Tag Archives: Mood Fabrics

Completed: Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

3 Jan

Happy 2017, everyone!! I’m going to kick off this year with one of my last makes from 2016 – featuring some uhhh-mazing leopard print silk charmeuse!

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Having spent the last 1-2 years of my sewing working on essential wardrobe basics, my handmade wardrobe is quite practical these days. Lots of pants and jeans, lots of tshirts and button ups, lots of comfortable and stylish casual sundresses. I feel really good about where I’m at when it comes to those needs, and as I mentioned before – right now I am just updating the old/worn out and not really scrambling around to make new stuff anymore. WITH THAT BEING SAID, I ended up with a surprising hole in my wardrobe – fancy dresses! This is somewhat hilarious to me, considering I spent the first several years of my sewing career endlessly making frilly party dresses that I rarely wore (or stopped wearing after I got over the novelty of wearing a party dress to, say, the bar. Hey, if that’s your jam, you keep doing you! Me, I will put on leggings and a giant sweater instead haha). I ended up with a closetful of impractical clothing, and have spent all these years trying to rectify that with the practical. I also did a bunch of purging with what was already hanging around, getting rid of things that no longer fit (or never fit right in the first place) or in colors/styles that I didn’t feel like suited me.

I have done such a great job that once the holiday season hit, I quickly realized that I have nothing to wear. lolwut.

I still have my glorious Marc Jacobs birds dress (which is still my favorite favorite thing EVER), this blue cotton sateen dress via the Sew Bossy challenge, and my sparkly brocade skirt. Both of these have been great to have for festive holiday parties, or the occasional wedding ceremony, or that one fancy date that I get to on on like every 6 months. I am also totally not opposed to wearing the same thing multiple times – having been the sort of person who needed a new dress for every occasion, I would rather now just have a handful of things I really really love that I know I look and feel good in – I felt that it was time to give myself permission to make another fancy dress. Just in time for the holiday season to end, ha! Whatever, I’ll take myself out for a steak date and wear this shit!

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

After some deliberation, I ended up with Simplicity 6266, cos I just can’t get enough of that 70s mock-wrap neckline and those sweet tulip sleeves. Honestly, I wanted to make this version with the long sleeves – but I didn’t have enough fabric to cut everything (which, in restrospect, was probably for the best – I think that sort of style would do better in a solid color. That much leopard print could be overwhelming!) because I’d already cut a little bit off and used it to make a bra. I’ve made this pattern before twice (one and two), and yes, I realize that I basically just made a duplicate of the first version. I totally still have that dress – after a couple rounds of alterations when my weight started changing – and I love it, but the polyester content of the fabric makes it not such a great choice for summer. I’ve always wanted to make another version in a more breathable fabric, so here we are.

My leopard print silk charmeuse is from Mood Fabrics, and while it hung around on the site for months after I bought it, it’s sold out now. I think it was originally Rag and Bone, and it’s been in my stash since 2015 hahaha. It’s a nice weight with a gorgeous drape, and I gave it a cold wash before cutting which helped make the shiny side a little more matte (and now I can wash this dress like any other old thing in my laundry basket, ha!). The shiny side was still a little too shiny for my tastes, so I used the matte side as the right side of my fabric. The added bonus to doing this is that the dress feels REAL nice on the inside now, heh heh heh.

I wanted to try a new way to stabilize the silk for this project – in the past I’ve used Sullivan’s Spray Stabilizer, which works GREAT but it can be $$$. I was tipped off to try using gelatine – yes, basically unflavored Jell-o – and I decided this was the project to test this theory with. You can read the full instructions on how to do this here, but basically – you cook the gelatine in water until it boils, add more water, stir in your fabric and let it sit for an hour to soak everything up, then wring it out and lay it flat to dry. I folded mine in half lengthwise and then used a series of chairs and my drying rack to get it as smooth as possible so it would dry reasonably flat. Once the fabric was dry, it had a much more stiff body – similar to a silk organza before you pre-wash it. To remove the gelatine, you just wash the garment as normal (so, this will only work with something that’s been pre-treated – you can’t use it to sew something you wouldn’t wash, such as a coat lining that’s not removable) and it will soft right back up to how it was originally. It’s still not the easiest thing in the world to sew – I mean, we are talking about silk charmeuse here, y’all, it’s never going to be completely fool-proof – but it was a HELLUVA lot easier to manhandle than it had been before the treatment.

