Tag Archives: Mood Fabrics

Completed: The Hampton Jean Jacket

27 Mar

I actually finished this project months ago – like, as in, 2017. Took the photos in mid-November, and then started this blog draft at the end of that month. I have no idea why I never finished writing it up, but… better late than never, I suppose?

Hampto Jean Jacket

At any rate, despite my apparent reluctance to post this project, I am actually pretty happy and excited about it! I love me a good denim jacket, and have always considered it a wardrobe staple for the way I dress. My style has changed a lot over the years – in my teens I was ~punk rock~ (insert hysterical laughter in hindsight yere), in my 20s I was really into vintage, and now I tend to dress just pretty boring overall (I like to think I look “classic,” but let’s be real – it’s boring AF, whatever, don’t care). With all those style changes, the humble denim jacket has always held a special place in my heart and a leading role in my wardrobe.

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

I think it’s safe to say that there are lots of people who feel the same way as I do about the versatility of a denim jacket, however, it’s been hard to find a sewing pattern that includes all the features you see in one (such as the welt pockets, or a sleeve placket). I have made the Staci Jean jacket in the past, but it wasn’t quite up to par – the fit was more generous than what I prefer, and it really bothered me that it didn’t have actual pockets. I ended up not getting a lot of wear out of that jacket and later donating it.

The Hampton Jean Jacket is a great pattern that includes all the features I like in a jean jacket – those welt pockets, functional in-panel pockets with a top flap, a two-piece sleeve with a placket and cuff, and front and back yokes. Sewn up in a denim fabric with contrast topstitching and metal jeans buttons, it’s almost indistinguishable from the RTW versions you see in stores (almost, but just a little bit better – because it’s handmade by meeeee 🙂 haha). I love that someone took the time to create this pattern, and y’all, it’s a good one. Not that the Style Arc Staci jacket is a bad one, but it’s very basic and lacking compared to this one. This was exactly the type of pattern I have been looking for to fill this hole in my wardrobe.

I bought my denim at Mood Fabrics when I was in NYC last year – specifically for this jacket (sometimes I buy for specific projects, sometimes I just stash… but in this case, it was indeed for this pattern). I wanted something that was a good weight for a jacket, although not too heavy, and with little to no stretch. I found this piece in the denim section of Mood (on the bottom floor) and I just love the dark indigo wash. I originally thought about distressing and bleaching the fabric, but ended up just sticking with what you see here (apparently you are supposed to distress before topstitching… so yeah, that wasn’t happening). As with all denims, this fabric should soften and fade as it is washed and worn, which I’m looking forward to seeing. In the meantime, I do like the way it looks now, too!

The pattern looks complicated, but it’s pretty easy to follow. Sewing a jean jacket is pretty similar to sewing jeans – minus the obvious difference between the two articles of clothing (like, you don’t sew a fly front in the jacket and you don’t set a sleeve in jeans.. or maybe you do, I ain’t here to judge your life), just a lot of flat felled seams and topstitching. Y’all know I fucking LOVE making jeans, but I also have way too many pairs as it is, so this was a nice way to get that jeans-making experience without adding yet another pair to my wardrobe. Instead, I managed to fill a gap at the same time! I love it when that happens!

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

I waffled for a bit on what size to cut – my measurements are closer to a 2, but I ended up making the size 0 after comparing the finished measurements to an existing RTW denim jacket I own and like the fit of. I wanted this one to be a slim fit that looks great both opened and closed (I rarely ever wear my denim jacket buttoned unless I’m like, actually cold or something, however, I needed to make sure there was enough space to close it if it came down to it!). My only complaint about the sizing is how the sleeve length is measured – for whatever reason, it’s measured from the top of the shoulder to the bottom, instead of at the underarm. This led me to originally believe that the sleeve was something crazy like 5″ too long, and I actually altered the pattern and nearly cut it before I thought to actually compare the pattern piece to a different sleeve pattern piece. I was under the impression that the standard is to measure from the underarm to wrist (like what is basically your arm inseam), but now I’m second-guessing myself and thinking maybe I’m the nutty one? Thoughts?

Anyway, like I said – this pattern is really easy to follow. It’s obvious that a lot of thought when into the instructions; they are clear, easy to understand and follow, and the diagrams are beautifully done. There is also a sewalong on the blog if you do happen to get stuck, although it seems like it’s basically a photographed copy of the instructions (i.e., no additional information or tips, just the exact same instructions except with photographs to guide you). I found the sizing to be accurate and the pieces fit well together. I don’t know much about Alina Design Company, however, this was a very pleasant first experience so I am happy about that!

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

For sewing, not much different than sewing jeans. I used a 90/14 denim needle, navy all purpose polyester thread to construct, and a lightweight topstitching thread for all the topstitching – Mara 70 from Wawak, which Jennifer introduced me to a couple years ago during one of our jeans workshops. It’s heavier than regular all-purpose thread – which is 100wt – but not as heavy as traditional topstitching thread – which is typically around 30wt. It still looks nice and thick so your stitches really stand out, but it’s not so thick that it causes your machine to jam or nest, and it is very easy to thread through a standard needle. If you’ve been having issues with topstitching thread, I really recommend trying this weight!

