Tag Archives: colette patterns

Completed: Cozy Loungewear

7 Dec

It’s officially that time of year – black and grey layers from head to toe. My favorite!

Colette Oslo Cardigan - front

I feel like I spend the beginning of every winter on the prowl, looking for pieces that will keep my warm and comfortable, without looking like a complete slob (only, like, 30% slob. I have my limits, you know). Every year, I wear said pieces until they are ratty beyond repair, so each new season means new duds. Honestly, none of the pieces in this post are particularly earth-shattering, which is why you get a 3-fer post, ha.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - side

Colette Oslo Cardigan - side

The grey/black cardigan is hands-down the coziest cardigan I have ever made – it even works as a light coat! The pattern is the Oslo from Colette’s Seamwork Magazine. I didn’t care much for the pattern when it was first released, however, I kept noticing cool versions popping up and eventually became mildly obsessed with the idea of making my own. I love the long, butt-covering length, as well as the big shawl collar. In September, Oslo was granted the glory of being “Pattern of the Month,” which knocked the price down to $5 and thus justified my immediate purchase.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - back

Anyway, I can see why everyone and their mom has made an Oslo – it’s a great pattern! It’s a super simple, super quick make, and the resulting garment is a great layering piece that I find vaguely reminiscent of those knit duster cardigans we all wore back in the late 90s (I bought mine at Rave. SUP.). It works especially well with heavier knits – which is great, because I keep buying them but I never know what to make them into! I don’t want a super heavy tshirt. I’ll wear a super heavy cardigan/duster hybrid, though, hell yeah I will.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - inside

Speaking of heavy knits, this was certainly one of those! I bought this double-cloth Italian wool sweater knit months ago, and while it’s really awesome – it’s also super thick. It’s basically two layers of wool knit – black on one side, grey on the other – fused together to make one really heavy layer. It makes for the perfect Oslo, because it’s super warm, but I had no idea what to do with it when I originally bought it. Also, it was kind of expensive, so I only bought 1.5 yards. I BARELY had enough yardage to eek this out – I had to do some piecing at one shoulder, and cut everything on the single layer, but I managed!

Colette Oslo Cardigan - front

Tetris-ing the shit out the cutting layout took a long time, but the actual sewing part did not take long at all! I used my serger for everything – shit got REAL bulky when I was attaching the shawl collar, but other than that was smooth sailing. I cut the size XS and sewed the pattern as drafted with folded back cuffs, although I didn’t add the buttons. I wish I’d had enough fabric to add front patch pockets, as I feel like that’s the only thing this pattern is missing.
Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - front

The next piece is a boring ol’ black tshirt! Haha! Well, I used a new pattern to make this – so that makes things a little less boring 🙂

Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - front

This is the Grail tshirt from Vesta Patterns, a new company in the pattern world. These patterns are drafted and produced for 3 different body shapes, so that you don’t have to do so much futzing with the flat pattern for a good fit. I’ve been super interested in the idea but haven’t had a chance to try out the patterns, despite having them in my arsenal for a few months now. I have both the patterns for E & S (well, I had A too, but I gave it to an A-shaped friend 😉 ), so I started with the E in a size Small. The patterns are drafted to have a bit of ease, which I found to be too much for my personal fit preferences – I had a bit of excess from the underarm down to the waist, but that was easy to nip in before I hemmed the sleeves and bottom. Next time, I may go down a size for a closer fit, or use a more stable fabric like the pattern suggests. That being said, I am really impressed with how well and proportional the neckline and shoulders fit!

Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - back

Like the cardigan, construction was straightforward and simple. The pattern doesn’t include a lot of information for construction – the steps are written out, but they are short, concise, and don’t include pictures or line drawings. Having made zillions of tshirts in my time, this does not phase me. I don’t need a full booklet with step-by-step instructions for sewing a shoulder seam, you know? But if you need the hand-holding, you may want to consider finding a tutorial online or consulting a book for further assistance.

The one construction element about this pattern that differs from most knits that I’ve sewn, is how the neckline was finished. Strips of fabric are sewn as a sort of binding around the neckline, wrapping the raw edges. It’s similar to how I did the binding on my Mission Skater dress, although without the serged edge. I think it makes a really nice, clean finish that looks really good from the outside. I hemmed the sleeves and bottom at 1″, and just used the zigzag on my sewing machine.

Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - front

I stayed on the wool bandwagon with this top, and used another wool knit to make it up. I found this weird “black cozy knit” (their description, not mine) on the Mood website – appears to be sold out now. Y’all, this was a WEIRD fucking fabric! I don’t know what I was expecting to get, but what I received was what I would describe as a wool crepe knit. It has that crepey, spongey texture – but it’s a true knit, and stretches as so. I’ve never seen fabric like this before. It’s borderline semi-sheer, but works well for a tshirt. Because of the crepey texture, it has a fantastic drape – perfect for a loose-fitting shirt. It’s also surprisingly not itchy. Just, well, cozy 🙂 It also attracts cat hair like a magnet, sooo, sorry bout that!

SBCC Pinot pants - front

Finally, pants! These are the Pinot Pants from SBCC Patterns and they are my FAVORITE lounge pants ever ever. These are just basically yoga-style pants – not true yoga pants, as they don’t have a crotch gusset, but they do have the flared leg and elastic waistband. I have actually practiced yoga in these pants (not my preferred style of yoga pants – I like slim leggings – but I went to yoga with Jenny when I was in Boston, and hey, I actually had yoga pants in my suitcase!), and they worked just fine. Terrible fabric choice for hot yoga, but I had a great range of movement hahaha.