Because of the gelatine treatment, assembling this dress was reasonably easy. I used a brand new, 70/10 sharp needle to sew it, and finished all my seams with a serger and then pressed them open (I know that traditionally you sew silk with French seams – and this is what I usually do – but I was anticipating alterations with this. More on that in a sec). For the hems, I turned them under 1/4″ twice and blind-stitched them by hand. The stiffness of the fabric only moderately affects things, if you’re a fit-as-you-sew kind of person (I am!) – as in, the fit is still accurate, but everything just kind of hangs weird because it’s lacking that drape. My sleeves in particular looked RIDICULOUS, but they are fine now that they are soft again. I left off all the topstitching, except at the waist (only because I felt like the silk needed the topstitching for extra stability), and sewed the ties together into a removable waist tie instead of attached at the side seams. Oh, and I used an invisible zipper instead of a lapped zipper. I added a strip of fusible interfacing to both edges of the dress where the zipper would go, which keeps the area smooth and supported.

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

I did have some snafus with the fit on this dress, which at least I was anticipating. See, my pattern isn’t exactly my size – it’s for a 33″ bust, and I’m closer to 32″. This is why I had to take in the original cheetah version, and I had some fitting tweaks that needed to be made on the polka dot one as well. With both dresses, I didn’t actually record my changes – so I had to start from scratch, again. Awesome. For this dress, I sewed the side seams and shoulder seams at 3/4″, instead of the usual 5/8″. This helped a bit – the dress still isn’t super tight, but I like the drape of charmeuse with a little bit of ease. Interestingly, it was the sleeves that gave me trouble with this dress. First, I sewed them with the wrong side on top – and I didn’t notice until after I had finished the dress (including all the serging) and I was comparing it to the original cheetah version. They look really awful when they are the wrong way, in case you were wondering – and I had to unpick and resew them. Also, the shoulders were strangely wide on this dress – the armscye was the correct depth (thanks to that 3/4″ seam allowance), but the sleeves started past the edge of my shoulder and it was channeling some serious linebacker shit. Of course, I noticed this AFTER I had fixed the sleeves – and I wasn’t about to unpick that shit again! So I added a 1/2″ tuck on top of the shoulder, which only goes about 2″ and then folds into a soft pleat over the bust and down the back. This was enough to pull in the sleeve cap so it actually started where a sleeve cap was supposed to start – and also made the bodice fit a little better, too. It’s not the most elegant of solutions – it’s a total hack job, tbh – but it worked!

I also tacked down the center front invisibly, because the dress wanted to gape open (probably cos my boobs don’t quite fill it out lolz).

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

As a side note, I am trying a new spot to take photos. I had a few people tell me that my other location was too distracting, and, well, it totally is haha 🙂 I don’t know why I never tried this wall – it’s pretty empty and gets ok light. What’s weird is how different it looks with me standing there vs the dress form (I took all these photos in one session). The background is boring as hell but it’s not like anyone is here for my stunning photography. Also I’m not really sure how to get rid of that giant shadow behind me.

And because I’ve gotten some comments on it recently – the thing I’m holding is my camera remote (my camera is old and the only remote that works with it has a giant antennae), not a screwdriver hahaha.

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Anyway, thanks for all of your great comments and insights on my last post. I had a great time ringing in 2017 and I look forward to what this year has to offer!

Note: The leopard print silk charmeuse was purchased with my allowance from Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

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: Plaid Rosarí Skirt

29 Nov

Y’all. I love this skirt pattern.

