Tag Archives: fancypants

Completed: Fancy Silk Georgette + Brocade

2 Feb

Here’s something a little different than my normal meat-and-potatoes (mmm… meat and potatoes) sort of dressing – FANCY GARB. YAY!!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Also: SNOW! Like, holy shit it snowed soooo much last weekend! I had a nice snow-in for a few days (it’s true that Tennessee all but shuts down when the snow comes in – but, before you make fun: we don’t have snow tires, we don’t know how to drive in it, and the roads are not properly salted or cleared so they’re actually pretty dangerous. Also, come and deal with our 100* heat in August ffs. Ok, soapbox off haha), which was even better considering that I basically was in a Winter Wonderland. We ended up with a little over 6″ – y’all, I can’t even remember the last time I saw that much snow. Shit was crazy. Also, it all melted within like 3 days, and then the temps went back up to 65*. Yay I love Tennessee and it’s fickle weather haha.

Anyway, I wasn’t planning on taking snow pictures – it was obviously very very cold outside, and so bright that I could barely keep my eyes open (sorry in advance for all the squinty haha). But the indoor lighting was just terrible, so I took one for the team and tromped outside. You are welcome.

Ok, back to the real subject of this post!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I made these two pieces about a month apart, so I didn’t actually wear them together for NYE – although I definitely wanted to. Considering I didn’t start sewing for the party until a few days before the end of the year, I knew that shirt would not turn out nice if it was rushed. So I focused on the fancy skirt, and wore it with a fuzzy black sweater knit Renfrew (you can see a photo of the outfit on Instagram). It was the perfect New Year’s Eve outfit for my plans – reasonably warm, yet stylish, and had these big pockets so I could carry my phone, wallet and flask without worrying about a purse. Which, by the way, my phone ended up leaving my pocket at some point that night (I think it was more that it didn’t *make* it to the pocket, rather than leapt out on it’s own accord). Here’s the New Year’s Miracle, though – someone found it – in a pile of trash on Lower Broadway, apparently – and then returned it to me the next day. How awesome is that?! 2016, you’re off to a promising start! ♥

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

The metallic stretch brocade that I used for this skirt has been in my stash for a long time – over a year, at least (if not longer). I never knew what to do with it – it’s kind of thick, it has a really heavy stretch, and it’s pretty freaking fancy. I figured a pencil skirt or bodycon dress would be suitable, but I rarely wear stuff like that. When I was planning my NYE outfit, I decided to find a use for this stuff. I’ve been on a circle skirt kick lately, so that’s what I went with. I used my self-drafted circle skirt pattern (I used Casey’s circle skirt tutorial aaages ago, which I can’t seem to get a valid link to now 😦 There’s also the By Hand London circle skirt app, which does the maths for you!), pieced to include side seams and a center back seam. This was mainly due to fabric restrictions – I had only a yard of this fabric. It’s super wide, though, so I was just barely able to squeeze it out. I also knew I wanted an exposed zipper and side seam pockets, which mean seams were necessary. The waistband was cut so the greatest amount of stretch ran along the length; I stabilized it with a piece of stretch interfacing to retain that comfy-ass stretch. Yeah man, it’s comfy.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Sewing was easy, and relatively straightforward. My only complaints are that this fabric frays like a MOTHER, and it’s basically all polyester so it’s a nightmare to get a good press. For the fraying, I serged each seam separately to minimize the fuzz potential. For the pressing, I just used my super awesome, super hot gravity feed iron and then just held the seams in place with my clapper until they cooled. One thing I will note is that my iron has a shoe (basically a cover that acts as a press cloth), which keeps things from melting. If your iron does not have a shoe, you’ll want to use a press cloth on poly fabrics + high heat. Otherwise, melting will happen!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I thought an exposed metal zipper would look cool next to the fancy brocade, so I pulled a metal zip from my stash and used Megan Nielsen’s method to insert it (these are the same instructions that are included with the Brumby pattern, fyi). The pockets are silk crepe, also pulled from my stash. Nothing like using silk pockets to stow your whiskey amirite 🙂

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

This past month, I finally gathered up all my cojones and made the intended matching shirt. Remember when I made Butterick 5526 in silk Georgette? I want to hate that shirt so bad – it’s pretty poorly constructed, I mean, that fabric was EVIL – but every time I put it on, I can’t deny that I like the way it looks. I want more floaty button-ups in my closet. I figured enough time had passed to forget the trauma, and I tried again, this time with much more success.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

