Tag Archives: spoonflower

Completed: Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt (+ Announcing the Sprout Sew-Along!)

23 Feb

It’s that time of the year again – when we start our spring sewing in a desperate attempt to hurry the warm weather up. And by we, I mean me.

While it’s still a little warm here – not quite shorts and tank tops warm, but no-socks warm – I know that we’ll get at least one more cold snap before the temperatures steadily start rising. So while my wardrobe needs to maintain a bit of coverage, I’m using lighter colors and designs that look decidedly more spring than my standard black and grey winter wear.

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Like giant tropical leaves. Now THAT is a spring statement, amirite

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

As the title of this post says, this shirt is the Archer button up from Grainline Studio. But wait, there’s more! I ordered my fabric from Sprout Patterns, meaning I got to choose the fabric design as well!

I feel like most people are pretty familiar with Sprout Patterns at this point, but in case you aren’t – owned by Spoonflower (beloved on-demand printer of fabrics, wallpapers, and more) – Sprout offers the same on-demand fabric printing but with the additional twist of also printing your pattern pieces directly on the fabric. This not only makes cutting a breeze (no giant flat table space needed – just sit at your couch and cut along the solid lines), but it also gives you total control over pattern placement without the additional brainbending. There are a few catches to this service – one, you are limited to the patterns they have on their site; two, you are also limited to the types of fabrics they offer; and three, having the pattern printed on your fabric does not leave room for flat pattern adjustments – but overall, I think the pros absolutely outweigh the cons.

I’ve heard of this service before – both through blogs and website ads, and also because one of my students at at Workroom Social class actually works for Spoonflower (!!!) – but I hadn’t actually tried the service until now. This year, I’m cooking up some fun plans with Spout pattern and Spoonflower (Spoiler: It’s a class. More info at the end of this post!!), so they offered to send me one to try out!

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

The Archer shirt works in a variety of fabrics, with the most common/easiest ones being the Basic Cotton Ultra and the Kona Cotton Ultra. While the cottons are definitely great, I love being difficult and asked if I could instead try the Polyester Chiffon. I really love this style of shirt in a soft, drapey fabric and I REALLY loved the idea of the cutting being way easier since the pieces are printed on the fabric. I made a size 2, View B (with the butt ruffle, because, butts) printed on Spoonflower’s Polyester Chiffon. The design is Monstera Leaves. You do have the ability to create your own design, but I’ve learned over time that I am decidedly NOT a fabric designer and would rather use something already made by someone who knows what they are doing. I chose this design because I liked the predominantly dark colors over a white background – it feels breezy without actually being super see-thru – and, of course, who doesn’t love some big ass tropical leaves?

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Some notes about this fabric:

  • Polyester is not something that gets a lot of praise in the sewing community, present company included. To be completely honest, I generally HATE the stuff. Hard to wear, hard to sew, sweaty pit dump USA, etc etc. I gave this one a chance because, one, there were no other options for sheer drapey fabric (no silk!); and, two, I thought the sheer chiffon would offset the fact that poly doesn’t really breathe. I am happy to report that my hunches were right, and I actually really enjoyed working with – and now wearing! – this fabric. It’s a great quality poly, feels very nice against the skin, and while I can’t yet report on its heat-retaining properties (it just ain’t hot enough here yet, y’all), I can say that it’s been really pleasant to wear on our warmer days. It also took really well to pressing, so no problems there.
  • I told you this shirt is chiffon, and it is. I should also tell you that I’m only wearing a bra underneath it – no cami. It’s only slightly see-thru, and even then mostly shadows. This chiffon is slightly thicker than some chiffons I’ve tried – almost like a double chiffon – and the dark colors also help with preventing a peepshow. Not having to wear a cami under this really helps me feel, you know, ~breezy~.
  • Chiffon can be tricky to work with, as it is very lightweight and VERY shifty. My first combat against this was to get the pattern via Sprout, which saved me the drama of worrying about whether I was cutting the pattern pieces on grain. Since the fabric has the pattern pieces printed directly on it, cutting is WAY easier – seriously, you can just sit on the couch and cut it with scissors like you’re making a paper snowflake (this was me, in case you were wondering). My other combat for dealing with the chiffon was to soak the entire yardage in a gelatine mixture before cutting, which stiffened up the fabric to more of an organza weight/hand, making it much easier to cut and sew. I talked about using a gelatine mixture in this blog post (and here is the method I used on the Threads website), and ugh you guys it is is a LIFESAVER. Made the fabric soooo much easier to manage, and it washed right out when I was finished with the shirt (machine wash cold, normal dry). If you want to try a tricky pattern like this in a tricky fabric, I really encourage this method – it was one of the easiest experiences I’ve ever had with chiffon! Like, even my sleeve plackets look amazing. Super stoked.