Plaid Rosari Skirt - front

I’ve made it in corduroy, stretch twill, and Cone Mills denim, and I’ve had my sights on making a plaid version as well. Nothing like channeling your inner Cher Horwitz with a plaid mini amirite? This pattern is especially great for plaids as it doesn’t involve a lot of matching – just center front, center back, and the side seams – and you can add some ~visual interest~ by cutting the pockets and waistband on the bias.

If you didn’t already figure it out, this is the Rosarí Skirt from Pauline Alice Patterns. I made the mini version in a size 34, and added curved front pockets and a lining (this is not covered in the pattern, but it was pretty easy to figure out).

The plaid fabric is from Mood Fabrics. It is listed as a cotton flannel, but I think “flannel” is a bit of a stretch. It is VERY slightly flanneled if you look at it really really closely, I guess. Honestly, it just looks like a plaid shirting to me. It’s definitely cotton, just the flannel part isn’t exactly accurate. While I had visions of a cozy flannel skirt when I ordered the fabric, I think the smooth cotton works just fine. Probably makes it look a bit less like pajamas, ha. With that being said – if you are wanting to order any of this fabric, definitely get a swatch first!

The lining is Bemberg Rayon that I had in my stash (I’d say it was a miracle that I had a perfect color match, but ha ha have y’all seen my stash?), and the buttons are also old stash (I think they are originally from the flea market, though, probably).

Plaid Rosari Skirt - front

Plaid Rosari Skirt - side

Plaid Rosari Skirt - side

Plaid Rosari Skirt - back

Sewing this up was really easy and mostly uneventful, considering I’ve already made this pattern so many times. Like I said, I added a lining so that I could wear this with tights – the one thing that bums me out about my other Rosarí skirts is that they stick to tights and ride up (generally right in between my legs, which is sooo attractive I know) (I ended up making a teeny half-slip out of stretch silk charmeuse to wear with those – so problem solved! This is the tutorial I followed, FYI!). To add a lining, I cut the lining from the front and back pattern pieces, and sewed them together like a lining skirt. Then I attached them to inside along the top edge of the plaid pieces (also assembled together), and then treated everything as one piece. The lining is basically flat-lined to the outer fabric, except the side and back seams are enclosed. The front button band and hem are turned to the inside as per the pattern and topstitched down.

The only part that was eventful about this sewing – the fit! I was nearly finished – like, button holes sewn in and marking button placement nearly finished – and I tried the skirt on to mark those damn buttons. That’s when I realized that it was too tight – way too tight. I could get it to close, but it was less “cute plaid skirt” and more “sausage stuffed in a casing,” if you know what I mean. I couldn’t figure out why it was too small – did I gain weight? did I fuck up the seam allowances somewhere? – because, again, I’d made this skirt several times, all in the same size, and THOSE still fit just fine (I went in my closet and tried them all on to be sure haha). Then I threw it on the cutting table and plotted how I was going to fix this mess.

Well, first of all – I figured out why it was too small. See, all 3 previous versions were made using stretch fabric. Due to the addition of the lining, this skirt didn’t have any give to allow for a little more room (actually, the fabric itself wasn’t very stretchy either, so – that factors in as well). I probably also fucked up a seam allowance somewhere, idk.

To fix the skirt and actually make it wearable, I removed the waistband entirely. I let out the side seams until the skirt fit comfortably (I think I ended up with 3/8″ seam allowances – I don’t remember), in both the outer and the lining. Then I cut a new waistband and reattached everything. As you can see, it now fits. Success!

Here are a lot more photos. Sorry about that giant-ass wrinkle on the right, by the way.

Plaid Rosari Skirt - on dressform

Plaid Rosari Skirt - on dressform

Plaid Rosari Skirt - on dressform

Plaid Rosari Skirt - flat

Plaid Rosari Skirt - flat

Plaid Rosari Skirt - flat

Plaid Rosari Skirt - flat

I guess that’s it for this post! Moral of the story – even if you’ve made a pattern numerous times, always ALWAYS check that fit as you go! Your fabric can really change the fit of the garment. I generally do this when I sew, but the ONE time I did not, I ended up regretting it!

