Tag Archives: butterick

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.

Completed: Butterick 6019

27 Apr

Butterick 6019

DRESS IS DONE, Y’ALL.

Butterick 6019 - complete!

As much as I *truly* enjoyed all the work and care that went into the making of this dress – it sure feels good to be finished with it!

A brief overview, before we go into a major picture dump – the pattern is Butterick 6019, and I made the view with the circle skirt and the halter strap. I sewed a size 6 at the bust, grading to an 8 at the waist. I also shortened the bodice 1/2″ and raised the neckline by 5/8″.

My fabric is solid black silk Faille from Mood Fabrics, which is used for the entire outside of the dress as well as the partial self-lining of the bodice. The bust cups are padded with bra foam (from my stash), the side back pieces are shirred with black elastic thread, the bodice includes lots of fabric covered boning, and the hem has 2″ wide soft black horsehair braid to give it that lovely fullness (that’s right – no petticoat or crinoline was worn for these photos!).

This dress was made entirely on my Spiegel 60609 sewing machine! It handled all those Faille layers like a champ, and even pleasantly surprised me with how well it shirred the back panels. In case you missed them, here are the posts I wrote detailing the making of this dress: Part 1 & Part 2.

There’s not much else to discuss since I went into a lot of detail already, so have some pictures!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

So did I actually wear it to prom? You bet I did! Pretty much exactly as you see here (yeeeeah I ain’t about to spend $$ getting my hair or make-up done for some high school event lolz) – I ended up wearing simple black flats, instead of my Converse, because they seemed like a nice compromise of comfy and still a little fancy. Although my Converse would not have been out of place there – I saw lots of sneakers! Except mine are pretty dirty in comparison πŸ™‚ Speaking of high school fashions, everything is quite… sparkly these days. I definitely had THE plainest dress out of everyone there, due to my lack of beading and rhinestones. Not complaining! And it seems like long dresses – especially ones with cut outs, or two pieces that show a little midriff – are still the majority rule, at least for the school that I was at.

Here’s a picture of me + my bestie on prom night! Sorry for the grainy quality – it was dark. Hopefully we’ll have some good professional photos to share once those are developed πŸ˜€

Butterick 6019 - complete!

That’s all for now! Thanks for indulging my fancy dress dreams, y’all! And thanks to Mood Fabrics and Spiegel for letting this lil’ former homeschooler finally make it to prom! πŸ™‚

Note: The materials for this dress were provided to me from Mood Fabrics as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

In Progress: Butterick 6019 (Continued!)

20 Apr

Butterick 6019

I’m back for round two of this prom dress in-the-making extravaganza! Let’s get right to it!

After finishing the construction of the bodice, I assembled the skirt. Since I chose the option with the circle skirt, this was incredibly easy (especially compared to engineering that dang bodice!). Three pieces, three seams. I serged all the edges and pressed them open (I normally French seam my silk, but silk faille is a bit thick so it’s not really suitable for that), and also serged the edges of where the zipper will go. I don’t have a photo of all this, but, I reckon y’all know what a circle skirt looks like πŸ™‚

Butterick 6019 - progress//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

After that, I attached the bodice to the skirt and finished the raw edges (again, with my serger). Because the center back pieces include a lining, I made sure to not stitch those down (they will be slip-stitched to the zipper later).

Butterick 6019 - progress

My dress will have a lapped zipper, so I prepared the back bodice by folding back and pressing – 5/8″ on the left side, and 1/2″ on the right side. The lining pieces were already folded back and pressed 5/8″, as per the instructions.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Butterick 6019 - progress

My zipper was quite a bit too long, but it’s easy to shorten! I just use the machine – no hand-stitching required! Mark where the zipper should end, and sew back and forth over that marking a few times with a straight stitch, then cut off the remaining zipper end about 1″ below the stitching. Easy! πŸ™‚

Butterick 6019 - progress

On the right side (the side folded under 1/2″), the zipper is sewn with the teeth up against the fold, like so. At this point, I don’t worry about the top of the zipper past the pull – you can push that under the lining and deal with it when everything is getting slip-stitched down. But you do want to be sure that the teeth of the zipper are riiiiight up in that fold’s business.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Butterick 6019 - progress

This is where the humble zipper foot comes into play. Most machines come standard with this foot. On the Spiegel 60609, it looks like this. The side is notched out to let you get really close to the zipper, like so.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Side one done, now to the second side!

Butterick 6019 - progress

The left side (the side folded under 5/8″) will be placed along the zipper tape with the folded edge right on top of the stitching you just did (on the right side), thus creating a lap. I start by matching at the waistline seam, so I can be sure the seamline is uninterrupted.

Butterick 6019 - progress

When I pull the left side open, I can see where the zipper tape needs to lay along the fold to create that overlap. I find this much easier than trying to overlap and pin while the zipper is closed.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Then you just pin all the way up (to the bodice *only*, the lining should remain free). Once you get to the top, you can tuck the remaining zipper tape down and inside where the lining will cover.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Here it is pinned front the outside. One thing I highly recommend (which I didn’t take a photo of, hm) is to hand baste the zipper into place before stitching. This ensures that everything is in the right place and won’t shift when it gets under the needle (and that you’re actually catching the zipper tape!). The topstitching step of this process is not difficult, but it can be tricky to see what you are doing! Definitely take the extra couple minutes and baste that sucker into place with some long basting stitches.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Once basted, open up the zipper and topstitch from the right side, again, keeping the lining free.

Butterick 6019 - progress

When you get to the bottom, lower your needle, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric, then sew across the bottom of the zipper back and forth a couple times to secure everything.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Finally, pin the lining to the zipper tape and slip-stitch everything down.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Beautiful, right? πŸ™‚

Butterick 6019 - progress

Next step is hemming! Since this dress has a circle skirt, that means the bias needs to settle before hemming (otherwise, the hem will end up being super uneven!). I have a dressform for this purpose – both for hanging and hemming (if you don’t have a dressform, you can hang bias stuff on a hanger, but you’ll probably need a second person to help you with the actual hemming. There are also doodads you can use for solo-hem jobs, but I don’t have any experience with those). Bias garments need to hang for a minimum of 24 hours to get their stretch out. Being paranoid, I let this one chill for like 5 days lolol.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Once that’s done, you hold a yardstick (or in my case, a T Square) at the floor and measure the same point all the way around the hem.

Butterick 6019 - progress

I mark every couple includes or so with a pin. Look at how uneven my skirt was!

Butterick 6019 - progress

After trimming the skirt, I added 2″ wide black horsehair braid to the hem. Mostly, to give it some extra body – but also because it makes hemming easier, as the braid kind of acts like bias tape (as in it’s very flexible and curves along with the curve of the circle skirt). I started by sewing it to the right side of the side, using the width of the Spiegel 60609 presser foot as my seam allowance guide.

Butterick 6019 - progress

First press pushes the horsehair braid down and the seam allowances up.

Butterick 6019 - progress

Then second press folds everything to the inside nice and flat.

Butterick 6019 - progress

From there, it’s just endless slip stitching (well, not *too* endless – I think this took me about an episode and a half of Mad Men haha). You can topstitch at this step, but I feel like a fancy prom dress needs an invisible hem! It just looks so nice!

