Tag Archives: Deer & Doe

Completed: The Bruyรจre Top

29 Dec

Now that’s one plaid flannel top that definitely doesn’t look like something a man would wear, amirite.

Deer & Doe Bruyere

This is the Bruyรจre top from Deer & Doe. I’ve actually had this pattern for quite a while – I bought it immediately after it’s release. I LOVE the cute and feminine twist it gives to a plain button down, and I knew it’d be beautiful in a plaid flannel. I’ve been sitting on it for this long because I haven’t been able to find the right plaid flannel – either the plaid was unbalanced (get out of my nightmare), or the colors were ugly, or the flannel was shitty. Or maybe a combination of the three. Either way, no Bruyรจre for me ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Deer & Doe Bruyere

This plaid flannel actually came from the same place that the pattern did – aaaaaall the way from Paris, France! Yup! It was the first piece of fabric I bought during my shopping spree, from Les รฉtoffes du Sentier. The shop had a 3 meter minimum, but it was only 5โ‚ฌ a meter and I figured 3 is a safe number for a button up, so I went with it. It’s a nice soft cotton plaid flannel and I like how the colors are so un-girly, especially with this pattern. And, bonus – even after plaid-matching, I have leftovers to make something else with! Yes!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

First, though, check out those matched side seams! Ahhh yeah!!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

And the other side!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

And the back!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

Hi!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

Seriously, though, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out (if you couldn’t tell ๐Ÿ˜› ). I cut the size 34, and the only fitting change I made was to remove a little bit of length from the peplum and sleeves, because I am so short. Other than that, it fits pretty well! I’m surprised at much much I like the collar – I was afraid it would look flat and dumb, but the flannel gives it some lovely body.

For cutting the plaid, I cut on the single layer and cut the waistbands, cuffs, placket and back yoke on the bias. Since the bias tends to stretch, I also cut my second yoke on the straight grain, as well as a second set of waistbands. Further, I interfaced my waistbands (to be really sure they don’t stretch out), as well as the cuffs, collar, and placket. I’m not sure why these aren’t included in the instructions, but my guess is to keep the overall look of the shirt very soft and unstructured. Which is fine, but, I do think anything that has a button will need a little extra help from interfacing. I’d definitely make some test button holes before you commit, at any rate!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

I spent a really long time trying to decide how to order the construction steps for this. The instructions are fine as they are – the process for attaching the placket/collar/facing is very clever (and clean!) and it works. However, I’m a diehard who wanted flat felled seams. In addition – I wasn’t 100% on the fit of the side seams, and I wanted to sew that last so I could tweak it after attaching the placket (when sewing flat felled shirt seams, once generally attaches the sleeves before sewing the side seams. Sewing a flat felled seam in the round just sounds like a painful thing I don’t want to do). Because of how the shirt is assembled per the instructions, you can’t really switch them out – you have to have the hem sewn to add the placket, but the side seams need to be sewn to add the hem. I know this sounds really vague and probably doesn’t make sense, but if you look at the instructions for this shirt vs ones for, say, the Negroni, it will. Anyway, this is what I ended up doing:
– I left the side seams open and sewed about 2″ of the shirt hem by the placket
– Followed the instructions for adding the collar, placket and facing
– Attached the sleeves with flat-felled seams
– Sewed the side seams with flat-felled seams
– Finished the remainder of the hem

That worked out great! My shirt is finished with flat-felled seams and it looks beaaaaaauuuutiful on the inside as well as the out ๐Ÿ˜€

Deer & Doe Bruyere

What else? Well, I added PEARL SNAPS. God, I love those things – nothing like being able to Hulk out of our clothes at the end of the day amirite. I feel like the very top needs a pearl snap (it’s not marked on the pattern), however, I couldn’t get the prongs through all the layers so no pearl snap there!

Deer & Doe Bruyere

Here’s the inside. I finished the edge of my facing with pinking shears – I think anything else would show a ridge on the right side. Of course, I probably should have first sewed a line of stitching before pinking, because it’s already fraying like crazy, but whatev.

Deer & Doe Bruyere

Deer & Doe Bruyere

I guess that’s it! Glad I finally got this finished – plaid flannel shirt of my dreamssss โ™ฅ

Deer & Doe Bruyere

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Just a couple days left until the end of the year – aiee!

Completed: Some Tshirts!

26 Sep

Oh hey, head’s up – this post is all cake and no frosting. No apologies, though! Lord knows I can never have enough Tshirts.