Plaid Rosari Skirt - front

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: Navy Cotton Twill Ginger Pants

1 Nov

Gah, it has been WAY too long since I made a pair of pants – according to my blog, that last pair was published in a February! LAME, TIME TO RECTIFY IMMEDIATELY.

Also, damn, my hair has gotten long since then. It seems to grow soo slowly until you look back and realize you’ve really gained some inches over the months, yay.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Anyway, Ginger Jeans! Again! I love this pattern so much, it’s definitely my pants TNT. The style is so classic, I can make a million pairs and have no one be the wiser that I’ve been wearing the same pattern for 6 months straight. I’m still tweaking the leg fit, but I really think the waist/hip fit is nailed down solid. And I love how it looks in different fabrics. While I primarily make this pattern up in denim, I’ve really wanted to try more colorful stretch twills. And here we are with that!

Sorry in advance for the terribly quality of these photos. Navy is almost as difficult to shoot as black, who would have thought!?

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - back

Anyway, I bought this navy stretch cotton twill from Mood Fabrics, back when I was in the NYC storefront in March – specifically with the intention of making myself some sweet pants out of the yardage. It’s a good stretch bottomweight for the kind of pants I like to wear – a lighter bottom weight (it’s still technically bottom weight, however, it’s about the lightest you can get away with – if that makes sense!) with a really good, solid amount of stretch. I have learned that I don’t like wearing really heavy fabric as pants – just don’t care at all for the way it feels. Maybe I’m sliding quickly into knit-fabrics-for-every-garment fabric territory, but I really like lightweight, super stretchy fabrics on my booty. Since that’s so freaking DIFFICULT to find with denim (get the right weight, and you lose out on recovery. Get the good recovery, and it’s like wearing raw denim in terms of stiffness, ew), cotton twill is where it’s AT. Bonus if that shit is colorful. I like colorful things.

This cotton twill seems to be a lot more along the lines of a cotton sateen, to be honest -it’s pretty shiny, for one. I rather like the effect – I think it looks a little more luxe than just a normal pair of pants – but as you can see, it highlights EVERY SINGLE wrinkle that shows up. It makes these pants look a lot more ill-fitting than they actually are… not that anyone would notice, except someone else who sews/fits, but it is what it is. I ain’t worried about it. Coupled with the fact that I like to wear my pants as skintight as if they are basically painted on, it’s pretty much wrinkle-city up in here. That’s ok, though. I will live.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - side

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - back

I wanted to improve on the fit of my last pair – the full calf adjustment has been good in terms of allowing room for my calves and reducing the amount of knee wrinkles, however, I wasn’t happy with how wide the ankle ended up as a result. This is part of the reason why I’ve been reluctant to make this pattern again until now – that, and it’s been way too hot to wear pants for the past few months 🙂 Anyway, I have that Ginger Jeans Intensive at Workroom Social this week, so I wanted to make the pattern before I left just to brush on the construction. Which meant that I also had to figure out the leg situation. Boo.

Ultimately, I figured that since the full calf adjustment was kind of the same concept as a full bust adjustment – i.e., you slash and spread to add width to a certain part of your pattern – then reducing the circumference of the ankle would basically be the opposite of that, like a small bust adjustment.

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Here is my pattern piece after adding that extra room for my calves. As you can see, quite a bit of width was added at the ankle – 1 1/8″, to be exact. I wanted to reduce that amount without actually reducing the calf width, and also maintain the grainline of the pattern so the fabric wouldn’t twist and go all haywire (this is why you can’t just… shave down the side seams to remove the width. I tried that on the jeans with a basting stitch and it was just AWFUL. Did not work at all).

