Completed: Linen Archer Button-Up

11 May

Does anyone remember my first linen Archer shirt, and the disaster that it was? Like, I don’t even think I wore that thing out in public one time. I’m pretty sure it went straight to Goodwill, where a less discerning eye was hopefully excited to find it. Hopefully.

Well, I always said I’d revisit this pattern+fabric combination again, once I’d had a little more practice with it – and here we are! I can’t believe it’s taken me nearly 4 years to actually get around to making that linen button-up of my dreams, but better late than never, I reckon!

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Basic details first: This is the Archer button-up from Grainline Studio. Sewn up in a size 0, with all my former modifications (shortening the hem, shortening the sleeves, and also adding a tower placket to the sleeve instead of the bias placket, which I’m sorry but I just don’t like). I’ve made this shirt several times, so if you want more in-depth info from an earlier version – check out this tag! The only former modification that I did NOT make to this version was to sew the side seams at their 1/2″ seam allowance (all my other versions, I used a 5/8″ seam allowance for this, to make the the body a smidge narrower. But for this one, I kept it as-drafted).

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Ok, boring shit out of the way – what makes this one so special is the fabric I used! Omg you guys. It’s hard to convey in a photo – even harder with these less than sub-par ones I have going on (and yah, I’ve already started packing for my move at the end of the month. Backgrounds are about to get a lot sadder ’round here haha) – but this particular linen is one of the prettiest solids I’ve ever seen! It looks like a basic chambray from a distance, but once you get closer – it’s really more of a periwinkle blue, with a definite purple sheen to it. I am not a huge fan of purple – and honestly, wasn’t a huge fan of linen until recently (something about getting old idk but god bless I feel like I sweat more than ever now, which is disgusting I know) – but this one is pretty freaking special.

I got my magical linen from South Street Linen, waaay back in 2015 when I was in Portland, ME for my first retreat at A Gathering of Stitches. We took an impromptu class field trip to the shop after we’d been told there was a linen sample sale going on… and DUDES WHAT A SAMPLE SALE. So many amazing pieces of absolutely beautiful linen, priced according to their yardage. You couldn’t get the pieces cut, but it was easily enough to split with someone else (we’re talking bundles of 6-10 yards per piece, so some people split 3 ways and still had tons). I personally got 2 pieces myself – both shared splits – and this is one of them. It’s been so long that I don’t actually remember what I paid, but I’d guess probably $30-$40 for 3 yards. Maybe less, again, I don’t remember!

Again, these pictures do not do this fabric justice – but it is even more beautiful in person. It’s also incredibly soft – not rough at all like some linens can be. It’s a slightly heavier weight, too, which means it’s more opaque and a bit less prone to wrinkling and fraying. I’ve been sitting on this piece of fabric for a very long time, waiting for inspiration to strike, and I’m glad I waited! I like the idea of having a summery button-up shirt (I’m not opposed to wearing my flannels in the summer, but this just looks better, yeah?) that is made of a nice breathable linen, with long sleeves that can protect my skin from the sun and/or insects (seriously, Morgan had one of these in Peru and I was SO JEALOUS of it!)…. or more specifically, air-conditioning, ha!

Construction-wise, this was waaaaay easier than my first linen attempt. I suspect part of that has to do with my now experience sewing this type of pattern- and part because of the fabric itself. Being a heavier linen means it is less shifty and less prone to fraying, which made the entire experience a BREEZE to navigate.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

An unexpected perk of this style is how good it looks when it’s unbuttoned to be borderline scandalous. Since I’m not rocking much in the boob department these days, I can totally get away with these things hahahaha.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

A few more minor construction notes: the shirt is finished with flat-felled seams, for a neat and durable finish. I did add a tower placket to the sleeve, as mentioned, so it would be easier to roll up (I use the placket pattern piece from the Colette Negroni pattern, but there are other options available). I also added button tabs (nabbed from my copy of B5526) to further aid with rolling up the sleeves (sorry, I didn’t think to take a photo of them rolled up – but you can see a shot here on my Instagram). The topstitching is off-white, and the buttons are just standard off-white shirt buttons, nothing fancy.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

I guess that’s all for this make! I have already worn it several times since finishing (hence the wear-wrinkles in my “modeling” photos – but as you can see, it doesn’t wrinkle that much! And there are pressed fresh-off-the-sewing-machine shots on my dressform, if you’re a hater of wrinkles!) and it’s been a nice and cool alternative to my standard cardigan. I like that the purple makes it a little less plain than an ordinary chambray, yet it’s still a really versatile color that can be worn with most of my wardrobe.

