – a fabric that I don’t have a lot of experience with. I generally prefer a fabric that has less body, plus, my lifestyle doesn’t really warrant a need for fancy dress. This seemed like a good opportunity to jump out of my comfort zone a little, so I waited until I was back in NYC for another workshop and used that change to stop by Mood Fabrics store to pick my brocade.

I’m not going to lie – I spent over 2 hours in that shop trying to decide. There are sooo many options, it’s a bit overwhelming! I had a couple of things in mind to narrow it down – I wanted a fabric that was primarily black, gold or silver (so I could wear it with my turquoise heels), and I was budgeting $50/yard or less (you’d be surprised how expensive brocade can get! I only needed 2 yards, which helped a lot). I wanted something that was more floral than abstract, and nothing that was super dimensional (I don’t like puffy brocade, I’ve learned). Even with those terms narrowing it down, there was a LOT of fabric to wade through. God bless all the people at Mood who helped me pull bolts and kept their grumbles to themselves every time I changed my mind. I’m sure it helped that I was there on a slow weekday morning, but still! I must have been annoying. Those people are saints haha.

Anyway, I found this fabric and eventually settled on it (someone else was considering it for their wedding party, and decided against it – so she was happy to see me buy it instead!). What you see in my photos is actually the wrong side of the fabric – the right side is more dimensional with silver + gold, as you can see here. I had a hard time deciding what size to use – and even asked IG for opinions – but ultimately decided that the wrong side really made my heart sing. Plus, it looked better with my turquoise shoes (and also, someone on IG pointed out that it looked mature and tbh I just couldn’t see past that after that fact haha). Wrong side it was, then! I did consider adding in a bit with the right side for contrast (such as at the waistband), but upon pinning the pieces to my dressform, it definitely did not work. Rather than look cool, it looked like I made a mistake. So I scrapped that idea and just went with the wrong side all over.

Vogue 8998

 

Vogue 8998

For my pattern, I used Vogue 8998. I cut a size 6 at the shoulders and bust, grading out to an 8 at the waist and hips. I made view E, but changed the skirt gathers to soft pleats. A quick muslin of the bodice showed that I needed to remove about 1″ from the shoulder to make it fit better, and I also removed 2″ from the skirt length before cutting. I made no other fitting changes.

Construction-wise, I mostly followed the pattern but changed a few things to suit me + my fabric. I did not interface the entire bodice – I get why they have you do it, but I felt like my brocade had enough body where it wasn’t needed. I did interface the midriff with silk organza, just to give it some extra stability. I also changed out the lapped zipper for an invisible zipper.

The whole dress is lined in black silk charmeuse, which gives the garment a bit of weight and makes it feel SUPER luxurious when I’m wearing it. There is 2″ wide horsehair braid at the hem to give the dress a bit of extra volume. This is one area that I totally deviated from the instructions. They have you attach the horsehair to the lining and then sew that to the outer fabric, so everything is encased… but I wanted my layers to be separate (mainly so I could show people the “right” side of the fabric haha). So I sewed the horsehair to the outer, and rolled the hem of the lining.

Vogue 8998

After a little bit of internal debate, I also added pockets (also out of silk charmeuse). I figured it would be nice to have a place to hold my phone (or stolen snacks), and I’m glad I did!

Vogue 8998

Oh, right – AND I made a matching clutch, using all leftover fabrics + my new Cricut Maker! More details on that in the next post πŸ˜› But doesn’t it look great with my dress? haha!

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Despite this being a fairly fancy, pretty $$$$ dress made with fine materials… it was really easy to sew. It’s just a basic dress (I mean, style-wise it’s technically a sundress, you know?) that is fully lined with a center back zipper. There aren’t a ton of pieces, and while I can’t say that the silk was the easiest thing I have ever cut… the brocade was super easy to work with. It doesn’t shift around, it pressed fine with high heat + a press cloth (sorry, I’m terrible but I use high heat for everything haha), and all my hand stitches disappeared which made hand sewing the hem very satisfactory! The only downside to brocade is that it sheds like CRAZY… so I just serged all my seams (even the ones that are completely covered by lining) to prevent them from fraying more. I am still finding sparkly bits of brocade in my studio. It’s kind of great.

