Tag Archives: Grainline Studio

Completed: Linen Archer Button-Up

11 May

Does anyone remember my first linen Archer shirt, and the disaster that it was? Like, I don’t even think I wore that thing out in public one time. I’m pretty sure it went straight to Goodwill, where a less discerning eye was hopefully excited to find it. Hopefully.

Well, I always said I’d revisit this pattern+fabric combination again, once I’d had a little more practice with it – and here we are! I can’t believe it’s taken me nearly 4 years to actually get around to making that linen button-up of my dreams, but better late than never, I reckon!

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Basic details first: This is the Archer button-up from Grainline Studio. Sewn up in a size 0, with all my former modifications (shortening the hem, shortening the sleeves, and also adding a tower placket to the sleeve instead of the bias placket, which I’m sorry but I just don’t like). I’ve made this shirt several times, so if you want more in-depth info from an earlier version – check out this tag! The only former modification that I did NOT make to this version was to sew the side seams at their 1/2″ seam allowance (all my other versions, I used a 5/8″ seam allowance for this, to make the the body a smidge narrower. But for this one, I kept it as-drafted).

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Ok, boring shit out of the way – what makes this one so special is the fabric I used! Omg you guys. It’s hard to convey in a photo – even harder with these less than sub-par ones I have going on (and yah, I’ve already started packing for my move at the end of the month. Backgrounds are about to get a lot sadder ’round here haha) – but this particular linen is one of the prettiest solids I’ve ever seen! It looks like a basic chambray from a distance, but once you get closer – it’s really more of a periwinkle blue, with a definite purple sheen to it. I am not a huge fan of purple – and honestly, wasn’t a huge fan of linen until recently (something about getting old idk but god bless I feel like I sweat more than ever now, which is disgusting I know) – but this one is pretty freaking special.

I got my magical linen from South Street Linen, waaay back in 2015 when I was in Portland, ME for my first retreat at A Gathering of Stitches. We took an impromptu class field trip to the shop after we’d been told there was a linen sample sale going on… and DUDES WHAT A SAMPLE SALE. So many amazing pieces of absolutely beautiful linen, priced according to their yardage. You couldn’t get the pieces cut, but it was easily enough to split with someone else (we’re talking bundles of 6-10 yards per piece, so some people split 3 ways and still had tons). I personally got 2 pieces myself – both shared splits – and this is one of them. It’s been so long that I don’t actually remember what I paid, but I’d guess probably $30-$40 for 3 yards. Maybe less, again, I don’t remember!

Again, these pictures do not do this fabric justice – but it is even more beautiful in person. It’s also incredibly soft – not rough at all like some linens can be. It’s a slightly heavier weight, too, which means it’s more opaque and a bit less prone to wrinkling and fraying. I’ve been sitting on this piece of fabric for a very long time, waiting for inspiration to strike, and I’m glad I waited! I like the idea of having a summery button-up shirt (I’m not opposed to wearing my flannels in the summer, but this just looks better, yeah?) that is made of a nice breathable linen, with long sleeves that can protect my skin from the sun and/or insects (seriously, Morgan had one of these in Peru and I was SO JEALOUS of it!)…. or more specifically, air-conditioning, ha!

Construction-wise, this was waaaaay easier than my first linen attempt. I suspect part of that has to do with my now experience sewing this type of pattern- and part because of the fabric itself. Being a heavier linen means it is less shifty and less prone to fraying, which made the entire experience a BREEZE to navigate.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

An unexpected perk of this style is how good it looks when it’s unbuttoned to be borderline scandalous. Since I’m not rocking much in the boob department these days, I can totally get away with these things hahahaha.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

A few more minor construction notes: the shirt is finished with flat-felled seams, for a neat and durable finish. I did add a tower placket to the sleeve, as mentioned, so it would be easier to roll up (I use the placket pattern piece from the Colette Negroni pattern, but there are other options available). I also added button tabs (nabbed from my copy of B5526) to further aid with rolling up the sleeves (sorry, I didn’t think to take a photo of them rolled up – but you can see a shot here on my Instagram). The topstitching is off-white, and the buttons are just standard off-white shirt buttons, nothing fancy.

Linen Archer Button-Up Shirt

I guess that’s all for this make! I have already worn it several times since finishing (hence the wear-wrinkles in my “modeling” photos – but as you can see, it doesn’t wrinkle that much! And there are pressed fresh-off-the-sewing-machine shots on my dressform, if you’re a hater of wrinkles!) and it’s been a nice and cool alternative to my standard cardigan. I like that the purple makes it a little less plain than an ordinary chambray, yet it’s still a really versatile color that can be worn with most of my wardrobe.

Completed: Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

10 Nov

Continuing on the Navy Train (although not really, bc I actually made this shit ages before I made my Navy Twill Gingers), here is what I guess we can consider the other half to my ~casual navy suit~ – the blazer!

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Although, unlike most blazers – this one is made of a ponte knit, which makes it about as comfortable to wear as a knit hoodie. I dunno about y’all, but this is basically a huge score as far as I’m concerned.