I made the size XS and cut a longer inseam so I’d have some length to play with (which I immediately cut off, and now they’re a smidge too short. Wah!). I added the free pocket add-on, which was the best decision ever! There aren’t any instructions for attaching these, but I just topstitched them on with a straight stitch (and left the edges raw – other than the top opening edge, which is finished with a self-fabric band). Leaving the edges raw is fine with this sort of fabric, as it’s not prone to unraveling or fraying (and, speaking of raw edges – these pants are unhemmed. Like I said, I cut them too short as it is and I couldn’t afford to lose any length! haha!). I also left off the elastic waistband, and instead used some heavy-duty power mesh in it’s place. Betsy had mentioned once that she preferred power mesh over elastic for a flat, yet stretchy, waistband, and I was immediately intrigued. I actually have some heavy power mesh that is way too heavy for general lingerie (I believe it’s probably good for shapewear, though), so I used that in the waistband. Just cut a waistband layer in the mesh, basted it to the wrong side of the fabric waistband, and sewed as normal. It holds as well as elastic does, but it’s flat like a traditional yoga waistband. I love it!

For fabric, I used black nylon/rayon ponte de roma, which is AWESOME and I wish I had more! It holds shape really nicely and doesn’t stretch out. Like I said, it’s not so great for shit like actual yoga – it retains heat a little too well – but for general lounge pants, it’s perfect.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - on dressform

Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - on dressform

Vespa Patterns Grail tshirt - neckline detail

You can really see the texture of the knit here. And check out that bound neckline!

Colette Oslo Cardigan - flat

Here is where I had to piece the shoulder area of my Oslo, in order to get the pattern pieces to fit on my limited yardage. You can’t really tell it’s there when I’m wearing it.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - flat

SBCC Pinot pants - flat

Ok, that’s it! Sorry for the overwhelming amount of black + cat hair, ha.

Colette Oslo Cardigan - front

This is the kind of ensemble I reach for when I’m feeling crappy (sick, sad, hungover, etc) but still need to look somewhat presentable out of the house. As much as I love my plaid flannel Carolyn pajamas, they definitely look like pajamas! With these pieces – either all worn together, or individually with other garments – they keep the comfy factor without compromising the yes-i-put-on-pants-to-leave-the-house element. I consider that a win!

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Completed: A Cozy Wren Dress

17 Nov

I really love summer, but man, I LOVE winter clothes. I think most people in general just look a lot classier with some added layers, and I really embrace the opportunity to dress in head-to-toe black and pretend like I look chic and not at all like an angsty 15 year old wandering into Hot Topic circa 2001. I can and do look like a total slob in the summer time, but add a little windchill into the mix and I’ll dress like I’m heading straight into the office.

Colette Wren dress - front

So, today, I give you Wren. A pretty little transitional dress that works SO WELL with a heavy knit and sleeves. If I still worked in an office, I’d rock this shit every day.

Colette Wren dress - front

This dress is a story of fabric + pattern both acquired without any pairings in mind. I was actually sent an advance copy of Wren from the team at Colette Patterns – no strings attached, just as a gift. They made it very clear that they weren’t expecting a review post in exchange for the pattern. I thought it was a pretty pattern and I knew I wanted to make it up at some point, but I wasn’t sure what fabric. I love the solid colors they use for the promotional shots, but I rarely feel compelled to sew solid colors (which is something I’m working on, because lord knows I like to wear solid colors!).

In the meantime, I’d been eyeballing this black cozy knit fabric from Mood Fabrics (their description, not mine. But it is a black cozy knit. It’s also super sold out, and I can’t find a link to it. Sorry! I’m pretty sure I bought the last yardage. Not sorry about that!). I had my swatch and I knew I wanted it for… what? No matter, I bought 2 yards of it and figured I’d figure that shit out later.

It wasn’t until I saw Deepika’s classy black and white Wren dress that I had my aha moment of fabric and pattern marriage. As in, I totally copied Deepika’s dress. Thanks for the inspo, Deepika! I hope you are ok with being my twinsie 🙂

Colette Wren dress - side

Colette Wren dress - side

These pictures are borderline awful, by the way. I was waiting for the golden hour, and I think things got a little too golden. Oh well!

Colette Wren dress - back

The Wren dress is a lovely knit dress that features a surplice/wrap-style bodice, set into a closed skirt (aka, it’s not a true wrap dress). You have the option of adding either a gathered or a fitted, 6 gored skirt, and the bodice can be sewn with or without sleeves. My favorite part of the dress are the soft gathers along the neckband, which are so feminine and pretty (and you can barely see them for this print that I used haha oh well). The sleeves included in the pattern are just for short sleeves, but it’s pretty easy to lengthen those to whatever suits your needs. Colette patterns did offer a sleeve download when the pattern was first released – for both a long sleeve and a 3/4 sleeve – which is what I used here. I actually cut the long sleeves, but they were weirdly tight below the elbow. Hence, my elbow-length sleeves. All good here, though, because those long sleeves looked a little overwhelming with this print!