Rather than bore y’all with a bunch of posts featuring patterns I’ve made before, though, I’ve compiled a trio of 3 different tshirt patterns – ranging from Free to You Gotta Pay For That Shit – for science and comparison purposes. Who doesn’t love a good Tshirt debate, amirite? Also, I took these pictures before I redyed my hair, fyi. Just in case you were curious, haha.

LET’S TALK ABOUT TSHIRTS NOW, GUYS.

Plantain Tee

First up is the Plantain Tshirt, from Deer & Doe Patterns. This is that free pattern I was telling y’all about. This is a great beginner tshirt pattern – there aren’t a lot of pieces, it includes some new techniques for beginners (such as sewing the neck binding), the instructions are very clear, and the fitting is quite loose at the bottom. I was initially afraid that I wouldn’t like this shape on me AT ALL, but I’m surprised at how much I love it!

Plantain Tee
Plantain Tee

Even though it’s a free pattern, I think it’s far from being a “crappy” pattern, if that makes sense. The sizing is perfect – I sewed up a straight 34, with no tweaks. I used the last scraps of my black merino wool from Organic Cotton Plus to sew this up – I like how the wool gives the bottom some structure (and the wrinkles? Not as much a fan of those, but I’ll live :P). And it’s SO COZY. Cozy tshirts, FTW!

Plantain Tee

I did make a couple of changes to the design of the pattern itself – the main one being that seam that runs down the front and back of the top. This was done out of necessity, as I didn’t have enough fabric to cut on the fold. I simply added a seam allowance and created a CF and CB seam. I topstitched the seams so they’d look more intentional, ha. I also added cuffs to the sleeves – because, I dunno, I like them! There’s a bit of piecing at the neckline binding as well. Since I was making this out of leftover scraps, I didn’t have a long enough piece to cut continuous binding. I don’t think it’s that noticeable, and hell, I’ll deal with some seams if that means I get a merino wool top out of it amirite.

Stripey Renfrew

Next up is my tried-and-true tshirt allstar – the Renfrew from Sewaholic Patterns! I LOVE this pattern, a fact that I believe is pretty well documented. Renfrew is favored by me because I think it most resembles what we think of when we think of a tshirt – slightly fitted, set-in sleeves, and 3 neckline options (in addition to the scoop, there’s also a cowl and a v-neck), as well as sleeve length options. The pattern is written to have a band of self-fabric at the sleeve cuffs and hem, in addition to the neckline. I’ve found that I prefer to hem my tshirts (rather than use the fabric band), and some of the more casual ones I like to hem the sleeves as well. One thing to keep in mind – should you decide to join me in my tshirt anarchy – is to add that length to the sleeves and hem before you cut them out. Otherwise, they might end up short! Ask me how I know about THAT ๐Ÿ˜‰

Stripey Renfrew

Fitting-wise, this is a great pattern, although I did make a lot of tweaks to get to the point I am now. It’s been a long time since I tweaked, but if I recall – this is a size 0, with additional ease removed from the waist. I also shortened the shoulders a smidge and made them slightly narrower. All those tweaks paid off, because this is a pattern I reach for again and again when I need a tshirt. At any given time, if you see me in a tshirt – ask me if it’s a Renfrew, the answer will probably be yes! Seriously! Oh, and my fabric is a striped ponte from Mood Fabrics (the store, not online).

SJ Tee

The last top in this trifecta is the SJ Tee from Papercut Patterns. Another new-to-me top, and I admit this is more like a sweatshirt than a true tshirt (but mostly due to fabric choice). It’s kind of like a sexy sweatshirt, tbh – raglan sleeves and WHOA SCOOP NECK. Forreal, make this in something too stretchy and you’ll end up in boobie city. Again – want to ask me how I know about that? ๐Ÿ™‚ haha!

SJ Tee

I’m surprised at how much I like the fit of this, considering that I don’t normally go for things so loose. I did end up taking the CB in by about 1″ – I’d already sewn the neck binding in at that point, so the seam runs clear from the bottom to the top of the binding, oops. But that made a HUGE difference in the fit, especially at the back. I used the size XXS and – other than the chunk taken out of the CB – it’s relatively unchanged. Oh, and I did shorten the cuffs so they’d look more like a sweatshirt. The fabric I used here is the last of my wool knit from Mood Fabrics (the same knit I used to make my grey Jenna cardi), and I had JUST ENOUGH. It’s amazing how much I love such a simple sweatshirt, by the way – I’ve been wearing it every night. It’s so cozy!