I tried to finish most of my seams with flat-felled seams, but a few (such as the front yoke seam and the armscye seam) had to be serged and topstitched for a mock flat-fell. My RTW denim jacket is like this – a combination of flat-felled and mock flat-felled, and this is all explained in the instructions as well. I washed and dried the denim on the hottest setting a few times before cutting, and have washed it more than necessary since finishing to get it to soften up a little bit more. I know it’ll fade with time, I just want to speed that time up 🙂

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

Hampto Jean Jacket

My only complaint with the pattern is that I think it is lacking some necessary interfacing. There is interfacing at the button placket, sleeve cuff, and bottom band – and that’s it. No interfacing at the in-panel pockets or flaps (which have buttons and button holes, so they *should* be interfaced – at least with a little square where the aforementioned buttons and button holes are), or on the back tabs where, again, there are button holes. I was able to add these in before closing up those areas, but I am a little surprised that they were included with the instructions, especially considering how in-depth the entire pattern is as a whole. One thing I did like was that the collar is not interfaced – you might need to do that if you are using a lighter weight fabric, but for this denim, the weight of the 2 layers of fabric was plenty. I love the way the collar sits!

Hampto Jean Jacket
Anyway, the jacket turned out pretty fucking awesome – if I do say so myself. I think the sleeves could stand to be shortened about 1″, but I usually wear my jacket sleeves rolled up anyway so I’m not terribly concerned about it. The length is perfect for wearing with pants, not so much dresses and skirts (perhaps with something that has a lower waist, but I think the long length paired with a high waist looks unbalanced and a little sloppy – at least on me!). That being said, I already made a second version that is cropped – specifically to wear with dresses and skirts – so watch this space for that!

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

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Completed: Fleecy Fraser Sweatshirt

2 Mar

Ok, so, apologies in advance for posting a really boring sweatshirt today, but, I feel like this post is warranted for two reasons – really awesome fabric, and a previously overlooked version of a pattern.

Honestly, this might be my new favorite fabric at Mood (up there in the ranks with their Bamboo Jersey and Organic Cotton twill). AND they have plenty of colors still in stock (although as of this posting, currently sold out of this particular green – sorry!)! It’s a Christmas Miracle!

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

In all seriousness, though, I wanted to really focus on the fabric for this post. I promise it’s a really good one and worth the praise! I found this Moss Bamboo and Cotton Stretch Fleece on the Mood Fabric’s website a few months ago, via swatch (I always take advantage of my free swatches and usually end up throwing random stuff in my cart before I place my order! I have discovered some REALLY cool fabrics that way that I might have otherwise overlooked). I’m not even kidding when I say it’s one of my new favorite fabrics – they have loads of colorways and it’s nice and wide (60″) so you need less yardage.

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

The fabric is comprised of 66% bamboo, 28% cotton, and 6% spandex. That little bit of spandex is essential for giving the fabric a great stretch with a fabulous recovery. Plus, I really love bamboo fabrics – they are soft, easy to wash and wear, and they are antimicrobial so they have fantastic stink-reducing properties!

This fabric is considered a sweatshirt fleece, meaning it is has one side that is nice and smooth and the opposite side is soft and brushed. Unlike your typical sweatshirt fleece, it’s a slightly lighter weight with a softer drape. It is also a 4 way stretch, which, WEIRDLY (don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you) has more stretch along the grain rather than the crossgrain (if I recall, 40% at the cross grain and something like 80% along the grain). It’s soft (did I mention that it’s soft? Because it is FUCKING SOFT), it snaps back into shape, and it comes in a nice array of colors – what isn’t there to love?

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

This sweatshirt is actually the second garment I made using this fleece – my first garment was a pair of black Virginia leggings. I don’t have any photos of those – let’s be real, they are black leggings and basically impossible to photograph – but I wear them ALL THE TIME (here is a photo on my Instagram – I’d already been wearing them for 3 days at that point haha). Think of your favorite fleece leggings or tights – and then just imagine them in bamboo instead of poly (so no stink and no pilling). Because of the spandex, the fabric doesn’t bag out – meaning no baggy knees or butts. Also, in retrospect – they look pretty much the same as the pants I am wearing (the Cecilia Pant from Elizabeth Suzann – aka my MAGIC PANTS seriously you guys these pants are magical), so maybe I should have just worn the leggings for this photo!

So anyway, about this project! After my success with the leggings, I bought 2 more yards of this hunter green colorway without a real idea of what I wanted to make with it. I knew I wanted a sweatshirt, but a plain sweatshirt seemed like such a cop-out. So I went with the Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt.