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A Very Belated Tour of My Sewing Room

3 May

Hey! Remember when I moved last year and promised I’d share photos of my new sewing room? Well, we’re almost a year overdue – but I’m finally making good on that promise! Truth be told, I kept putting off the ~big reveal~ because there was a never-ending list of things that I wanted to change about the space – first I wanted a new ironing board cover, then I needed new lights over said ironing board, then I thought I’d wait until I got new sewing tables… like I said, never-ending! I have since realized two things:

1. The list of changes is going to be never-ending. That’s the nature of decorating. Once you’re happy with one thing, you want to tweak something else. Ok, maybe you don’t decorate that way – but I do! Keeps me on my toes, keeps that DIY spirit alive or whatever.
2. I decided to move in June (more on that in a minute!), so I better document this room before it becomes a maze of boxes! Argh!

Anyway, better late that never! I always have a studio in every place that I live, and I like to document these snapshots of my life, so I wanted to include this one on the blog as well 🙂 If you’re interested in seeing my other sewing spaces from past homes, check out this tag 🙂

LLADYBIRD Studio

Here is what you see when you first walk in! It’s an average sized room (11′ x 12′, which isn’t super tiny – but it makes for a small studio, especially when you have a giant cutting table in the middle of it!), so it was hard to get good shots of everything, but I tried!

If you’ve followed my blog for a while and are familiar with my former sewing spaces, you probably noticed that this room is super white! In the past, I’ve always had lots of color on my walls – which I love, especially when it’s turquoise! – but I ended up keeping this room white. The landlord and I had a bit of miscommunication about the painting – he agreed to paint it turquoise, I sent him swatches, he said he didn’t get the swatches, I agreed to just go with white (it was originally that horrible beige-y rental color that no one loves), figuring I’d repaint it myself if it bothered me. But I’ve really grown to love it, it’s so fresh and bright!

LLADYBIRD Studio

The view from the door to the sewing station. I love having a window at my sewing station, even if the bright light makes my photos look awful 🙂

One of the things that I wanted to change about this room – and will change in my next studio – is to exchange those two sewing cabinets in favor of a long worktable that I can roll back and forth at in my chair. I love my cabinets, but they aren’t practical with multiple machines (plus, I can’t use the knee lever with my Bernina! Boo!).

LLADYBIRD Studio

Starting next to the door, on the right-hand side of the room – is my desk (or as they love to say on MTV Cribs “where the magic happens”). Since I primarily work from home, it’s great to have a dedicated desk space where I can keep my computer and all my office and art supplies. I also blog from this desk, and sometimes it holds fabric + pattern overflow when I’m on a giant cutting binge 😉

LLADYBIRD Studio

Next to the desk is my ironing station – yes, with a new ironing board cover (finally haha!). The lights over the ironing board are suspended on a cord that plugs into a power strip below. These lights provide two purposes: one, to give me more working light (despite how bright these photos are, the corners of the room are actually quite dark, so it needs a lot of light to be comfortable to work in!), and two, to let me know when the iron is on! I use a gravity feed iron that does not have auto shut off, so I keep it plugged into a power strip with lights above it. When the lights are on, I know the iron is also on!

The shades over the lights are Joxtorp shades from Ikea. They are cheap little cardboard things that I just spray painted a different color. Nothing fancy, but better than a bare bulb! I used paper lanterns in the past, but I lost one of them during the move and figured it was time for a change anyway!

LLADYBIRD Studio

Over the ironing boards, I keep my rulers and cork boards – one for inspiration and general things that make me happy, and one to plot out future projects.

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

My sewing machines and serger are against the wall opposite the doorway, right by that beautiful window! All my thread is on racks on the wall (serger thread by the serger, sewing machine thread by the sewing machine), and notions in the shelf above my sewing machine. Plus, my dressform!

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

Continuing toward the right, this wall has a full-length mirror and a few shelves. The floor shelves hold my sewing books and yarn stash (yeah, it all fits in ONE BASKET woohoo), and the wall shelves have bra making supplies and zippers. And also fake plants along the top, cos green stuff is pretty stuff. I also keep a big roll of craft paper on top of the floor shelves.

LLADYBIRD Studio

Next to the shelves is where I keep my printer (FYI there is nothing fun in those drawers – it’s all products and samples that I send out for my other job haha).

LLADYBIRD Studio

Finally, at the end of the room – next to the door – is the closet. Since this closet is really big (like 7′ wide) and didn’t have doors, I just stuck my entire fabric stash in there, shelf and all! The shelf fit in perfectly with some extra space on the sides, plus there is storage along the top closet shelf for all my sewing patterns. My apologies for the bare shelves – I’d already started packing my fabric at this point, and I wasn’t about to unpack it for one photo! Just imagine that those shelves are full of lovely, colorful fabric 🙂 hah!

LLADYBIRD Studio

Since that shelf is about 5′ wide, there’s at least a foot of space on either end to store things. One end has my sewing machine cases and tracing paper (boring), but this end I stuck a tension rod so I can hang my working PDF patterns from! I can clip all the pieces and then hang them from the rod, and that way they don’t get folds before I have a chance to use them (PDF patterns that I’m not currently using are stored in a binder system – which I keep behind one of those doors in the big shelf).