Making the dress was super super easy. Since it’s a knit, I whipped everything through my serger to piece it together, and used my twin needle to hem the neckline and sleeves and hem. I was a little concerned about the top gaping since it’s only hemmed (and not finished with a knit band, which is my preferred method), but I figured I’d give it a try and I have not experienced any gaping. The only thing I’d change in the future is to deepen the hem on the neckband – at 3/8″, it’s a little shallow, and I just think it would look better and the stitching would lie more flat if it was closer to 5/8″.

For size, I cut an XS based on my measurements. I’m really pleased with the fit – and this is straight out of the envelope, no additional shaving off side seams or anything like that. I will mention that the waistline is pretty high on me – and I’m of average torso length – so that’s just something to be aware of. It’s definitely higher on me than it is on the model or in the illustration, but my knit does have only a 2 way stretch so that’s likely the case.

Colette Wren dress - front

Colette Wren dress - back

The ~black cozy knit~ is pretty awesome! It’s a poly knit, which I’d normally stay far far away from in the summer months – but I’m ok with poly in the winter. It sewed and pressed fine, and it’s just a really nice fabric. It feels a bit like lightweight ponte, with a nice heft and weight to it. The design is woven, so the wrong side is pretty cool too. My favorite part is that the right side is a little fuzzy and feels like a cozy sweater. My other favorite part is the print- up close, I think the white design looks like a city skyline 🙂

Colette Wren dress - front

Here it is without the belt!

I don’t think there’s much else to say about this simple dress, so have some more photos:

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - front

I think the dress looks pretty classy – it would be awesome for all those fancy dinners and evening concerts that I don’t attend. HA! Or maybe just wallowing around on the couch, I dunno. Actually, my roommate and I are going to see Neil deGrasse Tyson this week and I’m TOTALLY wearing this shit for that. I am going to be so comfy while I simultaneously have my mind blown about the universe, wheee!

* Note: This fabric was given to me in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. The pattern was also given to me from Colette Patterns, as a gift and with no strings attached. Per usual, all the opinions you are reading here are my own!

Completed: Striped Linen Hawthorn Dress

24 Aug

Same as with Simplicity 6266 (which, by the way – when I first published that post – I had the pattern # all kinds of wrong and have since been corrected and updated the blog post – if you were trying to find the pattern and couldn’t, maybe try again with the correct number! Just FYI!), the Colette Patterns Hawthorn is one of those patterns that I LOVE to wear and swore I’d make a million more of… then never actually did. It’s the sweetest little pattern – a very feminine shirt dress with an interesting collar and a beautiful, swirly skirt – and I get loads of compliments whenever I wear any of my other versions (especially the Chambray version – which I wear at least once a week in the summer because it’s soooo good). Alas, it’s been over a year since I did anything with the pattern, despite it being in my pile of “patterns to make next” for, well, over a year. Whoops.

This year, I have been all about settling down, sewing-wise, and making repeats of things I know I love (instead of constantly being distracted by the new and shiny). So I made a Hawthorn.

Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornI think it turned out pretty good! We had a few harrowing moments there for a bit, but it all worked out in the end. Yay for the TNT and knowing what works! Striped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

I’ve already talked quite a bit about this pattern, considering that I’ve made it three times (see: Sweet Cherry Hawthorn, Organic Cotton Sateen Hawthorn, and the aforementioned Chambray Hawthorn WHICH IS THE BEST ONE BTW). I cut my usual/adjusted size, and mostly followed the instructions as they are written. All harrowing moments were due to fabric, not pattern.

Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornStriped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

The fabric is another piece that I bought from Elizabeth; the striped cotton/linen blend (at least, I think there is cotton in there – it doesn’t wrinkle as much as 100% linen tends to do) was from her SS15 collection, which is currently no longer available (but, btw, FW15 LAUNCHES TODAY EEEE). I’ve seen some makes using this fabric – in the same brown/black/white colors (Kelly’s Southport dress!) and in a blue/white/black colorway (Sewaholic’s Cambie dress!) – so if this stuff looks familiar, well, it’s making the rounds!

As a side note – not that this really matters, but I know I’ve mentioned before that I’ve gotten some pieces gratis as part of an ES destash, but this particular piece was one that I paid for. Granted, I got it for wholesale price – but it wasn’t free :). Elizabeth isn’t in the fabric business at all (I only get to buy as part of an employee perk, basically), so I don’t think it matters, but I thought I’d mention it anyway!

Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornI originally bought my little piece to make a woven tshirt – like, maybe a Scout or something – so I only bought about 1.5 yards. I decided it would be better as a dress, but it took me a long time to decide on which pattern to use. The Hawthorn was a good choice, except that I didn’t have quite enough fabric and had to do some creative piecing to get all the pieces to fit and to get the stripes to mostly match (all I can say is, I did my best). Check out that photo of the back – see the center back seam that I added? Yes. I also pieced the top of the back bodice, right along the black stripes. You can’t see that shit at all because I matched it up pretty well, and the stripes make the seam lines disappear. But it is there! Striped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

I had NO IDEA how to cut the collar with the stripes, so I just kind of winged it. Surprisingly, the stripes match up kind of cool with the bodice stripes. I didn’t plan that whatsoever, and I was somewhat concerned I’d have a hot mess of a bodice on my hands once I added the collar and the stripes started going every which way, but I really like how it turned out. It actually looks intentional.

Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornHere’s the back again. Can you see my piecing? On the right hand side (the side where my tattoo is), the very first batch of stripes – the bottom black stripe is where the seamline is. On the left side (opposite of tattoo), the second batch of stripes – the seamline is in the top black stripe. Can you see it now? Can you UNSEE it now? (sorry about that) I honestly thought this dress was a goner about halfway through cutting it and realizing that I didn’t have enough fabric, but thank god for stripes making seamlines invisible. Yay! The stripe-matching worked out pretty well, but I did have one big snafu that kind of sucked… Striped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

Whatever the hell is going on with the waistline here, that’s what. I’m not really sure how I managed to cut those stripes so they’d suck THAT bad, but it looks like I’m wearing a bow right over some part of my intestine. How dainty! Except it actually looks pretty stupid. Thankfully, as you’ve probably (not)noticed from the pictures – a belt covers it quite well, so that’s my solution. It does mean that I can’t really wear the dress without a belt, but I am pro-belt at this point in my life, so I’m not terribly concerned about that.

Some more photos:
Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornStriped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

The linen is SO soft, with a slight little drape that’s just lovely. It’s really comfortable to wear in the heat. Because of the drape, the bodice is a little softer and less structured than my other Hawthorns, which is a nice change. This also meant that I needed to let the skirt hang for something like 48 hours to get all the bias settle before hemming (and it was crazy uneven before I evened it out).

Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornThe inside is very simple – stitched and serged (this fabric sheds like a mofo, so finishing the edges with a serge was very necessary). I serged the facing edges so they’d have less bulk, and finished the arm holes with polka dot bias binding because it’s a little thinner and less bulky (and easier to work with, since it sheds less) than the linen. Stripe-matching the facings was probably a little bit of overkill on my end. Whatever 🙂 Striped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn
The buttons are just black shirting buttons I had in my stash. I originally wanted to use wooden buttons, but black ended up looking best with the fabric. Instead of putting a button at the waistline, I used a hook and eye. This makes the area nice and smooth so it’s more comfortable to wear a belt.

Striped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

Making this up definitely reminded me of why I love this pattern so much! It’s really beautiful and feels good to wear. A similar look would be the new Sewaholic Nicola dress, which has that same V-neck with collar, but it’s designed for a drapier fabric, thanks to all the soft gathers, and looks quite a bit more 70s. I’d love to try this pattern (talking about Hawthorn now, but I want to try Nicola too!) with long sleeves, sewn up in a plaid, for a cozy winter version. That, too, has been on my list for waaaay too long. Maybe this winter I’ll actually get around to making it 🙂

Completed: Two Colette Mabels

8 Oct

I totally skipped all the hullabaloo that came out when the Colette Patterns Mabel skirt was released – but that’s ok! I’m here now, reporting for duty!

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

I actually made two – just to be safe!

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

Let’s start with a basic Mabel lowdown. I made the grey version first, out of some leftover ponte knit that I used to make a pair of Ooh La Leggings (not pictured – because neither photographed nor blogged, but they are basically the same thing as these black ponte leggings except, you know, grey). I actually have no idea why I bothered saving that little piece of fabric, because it was about half a yard and thus not enough to do anything with – and the ponte is pretty thick, which means it wouldn’t work for something like, say, colorblocking a tshirt (which can be a good use of leftover knit scraps, if you tend to get hoardy like I do). Anyway, it’s a good thing I did, because I had exactly enough to make a little Mabel mini! Yay! I love it when these things work out!

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

Mabel Mini 1 is view A, size XS. I sewed the pattern exactly as per the directions, except I opted to understitch the waistband lining (I used my machine’s lightning bolt stitch – kind of like a very short zig zag stitch), to keep it from sticking out. The seams of the skirt were sewn on my serger, and the hem is done with a twin needle. From cutting, to sewing, to hemming – this entire thing took… I dunno, maybe 30 minutes? It was VERY fast.

I didn’t really use the instructions – I mean, it’s a knit skirt, it doesn’t need much introduction – but they looked to be pretty good, based on my glance over. Like the Moneta pattern, they include lots of tips and info on how to sew knits with a regular machine, which is always nice. The only thing I did not like about this pattern was taping it together (I have the PDF). Holy shit, talk about too many pages! My disdain for PDFs is no secret (I get why other people like/need them… no defense necessary 🙂 But for me? Nope, no way! Can’t do it!), so maybe I’m biased – but this one seemed to be unnecessarily large & unwieldy. My advice: get the paper pattern. Ha!

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

Anyway, speedy instaskirt is the reason why I obviously needed to jump right into Mabel Mini 2 immediately after 😛

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

I made a couple very minor changes for this one – I took in the center back and side seams by about 3/8″ (in retrospect, I should have taken in more, because it’s still a little loose around the waist and thus rides down farther than I want the rise to sit), as well as the waistband by the same amount. I used the last of my black striped ponte from Mood Fabrics NYC store. Again – 30 minute skirt. Talk about fast fashion, amirite.

Colette Mabel
Colette Mabel
Colette Mabel

For both skirts, I used a lightweight black rayon jersey (the same jersey that my black tshirt is made out of, incidentally. That tshirt is a Renfrew, by the way!) to line the waistband. I considered using a self-lining – but decided the fabric was a smidge too bulky, so I went with a lighter weight lining, which ended up being a Good Decision.