Here are the three patterns as modeled on my form:
Plantain Tee
Plantain Tee

Stripey Renfrew
Renfrew Top

SJ Tee
SJ Tee

I think it’s really interesting how something so simple as a damn tshirt can yield such different results, based on pattern and fabric choice. These are all pretty basic designs in the grand scheme of things, but they’re different to stand on their own. Obviously there are many, many more tshirt patterns out there (off the top of my head, these come to mind: Ensis, Briar, Bronte, Coco, and Lord, don’t get me started on dresses that can be hacked into tees), but I stuck with these three because I feel they’re the most basic/versatile. Also, let’s be real – if I fall down a tshirt rabbit hole, it might be months before this post sees the light! Ha!

Stripey Renfrew

Out of all these, I think my favorite is the Renfrew, just because it’s so damn versatile and I love how it fits (not to mention, the slim fit is ideal for layering). It might also have something to do with the Renfrew being my first love – can’t ever abandon her now ๐Ÿ˜‰

I can’t stop thinking about that SJ tee too, though – I already have some future plans for her, including camel-colored boiled wool. Yum!

Plantain Tee

What’s your opinion on tshirt patterns? Do you have a favorite – and if so, dish please!

(psst! Don’t forget to enter the Sewtionary Giveaway, if you haven’t already done so! Entries close on Monday morning!)

Me-Made-May ’14: Week 5 Round-Up

30 May

Ahhhh, you guys! Me Made May (and thus, the daily photographs) is almost over! Can I get a FUCK YEAH!?

This is going to be a longer than usual round-up, because I went on vacation and obviously I had to change outfits a couple times each day. That’s what you do on vacation, right? ps, sorry in advance.

5/24
5/24, Saturday
Dress: Lady Skater
Shoes: Keds

First day of our vacation! Here we are en route to Santa Rosa Beach, at a food truck somewhere in Alabama. I knew we’d spend the day in the car, so I opted for a comfy knit dress. I’ve always thought this dress was very fall-like, due to the colors, but the fabric is definitely summer-appropriate as well ๐Ÿ™‚

5/25 pt. 1
5/25, Sunday I
Pajamas: Lakeside pajamas

I’ve been wearing various other me-mades throughout the month that haven’t made it into photos (workout wear, pajamas, leggings, underwear, etc), so here’s some proof! I brought two pairs of Lakeside pajamas to wear while on vacation – the ones you see here, plus a new set I made a couple days before (I used this cute strawberry print cotton lawn to make them, if you were wondering!)- and wore them all week. In addition to being awesome pajamas, they also make a great swimsuit cover-up! Although, to be fair, I started out wearing the set and ended up in only the shorts(+ bikini top, obvs) by the end of the week.

Speaking of bathing suits…

5/25, pt. 2
5/25, Sunday II
Swimsuit: Papercut Patterns Soma Swimsuit (no blog post on this… yet! But here’s the link to the pattern :))
Sunglasses: Franco Sarto
Hat: Scarlet Begonia

Hell yes I came with a handmade swimsuit! THREE, in fact! This is the first – the result of my pattern testing for Papercut Patterns a couple of months ago ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t had a chance to write up a proper blog post, but here’s a sneak preview ๐Ÿ™‚

5/25, pt. 3 (sorry! Last one for today)
5/25, Sunday III
Top: Refashioned from a men’s Hawaiian shirt
Shorts: Rite of Spring shorts
Shoes: Keds

After spending all afternoon at the beach (no, really, I laid up on a float and bobbed around in the ocean for hours and it was glorious), I reluctantly put on clothes and walked around the shops with Landon. I didn’t buy stuff, but I did buy liquor. Priorities, y’all.

Also, that shirt. This is the third vacation I’ve dragged it to (and no shit, I literally wore that same outfit last May HAHAAHAHA whatever, it’s good, I’m not apologizing for shit), so it’s basically my official vacation shirt at this point. Unfortunately, it’s also way too big now. My alterations were pretty shoddy (it was a very last-minute job), and I’m thinking I may just need to send it to the nice Goodwill Bin in the sky at this point.

5/26, pt. 1- my other @papercutpatterns Soma bikini + a photo bombing niece  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/26, Monday I
Swimsuit: Papercut Patterns Soma Swimsuit
Sunglasses: Franco Sarto
Hat: Scarlet Begonia

Exact same get-up as the day before, but check out how different it turned out! This is version 2 of the Soma Swimsuit, and the second one I tested (yeah, I tested both. I wasn’t asked to, but after making the first one I kind of went crazy. I almost made 3, tbh). I used this version to play with stripes and decorative elastic, and I LOVE how it turned out. Seriously, my favorite swimsuit ever! Again, expect a blog post on these bad boys soon ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh yeah, and that bratty kid in the background is my niece ๐Ÿ™‚ I told her she could photobomb my picture and she sure did me proud.

