Tag Archives: silk

In Progress: Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

10 May

sewing with spiegel boylston bra

Hey everyone! I’m back with another bra post… again! This time, I’m trying something a little different though – I have made this bra *entirely* on my Spiegel 60609 machine. If you’ve followed my past bra posts, you will know how much I love using my old standby Bernina 350 for assembling lingerie, especially since the variety of feet that I have make things super easy. However, I was really curious to see how the Spiegel 60609 held up when it involves fussy lingerie sewing, so I used it for this project. And now I’m going to report my findings to you!

A few things I noticed that I think bear mentioning:
– I’m not a huge fan of the way the seam allowances are marked on the throat plate of this machine, as it makes it a little difficult to get a precise 1/4″ seam allowance. However, this is really easily solved by laying a piece of tape or even a Post-it note where your 1/4″ line should be. This is what I did, and it worked fine.
– The feed dogs (what move under your needle to push the fabric along) on this machine are AMAZING. Seriously, I didn’t have to pull my thread tails at all when starting or stopping a seam. The machine just pushed everything through without any snags or chewed up fabric – even with using silk crepe and teensy 1/4″ seam allowances. Color me impressed!
– The one downside I see to this machine is that you can’t move the needle in either direction – which is what I typically do to get accurate edgestitching (on my Bernina, I use the stitch-in-the-ditch foot and move the needle all the way to one side, it gives me a perfect 1/8″ without having to even really think about it). With that being said, I used the clear foot that comes with the Spiegel 60609, and found that the opening off the center of the foot is exactly 1/8″ from the needle. As long as you line this opening with the seam that you are edgestitching, you will get an accurate stitch. It does mean that you need to pay attention and maybe sew a little slower – but the 60609 also has a speed dial to slow things down, so no excuses now! 🙂
– There are a BUNCH of zigzag stitches on this machine!! For elastic insertion (which I’ll go over next week in part 2), I used stitch #226. I found the width to be perfect for what I needed.

The pattern I am using for this bra is the Boylston Bra from Orange Lingerie. This beautiful balconette pattern works for both foam cups and fabric cups, and features self-fabric straps and a really nice rounded shape. I’ve made it a few times in the past, and it’s a favorite of mine 🙂 I am making the size 30D.

For fabric, I am using silk crepe from Mood Fabrics (look familiar? I used it to make a top! Yay for lingerie using tiny scraps, ha!) for the outer, black power mesh from Tailor Made Shop for the back band, sheer cup lining from Bra Maker’s Supply, and black foam bra padding also from Bra Maker’s Supply. The elastics and notions are from various points in the NYC Garment District – I just have a giant stash that I pull from as I need stuff 🙂

I hope you like watching step by step progress shots, because that’s what you’re getting this week! 🙂

The pattern has you start by assembling the cups – there are 3 pieces that are sewn together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t know why, but I don’t have a picture of this step. You’ll just have to trust me haha 🙂 Make sure you backstitch at each end, as it’s really easy for stuff to come unraveled and make your (lingerie-makin’)life hellish!

Making a Boylston Bra

For the foam cups, I cut all the same pieces and remove the 1/4″ seam allowances (more info on this here!). Then you butt the edges up against each other and attach them – in the same order as you sew the fabric cups – using a zigzag stitch.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here is what the pieces look like when they’re attached. Pardon my yellow marking – those are the pattern notch markings (I use wax instead of snipping, since the seam allowances are so tiny).

Making a Boylston Bra

Topstitching the pieces as instructed is also especially important, since a lot of fabrics used in lingerie don’t press very well. Here is what I was talking about in terms of using the foot as a topstitching guide – if you line up the open side with the edge of your fabric, as shown here, the needle will automatically hit exactly 1/8″ from the edge.

Making a Boylston Bra

The fabric straps are folded in half and then sewn to the top of the cups, as shown, with the folded edge facing the center of the bra (the raw edges will be finished with elastic eventually).

Making a Boylston Bra

Next, the foam cup is placed against the right side of the fabric cup, and pinned into place along the top edge. I also like to run that edge of the foam under the serger (with a 3 thread overlock) just to help flatten things a bit more, but that’s an optional step. Sew this seam at the normal 1/4″.

Making a Boylston Bra

After sewing, you flip the foam to the inside and pull the fabric cup taunt to the edges, and pin everything down. This might require a bit of finessing with the fabric, which is normal! It’s also normal to have some excess fabric that needs to be trimmed off. I love how this finishes the top edge of the cup and also catches the strap! Once everything is as smooth as you can get it, go ahead and baste around the raw edges to secure everything, and then trim off any excess fabric so it’s even with the edge of the foam.