Speaking of printing PDFs – I have started using a local printer to print copyshop versions, instead of cutting + taping a million pages together. My research in the past showed that places like Kinko’s charge about $10/page, which just crazy (especially if you are unfortunate enough to have a pattern with multiple pages!). I found a local printer who will print them for $2.18 per page, and holy shit y’all they are amazing. If you are in Nashville, check out CCAD Reprographics, seriously! If you’re not local, I think they will ship 😉

LLADYBIRD Studio

This is on that time wall space between the door and the closet. The hook is good for hanging WIPs (or stuff that I need to do some alterations or repairs on), and I found that postcard at my local yarn store, Haus of Yarn!

LLADYBIRD Studio

LLADYBIRD Studio

The cutting table takes up the space in the middle of the room. On one end, I have a bar where I store my cutting tools. The boxes in the cubes hold silk scraps, leather scraps, Papercut Patterns + Vogue patterns (since they don’t fit in the comic book boxes with the rest of my patterns), and my dyeing stuff.

The opposite end of the table has some drawers where I keep a bunch of tools and interfacing scraps, and the bins at the bottom hold swimsuit fabric and an enormous stash of zippers.

I love this cutting table! I “built” it out of two shelves and a tabletop – all stuff from Ikea – and put it on casters so I can easily roll it around if I need to (the casters also lock, so that shit will also stay put if I need it to). It’s a great size and height for cutting! For more information on how I built this, check out my former sewing room post.

LLADYBIRD Studio

What’s rad about this table, is that the middle is open and tall enough for me to roll this cart underneath, so I can easily pull it out when I need supplies (or shove it under the table when it’s in the way).

hellooooo
Hi!

So that’s my sewing room! I have really loved creating in this room – it’s such a lovely, bright space and it is really the perfect size for my needs. I’m going to miss this room (not to mention THAT CLOSET), but I’m so excited about my new place!

Oh, and more about that! I really love this apartment, and I have enjoyed living here this past year. However, one of my friends got me a great hook-up on an AMAZING house (seriously, look at how cute it is!), which I jumped at the opportunity. I am excited to have yard access again, a private driveway – and I’ll be walking distance to my part time gig at Craft South (not to mention, all the other cool stuff in that area!). The house was built in 1935, which means it is incredibly charming and has really really small closets 🙂 I am seriously SO sick of moving (just thinking about my to-do list is giving me anxiety), but I know it will be worth it! My new sewing room is going to be a hair smaller than this one – it measured around 11′ x 11′ – which means I need a bit of an overhaul on my organization / storage (for example – taking advantage of all those drawers!). I am up for the challenge, though! I love decorating new studios haha 🙂

Side note to my Nashville friends – if you are looking for an apartment, this one is available! Send me an email if you want more info 🙂

LLADYBIRD Studio

Completed: Morgan Pants

27 Apr

I have a well-documented love for the Ginger Jeans pattern. In fact, I love making (and wearing!) this pattern so much, that I just stopped posting about it. After you finish the 10th pair of pants, it just feeling way too fucking redundant to keep posting the same pattern praise over and over again. Needless to say, I have a lot of pairs of these pants, and more in the works for next winter. No shame about that, but also, no blog posts. You are welcome in advance.

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

With that being said, I loooove making pants and I found myself very intrigued with the Morgan Boyfriend Jeans pattern, which is also from Closet Case Patterns. I loved the idea of being able to make pants with a non-stretch fabric – truly, it opens up an enormous world of pants-possibilities that I hadn’t been able to consider in the past. Plus, I could keep making pants but pretend like they were like, totally different. Mostly, though, I wanted some non-stretch twill pants. I love the Organic Cotton Twill that Mood Fabrics sells (and yes, I’ve made pants with it before! And shorts!) and I know from experience that it’s a great fabric that wears and washes super well. I had about 1.5 yards leftover from my Organic Cotton Twill Kelly Anorak, so I decided to make the pattern as a sort of wearable muslin.

Truth be told, I actually got the Morgan Jeans pattern for Christmas last year. My little brother bought it for me (at my request) and while I was PUMPED to sew it up, it’s been languishing in my sewing room ever since. Every time I pulled it out of the envelope and tried to creep on the size chart, I just got overwhelmed and confused. I don’t know why this particular size chart buggered me out more than any other size chart in the history of ever – but that’s my excuse! See, I’m technically between sizes in Closet Case Patterns (I’m about 1/2″ bigger than the size 2, and a 1/2″ smaller than the 4). In my pants-making experience with this company, the size 2 fits pretty well, and the 4 is waaaay too big. However, this pattern suggests that you size up if you’re between sizes – and I kept having flashbacks of my size 4 Gingers that needed a LOT of tweaking to get a good fit, as they were just too big. I chatted with Heather about it when I saw her in DC, and she suggested going with the 2, so I took her advice and did just that.