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Anyway, I LOVE how this turned out! The soft, drapey fabric – the shape of the shirt – and the leaves offering a bit of modesty so I can continue to be immodest 😛 This shirt looks equally good with the sleeves rolled up or left down, with the front buttoned or unbuttoned (ok, I guess THEN I’d wear that cami), or even knotted into a crop.

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Some additional sewing notes:

  • I used French seams to construct the shirt, 1/4″ for each pass (for a total of a 1/2″ seam allowance). Since the fabric is so sheer, I like how the visible seams look this way.
  • I used black thread for constructing and topstitching, and a new 70/10 microtex needle for this lightweight fabric.
  • For interfacing, I made a few test swatches (there is plenty of extra fabric around the perimeters of your pattern pieces that is ideal for this use) to determine what would work best. I ended up using this lightweight woven fusible interfacing (from Workroom Social), which was a perfect match for the chiffon – it offers enough support for the collar and buttons, but it is light enough that it doesn’t interfere with the drape of the chiffon. And since is it white, it brightens up the white background of the fabric without looking super obvious. I also considered interfacing the back of the yoke for this same reason (since the yoke is a double layer of fabric), but I found that I actually preferred the look of the 2 layers so I left them as-is.
  • Like I said, this chiffon pressed without a problem. I use a gravity feed iron (affiliate link) with a shoe, which works the same as using a press cloth. This allows me to press at a high heat without melting my fabric or giving it a weird shine. I definitely do not recommend trying to sew a shirt like this in a fabric that won’t hold a press, however, this fabric didn’t give me any issues!
  • Buttons are just plain black plastic buttons from my local fabric store. Nothing fancy there!

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

Ok, so here’s the fun part! I was sent this fabric + pattern by Sprout patterns, in preparation for a workshop that I will be teaching at Spoonflower! Here are the details:

Spoonflower presents the 2018 Sprout Sew-Along with Lauren Taylor (also known as Lladybird)! With the help of Lauren and her sewing expertise, students will be led through the construction of a Grainline Studios’ Archer Button Up from start to finish using their custom printed Sprout Pattern. Our intimate class setting ensures all students the chance to get one-on-one instruction from Lauren as we tackle this wardrobe staple. This class is sure to build your confidence in garment construction! We hope you can join us!

Class fee includes the printed Archer button-up, and there is an early bird discount for those who register before March 3! The workshop is April 6 – April 8, and will be held at Spoonflower Greenhouse in Durham, NC. If you’ve been wanting to tackle this pattern but feel a little overwhelmed with the steps, this is a great opportunity to have a little bit of guidance and hand-holding for your first go! While we will be sewing exclusively with the Kona Cotton Ultra for this class (just because we gotta speed everyone along so we actually finish in two days!), it will give you the skills you need to try this pattern later with a more complicated fabric – such as the polyester chiffon 😛

You can find all the details of the workshop – as well as sign up – here!

Polyester Chiffon Archer Shirt / Sprout Patterns

A side note about the sunglasses – it was very bright outside and I thought I would pretend like I was a fAsHuN bLoGgEr. Suffice to say, I am not happy with how these pictures turned out (and I had to delete more than half of them because it bothered me that you could see the tripod in my lenses haha) but I also don’t care enough to retake them. No more sunglasses photos for me. It weirds me out that you can’t see my eyes. Oh well, you live and learn!

**Note: The fabric for this shirt was given to me by Spoonflower, in preparation for my workshop with them in April! Will I see you there? 🙂

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Completed: A Belladone for Bicycling

9 Sep

Ok, time to confess something really dorky: I’ve been looking for the perfect bicycle-print fabric for years now. It’s actually become something of an obsessive manhunt – trying to avoid the quilting cottons, the cruisers and penny farthings, the hideous color combinations. You’d think with bicycles being these super cutesy Pinterest-approved photo prop (forreal, I’m sick of looking at pictures of people using their bikes as props! Ride that shit already!), there would be a bigger selection of this type of print. You’d think. I never found it, though.

UNTIL RECENTLY.

bicycle fabric

Isn’t this biciclette fabric adorable?? It’s from Bubiknits‘ shop on Spoonflower. I’ve always wanted to try my hand with a piece of Spoonflower fabric – but honestly, every time I try to browse the choices, I get overwhelmed with so many options. And I’m not gonna try to design my own because, ha, no. Let’s just not even discuss. So when Giusy emailed me and asked if I would like a couple of yards of any fabric from her shop as a gift, I immediately zeroed in on that bicycle print in organic cotton sateen. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, except that it would be a dress.