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

The Morris Blazer from Grainline Studio has been out for a while (and yes, I completely acknowledge that my finished blazer looks exactly like the shop sample no regrets), but I initially disregarded it as an option for my wardrobe as I haven’t bothered to wear a blazer since pretty much my very first office job. Even when I was working in office environments up until I switched to a more casual work life a few years ago, I eschewed the (often uncomfortable, often ill-fitting) blazer in favor of simple and much more comfortable cardigans. Actually, I had a really beautiful black wool blazer that I bought on sale at Bebe when I was in high school (lol anyway, but you’d lol even harder if you knew me in high school because my preferred places to shop were generally Hot Topic and the kid’s section of Goodwill hahahahah oh teenagers) that I wore the hell out of, and it was sadly stolen right my desk when I was 19, at the T-Mobile call center I was working at. To whoever stole that thing: fuck you. Also, I hope you couldn’t fit into it. I was really really small back then, like 90 lbs small. My clothes from back then were fucking comical… and also the reason why I learned how to sew in the first place. Alterations! Yay!

ANYWAY MOVING ON.

What eventually caught my attention about the Morris Blazer is that it is a much more casual take on the traditional blazer – obviously you can’t wear this in a corporate environment, but it’s still a step up from that aforementioned hoodie. It is intended to be made using a stretch woven fabric, and the blazer is unlined. I’d seen some people make it out of a ponte knit, which really piqued my interest because I am all about some ponte knit and its secret pajama properties.

I used a navy nylon Ponte de Roma from Mood Fabrics – it’s currently sold out in this colorway, but they have other colorways and it tends to go back in stock pretty frequently, FYI. I have also bought this ponte in the black & wine colors – it is great! Nice and thick, a good heavy stretch in 4 directions, and it remains opaque and holds its shape quite nicely. It washes really well and I haven’t noticed any pilling on any of my pieces. The rayon content makes it feel a bit nicer than the pure poly stuff, but the spandex/nylon additions give it that good recovery so it doesn’t bag out of shape over the course of the day.

I initially was a tiny bit concerned about using this fabric, as the Grainline website really suggests against using knits with a 4 way stretch – this pattern is intended for 2 way stretch wovens, so that the blazer doesn’t stretch and sag downward against the facing. I couldn’t find a good knit fabric that was heavy enough, had the intended stretch amount, *and* came in the color I wanted, however. So I threw caution to the wind and just used this stuff. I’ve been wearing the finished product for about 2 months and I reckon it turned out fine. So, in case you were wondering about 2 way vs 4 way stretch with this pattern!

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

I made the size 0, which is my usual size for Grainline patterns. I lengthened the sleeves to full-length – bracelet length is pretty, but I’ve decided there is no place in my life for that nonsense (either I’m cold enough to need full sleeves, or don’t want sleeves at all. My sleeve opinions are very black and white haha). I had also originally raised the armholes by about 1″, since I found the armholes in my Lark tee to be about that much too low (if you’re wondering why you don’t remember that post, it’s cos I haven’t written it yet haha), but lowered them back down to the original size when I tried on the blazer without sleeves. I used fusible tricot knit to interface the facings (I did not interface the entire front section, which is suggested in the sew along if you use a 4 way stretch as I did), and sewed most of the construction on my serger, with all topstitching done on my regular machine with a straight stitch.

Overall, I found this pattern really easy to follow. There is some interesting seam wizardry going on to create that shawl collar out of the shoulder seams, but none of it is particularly difficult. I like how the hems are all faced, and I like the topstitching detailing – especially at the bottom hem, which I know some people weren’t a fan of. I like that the knit fabric makes as comfortable as wearing a ratty hoodie, without actually looking like a ratty hoodie. I wasn’t sure if I would like that it didn’t have closures – I am the sort of person who never wears things open; if there are zippers or buttons, they are done up – but it hangs really nicely and I rather like how smooth and streamlined it is. One thing to note is that the facing is not tacked down at the front of the blazer, except at the shoulders and where it is caught in the hem. I read some reviews that people did not like how it flipped out, however, I haven’t found this to be an issue with my blazer.

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

Navy Ponte Morris Blazer

I have worn this quite a bit over the past couple of months – it’s a nice protection against the freezing a/c blasts Tennesseans love to subject people to, and a pleasant style change from the basic cardigans I usually carry around. I think this pattern combined with the Pinot pants would make an awesome ponte fake suit – you know, kind of dressed up from a distance but TOTAL LEISURE COMFORT in reality haha.

Also, in case you were curious -I also made the rest of my outfit! The jeans are Cone Mills Ginger jeans, and my tshirt is a Renfew made with bamboo knit ♥ that knit is another fabric I buy over and and over again – because it’s awesome! It’s super soft, incredibly stretchy without being sheer, and has an amazing recovery. It’s also super wide, so I can cut a long sleeve shirt out of a single yard of fabric. It tends to go in and out of stock quickly, but it looks like they just restocked the website. FYI!!

Completed: Silk Chiffon Archer Button-Up

30 Aug

So I guess we are now officially in that time of the year again – when the shops are screaming FAAAAAALLL (Wool caps! Corduroy bottoms! Pumpkin spice everything!) but our temperatures are still firmly stuck in summertime. While I’m not ridiculous enough to pull on my Ugg boots when it’s still 100 degrees outside (LOL JK I don’t own Uggs hahaha) (but seriously, Ugg-watching in 100 degree weather at the ritzy mall is absolutely my favorite pasttime during these months. Bonus points if they are wearing a wool hat, too.), I still want to at least look the part of the changing seasons, which still complying with the temperatures outside. For me, that means colors and silhouettes that give a nod to fall – but sticking to lighter-weight fabrics so I’m not sweating my arse off.