Making a Boylston Bra

Assembling the bridge, cradle, and band are similar to assembling the cups – use 1/4″ seam allowances and follow the topstitching guide in the pattern. I chose to line my bridge and cradle with sheer cup lining, because it gives some extra stability to the silk crepe. Also, you can use the lining to encase the raw edges so the inside is nice and clean! You just want to lay your pieces so the fabric is on the right side, and the cup lining is on the wrong side – with the seam you’re attaching sandwiched in the middle. After sewing the seam, the outer fabric and cup lining flip up to cover the raw edges.

 

Making a Boylston Bra

After the cups and bridge/frame/band are assembled, then you put them together (and THEN it really starts to look like a bra!). This part can seem a little fiddly, but it’s doable as long as you go slow and be mindful of what you’re sewing (again, slowing down the speed on the machine helps a lot). I find it helpful to use less pins – since you’re sewing a convex curve to a concave curve, you want to be able to stretch and pull the curves as you approach them (and pinning too much can limit that, at least in my experience). I pin the beginning and end of the seam, and the notch points marked on the pattern. That’s it! Another tip is always start at the center front – it’s very important to get those edges lined up perfectly.

Making a Boylston Bra

Once everything is attached and I’m happy with how it looks, I trim down the foam seam allowance to reduce bulk. Time to add the underwire channeling! 😀 😀 😀

Making a Boylston Bra

I find this step a little weird to explain and even harder to photograph, so here’s a picture of the instructions. The channeling gets attached to ONLY the cups of the bra, right on the seam allowance. Ideally, I like to be right along the seamline that I just sewed, but close enough is good enough 🙂

Making a Boylston Bra

Again, the little notch in the clear foot that comes with the 60609 is perfect for lining up a 1/8″ seam allowance when attaching the casing. Sew all the way around until you get to about 1/2″-3/4″ away from the edge at the underarm, and leave that part unsewn (this will make it easier to attach the underarm elastic).

Making a Boylston Bra

Here’s the casing after it’s been attached! For now, only one side is sewn down – the other side will be sewn once some of the elastics have been added.

Making a Boylston Bra

I think that’s enough bra talk for today! 🙂 Next week, I’ll go over the steps for attaching the elastic and finishing the bra – aka THE FUN PART – and showing my completed Boylston! As always, let me know if you have any questions about this part of the process! 🙂

One more thing! We have a giveaway winner from last week! After some careful contemplation (aka Random Number Generator, hey-o!), our winner issssss….

winner

Yay congratulations, Rosemary!! I can’t wait to see what you make with your voucher! 😀

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway – and big thanks Contrado for your awesomely generous prize donation!

I’ll be back next week to finish that bra! Stay tuned!

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

3 May

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

Silk Bird Scout Tee

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

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

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

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

Silk Bird Scout Tee

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

Silk Bird Scout Tee

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

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

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

Silk Bird Scout Tee

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

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

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Silk Bird Scout Tee

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

One last thing – in case you were curious 🙂

Silk Bird Scout Tee

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

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

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

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

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

Silk Bird Scout Tee

Good luck, everyone! ♥

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

Completed: Butterick 6019

27 Apr

Butterick 6019

DRESS IS DONE, Y’ALL.

Butterick 6019 - complete!

As much as I *truly* enjoyed all the work and care that went into the making of this dress – it sure feels good to be finished with it!

A brief overview, before we go into a major picture dump – the pattern is Butterick 6019, and I made the view with the circle skirt and the halter strap. I sewed a size 6 at the bust, grading to an 8 at the waist. I also shortened the bodice 1/2″ and raised the neckline by 5/8″.

My fabric is solid black silk Faille from Mood Fabrics, which is used for the entire outside of the dress as well as the partial self-lining of the bodice. The bust cups are padded with bra foam (from my stash), the side back pieces are shirred with black elastic thread, the bodice includes lots of fabric covered boning, and the hem has 2″ wide soft black horsehair braid to give it that lovely fullness (that’s right – no petticoat or crinoline was worn for these photos!).

This dress was made entirely on my Spiegel 60609 sewing machine! It handled all those Faille layers like a champ, and even pleasantly surprised me with how well it shirred the back panels. In case you missed them, here are the posts I wrote detailing the making of this dress: Part 1 & Part 2.

There’s not much else to discuss since I went into a lot of detail already, so have some pictures!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

So did I actually wear it to prom? You bet I did! Pretty much exactly as you see here (yeeeeah I ain’t about to spend $$ getting my hair or make-up done for some high school event lolz) – I ended up wearing simple black flats, instead of my Converse, because they seemed like a nice compromise of comfy and still a little fancy. Although my Converse would not have been out of place there – I saw lots of sneakers! Except mine are pretty dirty in comparison 🙂 Speaking of high school fashions, everything is quite… sparkly these days. I definitely had THE plainest dress out of everyone there, due to my lack of beading and rhinestones. Not complaining! And it seems like long dresses – especially ones with cut outs, or two pieces that show a little midriff – are still the majority rule, at least for the school that I was at.

