Completed: Denim Rosa Dress

16 Nov

Good morning, everyone! As I write this, I am preparing to experience what will probably be the shittiest day of my life (literally – I have a colonoscopy tomorrow and today is prep day) (lol) (bet you never expected to read THAT on a sewing blog). I haven’t had solid food since last night and I’m stuck in this house for the rest of the day. Lucky for you, I am writing this blog post to pass the time!

I’ve had quite a few people ask me when this project was going to be posted (Rosa made her debut on my Instagram nearly 2 months ago, and I’ve worn her several times since – including to all the workshops I’ve been traveling to in between!), and honestly, the only reason it’s taken so long is because I really hate taking photos! So, with that being said, sorry in advance for the quality of these – namely, how freakin’ wrinkled the dress is! It looks much worse in photos than it did in real life – otherwise I would have at least steamed it a little – however, I have been wearing it pretty rumply in real life so I guess this is as close to authentic as one can get.

Also, I’m sorry if I don’t make any sense in this post. I’m blaming it on the lack of food.

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Rosa is one of Tilly & the Buttons‘ newer patterns, and it includes options for both a shirt and shirtdress. The pattern features front and back princess seams, a pointed back yoke (which I LOVE!), plus all the features that make for a proper button-up shirt – collar, collar stand, button placket. There’s also an online video workshop if you need help with the steps, although I didn’t use this (I’ve made plenty of these sorts of garments before, and plus, the instructions are pretty great as they are).

I made a size 1, as I wanted a very fitted dress. I made a muslin before cutting into my real fabric, which I’m glad I did because the arm holes ended up needing a little adjusting for me. Apparently I have very small armscyes – arm holes almost always tend to be too low and/or too large for my body, which restricts movement when you add sleeves to the equation. The sleeves in this dress weren’t necessarily bad as-drafted, but I knew they could be better. I ended up raising the armscye 3/4″ higher at the bottom, and also adding 3/8″ to the back arm curve, which made the entire arm hole that much smaller. I reduced the sleeve cap ease, so that the sleeve would properly fit without a bunch of gathers. This worked perfectly and I have a full range of movement with my dress, woohoo!

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Style-wise, I shortened the hem 1″ for a real mini length, and also added a curved cuff so that sleeves would be full-length (the bracelet-length sleeves are sweet, but as I mentioned before – it’s either full sleeves for me, or none at all!), as well as a tower placket so I can roll the sleeves up if I need to. I left off the sleeve tab, because it just ended up feeling too bulky with all the denim. To make the curved cuff, I used the straight cuff from my B5526 pattern and just curved the edges using curved ruler. The tower placket pattern piece is from my Negroni pattern.

The denim that I used to make this dress – honestly, I have no idea where it originally came from, ha! It was in my stash and it’s a much lighter weight than what I would use to make jeans. I imagine I probably bought it intending on a skirt, but I don’t think it would really even be suitable for that (considering how easily it wrinkles). It’s a woven cotton denim with no stretch, and clearly I should have pre-washed it at least one more time because it has shrank a little since I finish this dress. On the flip side, I intentionally made the sleeves a little long in anticipation of that – and now they are the correct length. On the downside, the dress is even shorter than I was planning and it pulls a bit across the bust now. Oh well! Lesson learned haha.

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

My inspiration for this dress came from the Rosa inspiration post, in fact. The top left denim dress immediately caught my attention and I knew that was exactly what I wanted mine to look like. A few clicks later brought me to the Net-A-Porter page, which at the time showed close-ups of the dress from several angles (unfortunately not the case now, I guess, since it’s sold out – sorry!). This was extremely helpful in assisting me with my blatant rip-off.

I used a brown/taupe thread for all my topstitching – it’s just some weird cotton crap I had in my thread rack, and I used the triple stitch on my machine so that the stitches were nice and thick like topstitching. Most of the topstitching is two rows – the first row 1/8″ from the edge, and the second row is 1/4″ from that first line. Instead of doing a true flat-fell seam, I just mock flat-felled them as per the instructions (stitch as normal, serge, and then topstitch from the right side). The tops of the pockets are secured with bar tacks. The snaps are gunmetal snaps done up with an industrial snap setter (I use the one at Elizabeth Suzann’s production facility bc they haven’t shooed me away yet haha). I LOVE hulking out of this thing at the end of the day, y’all!