I will be completely honest – I did NOT like this particular view of the Fraser when I first saw it (or, to be even more honest – any subsequent versions that I’ve seen since). I dunno, the super contrast yoke just looks unflatteringly Western to me (and I typically love me some Western wear) – very costume-y, very Wonder Woman. I had no intentions of ever sewing up that version (I do like the other versions – you can see the one I made with a collar here), but weirdly, I thought of it when I was trying to decide what to do with this fleece. I thought it might look good with the contrast just being the wrong fuzzy side of the fabric, so the color still matched but there would be some subtle texture differences (again, just like my version with the collar).  I’m actually pretty pleased with the end result – it’s still a nice sweatshirt but with a little more interest… and it doesn’t look costume-y. And I have worn it every day this week, no lie, so obviously it’s a massive success in my book haha.

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics
Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

I made a size 0 and slimmed down the hips (Sewaholic Patterns are designed for pear-shaped women, and I’ve found I don’t need the extra room down there). I also cut this on the lengthwise grain, instead of the crossgrain – remember when I said the fabric had more stretch on the lengthwise grain? I think it would work either way, but I wanted a reeeeeally stretchy, comfy sweatshirt! Shortened the sleeves about 1″… they are still slightly long, but in my experience it’s better to keep them long and allow for a little more shrinkage, then re-hem if necessary. I have waaaay too much bracelet-length sleeves as a result of not being aware of this for the first half of my sewing career haha.

I did have to pay careful attention to the stitching at the center front V, as well as matching the sleeve contrast seam to the bodice contrast seam – for those, I based first on my sewing machine (much easier to take the stitches out if you mess it up) before using my serger. I used the single needle chainstitch on my coverstitch machine to topstitch the contrast, to give it a little more dimension. Other than that, a very quick and easy sew! I did notice the the fleece flattens when you press it, but it’s easy to fluff back up with your fingers.

Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt made with stretch fleece from Mood Fabrics

Anyway, that’s all for this one! A simple project, but also a big gushy heart-eyes love song about some amazing fabric! Now, quick, y’all need to buy it before I snap up the rest of this stuff! 🙂

** Note: The fabric used for this post was provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!

Completed: New Workout Wear for 2018

6 Feb

I know. It’s a new year and my first finished project is workout wear. I actually meant to post this in January but I’ve fallen out of habit with blogging. And on that note… taking blog photos, apparently. Because, yikes. I’m sorry these are so bad, but not sorry enough to reshoot them haha.

In addition to being predictable and basic (lol workout gear in January amirite), making workout clothes isn’t necessarily my favorite thing to sew – but it sure beats buying them! I’ve found that I prefer my gear to be neutrals like grey and black (but really, anything but pink. ANYTHING. Why are all women’s workout clothes pink, anyway??) and I love having a zippered pocket to hold my phone while I run. Both of these can be difficult to find – and if you do find them, they can be quite expensive! I don’t think sewing necessarily saves you money, however, exercise gear can definitely be the exception to this.  Each of these pieces cost a fraction of what you would pay in a shop! And I had complete control of the fabric and fit – meaning, yes, I can wear all grey while I exercise mwahahaa

This post contains 3 pieces – a long sleeved, a tank with a built-in sports bra, and leggings for running and yoga.

Surf to Summit Top made with Mood Fabrics

Surf to Summit Top made with Mood Fabrics<

I’ll start with the long sleeved pullover! This was a desperate need in my closet – I have very few workout tops to begin with (I prefer to exercise in just bottoms + a sports bra, as I generally am either doing hot yoga or running in the heat!), and absolutely none with any sleeves! While I do have a fleece hoodie, I wanted something lightweight that would be good for exercising when it is too cold for sleeveless but too warm for the hoodie.

Surf to Summit Top made with Mood Fabrics

Surf to Summit Top made with Mood Fabrics

Surf to Summit Top made with Mood Fabrics

Surf to Summit Top made with Mood Fabrics

I fucking LOVE this fabric and I was so happy to find it (and buy the last of it… ha! Sorry, not sorry). This cool star print is a polyester/bamboo wicking fabric from Moodfabrics.com. The wrong side is white, and the whole thing has a texture that is really similar to a pique. It’s lightweight and breathable, and the perfect light layering piece.

The pattern I used is the Surf to Summit Top from Fehr Trade. I wanted something raglan with a half zip (so, like a cross between a tshirt and a hoodie), so this pattern was perfect! I made a size XXS based on my measurements, but I think I could have stood to go up a size as it is quite tight and there are a bunch of drag lines. Not sure if this was a sizing error on my part, or something I messed up with the construction – or perhaps my fabric wasn’t stretchy enough? The shirt is definitely still wearable but, yeah, notes for next time!

Construction-wise – I sewed this on my serger (save for the parts with the zipper, which were done on a regular sewing machine), and used my new coverstitch machine to mock flatlock all the seams and hems for a sporty look. Protip – don’t make the mistake I did and try to flatlock the underarm seams. Giant PITA and it doesn’t look great. On the flip, you can’t really see it and I’ve learned my lesson haha. This was one of the first projects I made with my coverstitch so there are sections where the tension is super wonky – I was learning as I went!

