Tag Archives: elizabeth suzann

Completed: The Ebony Tee

4 Apr

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

Cropped Ebony Tee

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

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

Cropped Ebony Tee

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

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

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

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

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

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

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

Cropped Ebony Tee

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

Cropped Ebony Tee

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

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

Advertisements

Completed: The Mélilot shirt

5 Dec

Hey guys, New Favorite Outfit alert!

Mélilot shirt - front

This is the Mélilot shirt from Deer & Doe Patterns. I vaguely remember when this pattern came out – although I didn’t give it more than a second glance (the main version you see on their website is long sleeved, with dropped shoulders and a peter pant collar. It’s very nice, but it’s not really my style). Once I started googling around for the short sleeved version, though – I decided it was super cute and that I wanted to make it in a lovely drapey silk.

(It feels so redundant to talk about silk… I should just dub my 30s “The Silk Decade” because I feel like it’s ALL I sew now haha)

Mélilot shirt - front

Mélilot shirt - side

Mélilot shirt- back

Mélilot shirt- back

I sewed Version B, with the short sleeves, and used the hidden placket from Version A. My shirt is a size 34 (which is what I usually sew from this company) with no alterations to size or length. The instructions were reasonably easy to follow, although the hidden placket info was a bit sparse and took some head scratching before I really figured it out (and don’t ask me for a tutorial, bc I don’t remember exactly what I did haha)

My fabric is an olive green / brown (depending on the light you are in, ha) silk charmeuse with the slightest amount of stretch, from Mood Fabrics. I bought this at the store while I was in NYC in November, with the intention on making this pattern with it. I used the matte side for the body, and the shiny side for the collar stand, pockets, and sleeve bands. It’s a very subtle contrast, but I love the way it looks. I use a Spray Stabilizer on my fabric, which made it easier to cut and eventually sew. One thing I have learned with fabrics like this is to leave the pockets off until the garment is completed. I don’t know what it is – but every time I put the pockets on, the end up super crooked and I have to unpick them and re-sew. Maybe it’s how the garment hangs off my body, maybe I’m just an idiot WHO KNOWS. But I had the same crooked pocket problem with this top (I took a photo, but you couldn’t really tell… but trust me, it was bad in person. Even my mother, who thinks I’m the great sewer ever, laughed when she saw it), so next time I’m just going to wait till the end. No sense in doing things twice!

I will admit that the color of this shirt is kind of ugly… but it definitely works really well with my coloring. How awesome that the doo-doo colors suit me best. Ha.

Mélilot shirt - front

Mélilot shirt- back

Mélilot shirt - front

I just love the fluid drape of this fabric, and the way the little sleeve bands stick up. I am not normally a fan of these deep curved hems, but I think it works well with the style of the shirt. Same with the pockets – this shirt definitely needs the pockets, or else it looks really unbalanced in a bad way. I am thinking this will be a good shirt to take with me to Egypt – it covers my shoulders and butt, and I can button it up pretty high for modesty.

Mélilot shirt - on dressform

Mélilot shirt - on dressform

Mélilot shirt - sleeve detail

Mélilot shirt - hidden placket detail

Mélilot shirt- hidden placket detail

The pattern calls for lined pockets, which makes it easier to get identical, crisp curves on both pockets. For buttons, I actually used the wrong side of a bunch of those shell/mother of pearl buttons that I found in my stash. The back side is a little matted and kind of a taupe color, which went really well with the fabric. Due to the covered placket, you only see a couple of buttons anyway. Oh, and as always – the inside seams (you know, all 2 of them haha) are French seams. FYI, watch those seam allowances if you make this pattern and omit the French seams – because I’m pretty sure the side seams are only 1/2″. The pattern instructs you to sew French seams for these seams, with two passes at 1/4″, which doesn’t add up the standard 5/8″ seam allowance on the rest of the pieces. Just a thought! Also, I always trim down my first pass to like 1/8″ before sewing the second pass, as it ensures that the seam allowance it caught in that stitching. Ain’t nobody got time for hairy seams amirite.