Oh yeah! I made that plaid flannel button down too! SUP!

Grainline Archer

This was made using the Archer pattern. I actually finished it waaaay back in… March. Yep. I got it in my head that I needed to make a new plaid Archer to wear when I went to NY, so I nearly killed myself trying to finish the shirt in something crazy like 2 days. I did end up finishing it – and bringing it to NY to wear – and I learned two things about the experience:
1. My life did not suddenly become more fabulous because I had a new shirt to wear while on vacation; and
2. Pushing myself to the point of exhaustion to finish something for a self-imposed deadline is not fun at all. Seriously – it’s shitty, it makes me anxious for no reason, and I didn’t enjoy any part of sewing that shirt. Which is sad, because button downs are one of my favorite things to sew! I love how precise the stitching is, and all the little details that make it special. I unfortunately didn’t get to enjoy any of that because I was too rushed trying to hurry up and finish (when, realistically, I should have either started earlier, or accepted that I just wouldn’t finish before I left), and yeah, that’s just lame.

So, with that being said – no more unnecessary last-minute vacation sews with shitty deadlines! If I need clothing that quickly, I will buy it (lol jk I’LL NEVER BUY CLOTHES AGAIN)(ok, seriously, kidding with that last part… mostly.). So far, I’ve done a decent enough job of putting this into practice, so that’s good!

Grainline Archer

And, for what it’s worth – I do like the shirt. I could have done a better job with it – the topstitching is not my best, and the grain is all wonky because the plaid fabric was hideously off grain (like, to the point where I actually cut the entire shirt twice. Yes. I did that. And it’s still pretty bad) – but it is what it is. It’s snuggly, it’s warm, and I also just realized that I made it to match the leggings that I made with the rest of that grey ponte fabric hahaha omg my life is fabulous.

Grainline Archer

Anyway, I hope you liked my Archer story. Have some pearl snaps.

Grainline Archer

And a sleeve placket while we’re at it!

Ok, so here’s my dilemma – and I’m hoping y’all can help me. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WEAR WITH THESE SKIRTS. I feel like everything I put on just gives me weird proportions! The tops I’m wearing here are ok, I guess, but that’s about the extent of what my closet can offer. Most of my other tops just look… weird? I think the biggest problem is the waist line- it kind of hits at a strange place:

Colette Mabel & Grainline Archer

See what I mean? It’s about right at my belly button – which isn’t quite high waisted, and not quite low waisted. I can’t tuck anything in – partially because it’s very lumpy under the ponte, and partially because the waistline hits at a sort of wide point on my body. Untucked, most stuff just looks sloppy or gives me that weird long-abdomen proportion that we just loved soo much in the early 00s (y’all know what I’m talking about!). So yeah, can’t figure that one out. Any suggestions? Should I stick with more fitted, cropped sweaters (such as what the model is wearing on the website)? HELP ME I CAN’T ADULT.

Colette Mabel & Sewaholic Renfrew

Anyway, let’s talk! Answer one or more of the following:
– What shirts should I be wearing with these skirts?
– Have you ever made yourself sick by rushing to complete a garment before going somewhere?
– What happened when you finished it? Did a unicorn grant you 3 wishes or did you just realize that life was still doing life things and dammit is it Monday already?
– Seriously, though, what should I wear with these skirts?

** Necessary disclaimer: I received the Colette Mabel skirt from Sarai of Colette patterns, gratis. No review was requested – but as always, all opinions are my own. All fabrics in this post were purchased by me 🙂 I do get a monthly Mood allowance, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t also spend plenty of my own money there! Just wanted to clear that up 🙂

Completed: A Jumpsuit, of sorts

3 Sep

A couple of months ago, I was asked by the ladies at By Hand London if I’d like to test their new Holly Jumpsuit. I’m always a sucker for these gorgeous patterns, but then they went and threw in an offer of testing-fabric from Grey’s Fabric to really seal the deal. Consider me sold, name signed in blood and all (forreal, though, I’ll do anything for love free fabric).

Holly/Tania Mash-up

I finished with good time, sent my testing notes in, and took some photos (I could pretend my hair grew like that overnight, but in reality, these photos are just that old. Haha!). And then I waited. And waited. Right before the pattern was to be released, there was a design snafu that meant the pattern had to be reworked, which set things back by… well, a lot. Fortunately, the kinks have been worked out and the pattern is now officially for sale! Which means I can finally show you mine! Yay!

Holly/Tania Mash-up
Holly/Tania Mash-up

You may have noticed by now that my jumpsuit* looks nothing like the pattern – and you would be right. That’s because at this point, no part of my jumpsuit is actually part of the pattern! Whoops!

Holly/Tania Mash-up

However, it is still technically a jumpsuit (right? The two-separate-holes-for-each-leg dictate that… right?), so there’s that.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

There’s a method to this madness, I promise. As a pattern tester, I always make my first version (usually a muslin), exactly as drafted and written by the pattern. After I have taken my (usually very unflattering)photos and made my fitting adjustments, I will transfer those adjustments to the pattern and make it up in my fashion fabric (if not a second muslin entirely). I started out with the shorts and Variation 2 bodice, which was surprisingly a pretty good fit straight out of the envelope. The butt of the shorts was a little tight (it is my understanding that this ended up being a grading error that has since been amended), and I needed to shorten the straps – but overall, things were looking good. It wasn’t until I had made this up in my beautiful rayon challis – i.e., the good stuff – that I realized the entire ensemble just made me look like a giant toddler. Especially when combined with this fabric – while beautiful, it’s pretty juvenile looking. Eep!