Butterick 6019 - progress

Here is some of the inside finishing – I added buttons for the strap, as well as ribbon loops for hanging (literally a piece of ribbon lopped and handstitched in). And my tags! I need a tag that says β™₯Made with My Spiegel 60609β™₯ hahaha

And some full shots on the form – these were taken before hemming or adding the hook & eye, but you get the idea πŸ˜‰

Butterick 6019 - progress

Butterick 6019 - progress

Let me know if you have any questions about any part of this process – I tried to explain as clearly as I could, but I have a cold right now so I’m pretty medicated haha. And the fact that I’m sewing with black fabric doesn’t help!

Super pumped for prom next week!! πŸ˜€ Is it bad that I want to wear my converse with this dress? I don’t think I’ve worn heels since I quit my office job 3 years ago! :B

In Progress: Butterick 6019

13 Apr

Hey guys, guess what.

I’M GOING TO PROM.

This is 100% not a joke. I am going to a literal high school prom.

Butterick 6019

Before anyone starts thinking that I’m dating someone WAY too young for me, I should probably use this opportunity to point out that my date is my BFF, who happens to be a high school English teacher and gets 2 free tickets to prom every year πŸ™‚ I will take any excuse I can get when it comes to dressing up, though – especially if it means I get to make a party dress! The bulk of my sewing used to involve a lot more frosting than cake, and while I’ve reverted to making a lot of useful basics, I still get starry-eyed when I think about ridiculous party dresses. Prom is the *perfect* excuse to get some fancy sewing out of my system!

My pattern of choice is Butterick 6019, which I have been wanting to make for ages. I’m going with view A, which includes removable halter straps and a circle skirt. The fabric is a black solid silk faille from Mood Fabrics. I ain’t gonna lie – I originally tried to buy something with actual color, red being my first choice. But it being prom season and all, Mood ended up selling out before my order was fulfilled and I had to choose a different color on the spot. Since I didn’t have time to get swatches for color comparison (and I didn’t want to end up with a bad color, considering this silk is $50/yard and non-returnable!), and the selection was super limited at that point, I ended up getting basic black. This means I probably am sewing the most practical formal dress ever. Oh well! πŸ™‚ At least I’m ready for my next black tie wedding, ha!

One more thing I want to point out about silk faille – it’s pronounced “FILE.” Not fail or foll (both of which I have tried and been laughed at for. Ok, y’all, it’s been like 10 years since I studied French and I wasn’t very good at it to begin with! Give me a break). I already made an ass out of myself, so now you don’t have to! β™₯

Butterick 6019 - In progress

This project is definitely a labor of love – there’s a lot of work (and notions!) that go into a dress like this. The bodice is lined with self fabric, and features boning, shirring, a lapped zipper, bust padding, and that beautiful bias-cut crossover piece. For the skirt, I decided to add horsehair braid to give it some extra body and really make it flare out. Whenever I start a project that includes a lot of notions, I like to corral them into one place so they are easy to find. In the past, it’s been Ziploc bags – which are super useful, but not really that pretty! I recently received this sewing notions pouch from Tailor Made Shop and it’s perfect for this use! The pouch is roomy enough to hold everything I need (it even fits a pair of 8″ Gingher scissors – not really necessary for this particular use, but GREAT for when I’m teaching and I need to take some tools with me!) and it zips securely so nothing spills out. And it’s way prettier than a Ziploc bag πŸ™‚

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I don’t want to freak anyone out here – but I actually TRACED my pattern pieces for this project. lolwut right!? I had a hard time determining my size (even with the finished measurements and cup sizing – the sizing on this pattern just doesn’t make sense to me at all), and so I needed to keep the sizes intact in case I cut the wrong one. Fortunately, the bodice of this pattern involves a lot of small pieces, so it wasn’t a huge time suck. I ended up going with a size 6 A/B cup at the bust (FWIW, I wear a D/DD bra so yeah, um, the cup sizing is a bit skewed here!) and graded out to an 8 at the waist. Since the skirt is just a giant circle, I didn’t trace those pieces.

I made a muslin of the bodice – shirring included, but no boning. The shirring is extremely necessary if you’re muslining this dress, as it drastically affects the fit. The sizes I traced and cut ended up being perfect, albeit the top of the dress itself is quite low (which I had read about in reviews, so no surprise there!). The pattern changes I made were to add 5/8″ to the top of the bodice all the way around, and then shorten every piece by 1/2″ at the lengthen/shorten line so the skirt seam would hit my waist. I also traced the cup pieces a second time and removed the seam allowances all the way around. These pieces ended up making the bust padding, which is constructed the same way a foam cup bra is made (with the pieces butted up together and zigzagged across the seam). Rather than cut my pieces and then remove the seam allowance – which is wasteful as hell, sorry – I did this instead. Look at the difference in their size!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

The pattern has a lot of markings for placement – boning placement, the bias strip, and just basic construction seam allowances. Since I didn’t want to risk a permanent stain on my dress, I marked the wrong side and then thread traced the markings with silk thread. The silk thread allows the markings to be seen from both sides, and can easily be removed. I used a different color for the type of markings – tan for the strip, white for boning, red for construction. This was MASSIVELY helpful when putting together the puzzle that is this dress.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

To keep the cups curved against my body and to prevent them from stretching out, I added twill tape to the seam allowance. This isn’t instructed in the pattern, but it’s good practice for anything that runs the risk of gaping (such as bustier tops like this, or woven wrap dresses). You basically just cut 1/4″ twill tape the length of the neckline minus 1/4″, then place it inside the seam allowance, up against the seam line. Since the tape is shorter than the neckline, the neckline gets eased into the length of the tape. The easing means the neckline curves with your body, and the twill tape provides some stability to an area that would otherwise stretch out over time.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Assembling the bodice is pretty easy and straightforward. I trimmed down, clipped, and graded my seam allowances pretty aggressively to prevent a bunch of bulk (silk faille is quite stiff), and pressed the life out of everything. #1 reason why I went with silk faille instead of cheaper polyester faille – it’s just easier to work with. I really shudder at the thought of trying to make this dress with something that doesn’t press well.

And now it’s time to shirr! I STRONGLY recommend testing this out on a scrap of your fabric first, as you might need to tweak your machine settings a bit.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

For shirring, you need elastic thread. Be *very* aware of the yardage amounts that your spool contains, by the way – I didn’t realize this brand only has like 11 yards, which is not enough for this project and I unfortunately ran out and had to stop and buy more (also, black elastic thread is harder to find than white, ugh). I used 2 spools, even though the pattern has you only buy one. Just FYI! Anyway, the elastic thread goes in the bobbin, and it is wound by hand with only a slight tension in the thread. The upper thread is your basic all purpose polyester.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Set your machine with a longer stitch length. For the Spiegel 60609, I used a 4.0 length.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

At this point, you’ll want to test the stitches and make sure the tension is good. If it’s not, you can adjust the tension in the bobbin (the little screws you see here). The needle tension (the numbered dial at the top of the machine) can also be used. If you mess with the bobbin tension, its a good idea to mark the location of the screws before you start twisting them around – just use a really fine point marker and draw directly on the bobbin. Otherwise, you might have trouble getting the tension balanced again when you’re done shirring – and you’ll need to take the machine in for a service to set things back to default (and this question has come up a few times – you can get a Spiegel machine serviced at pretty much any sewing machine dealer, regardless of the brand that they sell. *Most* dealers will service all machine brands, even if they sell something different). My Spiegel 60609 did not require any tension adjustments for shirring, so yay!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

To shirr, you’ll sew long lines of parallel stitching 1/4″ apart. Some people draw guidelines for this, but I just use the edge of my presser foot as a guide. The foot on the Spiegel 60609 is the perfect width for this. Start your first line of stitching a little outside of the seam allowance, and continue sewing parallel lines until the whole piece is covered. Leave long thread tails at the beginning and end of each line, otherwise your shirring will come undone.