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

Y’all, I’m so glad I had a moment of craziness and decided to trace my pattern – I generally DO NOT trace my patterns, but the sizing question was giving me major pause and I thought I would be pretty sad if I ended up cutting the wrong one. Which is exactly what I did, because the size 2 is definitely too small! Oh well, live and learn!

With that being said – these pants I am modeling are the original size 2 that I made, so I did make them work. I had to let out the leg seams (basically the side seams from as close to the waistband as I could get, all the way to about the knee area) as much as my seam allowances allowed (it’s hard to tell now since they’re all finished, but I didn’t cut any fabric off when I serged as I was anticipating this, so, I’d reckon those seam allowances are probably about 1/4″ now). They were still pretty tight, but fortunately, woven fabrics like this tend to ease and relax throughout the course of the day. TBH, I don’t think I can ever put these pants in the drier because I don’t want them to shrink back up! (A far cry from me in my early 20s – when I’d walk around the house pantsless all day and only put on my pants literally right before I left to party, so they’d be as tight as possible haha!) But with the seam allowances let out, and the fabric all relaxed and happy – the fit on these is pretty much perfect! So no complaints on this pair – and I’m so so happy I was able to salvage them, as shit got a little hairy for a minute there – but I definitely will need to size up to a 4 for my next pair.

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

Morgan Jeans

Morgan Jeans

Morgan Jeans

Morgan Jeans

Other than the sizing snafu, I am pretty pleased with the overall fit of these pants! I will be the first to admit that they may not be the most flattering thing I could put on my ass – but I think that’s kind of the case with a relaxed fit pant like this, regardless? And they are also a little tight, still, so sizing up on the next pair will probably help with that too.

I did not make any adjustments to the pattern – including not futzing with the rise. I usually shorten the rise as I have a bit of a short crotch, but I wanted to see how these fit out of the envelope. And again, I think it’s pretty good! Since they’re more of a relaxed fit than the tight Gingers, my calves fit in the legs just fine. FYI the inseam of these is pretty long – I think I measured it at about 32″ (I don’t know why that wasn’t included in the finished measurements, but there ya go), which is a good 4″ longer than what my lil’ legs require. Since the legs are straight, though, you can just cut off the excess length – which is what I did! These are hemmed to be a normal full-length, by the way, I just have them rolled for the pictures because that’s how I’ve been wearing them!

And speaking of wearing them – I took these photos on day 3 of wearing these pants, so they are pretty relaxed! And that also explains all the wear wrinkles. Whatever! It’s cotton, it’s gonna wrinkle!

Morgan Jeans

My favorite part about making pants is all the fun detailing you get to play with! Topstitching, contrast bartacks, fun pockets – yes please!

Morgan Jeans

Morgan Jeans

For these, I used a darker olive all-purpose thread with the triple stitch (I think it looks nicer than using topstitching thread – although it is a BITCH to unpick, so be warned if you decide to go that route!), and brown thread for the bartacks. The pocket lining is a batik fat quarter that I bought at Loose Threads, a quilt shop that I stumbled upon at random while in Harriman, TN a few weeks ago for the Barkley Marathons. I was not actively seeking a fabric store (honestly, we were just looking for coffee), but I saw the words “Quilt Shop” and we had to make a quick detour. There isn’t much that I can buy in a quilt shop – still haven’t caught the quilting bug, ha! – but I can stash some fat quarters as they are the perfect size and weight for pocket linings!

Morgan Jeans

Morgan Jeans

I skipped the back pocket topstitching as I wanted to keep these reasonably plain, but added a leather back patch like the instructions suggest. This leather was pulled out of my box of leather scraps – I’m not entirely sure where it originally came from, but it’s fairly thick. I had used this same leather to make luggage tags for my suitcases (yes I am a big dork), and that square was a leftover piece from the center cut-out. Since my machine had no problem going through the 2 layers to make the tags, I knew it would be fine with a single layer + the cotton twill. I didn’t even change the needle for this – just went to town and it turned out fine.

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

Anyway, that’s all for now! Have you tried this pants pattern yet? What is your take on the boyfriend jeans (whether they are secretly made for females or you actually steal your *real* boyfriend’s jeans… tell me about that too)?

*Note: The main fabric used in this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Lemon Cabernet Cardigan

18 Apr

See? I told you I made a cardigan with that lemon fabric:

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

Coming off the tail end of a season of greys and blacks (whatever, I love looking like a wannabe-goth in the winter, but eventually we all start craving some color), this lemon fabric was like a happy little breath of fresh spring air. As I mentioned in my last post, I love this fabric but the thickness and weight is a little heavier than what I like for my tshirts. I felt like a cardigan would be a good match for the fabric, plus, I’d be able to wear it through the duration of the spring and summer. I personally cannot stand how cold most people keep their a/c’s here in the heat, so it’s always good to have a cardigan on hand that you can throw on to protect against summer frostbite.