What else? I think that’s about it. Have a picture dump (pun intended looool):

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

As I said, I am pretty happy with this finished dress and I have worn it tons! It’s a nice autumnal version of my beloved chambray Hawthorn (which, 2 years later, is still one of my most worn me-mades to date) – a good neutral base that can be worn as-is with flats when it’s warm, or layered with tights and a slip when it gets cold. I’d love to make another version in corduroy – currently on the lookout for a good one if you have any suggestions! πŸ™‚

Completed: Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

10 Nov

Continuing on the Navy Train (although not really, bc I actually made this shit ages before I made my Navy Twill Gingers), here is what I guess we can consider the other half to my ~casual navy suit~ – the blazer!

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Although, unlike most blazers – this one is made of a ponte knit, which makes it about as comfortable to wear as a knit hoodie. I dunno about y’all, but this is basically a huge score as far as I’m concerned.

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

The Morris Blazer from Grainline Studio has been out for a while (and yes, I completely acknowledge that my finished blazer looks exactly like the shop sample no regrets), but I initially disregarded it as an option for my wardrobe as I haven’t bothered to wear a blazer since pretty much my very first office job. Even when I was working in office environments up until I switched to a more casual work life a few years ago, I eschewed the (often uncomfortable, often ill-fitting) blazer in favor of simple and much more comfortable cardigans. Actually, I had a really beautiful black wool blazer that I bought on sale at Bebe when I was in high school (lol anyway, but you’d lol even harder if you knew me in high school because my preferred places to shop were generally Hot Topic and the kid’s section of Goodwill hahahahah oh teenagers) that I wore the hell out of, and it was sadly stolen right my desk when I was 19, at the T-Mobile call center I was working at. To whoever stole that thing: fuck you. Also, I hope you couldn’t fit into it. I was really really small back then, like 90 lbs small. My clothes from back then were fucking comical… and also the reason why I learned how to sew in the first place. Alterations! Yay!

ANYWAY MOVING ON.

What eventually caught my attention about the Morris Blazer is that it is a much more casual take on the traditional blazer – obviously you can’t wear this in a corporate environment, but it’s still a step up from that aforementioned hoodie. It is intended to be made using a stretch woven fabric, and the blazer is unlined. I’d seen some people make it out of a ponte knit, which really piqued my interest because I am all about some ponte knit and its secret pajama properties.

I used a navy nylon Ponte de Roma from Mood Fabrics – it’s currently sold out in this colorway, but they have other colorways and it tends to go back in stock pretty frequently, FYI. I have also bought this ponte in the black & wine colors – it is great! Nice and thick, a good heavy stretch in 4 directions, and it remains opaque and holds its shape quite nicely. It washes really well and I haven’t noticed any pilling on any of my pieces. The rayon content makes it feel a bit nicer than the pure poly stuff, but the spandex/nylon additions give it that good recovery so it doesn’t bag out of shape over the course of the day.

I initially was a tiny bit concerned about using this fabric, as the Grainline website really suggests against using knits with a 4 way stretch – this pattern is intended for 2 way stretch wovens, so that the blazer doesn’t stretch and sag downward against the facing. I couldn’t find a good knit fabric that was heavy enough, had the intended stretch amount, *and* came in the color I wanted, however. So I threw caution to the wind and just used this stuff. I’ve been wearing the finished product for about 2 months and I reckon it turned out fine. So, in case you were wondering about 2 way vs 4 way stretch with this pattern!

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

I made the size 0, which is my usual size for Grainline patterns. I lengthened the sleeves to full-length – bracelet length is pretty, but I’ve decided there is no place in my life for that nonsense (either I’m cold enough to need full sleeves, or don’t want sleeves at all. My sleeve opinions are very black and white haha). I had also originally raised the armholes by about 1″, since I found the armholes in my Lark tee to be about that much too low (if you’re wondering why you don’t remember that post, it’s cos I haven’t written it yet haha), but lowered them back down to the original size when I tried on the blazer without sleeves. I used fusible tricot knit to interface the facings (I did not interface the entire front section, which is suggested in the sew along if you use a 4 way stretch as I did), and sewed most of the construction on my serger, with all topstitching done on my regular machine with a straight stitch.