Here are what my shirred pieces look like after stitching. Also, I know my nail color keeps changing. I told you, I had to go out and buy more elastic thread! Sewing came to a stall for a few days! blech!

Butterick 6019 - In progress
Right side

Butterick 6019 - In progress
Wrong side

After you’ve finishing sewing all those lines, you’ll have a really hairy looking piece of fabric that still doesn’t stretch. The real magic happens with you steam the crap out of it, which shrinks up the elastic thread and makes the whole piece really stretchy and awesome. It’s fun to watch it shrink up! However, I recommend skipping this step for now and waiting until the bodice is constructed first. It is a lot easier to sew those pieces when they are flat and non-stretchy. You’ll see the shirred pieces in all their glory at the end of this post πŸ™‚

Ok, back to the bodice construction!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the bust cups are slightly padded (to give that area some structure and also for modesty reasons, if you’re wearing this dress without a bra). The pattern calls for cotton batting, which I did not have on hand. Instead, I used foam padding that is used for bras. The pieces have the seam allowances removed, and then the edges are butted up next to each other and sewn across the split with a zigzag stitch.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Then the little padded cups are nested in the cups of the bodice lining, and sewn in. The pattern has you catchstitch this part, but I don’t particularly care if you see stitching inside my lining so I zigzagged those pieces in. YOLO, y’all.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I used plastic sew-in boning for this dress – the kind that comes pre-covered (purchased at Mood Fabrics, if you’re curious!). Spiral steel boning is nice, but a pain to work with (it has to be cut *exactly* to size and capped, and no). This stuff is much easier to use. I straightened out the pieces by blasting them with steam while they were still in their fabric casing (you can also dunk them in hot water to relax the plastic), and then removed the boning and sewed the empty casing to the bodice lining. Like I said, the boning can be sewn through – but it’s easier to get a consistent straight line if the casing is completely flat. After the casing is sewn down, you can just slide the boning in. I trimmed off the sharp corners at the top of the boning so it won’t tear through my dress fabric, and left the ends long (those will be trimmed when I attach the skirt).

Here is the bodice lining once assembled:

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I added a couple extra pieces of boning for additional support – the center front was especially necessary to keep things smooth. Looking good so far!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Finally, time to attach those shirred pieces and cut off the thread tails! The pattern has you tie off each individual line of shirring… I don’t know about y’all, but pretty sure ain’t nobody got time for that. Instead, I shortened my stitch length and sewed two lines of stitching when attaching the shirred panels to the rest of the bodice. Once those were secure, I gave all those thread tails a haircut and then steamed the elastic.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

It shrunk up quite nicely!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Here is the finished bodice flat.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

And here it is on my dressform! πŸ™‚

WHEW that was a lot of post! Next week, I’ll go over the rest of the construction. Can’t wait for prom! Yay for fancy dress making! πŸ˜€

Completed: Another B5526 + Ginger Jeans Get-up

18 May

So sorry to dump this on y’all yet again – another collared shirt + jeans outfit combination. Yawn.

Gingers & B5526

Well, to backtrack – yawn for you, but πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ for me hahahaha. I will never get tired of this outfit combination. Or, at least, not anytime soon. Maybe never is too strong of a word to use here.

Gingers & B5526

What’s mildly frustrating about writing a long-term blog (at the time of this posting, I’ve accumulated nearly 500 entries since I started waaaay back in 2009, WTF) is that you eventually reach a point when you’re just making the same thing over and over again (well… those of us who don’t make our blog our full-time income fall in this category. I’m sure if I was sponsored out the wazzoo and had all the time I spend at work to spend making content for my blog, it would be a different story, ha.). After re-assessing my wardrobe at the end of 2014 and realizing that I *still* had shitloads of clothing that I made simply for the new and shiny, I have made it a big point to really be honest with myself about whether or not I’ll actually wear something that I make. Like most people, I have a pretty predictable style. And like many sewers, I don’t want to spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel with new patterns if I can get the look I’m going for with an old TNT. So this translates to repeats upon repeats upon repeats.

So, while you might be yawning about the majority of the stuff that’s been posted in 2015… I gotta say, I am elated with the way my closet is looking these days!

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

With all that being said, there’s not much to report on either of these pieces since I’ve made them soooo many damn times. Jeans + collared shirt is totally my go-to when I want to feel comfortable but still look like I made an effort in the AM. I’ve found my TNT patterns and I feel good about the way they fit and the construction methods that I use.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

The top was made using my beloved Butterick 5526. Y’all, I don’t know if I’ll ever sew another button up pattern again! (we all know that’s a lie) I’ve gotten to the point with this one where I can bang one out in a couple of days, which is really nice when you’re coming up on a looming Mood Sewing Network deadline, ha. The fabric is this amazing tigerlily orange cotton voile from Theory, which is a bit more of a coral-y pink than it is orange in real life (I don’t know how the color translates on your screen, but on the Mood Fabrics website it’s definitely pretty muted. The real color is much closer to what you see in my photos. It’s BEAUTIFUL). It has a beautiful chambray weave, which gives the color lots of dimension. This fabric was so so nice to work with – ok, it was a shifty bitch to cut, but once I got past this point, it handled and pressed like a boss. It’s also super comfortable to wear on even the hottest day.

Since the fabric does have a tendency to fray, I used flat-felled seams every where in my shirt. I also left off the sleeves and finished the armhole with self bias binding – it makes the shirt really casual and, again, awesome for hot weather. The pockets are the same pockets that come with the pattern, but I made them slightly smaller because the original size was a little overwhelming on me. Buttons are from my stash; they’re just your standard white shirt buttons. Oh! And the matching thread also came from Mood Fabrics – I noticed that when I was ordering my fabric, there were thread suggestions at the bottom of the page. I figured I’d try out the service – you know, for science – and I’m super pleased with the color match. Even more pleased that I was saved a trip to the fabric store. Mostly because those tend to be very dangerous places for my wallet, ha.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

The good thing about running a long-term blog and making a bunch of pattern repeats is that you will eventually bore of just making things that are passable to wear in public, and start focusing on really honing your skills to the next level. Or, at least, that’s how it worked out for me. Look at those clean finished insides! I should wear this shit wrong-side out.