 

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

I decided to use the Cabernet Cardigan from Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick patterns. This is a great staple pattern because it’s a true ladies-who-lunch classic – fitted, cropped (well, one version is anyway), with set-in sleeves, patch pockets, and a lovely v-neckline. I reckon you can make it a little less Betty Draper depending on the fabric you use, but I love looking like a Kate Spade advertisement whenever I can, so lemon fabric + Cabernet cardigan was exactly the combination I was looking for.

I’ve made this pattern a couple of times before (see: leopard print + navy cotton stripes), so I don’t have too much to add to what I’ve already said. I made the size XXS, in the cropped and fitted version. I had to cut 3/4 sleeves due to fabric restrictions (I cut this before I even thought about lemon underwear, so you can imagine how small my leftover pieces were!), which does make the cardi a little less overwhelmingly lemon.

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

 

I assembled the whole thing on my serger, and used my sewing machine to do all the straight topstitching with a contrast green thread. Since the cardigan doesn’t really need to stretch – except maybe slightly around the cuffs, where I didn’t topstitch anyway – it’s fine to use a straight stitch for this. I also think the single line of straight stitching looks a little more RTW than using a zigzag or a twin needle. I just use a ballpoint needle (and the built-in walking foot that’s on my Pfaff) and it’s all good! Really, this is a quick and satisfying sew. Even when you end up stopping in the middle of it to make undergarments 😛
Lemon Cabernet Cardigan

Lemon Cabernet Cardigan

Lemon Cabernet Cardigan

My favorite part about this fabric are those big splashes of turquoise! It really arts up the lemon print and adds some super gorgeous unexpected color.

Lemon Cabernet Cardigan

Cabernet Cardi

Also super happy with this button match – they are pretty much perfect! Funny story about these buttons – they are vintage glass, and I’d had them on an Etsy wishlist for ages. I actually bought this set at the Nashville Flea Market (for something crazy cheap, like $1 for the whole set) and it wasn’t until months later that I saw the original wish listing on Etsy. It always surprises (and delights) me when I find vintage duplicates, but this time it was actually beneficial haha. Anyway, I am happy I finally found a use for these – they look great with this fabric!

Morgan Jeans + Cabernet Cardi

Anyway, that’s all for this post – I was going to also talk about my pants (which I also made), but I’m going to save that for another post because I feel like there are enough photos of me here at it is haha. Before you ask: they are Morgan Boyfriend jeans. I also made my top ages ago, it’s a Briar tshirt with a straight hem. More on the pants later, though! Today is CARDIGAN DAY.

Also – say hello to my new summer ‘do! I just had this done a few days ago (the photos you see here is when it was like day-after-salon-fresh, so still pretty fresh) and I cannot even express how much I love it! I told my stylist I wanted something brighter for summer, so she did put in this amazing orange with yellow highlights. I feel like I have superhero hair – in the sunlight, it’s practically neon in some spots (I wish the color showed up better in these photos!). It is awesome and I’m going to be so sad when it eventually washes out haha.

Completed: Lemon Print Watson Bra

11 Apr

Gah, I love fruit-themed novelty prints, especially when they are in a fruit that I actually like to eat (as I’ve mentioned before: pineapples, yes, cherries, not really. ha). Lemons have always been one of those things that I always gravitate toward – both in my palate (if it includes lemon – whether it’s a dish or a drink – I will definitely order it) and on my fabric. I haven’t had much luck finding lemon fabric in the past, but 2017 must be trying to make up for starting out so shitty because now I have TWO lemon yardages in my stash!

Well, now only one… but I’ll sew that one up soon, too. I promise.

Lemon Watson Bra

Anyway, here’s the first one – a beautiful lemon-print cotton knit! It’s another piece of fabric that I picked up while I was in Finch Knitting + Sewing Studio back in February. I found it creeping behind another pile of knits, and there was barely any yardage left on the bolt (maybe 1 yard, tops). This was one of those few instances where I threw the fabric in my pile without thinking twice about what I’d actually make with it. The lemon print is very similar to this Kate Spade lemon purse (that I also own, because, duh. Lemons), except that the fabric includes splashes of turquoise, whereas the purse only has bits of green. I didn’t think it was possible to improve on the Kate Spade print, but I acknowledge now that I stand corrected.

Anyway, I spent some time (aka about 10 minutes of thinking and 2 minutes of googling) deciding what to make with my fabric, and I decided on…. a cardigan! 🙂 This knit is a thicker cotton interlock knit – it’s not really the weight that I like my tshirts to be, and the print is too summery to make into a sweatshirt. I thought the cardigan would be a lovely way to wear this print throughout the summer, especially since those things are mandatory here as people really love abusing the a/c. I cut my cardigan pieces, fused my interfacing, and got ready to assemble everything.

Lemon Watson Bra

If you’re sitting here thinking, “Bitch, that’s not a cardigan,” YES I KNOW. I ended up having a grand epiphany somewhere around the time that I was pressing under the seam allowances of the pockets. I was feeling sad that I didn’t have more than scraps of the lemon print left over (generally, I am pleased when I buy exactly enough fabric, but this particular case was a time for mourning and self-reflection), and suddenly wondered if I could squeeze a pair of panties out of the leftovers. I pulled the pieces out of my scrap bin – and, nope, the scraps were too small. But you know what? Bras don’t use big pieces of fabric…

Lemon Watson Bra

Obviously, I stopped everything I was doing and immediately started making a bra instead.