Mélilot shirt - front

That’s all! A pretty simple shirt, but the silk makes it feel super fancy. I am wearing it with my Cecila Pants from Elizabeth Suzann. Y’all, these are magic pants. The denim is suuuuuper stretchy and comfy, and has a fantastic recovery – I can wear these several times before they need a wash to shrink back up. And while I didn’t personally make these pants – I can tell you exactly who did. Her name is Colette 😉

Completed: Marlborough Bras for Spring (also some life-y updates, yay)

5 May

I say this every time I post about this subject, but I love making bras. Hell, I really love not having to buy bras. I just realized the last bra I actually purchased was when I was in London back in 2014. Pretty sweet!

Anyway, I don’t have a new bra pattern to share or even new techniques to talk about… so this post is going to be a repeat of most of my other lingerie-making posts. I really like how these turned out, though, which is why I’m showing you them! I used the same pattern for both bras – the Marlborough from Orange Lingerie – which is one of my favorite patterns to use (I also looove the Boylston, which is a foam cup – and don’t worry, I have a post for that to share next week HAHA). I love this pattern because it’s comfortable and supportive, fits me well with some very minor adjustments, and I think the shape is just beautiful. The fabric cups are really soft and natural looking (you better be ok with the world knowing that you are cold, though. I decided that was not something I was going to worry about anymore haha) and you can make it out of a really awesome variety of fabrics. After a lot of Marlboroughs, I’ve learned that my favorite fit comes from woven fabrics that are backed with sheer cup lining. I like slightly narrower straps (3/8″ or 1/2″, as opposed to the recommended 3/4″ for DD+) and a 3 row hook & eye. I use the size 30D.

Also, because I get this question ALL THE TIME – this is a fantastic beginner bra pattern. At least, it was for me! I’ve made some soft bras in the past, but this is the first “proper” bra pattern I ever made – with underwires and all that fun. The instructions are very clear and you can buy a kit that includes everything you need to make it. If you want more info on making bras, check out this post I wrote last year 😉

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Bra #1 is really simple! I bought this sheer black polka dot mesh netting from Blackbird Fabrics (it appears to be sold out, but here is some in the white colorway), and Caroline threw in a black findings kit as a little bonus with my order. I can’t remember where I bought the sheer cup lining (I just got a lot of it so I have a big stash that I dip into haha) but it’s either from Blackbird Fabrics or Bra Maker’s Supply. Both are stores with I highly recommend, especially for their kits! Unfortunately, they’re both based in Canada which is a shipping bummer for us in the US. I’ve recently gone all up Tailor Made Shop‘s butt these days, and I’ve been really happy with everything I’ve received. And she is based in the US, so yay!

Anyway, back to the bra!

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Since the fabric was pretty flimsy on it’s own, with a little more stretch than I needed, I lined every piece with black sheer cup lining- including the top where one would normally put lace. I thought about leaving that part sheer, but I think I made a good choice because I do like the resulting fit! Because all the pieces were lined, I was able to encase all the seams inside the layers, so the inside is very clean and makes me happy.

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

For the back, I used firm black power mesh on a single layer.

Flat bra shots:

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

Sheer black polka dot Marlborough bra

All right, now for the second bra!

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Bra #2 is definitely a bit wilder in terms of color, and yes it looks suspiciously like another Marlborough I made last year don’t you dare judge me 🙂 The fabric was given to me by Annessa – she was showing me something she made with it and I about lost my mind over how beautiful it was. So she offered to send me some scraps, which OF COURSE I accepted because I can totally sew a bra out of scraps! The lace is from Blackbird Fabrics – it was part of that aforementioned order – and the notions are just a bunch of stuff I pulled out of my stash (I think the strapping and gold hardware are from Tailor Made Shop, actually). I had fun putting this one together in terms of what colors to use – there are so many colors in the fabric, and I have collected a lot of elastics over the past couple of years! In the end, I went with white everything except the underarm elastic, which I think is really pretty.

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Cutting the fabric was a bit of a bear because I was trying to place the colors with a bit of thoughtfulness, but I think it turned out ok! Honestly, I didn’t really like the way this looked when I first finished it – it seemed a bit chaotic with all the colors and piecing everywhere. But I’ve worn it a few times and have really grown to love it!

Same as with the black version, I underlined all the pieces with sheer cup lining (this time in white), except I did not underline the lace. I did stabilize the edge with a piece of navy powermesh selvedge. I think that looks and feels better than using clear elastic.

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

The back is pretty boring, although it does have purple topstitching 🙂 I just used firm powermesh for the back pieces, again, one layer.