The teal zipper was unintentional – basically all I had in my stash – but I actually quite like the contrast! I still have a bit of this fabric left so I might make it into a tank. I fuckin love me some star prints, can you tell? ha!

Pneuma Tank made with Mood Fabrics

Pneuma Tank made with Mood Fabrics

Pneuma Tank made with Mood Fabrics

The second piece I made is the Pneuma Tank from Papercut Patterns, which is a sports bra with an attached tank top and cool strapping detail. I’ve made the bra version before, but not the tank. I used this heathered wicking and anti microbial performance jersey for the outer, and black max-dri anti microbial performance jersey for the sports bra. I also lined my sports bra with black power mesh, for additional support (I should note, I don’t require much support and tend to be fine with lightweight, single layer sports bras like this. If you need more support, this probably isn’t the pattern for you. At least not for something like running or jumping around). The elastic edges and black bra strapping were sourced from my stash.

I love this tank, but again, I have noted improvements for my next version. For one – I think I got a little overzealous with shortening the straps and now they are too short, making the neckline a bit too high. I am probably going to cut those off and replace them because the shortness makes them borderline uncomfortable. I also think my main fabric (the grey) has a little too much body for this design. The sides flare out at the bottom, which I’m not crazy about. According to the product photo on the website, they definitely used a softer, more drapey fabric so I will try that next time. I do like the design for yoga – there’s a lot of opportunity for airflow, and the shirt stays in place when you bend over. I also think it would be really awesome to wear as a regular tank top, but I might make the bra a little less flattening 😛

Pneuma Tank made with Mood Fabrics

Pneuma Tank made with Mood Fabrics

Again, I made this with my serger and hemmed with my coverstitch. I used my regular sewing machine to apply the elastic.

Pacific Leggings made with Mood Fabrics

Pacific Leggings made with Mood Fabrics

Pacific Leggings made with Mood Fabrics

Finally, I made some new leggings for running and yoga! These are my favorite; I love everything about them and have worn them for nearly every workout since I finished this (except when they are still in the wash haha). I used another max-dri performance fabric from Mood Fabrics for this – I bought several colorways for my stash, and I love it! I ESPECIALLY love that it’s not see-through when you stretch it. I added a zipper to the back so I can carry my phone when I’m running. The pattern is the Pacific Leggings from Sewaholic Patterns. I’ve made this pattern a few times before – both the full length leggings and shorts (only blogged about the shorts, though)- and they are so great for exercising. The zippered pocket is big enough to hold my phone, the fit is spot on, and I love the seaming details. There are options in this pattern for doing some cool colorblocking, but, in case you haven’t noticed – I am plain, plain, plain these days! (I like to say that my plain clothes provide a neutral backdrop for my ~colorful personality~ haha).

To highlight the seaming, I mock flatlocked the seams with my coverstitch (and, again, sewed the leggings on my serger except for the fiddly bits like inserting the zipper and elastic, which I did on my sewing machine). It took some trial and error with the tension and needle size – lots of imperfect parts to the stitching – so don’t look too close! They are totally wearable, though, and I love them! The mock flatlock adds a nice layer of strength without compromising stretchiness, and it keeps the seams really flat so you don’t get chafed (lol jk I definitely don’t run long/far enough for chafing to be an issue :P).

Surf to Summit Top made with Mood Fabrics

Anyway, that’s it for these pieces! Standard, basic pieces in boring-ass colors THAT MAKE MY HEART SING. Look! Even my running shoes are grey (do you have any idea how hard those were to find?? Ugh, seriously haha). Sometimes, making your own stuff doesn’t necessarily mean including all the colors and prints – and that’s ok!

For more activewear inspo, check out Cashmerette’s new plus-sized activewear, and the new book Sew Your Own Activewear from Fehr Trade!

*Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!

Completed: Simplicity 8012

29 Dec

As I mentioned in my last post, I also made a clutch to go with my dress, using leftover scraps of fabric!

Simplicity 8028 clutch

As silly as it sounds, this is something that I have been needing – particularly for this dress, but also in general. See, I own a very nice leather purse – but it’s brown, and it’s a decent-sized handbag (it is actually quite small as far as most handbags go, but it’s bigger than one would need for an evening out). I have been wanting a black bag in a smaller size, something big enough to just hold the essentials (wallet, keys, lipstick, gum, phone). While I normally find clutches pretty silly (you mean I have to HOLD my purse wtf), I think they are fine for evening wear. Gives me something to do with my hands that isn’t smoking a cigarette 😛

Anyway, I decided to make a small bag after I cut my dress and realized I had quite a bit of yardage left over – both with the outer and the lining. I also chose to use this opportunity to try out the fabric cutting function on my Cricut Maker!

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Using the Maker to cut my purse was pretty straightforward. I looked through the available projects on the app and decided to make Simplicity 8028, which is a simple clutch with a zippered top. After purchasing, I changed out to a rotary blade on the Cricut and started loading up my fabric mats.