So anyway , with all that being said – here’s another button-up shirt! HAHA

Silk Chiffon Archer

I used the Archer pattern to make a fall-inspired button-up, but with a twist – instead of the traditional plaid flannel (which I lurrve, but again – HOT!), I used a light and breezy wide silk chiffon from Mood Fabrics for the main, and woven silk crepe de chine for the collar, collar stand, button band, pockets, and bias facings. Mood Fabrics carries tons of colors of both of these fabrics, but I went with boring ol’ basic black. In the future, I might go completely insane and try this with a PLAID silk chiffon. Maybe.

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

If you are feeling some major déjà vu about right now, you are absolutely correct – I totally and completely 100% shamelessly ripped off Kendra’s silk Archer from the Grainline blog. I don’t ever think I’ll look as chic as she does, but that doesn’t stop me from trying! 🙂 I followed Jen’s instructions for making the Archer sleeveless (basically shortening the shoulder drop and adding some contour to the back armhole, nothing crazy here) and shortened the length by about 2″. I sewed a size 0, which is what I normally make for this pattern.

Silk Chiffon Archer

While I have made my share of button-ups in tricky fabrics – silk georgette, silk crepe, crazy plaids, and a rayon challis that has yet-to-be-blogged – I did worry a little that this one was going to be a beast to sew. My last experience with chiffon did NOT go well (you didn’t miss anything – this was several years ago), but I think a big part of the problem was the quality of the material I was using (it was pretty cheap poly chiffon). Using a high-quality fabric makes a big difference in the ease of your sewing when it comes to tricky fabrics like this – you know they’re already on-grain (or it’s easy to straighten the grain if you need to) and the natural fiber content means you can actually press them (which, again, makes a world of difference during construction – especially for a pattern like this). With all that being said – I only used a yard of the chiffon to make this sleeveless version, which at $20.99 per yard isn’t really that expensive. I got a yard of the crepe de chine as well, but only used a fraction of that (I use silk bias on everythingggg so I have tons left over for other projects). Even having been made out of silk, it’s fairly economical! And you definitely cannot get a silk button up shirt for less than $50 in retail, at least not new. Plus, I machine-washed all my fabrics before cutting – so my silk is machine washable now 😉

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

So anyway, about that sewing! I didn’t do any sort of prep before getting into cutting – in the past, I’ve used fabric stabilizer to stiffen the fabric so I’d have an easier time cutting and sewing (and yes, it does work – see the aforementioned silk georgette button-up post for my full review on that), but I didn’t bother with any of that this time. It certainly would have been easier if I had, but obviously it was doable without 🙂 I did trade out my scissors and use a mat and rotary cutter to cut this, which was tremendously helpful.

Sewing was really easy and straightforward – I used a sharp 70/10 needle, polyester thread, and a lot of high heat from my iron. All seams are enclosed – the yoke and collar cover most of that, but the side seams are French-seamed, and the arm holes are finished with silk bias facing. The hem is just a simple rolled hem (I usually use bias facing there as as well, but I was afraid the crepe de chine would be too heavy for the silk chiffon). I used a super lightweight interfacing (which comes in black!) for all my interfaced areas – it gives some stability without making them weirdly stiff, which is important when you’re dealing with silk chiffon. The buttons are some vintage glass buttons that I’ve had in my stash for ages. The only thing I’m not thrilled about is the pockets – the crepe de chine sags a bit on the chiffon, so they’re not perfectly smooth when I’m wearing it (or when it’s hanging on the wall, for that matter). And also – they are a bit lopsided! Whoops! I hesitate to unpick them because I am afraid it may damage the delicate chiffon, but thankfully no one notices it – even when I point it out. Of course, that may be all you see now 🙂 Sorry 🙂

Oh, and in case you were wondering – I am wearing a black tank top under this, and I did not make the shorts (I WISH I did, though! Because then that would mean that I had found awesome fabric like that!). They are from Express, but the shape is quite similar to the Rite of Spring shorts. The fabric is a nice rayon challis. I pretty much never buy clothes these days, but these were given to me by my boss while she was cleaning out her closet in preparation for her cross-country move (she also gave me a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. Um, I WIN.). Speaking of which, I will be flying up to Rhode Island this week to orchestrate all the unpacking and whatever else you’re supposed to do when one moves cross-country (I’ll be staying here in Nashville and working remotely after that). I’ve never been to RI before so I’m excited to check it out! Wish me luck!

Silk Chiffon Archer

I don’t have much else to say about this pattern that hasn’t already been said to death, so I’ll keep this post reasonably brief. Yay for silk chiffon button-ups! Once we get into full-on winter mode, I think this top will continue to be useful as I can wear it under my cozy sweaters for an extra layer of warmth.

**Note: The fabrics for this project were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: 2 More Scout Tees

8 Aug

Apologies in advance for the big Grainline kick I’ve been on lately. Nothing intentional, no ulterior motives – I am just really loving the patterns these days! Brace yourselves for more where this came from (oh ho ho ho wait till you see my backlog of finished projects), but first – some Scout Tees!