Bicycly Belladone

A Belladone, to be exact!

Bicycly Belladone

I should apologize in advance for how bad these pictures ended up. Turns out white doesn’t photograph too well in bright sunlight. Who woulda thought? Just imagine the bicycles and we will get to the close-ups soon enough.

Bicycly Belladone

Obviously, this ain’t my first Belladone rodeo. That stripey dress is actually 100% the reason why I decided to make my bicycle dress with the same pattern – it is my favorite dress to cycle in! It’s very comfortable, the skirt is the perfect width needed for riding (but not so floofy that it causes wardrobe malfunctions) and I like to think that it’s pretty enough that it makes the Mary Poppins Effect a reality on my commute. Plus, the dress is finished with bias tape – visible or invisible – which I thought would provide a nice contrast against the white/yellow of the main fabric. As much as I love the colorway, it unfortunately washes me out, so I needed something a little darker to sit next to my face.

Bicycly Belladone

I can’t really say I started this dress with any real direction in mind. Originally, I wanted the contrast to be turquoise, but when I actually got the fabrics side-by-side, I didn’t like the look of the two colors together… too light for my tastes. Navy seemed like the perfect choice (and yes – that’s navy. I know it looks black, but it’s navy.). I used leftover navy cotton sateen from my lace trench (I swear, that fabric… it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. I STILL HAVE MORE OF IT, TOO) and made a few yards of bias tape to enclose all the edges along the top of the dress. I actually applied all this bias tape by hand, so the stitches would be invisible. I think it adds a bit of polish to the overall effect, even if it did mean making this dress took twice as long. I also applied a strip of interfacing to each diagonal edge, as well as staystitching, to make sure the edges don’t get distorted over time.

Bicycly Belladone

Of course, taking a light dress and adding dark trim to the bodice meant that the thing ended up looking top-heavy. I added more dark contrast to the waistband, as well as a couple of inches above the hem, which I think ties the dress together. To finish, I added 2 self-covered buttons at the center front.

Bicycly Belladone

It’s so perfect, I could marry it.

Bicycly Belladone

And the back! Don’t you love the back!?

Bicycly Belladone

One more picture, sorry 🙂

Bicycly Belladone

Here you can see the bicycles! Aren’t they sweet 🙂

Bicycly Belladone

Since I’d already made this pattern before, I didn’t need to make any major modifications (other than the aforementioned contrast additions). I did sew the side seams at the waist with a 1/2″ seam allowance (instead of the pattern’s 5/8″); I noticed that my stripey dress can get a little tight if I’ve eaten a lot of food, so an extra bit of wiggle room is appreciated 🙂

Bicycly Belladone

I also pressed the pleats so they were centered over the stitching lines (instead of pressed to one side). This gives them more of a box-pleat look, as opposed to a soft tuck.

Bicycly Belladone

Can you see the stitching on the outside, huh, can you? NEITHER CAN I!

Bicycly Belladone

Bicycly Belladone

The inside waistband is faced with more bicycles 🙂 And yay, yellow zipper!

Bicycly Belladone

Sewing that strip of navy around the bottom was super easy. I sewed on my hem facing as usual, then centered the seam binding over the stitching and stitched it down on both sides.

Bicycly Belladone

Working with this fabric was an absolute dream – and wearing it is even better 🙂 I know Spoonflower’s fabrics tend to skew toward the pricey side, but this is some good stuff – organic cotton sateen with the subtlest sheen, the colors are rich and saturated, and it’s very easy to sew and press. Plus, the design choices! Gah!

Bicycly Belladone

Thank you again, Giusy, for the amazing fabric! If anyone was wondering… yes, I have taken this dress for a bike ride, and yes, it was a little magical 😉

One last thing – and I swear, it’s important – I just heard through the grapevine that Colette Patterns is running in second place in the Martha Stewart American Made Competition. The #1 spot is currently being held by a scrapbooking company, boo! If you’ve got a minute to spare, go vote for them (you can login with your Facebook if you’re lazy like me, and you do not have to be a US resident to cast a vote!). Colette Patterns will be dumping the entire $10k prize back into their employees as bonuses, which is pretty fucking amazing and I think totally deserving of winning. Plus, do we really want to see them get beat out by a scrapbooking company? NOPE!

Go forth and vote! Every little checkmark counts 😉