Here’s a picture of me + my bestie on prom night! Sorry for the grainy quality – it was dark. Hopefully we’ll have some good professional photos to share once those are developed 😀

Butterick 6019 - complete!

That’s all for now! Thanks for indulging my fancy dress dreams, y’all! And thanks to Mood Fabrics and Spiegel for letting this lil’ former homeschooler finally make it to prom! 🙂

Note: The materials for this dress were provided to me from Mood Fabrics as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

In Progress: Butterick 6019

13 Apr

Hey guys, guess what.

I’M GOING TO PROM.

This is 100% not a joke. I am going to a literal high school prom.

Butterick 6019

Before anyone starts thinking that I’m dating someone WAY too young for me, I should probably use this opportunity to point out that my date is my BFF, who happens to be a high school English teacher and gets 2 free tickets to prom every year 🙂 I will take any excuse I can get when it comes to dressing up, though – especially if it means I get to make a party dress! The bulk of my sewing used to involve a lot more frosting than cake, and while I’ve reverted to making a lot of useful basics, I still get starry-eyed when I think about ridiculous party dresses. Prom is the *perfect* excuse to get some fancy sewing out of my system!

My pattern of choice is Butterick 6019, which I have been wanting to make for ages. I’m going with view A, which includes removable halter straps and a circle skirt. The fabric is a black solid silk faille from Mood Fabrics. I ain’t gonna lie – I originally tried to buy something with actual color, red being my first choice. But it being prom season and all, Mood ended up selling out before my order was fulfilled and I had to choose a different color on the spot. Since I didn’t have time to get swatches for color comparison (and I didn’t want to end up with a bad color, considering this silk is $50/yard and non-returnable!), and the selection was super limited at that point, I ended up getting basic black. This means I probably am sewing the most practical formal dress ever. Oh well! 🙂 At least I’m ready for my next black tie wedding, ha!

One more thing I want to point out about silk faille – it’s pronounced “FILE.” Not fail or foll (both of which I have tried and been laughed at for. Ok, y’all, it’s been like 10 years since I studied French and I wasn’t very good at it to begin with! Give me a break). I already made an ass out of myself, so now you don’t have to! ♥

Butterick 6019 - In progress

This project is definitely a labor of love – there’s a lot of work (and notions!) that go into a dress like this. The bodice is lined with self fabric, and features boning, shirring, a lapped zipper, bust padding, and that beautiful bias-cut crossover piece. For the skirt, I decided to add horsehair braid to give it some extra body and really make it flare out. Whenever I start a project that includes a lot of notions, I like to corral them into one place so they are easy to find. In the past, it’s been Ziploc bags – which are super useful, but not really that pretty! I recently received this sewing notions pouch from Tailor Made Shop and it’s perfect for this use! The pouch is roomy enough to hold everything I need (it even fits a pair of 8″ Gingher scissors – not really necessary for this particular use, but GREAT for when I’m teaching and I need to take some tools with me!) and it zips securely so nothing spills out. And it’s way prettier than a Ziploc bag 🙂

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I don’t want to freak anyone out here – but I actually TRACED my pattern pieces for this project. lolwut right!? I had a hard time determining my size (even with the finished measurements and cup sizing – the sizing on this pattern just doesn’t make sense to me at all), and so I needed to keep the sizes intact in case I cut the wrong one. Fortunately, the bodice of this pattern involves a lot of small pieces, so it wasn’t a huge time suck. I ended up going with a size 6 A/B cup at the bust (FWIW, I wear a D/DD bra so yeah, um, the cup sizing is a bit skewed here!) and graded out to an 8 at the waist. Since the skirt is just a giant circle, I didn’t trace those pieces.

I made a muslin of the bodice – shirring included, but no boning. The shirring is extremely necessary if you’re muslining this dress, as it drastically affects the fit. The sizes I traced and cut ended up being perfect, albeit the top of the dress itself is quite low (which I had read about in reviews, so no surprise there!). The pattern changes I made were to add 5/8″ to the top of the bodice all the way around, and then shorten every piece by 1/2″ at the lengthen/shorten line so the skirt seam would hit my waist. I also traced the cup pieces a second time and removed the seam allowances all the way around. These pieces ended up making the bust padding, which is constructed the same way a foam cup bra is made (with the pieces butted up together and zigzagged across the seam). Rather than cut my pieces and then remove the seam allowance – which is wasteful as hell, sorry – I did this instead. Look at the difference in their size!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