Gingers & B5526

I did shorten the length of the shirt by about 2″ – I think the original length was just sliiiightly too long for my height. This way I can wear it untucked or tied at the waist. If I do a half tuck, it doesn’t pooch out all weird like some of my longer shirts tend to do. As always, I finish my shirt hems with self bias facing. I think it makes for a much cleaner finish, and it’s must easier to press and sew those curves with the bias tape instead of trying to wrangle the hem itself.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

For my jeans, I used my now-favorite-ever-pants-pattern, the Ginger Jeans. I’ve made this a few times before (and I definitely don’t plan on stopping – I finally was able to invest in one of the denim kits because YAY) and I’m just really happy with the way this pattern fits my body. The fabric is a cool metallic gold stretch denim. I was actually looking for white denim to make this up, despite me being a stain magnet when it comes to white. At any rate, this denim’s wrong side actually is white flecked with very subtle bits of gold, and these very well almost became white jeans. I talked myself out of it because I was afraid the not-quite-pure-white would make the jeans look like they were dirty, plus again, stain magnet. So I stuck with the gold side. Also, this denim doesn’t have as much stretch as my other denims, so the jeans are a bit tight. I had to let the side seams out to 3/8″ or else I would have never gotten these things over my ass. They’re still a bit tight – mostly around the calves – but I’m hoping that they will loosen up a little with wear.

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

Gingers & B5526

Not much to report on construction. I used a combination of flat-felled and serged seams (as how most RTW jeans are made) and a triple stitch to really make the topstitching stand out. I would have loved to use topstitching thread, but I couldn’t find a good match with what is admittedly kind of a weird denim color. It’s gold, but it’s also kind of beige. Fortunately, Mood Fabrics REALLY came through with that thread match, as you can see in these close-ups.

What else? I did not interface the waistband (I like my jeans with an uninterfaced waistband; it’s much more comfortable. Not sure how that would work with a lower rise, but for the high rise version, it’s perfect). The jeans button is from Pacific Trimming, and the cotton pocket lining is left over from this crazy blue dress.

I will admit right now that this outfit inspiration came way of my boss’ closet. Since I do all her laundry for her (if you are new to this blog and that sounds REALLY WEIRD, I should probably point out that I’m a personal assistant πŸ™‚ ha!), I’m always lurking on her clothes and I’m always finding inspiration in some of the strangest ways. She has a similar coral chambray shirt – hers has sleeves and a lace inset at the yoke, though – and white jeans. And I wanted that outfit for me. So I made it πŸ˜›

Gingers & B5526

So, hey, in other news that doesn’t involve me making my fifty billionth b5526 – I’ve got an article out in the current issue of Seamwork Magazine! If you haven’t heard of Seamwork, it’s a sewing magazine that is published online by the masterminds behind Colette Patterns. The magazine is free to read and there are optional pattern downloads with each issue (the patterns you pay for, however). ANYWAY, my article is all about visiting Nashville! I had so much fun writing a city guide about my favorite city in the entire world, and I hope you have fun reading it (and are inspired to come visit because, hey, Nashville is awesome! Really really awesome!). You can read The Seamworker’s Guide to Visiting Nashville at Seamwork. My first published article! Yay!

Completed: Floral Butterick 5526

4 Feb

What’s that, you say? This is Butterick 5526 overkill?

deal with it
noragrets

~I DO WHAT I WANT~

B5526 Floral

In all seriousness, though, I did have a small internal debate about posting yet another shirt of the pattern I’ve talked about to death, but ultimately – I mainly use this blog as a sort of digital diary of my projects (truth: the entire purpose behind my tagging system & the Lurk My Closet pages are specifically so I can quickly find old projects without having to spend a lot of time searching haha), and I think this particular shirt has earned a spot in the archives. I’m really pleased with the resulting fit and finish, and I feel really good about the particular fabric I used (print aside – although, I gotta say, it’s pretty gorgeous!).

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

Unfortunately, that means I have less to talk about as I think I’ve pretty much milked this shit for all it’s worth. Fortunately, I feel really really confident in my shirtmaking skillz. I’ve pretty much got my construction down to a science, I know what fabrics are best suited for this style + the way I like it to look, and, dammit, I just really really love shirtmaking. So precise! So clean! So wearable every day basics!

B5526 Floral

As I mentioned, this is Butterick 5526, sewn up in a beautiful cotton shirting that I bought on Goldhawk Road in London. A lot of people have pointed out that the print resembles a Liberty print – and, while I agree, I also am pretttty sure it’s not the real deal. For one, I don’t remember exactly how much I paid for it, but I know it was less than the Β£25 they charge per meter at the Liberty store. Also, the selvedge is blank, if not missing entirely. That being said, it’s a very fine, soft shirting cotton – so maybe it fell off the truck? Maybe it’s an end bolt? An ~inspired~ knock-off? I dunno.

At any rate, it’s gorgeous. I just love the colors – the florals are a little less girly here, a little more of that 60s groovy that I’m really drawn to lately. The fabric itself is soft and has just enough drape to really make the shirt hang nicely. I’ve learned that I don’t care for true cotton shirtings in this pattern – when they’re stiff, I don’t think they look right on me. Give me something softer with a little bit of drape, like a cotton voile!

B5526 Floral

I don’t have any ~special tips~ for working with this fabric. Same as it ever was – just use a new needle, take your time with cutting and sewing, enjoy the ride, etc etc.

B5526 Floral

Oh, I think I nailed down a good sleeve length! Butterick 5526 in polka dot chambray (that’s my favorite one and I wear it ALL THE TIME. I have to hide it from myself so I don’t have too much of a good thing, ha) started out with sleeves too long, and I debated shortening them – but after a conversation with Landon, he brilliantly pointed out that they might shrink up a little after a couple of washes (even with prewashing, this can happen – which is always something I consider with pants, but never shirts. Which is why all my flannels have sleeves that are too short now haha). So I decided to leave the sleeves long and wait – and I’m so glad I did, because that’s exactly what happened. They shrank and are the perfect length now. So for this shirt, I used the same sleeve length and I think it’ll shrink up just right. The placket fits and it’s the right length (unlike my silk georgette B5526, wah), which is pretty prime if you ask me.

B5526 Floral

The only change I made to this version was to remove a few inches of length. I’ve always felt that my collared shirts were a little too long, at least when worn over my higher-waisted pants (and no matter what I do, they look weird tucked in. Half tuck, full tuck, no tuck, doesn’t matter. I get this weird tuck gut and, ugh), so I copied the length from my Liberty button up and transferred it to this pattern. I am MUCH happier with the length now; I think it works better with my proportions.

B5526 Floral

The shirt is constructed entirely with flat-felled seams. Here is a flat-felled boob for your perusal.

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

I also added sleeve tabs, so I could roll up the sleeves when the weather decides to warm up. Didn’t want to choose between long or short sleeves, so I chose both! Also, bonus background cat. I think she was screaming for me to feed her at that point (I’m sure you can tell just by looking at my portly feline that she is indeed not starving, but she would lead you to believe otherwise).

B5526 Floral

Here it is with the sleeves rolled up. I love these tabs because I think the rolled up sleeves look neater when buttoned into place. Of course, that means there is a visible button and some stitching on the outside of the sleeve, but I can deal with that. I was curious as to whether I’d find the tab annoying when it’s not being used (aka rubbing against my arm on the inside of my sleeve), but I have some pajamas that use the same concept and they don’t bother me at all.