After some chatting with the BHL ladies, we ultimately decided that it would be a shame to sew something I’d never wear (and I know I occasionally wear some out-there ensembles, but again, looking like a giant toddler is NOT one of them) , so I was given the green light to swap out the bottoms for another pattern. Specifically, I chose the Tania Culottes because FUCK YES I DID.

After that, things went haywire in the design department and my tested version of the bodice ended up getting scrapped and redesigned. Which means my tested Holly jumpsuit is now basically anything BUT Holly! Oh well! I tried!

Holly/Tania Mash-up
Holly/Tania Mash-up

Anyway, let’s talk about the construction of this jumpsuit. To combine the bodice with the Tania culottes, I added a 2″ wide straight waistband (interfaced on one layer, and faced with self-fabric on the inside) that connects the bodice to the skirt. Ideally, I would have shortened the bodice and raised the rise of the culottes, as I think the waistband sits a little low, but that’s life. The Tanias are sewn as normal, just without a waistband.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

All edges were finished with my serger and I used my rolled hem foot to make the prettiest little baby hem.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

The end result is a sweet little flouncy tank dress that has an amazing twirl factor – and thanks to the culottes, is less likely to fly up and flash any innocent bystanders.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

As I previously mentioned, my beautiful rayon challis came courtesy of Grey’s Fabric, specifically to be used to test this pattern. I just love the smooth silhouette and fluid drape that comes with rayon challis – not to mention, it’s ridiculously comfortable to wear in the heat. Rayon loves to wrinkle like crazy and this fabric is no exception, but at least the busy print and voluminous skirt hide most of that.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

Anyway, despite my design changes+unexpected pattern snafu changing things to the point that my tested pattern ended up being something completely different, I am happy with said end result – not to mention, it’s absolutely something I would wear (and have worn! Lots!). Again – if you plan on buying this pattern, please keep in mind that absolutely nothing about my version matches what is included in the final pattern – although it would be pretty easy to Frankenpattern this one with a couple indies.

What do you think of the Holly Jumpsuit? Are you Team Jumpsuit – craving dangly earrings, sparkly eyeshadow, and a Studio 54 vibe (I mean, ugh, that new Variation 2 bodice is KILLER, ain’t it?)? Or do you feel like an overgrown toddler who would prefer to stick with dresses and two pieces, thank you very much?

* I think the leg-shorts mean this thing is actually a romper or a playsuit, not a jumpsuit. However, the thought of saying that I’m wearing a playsuit makes me feel, again, like an overgrown toddler, so fuck that. I’m calling it a jumpsuit, as that sounds a lot more grown-up. My blog, my sewing, my rules 😛

In other news-
1. The new class schedule is up at The Fabric Studio! Lots of fun classes coming up – including an Open Sewing Lab hosted by yours truly! Those of y’all in Nashville can come hang out in the studio to sew and drink tea with other crafty peeps 🙂 I’ll be on hand to answer questions and assist as needed. This is a great alternative to a structured class since you can work on whatever you want, come whenever is convenient for you, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a private lesson 🙂 Check out the classes page to sign up (my class is at the bottom). I am REALLY excited for this; I love sewing with company! Yay!

2. Don’t forget that the Casual Sweet Clothes giveaway ends on Friday! If you haven’t already entered, here’s your hint 🙂

Completed: A Chambray Hawthorn

10 Jul

I know, like, everyone and their freakin’ MOM seems to have one of these dresses made up in chambray. I’m just following the crowd here, ain’t no shame in that. But there’s a pretty good reason why we all seem to gravitate toward the same fabric for the same pattern – it’s just such a perfect marriage of the two. Check it out:

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

If you haven’t been able to guess it yet, this is the Hawthorn from Colette Patterns. A simple and flattering style that I’ve loved ever since it came out – this is my third one, actually, although it’s been nearly a year since I last touched the pattern (see versions one and two here). I’ve been planning a few versions since, and chambray was one of them – although I had a helluva time trying to find a good chambray. But here it is! I found it!

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

My chambray actually came from the NYC Garment District – I picked up a couple of yards while Clare & I were chatting up Sam. I know Trice also bought some, because I totally talked her into it (no shame). At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure what I would make with the fabric – but I knew it would end up something button-down inspired. Either a shirt or a shirtwaist, but definitely something that would take advantage of the crisp hand and beautiful cotton goodness. I bought two yards, washed it when I got home, and it’s been sitting on my shelf ever since.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

This particular fabric very nearly almost became a button down shirt instead of the Hawthorn it blossomed into. Like, much closer than you think – I actually had the fabric on my cutting table, with my beloved Butterick 5526 pattern, and decided at the very last minute to use this fabric to make the dress instead. I wanted a chambray button down as well (and I definitely ended up with one… out of a different chambray. More on that in another post, though!), but I realized that this fabric was simply too thick to wear as a shirt in the summer time. The chambray La Sylphide I made last year barely gets worn in the summer, as it’s just tooooooo freakin’ hot! But for the purposes of a dress, this particular fabric was perfect. So I swapped out the pattern for the Hawthorn, and got to making it happen.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

There’s not much to say about the pattern itself – like I said, I’ve made the pattern before, so I don’t really have anything new to add to the table, in terms of reviewing. All fitting changes I made in my previous versions were used for this Hawthorn, and it was pretty straight forward sewing for the most part. However, my pictures turned out kinda nice (well, I think so! Good hair day!), so you have to look at all of them anyway. Sorry!