In addition to cutting, the Cricut Maker also marks your pattern pieces using a water soluble marking pen (both the actual pattern markings and it also numbers the pieces so you know which one is which). The notches are cut in outward triangles (the old school way). One thing I didn’t notice until after the fact is that the screen before you start the project labels all your mats with pieces + fabric (i.e., “Mat #2 will cut pieces 2 and 3 out of lining fabric” or whatever). This is not anywhere in the app once you start the project, so I would recommend writing them down so you know which piece gets cut from which fabric. I was losing my MIND trying to figure out which fabric to load on which mat and ended up cutting a few pieces from the wrong fabric (fortunately, I had enough to re-cut). Learn from my mistakes!

FYI, I was unable to use the pattern marker with my fabric, since it is so dark (it’s one of those light blue marking pens). This was not a huge problem – the pieces are basic shapes, and the app actually shows you them on a gridded mat so you can easily figure out where, say, the strap marking is based on the size of the pattern piece + the measurements on the mat behind it.

After everything was cut, I downloaded the PDF instructions and sewed up my bag! That part was pretty easy. If you’ve sewn up any sort of zippered pouch, this bag goes together in a similar way. It took me about 45 minutes to sew, start to finish!

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Simplicity 8028 clutch

I debated on using the other side of the fabric for this clutch, but in the end – I decided the predominantly black side would work better with the rest of my dresses, should I need a black clutch for any of them. The leather piece + wrist strap is leftover from my Pulmuu skirt kit, and the bag is lined with black silk charmeuse.

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Simplicity 8028 clutch

The clutch is basically a long rectangle pouch with a zipper at one end, that folds in half and closes with a magnetic snap. The snap, zipper, and gold D ring were all sourced from my local fabric store.

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Simplicity 8028 clutch

The pattern calls for a swivel hook to be sewn into the wrist strap, so you can remove it if you want a plain clutch. While I loved that idea, I couldn’t find a swivel hook in the correct size (my fabric store only had really big ones in stock, plus, the were silver and I wanted gold). So instead I used my industrial snap setter to put a snap in the wrist strap; now it just snaps on or off. Easy!

Simplicity 8028 clutch

Overall, I think it turned out quite nice! It’s the perfect size for the handful of things I need to carry when I go out, and easy to hold (it also fits in the giant pocket of my faux jaguar coat, so that’s pretty rad haha). Not to mention, it feels good to use the last scraps of something – especially when it’s an expensive fabric!

Ok friends, that’s all for this project! I will be back in a couple of days with my year in review post 🙂

** Note: Cricut generously sent me the Cricut Maker machine + a bunch of supplies at no cost to me, in exchange for writing about my experience. All opinions are my own! Also, FYI, this blog post contains affiliate links. That is all!

Completed: A Very Festive Brocade V8998

26 Dec

After many years of saying I was gonna do it and then never actually doing it… I made a Christmas party dress!

Vogue 8998

I wanted something sparkly and festive to wear to Christmas parties (before you think I go to fancy parties… I don’t. I have consistently been the most overdressed person at every party this year, not that I’m complaining!), but every year I put it off until it’s too late. This year, I was determined to use my Mood allowance to make something fabulous, so I forced myself to start early. I’m so happy it paid off!

Vogue 8998

With this make, I chose fabric before the pattern. I had an idea that I’d like to make my dress out of a sparkly brocade – a fabric that I don’t have a lot of experience with. I generally prefer a fabric that has less body, plus, my lifestyle doesn’t really warrant a need for fancy dress. This seemed like a good opportunity to jump out of my comfort zone a little, so I waited until I was back in NYC for another workshop and used that change to stop by Mood Fabrics store to pick my brocade.

I’m not going to lie – I spent over 2 hours in that shop trying to decide. There are sooo many options, it’s a bit overwhelming! I had a couple of things in mind to narrow it down – I wanted a fabric that was primarily black, gold or silver (so I could wear it with my turquoise heels), and I was budgeting $50/yard or less (you’d be surprised how expensive brocade can get! I only needed 2 yards, which helped a lot). I wanted something that was more floral than abstract, and nothing that was super dimensional (I don’t like puffy brocade, I’ve learned). Even with those terms narrowing it down, there was a LOT of fabric to wade through. God bless all the people at Mood who helped me pull bolts and kept their grumbles to themselves every time I changed my mind. I’m sure it helped that I was there on a slow weekday morning, but still! I must have been annoying. Those people are saints haha.

Anyway, I found this fabric and eventually settled on it (someone else was considering it for their wedding party, and decided against it – so she was happy to see me buy it instead!). What you see in my photos is actually the wrong side of the fabric – the right side is more dimensional with silver + gold, as you can see here. I had a hard time deciding what size to use – and even asked IG for opinions – but ultimately decided that the wrong side really made my heart sing. Plus, it looked better with my turquoise shoes (and also, someone on IG pointed out that it looked mature and tbh I just couldn’t see past that after that fact haha). Wrong side it was, then! I did consider adding in a bit with the right side for contrast (such as at the waistband), but upon pinning the pieces to my dressform, it definitely did not work. Rather than look cool, it looked like I made a mistake. So I scrapped that idea and just went with the wrong side all over.