The pattern has a lot of markings for placement – boning placement, the bias strip, and just basic construction seam allowances. Since I didn’t want to risk a permanent stain on my dress, I marked the wrong side and then thread traced the markings with silk thread. The silk thread allows the markings to be seen from both sides, and can easily be removed. I used a different color for the type of markings – tan for the strip, white for boning, red for construction. This was MASSIVELY helpful when putting together the puzzle that is this dress.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

To keep the cups curved against my body and to prevent them from stretching out, I added twill tape to the seam allowance. This isn’t instructed in the pattern, but it’s good practice for anything that runs the risk of gaping (such as bustier tops like this, or woven wrap dresses). You basically just cut 1/4″ twill tape the length of the neckline minus 1/4″, then place it inside the seam allowance, up against the seam line. Since the tape is shorter than the neckline, the neckline gets eased into the length of the tape. The easing means the neckline curves with your body, and the twill tape provides some stability to an area that would otherwise stretch out over time.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Assembling the bodice is pretty easy and straightforward. I trimmed down, clipped, and graded my seam allowances pretty aggressively to prevent a bunch of bulk (silk faille is quite stiff), and pressed the life out of everything. #1 reason why I went with silk faille instead of cheaper polyester faille – it’s just easier to work with. I really shudder at the thought of trying to make this dress with something that doesn’t press well.

And now it’s time to shirr! I STRONGLY recommend testing this out on a scrap of your fabric first, as you might need to tweak your machine settings a bit.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

For shirring, you need elastic thread. Be *very* aware of the yardage amounts that your spool contains, by the way – I didn’t realize this brand only has like 11 yards, which is not enough for this project and I unfortunately ran out and had to stop and buy more (also, black elastic thread is harder to find than white, ugh). I used 2 spools, even though the pattern has you only buy one. Just FYI! Anyway, the elastic thread goes in the bobbin, and it is wound by hand with only a slight tension in the thread. The upper thread is your basic all purpose polyester.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Set your machine with a longer stitch length. For the Spiegel 60609, I used a 4.0 length.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

At this point, you’ll want to test the stitches and make sure the tension is good. If it’s not, you can adjust the tension in the bobbin (the little screws you see here). The needle tension (the numbered dial at the top of the machine) can also be used. If you mess with the bobbin tension, its a good idea to mark the location of the screws before you start twisting them around – just use a really fine point marker and draw directly on the bobbin. Otherwise, you might have trouble getting the tension balanced again when you’re done shirring – and you’ll need to take the machine in for a service to set things back to default (and this question has come up a few times – you can get a Spiegel machine serviced at pretty much any sewing machine dealer, regardless of the brand that they sell. *Most* dealers will service all machine brands, even if they sell something different). My Spiegel 60609 did not require any tension adjustments for shirring, so yay!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

To shirr, you’ll sew long lines of parallel stitching 1/4″ apart. Some people draw guidelines for this, but I just use the edge of my presser foot as a guide. The foot on the Spiegel 60609 is the perfect width for this. Start your first line of stitching a little outside of the seam allowance, and continue sewing parallel lines until the whole piece is covered. Leave long thread tails at the beginning and end of each line, otherwise your shirring will come undone.

Here are what my shirred pieces look like after stitching. Also, I know my nail color keeps changing. I told you, I had to go out and buy more elastic thread! Sewing came to a stall for a few days! blech!

Butterick 6019 - In progress
Right side

Butterick 6019 - In progress
Wrong side

After you’ve finishing sewing all those lines, you’ll have a really hairy looking piece of fabric that still doesn’t stretch. The real magic happens with you steam the crap out of it, which shrinks up the elastic thread and makes the whole piece really stretchy and awesome. It’s fun to watch it shrink up! However, I recommend skipping this step for now and waiting until the bodice is constructed first. It is a lot easier to sew those pieces when they are flat and non-stretchy. You’ll see the shirred pieces in all their glory at the end of this post 🙂

Ok, back to the bodice construction!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the bust cups are slightly padded (to give that area some structure and also for modesty reasons, if you’re wearing this dress without a bra). The pattern calls for cotton batting, which I did not have on hand. Instead, I used foam padding that is used for bras. The pieces have the seam allowances removed, and then the edges are butted up next to each other and sewn across the split with a zigzag stitch.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Then the little padded cups are nested in the cups of the bodice lining, and sewn in. The pattern has you catchstitch this part, but I don’t particularly care if you see stitching inside my lining so I zigzagged those pieces in. YOLO, y’all.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I used plastic sew-in boning for this dress – the kind that comes pre-covered (purchased at Mood Fabrics, if you’re curious!). Spiral steel boning is nice, but a pain to work with (it has to be cut *exactly* to size and capped, and no). This stuff is much easier to use. I straightened out the pieces by blasting them with steam while they were still in their fabric casing (you can also dunk them in hot water to relax the plastic), and then removed the boning and sewed the empty casing to the bodice lining. Like I said, the boning can be sewn through – but it’s easier to get a consistent straight line if the casing is completely flat. After the casing is sewn down, you can just slide the boning in. I trimmed off the sharp corners at the top of the boning so it won’t tear through my dress fabric, and left the ends long (those will be trimmed when I attach the skirt).