Overall, I found this pattern really easy to follow. There is some interesting seam wizardry going on to create that shawl collar out of the shoulder seams, but none of it is particularly difficult. I like how the hems are all faced, and I like the topstitching detailing – especially at the bottom hem, which I know some people weren’t a fan of. I like that the knit fabric makes as comfortable as wearing a ratty hoodie, without actually looking like a ratty hoodie. I wasn’t sure if I would like that it didn’t have closures – I am the sort of person who never wears things open; if there are zippers or buttons, they are done up – but it hangs really nicely and I rather like how smooth and streamlined it is. One thing to note is that the facing is not tacked down at the front of the blazer, except at the shoulders and where it is caught in the hem. I read some reviews that people did not like how it flipped out, however, I haven’t found this to be an issue with my blazer.

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

I have worn this quite a bit over the past couple of months – it’s a nice protection against the freezing a/c blasts Tennesseans love to subject people to, and a pleasant style change from the basic cardigans I usually carry around. I think this pattern combined with the Pinot pants would make an awesome ponte fake suit – you know, kind of dressed up from a distance but TOTAL LEISURE COMFORT in reality haha.

Also, in case you were curious -I also made the rest of my outfit! The jeans are Cone Mills Ginger jeans, and my tshirt is a Renfew made with bamboo knit β™₯ that knit is another fabric I buy over and and over again – because it’s awesome! It’s super soft, incredibly stretchy without being sheer, and has an amazing recovery. It’s also super wide, so I can cut a long sleeve shirt out of a single yard of fabric. It tends to go in and out of stock quickly, but it looks like they just restocked the website. FYI!!

Completed: Navy Cotton Twill Ginger Pants

1 Nov

Gah, it has been WAY too long since I made a pair of pants – according to my blog, that last pair was published in a February! LAME, TIME TO RECTIFY IMMEDIATELY.

Also, damn, my hair has gotten long since then. It seems to grow soo slowly until you look back and realize you’ve really gained some inches over the months, yay.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Anyway, Ginger Jeans! Again! I love this pattern so much, it’s definitely my pants TNT. The style is so classic, I can make a million pairs and have no one be the wiser that I’ve been wearing the same pattern for 6 months straight. I’m still tweaking the leg fit, but I really think the waist/hip fit is nailed down solid. And I love how it looks in different fabrics. While I primarily make this pattern up in denim, I’ve really wanted to try more colorful stretch twills. And here we are with that!

Sorry in advance for the terribly quality of these photos. Navy is almost as difficult to shoot as black, who would have thought!?

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - back

Anyway, I bought this navy stretch cotton twill from Mood Fabrics, back when I was in the NYC storefront in March – specifically with the intention of making myself some sweet pants out of the yardage. It’s a good stretch bottomweight for the kind of pants I like to wear – a lighter bottom weight (it’s still technically bottom weight, however, it’s about the lightest you can get away with – if that makes sense!) with a really good, solid amount of stretch. I have learned that I don’t like wearing really heavy fabric as pants – just don’t care at all for the way it feels. Maybe I’m sliding quickly into knit-fabrics-for-every-garment fabric territory, but I really like lightweight, super stretchy fabrics on my booty. Since that’s so freaking DIFFICULT to find with denim (get the right weight, and you lose out on recovery. Get the good recovery, and it’s like wearing raw denim in terms of stiffness, ew), cotton twill is where it’s AT. Bonus if that shit is colorful. I like colorful things.

This cotton twill seems to be a lot more along the lines of a cotton sateen, to be honest -it’s pretty shiny, for one. I rather like the effect – I think it looks a little more luxe than just a normal pair of pants – but as you can see, it highlights EVERY SINGLE wrinkle that shows up. It makes these pants look a lot more ill-fitting than they actually are… not that anyone would notice, except someone else who sews/fits, but it is what it is. I ain’t worried about it. Coupled with the fact that I like to wear my pants as skintight as if they are basically painted on, it’s pretty much wrinkle-city up in here. That’s ok, though. I will live.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - side

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - back

I wanted to improve on the fit of my last pair – the full calf adjustment has been good in terms of allowing room for my calves and reducing the amount of knee wrinkles, however, I wasn’t happy with how wide the ankle ended up as a result. This is part of the reason why I’ve been reluctant to make this pattern again until now – that, and it’s been way too hot to wear pants for the past few months πŸ™‚ Anyway, I have that Ginger Jeans Intensive at Workroom Social this week, so I wanted to make the pattern before I left just to brush on the construction. Which meant that I also had to figure out the leg situation. Boo.