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

One thing I did that ended up being unintentionally hilarious was when I tried to lower the bust darts. I remembered from previous versions that they are a little high in this dress – and kind of look nipply if you catch the light right. So I redrew the point about 1″ below where they were marked on the pattern, and went about sewing as normal. Except, I dunno what happened exactly, but they ended up WAY too low! Which was a shame because they were the perfect little boob shape, just in an area where boobs (well, my boobs) don’t really belong. Before you start scrutinizing my boobs in these photos, I should mention that I fixed the dart issue. So there’s that. I don’t know where I was going with that story. Boobs.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Man, this fabric was SO MUCH FUN to work with! It’s a beautiful cotton chambray, so it presses like an angel (not sure how that would work exactly, but let’s just roll with it) and it takes well to topstitching. It’s also lovely to wear in the summer here – breathable, and a little lightweight (but still feels like a good weight for a dress). I feel like I say this with every make I, er, make, but this is totally my new favorite dress.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

The collar is so good for all those tiny brooches I have that I never wear. Like this insect brooch.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

The color also goes really nicely with my hair, yeah?

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

I think a dress like this would be good for traveling, as it’s one of those neutral-type pieces that provides a nice background to whatever other garb you are throwing on (cardigans, jewelry, shoes, etc), so you can wear it multiple times without people judging you. You know, like those ~travel articles~ in magazines that tell you to bring a classic black/white/denim/whatever solid-colored dress so you can mix up your jewelry and shoes and look like you actually brought 10 outfits? Except, I never really have a good neutral dress like this – almost everything I make has patterns, and those that are solid (such as my navy cotton sateen version of this) still feel like they really only have 1-2 pairs of shoes or whatever that ‘go’ with them. This dress, though, feels like the equivalent of blue jeans and a white tshirt. I kind of want to wear it for a week straight just to see how many different ways I could style it.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

The wood buttons are from Fashion Sewing Supply, by the way! Last time I ordered interfacing from them, I ordered a couple of packets of buttons as well so I could play around with them in garments. All the buttons are shirt buttons, but they have some cool ones that aren’t so cool-looking they look kind of cheap (does that make sense? Main reason why I generally stick with plain white buttons. NOW YOU KNOW MY SECRET, I’m afraid of looking cheap!). I had no real plans for these when I ordered them, but they look beeeeautiful with this chambray!

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

The armholes are finished with bias binding. And check out that topstitching! I recently bought myself a topstitching foot for my Bernina, and I’ve been having a lot of fun using it to get super precise stitching. I mean, how good does that look? ALL IN THE FOOT, BABY!

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

As with my other two Hawthorns, I respaced my button holes so they didn’t interfere with the waist seam. There is a hook and eye at the seam to keep it closed invisibly; this way I can still wear belts with the dress.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

I kept things simple with the construction and finishing and just used my serger to finish the raw edges.

Chambray Colette Hawthorn

And that’s it! I’d love to go through with my forever-planned other version of this dress – plaid with long sleeves. Wouldn’t that be so nice? Although it’s definitely too hot to think about sleeves right now (as Landon would say – “Sun’s out; guns out”), so I’ll stick with the sleeveless for now 🙂

Completed: The Colette Moneta

3 Jul

Sooo I definitely meant to make this dress to wear on my Florida vacation. You know, the one that happened over a month ago. Oh well – better late than never? At least I’ll be prepared for the next vacation!

Moneta Dress

This is the Moneta dress, from Colette patterns. Sarai sent me the pdf of this pattern right around the same time she asked if I’d like to review the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits. I had already purchased the book at that point, so she gave me the two newest Colette patterns as a freeb. Woohoo! So yeah, I’ve been waiting to make this up for a while, but I think it’s worth the wait – wouldn’t you agree?

Moneta Dress

Moneta is a very very simple dress. Sewn up in a knit, it’s a basic bodice with a slightly gathered skirt, pockets, and a few options as far as necklines/collars/sleeves. I went with the simplest version – no sleeves, no pockets – for my first test run.

Moneta Dress

I’ll admit, I wasn’t terribly keen on the gathered skirt as I tend to hate the way they look on me, especially when sewn up in a knit. However, I kept seeing Devon’s Monetas that she was plastering all over her blog, and they are all pretty freaking flattering on her – even with the gathering. My fabric is also lightweight and drapey, so that helps with keeping the gathering from getting too bulky. The lack of pockets also helps (am I the only one who thinks pockets in a knit are freaking useless? They’re useless.).

Moneta Dress

Cutting this fabric wasn’t necessarily tricky, but it did take some forethought to make sure the stripes all matched up right. After making the Out & About Dress, I was (and still am, to some extent) super butthurt about the way the stripes look on the skirt. These sorts of curved, gathered skirts don’t work too well with horizontal stripes, but I was bound and determined to make it happen this time. Plus, the match up on the side seams – all the way! Yeah! I love it when that happens.