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

My Y-shaped slash and spread worked to add that width, so I did another Y-shaped slash right around where my calf starts to taper back into “normal width” category, using the super scientific method of holding the pattern piece up to my body and drawing wild lines on the paper with a pencil. (btw, that second slash line was my first try – and I realized it was way too low, so I taped it back together haha)

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - full calf adjustment

Instead of spreading, I overlapped the pieces together so that the original pattern paper (without my brown craft paper addition) butted up as normal right at the ankle. As you can see, it makes a very gradual curve to the side seams – they bellow out a little where the extra width is needed, and then gently curve back to their normal width tapering to nothing at the ankle. I also straightened the grainline, after I took the photo. Sorry bout that.

I had no idea if this was going to work – this is how I do my pattern adjustments (if I can’t find the answer in a book, anyway): mulling over the issue for a few months, doing some wild slashing that seems legit, and then cutting them off into shorts if it doesn’t work 🙂 Fortunately, it worked! I still have the room I need for my calves, but the ankle is fitted as it should be. And I ended up with pants instead of having to cut them into shorts, so woohoo me:)

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - flat

The only other change I made to these pants, in terms of construction, was how I applied the topstitching. I usually use topstitching thread – whether matching or in a contrast color – but I didn’t have any of that on hand when I made these pants (to be frank, I barely had ANY navy thread at all during this phase. I did have a bunch of bobbins filled with navy thread, which is what I used as my main thread hahaha AND MIRACULOUSLY HAD ENOUGH YAY). Instead, I used normal polyester thread – just whatever you’d use to, I dunno, assemble a garment – and set my machine to sew on the Triple Stitch. The Triple Stitch automatically lengthens your stitch just a few mm, and then sews over the same stitch a couple of times – which results in a nice, thick, dense stitch. It looks great for topstiching and solves the problem of not having the proper thread. I actually like it better than using topstitching thread, as you are less likely to get thread nests on the underside of your fabric! The only downside is that it is a giant ass bitch to unpick, so definitely be really really sure of what you’re sewing 🙂

Anyway, I used the Triple Stitch to topstitch all my seams – including the flat-felled seams. To keep my lines even and consistent, I used my edgestitching foot to get that 1/8″ from the seamline, and then my 1/4″ foot for the second pass. The bartacks are just teensy little zigzag/satin stitch blobs, using the same navy as the topstitching. I didn’t add any rivets or contrasty anything to these pants – I wanted them to be plain and a little sleek. The pocketing is the same striped cotton I use for pretty much all my pocketing – I bought a shitload of that yardage ages ago at Mood Fabrics, and it’s like the gift that keeps on giving forever haha 🙂 I kept the longer length, just so these don’t end up being super high-waters after a couple of washes, but they look good cuffed, too 🙂

Navy Cotton twill Ginger Pants - front

I have only had a chance to wear these once since finishing them, so I can’t 100% comment on the recovery of the stretch fabric – but at the end of the day on their inaugural wear, they stayed pretty tight and did not bag out. I’m interested to see how long they keep their shape before bagging happens, but so far so good, I think!

** Note: The fabrics used to make these pants were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. In case you were curious, the gingham for that shirt is also from Mood Fabrics 🙂 it’s Butterick 5526 !

Completed: A Striped Coco Dress

13 Oct

Coco is one of those patterns that I loved when I first saw it (and immediately made up), promised I would make dozens more, experienced feelings of jealousy whenever I saw other people wearing it… and yet left that damn pattern hanging for 2 1/2 years. Too long!

Coco Dress

I have been slowly going through my stash, uploading fabrics to my Cora app– which takes forever, since I have to pull each piece out, photograph it, measure it, and then fill in all the details. Individually, it’s not really a time suck – but I have a lot of fabric! It’s kind of fun, though – I feel like I’m rediscovering all this great fabric I forgot I had! (very similar to how I treat doing laundry – oooh, look at all these fun clothes I forgot about in the past few days! Yay!) I’m making an effort to sew more from my stash – at least, the pieces that are suitable for the current season, and the colors/prints that work best with my current wardrobe. It’s certainly not doing me any good just hanging out on my shelf!