Ultimately, I figured that since the full calf adjustment was kind of the same concept as a full bust adjustment – i.e., you slash and spread to add width to a certain part of your pattern – then reducing the circumference of the ankle would basically be the opposite of that, like a small bust adjustment.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Here is my pattern piece after adding that extra room for my calves. As you can see, quite a bit of width was added at the ankle – 1 1/8″, to be exact. I wanted to reduce that amount without actually reducing the calf width, and also maintain the grainline of the pattern so the fabric wouldn’t twist and go all haywire (this is why you can’t just… shave down the side seams to remove the width. I tried that on the jeans with a basting stitch and it was just AWFUL. Did not work at all).

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

My Y-shaped slash and spread worked to add that width, so I did another Y-shaped slash right around where my calf starts to taper back into “normal width” category, using the super scientific method of holding the pattern piece up to my body and drawing wild lines on the paper with a pencil. (btw, that second slash line was my first try – and I realized it was way too low, so I taped it back together haha)

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Instead of spreading, I overlapped the pieces together so that the original pattern paper (without my brown craft paper addition) butted up as normal right at the ankle. As you can see, it makes a very gradual curve to the side seams – they bellow out a little where the extra width is needed, and then gently curve back to their normal width tapering to nothing at the ankle. I also straightened the grainline, after I took the photo. Sorry bout that.

I had no idea if this was going to work – this is how I do my pattern adjustments (if I can’t find the answer in a book, anyway): mulling over the issue for a few months, doing some wild slashing that seems legit, and then cutting them off into shorts if it doesn’t work πŸ™‚ Fortunately, it worked! I still have the room I need for my calves, but the ankle is fitted as it should be. And I ended up with pants instead of having to cut them into shorts, so woohoo me:)

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

The only other change I made to these pants, in terms of construction, was how I applied the topstitching. I usually use topstitching thread – whether matching or in a contrast color – but I didn’t have any of that on hand when I made these pants (to be frank, I barely had ANY navy thread at all during this phase. I did have a bunch of bobbins filled with navy thread, which is what I used as my main thread hahaha AND MIRACULOUSLY HAD ENOUGH YAY). Instead, I used normal polyester thread – just whatever you’d use to, I dunno, assemble a garment – and set my machine to sew on the Triple Stitch. The Triple Stitch automatically lengthens your stitch just a few mm, and then sews over the same stitch a couple of times – which results in a nice, thick, dense stitch. It looks great for topstiching and solves the problem of not having the proper thread. I actually like it better than using topstitching thread, as you are less likely to get thread nests on the underside of your fabric! The only downside is that it is a giant ass bitch to unpick, so definitely be really really sure of what you’re sewing πŸ™‚

Anyway, I used the Triple Stitch to topstitch all my seams – including the flat-felled seams. To keep my lines even and consistent, I used my edgestitching foot to get that 1/8″ from the seamline, and then my 1/4″ foot for the second pass. The bartacks are just teensy little zigzag/satin stitch blobs, using the same navy as the topstitching. I didn’t add any rivets or contrasty anything to these pants – I wanted them to be plain and a little sleek. The pocketing is the same striped cotton I use for pretty much all my pocketing – I bought a shitload of that yardage ages ago at Mood Fabrics, and it’s like the gift that keeps on giving forever haha πŸ™‚ I kept the longer length, just so these don’t end up being super high-waters after a couple of washes, but they look good cuffed, too πŸ™‚

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

I have only had a chance to wear these once since finishing them, so I can’t 100% comment on the recovery of the stretch fabric – but at the end of the day on their inaugural wear, they stayed pretty tight and did not bag out. I’m interested to see how long they keep their shape before bagging happens, but so far so good, I think!

** Note: The fabrics used to make these pants were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. In case you were curious, the gingham for that shirt is also from Mood Fabrics πŸ™‚ it’s Butterick 5526 !