Lemon Watson Bra

I used the Watson Bra & Bikini pattern from Cloth Habit, as it’s designed to be made with stretch knits. Due to my fabric restraints, I could only squeeze out the short-framed version – which I like better, anyway, as I think the longline would be too much. I made my regular size, which is a 30D.

Lemon Watson Bra

Lemon Watson Bra

For the notions, I raided the hell out of my stash. For some reason, I have all these coordinating yellow notions – powermesh, strapping, picot elastic – even though I look terrible in yellow. The hook and eye and rings and sliders were harvested from an old bra, and I made the turquoise bow with a scrap of ribbon. I used cream-colored thread to topstitch because I didn’t want it to compete with all the lemons.

Lemon Watson Bra

Lemon Watson Bra

Lemon Watson Bra

The entire bra is lined with lightweight yellow powermesh. Lining is not totally necessary with this pattern (I have made unlined versions before), but I wasn’t sure what the recovery was like on this knit, since it’s 100% cotton. So I added the powermesh as another layer of support. As you can see, I serged the inside seams with turquoise serger thread – it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I’m not really crazy at the effect. Rather than being a cute tie-in with the outside turquoise, it kind of just looks like I didn’t have matching thread. Oh well, whatever, inside of the bra.

My last short frame Watson bra isn’t exactly the most supportive thing I own – it’s fine for it’s purposes (TBH, I don’t need a lot of support and have lately just not been wearing a bra at all LOL FREEEEEEDOM), but I didn’t want the same thing to happen with this bra. The main problem with the coral bra is that the bridge is too stretchy – so it doesn’t hold the cups in place. For this bra, I used sheer cup lining (from my stash, but Tailor Made Shop sells it!) on the bridge – and then covered it with the powermesh – to keep that area completely stable. Powermesh isn’t stable enough on it’s own – not even with two layers of stretch going in opposite directions (which was the case with the coral bra), but the sheer cup lining definitely worked an this bra is much more supportive!

FYI, I sewed the entire bra on my sewing machine – other than the serged parts, which was just to finish the edges (so they look nice, they’re not exactly going to unravel). I used a straight stitch for construction, and a zigzag for attaching the elastic. I have done this with all my other knit bras, and even my swimsuits, and haven’t had any issues with the stitches breaking. Definitely use a ballpoint needle, though!

Watson Panties

And, if you were curious… I did find a way to squeeze out some matching underwear hahaha!

Watson Panties<

My scraps were way too tiny to cut even the front piece out (even before I cut out the bra pieces), so I chopped up my pattern and added some ~style lines~ to incorporate a little bit of the print in an otherwise plain pair. FYI, this is the matching panty pattern that comes with the Watson set. The yellow fabric is actually merino wool – yeah, I know, merino seems like it might be weird for underwear, but I totally googled that shit and Smartwool definitely sells merino underwear soooo if it’s good enough for Smartwool, I reckon it’s also good enough for me + my butt!

The crotch lining is organic cotton from my stash, and the elastics are also from my stash. I experimented with using turquoise elastic on this pair – it’s pretty cute!

Then I went crazy and made a bunch of other pairs of panties:

Watson Panties

Used a bamboo jersey for this one.

Watson Panties

Cotton interlock, leftover from this dress.

Watson Panties

More merino (I will be honest – I went on a huge merino kick at this point and now I have a full set of long underwear for next winter haha). I believe this merino is originally from The Fabric Store – it’s the lighter weight.

Watson Panties

Rayon knit – a leftover from this top (that stretch lace at the top is also from Finch!)

I seriously do not care to make underwear, but it’s kind of a necessary evil – anything I buy in shops just doesn’t fit right, gives me perma-wedgie pretty much all day and it’s very uncomfortable. After assessing my underwear drawer, I realized that I need the elastic around the legs to keep my underwear in place – that’s the only kind that doesn’t ride up on me. It’s been increasingly difficult to find RTW undies that have this, which means I gotta make them. I made several pairs because I wanted to see how the fabrics wear over the course of the day, and if they bag and stretch out. So far, the cotton interlock, rayon knit, and merino wool are the best – but they are all pretty dang comfortable.

Watson Set

And now I have 2 pairs of undies that match my new bra 😀

Lemon Watson Bra

That’s all for now! Next (aka when I take the photos), I’ll show you the cardigan I also made with this fabric!

Completed: The Ebony Tee

4 Apr

Whoa, hello April! It seems like it was only last week that we were celebrating the New Year – and hiding from the cold – and now here we are firmly in the middle of spring. Blooming trees, longer days, and allergies (well, not for this native heh heh heh) everywhere! I thought I’d squeeze out one more sorta-cold-weather-mostly-transitional piece, but after this – I’m sewing for the HEAT, y’all!