I made 2 Scout Tees, both of which I will be sharing in this post because I think splitting it into separate posts is a bit of an overload – especially since I’ve already made and posted about this pattern twice (see: handwoven cotton and birds). What can I say – I love this pattern and it’s been a hardworking staple in my summer wardrobe this year.

Gauze Scout Tee

First Scout is this one that I made out of a cool (both literally and figuratively) cotton gauze. The best part about this particular project is that the fabric didn’t start out as a yardage – it was actually a scarf! See?:

Gauze Scout Tee

I don’t know the true origins of the scarf; it was given to me by the one guy in my knitting group (btw, every knitting group should have a Token Dude. It really makes you feel like you made it as a knitting group coordinator haha). He was in the process of helping his mother downsize and move, and thus ended up with a big stack of fabrics that needed to be rehomed – most of which ended up in the trunk of my car. This scarf was part of that loot bag. I originally wanted to keep it as a scarf and just wear it like that, cos I looove those gorgeous gauzy scarves and yes I wear them in the summer don’t you dare judge me, but the fact is I never ever come across fabric in this weight/print and I felt like I needed to take advantage of that surprise yardage. Once I realized that I could squeeze a little woven top out of it, my game plan immediately changed.

Since Scout is intended for wovens, it was a good pattern for this project. It’s also fairly small (at least in the size that I cut, which was a 0), doesn’t have a bunch of pieces, and is narrow enough to fit on this scarf. The scarf was also fairly wide – not quite as wide as true fabric yardage, but wide enough to accommodate the pattern pieces on the fold. I had enough length so that I was able to place the print where I wanted it, as well as match it across the seams. I decided the pattern would look best with the paisley design across the hem (which I made sure to account for the hem allowance while cutting), and the white/blue scattered paisleys at the top and on the sleeves. Having a large cutting surface is ideal for this, as I was able to lay everything out and make sure I had enough fabric to match everything before I started cutting.

Gauze Scout Tee

Gauze Scout Tee

Cotton gauze is super lightweight, as well as borderline sheer, so I used French seams throughout for a neat and delicate finish. The hem is 2″ deep, to slightly crop the tee as well as give the bottom some extra weight. The sleeve hems are a simple rolled 1/4″ hem. And I used silk crepe as the neckline bias facing, instead of self-fabric (I don’t even want to think about trying to do a bias facing with this gauze – that shit would have been a nightmare!).

The finished top is definitely a bit see-through if you look very closely, but the busy print helps camouflage things. I also make sure to wear a light or flesh-colored bra underneath (I’m wearing my yellow lace Marlborough in these photos) so there’s not too much of a contrast. The only downside is that the fabric – despite being pre-washed by me, as well as whatever washing it may or may not have gotten in it’s previous life – tends to transfer blue dye on anything it constantly rubs against. Learned this one the hard way after getting home from the flea market last month and discovering that my bra straps were blue, as well as the back side (the part that goes against my body) of my mostly white purse. LAME. Thankfully, most of it washed off with some dish soap and a bit of patient scrubbing. As a side note, if anyone has a good recommendation on how to get a white canvas purse cleaned – yeah, I think I’m gonna need that. I have put that poor Kate Spade through hell and back at this point haha.

All right, second Scout Tee!

Birdy Scout Tee

Recognize this fabric?! I made a fantastic bird dress out of most of it (which is still one of my favorite things I’ve ever made to date, and I still wear it whenever I need to impress someone), but I had about 1 yard left over that I’ve been hoarding ever since, just waiting for the right project. Silk Scout Tee it is, then! And you can go ahead and laugh that I now have 2 bird print Scout Tees. It’s ok, I just really like birds 😛

Birdy Scout Tee

Birdy Scout Tee

As with the gauze Scout, this pattern is really great for letting the fabric take center stage. And same as with the gauze version, it doesn’t require a lot of fabric, so I was able to eek it out of my tiny yardage remains. Notice how completely different the shape is, though, since this georgette has a lot more drape an less body than the gauze. I think both look awesome, but this one is definitely a bit more flattering since it’s not so boxy.

Not much to say about this one that wasn’t already said about the gauze one (and hence why I’m slapping both into one post). It was sewn pretty much the exact same way – French seams, 2″ hem, etc etc. I did use self-fabric as the bias facing for this one, which I’m not entirely happy with how it lays and probably should have used silk or cotton voile instead, but whatever. I just don’t think the georgette behaves as well as a silk crepe would have. Too late now, though, cos I ain’t about to rip it out! It’s fine. IT’S FINE.

I don’t know why I got dressform and flat shots of this one and not the other, but here you go:

Birdy Scout Tee

Birdy Scout Tee

Birdy Scout Tee

Birdy Scout Tee

I’m trying really hard not to get all weird and hoardy with my favorite fabrics, because they don’t do me a lot of good just sitting on the shelf. I want to make them into things that I love so I can wear them and love them every day! It can be a little stressful when it’s fabric you know you can’t get more of in case you done goof it up (this bird stuff sold out REALLY fast!), but I’m working on trusting myself and my best judgement. Again – it’s not doing me any good sitting on the shelf! Gotta take that shit out and actually give it the use and love that it deserves!

Gauze Scout Tee

I think I’m done with Scouts for now, but that doesn’t mean I’m over the woven tshirt! Right after I finished cutting these two, Megan Nielsen released her Sudley pattern, and the blouse is giving me all kinds of heart eyes. I’d love to make a version with the back keyhole!