Vogue 8998

 

Vogue 8998

For my pattern, I used Vogue 8998. I cut a size 6 at the shoulders and bust, grading out to an 8 at the waist and hips. I made view E, but changed the skirt gathers to soft pleats. A quick muslin of the bodice showed that I needed to remove about 1″ from the shoulder to make it fit better, and I also removed 2″ from the skirt length before cutting. I made no other fitting changes.

Construction-wise, I mostly followed the pattern but changed a few things to suit me + my fabric. I did not interface the entire bodice – I get why they have you do it, but I felt like my brocade had enough body where it wasn’t needed. I did interface the midriff with silk organza, just to give it some extra stability. I also changed out the lapped zipper for an invisible zipper.

The whole dress is lined in black silk charmeuse, which gives the garment a bit of weight and makes it feel SUPER luxurious when I’m wearing it. There is 2″ wide horsehair braid at the hem to give the dress a bit of extra volume. This is one area that I totally deviated from the instructions. They have you attach the horsehair to the lining and then sew that to the outer fabric, so everything is encased… but I wanted my layers to be separate (mainly so I could show people the “right” side of the fabric haha). So I sewed the horsehair to the outer, and rolled the hem of the lining.

Vogue 8998

After a little bit of internal debate, I also added pockets (also out of silk charmeuse). I figured it would be nice to have a place to hold my phone (or stolen snacks), and I’m glad I did!

Vogue 8998

Oh, right – AND I made a matching clutch, using all leftover fabrics + my new Cricut Maker! More details on that in the next post 😛 But doesn’t it look great with my dress? haha!

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Despite this being a fairly fancy, pretty $$$$ dress made with fine materials… it was really easy to sew. It’s just a basic dress (I mean, style-wise it’s technically a sundress, you know?) that is fully lined with a center back zipper. There aren’t a ton of pieces, and while I can’t say that the silk was the easiest thing I have ever cut… the brocade was super easy to work with. It doesn’t shift around, it pressed fine with high heat + a press cloth (sorry, I’m terrible but I use high heat for everything haha), and all my hand stitches disappeared which made hand sewing the hem very satisfactory! The only downside to brocade is that it sheds like CRAZY… so I just serged all my seams (even the ones that are completely covered by lining) to prevent them from fraying more. I am still finding sparkly bits of brocade in my studio. It’s kind of great.

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

I love the shape of the bodice, and the wide waistband.

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Vogue 8998

Here you can see the “right” side of the fabric! 🙂

Whew! All right, sorry, that was a load of photos. I am so excited about this dress, though, it’s been a while since I worked on such a big, fancy project!

Vogue 8998

I’m happy to report that I have now worn this dress 4 times – 3 parties, and one night out with my coworkers for fancy drinks! It’s super comfortable to wear, and the silk lining makes it a touch more warm than I expected. A couple of the parties I went to were waaaay more low-key than this dress would require, but it actually looks super cute with my cropped Chuck sweater worn over it with a belt.

Anyway, that’s all for this dress! I’ll be back later this week to talk more about the clutch I made to go with it 🙂

**Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my monthly contribution to the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own!

Completed: Running is Stupid Tank

19 Dec

Guys, have y’all heard of the Cricut Maker? I was somewhat familiar with the Cricut, which I typically associated with general crafters and/or scrapbookers – not the sorts of crafts I personally do. Anyway, a few months ago, I was contacted by Cricut with an offer for the Maker. Not gonna lie, I was confused why they’d reach out, since I definitely don’t do paper crafts (or, I do occasionally, but not enough to necessitate a dedicated machine for it – and I definitely don’t blog about said paper crafts, so it seemed like a really weird fit). If you are confused, too, I recommend watching that intro video at the link, because it 100% changed my mind!

I still don’t know about the rest of the Cricuts, but let me tell you about the Maker! This machine is about the size of a small printer, and it can cut or draw on a variety of materials. I always associated them with just paper and vinyl – but you can also cut stuff like balsa wood and fabric, depending on what blade you use. The fabric part was what really got my attention, when I realized I could use it to cut out fiddly fabric pieces – such as a bra pattern. You don’t have to stabilize the fabric – it sticks to a special mat that feeds right into the machine. There is a free app that has hundreds of patterns and designs available for download – some are free, some cost money (charged to your iTunes account) – including a lot of options from Simplicity. I have been told that it is possible to upload your own cut maps – like the aforementioned bra pattern – but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. In the meantime, I wanted to play around with this machine and see what I could make! This is actually my second project with the Cricut Maker, but the first one I’m posting!