Cropped Ebony Tee

The is the Ebony Tee from Closet Case Patterns. I will admit that I was not super crazy about this one when it was first released – just not really my style, and the pictures weren’t doing it for me. It wasn’t under I saw Heather’s structured version and Erin’s drapey green version (yes, I realize these two are complete opposites) that I thought, this could be for me.

I got both the pattern and fabric while I was in Leesburg, VA for my workshop at Finch Sewing Studio. The pattern came directly from Heather herself – Isabelle and I met with her and Renee one evening after class, for pizza and (lots of) drinks. The fabric is from Finch – it’s a beautiful double knit, navy with grey pinstripes on one side, and grey on the other. I chose it specifically to make this pattern – I thought the body of the fabric would look great with the style of the top.

Cropped Ebony Tee

This pattern is a fun variation on the standard tshirt. It fits nice a slim through the upper bust and shoulders, and then shoots straight out into an exaggerated trapeze below the bust. The hem is longer in the back than in the front. I think you need to be careful with fabric choice and length as not to overpower yourself (especially if you are short, like I am!), but the end result is worth it when it does work out.

I made view B, with the scoop neckline, set-in sleeves, and cropped length. I made a size 2, which is my normal size with this company (and it is true to size; I’m about 1/2″ bigger than the suggested body measurements for that size). I did add about 2″to the bottom of the shirt, as it seemed like it would be REALLY cropped based on the pattern pieces. I figured I could always cut it off if it was too long, but the added length is pretty much perfect. I might actually consider adding a tiny bit more for my next shirt, but this length is great for super high-waisted pants. I chose to make elbow-length sleeves, because I didn’t want there to be too much stripe action going on, after learning that less with my Coco dress. With the length of the sleeves and weight of the fabric, this is a good mid-season top. Perfect for the weird weather that happens here in the Spring 🙂

Everything sewed together really easily – I used a serger for the main seams, and my regular sewing machine zigzag with a ballpoint needle for the hems. There are no bands on the sleeve hems, btw – that’s just the wrong side of the fabric (they are rolled up). The only thing I don’t like is that I didn’t pull the neck banding tight enough while I was attaching it, and the neckline is not exactly no-gape. It lies flat when I’m standing, but if I lean over… you can see straight to my bellybutton. I can just wear a tank (or super cute bra!) under this and call it a day, but I will shorten the neckband for future shirts. Neckline binding is so finicky about that – what may be the correct length for one fabric might not stretch enough for something else. In this case, I think my fabric was just a bit too stretchy. Lesson learned!

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Since the shirt is so voluminous, I think it looks best with really slim, high-waisted pants. These pants are the Cecilia Pants from Elizabeth Suzann, btw. I think I’ve worn/mentioned these on my blog before, but they are like MAGIC PANTS. They seem to be universally flattering no matter who wears them. The stretch denim is super comfortable, and has a great recovery. The super high waist (up past my navel) looks awesome with a crop top, and the slim legs balance out really voluminous tops. I love these pants!

Also, I am not sure why I took so many pictures of myself for such a simple project. Oh wait, yes I do. My hair looked fucking fabulous that day haha. Can’t say the same about the quality of these photos, but, I’m trying! Really!

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

I think I’d like to make a version of this for summer, in a lighter fabric (maybe a bamboo knit) with the raglan short sleeves. Would be nice and cool when it gets super hot here!

Cropped Ebony Tee

I can’t think of anything else to say about this pattern. Short and sweet! (Well, about as short and sweet as you’ll get from my blabbermouth haha)

In other news, tell me your favorite interesting t-shirt patterns! I’m about up to my eyeballs in v-neck Renfrews; I think it’s time for something that’s a little more visual than a basic tshirt 🙂

Completed: Pink Flamingo B5526

27 Mar

Another sleeveless B5526! Betcha didn’t see that one coming :B

B5526 Flamingo

I am pretty certain I’ve shared this pattern enough times that it definitely absolutely does not warrant another blog post, but, oh well. My blog, my rules, my pink flamingo shirt haha.

Some very brief info for anyone who is just dropping in for the first time:

  • The pattern is Butterick 5526. Yes, it is my favorite shirt pattern. I’ve made it over and over and over again. It’s a great, versatile pattern that is easy to fit and easy to modify. I lurvs it.
  • I originally cut a size 6, but have made several additional modifications – including shortening the length of the body and making the sleeves full-length (that is, when I add sleeves. Ha).
  • I have only made view D, which has the princess seams. I am sure the other versions are nice, but view D is the only one I have experience with!
  • I have finished my shirts with both flat-felled and French seams. Yes, you can do both on sleeves. Totally possible. I am living proof right here.
  • In other news, I think my sewing machine could sew this thing SOLO at this point.

For those of you who have seen every version of this shirt I’ve made over the years, here’s another one for you to enjoy!