Completed: Rise Turtleneck

26 Oct

Hello everyone, from the other side! I’m back from my weekend at Camp Workroom Social, which was incredible and full of wonderful friendships with hilarious and awe-inspiring women. I got to room with Devon, who I have missed terribly since she moved away to Atlanta, so it was great to see her again! I had such an amazing weekend, full of awesome memories and SO MANY BOOBS (this is what happens when you assist a bra making class, y’all). Get excited for Amy’s new pattern, btw. Based on what was sewed up in our class, it makes everyone’s boobs happy and beautiful and bouncy.
Anyway, as soon as I got home – I crashed real hard and got real sick. Bummer! I am just really thankful that this didn’t happen while I on either of my trips! I guess my body just needed a serious rest. At some point during my sick week (I’m a huge baby when I get sick, and tend to sleep for a couple days straight until it clears up, no shame), I did something weird to my neck and I guess pinched a nerve… I’ve had a migraine since Friday! Needless to say, I have not felt like doing ANYTHING and have been pretty mopey/miserable since then. I have an appointment with a chiropractor later today – I am literally counting down the hours at this point, it’s that bad – which will hopefully get me fixed up, or at least started down the right path!

So I guess the theme for this post is comfy clothes. Because that’s about all I have been able to handle for the past week… super comfy clothes that double as secret pajamas.

( Also, I took these photos a couple weeks ago, so hold back on your comments of “oh you look nice even when you’re sick!” I wasn’t sick when I took these pictures πŸ˜› haha )

Rise Turtleneck

Rise Turtleneck

It’s still not quite cold here in Nashville… we are in those wonderful in-between days where it’s chilly in the morning, very warm in the afternoon (the high today is 83*, yay!), and only a little chilly in the evening. I haven’t turned my air or heat in weeks… my last electric bill was $60 πŸ˜› But I know the cold weather is coming, and I’m trying to prep in advance by filling any major wardrobe holes. I know at least when I get cold, I want to be as comfy as possible, in secret pajamas. I won’t go as far as to leave my house in actual pajamas – it’s just not a thing I do, unless I’m super sick (and even then, I can usually muster up the energy to pull on a pair of ponte leggins and a sweatshirt so I’m not rolling up to the Kroger in my flannel pjs or some shit) – but I am all about wearing clothes that feel comfy like pjs while looking much more pulled-together from an outsider perspective. Stretch fabrics are the key here, y’all. I think we all already know that, but I just said it again anyway.

Rise Turtleneck

Rise Turtleneck

Rise Turtleneck

One thing I was thinking I needed in my closet was a fitted black turtleneck… to wear with high-waisted skirts, jeans, or as an additional layer of warmth. I remember owning a ribbed black turtleneck back in the 90s and wearing the everloving shit out of that thing because it made me feel like I looked sophisticated. I don’t think sophisticated is a word that anyone would ever use to describe my style, but whatever. I can still have these goals.

Anyway, I used the Rise and Fall Turtleneck from Papercut Patterns, which I’ve had my eye on since it was released last year. There are two versions in this pattern – I made the “Rise,” which is more fitted with a mock turtleneck, the sleek look I was going for. I cut an XXS to start, but it was still a bit more loose than what I was envisioning. I kept taking in the side and sleeve seams until it was more fitted, which probably brought it down to – my guess – about an XXXS (if that was even a size option). I think the shoulder seams are still a bit more dropped than what was comfortable, so after I took these photos I ended up taking the sleeves off, cutting back the shoulder, and then reattaching them (sorry, I don’t have any photos of this and I am not able to take any of my sick ass so you can just believe me here, ha). When I make this pattern again, I will double check the shoulder/armscye seams against another pattern that fits me and make adjustments before I cut my fabric. For my on-the-fly alterations, this was fine.

Rise Turtleneck

Rise Turtleneck

I used light rib knit fabric from Organic Cotton Plus for my turtleneck, in a classic black. This stuff is traditionally used to make ribbed cuffs and necklines, but like I said, I wanted a whole 90s-eqsue turtleneck out of that shit. It’s super soft and laundered up beautifully. It did stretch out a bit when I stitched the hem with a twin needle – it actually got really flared and crazy looking, to be honest – so I threw it in the wash and it shrunk up to what you see now. Still a little wavy, but it’s not terrible. I am guessing this particular fabric won’t have a fantastic recovery since it’s 100% cotton – and cotton tends to grow over the course of the day, it needs a little bit of Lycra to snap it back into shape – but it should shrink up after it’s washed. I haven’t had a chance to wear it properly yet as it’s still a bit too hot for full-on neck coverage, but we’ll see how that works out. I may like it a little more loose. Maybe.