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

B5526 Floral

Did you notice the buttons? Here’s a close-up:

B5526 Floral

Haha! I always save the buttons from Landon’s shirts when they are getting thrown away (we are talking super worn out to the point of not being worthy of donated), since I tend to be pretty conservative with my button choices and, hey, free buttons. I almost didn’t want to go with these because I’m not crazy about the branding on them, but, whatever. They match the print really well. Can’t argue with that. And I do love American Eagle – or, at least I did when I was a teen (yes, this is the same teen/same time when I was wearing black vinyl pants. What can I say, I like their take on the classics haha), I haven’t been in there recently enough to form an judgement opinion.

B5526 Floral

That’s all I got! Kind of a boring post, but quite a useful garment. I am really enjoying making the same pattern over and over – no need to reinvent the wheel with my fitting, and it’s kind of fun to see the obvious improvements with each make. I’ve had a few people ask me if I have plants to make the new Sewaholic Granville Shirt, and while the pattern looks beautiful, I think I’m just going to stick with what I know I already love and has been fitted to my liking. Again, not trying to reinvent the wheel here! Although, I’ve been watching the shirtmaking posts with great interest. There’s always so much to learn, I love it!

As a side note – those are my Ginger jeans I’m wearing in these photos. I’ve been wearing them off and on for about 2 weeks, and they’ve held up their shape really nicely. I’m actually pretty surprised – most of my handmade pants need to be washed after about 2 wears because they stretch out all crazy and don’t recover until they hit the dryer. The denim I used for these jeans is nowhere near the quality of my I+W jeans, but I don’t have any complaints (except for that I didn’t consider shrinkage when drying, and now they are a tiny bit short. On the flip side – this might be the first time pants have ever had too short of an inseam on me, which is sort of exciting it’s in own way). Now if only I had more… Heather, will you pls go denim shopping with me again? Thnx.

Completed: Polka Dot Chambray Butterick 5526

21 Oct

HAHAHAHAHA I bet you guys are sooo sick of seeing me in renditions of this pattern, huh? πŸ™‚

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

SUP Butterick 5526. My heart, my soul, my official tried’n’true button down pattern. I don’t know how many times it has to be before it’s considered “the charm,” but I’m pretty sure this is legit the nicest button down I have ever made. I am so pleased with myself right now!

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Since I’ve made this pattern, um, a lot (see: 1 2 3)(ok that’s not a lot, but it sure feels like a lot!), I’m pretty well-versed in the fitting and construction of this dude. It’s practically an autopilot pattern for me – apart from selecting the fabric & buttons, I don’t really have to think much while I’m putting this together. It’s like my hands have repeated the process so much, they don’t need any instruction from my brain at this point.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

So, I’m sorry if you’re bored with looking at this pattern. Deal with it.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Seriously, though, I did have to figure out those damn sleeves, because all my previous versions have some awkward lengthage going on. My last attempt at making them full-length ended up with them being some weird purgatory of not-quite-long-but-not-quite-short – like the highwaters of shirt sleeves (do we still make fun of highwaters, or is that the cool thing to wear now? I just looked down and realized the jeans I am wearing are cuffed to the length of highwaters, SHIT!!). Since I actually want to wear this top underneath sweaters – and hence why I made a second chambray button down when the first one is actually quite wonderful (spoiler: dem sleeves, tho) – I needed to figure that shit out once and for all. And, look ma! They’re the right length! Finally!

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Although, now I can’t decide if they are… too long? They look bunched up when my arms are hanging. However, when I reach my arms out – they are exactly the right length (as in, any shorter, and they would ride up to be too short and expose too much wrist). Thoughts? This is why I always roll up my sleeves (and jeans, for that matter) – I can’t find a happy hem length! Anyway, what is the point of making all your clothes if you can’t even hem them correctly?

Also, I think the sleeves might be a bit loose? Or do they look ok? Thoughts on that?

Dammit, this totally isn’t a TNT pattern, is it? πŸ˜›

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Anyway, whatever, let’s talk about the victories! Check out that sexy sexy sleeve placket. I used the placket for the Negroni (which, honestly, that pattern piece + instructions are alone worth the price of the pattern) instead of what was included with 5526. Lurrrrve it.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

I also sucked it up big time and flat-felled every single seam on this shirt – the princess seams, the side seams, the arm holes (thanks to Negroni for those sweet instructions – see? Negroni, you rule!) – everything! What you see here is a beautiful and clean-finished top that doesn’t have ANY serging on the inside. Just miles and miles of flat-felled seams and gorgeous topstitching. Ugh, so good.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Don’t you love the fabric? I picked this up at one of our local fabric stores, Textile Fabrics. They were having a 40% off sale, so I treated myself to this and some soft fleecy knit. I was originally going to use this to make the Bruyere, until I realized I didn’t want to look exactly like the pattern cover (which is beautiful, don’t get me wrong!). I’m more of a plaid flannel kinda gal, for which I’m still stubbornly holding out for the perfect one to reveal itself to me. Textile Fabrics, unfortunately, couldn’t deliver on that front – but they did have polka dot chambray, so that’s ok enough in my book. Speaking of which, I think this is Robert Kaufman fabric. Don’t quote me on that, though!

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Anyway, it’s a very lovely fabric – and it was soo nice to work with! Very soft and smooth, easy to cut and sew, SUPER easy to press (which is important with this style of shirt). The topstitching just sinks right in.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Again – placket! Sorry the cuff looks uneven. I promise it’s not. Buttons are these dress shirt buttons from Fashion Sewing Supply – part of my neverending stash.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

I’m just including this because it looks so damn good – topstitched intersecting flat-felled seams (arm hole & princess seam). Also, if you were wondering – flat-felling princess seams really is not any more difficult than flat-felling straight seams. I don’t know why I put it off like it’s impossible to do. It’s not. It’s definitely more time consuming than just serging your raw edges, but the end result looks SO nice.

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

Finally – can we talk about how good this hem looks? Y’all, shirt hems have always been the bane of my sewing existence. I could never figure out how to get them to be straight and even with that giant curve. They ALWAYS look like shit. Not anymore, though! This time, I was inspired by Rochelle and tried using bias facing at the hem. I made self-bias strips with my fabric, and then applied it the same way I bias face sleeves & necklines (I did this before attaching the placket, as per the instructions). Since I used self-fabric for the bias, the end result looks like a simply turned up and stitched – except I didn’t, and this was SO MUCH EASIER. Plus, it give a nice bit of weight to the hem, which I like. Consider me a convert! Bias facing FTW!

Polka Dot Chambray Button down

So yay! I’ll consider this shirt a success – even if the sleeves are a little iffy. At any rate, I’m serious when I say it’s the best-made shirt I’ve ever constructed (if you see me in the wild and compliment it, there’s a good chance I’ll rip it off my body so I can show off the insides. TRUTH.). Little things like this make me happy! I think that’s the best part about sewing with a pattern you know and love – instead of focusing on new instructions and fit, you can zero all your attention on improving your technique.

Oh, and if you were wondering – that’s my Tie-less Miette I’m wearing in the photos. The shoes (because everyone always asks) are from the clearance rack at Nine West and no, I did not buy them to match this outfit. Ha! πŸ˜›

Two more things!