And the flat shots:

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

Floral/lace Marlborough bra

The inside definitely doesn’t look as good as the black one. For one, my dark topstitching doesn’t work with the white interior (go figure?). I should have threaded two machines but I was feeling lazy (although I did at least put white in the bobbin when I sewed the band elastic). Further, I should have changed out that pink serging thread for white – or better, made that open seam the one right below the cups, as it would have been covered by the underwire casing and elastic. Whatever!

So those are the bras! Now let’s talk about meeeee!! I’ve already mentioned most of this stuff on Instagram, but I realize that a lot of y’all probably don’t use/follow me on Insta, and also, I can just go into more detail here!

First of all – as of March, I am no longer working for Elizabeth Suzann. Everything is fine between us – I just got a really good offer for another job that I couldn’t refuse (and unfortunately, I can’t do both because there are only so many hours in the day). More on that in a sec! I absolutely love love LOVED working for Elizabeth – her and her husband, Chris, are some of the best bosses I’ve ever had, and my coworkers were just fucking amazing. I had so much fun on the days that I worked there, and I never really felt like it was a job. Every day was different, and I liked challenging myself to do things faster while still being accurate. Of course, it helps to be somewhere where you feel appreciated and valued, which I certainly did! Liz is always looking for fabulous new seamstresses, by the way, so if you’re in Nashville and have some sewing skills, you should definitely apply! I can’t say enough good things about the company or the people who work there. I offered to help as a freelancer whenever they are overloaded with orders – so we’ll see, I just may be back from time to time 😉

So, hey, the new gig! I am now working at Craft South, which is an ADORABLE little crafty shop that Anna Maria Horner opened in Nashville about a year ago. We sell fabric, yarn, Janome sewing machines (which means I will definitely be buying a coverstitch at some point this year, hellz yea), embroidery and weaving supplies, handmade/locally made gifts, and just a general assortment of craft-based merchandise. My official title is “Education Coordinator,” which means I’ll be handling all the class stuff – scheduling and coordinating, planning, making samples, etc. I’m working alongside Anna and we have got some super awesome stuff in the plans for this summer! I’m also teaching Beginner Garment Basics classes – next up is this Breezy Caftan on 5/12 – and whatever else I can dream up, cos guys, I love teaching sewing 🙂 ALSO, I’ll be manning the registers and fabric cutting like a normal retail shop person on Tuesdays and Fridays – so if you’re in Nashville, stop by and say hi! Take a class! Support the local fabric store! You might even run into Anna Maria Horner herself, who is way cooler than I am 🙂

FINALLY, one more big change coming up – don’t laugh, but I’m moving! AGAIN! (and if this doesn’t surprise you – dude, get in line, literally everyone I’ve told this to replied with, “Yeah I was waiting for this to happen” haha) Honestly, I really love the house I live in and my living situation is totally ace (I’m in the middle of the woods with my best friend, so it’s like constant BFF night over here), but the reality is that I don’t like living so far from the city. If I could pick this house up and plop it back down into Nashville, I absolutely would… but that’s not how life works. My commute from Kingston Springs to Nashville is about 30 miles one way, which I’ve learned is absolutely killer for me. I hate it!! I miss being in biking distance of my job! I miss ordering takeout (lol jk I never order takeout or delivery but HELLO OPTIONS ARE NICE)! I miss having a 10 minute / 5 mile commute. These are things that are important to me. I’ve felt stuck here for a while now, because Nashville has gotten outrageously expensive now that everyone is moving here (btw – if you’re thinking about moving here, don’t. We’re full.). However, this new job has literally afforded me the opportunity to get out and back into the city. So I found an apartment in West Nashville (where I was before I moved out here, and also, my favorite area!) and I’m moving in mid-June! Yay! That means a new sewing room will eventually be in the works, too 🙂 I’m not sure how I’ll manage blog pictures since I don’t really like doing the tripod/timer thing in public, but eh, I’ll figure that out when I get to it. At any rate, if things get a little quiet here in June… that’s why. As a side note, I’m cleaning out my closets in anticipation for the downsize in housing, and I’ve listed a few of my handmades that I don’t wear on Etsy. Most have already sold, but there are 2 things still listed if you are interested – you can check out my shop here. Someone give these handmades a good home and the wear that they deserve!