Rise Turtleneck + pashmina

Rise Turtleneck + pashmina

Aaaaaand while we’re talking about comfy – I also made a Pashmina! I LOVE Pashminas; they are one of my go-to souvenirs when I’m traveling. Not to mention, they are handy to have while you’re traveling, especially if you’re on a chilly airplane. Wearing it as a regular scarf definitely keeps me warm, but it can also double as a lightweight blanket without actually looking like… well, a blanket (you can also wad it up and use it as a pillow if you’re lucky enough to get the window seat). It’s also a nice alternative to a sweater or cardigan when you’re wearing fancy dress – again, draped over the shoulders like a cape looks really lovely.

Ok, “made” is a very very loose term here πŸ˜‰ I got 2 yards of wool cashmere Pashmina fabric (also from Organic Cotton Plus) and frayed the edges with a pin. So there’s not really so much making here – I didn’t even sew a thing, the selvedge edges were finished as they were – but not even project needs a mess of sewing to be proud of, you know? At $26 a yard, this fabric is far from cheap – but a total of $46 (and maybe an hour of fraying) but it is organic wool, and certainly less expensive than the questionable-origins Pashminas I see at Nordstrom. So there’s that.

It’s hard to get a good photo of this fabric, but it’s very light and floaty with a loose weave that has a bit of a design in it-

Organic pashmina

Organic pashmina

It’s also pretty translucent. I originally considered using it to make a full-on lined wool skirt, but it’s just too loosely woven and lightweight, like, well, a scarf πŸ˜‰

Organic pashmina

Here is a close-up of my fraying. I pulled one cross grain thread to make a straight line (same as you’d do when tugging your fabric to be on-grain) and then gently pulled the threads below to make a fringe, using a pin. It probably took about an hour, and wasn’t too bad once I got into the swing of things. I did not secure my fraying with a line of stitching or anything – upon examining all my other scarves, they don’t have any stitching at the end and they have held up fine.

Rise Turtleneck + pashmina

Finally, I should mention – those jeans are secret pajamas too, y’all! They are actually JEGGINGS, made with cotton stretch denim knit, which is like a really awesome ponte that looks like jeans. You can read the post about them here. I’ve worn them steadily for about a year and a half and they’ve held up nicely – washed and worn well, and are still sooo comfy. See! Secret pajamas. These were totally in regular rotation while my dad was in the hospital, btw. I had to wear pants because they keep that ICU freeeeeezing, so it was nice to have something knit that was comfortable enough to wear for hours of sitting. Should you be lucky enough to not have to spend a week in an ICU waiting room, I can also vouch that these pants/this fabric is great for traveling πŸ˜‰

Speaking of traveling – I have one more workshop (well, two back to back) before I’m done for the year! I’ll be in NYC next weekend for jeans making (which is sold out!) and the ever-popular Weekend Pants Making Intensive (which I think still has a couple of open spots if you’ve been on the fence! TREAT YO SELF), both at Workroom Social! Can’t wait πŸ˜€

**Note: The fabrics in this post were provided to me by Organic Cotton Plus, in exchange for a blog post review. All opinions are my own, however, all links to said fabrics *are* affiliate links (which all funds will divert to my Coverstitch Savings Account). The Papercut pattern was purchased with my own dollars, though! β™₯
EDIT: I can’t believe I didn’t notice that this is totally a Steve Jobs outfit hahahahaha

Completed: A Striped Coco Dress

13 Oct

Coco is one of those patterns that I loved when I first saw it (and immediately made up), promised I would make dozens more, experienced feelings of jealousy whenever I saw other people wearing it… and yet left that damn pattern hanging for 2 1/2 years. Too long!

Coco Dress

I have been slowly going through my stash, uploading fabrics to my Cora app– which takes forever, since I have to pull each piece out, photograph it, measure it, and then fill in all the details. Individually, it’s not really a time suck – but I have a lot of fabric! It’s kind of fun, though – I feel like I’m rediscovering all this great fabric I forgot I had! (very similar to how I treat doing laundry – oooh, look at all these fun clothes I forgot about in the past few days! Yay!) I’m making an effort to sew more from my stash – at least, the pieces that are suitable for the current season, and the colors/prints that work best with my current wardrobe. It’s certainly not doing me any good just hanging out on my shelf!