Here is the bodice lining once assembled:

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I added a couple extra pieces of boning for additional support – the center front was especially necessary to keep things smooth. Looking good so far!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Finally, time to attach those shirred pieces and cut off the thread tails! The pattern has you tie off each individual line of shirring… I don’t know about y’all, but pretty sure ain’t nobody got time for that. Instead, I shortened my stitch length and sewed two lines of stitching when attaching the shirred panels to the rest of the bodice. Once those were secure, I gave all those thread tails a haircut and then steamed the elastic.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

It shrunk up quite nicely!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Here is the finished bodice flat.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

And here it is on my dressform! 🙂

WHEW that was a lot of post! Next week, I’ll go over the rest of the construction. Can’t wait for prom! Yay for fancy dress making! 😀

Completed: Ginger Jeans + Silk Cami

15 Feb

Well, it’s finally too cold to take photos outdoors.

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

Hello, wall!

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

Anyway, I made another pair of Ginger jeans – and finally used up my second piece of the Cone Mills denim I’ve been hoarding since I bought it last year (FYI, in my last post it was brought to my attention that Threadbare Fabrics also sells Cone Mills denim by the yard. I haven’t ordered from them yet – but it made it much easier to cut into my precious stash knowing that I could get more of the stuff. Yay!). This is the lighter weight of the two denims I received in my kit; I think it’s a 10oz. It’s thinner and a little stretchier than what I used in my previous pair, and I like it a lot more. Actually, it’s almost identical to the denim I used in my very first pair of Gingers – same color and everything. I realize I essentially made two pairs of the same pants, but that first pair is starting to show it’s age (saying that I wear them a LOT is a huge understatement), so I am just thinking I’m ahead of the curve for once.

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

I was originally saving this denim to make a pair of flares – either using the Ginger jeans flare expansion add-on (um, btw, how genius is that idea?!) or the new Birkin flares that everyone is obsessing over, but in the end I just decided to remake my ol’ TNT (especially since the fabric on the first pair is a bit subpar quality, and one of these days I might have an unfortunate butt-rip happen. Hopefully not in public. I am wearing cute underwear at all times just in case, though). Like I said, I can reorder more of the Cone Mills, so perhaps there will be flares in my future. Just not this pair. No ragrets.

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

I wanted to improve on my last pair – they’re ok, but the bunching at the knee really bothered me way too much. I tried to research what the issue was – some people suggested that I might have knock-knees which is causing the bunching, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case (I definitely don’t look like I have knock-knees, anyway). One of the comments in my last jeans post suggested checking out Cation Designs as she has a few posts on pants fitting. I usually refer to my pants-fitting bible, Pants for Real People, as it has never steered me wrong. However, this particular fit issue wasn’t covered in the book (I think it’s a product of tight/stretchy jeans, which they certainly don’t show any of in the book hahaha), so it was good to have a back-up resource! And this post in particular is FANTASTIC – plus, I think I found my solution! Yay! The #10 Hyperextended Calf alteration sounded like what I was dealing with – the calves of my tight pants are always REALLY tight, which then causes them to ride up and bunch at the knee (I have muscular calves, so this makes sense!). I did this alteration to my jeans pattern, adding 1 1/8″ to the calf (this was just a wild guess; I wasn’t about to slash up a pair of pants to figure out the exact amount I needed). It worked pretty well, but I think I could stand to add even a little more width. How they are now, though, is pretty magical -they only bunch a little, and I think that’s just from moving around. I don’t have giant folds of denim hanging around my knee. It is AWESOME. However, I am not a huge fan of how big it makes the ankle – I can deal with this pair, but on my next pair I would like to figure out a way to keep the tightess at the ankle while still allowing some room in the calf. Anyone have suggestions? Just tapering the ankle at the side and inseams doesn’t work, FYI. haha.

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

Other than that one alteration, not a lot of changes to this pair. I added the length back and then removed about 2.5″ – I wanted them to be long enough to pool a little at the ankle. I used my original Ginger pattern – the one before it was updated with a pocket stay – and sewed the size 2 instead of the 4. Topstitching and all that is pretty simple – one color of jeans topstitching thread. I did add an X to one leg in lieu of a bartack. Kind of a riff on the + on my I+W jeans haha. What, they’re made of the same denim!