5/26, pt. 2- dress: Sewaholic Lonsdale; shoes: Fergalicious.  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/26, Monday II
Dress: Sewaholic Lonsdale
Shoes: Fergalicious

I wore this for a dinner out with my parents+Landon’s parents (the first time they met! It went very well :)), and unfortunately forgot to take a photo until right before bed. Oh well! Also, I love this dress and I should totally make it again.

5/27, pt. 1- swimsuit: closet case files bombshell  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/27, Tuesday I
Swimsuit: Closet Case Files Bombshell
Sunglasses: Franco Sarto
Hat: Scarlet Begonia

Last bathing suit! This is one I made last year, and I still love it ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially good for those days when I realized I’ve just been drinking beer and eating key lime pie all weekend and oh god it’s time for the beach. Hahahaha!!

5/27 forgot to upload this yesterday! Drinking wine in Seaside, FL :) top: thrifted; skirt: Tilly's Miette (tie-less); shoes: Fergalicious #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/27, Tuesday II
Shirt: Thrifted
Skirt: Tilly’s Miette
Shoes: Fergalicious

Post beach, Landon and I spent the afternoon in Seaside, checking out the cute houses, the shops, and drinking free wine (the best part!). Again, with the top – that’s another unofficial vacation top (that I bought… 3 years ago, at the Goodwill on Santa Rosa Beach, ha!) that’s about to get the Goodwill shaft. It’s just too big ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

5/28 channeling my inner mermaid before heading back to Tennessee โ˜€๏ธ top: Megan Nielsen cropped briar; skirt: Megan Nielsen cascade.  #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/28, Wednesday
Top: Cropped Briar
Skirt: Cascade

Last day on the beach! I thought it would be fun to take the photos of my Cascade by the cascading waves (you can’t even tell in this picture but they were AMAZING that day!). The wind was blowing like crazy, and I think it makes for a really cool picture ๐Ÿ™‚ This picture also vaguely reminds me of <a href="this picture from the Little Prince, which makes me happy ๐Ÿ™‚

5/29 dress: deer & doe Belladone; shoes: Sam Edelman; necklace: Fabu #mmm14 #mmmay14
5/29, Thursday
Dress: Belladone
Shoes: Sam Edelman
Necklace: Fabu

Back to Nashville! It was at this point that I realized we were almost at the end of May – and I haven’t worn some of my favorite stuff! So out comes the Belladone ๐Ÿ™‚ I tried to style this a little differently than usual – I generally wear it with brown or yellow, but I do like the red ๐Ÿ™‚

5/30
5/30, Friday (today!)
Dress: Simplicity 1803
Belt: Thrifted
Necklace: Chatterblossom
Shoes: Born

My other favorite dress – and our star pattern for the OAL. I love this pattern and I’m glad I finally have a reason to buckle down and make another! Which reminds me – the sewalong starts on Monday! Eep! ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of which – those of you who are participating, do you feel like you need a post that covers fabric selection? I was planning on skipping straight ahead to cutting and marking, since I figured most everyone’s already chosen their fabric (and thus makes a post on fabric selection a moot point) – not to mention a lot of y’all are sewing different patterns (which means different fabric requirements) – but you tell me!

Sooo I guess that’s almost it for Me Made May! We do have one more day of the month (and you bet I’ll be wearing me-mades and begrudgingly taking a photo, ha), but I’m not going to include it in this round-up because it doesn’t fit with my ~schedule~. Sorry! If you want to view the rest of the weeks, here they are:
Me-Made May: Week 1
Me-Made-May: Week 2
Me-Made-May: Week 3
Me-Made-May: Week 4
I also have a Flickr Album of all my MMM photos, if that’s more your jam.
If you’re sick of looking at me, that’s ok too – I’m sick of looking at myself at this point :B

I am glad I participated this year, because I definitely learned a lot about what’s lurking in my closet – namely, that there is WAY more than I think there is! Seriously, so many pieces didn’t even make it out this month, and that’s kind of sad considering I only repeated one skirt and a couple of tshirts. I’ve had some size fluctuations over the past couple of years, which means a lot of my summer wear doesn’t fit anymore (and while I altered some of it – such as the Simplicity dress I’m wearing today – a whole bunch of it got sold/donated instead). After that giant purge, I was under the impression that I didn’t have a lot left to wear in warm weather – which is clearly not the case! With that being said, despite my overabundance of clothing, there are still tons of pieces that my wardrobe is lacking. I’ve got plans to make more separates, including shorts (gah, I can’t believe I didn’t wear shorts once this month, wtf?) and tshirts, as well as workout wear, loungewear, and more bathing suits! Serious question… how many bathing suits is too many? They are REALLY fun to make, ok.