Moneta Dress

Part of what made cutting tricky was that I wanted to self-line the bodice. I didn’t have anything on hand that would be a suitable lining, other than the main fabric I was using (and while I don’t really care much for lined knits, I certainly wanted to try it out!), so I decided to go with that. The one drawback to using my striped fabric is that it is slightly sheer, so the stripes would show through and look weird. I cut the bodice pieces so they 100% mirrored each other – with each stripe color matching what was underneath, so they wouldn’t show through. I think it worked out pretty well. Also, I’m totally a lined knit bodice convert, at least in fabric this lightweight – it’s a very clean finish (all seams are inside the lining, woohoo), and it gives this drapey fabric a good bit of heft so the skirt isn’t stretching it out over the course of the day.

Moneta Dress

I made the size XS, with no alterations – although I guess I did shorten the skirt. The back is a little wide, but it doesn’t look bad so I’m not bothered by it.

Moneta Dress

There were a few firsts for me while making this dress! One, the aforementioned lined bodice – which I’d never done before on a knit, but it’s kind of a neat party trick how everything ends up on the inside. The instructions don’t tell you how to finish the neckline – just the arm holes (this lined version is intended to be worn with a collar, which I omitted. The other versions aren’t lined and just have you turn the neckline under and hem). After a bit of thinking, I figured out that they can be finished the same way as the arm holes. It’s a little tricky, but it works out quite nicely!

Also, the skirt is gathered with clear elastic before it’s actually sewn to the bodice. I actually thought that trick was pretty cool, because it means you get the elastic and gathering done in one fell swoop (without using basting stitches to gather, blech) and the elastic adds a nice support to the waistline, which, again, is important if you’re using a lightweight fabric that might try to stretch out if you don’t set some clear boundaries first.

Moneta Dress

Here it is without the belt. Man, this fabric! I bought this stuff while I was in NYC earlier this year – I think it’s from Fabrics for Less (I think?). It was very very cheap – like $5 a yard cheap – and the quality isn’t so great. It’s very lightweight, feels like there’s a lot of polyester in it, and it looks like it’ll start pilling soon. But, you know, sometimes we make stuff that isn’t meant to be an heirloom. Sometimes you just want a stripey dress because you saw Taylor Swift wearing one and, while you can’t stand that woman, you gotta admit that she has some cuuuute dresses. So there’s that.

Moneta Dress

The only thing I didn’t like about this pattern is that taping the PDF together was a bit of a nightmare. There are a shitload of pages, which results in a pretty big taped-up piece once it’s all assembled. What really bothered me is that a significant chunk of the pages were for the plus size block – and I dunno, it just felt wasteful to print them out and then immediately throw them away (not to mention, I’m a freak who had to tape them together first WHY). I’m not sure what the solution is to this – maybe have an option for printing either of the bodice blocks separately, so you can choose which one you want? If they were nested together, it would make more sense, but they were two separate blocks – plus the collar pieces had their own block too. Of course, I could look at the layout and decide beforehand which pages to print, but I never think that far in advance. Also, don’t tell me what to do.

Moneta Dress

As you can see, at this point I started getting bored with taking photos. But hey, check out that stripe-matching!

Moneta Dress

I also really love how navy my hair looks in these photos! Right after I dyed it, it was definitely this strange and exciting shade of neon electrical purple – which was cool, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. After a wash, the color faded just a smidge and now it’s straddling the line between navy and dark purple. I love it!

Moneta Dress

I definitely want to make more of this dress – I want to try it with sleeves, I want to try some of the downloadable collar options, and I want to experiment with swapping out that skirt. Oh, and I want to make some bodices into cropped sweaters. So many options here, people.

Moneta Dress
Moneta Dress

Here’s the gathered elastic waistband. Not too shabby!

Moneta Dress

And the twin-needled hem, which my machine fought valiantly with this particular fabric. As you can see, though, I won.

Moneta Dress

Moneta Dress

So, I guess it should be said that this particular pattern isn’t necessarily anything mind-bendingly different from many of the other knit dress patterns out there. And that’s fine – it’s a bodice and a skirt (and sleeves, if you want them), there’s not a whole lot you can variate from. Of all the knit dresses I’ve sewn (this, the aforementioned Out & About, and my beloved Lady Skater), the differences are subtle – a change in neckline, a different skirt, etc. While I personally love trying new patterns every single time (which is obviously easier when someone, you know, sends you the pattern gratis), I can totally understand being on a budget and/or not wanting to reinvent the wheel fitting-wise and needing to stick with one pattern that you make changes to. For what it’s worth – compared to my other knit dresses – he neckline on Moneta is more of boat than a scoop neck, the skirt is gathered, and I think the bodice is a little more hourglass-shaped. Also, the techniques used to put this dress together make it slightly more complicated than other knit patterns I’ve personally tried (again, lining, clear elastic, etc).

Stripey Shirt

Oh, and I also made a Briar tshirt with the remaining yardage, complete with one of the most beautiful knit bindings I have ever done.

Moneta Dress

I’m so happy I finally have my striped dream dress, yay! Love this pattern and I can’t wait to experiment more with different variations. And just a head’s up to the rest of y’all – but there’s a whole Sewalong for this dress, if you need the hand-holding. It’s actually being taught by Devon, so you know that shit is gonna be ace.