And, in case you were wondering – only my cat is coming with me (cat is a deal-breaker!). The pigs actually belong to my roommate, so obviously they are staying here in the country 🙂

One last thing – it’s May, which means Me Made May ’16 is in full swing again! If you’re not familiar with Me Made May, it’s a month where you challenge yourself to wear handmades (every day, a few times a week, entire outfits – whatever works for you!). I have participated in the past (see: 2012, 2013, 2014), but I won’t be doing it this year. About 99% of my clothes are handmade at this point, and it’s pretty much Me Made Everyday. There’s not really a challenge involved for me to wear them, so it seems silly and almost a little show-offy to jump in with everyone else. Also, I hated doing the daily selfies 😛 But rest assured that I am still rocking the me-mades – today I am wearing my Ginger Jeggings, the Starwatch Watson bra, a handmade black tshirt (unblogged because, it’s a tshirt) and a striped hoodie (also unblogged. Man I’m behind on this).

:)

Anyway, that’s about it for me! Have a picture of my favorite part of my (current) sewing room. I really love this space, but it’ll be fun to set up a new one 🙂

Completed: A (modified) Silk Crepe Saltspring

7 Aug

The Summer of the Silk Dress continues! Today’s offering is one that I’ve had rolling around in my head for… wow, almost 2 years now. Okay, Lauren!

Silk crepe SaltspringI also got REALLY bored with taking pictures in the back yard, and ventured into the garden for these. Our garden is adorable, not that you can tell much from this one little corner. I’m hanging out with my tomato plants and potatoes over here. And I helped build that fence! Drove in those fucking fence posts LIKE A BOSS. boss Anyway, I digress! Silk crepe Saltspring

The pattern I used is the Sewaholic Saltspring dress, with just a minor modification that makes for a major difference in the end result. Ever since I sewed this pattern as a tester, I’ve wanted to make a version without the bloused overlay. I think the overlay is pretty, but I never liked the way it looked on me. I do, however, like little spaghetti strap sundresses and y’all KNOW I love me some elastic waists, so I thought I could switch things up a little to get what I wanted. Too bad it took me 2 years to actually do it. Better late than never, anyway!

Silk crepe SaltspringSilk crepe Saltspring

All I did was use the bodice front & back lining pieces, and omitted the bodice overlay pieces. Because of this, I had to figure a different way to finish the edges and attach the straps – so I just used my ol’ fave, the self bias binding. For the straps, I sewed on enough bias to extend several inches past each end of the underarm, and then continued my stitching all the way to the tips of the bias after I folded it over (this means the raw edges of the bias are exposed on the straps, BUT, bias doesn’t fray so it’s not an issue). For the elastic casing, I just sewed the waistline with the normal 5/8″ seam allowance and folded it under itself a couple times and topstitched to make a casing.

Silk crepe SaltspringThis was a very easy dress to make. It’s SUPER casual (especially with my bright white bra straps hollering out, lolol), but it’s exactly what I wanted. And I personally think that it looks a lot better than the OG version! Silk crepe Saltspring

The fabric I used here is another silk crepe from my stash. Silk crepe is absolutely my favorite silk to sew and wear – it’s really easy to work with and the colors are always so beautiful and saturated. As long as you pre wash and dry that shit in the machine, it’s also really easy to care for. I just throw mine in the wash on cold and hang it to dry (mostly because I don’t like to iron wrinkles out haha. But I always pre-dry just in case it accidentally gets thrown in the dryer at some point!).

I mean, check out that beautiful fluid drape! Ughh it’s so good.

Silk crepe SaltspringThis is another silk crepe from the Elizabeth Fabric Grab Bag. I think this one was from her personal stash, and came dyed that color (as in, she didn’t dye it herself). It feels amaaaazing. I have a bunch left over and I MIGHT make pajamas out of it. Maybe. I kind of want to live in it forever. Silk crepe Saltspring

I think for a first-time make of this rendition, this one turned out really great (and exactly the way I wanted it to look!). There’s not anything that I would change about it, except that I did go back and add some thread belt loops at the side seams. My belt kept falling in these photos and it looks stupid. Now it stays in place!