How did your Me-Made-May turn out (if you participated)? Did you learn anything life-changing about your closet? Are you SO sick of taking photos? ๐Ÿ™‚

Ohh, I almost forgot – I promised y’all outtakes! Let’s revel in the unflattery together:

MMM'14- Outtakes
Most of my photos end up looking like this haha. I dunno why, but I always close my eyes when the picture is being taken (not to mention… whatever my mouth is doing. I guess I was in the middle of talking haha. OK FINE I BASICALLY NEVER SHUT UP)

MMM'14- Outtakes
If anyone happens to see where I left my arm, I’d appreciate your help.

MMM'14- Outtakes
Original photobomb did it better

MMM'14- Outtakes
Look at the fear in Amelia’s eyes hahahahahaha

MMM'14- Outtakes
I just think this is cute. Amelia doesn’t care much for being held (despite my consistent grabby hands at her), but she loooves having her butt scratched.

MMM'14- Outtakes
Hey, that’s almost a good picture! Until you zoom in a bit…

MMM'14- Outtakes
That, my friends, is the face of a cat who’s completely given up on life.

MMM'14- Outtakes
Ok, this is my favorite outtake and the one that made me laugh the hardest. This is a really unflattering picture of both of us – I’m pulling some kind of weird face (again, seriously, probably in the middle of talking) and Amelia just looks PISSED.

MMM'14- Outtakes
If that doesn’t look like the devil incarnate, I don’t know what does.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Completed: A Belladone for Bicycling

9 Sep

Ok, time to confess something really dorky: I’ve been looking for the perfect bicycle-print fabric for years now. It’s actually become something of an obsessive manhunt – trying to avoid the quilting cottons, the cruisers and penny farthings, the hideous color combinations. You’d think with bicycles being these super cutesy Pinterest-approved photo prop (forreal, I’m sick of looking at pictures of people using their bikes as props! Ride that shit already!), there would be a bigger selection of this type of print. You’d think. I never found it, though.

UNTIL RECENTLY.

bicycle fabric

Isn’t this biciclette fabric adorable?? It’s from Bubiknits‘ shop on Spoonflower. I’ve always wanted to try my hand with a piece of Spoonflower fabric – but honestly, every time I try to browse the choices, I get overwhelmed with so many options. And I’m not gonna try to design my own because, ha, no. Let’s just not even discuss. So when Giusy emailed me and asked if I would like a couple of yards of any fabric from her shop as a gift, I immediately zeroed in on that bicycle print in organic cotton sateen. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, except that it would be a dress.

Bicycly Belladone

A Belladone, to be exact!

Bicycly Belladone

I should apologize in advance for how bad these pictures ended up. Turns out white doesn’t photograph too well in bright sunlight. Who woulda thought? Just imagine the bicycles and we will get to the close-ups soon enough.

Bicycly Belladone

Obviously, this ain’t my first Belladone rodeo. That stripey dress is actually 100% the reason why I decided to make my bicycle dress with the same pattern – it is my favorite dress to cycle in! It’s very comfortable, the skirt is the perfect width needed for riding (but not so floofy that it causes wardrobe malfunctions) and I like to think that it’s pretty enough that it makes the Mary Poppins Effect a reality on my commute. Plus, the dress is finished with bias tape – visible or invisible – which I thought would provide a nice contrast against the white/yellow of the main fabric. As much as I love the colorway, it unfortunately washes me out, so I needed something a little darker to sit next to my face.

Bicycly Belladone

I can’t really say I started this dress with any real direction in mind. Originally, I wanted the contrast to be turquoise, but when I actually got the fabrics side-by-side, I didn’t like the look of the two colors together… too light for my tastes. Navy seemed like the perfect choice (and yes – that’s navy. I know it looks black, but it’s navy.). I used leftover navy cotton sateen from my lace trench (I swear, that fabric… it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. I STILL HAVE MORE OF IT, TOO) and made a few yards of bias tape to enclose all the edges along the top of the dress. I actually applied all this bias tape by hand, so the stitches would be invisible. I think it adds a bit of polish to the overall effect, even if it did mean making this dress took twice as long. I also applied a strip of interfacing to each diagonal edge, as well as staystitching, to make sure the edges don’t get distorted over time.

