Tag Archives: Tilly and the Buttons

Completed: Denim Rosa Dress

16 Nov

Good morning, everyone! As I write this, I am preparing to experience what will probably be the shittiest day of my life (literally – I have a colonoscopy tomorrow and today is prep day) (lol) (bet you never expected to read THAT on a sewing blog). I haven’t had solid food since last night and I’m stuck in this house for the rest of the day. Lucky for you, I am writing this blog post to pass the time!

I’ve had quite a few people ask me when this project was going to be posted (Rosa made her debut on my Instagram nearly 2 months ago, and I’ve worn her several times since – including to all the workshops I’ve been traveling to in between!), and honestly, the only reason it’s taken so long is because I really hate taking photos! So, with that being said, sorry in advance for the quality of these – namely, how freakin’ wrinkled the dress is! It looks much worse in photos than it did in real life – otherwise I would have at least steamed it a little – however, I have been wearing it pretty rumply in real life so I guess this is as close to authentic as one can get.

Also, I’m sorry if I don’t make any sense in this post. I’m blaming it on the lack of food.

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Rosa is one of Tilly & the Buttons‘ newer patterns, and it includes options for both a shirt and shirtdress. The pattern features front and back princess seams, a pointed back yoke (which I LOVE!), plus all the features that make for a proper button-up shirt – collar, collar stand, button placket. There’s also an online video workshop if you need help with the steps, although I didn’t use this (I’ve made plenty of these sorts of garments before, and plus, the instructions are pretty great as they are).

I made a size 1, as I wanted a very fitted dress. I made a muslin before cutting into my real fabric, which I’m glad I did because the arm holes ended up needing a little adjusting for me. Apparently I have very small armscyes – arm holes almost always tend to be too low and/or too large for my body, which restricts movement when you add sleeves to the equation. The sleeves in this dress weren’t necessarily bad as-drafted, but I knew they could be better. I ended up raising the armscye 3/4″ higher at the bottom, and also adding 3/8″ to the back arm curve, which made the entire arm hole that much smaller. I reduced the sleeve cap ease, so that the sleeve would properly fit without a bunch of gathers. This worked perfectly and I have a full range of movement with my dress, woohoo!

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Style-wise, I shortened the hem 1″ for a real mini length, and also added a curved cuff so that sleeves would be full-length (the bracelet-length sleeves are sweet, but as I mentioned before – it’s either full sleeves for me, or none at all!), as well as a tower placket so I can roll the sleeves up if I need to. I left off the sleeve tab, because it just ended up feeling too bulky with all the denim. To make the curved cuff, I used the straight cuff from my B5526 pattern and just curved the edges using curved ruler. The tower placket pattern piece is from my Negroni pattern.

The denim that I used to make this dress – honestly, I have no idea where it originally came from, ha! It was in my stash and it’s a much lighter weight than what I would use to make jeans. I imagine I probably bought it intending on a skirt, but I don’t think it would really even be suitable for that (considering how easily it wrinkles). It’s a woven cotton denim with no stretch, and clearly I should have pre-washed it at least one more time because it has shrank a little since I finish this dress. On the flip side, I intentionally made the sleeves a little long in anticipation of that – and now they are the correct length. On the downside, the dress is even shorter than I was planning and it pulls a bit across the bust now. Oh well! Lesson learned haha.

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

My inspiration for this dress came from the Rosa inspiration post, in fact. The top left denim dress immediately caught my attention and I knew that was exactly what I wanted mine to look like. A few clicks later brought me to the Net-A-Porter page, which at the time showed close-ups of the dress from several angles (unfortunately not the case now, I guess, since it’s sold out – sorry!). This was extremely helpful in assisting me with my blatant rip-off.

I used a brown/taupe thread for all my topstitching – it’s just some weird cotton crap I had in my thread rack, and I used the triple stitch on my machine so that the stitches were nice and thick like topstitching. Most of the topstitching is two rows – the first row 1/8″ from the edge, and the second row is 1/4″ from that first line. Instead of doing a true flat-fell seam, I just mock flat-felled them as per the instructions (stitch as normal, serge, and then topstitch from the right side). The tops of the pockets are secured with bar tacks. The snaps are gunmetal snaps done up with an industrial snap setter (I use the one at Elizabeth Suzann’s production facility bc they haven’t shooed me away yet haha). I LOVE hulking out of this thing at the end of the day, y’all!