Silk Tank

This silk cami is something I made ages ago and completely forgot to photograph for my blog! It’s a Ruby Slip that I modified to include gathers at the bust and silk bias finishing on the edges and straps, and then shortened to cami length. I made this slip a couple of years ago out of some really amazing 4ply silk, and I love how it looks so it was only natural to use it for a cami pattern.

The silk I used is a really wonderful new silk from Organic Cotton Plus, called Peace Silk. I really love OCP and I’ve been happy with all the fabrics I’ve received from them, and this silk is pretty fantastic too. It’s a wonderful lightweight, organic silk, with a feel similar to a thicker china silk or a less crepey crepe de chine. Really easy to work with, and feels amaaaazing after a wash in the machine. It’s called Peace Silk because it’s produced in a way that does not kill the silk worm and instead allows it to emerge from the cocoon first. While I definitely have no problem eating meat or wearing animal fibers, I thought that was a pretty neat solution! Plus, the name just makes me happy 🙂

That’s about all I have left to talk about, so here’s a bunch of pictures of my butt:

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

And some flat jeans shots:

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Ginger Jeans

Everything was constructed on my Pfaff 7570, and topstitching was done on my Bernina 350PE. I used regular black poly thread for piecing, and Gutterman jeans topstitching thread for the topstitching. The aqua serging thread is just a fun color that matched my pocketing (which I got from the free fabric pile at A Gathering of Stitches because GOD it’s beautiful!) and my zipper (from the Garment District!). I wanted to add rivets, but they need to be trimmed down and I apparently don’t own wire cutters anymore, womp womp.

Overall: A+ jeans, would sew again (and I will – I have enough Cone Mills left to make a couple pairs of jorts! HA HA HA IT NEVER ENDS).

In closing, two things:

One, here is my Calvin Klein ~modeling~ shot. Can’t you see people just banging down my door to be a jeans model? Gah.

Ginger Jeans + Silk Tank

Two, the Spiegel 60609 winner! Yay! First of all, I cannot BELIEVE how many entries that giveaway got – over 1,100! That’s definitely the biggest one I’ve ever hosted on this blog (and I guess y’all agree with me that one should never say no to a free sewing machine, amirite). Thank you for blowing up my email last week and making me feel super duper popular haha. I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments – and yes, I read every single one of them! – but there can only be one winner:

winner1 winner2

Congratulations, thefilling!! I want to also mention that this comment filled me with delight – although, what is exactly is a snapback hat? (Can I see a picture? Can you tell me more about this cheeseburger print? We have a lot to discuss, dude) We will be in touch to get your new 60609 out to you ASAP 😀 😀 😀 Happy belated Valentine’s Day!

If you’re still trying to holler at the 60609, watch this space – I have some upcoming projects and tutorials that use the machine so you can see it in ~action~. And if you don’t care about the 60609, well, I hope you at least find the content interesting 🙂

Have a great day, everyone!

Completed: Fancy Silk Georgette + Brocade

2 Feb

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

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

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

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

Ok, back to the real subject of this post!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

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

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

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

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

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

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

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

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

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

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

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

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

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

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

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

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

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

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

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

Completed: Boylston Bras; Take 2 & 3

21 Aug

More bras this week! Yay!

Boylston Bra Starting with the prettier one, even though I actually made it second. For both of these bras, I used the Boylston Bra pattern. Guys, I really really love this pattern. I love how it comes together, I love the pretty details (like the fabric strap!), I love that the fabric requirements are so easy to work with (very little fabric, very stable fabric, foam cups, etc), and I just love the shape it gives! It’s a very pretty bra and the pattern is so good. This polka dot bra was the result of a pretty good stash-bust, apart from the foam. Since this pattern is designed for firm woven fabrics – especially with the addition of the foam cups – that means you can make it out of pretty much anything. Sooo I’ve been going kind of crazy with my fabric scraps! I especially thought that this sweet polka dot rayon (the same fabric I used to make my Simplicity mock-wrap dress that I posted last week) would be extra adorable as a bra.

All I had to do was order foam – I had nude and black in stash (from Bra Maker’s Supply, because their stuff is the best). Unfortunately, the Sweet Cups store (the US version of Bra Maker’s Supply) didn’t have any white (see what I mean about limited selection? Wah!), and I wanted white. I bought it from this Etsy shop, which is apparently in the process of closing now 😦 I’m not really sure what “spacer foam” is, but it works pretty well for a bra. It’s a little stretchier than the stuff at Bra Maker’s Supply, and slightly thinner as well (it’s not as cushiony). I read somewhere that you can buy this by the yard at places like Spandex House in the Garment District, so I will probably stock up when I’m there in November. But even 1/4 yard is TONS of foam, especially if you are making teeny little bra cups like what I require hahaha. Heyo, silver lining! Boylston Bra

Other than the foam, this whole project was a de-stash. All the elastics and underwire channeling are from the Garment District, I think, and the strapping is leftover from my red bra kit (there wasn’t enough elastic included to make full straps when I was using it to make a red bra, so I had to buy red strapping. But that’s fine because the amount they gave me is perfect for fabric straps! Yay!). I know the pattern doesn’t call for a bow in the center, but I like the bows! This particular bow was ripped off of a retired RTW bra. Ha!