Silk crepe SaltspringSilk crepe Saltspring

Silk crepe SaltspringSilk crepe Saltspring

Silk crepe SaltspringAs usual, the construction consists of a lot of French seams. I can’t get enough of those when it comes to silk! I wanted to add the pockets to this dress (considering that I always steal the pocket pattern piece to use for my other dresses, it seemed only fair to give it a shot with an actual Saltspring), so I had to figure out how to French seam those suckers in. Turns out it’s pretty much the same as French-seaming anything – just a little more fiddly to iron. But yay for it working out! Silk crepe Saltspring

I gotta say, these silk dresses have been a serious GODSEND for the past couple weeks that I’ve had to drive around without any a/c. Apparently I’m sweating straight through them, but, whatever. It’s not like I can see my back.

As a side note – NYC Fashion Week is next month! If you’re planning on going to the city during the events (oh please oh please take me with you) and want to try something a little different, definitely check out the Fashion Week tours at Seek NYC. This tour sounds massively interesting – learning the history of the NYC’s garment manufacturing & retail industries, visiting fashion landmarks and fabric/trim shops, touring with a professional designer, checking out a sample sale, and learning the evolution of Fashion Week, to name a few highlights. The group tour is $55, and you can take 15% off if you use the code BIRD (offered 9/10/15 – 9/17/15). Not in town during Fashion Week but want to check out a private tour of the Garment District? You can also use that code to take $15 off a private tour, and that’s good all the way through 12/1/15. If you’ve taken one of these tours, I want to hear all about it! I’ve wanted to take one for about a year now because they sound really cool, but each time I’m in the city the weather is either awful for a walking tour, or I’m too busy running around otherwise.

Completed: Hand-Dyed Blue Silk Vogue 1395

24 Jul

Ahh, Vogue 1395. First, I made you up in cherries, and it was good. Then, I modified the shit out of you and made you up in silk plaid gingham, and it was good. And now, we’ve come full circle back to square one. And that’s good, too.

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkSometimes, ya just gotta stick with the ol’ TNT’d version, amirite? Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

I am also realizing that I took way too many pictures for a dress that will essentially warrant the same post as the cherry original, but, you know, whatever. My blog, my rules. I was having a good hair day that day. And my back yard looks BEYOND gorgeous. I will never tire of all that green!

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Speaking of gorgeous- how about that hand-dyed silk that I used? I can’t take any credit for it (other than the actual sewing of the garment) – it was given to me by Elizabeth after a big studio clean-out. She made me an entire grab bag, full of mostly silks – some stamped, some natural, some dyed (in both solid colors and what you see here), and all of them amazing. I think a lot of this was leftover from discontinued collections, but some of it was from her personal stash. Needless to say, this is a woman with fabulous taste in fabric and I was really happy with everything she gave me. I also spent WAY too long agonizing over what to make with it! It was so special and I was afraid to cut into it only to later regret using it in case I later ended up having better idea.

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkThis piece of hand-dyed silk crepe was probably my favorite. It’s so thick and lush and it has an amazing drape. I love the soft colors so much. Pairing it up with V1395 seemed like the best idea – a pattern that I already know fits and sews up well, that I know I love to wear. I actually made this way before I even left for Peru – so, it’s been in my closet for more than a month at this point. ha. Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkI can’t think of anything else to say about the pattern that I haven’t already gone over in my previous posts. The giant arm hole issue has now, thankfully, been fixed, although the neckline is strangely a bit wider than it is in the cherry version (probably due to fabric choice – this crepe is a heavier than the silk cherries). I didn’t follow much in order of construction – this is made with French seams and machine-rolled hems, both of which were a lot easier than what the pattern directions were asking me to do. I also used my own method for applying the binding, again instead of following the directions. The finishing on this dress is definitely an improvement over the last dress.Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Here, you can see both the arm hole and how the dress looks untied. As well as what I guess is now my superhero pose. Damn, that arm hole still looks low. It’s ok, though, because the overwrap covers it when it’s tied.

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

I love all the little details on this dress… especially the elastic waist. Totally buffet-friendly! 🙂

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silkVogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

The skirt in this pattern is lined, and while I tried to get away with not lining it – I realized that the silk is pretty freaking see-through. It’s not so bad on the top, because of the overlay, but the skirt was pushing being almost sheer. For these sorts of linings, I prefer to use china silk, as it’s really thin and lightweight. Of course, I had NONE of that on hand and I didn’t feel like ordering any, so the lining I used is just white silk crepe. It makes the skirt a bit thicker and heavier than I’d prefer, but at least it’s not see-through!