There are two major factors that contributed to the success of this version of B5526 in silk Georgette. First of all, I chose the fabric in-person, rather than blindly ordering online. Which means I don’t have a link for the exact fabric I used – I bought it at the Mood Fabrics in NYC when I was there in November. I have since ordered some swatches from the website, and it’s definitely not the same fabric as what I have here. Mine is more like a double Georgette – it’s much thicker, and less see-through (I’m not wearing anything under this top, except a bra. I think it’s a nude bra, but I’ve worn a black one underneath too and no one has noticed, HA!). That alone made a world of difference in handling the fabric. I also prewashed it in the washing machine/dryer (just a cold wash, ma’am!), which helped beef it up a little more. The second factor is that I used a spray stabilizer on my fabric before cutting or sewing. I’ve heard of people using a spray stabilizer – and allegedly, you can also soak your fabric in unflavored gelatin for the same effect, although I haven’t personally tried this yet – but I never cared to try it myself because I wanted to be able to tackle the fabric without any outside help. Also, a can of that shit is like $12, which is way too rich for my blood (says the girl who is currently looking at $45/yard silk faille lolwut). It just seemed silly and unnecessary. I always felt like using outside tools like that almost negated my skills as a seamstress, but you know what? That’s not true. It’s not any different than using a special presser foot to get good edgestitching. Whatever works… it just works. And that’s ok.

I am not going to go into too much talk about using spray stabilizer because this was my first experience with it – and I want to try it a few more times before I give it a big write-up (aka I don’t want to eat my words later haha). But I will say that it REALLY changed how the fabric handled, in a good way. Instead of it slipping around like butterfly wings, it held more like a silk organza. It made cutting things straight much more easy, and the shirt fits better as a result. I think my topstitching looks really good, and all those fiddly pieces weren’t quite as fiddly. Spray stabilizer isn’t going to turn your silk into quilting cotton – you still need some finesse with those fine layers – but it helps tremendously. It won’t work for anything that you can’t wash it out of – such as a coat lining (unless, I guess, you assembled the lining separately and then wash/dry it before putting it in the coat?) – but it’s perfect for this sort of project. These photos are post-washing, so it has the proper drape, fyi. I soaked it in the sink with some lingerie wash, hung it to dry, and then re-pressed. I have since worn the shirt and washed it in the normal wash, and it’s held up fine.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

All that being said, I don’t think there’s much else to say about the sewing of this shirt. I’ve made it like a dozen times at this point, so there’s nothing new for B5526. The shirt is constructed with French seams and I used a very lightweight interfacing to stabilize while retaining that beautiful drape. I added buttons and button tabs to the sleeves, so I can wear this shit into the warmer weather. Yay!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I finally go to use some of my fancy vintage glass buttons for this top – yay! I didn’t have quite enough, so I had to mix them. There are beautiful black/green/gold Art Deco buttons for the front placket and sleeve tabs, and then solid black faceted buttons for the cuffs and collar. The white buttons you see on the inside of the placket prevent gaping at the boobs (I can’t take credit for this tip – I got it from Emmie and Jane). Speaking of which, if I’m getting boob gape… that probably means I need to start doing a FBA to my pattern. Sigh. Or else just keep adding hidden buttons hahaha.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I think I’ve run out of things to talk about with this outfit, so I’ll wrap up. What’s your best tip for sewing the slinky? Have you tried spray stabilizer? Hey, how was your New Year’s Eve, anyway?

Note: Fabrics were purchased with my monthly allowance for the Mood Sewing Network. Also, there are affiliate links in this post FYI. Click at yo’ own risk.

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Completed: Starwatch Watson Lingerie Set

24 Jun

I pretty much never name my makes (if I did that, I would have looooong run out of clever names at the rate I sew haha), but every now and then, I get a hankerin’ to christen something with a silly name. Which is why this new lingerie set is called Starwatch.

Because, like, I’m gonna watch the stars and shit while I wear this. Don’t call it Stargaze, that makes way too much sense.

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch is made using the Watson & Bikini brief pattern from Cloth Habit. Every time I make or wear this pattern, I immediately start thinking of more versions to create. I know some people like a little (or a lot) of variety in their lingerie, but I feel pretty content with the two patterns I’m churning out these days – Watson for comfy happy lounge days (or starwatching lololol) and Marlborough for slightly-nicer-rack-but-still-pretty-comfy days. Actually, I’d love to throw a (non foam cup) strapless bra pattern in that arsenal. Any suggestions, my wise lingerie readers?