1. My lovely sponsor (and OG to the LLADYBIRD Sponsor Game), Sweet Little Chickadee, is closing up shop for the time being 😦 We will miss her (I will miss her! Where do I buy my patterns from now?! I got candy with those orders hahaha), but on the flip side – this means closeout saaaaale! πŸ˜€ From now till whenever the shop runs out, use the code SHOPCLOSING to get 25% off your entire purchase. Apparently there are also some sweet flat-rate shipping options at checkout, so you may save there, too! Please keep in mind that you are buying from a one-woman shop who is running a sweet freaking sale, so please be patient if your order takes a couple days to ship out. Not a bad payoff for 25% off, though, yeah? Now go forth and help Juli clear out that inventory!

2. Affiliate links. I wrote this blurb out in my last post, but realized after the fact that not everyone reads sewalong posts (I’m guilty of this too – those posts can be boring if you’re not following along). I definitely want y’all to be aware of my use of affiliate links, because I think it’s important, so I’m copying this verbatim into this post. Sorry if you’re reading this twiceΒ  πŸ™‚
Side note/disclaimer: Ok, so I decided to start occasionally using affiliate links on this blog. Sorry if you hate me! πŸ™‚ I am currently only affiliated with Amazon, and I promise I will only be linking things that I personally use and recommend – such as those scissors & that clapper. Y’all will never ever ever see me link something just for the sake of linking it – that’s just crappy. However, please keep in mind that any purchases you make through these links will net a small kickback to me, which I will likely spend immediately on yarn & fabric (and thus pour back into this blog, in the form of content for y’all to read!). Also, no sneaky linkies – I will always describe the item I’m linking so you don’t have to click to see them, if affiliate links squick you out πŸ™‚ I won’t be posting this disclaimer at the end of all my posts, as it seems a little redundant, but you can always view it in my About Me page. That’s all! Thanks for supporting my blog, dudes! β™₯

Ok, that’s it! Have a lovely Tuesday, guys!

Completed: Butterick 4066

5 Sep

Ummmm so this may or may not be the third garment I’ve posted this week that is made of rayon challis.

Butterick 4066

No shame.

Butterick 4066

These pictures are also horrifyingly bad and blown out, but… meh. We all know y’all don’t come here for the ~dazzling photography. Again: No shame.

Butterick 4066

I picked up this copy of Butterick 4066 while I was last at the flea market in July. The cover art is a little outdated (and not in a cool vintage way, but rather, I feel like I can probably smell my Mamaw’s house if I lean in too close. Wait, just kidding, my Mamaw’s house smells great. That shit probably smells like someone else’s Mamaw’s house, maybe), but the line drawings looked promising enough – almost like the Kelly skirt and Hollyburn skirt had a secret affair that ended up with a little love child.

Butterick 4066

It’s hard to see, thanks to my terrible photos, but the skirt has pockets, a smooth A-line shape with no darts or tucks, and buttons down the front. I used this shameless 90s black floral rayon challis from Fashion Fabrics Club, as I knew the shape would look great with a drapey fabric (just like my Crazy Paisley Hollburn).

Butterick 4066

My skirt pattern was just a smidge too big (not the fault of the pattern itself – my copy is a size too big, since we don’t normally get to be choosy when it comes to buying vintage patterns!), but that was easily fixed by taking in the side seams before attaching the waistband. The big challenge was cutting off length – a LOT of length. Even after I’d shortened the shortest version of the pattern tissue by a good 6″, I had to go back after making the skirt and hack off another 4″! Shortening the length did wonders for the overall look of the finished skirt – before, it was pretty dowdy and outdated looking (mostly due to fabric choice, I mean – we are talking about the 90s here), but I think it looks pretty cute now! Shorter skirts FTW!

Butterick 4066
Butterick 4066

I finished the seams with my serger and used these pretty black and gold buttons that I had lurking in my stash.

Butterick 4066

I love how the finished skirt turned out – and I think it’ll transition really nicely for our “fall”**, since it’s so cool and lightweight, but still has those nice dark fall/winter colors. That being said, it’ll look great with tights and a sweater, too πŸ™‚ (maybe with a silk slip, though! It’s not very warm!) I’m interested to try pairing this print with black and white stripes – I can imagine it in my head, but until I start sewing up the striped knits I got while I was in Mood last month, your guess is as good as mine.

** Tennessee Fall: Beyond gorgeously colorful (visiting Tennessee in the fall should be on every single one of y’alls bucket lists), but still blazing hot and, yes, we absolutely make fun of those dumbasses who insist on wearing wool caps and jeans tucked into tall boots while marinating in giant pools of sweat. I mean, COME ON LADY, it’s 90* outside FFS! You aren’t fooling anyone!

One last thing – Giveaway Winner! Lucky number is…

winner1

winner2

Congratulations, Sue Martin! I love your method of sneaky inspiration by way of shop dressing rooms – something I’m too chicken to do myself (I got major stink-eye once while manhandling a rack of dresses in Buckle and I’m kind of traumatized now haha). As far as adding hours in the day – well, let me know when you figure it out! πŸ™‚ haha!

Thanks to everyone to entered the giveaway – and thanks to Laurence King for providing us with a copy to giveaway! Friends, if you’d like to buy your own copy of Casual Sweet Clothes, use the code LLADYBIRD35 to get 35% off! The code is good through 10/1/14 πŸ™‚

NYC Part 2: Touring the McCall Pattern Company

25 Aug

Ok, y’all, time for part 2 of my NYC journey – touring the offices of the McCall Pattern Company! Whoop whoop!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

Before I get too far into this post, there are a couple of things I’d like to address, as I’ve had some emails and comments about this:
– The McCall Pattern Company did NOT fly me into NY to visit their offices. Umm… I wish? I paid for my plane ticket all by myself, sorry!
– I did not come to NY specifically to visit The McCall Pattern Company – I was here to teach a workshop at Workroom Social. As soon as I announced my impending visit, I was emailed by Meg from McCall’s and offered an invite to tour the offices while I was there.
– Meg is the new Social Media Pro at McCall’s. If you’ve talked to anyone from McCall via Twitter, Instagram, their blog, etc – you were likely talking to Meg. I personally have known Meg for a couple of years now – well before she went into working for McCall’s – which is why she reached out to me to visit while I was in the city. Much to some the butthurt anonymous commentary on my blog, McCall doesn’t have a grand scheme of shutting me down (I mean, let’s be real you guys – I’m not hurting their sales when I post commentaries. There are a WHOLE lot of other sewists out there who don’t read my blog/don’t read blogs/don’t care about my opinion on Koos Van Den Akker. They still buy the patterns – some of the traffic coming directly from my blog. So there’s that.). They simply wanted to reach out and let me see the company, so, (in their own words) that when I’m talking my shit, at least I’m getting the facts straight πŸ˜‰
– I’m sure there are people who are thinking about what a sellout I am right now. That’s totally fine. You do you! I got over that whole ~sooo underground anti-coporation~ shit when I was like 17. DGAF.

With all that being said – OMG! Longtime dream – accomplished! I’ve ALWAYS wanted to lurk around the offices of this pattern company (as much as I poke fun at them, it doesn’t excuse the fact that we are still talking about dream job territory here. Nevermind that I’m not a patternmaker in any sense of the imagination, nor do I plan to become one), so this was an absolute treat for me! Full disclosure – I went into the offices with every intention of taking lots of photos (hence my phone in my hand in, well, every picture haha. Wish that dress had some pockets!), but since I never end up doing what I planned, all the photos you see in this post were taking by Meg. Thanks, Meg!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

I got the grand tour, you guys – I saw every department, met sooo many people (except the CEO, who was unfortunately in a meeting when I arrived. Oh well! Next time!), and a few of them even knew who I was! So crazy!