Bicycly Belladone

Of course, taking a light dress and adding dark trim to the bodice meant that the thing ended up looking top-heavy. I added more dark contrast to the waistband, as well as a couple of inches above the hem, which I think ties the dress together. To finish, I added 2 self-covered buttons at the center front.

Bicycly Belladone

It’s so perfect, I could marry it.

Bicycly Belladone

And the back! Don’t you love the back!?

Bicycly Belladone

One more picture, sorry ๐Ÿ™‚

Bicycly Belladone

Here you can see the bicycles! Aren’t they sweet ๐Ÿ™‚

Bicycly Belladone

Since I’d already made this pattern before, I didn’t need to make any major modifications (other than the aforementioned contrast additions). I did sew the side seams at the waist with a 1/2″ seam allowance (instead of the pattern’s 5/8″); I noticed that my stripey dress can get a little tight if I’ve eaten a lot of food, so an extra bit of wiggle room is appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚

Bicycly Belladone

I also pressed the pleats so they were centered over the stitching lines (instead of pressed to one side). This gives them more of a box-pleat look, as opposed to a soft tuck.

Bicycly Belladone

Can you see the stitching on the outside, huh, can you? NEITHER CAN I!

Bicycly Belladone

Bicycly Belladone

The inside waistband is faced with more bicycles ๐Ÿ™‚ And yay, yellow zipper!

Bicycly Belladone

Sewing that strip of navy around the bottom was super easy. I sewed on my hem facing as usual, then centered the seam binding over the stitching and stitched it down on both sides.

Bicycly Belladone

Working with this fabric was an absolute dream – and wearing it is even better ๐Ÿ™‚ I know Spoonflower’s fabrics tend to skew toward the pricey side, but this is some good stuff – organic cotton sateen with the subtlest sheen, the colors are rich and saturated, and it’s very easy to sew and press. Plus, the design choices! Gah!

Bicycly Belladone

Thank you again, Giusy, for the amazing fabric! If anyone was wondering… yes, I have taken this dress for a bike ride, and yes, it was a little magical ๐Ÿ˜‰

One last thing – and I swear, it’s important – I just heard through the grapevine that Colette Patterns is running in second place in the Martha Stewart American Made Competition. The #1 spot is currently being held by a scrapbooking company, boo! If you’ve got a minute to spare, go vote for them (you can login with your Facebook if you’re lazy like me, and you do not have to be a US resident to cast a vote!). Colette Patterns will be dumping the entire $10k prize back into their employees as bonuses, which is pretty fucking amazing and I think totally deserving of winning. Plus, do we really want to see them get beat out by a scrapbooking company? NOPE!

Go forth and vote! Every little checkmark counts ๐Ÿ˜‰

Completed: The Bella-Jean Dress

6 Sep

A couple of months ago (gah, has it been that long??), Abby from Bluegingerdoll Patterns hollered at me and asked if I wanted to try and review her maiden pattern, the Billie Jean dress.

Well, y’all know how I feel about reviewing patterns – especially when they are pretty, vintage-inspired silhouettes!

Bella-Jean

So obviously, I said yes.

Bella-Jean

The style lines on this dress are a little difficult to see since I used such a busy print (but isn’t that print amazing?) to make it up, but it’s a very fitted, princess-seamed bodice that falls off the shoulders. The pattern actually has two skirt variations – one, a sexy wiggle skirt with a kick pleat; and two, a full, gathered skirt with in-seam pockets.

Bella-Jean

I ended up swapping the skirt out for an entirely different option, as you can see. While I love both of the skirts included in the pattern, I know that wiggle skirts are not in any way appropriate for my daily life (I need something that I can really move around in – from cycling, to sitting on the floor, to jumping in the bed of my truck to retrieve the coat hanger I keep back there since I seem to lock myself out of the fucking cab EVERY WEEK THESE DAYS, sorry, pls don’t break in my truck. There’s nothing worth stealing in there; seriously, I don’t even have a tape deck. Where was I going with this? Oh.), and gathered skirts just are not very flattering on me. When I don’t find a dress comfortable, I basically just never wear it – and I wanted to wear this dress!

Bella-Jean

Can you guess where that pattern came from? Hint: It’s in the name.

Bella-Jean

If you guessed Belladone, you’d be correct! If you think “Bella-Jean” is the most hilarious, redneck sounding name, let me just assure you that I feel very clever right now.