As a side note – hi, welcome to my living room. I think I like these pictures better than the ones in my sewing room (the only good lighting in my sewing room has some wretched boring background action), although the changing light is a bit of a challenge. I dunno. Taking photos indoors in general is a bit of a challenge, to be honest, but it sure beats standing outside with a tripod while all my neighbors snoop on me through their windows haha (which is what I imagine is happening, and more than likely actually not the case at all).

Completed: Silk Lakeside PJs

19 Jul

Once you get to the point of having a fully me-made wardrobe (speaking as I write this now in a 100% me-made outfit – including my bra and underwear, HA! I’m not wearing shoes just yet so I can still say that :P), that’s when you start getting to fill in the really fun gaps. For me, that means practical things made out of impractical fabrics. Like silk pajamas. Ooh la la!

Silk Lakeside PJs

I have wanted to make a new set of Lakeside Pajamas for quite a while now, since I really love my original tropical set and have worn them so much they are starting to look pretty beat-up. For the past year, it hasn’t been much of a priority because my basement apartment was WAY too cold to wear something so light and floaty to sleep in (trufax, I wore flannel pjs to bed up until I moved. In June.), but now that I’m ~solo livin’~ and have full control of the a/c (I actually turn it off before I go to bed now, which is the opposite of what most people do BUT WHATEVER I LIVE ALONE AND DO WHAT I WANT), which means light and floaty pjs are totally a go again! I have been wearing the HELL out of those tropical Lakeside PJs and loving them, but like I said, they are starting to look pretty ratty. Also, I wanted to try out this pattern in something that had a softer drape.

Silk Lakeside PJs

Silk Lakeside PJs

I made these over the 4th of July weekend, and part of the reason why I chose silk (other than what I just mentioned) was because I figured the project would keep me occupied for a few days. French seams and silk bias binding are both pretty time-consuming, and I was ready to work on something that would take longer than an afternoon. I dunno what happened – maybe the holiday got me all riled up over my freedom to sew my own clothes – but I definitely finished the entire set in a few hours. I even had time to leave my house and drive out to a party (at my old stompin’ grounds in Kingston Springs, no less) for a few hours, and STILL finish in time to wear these to sleep. To be fair, there are only a few seams on these things – and once you get the hang of the bias binding (which I have sewn so much in my day that now I can practically do it in my sleep), there isn’t really anything time-consuming about sewing them. Of course, they would be even faster in a nice cotton – but SILK. Omg I am so in love.

Silk Lakeside PJs

The silk fabric is a piece that I bought at The Fabric Studio here in Nashville during their closing sale. I snapped up a yard and a half, originally thinking I’d make a button-up shirt with it. It’s a lightweight silk crepe with a little bit of stretch, and absolutely lovely. I was all set to make said shirt with the fabric, until I realized I wasn’t crazy about the shirt pattern I had chosen (obviously no B5526, my spirit pattern :P) and instead decided to enjoy the silk fabric in the form of pajamas. I have no regrets about this whatsoever. I didn’t even realize how nice it is to sleep in fancy PJs until I owned a pair! I feel like I’m floating around the apartment when I wear these.

Silk Lakeside PJs

Silk Lakeside PJs

I think this is my favorite cut for a tank top – floaty and billowy when made in a silk, not cut on the bias (don’t get my wrong – I love bias-cut anything, but it does limit fabric choices as it turns prints on the diagonal *and* can eat up quite a bit of fabric in the process), and with that fun little peek of skin in the back. This top would totally be suitable to wear on it’s own with jeans or shorts, too, which was something I thought about while I was sewing it. That being said, I sleep in this shit pretty much every single night soooo silk-pajama-tank-as-normal-everyday-clothes still hasn’t actually happened yet 🙂

Silk Lakeside PJs

Silk Lakeside PJs

I made the size 0 in both top and bottom (my usual size for Grainline patterns) and the only thing I changed was to shorten the straps as they are a bit long for me (this is pretty typical for spaghetti-straps + me). All the seams – both for the tank and the shorts – are French seams. To sew the binding, I followed the directions in the pattern EXCEPT I reversed the order that you sew from the right side vs the wrong side. I attached the binding to the wrong side first, and then once everything was folded over, I topstitched from the right side. I noticed on my original pair that if you do it in the order that the pattern suggests, it’s hard to get an even line of stitching on the right side – where it shows. By finishing on the right side, I was able to focus on getting my topstitching even and accurate. This was super easy for the top, not as easy for the shorts… but I made it work.

Speaking of change, I also didn’t add any binding to the curved hem of the tank – just the top edge that creates the straps. For the curved hem, I just double turned a 1/4″ seam allowance and topstitched it down. I felt that the hem would lay better without the added bulk and weight of the bias.

Silk Lakeside PJs

Silk Lakeside PJs

Silk Lakeside PJs

Silk Lakeside PJs

The only snafu I hit with modifying the order that I sewed the binding was when it came time to attach it to the side seams of the shorts. I had to improvise to get everything to work out, and while I can’t remember exactly what I did – just pinning things down and looking at them was enough to figure it out. One thing I noticed on my first pair of Lakeside shorts is that the intersection where the front meets the back is a bit weak and has a tendency to fray, so I reinforced the area with a little triangle of stitching. Time will tell if I’ve actually solved that issue or not, haha.