One of the biggest things I learned was just how freakin’ small this company is! Sure, they had a hell of a lot more employees than any of the indie designers we know and love – but it’s not like there are thousands of them, scattered across the world in giant corporate offices, with a big fat CEO smoking a cigar in his silk bed jacket and laughing all the way to the bank (I mean, I know I just said I never actually met the CEO but I’m just gonna ASSUME here, you guys). Everything is done in-house in NYC – they produce the patterns for McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue, Kwik Sew, and even do Vogue Pattern Magazine. Each individual department is very small – some only having a couple of employees at most. It’s also one of those companies where everyone is basically family, which I just think is really nice and feels good to be around. Everyone was extremely friendly and clearly very happy to be there.

There are a LOT of rooms and departments – the fabric library (where they keep zillions of swatches, plus buttons and trims and notions and, oh god, it was heaven in there), drafting, dressmaking, customer service, in-house photography (complete with racks of clothing and even more racks of shoes aieeee), etc etc. All in all, I think I was there for about 3 hours – flitting around, chatting everyone up, getting all grabby hands on the various fabrics (and apologizing every few minutes. Forreal, my mom hates shopping with me because I’m incapable of not touching things. This is why I hate museums and love flea markets, haha).

McCall Pattern Company Tour
McCall Pattern Company Tour
Checking out the fabric room and perusing the samples was one of my favorite parts. Sooo much eye-candy!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

This look of wide-eyed wonderment was pretty much plastered to my face the entire time I was in there, ha!

Another highlight of my tour was getting to finally meet the famed Vogue Pattern Designer, Carlos Correa (I didn’t get a photo with him, but you can see him chatting about some of the designer pieces in this McCall blog post). The very first thing he said to me was, “I LOVE YOUR BLOG!” hahahahaa!! Apparently, he reads it and loves the pattern round-ups (and I reckon he’s reading it right now, so HI CARLOS!). I spent a long time in his office, talking about the pattern and their styling vs how they look in real life, and saw some of the new designs for next season as well. I can’t say much about those, but what I can say is I kept going, “Oooh! I want one of those!” haha!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

I also stopped in the Vogue Pattern Magazine offices, to chat with the Editor and LURK THOSE DESIGNER DRESSES.

Did you know that the outfits on the Vogue American Designer pattern envelopes are actual designer garments? That was news to me! Take Vogue 1409, the Saber-Toothed Tiger dress, for instance. This dress literally came from the Donna Karan Collection – and McCall’s based the pattern off it, then used the actual dress in the photoshoot. It wasn’t sewn by them, nor did they choose the fabric (since it’s from Donna Karan). If you look inside, you’ll see all the tags – including the original price tag. This is much better explained on the McCall Pattern Blog, but that’s the general gist.

McCall Pattern Company Tour

With that being said, the next order of business was to try on the $10,000 Ralph Rucci coat.

Me: If it fits, that means I get to keep it, right?
Everyone else: lolololololol

Damn, that thing was a work of ART! I know I hated on the arm holes at one point (that’s such a random thing to hate on, ha), but seeing it in person absolutely made me change my mind (and I still think it looks weird on the envelope photo, maybe it’s just the way the model is standing?). The inside is amazing – all bound seams and even some hand stitches! Apparently there’s a whole Pinterest board for lurking the inside of the designer garments, so we can all drool from far away.

After that, it was obviously time to play dress-up. Because, duh.

McCall Pattern Company Tour
McCall Pattern Company Tour

In another Ralph Rucci original (pattern is Vogue 1404), featuring the wind machine πŸ˜‰ Also, those shoes are like 4 sizes too big.

McCall Pattern Company Tour
McCall Pattern Company Tour

Obviously I had to try on the Guy Laroche purple nightmare (that is actually silk chaurmeuse) (pattern is Vogue 1416. The sleeves were cracking me up to no end.

McCall Pattern Company Tour

Hahaha!
(side note: holy shit I need to touch up my hair color)

McCall Pattern Company Tour

Ughhh WANT THIS COAT (pattern is Vogue 1419)

I had an amazing time visiting the offices and meeting all the wonderful people who work so hard to produce all these patterns (whether you personally love them or not, I think we can all agree that the sheer amount of patterns they put out every year is quite impressive!). I did bring up some personal beefs – the excessive ease, the styling situation – as I feel like these are areas that do need some improvement. My opinions were definitely heard, and some things were already in the process of being addressed before I even brought them up, thanks to customer feedback. The McCall Pattern Company is absolutely interested in what the consumer has to say, and they’re making a huge effort to reach out to the online sewing community and bridge that gap. I know it’s really easy to hate on the ~big guy~ for just being there (especially when it’s a faceless corporation), but at the end of the day – I want to support the sewing community and it’s future! I’m absolutely invested in doing whatever I can to bring home sewists more options, and that includes supporting the Big 4. It was such a treat to visit the offices and get to know the people who make things happen there.

If you have a question or a complaint about a pattern from the McCall Pattern Company – contact them! They don’t know there is a problem unless you tell them, and their customer service department is extremely dedicated when it comes to helping. Follow their blog to learn more about the company, Like their Facebook page, lurk their Pinterest. Don’t be afraid to reach out and chat them up if you have a comment or concern. I’d love to see the gap close between the Big 4 and Indie pattern companies – I mean, we’re all in this for the love of sewing, right?

McCall Pattern Company Tour
(me hanging in the styling room. I was told to pretend I was fixing my hair – I promise I don’t sit at every available mirror and preen, haha! Although my hair did look really good that day. Minus the whole I need-to-redye-it situation)

Now, I can’t stop thinking about that Ralph Rucci coat…
So, like, if I paint it... I have to sew it, right? ❀️
I am definitely going to sew the shit out of that pattern. Just need to find my perfect red wool.

Completed: Butterick 5526, in Chambray

18 Jul

Good morning, everyone!

Sooo, anyway… remember when I said I was going to use that other chambray to make Butterick 5526 but ended up coaxing it into a Hawthorn instead? Well, I still wanted that damn chambray shirt – lucky for me, I had more in my stash! Check it out!

Chambray Buterick 5526

GOD, I JUST LOVE CHAMBRAY.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Seriously, tho, if you follow my Instagram, you probably noticed a couple weeks ago that it was Unofficial Chambray Week in my sewing room. Part of the reason for that is because I have been experimenting with starting multiple projects at once, then working through them all in succession. That probably makes no sense. What I mean is, I’ll prep 2-3 projects at once (cutting, interfacing, marking), pile them at the end of my table, and then complete each project by itself. I’m still working on one project at a time – but I’ve prepped multiples in the queue, so I don’t have to stop and cut the next one, thus losing my steam (oh, who the fuck am I kidding, I never lose steam. Not when it concerns sewing, anyway :P). This particular week, I was trying to stick with projects that use the same color thread/serger thread, because I dunno. Changing thread isn’t exactly difficult, as we all know.