Bella-Jean

Attaching the skirt to the bodice took a little bit of extra thought, but not much. First, I knew I wanted to leave the pockets off (as I type this, I can hear the collective gasp of sewers around the world sucking in their breath and clutching their pearls as I dared to remove the blessed pocket but forreal, there would have been way way way too much going on with an already busy dress, yeah?), so I just taped the pocket pieces to the front skirt pattern piece to fill the pocket-shaped hole, then cut the pieces out of my fabric. I moved the pleats slightly to get them to match up with the front princess seams, which was as easy as pushing the fold down a few fractions of an inch. Getting the back darts to match the back princess seams was also necessary, although I didn’t realize it until I’d already sewn the skirt to the bodice. Doh! I almost said fuck it and let it be, but it looked reeeally bad, so I unpicked and redistributed. Miraculously, the skirt fits the bodice almost exactly – and by sewing the side seams of the skirt with 1/2″ seam allowance (which is the same seam allowance for the bodice), it was a perfect fit. All the seams match up. Yay!

Bella-Jean

As much as I like to try and make my garments as true as to what the pattern was designed as, sometimes I think ya just gotta make some ~design changes~ so the finished piece fits your lifestyle. And, you know, you actually wear it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bella-Jean

Now that I’ve gone off on a few tangents, let’s get back to Billie Jean The Bodice!

Bella-Jean

Putting this shit together was DELIGHTFUL. I mean it! I made a little quickie muslin-top (always good to check the fit when you’re trying a new-to-you pattern company – you don’t want to discover far too late that the body type they base their pattern block off is the exact opposite of your body!), but I ended up not needing any changes as it was a perfect fit straight out of the envelope. This is a size 4, and I gotta warn ya – make sure you check those finished measurements before you cut! There is basically NO ease in this pattern, which means a very close fit. Obviously, this is exactly how I like to wear my dresses, so I was pretty chuffed to be able to actually cut the pattern that matched my measurements, without sizing down. But if you need more ease, consider sizing up ๐Ÿ™‚

Bella-Jean

Construction-wise, I did not make any changes to the bodice. The instructions are a bit brief, but there are clear diagrams (as well as a full sewalong on Abby’s blog, should you need it!) and the pattern itself is very simple to put together. My only advice is to make sure you stay-stitch that neckline so it doesn’t stretch all crazy out of shape, and don’t be afraid to be aggressive with your clipping and notching on the princess seams to get them to lie flat.

Bella-Jean

The pattern has you insert a lapped zipper, instead of the usual invisible. Y’all know I like me some lapped zips ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bella-Jean

One thing I should point out is that the straps are NOT bra-friendly without a little bit of tweaking. Personally, I just go strapless – I found one that fits my ribcage, so I think it is quite comfortable. However, I know most people don’t feel the same way I do about strapless bras – and that’s ok! But you will need to make some changes to get the straps to work with a bra if that’s the case. Abby has written a tutorial on redrafting the straps so they are cover your bra; alternately, Anna added bra strap carriers to her Billie Jean.

Bella-Jean

It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but the shoulder straps have the cutest little detail where they widen a bit at the top of your shoulder. I think that’s my favorite thing about this dress!

Bella-Jean

I’m a little bummed that I couldn’t get the waist seam to match up perfectly at the zipper – must’ve fudged something up, somewhere. But hey, look at how good those darts match up with the princess seams, yeah? ~Like MAGIC.

Bella-Jean

Isn’t this fabric just gorgeous? I bought it earlier this year from Muna Couture (who also sells lots of amazing fabrics, drool). It is the softest Italian cotton, and the colors are so saturated. I actually bought a SHIT load of this stuff… so this won’t be the last time you see it ๐Ÿ˜‰ My bodice is lined with black cotton batiste and I used a lilac zipper, because.

Bella-Jean

Since the Belladone skirt hits perfect LT-length as is, I added the facing at the bottom. I never really sewed skirt facings before I started dabbling into Deer & Doe, but I really love the way they look!

Bella-Jean

If you love Billie Jean as much as I do, you are gonna shit yourselves when you see Abby’s newest pattern, Mae. Just warning you.

Also, if you were wondering where the remote went for these pictures, the battery died right at the beginning of my shoot. Notice how confused I look in that last picture (which was actually the first picture I took), ha!

Completed: A Stripey Belladone

29 Jul

Oh noes, you guys – I’m running out of fabric from the huge haul I bought at Mood in NYC. Can you believe it? I only have two pieces left! What happened! WHEN DO I GET TO RESTOCK?

Belladone Dress

I am happy to say that the striped cotton I bought finally found a home in a new dress. Yay!