This navy/white striped ponte is one of those pieces that I unearthed. I bought a MASSIVE yardage of this shit when I was in Mood Fabrics… uhh, probably also in 2014. It’s a heavy, thick ponte with a very dense hand – and it was a pain in the butt to drag it all home, though of course I persisted because I am all about taking one for the (my)team. I made a couple tshirts out of the stuff, and quickly learned that I don’t like wearing tshirts out of such a heavy knit. It feels strange, like wearing a jacket you can’t take off. And while it’s a great weight for stuff like hoodies, blazers, jackets, skater dresses… I dunno, guys. I just wasn’t feeling it. So the remaining yardage has been hanging on my shelf until I managed to almost forget about it.

Coco Dress

Coco Dress

Coco Dress

So here we come right back around to Coco! I was desperately in need of a easy, mindless project that lent itself well to leaving unfinished for long periods of time in my sewing room – this was during the week that my dad was in the hospital, and while I spent most of that time sitting next to him (or camping out in the ICU waiting room, waiting my turn), I needed a day to be “normal.” I didn’t feel like sewing at all, but I knew it would calm and relax me – again, the key being something easy and mindless. So I took the pattern and fabric, both of which I’d been kind of avoiding, and channeled my energy into this project.

It’s not anything special, obviously. It’s a simple A-line knit dress with a funnel neck collar. I can – and have – made much more impressive pieces. But the simplicity was exactly what I needed – so I could turn my mind off, and just focus on making. That fact that I have a pretty great dress out of it is just a bonus πŸ˜‰

Coco Dress

Since I’ve already made this pattern and it’s fairly simple to begin with, I don’t really have much to say about the construction. I sewed the size 1 so I’d get a close fit (my measurements hover right between 1 and 2 in Tilly’s patterns), but ended up taking out another 1/2″ or so from the side seams because it still wasn’t quite fitted enough to my liking. I originally sewed the long sleeves, thinking I’ve had a cozy little ponte winter dress – but y’all, I dunno, something about all those STRIPES with those SLEEVES was just really… awful.Maybe it’s because I’m so short, but it was really overwhelming on my frame. Pulling them up to 3/4″ solved that problem, as did removing a couple of inches from the hem (I know it’s REAL short in these photos; I had a fat 1.5″ hem that I ended up letting out before I wore it out for the first time and resewing again at about 1/2″. So it’s a tiny bit longer – as in, when I raise my arms you don’t see buttcheck anymore true story ok).

I added the sleeve tabs as an afterthought – I liked the way the sleeves looked when they weren’t totally smooth. To make the tabs, they are just rectangles that I sewed with the right sides facing and then turned right sides out, sewed to the inside of the sleeve and then tacked down the other end with a button from my stash. Actually, if I recall correctly – the measurements were determined by me cutting the small pocket (included in the pattern), deciding I didn’t want to add it, and then cutting it in half to use as my tabs haha.

I sewed all the seams on my serger, except the hem and sleeve hems – which I just used a zigzag stitch for. Easy! (except when I ended up ripping out that hem later to let out some length, ugh haha) And while the dress looks like it’s black and white, I promise it is actually navy. It’s just a really really dark navy.

Coco Dress

See?! Navy! πŸ™‚

My fabric isn’t quite as beefy as what they use for the project photos – or what I used for my first Coco, even. As a result, the funnel neck is definitely a lot more floppy and slouchy. I like it, though!

Coco Dress

Sleeve tab and button. This button was seriously the closest thing I had to matchy in my stash.

Coco Dress

That’s all! I am heading out in a few hours to catch a plane to NYC – Camp Workroom Social is this weekend! πŸ˜€ I cannot WAIT to hang with all the campers and help my (well, Amy‘s πŸ™‚ ) class make some beautiful bras!

And speaking of classes – I spent the last weekend at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH, where we had a lovely 4 days of sewing, eating delicious food – and drinking whiskey, because of course we did. I had an AMAZING time with amazing company – great conversation, great food, and of course, great sewing! I love doing these sorts of retreats because it’s really fun to see what everyone is working on – for this class, we had jeans, a bra, a coat, an Archer, fitting help, and a shirt dress! The only downside is that when I get home, I REALLY miss everyone because we’ve been so close for the past few days! Which basically just means I am gonna have to go back πŸ™‚ Exeter is so beautiful and Pintuck & Purl is the cutest little store with a beautiful selection. I definitely came home with some fabric and yarn, although my tiny suitcase meant that I had to restrain myself a bit πŸ™‚

See y’all next week!

Completed: Chambray Tencel Butterick 5526

3 Oct

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

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

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

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

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

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

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

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

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

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

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

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

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

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

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

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