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

I always have a hard time cutting into fabric that is given to me – sometimes it takes me YEARS to actually settle on a pattern. I’m always paranoid that I’ll have an even better idea later down the line, and be pissed at myself for already using the fabric. But that’s kind of a crappy way of looking at things – I mean, it’s not like the fabric is doing me any good just sitting on the shelf, you know? So it feels good to get past that and actually use some of the gorgeous stuff that’s been given to me!

With that being said – I have a few more pieces that I finally cut & sewed that were also on the “too nice to actually use for something” list, so watch this space for those! Who else has dream fabric that they’re afraid to cut into? Maybe we should start a support group!

Completed: A French Terry Lola Dress

11 Dec

Good morning, everyone! I guess I’m back to posting about sewing things… it was a nice hiatus, anyway! I had a lovely vacation, a very relaxing weekend at home, and now working on a new big sewing project (a coat for Landon!). In the meantime, I have a small backlog of projects that I’ve been meaning to post, so obviously I will start with the most recent one first, because it is my most favoritest.

French Terry Lola Dress

LOLA LOLA, I LOVE LOLA.

Y’all remember the Lola sweatshirt dress, right? Gah, sometimes I feel like – with the influx of new patterns coming out at such a rapid pace (which is not necessarily a bad thing – but it can get overwhelming at times!), we forget about the really good ones that are just a little bit older. And by older – sometimes that’s as “old” as a few months! So I’ve made it a point to re-visit some of my favorites and make them up in new fabrics. I mean, they’re a favorite for a reason, yeah? 🙂 (but don’t worry – I’ll obviously still sew up new releases as well because, ooh, new and shiny!).

Anyway, Lola was always one of my favorites! A really fun and flattering twist on the sweatshirt – here’s a princess-seamed sweatshirt dress! I’ve made this pattern twice before (see: one and two), so I knew it was a winner. Side note: While version 1 gets worn aaaallll the time (love that dress!), version 2 is gone. The cheap fabric I used meant that the dress was constantly pilling and just looked old and shitty, so I removed it from my house. So that’s that. Also, wow, I sort of almost miss having brown hair now.

French Terry Lola Dress

French Terry Lola Dress

Since I’ve already made this pattern before, this was a very quick and satisfying sew. I sewed up the size 2, and then made further adjustments to get the fitted/streamlined look you see here. I started by using 5/8″ seam allowances (the pattern calls for 3/8″, but I’m a little bit smaller than the smallest measurements so this helped with sizing down a little), and then took in the waist another 1/2″ or so at every seam. Speaking of which, I really ought to adjust my pattern pieces for this shit because I go through this damn trying on/adjusting/trying on/adjusting rigamarole EVERY DAMN TIME I make this dress! Maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution – adjust my pattern pieces when I do fitting changes haha. That would save me a lot of trouble.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re making this pattern – if you want to adjust the fit at the waist, try on the dress before you attach the skirt. From there, you can pinch out the princess seams to get the fit you like (just remember to do the same to the skirt pieces so the seams match up!), but be careful not to overfit, as this really isn’t that type of dress.

Other changes I made to the pattern: I lengthened the sleeves to full-length (and redrafted the cuff piece accordingly), left off the hem band (and sewed a deep 2″ hem), and left off the pockets. Actually, those are the same changes I made to my last 2 dress. Whateverrr!

Also, wtf is going on with my hair in the last picture? And why do I look so… disgruntled?

French Terry Lola Dress

The fabric that I used for this dress is pretty fabulous! I’ve mentioned before that I get fabric from Elizabeth Suzann’s wholesale orders (ah, the perks of working in sewing!) – that’s where this stuff came from. It’s French Terry, and it came with MATCHING RIB KNIT, which I used for the neckline and cuffs. The right side of the French Terry is a smooth knit with defined stitches, and the wrong side has the most beautiful, plush loops that make this shit SO FUCKING COZY. We use it at Elizabeth Suzann to make sweaters and sweater dresses – although there, we sew the fabric wrong-side out because it looks so cool (see the Billie Sweater). For me, though, I wanted my dress to be warm and cozy – so the loops stayed to the inside. Funny, after sewing all those sweaters – this side looks rather plain 🙂 It is, however, easier to see the cool seaming details this way, so that’s good!