Silk Lakeside PJs

Here is the completed set! I ♥ my silk PJs 😀

Silk Lakeside PJs

2 weeks into wearing, and I can confidently say that sleeping in silk IS THE JAM. Despite being basically the opposite of an elegant person, these sure make me feel classy as fuck 😉 What about you? Are fancy PJs worth the effort or a waste of expensive fabric?

Completed: The Lil’ Bird Scout Tee + A Giveaway!

3 May

I’m not really sure what prompted this, but lately I’ve REALLY been loving these boxy loose shapes on me. Made in a super drapey fabric and cropped just so, I find them really flattering and even more comfortable. It’s funny – the older I get (ya know, this RIPE OLD AGE of 30 lol amirite), the more I find myself comfortable with my body – and the more I’m ok with nto wearing things that are incredibly skintight. Both of those statements seem to contradict each other, but, it is what it is!

Silk Bird Scout Tee

The Scout Tee is certainly not a new pattern – not even in my personal arsenal (I made a really fun one last year with some beautiful handwoven fabric, in case you missed it!). But hell, I have loved wearing it! My first version was made with a fabric that made it really boxy, which I liked a lot – but I wanted to see how it would feel in a drapey fabric. Spoiler alert: This is love. This is true love. I already have the next one planned.

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

This tee is pretty similar to my last one, in terms of construction. I sewed the size 0, and the only modification I made was to deepen the hem to about 2″, which is a good slightly cropped length for me. All the seams are French seams, and the neckline is finished with self bias facing. Overall, this was really fast and easy to put together. Since there are so few pieces – just front, back, sleeve, and that bias piece – it was even quick to cut. Yay!

I love the subtle high-low hem and I think it really benefits from some extra fabric down there to give it more weight. Especially with a fabric this lightweight and floaty!

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Anyway, this post is less about the pattern and really about the fabric! What do you think of my AWESOME TROPICAL BIRD PRINTED SILK, huh?! 😀

Silk Bird Scout Tee

The fabric is from Contrado, which is a company in the UK that specializes in custom printing – including on fabric! They reached out to me several months ago about trying out some fabric design, and I’ve finally had a chance to make that happen! It was the designing part that tripped me up and slowed me down so much – I’m not much of a designer, and most of my “art” involves direct copies. Tell me that I can design literally any print that I want, and watch the fear fill my eyes haha.

It seriously took me a couple of months to even think of what kind of design to do, but I had seen a few tropical bird prints floating around on RTW stuff and I immediately knew that’s the direction I wanted to take it. I googled around for some images that I liked and played around with them in my image editing software (it’s not anything fancy like Photoshop, just so we’re clear here haha. You could probably use pickmonkey.com to do your edits) until the design looked right. Then it was a matter of uploading the file to the website, making a few more minor tweaks – and that’s it! It was actually really really easy. The hard part is definitely choosing the design.

Narrowing down a fabric choice was also difficult! Contrado offers a massive array of fabric choices – over 75, in fact. From basics (such as cottons, polys, and knits) to fancier stuff (like cashmere !!!). They sent me a swatch pack so I could see all the printed samples, which made things both easier and harder 🙂

Silk Bird Scout Tee

The fabric I chose to print on is a beautiful silk satin. It practically drapes like a liquid and it feels really incredible against the skin. I was initially a little worried about it being SO shiny – I generally use the “wrong” side of my silks, as I don’t like really shiny stuff. But since this fabric was printed, the wrong side looked.. well, wrong. I think the nature of this design works with a shiny fabric, although now I am wondering how practical it is to make a summery sleeved top out of white silk… I sweat a lot! Ha! Well I guess I can always yank the sleeves off if it comes down to it 😉

I will admit that this was not the easiest fabric to work with – the silk is quite slippery on the satin side, and there’s not much of a “grab” to the wrong side either (by “grab,” I mean like what you’d feel with a silk crepe). I chose a very simple pattern for this reason, which definitely worked in my favor. I didn’t do any sort of prepping before cutting – no stabilizers or using a rotary cutter or anything like that – and while cutting took a bit longer than it normally does, it wasn’t too terrible. I think when it comes to dealing with silks and other slippery fabrics, cutting is the worst part. Once you get past that point (assuming you cut everything correctly and on-grain), actually sewing the pieces together is relatively painless.

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

I actually took these photos after wearing and washing the shirt, and you can see how well the colors have held up (as well as the back wrinkles – sorry about that!). Speaking of washing, I get this question ALL the time, so it bears repeating – I wash all my silk on cold in the washing machine, and hang it to dry (it’s safe in the drier as I pre-wash and use the drier, but I hate ironing so hanging to dry is the way to go!). As long as you pre-wash your silk before cutting into it, it’s safe to wash it in the machine!

One last thing – in case you were curious 🙂

Silk Bird Scout Tee

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

Time to talk giveaway! The folks at Contrado are offering a whopping £100 voucher to use on their site, to print whateverrrrr your desires on your dream yardage! Further, this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE, so you don’t need to be a UK resident to enter! (My US folks – as of today’s currency exchange rates, that comes out to approximately $146.29, fyi!)

To enter the giveaway:
1. You need to LIKE the Contrado Facebook page. Show them your love and support!
2. Comment on this post and tell me what you’d design, and what you’d make out of said fabric.