I got a bunch of the iron-on vinyl, which comes in a roll that you can cut to whatever design (or in my case, words) that you want! Then you simply iron it on, the same way you’d use the classic letters that you find in most craft stores (y’all are familiar with these, right? Man, I used to use the SHIT out of those back in high school haha. I had a tshirt that said “Go me” on the front and “Go me some more” on the back. Oh, high school.). I wanted to make my own funny tshirt, but it took me ages to think of a good text to write. I decided to make a running tank with the words “Running is stupid.” My dad had a similar tshirt that he wore to races, and I always thought it was hilarious. After my brother debuted his recent skate video, Skae3rdie Trying (which I’m linking bc y’all should watch that shit at least for his solo at the beginning lol), he had tshirts that said “Skateboarding is stupid,” and OF COURSE he gave me one. But I really wanted that running is stupid shirt, to wear when I go running (obviously), and I knew my mom would never give me dad’s- so that’s what I decided to make.

Running is Stupid tank

Setting up the machine is easy – it has wifi capabilities to connect to your phone or tablet, to download the patterns. There is also a USB port on the side for charging your device, which is handy! The machine has a tray at the top for holding a tablet (or phone); my only complaint is that the tray is very narrow and does not accommodate my iPad when it’s still in its case – I have to remove it. Minor complaint, but I did want to point that out.

Running is Stupid tank

For this project, I designed my text in the app, using my Skateboarding is stupid shirt to compare font and text size. Once I was happy with the design, I connected my tablet to the Maker via wifi and clicked through all the boxes to start cutting. The app makes this really user-friendly – it asks you the material (and in my case – reminds me to mirror so it irons on correctly), tells you what blade + mat to use, then you just load it up and go!

Running is Stupid tank

The machine has space to hold 1 blade and 1 pen simultaneously – you can use the pen to draw or write (with the machine), or you can stick in a fabric pen to mark your pieces as they get cut. The best part is how easy they are to change out – they just snap right in.

Running is Stupid tank

The mats have a sticky side, to hold whatever material is getting cut. There are different mats for different materials, but I just used the all-purpose one for cutting the vinyl. With fabric, there is a special mat – and it comes in both 12″x12″ or up to 12″x24″ (obviously you can only cut stuff as large as the mat, so the bigger fabric mat is nice to have!).

Running is Stupid tank

I loaded the mat into the machine and hit start. And that was it!

Running is Stupid tank

Running is Stupid tank

After cutting, I peeled all the negative space away from my letters. I then cut the letters apart so I could position them better on the shirt (I don’t know why there was that extra space in the second line, but whatever, I can manually fix that!). The letters remain on a clear sheet that is sticky, so you can position everything exactly how you like it and it won’t move while you’re fusing.

Running is Stupid tank

Running is Stupid tank

Then you fuse from both sides (I used a timer so I was sure it was getting enough heat) and peel the clear film off. Super easy!

Running is Stupid tank

Running is Stupid tank

Because I’m so extra, I couldn’t attach this to a standard RTW shirt… obviously, I had to make my own shirt, too. I cut my pattern pieces before fusing the vinyl, but waited to sew everything together until last. Having done a lot of stenciling (and using those vinyl letters as well) in the past, I know from experience that it can be hard to get everything straight and centered if you’re attaching to a garment that’s already made. And I didn’t want to deal with a bunch of yardage and then trying to cut with everyone centered, so I fused to my already cut pattern pieces.

Running is Stupid tank

Then it was just a matter of sewing up the tank!

A few details for the sewing part:
– I used black bamboo stretch jersey to make this – I love wearing bamboo when I exercise because it breathes so well, and it also doesn’t hold stink! I get my bamboo knit from Mood Fabrics and it’s fantastic stuff, well worth the price, and comes in a great selection of colors. There’s about 5% spandex blended in, which helps the knit keep its shape so it does not stretch out.
– The pattern I used is a mash-up of the Mission Maxi for the top, and the Plantain tshirt for the body. I wanted something fitted at the top and bust, but loose at the waist.
– I sewed the seams with my serger (just a standard 4 thread overlock, but next I want to experiment with flatlocking), and made binding strips out of the bamboo knit, which I attached using my coverstitch machine + binding attachment. This was my very first time using the binding attachment (I just bought the machine a couple of months ago, and no, I haven’t posted about it yet!), and LET ME SAY THAT WAS A STEEP LEARNING CURVE. It probably didn’t help that I used it on a wiggly knit instead of a nice stable cotton! But it was totally worth the headache and I’m so happy with how the binding looks.

Running is Stupid tank

Running is Stupid tank

I will write more about the coverstitch machine + attachment in depth in a future post (I’d like to use the thing more before I start acting like an authority on it, ha), but in the meantime – doesn’t the binding look nice! 🙂

Running is Stupid tank

All right, so that’s all for this shirt! I have more workout stuff that I need to sew up (I have a wonderful assortment of gear for the warm months, but absolutely nothing for the winter – so I need to fix that!), so photos of me wearing it will come with that post I suppose! I gotta say, I cannot wait to wear this to the gym when I use the treadmill next, haha! My dad would totally be proud 🙂

I also used the Maker for a sewing project – stay tuned for that post!