Sewing this fabric was fine, if not a little messy (French Terry will shed like NO OTHER, so I would really hesitate to sew this without a serger – you need some way to finish the seams). Because the fabric is so thick, my serger had some difficulties at first with stitch tension – everything was super wavy. I just upped the differential feed to the max and tweaked the stitch size, and that spaced out the stitches enough so that the seams lie flat. Speaking of which, pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever had to tinker with the settings on my serger. For the most part, it does everything automatically without my input (it’s a BabyLock Imagine, in case you were curious. The queen of sergers!).

French Terry Lola Dress

French Terry Lola Dress

Sorry these pictures are kind of crappy/all over the place. I guess I’m out of habit at this point, ha!

French Terry Lola Dress

Here’s an accidental picture that really showcases the fabric! I used the wrong side for the little sweatshirt V. And check out that ribbing! Love it when it matches 😀

French Terry Lola Dress

I guess that’s it! Really glad to have another cozy winter dress to add to my arsenal – and this one is pretty freaking cozy (while still being cute!).

One last thing – ChatterBlossom (one of my sponsors + an all-around gorgeous gal) is currently having a holiday sale! Use the code LLADYBIRD15 for 15% off your purchase, good through 12/15 (so, soon!). Whether you need a last-minute gift for someone – or for yourself (I always buy myself Christmas gifts, because I always ALWAYS get myself the best presents! Such as this necklace, ahem) – definitely check her out! I love Jamie’s stuff, and the detail in some of the pieces (such as this elephant or this mosquito) is INSANE. Actually, that’s a ChatterBlossom piece I’m wearing in these photos – the navy anchor button 🙂 Love it!

Completed: Boiled Wool SJ Sweater

7 Nov

I’m just gonna come out and say it: “boiled wool” is the grossest fabric name. It just sounds disgusting – like some kind of rubbery, overcooked fabric food that you’re only putting in your body because there is literally nothing else in the house and you are starving to death. Am I right? Am I right?

Wool SJ Sweater

When it comes to fabrics, though, boiled wool is pretty amazing. I had some spend some time working with it – sewing up a storm at Elizabeth Suzann‘s, making sweaters and kimonos and coats (so, so, so many coats. I am the coat whisperer now, y’all). After spending so much quality time handling this fabric – pressing (boiled wool loooves steam) and sewing (where the stitches just sink right in) – I found myself anxious to buy some and make a luxe sweater/sweatshirt for myself. So I bought some – off Elizabeth herself (she lets me ride the coattails of her wholesale orders and, um, you guys, I’m not even going to tell you how little I paid for this wool. NOT EVEN.).

Wool SJ Sweater

It was a borderline agonizing choice, but I ultimately decided to get the camel color (next time, though, I will be getting some black. And some moss. Dammit, I want them all!) because I had ~visions~ of it looking gorgeous with my polka dot chambray button-down. Doesn’t it? I also love camel because I feel like it looks equally good with black and brown (and navy, for that matter!).

Wool SJ Sweater

As I mentioned, I’ve had some time to work with this fabric and get an idea of how to handle it. They very first thing I did was prewash the yardage – the same way I wash/block my handknits. I soaked it in gentle wool wash (I use Soak, which I actually buy from my local yarn store, but here it is on Amazon), used a towel to wring out the excess, and then laid it flat to dry in the yard. This particular boiled wool (and maybe all boiled wools?) shrinks up quite a bit after it’s been washed, giving the fabric more of a felted quality than it is when you first pull it off the roll. You can also steam-shrink the fabric (which is what we do at the studio), but I knew I’d be washing this stuff here on out, so I wanted to get all the shrinkage eliminated before I started sewing.

Wool SJ Sweater

For construction, there is not much different you need to do from sewing, say, a very stable ponte knit. I just used a regular 70/10 needle (not even ballpoint – the wool is felted so it’s not necessary to preserve the knitted loops or anything) and sewed everything on the sewing machine. I left my seams unfinished and pressed them open with lots of steam. I think the open seams look a little neater this way, plus, they’re not as bulky as they’d be if I serged them. Again, since the wool is felted – nothing is going to unravel. Even for the hems, I just turned up the allowance and topstitched it down.

Wool SJ Sweater

The only part I struggled with (and I’m still not 100% happy about, if we’re being honest here) was the neckline. Not because it was difficult to sew – but because I didn’t know how I was going to finish it! At Elizabeth’s, we just turn the hem allowance under and topstitch. This is absolutely fine for finishing boiled wool – but we’re talking crewneck sweaters here, and mine is obviously very scooped. I needed a finish that would pull in the neckline just a little – like a ribbing. Except I didn’t want a ribbing, because I wanted this sweater to be ~fancy.