Boylston Bra Here’s the back. I used a firm white powermesh (also from the stash) for the back band. I like the mix of white and red elastics and trims. I’m getting better about mixing and matching my lingerie trims, I think.

Not much else to say about this one. Here are some detail shots: Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra UGH at those black dots in the cups! Those are my notch markings for assembling the cups – I used a ballpoint pin (I think I got that tip from Cloth Habit) to mark the notches, since you can’t really clip the notches and my usual fabric markers and chalk don’t really write well on foam. Except, I forgot that ballpoint pin is FOREVER and I somehow managed to mark both sides. So that’s pretty lame, but, whatever. Can’t do anything about it now except acknowledge the lesson and move on with my bra making! Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra If you’d like to see a photo of what the bra looks like on an actual person, click this link. I’m not embedding it into the post (or uploading it to Flickr for that matter, yeesh) to cut down on the number of people who see me in a bra, as well as spare any eyes that don’t want to see that sort of thing (um, hi mom! :)). But I acknowledge that it’s really hard to see how a bra fits if it’s not actually on a person – and my dressform doesn’t really fill it out correctly. And those floating ghost bra pics just don’t cut it (plus they are a pain to make haha!). So pleeease do me a solid and don’t post that photo around the internet or pin it on Pinterest or anything like that 🙂 Posting only for science purposes 🙂 Love y’all! OK, MOVING ON. Boylston Bra

Here’s the other bra I made, using the same Boylston pattern. Nude bras are a SERIOUS hole in my summer wardrobe – er, lingerie drawer. I have a couple, but I always need more. I wear a lot of light/sheer colors in the hot weather! So I really need to make more flesh-colored bras to wear under my clothes, so I can rotate them and let them rest from time to time. This particular make is pretty boring and looks downright sickly on my dressform (don’t hold your breath about me modeling a shot of this one because, eeew), but let’s rejoice that I made it nonetheless! I know it doesn’t look very filled out on this dressform, but I promise it fits me just fine and the cups don’t wrinkle like that.

Boylston Bra Another stash-busting bra, I used silk crepe scraps to make up the outside, and my beloved nude bra cup foam + nude power mesh for the innards. The silk crepe is the same stuff I used for the neck binding of this SJ sweater – which was given to me as a scrap bust, so it’s like, extra extra free. And as sickly as the color looks, it’s pretty close to my skin (did you not click that picture link? I mean. No one is complimenting my ~rosy glow~ over here hahaha). So it works quite well for what I need it to do! Boylston Bra

I had someone ask me about the strap assembly – the fabric straps are made with a piece of fabric folded in half and then picot elastic attached to the outside edge to finish it. There is a little bit of elastic at the back, with rings and sliders. The fabric straps are pretty stable in their own right and work quite well, although these particular straps (and not any other Boylston bra I made, for some odd reason) are a tiny bit too long for me. I shortened the elastic as much as possible and they’re still a little more than what I need, so I really need to just dissemble the strap where the ring is attached and shorten the fabric strap by an inch or so. You know, at some point in my life. Maybe tomorrow.

Boylston Bra Again, all the little bits and pieces that make up this bra were from my stash. The sliders and bow were taken off another retired RTW bra. The sliders don’t exactly match, but they “go” well enough. Boylston Bra

Again with the perma-ballpoint marks! Argh! I made this bra before I made the dotted one – and cut them both at the same time. This was the bra I realized the error of my ways on, unfortunately. I also dyed that channeling, all by myself. I used coffee this time, which gives a much less yellow beige than tea does. It doesn’t quite match the rest of the beige of the bra, but it’s close enough for me.

Boylston Bra I tried using the 3 point zigzag stitch for the bottom elastic of this bra. I don’t like the way it looks at all – it’s too busy, especially where it intersects with the underwire channeling. I much prefer a standard zigzag set a little wider (like what you see on the polka dot bra). Also, I know that the elastic is super wrinkled and bunchy looking when it’s flat, but it smooths out really nicely when I’m wearing it. That being said, I definitely pulled the elastic too taut when I was applying it – something I was able to fix with my next bra, the polka dot one. You really only need to stretch the elastic ever so slightly under the cups and at the bridge when applying it – mostly so it’ll turn to the wrong side more easily and look smooth. Not look like the hot mess I have going on here. Boylston Bra

One of my favorite parts about this pattern is being able to add a cute little picot edge at the sides. I love the way it looks!