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

I love the shape of the bodice, and the wide waistband.

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Here you can see the “right” side of the fabric! πŸ™‚

Whew! All right, sorry, that was a load of photos. I am so excited about this dress, though, it’s been a while since I worked on such a big, fancy project!

Vogue 8998

I’m happy to report that I have now worn this dress 4 times – 3 parties, and one night out with my coworkers for fancy drinks! It’s super comfortable to wear, and the silk lining makes it a touch more warm than I expected. A couple of the parties I went to were waaaay more low-key than this dress would require, but it actually looks super cute with my cropped Chuck sweater worn over it with a belt.

Anyway, that’s all for this dress! I’ll be back later this week to talk more about the clutch I made to go with it πŸ™‚

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

Completed: Running is Stupid Tank

19 Dec

Guys, have y’all heard of the Cricut Maker? I was somewhat familiar with the Cricut, which I typically associated with general crafters and/or scrapbookers – not the sorts of crafts I personally do. Anyway, a few months ago, I was contacted by Cricut with an offer for the Maker. Not gonna lie, I was confused why they’d reach out, since I definitely don’t do paper crafts (or, I do occasionally, but not enough to necessitate a dedicated machine for it – and I definitely don’t blog about said paper crafts, so it seemed like a really weird fit). If you are confused, too, I recommend watching that intro video at the link, because it 100% changed my mind!

I still don’t know about the rest of the Cricuts, but let me tell you about the Maker! This machine is about the size of a small printer, and it can cut or draw on a variety of materials. I always associated them with just paper and vinyl – but you can also cut stuff like balsa wood and fabric, depending on what blade you use. The fabric part was what really got my attention, when I realized I could use it to cut out fiddly fabric pieces – such as a bra pattern. You don’t have to stabilize the fabric – it sticks to a special mat that feeds right into the machine. There is a free app that has hundreds of patterns and designs available for download – some are free, some cost money (charged to your iTunes account) – including a lot of options from Simplicity. I have been told that it is possible to upload your own cut maps – like the aforementioned bra pattern – but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. In the meantime, I wanted to play around with this machine and see what I could make! This is actually my second project with the Cricut Maker, but the first one I’m posting!

I got a bunch of the iron-on vinyl, which comes in a roll that you can cut to whatever design (or in my case, words) that you want! Then you simply iron it on, the same way you’d use the classic letters that you find in most craft stores (y’all are familiar with these, right? Man, I used to use the SHIT out of those back in high school haha. I had a tshirt that said “Go me” on the front and “Go me some more” on the back. Oh, high school.). I wanted to make my own funny tshirt, but it took me ages to think of a good text to write. I decided to make a running tank with the words “Running is stupid.” My dad had a similar tshirt that he wore to races, and I always thought it was hilarious. After my brother debuted his recent skate video, Skae3rdie Trying (which I’m linking bc y’all should watch that shit at least for his solo at the beginning lol), he had tshirts that said “Skateboarding is stupid,” and OF COURSE he gave me one. But I really wanted that running is stupid shirt, to wear when I go running (obviously), and I knew my mom would never give me dad’s- so that’s what I decided to make.

Running is Stupid tank

Setting up the machine is easy – it has wifi capabilities to connect to your phone or tablet, to download the patterns. There is also a USB port on the side for charging your device, which is handy! The machine has a tray at the top for holding a tablet (or phone); my only complaint is that the tray is very narrow and does not accommodate my iPad when it’s still in its case – I have to remove it. Minor complaint, but I did want to point that out.

Running is Stupid tank

For this project, I designed my text in the app, using my Skateboarding is stupid shirt to compare font and text size. Once I was happy with the design, I connected my tablet to the Maker via wifi and clicked through all the boxes to start cutting. The app makes this really user-friendly – it asks you the material (and in my case – reminds me to mirror so it irons on correctly), tells you what blade + mat to use, then you just load it up and go!