This navy/white striped ponte is one of those pieces that I unearthed. I bought a MASSIVE yardage of this shit when I was in Mood Fabrics… uhh, probably also in 2014. It’s a heavy, thick ponte with a very dense hand – and it was a pain in the butt to drag it all home, though of course I persisted because I am all about taking one for the (my)team. I made a couple tshirts out of the stuff, and quickly learned that I don’t like wearing tshirts out of such a heavy knit. It feels strange, like wearing a jacket you can’t take off. And while it’s a great weight for stuff like hoodies, blazers, jackets, skater dresses… I dunno, guys. I just wasn’t feeling it. So the remaining yardage has been hanging on my shelf until I managed to almost forget about it.

Coco Dress

Coco Dress

Coco Dress

So here we come right back around to Coco! I was desperately in need of a easy, mindless project that lent itself well to leaving unfinished for long periods of time in my sewing room – this was during the week that my dad was in the hospital, and while I spent most of that time sitting next to him (or camping out in the ICU waiting room, waiting my turn), I needed a day to be “normal.” I didn’t feel like sewing at all, but I knew it would calm and relax me – again, the key being something easy and mindless. So I took the pattern and fabric, both of which I’d been kind of avoiding, and channeled my energy into this project.

It’s not anything special, obviously. It’s a simple A-line knit dress with a funnel neck collar. I can – and have – made much more impressive pieces. But the simplicity was exactly what I needed – so I could turn my mind off, and just focus on making. That fact that I have a pretty great dress out of it is just a bonus 😉

Coco Dress

Since I’ve already made this pattern and it’s fairly simple to begin with, I don’t really have much to say about the construction. I sewed the size 1 so I’d get a close fit (my measurements hover right between 1 and 2 in Tilly’s patterns), but ended up taking out another 1/2″ or so from the side seams because it still wasn’t quite fitted enough to my liking. I originally sewed the long sleeves, thinking I’ve had a cozy little ponte winter dress – but y’all, I dunno, something about all those STRIPES with those SLEEVES was just really… awful.Maybe it’s because I’m so short, but it was really overwhelming on my frame. Pulling them up to 3/4″ solved that problem, as did removing a couple of inches from the hem (I know it’s REAL short in these photos; I had a fat 1.5″ hem that I ended up letting out before I wore it out for the first time and resewing again at about 1/2″. So it’s a tiny bit longer – as in, when I raise my arms you don’t see buttcheck anymore true story ok).

I added the sleeve tabs as an afterthought – I liked the way the sleeves looked when they weren’t totally smooth. To make the tabs, they are just rectangles that I sewed with the right sides facing and then turned right sides out, sewed to the inside of the sleeve and then tacked down the other end with a button from my stash. Actually, if I recall correctly – the measurements were determined by me cutting the small pocket (included in the pattern), deciding I didn’t want to add it, and then cutting it in half to use as my tabs haha.

I sewed all the seams on my serger, except the hem and sleeve hems – which I just used a zigzag stitch for. Easy! (except when I ended up ripping out that hem later to let out some length, ugh haha) And while the dress looks like it’s black and white, I promise it is actually navy. It’s just a really really dark navy.

Coco Dress

See?! Navy! 🙂

My fabric isn’t quite as beefy as what they use for the project photos – or what I used for my first Coco, even. As a result, the funnel neck is definitely a lot more floppy and slouchy. I like it, though!

Coco Dress

Sleeve tab and button. This button was seriously the closest thing I had to matchy in my stash.

Coco Dress

That’s all! I am heading out in a few hours to catch a plane to NYC – Camp Workroom Social is this weekend! 😀 I cannot WAIT to hang with all the campers and help my (well, Amy‘s 🙂 ) class make some beautiful bras!