As I said, this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and the winner will be chosen by a random number generator. I will close the comments one week from today, on TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2016 8AM CST.

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Good luck, everyone! ♥

Note: This fabric was provided to me by Contrado, in exchange for this giveaway post! Who’s gonna be the lucky winner? 😉

Completed: Scout Tee + Gorts

10 Aug

Today’s post features a two-fer – a top AND shorts! Woohoo! Be prepared for a slight photo overload ahead.

Scout TeeI’ll start with the top. This is the Scout Tee from Grainline Studio. It’s your basic woven tshirt with a scoop neck and a relaxed, boxy fit below the bust. I know everyone and their mom has made this pattern already, and I’m only a few years behind on the bandwagon! Honestly, the pattern didn’t appeal much to me until recently – I generally prefer to wear more fitted shapes, especially at the waistline. This was a bigger deal in the past when I had a larger bust – but the girls have shrank over the years, which has made me feel a little bolder about experimenting with different shapes and silhouettes, since I don’t feel like my waist is being quite as swamped as it was in the past. Plus, loose styles are waaaay more comfortable in the summer heat, since they allow a better airflow (I know most of you are thinking, “No shit, Sherlock,” but I have ignored this for most of my adult life! Cut me some slack!). Scout Tee

Anyway, I quite like this style on me! I guess it’s still not the most “flattering,” but I’m kind of getting to the point where I don’t care quite as much about flattering. That’s one major difference I’ve noticed about being 30 vs being 20 – I don’t really give a shit about looking ~sexy~ every time I leave the house. I’m also sure my long-term relationship has a stake in this as well, but I’ve been in long relationships in the past and my attitude was definitely the opposite. Wearing loose-fitting anything – especially around my waistline – is a pretty new style territory for me, one that I’m starting to slowly explore and actually wear out in public. Also, it’s damn comfy.

Scout TeeBack to the pattern! I cut the size 0 and shortened the hem by a couple of inches to give it a more cropped length (but long enough so that it still covers the waistband of my pants). The pattern was really easy to put together – it’s just a front and a back, little cap sleeves, and a neckline bound with a bias facing. I like that it fits through the shoulders and the bust, then falls straight down to the hem. Even though it’s loose, it doesn’t look sloppy. One thing I noticed is that the shoulders tend to pull toward the front – since I used a different fabric for the back, this is a lot more noticeable. It doesn’t bother me at all – I actually like the way it looks, to be honest – but I’m also not sure if it’s part of the pattern, or a fitting issue. Thoughts?

(ps, sorry about the wrinkles – like most of my makes lately, these were taken after a full day of wearing) Scout Tee

The fabric is what really makes this top shine, though! It is GORGEOUS, amirte?! This is a pretty special piece – it’s handwoven here in Nashville! The company who makes this beautiful cotton fabric is Shutters & Shuttles. I don’t know if they even sell yardage anymore, but they used to. I believe they sell yardage to local designers, which – ding ding ding! – is where I got my little piece from. Back when Elizabeth Suzann used to sell limited-edition tops made with this beautiful handwoven fabric (and other colors/styles of fabric as well), she had a whole stash of it. Eventually, the limited edition ended and Elizabeth’s line moved in a different direction. And then she destashed the studio, and this piece ended up in that stash bag I was telling y’all about. It was a very small piece, so it took me a while to figure out what to do with it. A lot of Georgia Tees were made using Shutters & Shuttles fabric, and they all looked awesome, so I followed that lead with my own boxy tee. Scout Tee it was! Except that I didn’t have *quite* enough fabric to cut both fronts and backs, so the fabric sat on my shelf for several months while I looked for a good color match.

Scout TeeWhen I made my coral B5526, the coral voile was stored right next to this fabric, and I realized that they were perfectly matched. Which was lucky enough in itself, because this is a really weird (albeit beautiful) coral to try to match. I bought another yard on my next Mood order, and used the voile to cut the back of this tee. I also used the voile for the bias facing at the neckline – it’s a much lighter weight with less bulk than the handwoven cotton, so it sits on the neckline a little better (plus it looks pretty on the inside!). Scout Tee

I got these little tags in an order from Grey’s Fabric awhile back, and I think they are so cute! I wanna be a crafty fox!

Scout TeeTo crop the hem, I just folded up an extra-deep hem allowance and topstitched it. One, because I like the way the shirt hangs with the extra weight at the hem, and two, because I wasn’t sure if this whole slightly-cropped-tshirt thing was going to be my jam next summer. I might change my mind and want it to be longer (or even shorter, I dunno), so I left the hem allowance there as a bit of a safety measure. And also a big ol’ dangly thread, it seems.

Now for the shorts! Ginger Gorts

I made Jorts – or Gorts, as I am calling these (jorts is a really annoying way to say jean shorts, in case you were wondering!)! Remember when I utterly failed at that shit last year? Man, those shorts look fucking stupid in retrospect. What was I thinking? And if you were wondering – I never wore them beyond that blog post. They were just tooo uncomfortable and I was terrified the zipper was going to bust. They sat guiltily in my dresser for a few months before I finally chucked them.