But anyway, that shit’s fun – to get all the cutting out of the way at once, and then you have a glorious week to focus on dressmaking (or whatevermaking). I’ve blabbed on and on about taking advantage of short time chunks, and I’ve found it’s much easier to do that when you don’t have to set aside time and space every time you want to cut a new pattern (I don’t know about y’all, but I like to do it all in one fell swoop. So when it’s time to get my cut on, I need a long uninterrupted stretch of time to take care of business).

Chambray Buterick 5526

So anyway, I cut a Hawthorn AND a button down, and they were both chambray because they both used the same thread (and dammit, I want both of those chambray goodies in my closet by the end of the week, DAMMIT!) and there’s that.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Also, you probably noticed, but I’m wearing my Crazy Paisley Hollyburn AGAIN. That skirt with this top is just too good.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Chambray Buterick 5526

I’m still tweaking this pattern every time I sew it. Isn’t that what makes something TNT – you’ve used it enough to where you’ve ironed out every little kink in the fit and construction, so you just know it’ll work when you make it up? Butterick 5526 isn’t quite a TNT for me, yet, but it’s on it’s way! I’ve made it 3 times now (see versions one and two), and each version just gets a little better than the previous.

Chambray Buterick 5526

I tried to make the sleeves the correct length on this version. My first one – the white button down – used the 3/4 sleeves that were really more like 7/8 sleeves. Like, wtf, those things looked like they were just a couple inches too short! So, with that in mind, I knew I wanted long sleeves for this shirt (not for now, but maybe in the future, or when I complain about the cold if/when the night temperatures drop to 75 lolz), so I checked against a couple other long sleeved shirts in my closet and transferred that measurement (minus the cuff, of course) to my pattern piece. I double-checked every measurement, but still ended up with something slightly too short! DERP. So the sleeves on this shirt will just be perma-rolled up. And that’s ok! It’s all a trial and error at this point anyway πŸ™‚

Chambray Buterick 5526

Chambray Buterick 5526

They do look good rolled up though, huh? I can’t even tell you how pleased I am with those sleeve tabs. BEYOND pleased!

Chambray Buterick 5526

Chambray Buterick 5526

This chambray is pretty freaking amazing. It’s from The Fabric Studio here in Nashville. Where my Hawthorn chambray has a crisp drape and loads of body, this one is so lightweight and soft that it’s a little bit see through. Which is why I thought it would make a great button down – even with the sleeves – since it’s like I’m wearing chambray colored air. The looseness of the shirt really compliments the drape of the fabric, and the color almost has a sheen. It also doesn’t wrinkle as much as you would think – I took these photos after a full day of wearing the shirt, and while it has some “wearing” wrinkles, they just look comfy and relaxed, you know? I. LOVE. IT.

Chambray Buterick 5526

It’s also, like, $8 a yard. So it’s affordable chambray perfection! (and before you ask – yes, The Fabric Studio will ship! Contact Nancy here!)

Chambray Buterick 5526

For a fabric as light as this stuff, it didn’t take a lot of extra effort when it came to sewing everything together (or cutting, for that matter). It is on the delicate side, so be aware of pin holes (or use fine silk pins, if you got ’em!) and be careful ripping out stitching because you will totally rip the fabric (ask me how I know about that…). But, just like the heavier chambray – it sews and presses like a dream. I enjoyed every single minute of working on this shirt, and it totally shows!

Chambray Buterick 5526

Look at that beautiful topstitched cuff! I only interfaced one side of the cuff (the pattern has you interface the entire cuff piece, so when it’s folded you will have two layers of interfacing), so the fabric would maintain it’s pretty lightweight drape. Too bad no one will ever seen the cuff since the sleeve is too short! Ha!

Chambray Buterick 5526

There’s another one of those sleeve tabs that I’m just stupidly proud of. I think they really make the shirt.

Chambray Buterick 5526

Oh yeah! The buttons are also from Fashion Sewing Supply – just classic white shirt buttons. Very simple, but they look so polished and clean with this chambray.

Chambray Buterick 5526

So, yeah. Another basic closet staple that should be boring (and y’all might be yawning, but oh well, my blog->my rules, aka sorry not sorry), but it’s pretty exciting to me! Chambray goes with everythingggg, so this is a great top to have to pair with all my skirts and pants. I would almost say this is the kind of shirt one could wear for a week straight without anyone noticing, except, I definitely did that as a preteen and someone definitely noticed*. Then again, do I really care? Naw.

Couple more things-
– Damn, y’all went crazy over my recent Vogue pattern review. There are a lot of good comments on that post – some defending some of the patterns (even comparing them to runway version, which is all kinds of awesome to see), some making their own hilarious jokes, oh, and some from The McCall Pattern Company themselves. Forreal! If you haven’t had a chance to read through the comments on that post, you should definitely give them a lurk – McCall’s (who owns the Vogue Patterns line) has proven themselves to have an amazing sense of humor, as well as a really graceful way of handling some not-so-nice feedback. They have been very active in the comments – not in a butthurt way, so sorry if you’re looking for dramz πŸ˜‰ – and answering questions from readers. I, for one, had no idea that the designers actually choose the fabric that is used for the designer patterns. Vogue has nothing to do with that (although they do choose fabric for all other pattern categories, just not designer). So some of those awful fabric choices should have their blame shifted to the designer. The things you learn!
more u
– Omgg you guys – my Weekend Pants-Making Intensive class at Workroom Social has officially sold out! Cannot WAIT to meet, hang, and of course, sew with y’all who all signed up! It is going to be a fabulous weekend! Didn’t make the class and are regretting that decision? You can sign up for the wait list here and cross your fingers πŸ™‚ Everyone else – I’ve got a free afternoon/evening on Friday, where I plan to destroy my bank account with fabric purchases. Anyone want to join me in the Garment District and/or possibly for drinks afterward (I hear there is an outdoor bar at Bryant Park nearby, which sounds amazing!)? Shoot me an email! lladybirdlauren at gmail dot com πŸ™‚
– Lastly (and I know this has NOTHING to do with sewing but it’s my blog and duh I do what I want), have y’all ever heard of the ride service Lyft? It’s like a taxi service, except the drivers use their own cars and the costs are much much cheaper. Everything is run through the app, including payment – so you don’t have to deal with cash or credit cards, and you can pay up to 24 hours after the ride has ended. It’s really fun and a great way to get around if you don’t have a car/plan on drinking/hate driving. Anyway, the reason why I’m telling you this is because my best friend recently signed on to be a driver, and that means free Lyft rides for everyone! Really! If you’ve never used Lyft before, download the app and use the code MORGAN1407 for a free ride up to $25. No strings attached (unless you go over the $25 credit, but that would be a looong ride. One person I know here managed to hit $30 once, and that was for a 20+ mile ride), just free ride goodness! It does have to be active in your city, but the company is growing fast so definitely check! Just remember to input the code into your app (in the payment section) BEFORE you take your first ride, so you can actually use the credit. And, sorry babes, but this is first-time riders only (I know!!). But yeah! Go forth and get you some free rides!

*ok, it was a shiny blue polyester button down from Rave, and it was totally my favorite shirt. Also, when it was pointed out that I’d worn the same shirt for multiple weeks in a row (so not technically days in a row, but every Sunday to church. For at least a couple of months, haha), I was so mortified that I never wore it again. RIP, shiny blue shirt.