What else? I think that’s about it. Have a picture dump (pun intended looool):

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

As I said, I am pretty happy with this finished dress and I have worn it tons! It’s a nice autumnal version of my beloved chambray Hawthorn (which, 2 years later, is still one of my most worn me-mades to date) – a good neutral base that can be worn as-is with flats when it’s warm, or layered with tights and a slip when it gets cold. I’d love to make another version in corduroy – currently on the lookout for a good one if you have any suggestions! ๐Ÿ™‚

Completed: A Striped Coco Dress

13 Oct

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

Coco Dress

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

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

Coco Dress

Coco Dress

Coco Dress

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

It’s not anything special, obviously. It’s a simple A-line knit dress with a funnel neck collar. I can – and have – made much more impressive pieces. But the simplicity was exactly what I needed – so I could turn my mind off, and just focus on making. That fact that I have a pretty great dress out of it is just a bonus ๐Ÿ˜‰

Coco Dress

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

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

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

Coco Dress

See?! Navy! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Coco Dress

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

Coco Dress

That’s all! I am heading out in a few hours to catch a plane to NYC – Camp Workroom Social is this weekend! ๐Ÿ˜€ I cannot WAIT to hang with all the campers and help my (well, Amy‘s ๐Ÿ™‚ ) class make some beautiful bras!

And speaking of classes – I spent the last weekend at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH, where we had a lovely 4 days of sewing, eating delicious food – and drinking whiskey, because of course we did. I had an AMAZING time with amazing company – great conversation, great food, and of course, great sewing! I love doing these sorts of retreats because it’s really fun to see what everyone is working on – for this class, we had jeans, a bra, a coat, an Archer, fitting help, and a shirt dress! The only downside is that when I get home, I REALLY miss everyone because we’ve been so close for the past few days! Which basically just means I am gonna have to go back ๐Ÿ™‚ Exeter is so beautiful and Pintuck & Purl is the cutest little store with a beautiful selection. I definitely came home with some fabric and yarn, although my tiny suitcase meant that I had to restrain myself a bit ๐Ÿ™‚

See y’all next week!

Completed: The Agnes Dress

20 Jan

I’m still trying to catch up on my last projects from 2015! Although I’m glad I waited to post this one because:
1. I got new shoes and I think they look pretty awesome with this dress
2. Such a good hair day for these photos. As a result, there are extra pictures in this post. No apologies for that!

T&TB Agnes Dress

Anyway, let’s talk about the dress itself because that’s why y’all are here! I tried something newish for this project in terms of silhouette and I gotta say – I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! I don’t normally like the way gathered skirts look on me, and strong shoulders always make me feel like I’m wearing someone’s mom’s old clothes (not my mom, though, she’s a pretty sharp dresser hahah), but this dress does me good! I made it to wear during recently-ended holiday season – the thin jersey isn’t necessarily appropriate for cold weather, but we had a 70*F Christmas down here in Tennessee, so it suited me just fine at the end of 2015! Of course, now we’re in for the serious cold snap (you can’t tell in the pictures, but it was COLD outside when I took these! Like below freezing, eep), so I currently can’t wear it because it’s simply not warm enough!

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

To make this dress, I used the Agnes shirt pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. I love special and unique details on an otherwise plain knit tshirt, and this pattern is pretty good for that! I love the runching at the neckline and sleeves, and the shape is really fitted and flattering for me. I have made this top before (there’s not a full post – but I’m wearing it with my 70s denim skirt), so I had a good idea of how it was going to fit. My own complaint with the first version is that the armholes were too high on me, and thus a little uncomfortable. I lowered the armholes by about 1/2″, using my adjusted Renfrew tshirt pattern as a comparison. Size is right between a 1 & 2, which suits me pretty well for this pattern line.

Now, the pattern only gives you an option to make a top – and this is a dress, obviously. I confess that I didn’t even consider Dress Possibility until Tilly posted this tutorial for making an Agnes dress. SCORE. How cute does she look in those photos, btw?! Oh god I just realized our outfits are pretty similar hahahaha!