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

This is my third iteration of this pattern, so no changes to the sizing or fit. This was also my FIRST time making Watson where I didn’t have the hand-holding to comes with buying a pre-cut kit. Eep! I love those damn kits (the two I’ve used – both with great success – are from Blackbird Fabrics and Grey’s Fabrics) and I highly recommend them if you are just getting into lingerie sewing and don’t know where to start with sourcing your fabric or supplies. It’s really nice to have someone else take the guesswork out of all that, so you can focus on the actual sewing part. I also just really love having something packaged up in a box, it just makes me so happy! That being said, you are paying a finder’s fee for someone to source those supplies – and while I don’t think the kits are necessarily expensive (depending on where you buy your bras, the kits might be cheaper. They are for me, anyway!), I also have a huuuuge ol’ stash of lingerie notions that I’ve been hoarding collecting for a few months now, and it was time to woman up and start actually using it.

Starwatch Watson & Bikini

Obviously the fabric is the ~star~ of this ensemble (u see what I did there?). That amazing sparkly goodness was a gift from my beautiful and sassy girl Lola, who brought it from me all the way from the Garment District when she was with me in Philly for Maddie’s Bra-Making class. It’s a gorgeous stretch mesh with glittery stars all over it – and yes, in case you were wondering, I have washed this thing several times and I still get glitter everywhere when I wear it. Yay, party in my pants! It has a fantastic 2 way stretch – which was a bit of a gamble with Watson, as that requires a 4 way stretch, but it thankfully worked out ok.

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Since the fabric is pretty sheer, I underlined all the pieces with a soft black power mesh, to give a little extra support and a layer of opacity. The cradle is also lined with tricot lining fabric (left over from my Blackbird kit, woohoo!). The back band is 2 layers of power mesh running in opposite directions (normally, I like one layer of power mesh – but this stuff is really lightweight and SUPER stretchy and I was concerned about the fit, so I doubled up). Everything was sewn on my regular sewing machine and the seams were finished with a 3 thread overlock.

All the notions are from my stash – I didn’t have to buy anything new to finish this bra. Yay! I honestly couldn’t tell you where any of this stuff came from – I look for lingerie elastics every time I go fabric shopping, especially in the Garment District, so there’s a good chance that most of this is from NY. I really love the tiny scalloped elastic around the bra cups, I wish I could remember where that came from because I’d totally buy more!

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

To complete my Starwatch set, I also made matching panties. Not much to say about these – I underlined the star mesh at the front (again, with power net) and used a single layer of power net for the back. The cotton crotch lining came from my stash.

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Really happy with this set, and glad I was able to put that beautiful glittery star mesh to AWESOME use! (and I still have loooots more, so maybe more glittery underwear is in my future 😉 heh)

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Completed: Maritime Shorts, Straight Outta the 80s

28 Jun

As I mentioned at the end of Me Made May, I really have been wanting to try my hand at a different shorts pattern. Not because there is anything wrong with my beloved Thurlow pattern – but I want to change it up! Try something new! So here’s my first stab at trying something new.

So, check these babies out~
Maritime Shorts

This is the Maritime Shorts pattern from Grainline Studio. I only just recently discovered these and immediately decided that I wanted to try them. I like that they are similar to the Thurlows but a little more casual – patch pockets instead of welts, no cuffs, and the detailing is a little less fussy. While I was summoning up the courage to buy these (only because I didn’t want to have to assemble the PDF, ha!), Carla contacted me and asked if I would like the pattern as a gift. Yep, same Carla who also gifted me the pattern for those glorious culottes. So not only is she a sewing saint of gifted patterns, but she can also read my mind. AMAZING.

Also, just for the record – taping this pattern together was not difficult. I was surprised at how smoothly it went, actually!

Maritime Shorts

Putting this pattern together was interesting. I’ve slapped the Thurlows together more times than I even want to count right now, so much that I really think I could assemble a pair in my sleep. Jen’s instructions for these is totally different though! Not in a bad way, however, I did have to pry myself away from what I thought was ~the right way~ and let myself at the mercy of the instructions. Turned out ok in the end, though, as you can see!

Maritime Shorts

The only thing I didn’t like about the instructions was inserting the front fly. I don’t know, maybe I’m just stuck way too much up my own Thurlow ass, but I found them a bit confusing. Fortunately, Jen has a whole tutorial on assembling these shorts, from beginning to end, and that includes inserting the zipper! So that helped. I do think that in the future, however, I’ll probably go with the Thurlow instructions just because they make more sense to me.

Maritime Shorts

I wasn’t sure what size to make, since I usually base mine off the finished measurements. In the end, I decided to go with my actual measurements and cut the size 2. The shorts were a little big at the sides, but I was able to pinch those in nbd. However, the back gaped a LOT at the waist. This was super easy to fix – I just pinched out the excess and stitched a new CB line before putting on my waistband. Easy!