Boylston Bra

Ok, I think that’s it! I’ve got a few more ideas for this pattern, so I hope you’re not sick of seeing a million renditions of it just yet! Up next, I want to try making some lace versions – I have a couple of gorgeous pieces from the Tailor Made shop that I’ve been waaay too scared to use, but i think it’s time to bite the bullet and woman up a bit! I also want to experiment with changing the straps – maybe leaving off the fabric strap and using elastic (either removeable or sewn on) in it’s place. I wonder if this pattern would work as a strapless? Would it be as simple as smoothing down the top of the cup, adding some boning to the side seams and possibly rubber elastic at the top of the cup? What do you think?

As a side note, I wanted to share an update with my Made Up pledge. My first rendition of a swimsuit was a HOT MESS (not so much the pattern or the construction – more like, I wanted a string bikini and I absolutely hateeeee the way I look in them! Definitely should have done some sneaky try-before-you-DIY shopping for that one, it would have saved me a bit of headache), and I was all set to try pattern #2 when I realized that I don’t have enough fabric 😦 I made an emergency order for a piece of really cool swimsuit fabric, but it doesn’t appear to have shipped out yet. We leave 2 weeks from today, so hopefully it’ll get here soon!

Completed: A (modified) Silk Crepe Saltspring

7 Aug

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

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

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

Silk crepe SaltspringSilk crepe Saltspring

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

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

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

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

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

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

Silk crepe SaltspringSilk crepe Saltspring

Silk crepe SaltspringSilk crepe Saltspring

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

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

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

Completed: McCall’s 6952

27 Jul

I think this summer will forever be known as the Summer of the Silk Sundress, well, for me, anyway. That seems to be all I want to sew/wear – not that I’m complaining!

McCall's 6952So, here’s my newest addition to the closet – McCall’s 6952. I think this pattern is actually from last year, but I only just discovered it this year. As far as dress patterns go, it’s pretty basic – wide shoulder straps (aka BRA FRIENDLY STRAPS), princess seams, and an elastic waist. The dress doesn’t even require a zipper; you can just slip it over your head. And I don’t know what is with me and elastic waists lately, but it’s basically all I want to wear these days. I’m not pregnant or anything. I’m just constantly in search of comfort haha. McCall's 6952

Simple is good, though, if you want a nice plain backdrop for showing off amazing fabrics. Or not even cool printed amazing fabrics – sometimes a luxe silk in an incredible color is amazing enough, you know?

McCall's 6952McCall's 6952

The silk I used here is another fabric gift that I’ve been too terrified to actually use. Sunni sent it to me last year in a big grab box of fabrics – any of y’all who lurk her blog or perused her store (which I’m really bummed to hear about it’s closing!) know that woman has got some taste when it comes to fabric. I believe this silk crepe was actually dyed by her, even. Of course. And she sent me like 4 yards (or something generous like that) and here I’ve been too skeered to actually use it.

McCall's 6952This pattern seemed like a good place to start. The dress isn’t super close-fitting, so I didn’t have to worry about fitting issues (other than the length of the straps, which were surprisingly almost perfect for me). I originally noticed the pattern because I really like view A – with the plain front and cut-out back – but I decided to make view B for this dress – with the cool little ruffled boobie flounce. My boobs need all the help they can get, y’all. McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952Construction-wise, I didn’t follow the instructions at all. The instructions have you line the dress, but I like wearing as few layers as possible when it comes to summer heat. So I just finished the neckline and arm holes with self bias binding (jeez, I sound like a broken record. I should rename this The Summer of Self Bias Binding haha). All hems are rolled by machine, and the inside is entirely finished with French seams. The elastic casing is a strip of bias binding, with the elastic threaded through. McCall's 6952

And I totally prewashed/dried this silk in the machine so this is some shit that will never see the dry-cleaners. Machine washed silk FTW!

McCall's 6952McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952Fit-wise, I only needed a couple very minor adjustments (minor enough where I was able to fit them as I sewed). The shoulders were almost perfect, but I did raise them by about 1/4″. I also ended up taking about 2″ off the hem, as I think the shorter length is a bit more flattering on me. McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952I am thinking this will be a good pattern match for the cool fabric that I bought in Peru. The plain version with the cut-out back, I mean. Right?? I better do it before I change my damn mind again haha. McCall's 6952

Completed: Hand-Dyed Blue Silk Vogue 1395

24 Jul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vogue 1395, hand-dyed silk

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

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