Have you ever used the Cricut machines before? Are there other cool things they do that I’m missing out on?

** Note: Cricut generously sent me the Cricut Maker machine + a bunch of supplies at no cost to me, in exchange for writing about my experience. All opinions are my own! Also, FYI, this blog post contains affiliate links. Actually, it is littered with them. That is all!

Completed: Wool Crepe Mirambell Skirt

30 Nov

Look – it’s two of my favorite things, rolled into one! Wool crepe + rust orange. YES!

Mirambell Skirt

I haven’t sewn with wool crepe in ages, which is weird because I consider it one of my favorite fabrics. Since my life is so… casual now, I really just wear a lot of pants, tshirts, and button ups. Dresses only happen if they are knit, and anything remotely resembling a suit hasn’t graced my body in about 5 years. Lol, remember when I worked in an office and had to dress up for work? Yeah. That was a long time ago.

Anyway, wool crepe! I love it! I love how squishy and soft it is, I love how it drapes and hangs off the body, I love the rich color. I love working with it – it’s easy to cut, easy to sew, rarely frays, and responds to pressing like a fucking dream. I love wearing it because it’s warm and comfortable, but also looks polished. Wool crepe, where have you been? Why did I forsake you? I’m so sorry.

Mirambell Skirt

This wool crepe is from Mood Fabrics, which I found in the store when I was in NYC a few months ago. There is a nice selection of wool crepes online if you aren’t local, but I love the opportunity of being able to go to the store and actually see/feel the fabrics before committing to one. This particular fabric is the result of a rare instance where I went to Mood with a specific fabric I was looking for (my lists are usually pretty vague – x amount of knit for a tshirt, for example) and amazingly, somehow managed to find (despite the selection in that store, I feel like they rarely have the specific things I want haha. Which is why I usually end up with vague lists!). But, no – for this skirt, I wanted wool crepe in either rust orange or saffron yellow. And I actually found it! Amazing!

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

The pattern I used is the Mirambell Skirt from Pauline Alice. It’s actually the second version I made – my first one was a sheer navy cotton/silk blend. It’s beautiful; maybe someday I’ll get around to blogging about it lol. Anyway, I originally bought the pattern specifically for that fabric – I was envisioning something similar, and then the pattern appeared on my radar a few days later. The pattern features a high waist with a curved waistband, topstitched pleats, and shaped pockets. There are two versions – one that closes with an invisible zipper, and one with buttons down the front. It is, admittedly, pretty similar to the Colette Zinnia, which I have made twice before (see: one, two). Between the two, I absolutely prefer the Mirambell. I always felt like the shape of the Zinnia was a little off – it tends to flare right about the hips, which is weird. Even topstitching the pleats further down did nothing to rectify this. Also, the inseam pockets on the Zinnia contribute to that flare – which isn’t an issue with the Mirambell, since the shape of the pockets makes them life more flat. The Mirambell does have a shaped waistband, but that can easily be straightened if you hate it. Anyway, my two cents!

I made a size 36, with no further fitting adjustments. The waist is just perfect on me – it’s fitted, but not uncomfortably tight. I love the length, although I’ll tell ya I was tempted to make it incredibly short.

One thing I did change was to add a lining, because I tend to wear wool crepe during tights season and it’s just easier to add a lining than deal with a slip. This is not included in the instructions, but it was easy to figure out (I’d already done this for my aforementioned prior version anyway, so I knew what I was getting into). I used china silk (originally from Mood, and languishing in my stash for the past year or so) and cut a second skirt out of it (I taped the pocket piece to the skirt front since there’s a slash where the pocket goes on the outside… man I hope that makes sense haha), 2″ shorter than the skirt I cut out of my crepe. I assembled each skirt individually as instructed (omitting the pockets on the lining), and then attached the lining to the waist seam of the outer skirt before attaching the waistband. Easy and effective! China silk is not my favorite fabric to work with as it’s INCREDIBLY shifty, but occasionally I’ll take one for the team if I feel like the end result will be worth it. This was one of those instances. The entire making of this skirt was just really fun and satisfying.

Mirambell Skirt

Here is the inside with the lining. Sorry about the wrinkles, that’s just the nature of silk.

What else? I finished all my seams with pinking shears, since the wool doesn’t fray and it was also going to be lined. I love using pinking shears, they feel so quaint and sweet haha.

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

Mirambell Skirt

Overall, a very happy skirt that combines my favorite color *and* my favorite fabric! Double bonus in that it looks so good with my polka dot chambray button up I made back in 2014. I’ve been trying to stick with a general color palette so that my pieces coordinate (and I don’t have any weird closet orphans), and this skirt is a great addition to that.

*Note: The fabrics used for this project (skirt) were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.