The first thing I did was try to turn the hem allowance under, and then sew clear elastic into the neckline like an invisible banding. That did not work out. I don’t have any photos, but it looked like shit and you have to trust me.

The next thing I did was try to use the boiled wool as a self-fabric band for the neckline. It sort of stretches, so it sort of works.

Wool SJ Sweater

This picture makes it look way better than it did in reality. What you don’t see here is that the binding would NOT lay flat – especially at the center front. It is standing almost straight up in some sections, like the weirdest little funnel not-collar. Believe me, I pulled and stretched as hard as I could to encourage the neckline to ease smaller (and thus lie flat), and then steamed the beejezus out of it, but there’s only so much you can do with boiled wool. It’s not a true knit, so you can’t really treat it as one. Furthermore, the inside just looked raggedy with the self fabric neckline. Too many unfinished seam allowances (I know, I know, I just said the unfinished edges were fine – but even I have neckline limits, ok), too bulky, and noooope!

nope

Wool SJ Sweater

My solution was to apply a bias facing to the neckline, stretching the bias to get it to lie snug and thus pull the neckline in. I used this method to sew it on, and the bias is a piece of silk charmeuse that I got from Elizabeth’s scrap pile (surprisingly – it was the result of a botched dye job, although it matches the wool quite beautifully, so yay for me!). I think this netted the best result, although I think the neckline is still a little wide for this sweater. Oh well. That’s just my fault for choosing this pattern. Better luck next time!

Wool SJ Sweater

The pattern I used is the SJ Tee from my beloved Papercut Patterns. I raised the neckline a couple of inches – not that you can tell! – but the rest of the pattern is sewn as-is, using my previous adjustments. Other than the bias faced neckline, I didn’t make any construction changes. Oh, no, wait, I did leave off the sleeve ribbing. I just turned that hem allowance under and topstitched it down! The boiled wool does not have nearly as much stretch as a standard knit, however, this pattern is a little loose-fitting on me as it is, so I think it turned out fine. If you want to make this in a wool and retain the design ease, I’d recommend sizing up.

Wool SJ Sweater
Wool SJ Sweater
(sorry ’bout the color discrepancy! The less-washed out photos show the true color. And that yellow tag is there to remind us NOT to wash this sweater with the laundry, since it’s wool 🙂 )

Wool SJ Sweater

As you can see, this sweater is not ideal for a completely 100% no-gape neckline. That’s ok, though, since I’ll likely be wearing it with something underneath (this boiled wool is soft, but it’s still a little bit itchy!). I am pretty happy with how this turned out – I like the shape, the raglan sleeves, and how lush the fabric is (aka makes it look expensive. Ha!) – but I’m still iffy on the neckline. I think it’s too wide. It looks ok with the collared shirt underneath, but… eh. I don’t know. Obviously I can’t do much to change this current sweater – so I’ll be wearing it regardless – but for future makes, I need to refigure that silhouette. What do you think? Too much of a scoop? Am I way out of left field and overthinking?

Speaking of the collared shirt – I still haven’t made any changes to the sleeves. I decided to wait until it’s been laundered a few times – that way, if it shrinks, I won’t be up shit creek. In the meantime, I do like the fit/length of the sleeves under a sweater, so there’s that!

Wool SJ Sweater

At any rate, I’m pretty happy with boiled wool! Gross name and all 🙂 Tell me – have you ever sewn with boiled wool? Would you? Or do you think the name just sounds nasty? 🙂

Last thing – time to announce last week’s giveaway winner! After a harrowing 208 comments, random number generator chooses….

winner2
winner1

Yay! Congratulations, Dawn! I will be in touch to get that book to you – so you can start making those pajama bottoms asap! First time for everything 😉 (also, can we kill that rumor that Random.org never chooses the first or last number? Because, clearly, not the case!).

Thanks to everyone who entered, and thanks for all your lovely comments on the post (and thank you, Roost Books, for letting this giveaway be possible!). If you’re still itching to buy yourself a small piece of Tilly, you can buy Love at First Stitch from Amazon, or directly from the magic-maker herself.

Happy Friday, everyone! 🙂