Anyway, I’m glad I failed at that shit because I learned some very important Sewing Life Lessons:
1. Don’t make jorts out of a pattern intended for trouser shorts. It looks fucking stupid. Better to start with a jeans (pants) pattern and cut it short accordingly.
2. Jorts need fancy jean topstitching, or they aren’t proper jorts. And, they look stupid.
3. Until you figure things out otherwise, jorts need some stretch in the fabric, else they won’t be comfortable.
4. For zipper security, there needs to be a bartack connecting the fly shield to the front of the pants. This is EXTREMELY important. That’s why my zipper kept breaking on the fail pair – pulling the shorts on and off was putting way too much stress on the bottom of the zipper, which caused it to break. I eventually figured this out by inspecting a pair of my jeans – the bartack that hits right at the curve of the fly topstitching is intended to take the stress off the zipper, so you can pull on and off your tight pants. I had left that bartack off, which made my pants weak right at the crotch (kind of like most men lololol amirite)(sorry).

So, with those lessons in mind, I re-attempted the jorts. These are way better! Not perfect, but better. I know they look pretty wrinkly in these photos, but again, those are wearing wrinkles – not fitting wrinkles. Well, maybe a couple of them are fitting wrinkles. I am human, after all.

Ginger GortsI call these Gorts because I used the Ginger jeans pattern to make them! Ahahaha aren’t I clever! I just love this pattern and I spent a solid chunk of my time in Peru dreaming about making more jeans because I just looove all the detail that goes into the topstitching – but knowing that I don’t need jeans right now, because it’s way too hot! So I was happy to compromise with shorts instead. To make the pattern shorts-appropriate, I just measured the inseam of my favorite shorts and cut that length + 1″ from the inseam of the pattern. In retrospect, I should have added a little more length so that I would have a proper cuff (I didn’t plan these to have a cuff, but they were too long once I’d already hemmed them and I didn’t feel like-rehemming). Maybe next time! Also, if I go with the future cuff, I need to widen the bottom of the shorts at the hemline, because they are a little tight at the thigh (cuffs need to be wider so that when they flip up, they are the right width. This is hard to explain without pictures, so here’s an example in this book I found. Thanks, Google Books!). Giving them a good stretch when I put them on helps, though. Ginger Gorts

For fabric, I used a stretch denim from Mood Fabrics. The weight was perfect, but the stretch was a little less than what the pattern calls for (which I determined the unscientific way by comparing it to the denim I used to make my first pair of Gingers). I added 1/4″ to the side seams to accommodate for this, but they are still a little bit stiff. The other bummer is that this fabric has a severe bleeding problem – the first time I wore these jeans, they rubbed indigo dye all over the inside of my purse. I was carrying the only nice purse I’ve ever owned, which HAPPENS to be white. Wah!! I was able to get the majority of the discoloration off with a stain remover, but now I’m afraid to sit on anything remotely light-colored. I washed the denim a second time with a cup of vinegar in the wash to set the dye, but they are still rubbing off a little.

All in all, though, I’d say these are a good practice run! When I finally make my fancy Ginger jeans with the Cone Mills denim kit that I bought earlier this year, I am hoping that I’ll have enough leftovers to make some solid Gorts. We’ll see! Pants first!

Anyway, photos:

Ginger GortsGinger Gorts

Ginger GortsGinger Gorts

Every time I make jeans, I want to experiment with different colored topstitching thread & serger thread – but I always punk out at the last minute. With these, I used bright blue thread for the button hole – baby steps! It also matches the lining and the serger thread.

Ginger GortsOh, right, and the backside of the button hole is emerald green 🙂 Ginger Gorts

For the topstitching, I used my new 1/4″ foot. THAT THING IS AWESOME. There’s a dull blade that sits exactly 1/4″ from the needle, to help you align your stitching and ensures erfect parallel lines every time. Totally worth the $$$ I spent on it. Although I should probably focus on my bartacks next – those clearly need a bit more work. My machine doesn’t have a setting for bartacks, so I have to trial-and-error with experimental zigzagging.

Ginger GortsGinger Gorts

Ginger GortsYou can also see that I changed up the positioning of the rivets – they are only on the front pockets. The pattern has you put 2 rivets on the back pockets, which I did with my first pair, but I never really liked the way it looked. RTW jeans don’t typically have rivets on the back pockets – ok, ok, SOME DO, but not the majority! – and I thought it made them look sort of homemade. I also recall reading, like WAY back in the past, that the original Levi’s didn’t have rivets on the back pockets because they would get too hot when the gold miners sat next to a fire. Full disclosure, it was a research paper on the history of jeans/Levi’s that my cousin wrote for one of her classes in high school, and I found it because I was snooping in her room when she wasn’t home (what? She had a really cool Barbie Dream House that she wouldn’t let me play with). That one statement was really fascinating to me and has stuck with me through the years (although I don’t remember anything else about the paper). This would have been around 1992-1993, so yeah, a while ago (and yes, I realize we are talking about a paper written by a high schooler, back before you could use the internet for research – so obviously I can be completely off my mark here). A quick Google tells me that the rivets also scratched cowboy’s saddles, which might be another reason why the back pockets ones were eliminated. Either way, I think they look weird and out-of-place on the back pockets. So front pocket rivets only for me! Scout Tee

And that’s it for this outfit! Tell me – has your style relaxed as you aged? Do you find yourself experimenting with new silhouettes, or do you stick with the tried and true? How do you feel about rivets on the back pockets of jeans? Do you think the cowboys were onto something?