B5526 Flamingo

Isn’t this pink flamingo lawn the cutest? I bought it ages at Craft South, aka where I work a couple of days a week. It’s from the Cotton+Steel Les Fleurs Collection, one of the pieces from their Rifle Paper Co collaboration. I had actually put myself on a fabric-buying ban just that morning (thinking I had enough beautiful fabric that I needed to actually use without buying more) and then this shipment came in. What do you do when you are presented with pink flamingo lawn? YOU BUY THAT SHIT. I got 1.5 yards and I’m glad I did, because it sold out quite quickly!

I’m not generally a fan of Cotton+Steel designs – I appreciate what they do, and I think their fabrics are lovely for quilting – but even the rayons and lawns tend to look, well, quilt-ty (except that cherry print rayon I got a couple of years ago, which is equally gorgeous and ooh I can’t wait until it warms up to wear again!). I think the collaboration with Rifle Paper Co was incredibly brilliant – pretty much all the pieces sold out as soon as they hit the shops – but again, too quilt-y/floral for my tastes. But these flamingos totally appealed to me. They’re kitchsy and novelty without looking too much like I made the shirt myself.

B5526 Flamingo

B5526 Flamingo

When I buy fabric, it’s about a 50/50 even split on whether or not I have a pattern in mind. I try to always have a plan, but sometimes you end up seeing something fabulous that just needs to go home with you RIGHT THEN and you will figure out the logistics later! But for this piece, I knew it would be a great button-up shirt. I actually prefer my button-ups to be in a drapier fabric – soft chambrays and silks are tooootally my jam – but a crisp lawn is also wonderful to make and wear them with. Since I knew I would be making this shirt for summer – aka without sleeves – the 1.5 yards I bought was plenty. I actually cut the pieces within a week or so of bringing the fabric home… and then it just sat for months. ha!

I eventually finished the shirt in February (seriously, months… according to Instagram, I bought that shit back in AUGUST hahahaahaha), when we were having this weird warm spell of 70-80 degree days. I figured if it was gonna feel like summer, I might as well dress the part! Of course, it immediately went back to frigid here, but after that Freak Snow we got at the beginning of March, we are creeping back toward warmer days. Which means I’ll be prepared now!

Part of the reason why I waited so long to finish this shirt is because I was stuck on a few details. I had considered adding piping (Rosa had just been released and I was feeling mad inspired by the black piping detail), but I wasn’t sure what fabric to use to make my self-piping – silk crepe in my stash, or go buy something? How big should the piping be? Where exactly do I want to put it? What should I use to finish the arm holes? Also, I had just finished 2 other button-up shirts and was feeling really shirted-out at that point (that’s totally a thing). So I shoved it in my not-technically-a-UFO-because-I-haven’t-actually-started-it box for a few months. I am glad I waited because I am quite happy with all the design decisions I made!

B5526 Flamingo

I did end up using piping – just around the collar and outsides of both button bands. I made my own self-piping, using 1″ bias strips of silk crepe (ultimately, it was the right color/weight and what I had on hand, so I went with that. I prewashed the silk ages ago, so the shirt should launder up in the machine fine). For the cording, I found a thick cord in my stash that was made with big twists and untwisted it to get 3 narrower cords. I had originally experimented with flat piping, but it looked a hot mess so I unpicked everything and added the cord.

Sewing piping in was very easy – here’s a tutorial from Tilly that goes over it. I can’t remember the last time I sewed piping into a collar (if… ever?) but it went in flawlessly the second time (first time being flat piping… yaaaaah, don’t do that you guys haha). Piping the button bands was really easy because they are separate pieces, so you’re basically just piping a seam. I topstitched 1/8″ away from the piping with black thread, to keep it in place and also cos it looks cool. I also topstitched all my flat-felled seams with black thread as well, to keep the look cohesive.

B5526 Flamingo

B5526 Flamingo

The arm holes and hem are finished with the same 1″ bias silk crepe, to make bias facings. The black buttons are just from Craft South. I bought an extra one so I could sew it on the inside of the button band as a spare, because I am a huge nerd and am delighted by details like that.

B5526 Flamingo

B5526 Flamingo

B5526 Flamingo

I don’t think there’s much else to say about this shirt. This was a fun little project and it layers nicely under a sweater, and will look awesome with shorts in the summer.

B5526 Flamingo

In other news, I know my pictures here aren’t that great. I feel like I am experiencing growing pains with my photo situation. I can’t go outside (ok, I can, but I live in a busy apartment building and I’m not gonna. Sorry.), and the lighting is really lacking inside. I just keep moving around my apartment in search of good light. It’s hard to tell how bad it is from the camera screen, and by the time I upload the pictures, I’m like “fuck it, I’m not taking those again” soo this is what you end up with. In the meantime, I guess it gives prime Lurk opportunities in my living space. That’s my living room! The creepy bust staring at me is named Saul, if you were wondering.