And speaking of classes – I spent the last weekend at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH, where we had a lovely 4 days of sewing, eating delicious food – and drinking whiskey, because of course we did. I had an AMAZING time with amazing company – great conversation, great food, and of course, great sewing! I love doing these sorts of retreats because it’s really fun to see what everyone is working on – for this class, we had jeans, a bra, a coat, an Archer, fitting help, and a shirt dress! The only downside is that when I get home, I REALLY miss everyone because we’ve been so close for the past few days! Which basically just means I am gonna have to go back 🙂 Exeter is so beautiful and Pintuck & Purl is the cutest little store with a beautiful selection. I definitely came home with some fabric and yarn, although my tiny suitcase meant that I had to restrain myself a bit 🙂

See y’all next week!

Completed: Chambray Tencel Butterick 5526

3 Oct

Well, surprise surprise…. I am back again with – you guessed it! – another button-up shirt. Ha! Is this all I wear these days? Probably. I’ve been sewing – and making button-ups – for years at this point, but it still tickles me to no end that I can get them to fit every part of my body without bagginess or gaping. To hell with all those tiny safety pins and double-sided tape – I finally have buttons where the buttons need to go! Yay!

So now, my wardrobe is just slowly filling up with the button-ups of my dreams. Also, button-ups are really really really fun to make. You like making jeans and bras? You’ll love making button-ups. So many tiny pieces with lots of precise topstitching I LURVES IT ♥

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

When I was in NYC earlier this year, I made some time during my trip for a couple hours at Mood Fabrics flagship store in the Garment District. Since I live way way outside of NYC, I don’t generally get this opportunity except once or twice a year – so I try to make it count! I always come prepared with a list and a plan – and while I allow myself to veer off the list if I see something shiny that appeals to my magpie tendencies (very much like when I go grocery shopping, although that sort of veering usually involves chocolate :P), the list is helpful for keeping me on track so my purchases are a little more focused. I don’t know if you’ve had the pleasure of shopping in the physical Mood Fabrics store, but it is QUITE overwhelming if you’re not used to it! The aisles of fabric go on forever, piled to the ceiling – and there are 3 glorious floors of it!

One of the things on my list for this trip was to find a chambray Tencel shirting. I’ve seen this all over sewing blogs and even in RTW – chambray Tencel was apparently very hot last fall (whether or not it’s still hot this fall – whatever, I like it, that’s all that matters!). I wasn’t familiar with Tencel until a couple of years ago, when I was sewing for Elizabeth Suzann and she started using it for some of her designs. Tencel is very similar to rayon – it’s a wood cellulose fiber, so it breathes beautifully, and it has an incredible drape. Unlike most of the rayons I have sewn with, this is a bit thicker and easier to handle – it’s not quite so floaty. My brief internet research also tells me that Tencel is a very environmentally friendly, and the fibers are grown sustainably. Gooooo Tencel!

I found this particular Tencel in the depths of the shirting fabrics in Mood’s store, and it was exactly what I had been dreaming of when I wrote my list. It’s drapey and nearly as soft as a baby’s butt – just like rayon – but with a thicker hand and an incredible sheen. I am pretty sure this is the same stuff available on the website, actually (also FYI, Mood Fabrics now has tons of Tencel on their site – including flannel WUT). I bought enough yardage to make a long sleeved button up, prewashed that bad boy when I got home, and set it aside to allow summer to pass before I cut into it. And finally, here we are!

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

I used my very favorite shirt pattern, Butterick 5526, to sew this up. I’ve made this pattern dozens of times at this point, so there’s not much I can say about it that I haven’t already said dozens of times. I’m so familiar with this pattern, I’m pretty sure it could sew itself if I gave it a chance. I decided to mix a couple things up to make my shirt look a little more like a workshirt – rugged, casual details, but with that pretty, slim fit that only princess seams can give you. And also to make it look less like I am just wearing the exact same shirt every day. Even though I totally am.