Belladone Dress

I actually had different plans for this fabric, but then Elรฉonore sent me the Belladone dress pattern and my plans immediately changed. Stripes are PERFECT for this dress – you have so many fun stripey placement options! And y’all know how much I love playing with stripe direction ๐Ÿ˜‰

Belladone Dress

I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am with how this dress turned out. Sometimes when I’m going crazy with my stripe (or plaid, for that matter) directions, I start to wonder if I’m going to end up with a giant clusterfuck in the end. Fortunately, I think this one turned out pretty perfect – there’s plenty of interest, but it won’t make you dizzy if you stare at it too long!

Belladone Dress

My Belladone is a size 34, with no alterations except a few tucks at the back to get it to lie flat (I’ll talk more about that in a minute). I went with the invisible bias trim – which is topstitched in white – as I didn’t want a bunch of contrast competing with the stripes. The upper back pieces are cut on the cross grain because I liked that stripe placement better, and the waistband is cut in four pieces on the bias, and then pieced together. I also interfaced the waistband because I was afraid the bias would distort over time – it’s pretty fitted. Otherwise, the dress is basically sewn straight out of the envelope -length and all!

Belladone Dress

I love this dress! Look, it has pockets!

Belladone Dress

And a cool back cut-out!

Belladone Dress

Belladone Dress

The stripes made some cool chevrons down the sides, ha.

Belladone Dress

This is a fairly simple pattern to make, but be warned that the back may take a little finessing to get a perfect fit. You want it to lie perfectly flat – no gaping! I’ve noticed that most reviews tend to not need any adjusting, so I think I may be a bit of a rarity in needing it – I also have a pretty small back (I wear a 30 band, fyi), so most stuff is big on me anyway.

Belladone Dress - Adjustments

I made a muslin of the bodice – zipper and all – and pinned out the excess at the upper back when I tried it on. Obviously, this is kind of difficult to do without assistance – but it’s totally doable, I mean, I did it. I just kind of eyeballed it, took the top off, pinned at my guesstimate, and tried it on. Over and over (ok, it was like twice, haha). A dressform would be helpful for this, but mine has a bigger back than I do sooo I had to do it the hard way. Anyway, once I pinned out my excess (and then sewed up tiny darts and tried it on a final time), I measured the amount I needed to take out.
(Also, I just realized I was drinking out of an American Pride coffee mug while working on a French pattern. lolz.)

Belladone Dress - Adjustments

To make the adjustment to your pattern (since you don’t want darts in that piece, you want it nice and smooth), just slash right up the middle of the piece and leave a little hinge. Overlap the edges by however much you need to take out (I think mine was 1/4″, not much) and then tape it down. Make sure the line is smooth and straight, and you’re done!

I also ended up overlapping the upper back pieces an additional 1/2″, as well as taking about 1/4″ out of the center back seam (along the zipper).

Belladone Dress

The back looks pretty good, though, yeah?
Ignore the lump at the waist of the zipper, I had a lot of bulk there, so the zipper doesn’t want to lie flat! Wah!

Belladone Dress

Stripessss!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Belladone Dress - Necklace from Chatter Blossom :)

Oh, and check out my new necklace! This is from ChatterBlossom, my newest sponsor! Jamie has some of the prettiest reclaimed vintage pieces I’ve come across (and enviable hair to boot, I mean, ugh, that’s EXACTLY what I wanted mine to do when I cut it short!!), and I love that she gives each of them a story. I picked a couple of pieces from her shop – and that was hard, there are soo many things in there that I need – and I am so happy with what I got. This necklace is Egyptian, circa 1880-1918. I’ve really gotten sucked into Egyptian history lately (the pyramids! Nefertiti! The Spinx! Aliens!! lol just kidding on that last one :P), so I’m really excited about this little treasure. Fair warning: I’ve worn this every day since I received it, and I don’t plan on taking it off. You’ll be seeing this necklace a lot, jsyk.

Anyway, back to Belladone…

Belladone Dress
Belladone Dress

Even though my bias tape is invisible from the outside, I still wanted it to be pretty – so I used polka dot bias tape ๐Ÿ™‚ I used the bias tape left over from my Blue Lace Robson (and I still have more of this stuff, it’s like the gift that keeps on giving haha). I also faced the waistband with a piece of navy cotton sateen (also from that same lace coat, gah), since I didn’t want the interfacing all up in my biz. Unfortunately, the sateen is a bit heavy, which is why the zipper is lumpy at the waistline. Oh well, live and learn!
Oh god, ignore that rogue navy thread on the upper back btw.

Belladone Dress

I’m pretty happy with how this dress turned out – it’s fabulous on it’s own, and I think the navy stripes will also look good with different colors, such as yellow and kelly green. The dress is perfect for bike riding, even if it does give me a funny tan line ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ha! Worth it ๐Ÿ™‚