Running is Stupid tank

The machine has space to hold 1 blade and 1 pen simultaneously – you can use the pen to draw or write (with the machine), or you can stick in a fabric pen to mark your pieces as they get cut. The best part is how easy they are to change out – they just snap right in.

Running is Stupid tank

The mats have a sticky side, to hold whatever material is getting cut. There are different mats for different materials, but I just used the all-purpose one for cutting the vinyl. With fabric, there is a special mat – and it comes in both 12″x12″ or up to 12″x24″ (obviously you can only cut stuff as large as the mat, so the bigger fabric mat is nice to have!).

Running is Stupid tank

I loaded the mat into the machine and hit start. And that was it!

Running is Stupid tank

Running is Stupid tank

After cutting, I peeled all the negative space away from my letters. I then cut the letters apart so I could position them better on the shirt (I don’t know why there was that extra space in the second line, but whatever, I can manually fix that!). The letters remain on a clear sheet that is sticky, so you can position everything exactly how you like it and it won’t move while you’re fusing.

Running is Stupid tank

Running is Stupid tank

Then you fuse from both sides (I used a timer so I was sure it was getting enough heat) and peel the clear film off. Super easy!

Running is Stupid tank

Running is Stupid tank

Because I’m so extra, I couldn’t attach this to a standard RTW shirt… obviously, I had to make my own shirt, too. I cut my pattern pieces before fusing the vinyl, but waited to sew everything together until last. Having done a lot of stenciling (and using those vinyl letters as well) in the past, I know from experience that it can be hard to get everything straight and centered if you’re attaching to a garment that’s already made. And I didn’t want to deal with a bunch of yardage and then trying to cut with everyone centered, so I fused to my already cut pattern pieces.

Running is Stupid tank

Then it was just a matter of sewing up the tank!

A few details for the sewing part:
– I used black bamboo stretch jersey to make this – I love wearing bamboo when I exercise because it breathes so well, and it also doesn’t hold stink! I get my bamboo knit from Mood Fabrics and it’s fantastic stuff, well worth the price, and comes in a great selection of colors. There’s about 5% spandex blended in, which helps the knit keep its shape so it does not stretch out.
– The pattern I used is a mash-up of the Mission Maxi for the top, and the Plantain tshirt for the body. I wanted something fitted at the top and bust, but loose at the waist.
– I sewed the seams with my serger (just a standard 4 thread overlock, but next I want to experiment with flatlocking), and made binding strips out of the bamboo knit, which I attached using my coverstitch machine + binding attachment. This was my very first time using the binding attachment (I just bought the machine a couple of months ago, and no, I haven’t posted about it yet!), and LET ME SAY THAT WAS A STEEP LEARNING CURVE. It probably didn’t help that I used it on a wiggly knit instead of a nice stable cotton! But it was totally worth the headache and I’m so happy with how the binding looks.

Running is Stupid tank

Running is Stupid tank

I will write more about the coverstitch machine + attachment in depth in a future post (I’d like to use the thing more before I start acting like an authority on it, ha), but in the meantime – doesn’t the binding look nice! πŸ™‚

Running is Stupid tank

All right, so that’s all for this shirt! I have more workout stuff that I need to sew up (I have a wonderful assortment of gear for the warm months, but absolutely nothing for the winter – so I need to fix that!), so photos of me wearing it will come with that post I suppose! I gotta say, I cannot wait to wear this to the gym when I use the treadmill next, haha! My dad would totally be proud πŸ™‚

I also used the Maker for a sewing project – stay tuned for that post!

Have you ever used the Cricut machines before? Are there other cool things they do that I’m missing out on?

** Note: Cricut generously sent me the Cricut Maker machine + a bunch of supplies at no cost to me, in exchange for writing about my experience. All opinions are my own! Also, FYI, this blog post contains affiliate links. Actually, it is littered with them. That is all!