I redrafted the back to include a yoke (and by redrafted – I mean I just sliced off the top of the pattern piece and added seam allowances, ha!) and swapped out the simple bias plackets for a more manly tower placket. I also drafted pointed pockets with matching pointed flaps (again, I am using the term “drafted” VERY VERY loosely here!). Another big change was to topstitch everything at 1/4″, instead of my usual 1/8″ edgestitching. It’s a lot more bold and pronounced, like the RTW stuff I’ve been lurking on, and gives a completely different look! I imagine that over time, the edges will curl and wave a bit and make the whole shirt look more settled in. All the interior seams are flat-felled, with the exception of the yoke – which is faced with more Tencel. Oh, and I added button tabs to the sleeves, so I could roll them up if I wanted to!

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

Working with Tencel wasn’t much different than any other shirting fabric I’ve used, although it does have a tendency to stretch and slide if it things it can get away with it. I added lightweight fusible interfacing to all the normal shirting bits – collar, collar stand, button placket, etc – as well as the sleeve tabs and pocket flaps, just to give them a little more structure. This fabric responds really well to heat, so I was able to steam everything easily into submission, which is a must for shirt making.

I did have one pretty big unpicking session with this shirt – for some reason, the collar ended up too big (I don’t think it stretched out, as the top collar is cut on the straight grain and was also immediately interfaced after cutting – I am thinking maybe I skewed my seam allowances somewhere, somehow?) and went almost to the ends of the collar stand. I noticed it right before I started topstitching, and while I tried to convince myself it was ok – it wasn’t, and I knew deep in my heart of hearts that it looks absolutely fucking shitty. At this point, I had already aggressively trimmed down all those seam allowances and pressed the shit out of everything, and while I could still unpick things – it would going to be a giant PITA. I left the shirt on my dress form for a few days so I could get some space, and upon revisiting, I knew I wouldn’t be happy with the collar the way it was. Considering how much time I had already spent making this shirt (and the uncertainty of knowing whether or not I’d be able to get more of this fabric to cut another one), I ultimately decided it was worth the time to unpick everything, re-sew the collar with larger seam allowances, and then re-insert it. Not gonna lie – it took me about 2 weeks of leaving the shirt wadded up in the corner of my sewing room (so it could really think about what it had done) before I got up the energy to do all that unpicking, and another week or so before I re-sewed everything. But you know what? It looks SO SO SO much better now (it’s not perfect, but it is a 1000% improvement, no question) and it was worth the anguish! Sometimes you just gotta step away from whatever is frustrating you, to get another perspective.

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

Butterick 5526 is *my* personal go-to button-up pattern for sure – I’ve got my tweaks down to a science at this point, and there’s nothing this shirt pattern can’t do for me! I love a good button-up shirt and I’m so happy to see more of this sort of pattern emerging out of the wild these days! Cashmerette’s Harrison Shirt is drafted specifically for plus sizes all the way up to an H cup (like, seriously, the double princess seams with no gape is absolutely mind-blowing to me) and Tilly & The Button’s new Rosa Shirt & Shirtdress is a gorgeous little beginner-friendly piece that will walk you through every single step (stay tuned for my Rosa review, btw, bc OF COURSE I made one of those bad boys!). I also love the Grainline Studio Archer for a more rugged/boyfriend looking shirt (lack of princess seams on this one means less fitted, but also much more suitable for those cozy plaid flannels!) aaaand I just got my hands on a copy of Deer & Doe’s Mélilot shirt so that’s coming up next! What’s your favorite shirt pattern?

As a bonus, the skirt I am wearing in these photos was also made with fabric from Mood Fabrics! I used a cotton corduroy and you can read all about it in this post from earlier this year. This skirt has been on hold during the summer – it’s too hot here to wear cord, plus, it just looks silly in 100* weather – and I am excited to bring it back into wardrobe rotation with these dipping temperatures! Mustard and denim – is there a prettier color combination? I think not!

Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation with the Mood Sewing Network. That fabulous hat is all mine, though 😉