Untitled

Maritime Shorts

But hey, it’s fixed! And I managed to avoid mount crackatoa in the process! TAKE THAT.

Maritime Shorts

Oh, so, now let’s talk about the fabric I used!

Maritime Shorts

It is awesome, yeah? I’ve actually been hoarding this for over a year… it was a gift from Sonja during the 2012 Summer Sewing Swap. I could never figure out what exactly to make with it, but I knew a good fabric when I saw it, so I hoarded and waited patiently. I’m happy to say, it totally paid off! This fabric looks perfect as shorts.

I’m tempted to use the rest (assuming I have enough – I haven’t measured my remaining yardage) to make a matching Victoria Blazer, like the most amazing summer power suit you ever did see.

Maritime Shorts

The only change I made to the pattern was to swap out the hook & eye closure for a button. I did originally sew on the hook & eye, but it was pulling the waistband really weird, so I decided to do the button instead. I think the pulling is actually because all the stress is on that ONE closure, so next time I will extend the back of the waistband to be long enough where there can be a second button the inside, as with my Thurlows. Just a personal preference!

Maritime Shorts

I’m also a little bummed about my topstitching choice. Wish I’d gone with a darker thread. Oh well!

Maritime Shorts

The pockets are lined with a super soft purple voile I had in my stash. With such a loud outside fabric, I wanted to keep the inside plain!

Maritime Shorts

And because you guys love inside shots as much as I do, here are some pretty serged seams for ya.

Finally, this is what happens when I get bored with taking pictures of myself:

Maritime Shorts
Maritime Shorts
Maritime Shorts

If you’ve been hesitant to buy the Thurlow pattern because you’re not as curvy as the pattern is drafted for, this is a GREAT alternative. You could even follow the Thurlow Sew-Along for extra hand-holding, since the construction is mostly the same.

Maritime Shorts

Psst! That’s one of my white tshirts I made with fabric from Organic Cotton Plus. I just wanted y’all to know that I am wearing a BLACK bra underneath it in these pictures. Pretty cool, huh?

Also, I have a few updates that need to be mentioned:
– I don’t know if I have any local readers on this blog (well – I know there’s at least one because I met you the other day! 🙂 Hi, Beth! haha!), but I am going to be teaching sewing classes with a local dressmaker 😀 We are still nailing down details, but it will be a small, open-workshop class where people bring in what they want to sew (so you don’t get stuck sewing something you have no interest in ever wearing) where we will be on hand to demonstrate techniques and answer any and all questions. Classes will be on Tuesdays, last 2 hours, and will start in August. If you are interested in attending the class, please email me at lladybirdlauren at gmail dot com. If the days don’t work for you, we may be able to offer a different class day. Right now I’m just trying to figure out if there is an interest 🙂 So, please, let me know! Teaching sewing has been a longtime goal of mine and I’d love to see it actually happen this year 🙂
– Theodore has now gone to his new home, and I MISS HIM, but I’m also very pleased that he is in such wonderful hands! Thanks everyone for your support and comments. He’s a little stinker (literally – he stepped in his shit every single morning, and got an emergency bath every single morning as well), but he’s a CUTE little stinker! He is now with my brother and sister-in-law, which means I should still see him from time to time 🙂
– My other little brother, Matt, won’t be going to England this summer! So sorry to everyone who offered to show him around 😦 He actually made it across the ocean, but when they asked him for his work visa and he didn’t have one (he told customs he was there for an internship, even though “internship” really meant he was fixing this place’s website in exchange for a free place to stay), they put him in a holding cell for 22 hours and then shipped him home. I’d say poor Matt, except he’s now planning a road trip around the US and some parts of Canada, so I’m actually quite jealous. Ha!
– I finally stepped up and got my own domain! You can now find my site at WWW.LLADYBIRD.COM. No need to update all your readers and whatnot – the wordpress.com site should redirect to the main domain. If it doesn’t, do let me know! GOD, THIS IS ALL SO EXCITING.
– As most of you should be aware by now, Google Reader is dying a tragic death come Monday, 7/1. If you haven’t already started moving your blogs to a different reader, better hurry up! You can follow me here on Bloglovin.

WHEW that was a big ol’ wall of text! If you managed to read through all that – yay! Your consolation prize is another kitten picture:
Untitled

If that’s not enough, Here is a little video of him playing with his feet. I DIE.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Don’t forget to sign up for the Fashion A-Z Giveaway if you haven’t already done so – it closes on Monday!