Anyway, it’s an easy change to turn this into a dress. Cut the pattern piece at the waistline (or where you want the waist to hit – I used my Lady Skater bodice as a guide, personally), sew up the shirt, and then add a gathered skirt (literally, a rectangle that is the width of your fabric + whatever length you want). I stabilized the shoulders and waistline with 1/4″ elastic, just so everything would stay in place and not stretch out (I learned the waistline elastic trick from the instructions in my Lady Skater pattern and it’s THE BEST. Keeps the skirt from pulling the bodice down with it’s weight and making things all saggy). Everything was pieced on my serger, and all the topstitching is done with a plain straight stitch. Easyyyyy. So fast! I finished in like 2 hours and actually wore the dress out that night ๐Ÿ˜€

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

As I mentioned, I don’t really care for the way gathered skirts look on me – I think they add unnecessary bulk. But I do like the way this one mimics the gathers and fullness at the sleeves. I think the key is to use a fabric that is a lighter weight and has some drape. Then you get soft gathers, instead of big, weird bulk.

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

The fabric I used here is from Lillestoff. I’d never heard of this company before, but they are located in Germany and offer some really nice, high-quality organic cotton knits. They reached out to me several months ago and ended up sending me a few of their fabrics to try out. I can’t find this star print on the website anymore, but it’s pretty awesome. It’s a lighter weight without being sheer, and it has a good drape that looks fantastic with the gathers in this pattern. I was impressed with all the stuff I got – the colors are nice and saturated, and the fabrics are soooo soft. They wash well and have a good recovery when you wear them, so they tend to hold their shape. I also have a hoodie that I recently made with some of their French terry, gotta remember to get photos of that!

I originally earmarked this piece for another Lady Skater dress (linking because I’ve officially mentioned that pattern 3x in this post now hhahaha), but changed my mind to make something with a little more ~pizzazz~. Don’t get me wrong – I love me some LS, but sometimes a plain dress is a plain dress and sometimes you need those details! I guess that’s one downside to this particular dress – I can’t make a dozen of them without people noticing that I’m using the same pattern over and over again. Oh well I’ll probably do it anyway hahahahahah

T&TB Agnes Dress

If you can’t stop staring at that ONE long rogue hair, just know that I can’t either.

T&TB Agnes Dress

Detail shot – the neckline and sleeve runching is done with 1/4″ elastic, btw! You cut it to length, and zigzag it down while stretching it to the max. When it snaps back, you have lovely yet easy runching!

T&TB Agnes Dress

Ok, I think that’s enough talk about one dress. Here’s a picture of me being cold hahaha. Have you ever sewn with Lillestoff fabrics, and if so – what do you think about them? When I posted on Instagram, people were going NUTS. Apparently they have a pretty die-hard fan base ๐Ÿ™‚

Note: The fabric for this dress was given to me by Lillestoff. And the pattern was given to me by Tilly! Free or not, all opinions are my own ๐Ÿ™‚

Completed: The Francoise Dress

11 Mar

Y’ALL. It’s like, practically spring here. After our freak ice and snow storm last week (which was the SECOND one we had this year – never happens! The last big ice storm we had was 20 years ago), the sunshine came back with a vengeance and obliterated the piles of snow (ok, 3″ here. THAT IS A LOT FOR NASHVILLE, OK!) within a couple of days. Thanks to the combination of 60* afternoons and the return of Daylight Savings Time, it’s really starting to feel super good here. Yay for spring!

So, with all that being said – I give you my first official warm-weather make of 2015! Hey, Francoise, how you doin’?

Francoise Dress

Francoise is Tilly’s newest pattern release, and by “new” I mean it’s been around since November. Which is exactly how long I’ve been meaning to make it up. I got my hands on the pattern when I was in London (full disclosure – Tilly gave it to me when we met up and waved her hand when I offered to pay for it. It wasn’t given to me in exchange for a posted review or anything, but, I thought I’d point that out regardless! I know some people feel that a review can be biased if the reviewer didn’t personally pay for the pattern), I made a muslin while I was there, and I looked for my ~perfect~ Francoise fabric on every fabric shopping trip we made. The truth is, I was stunted on fabric choice, so the pattern had to wait while I figured my shit out.

Francoise Dress

Anyway, I think the fabric I ended up with was a pretty PERFECT match, amirite? This gorgeous purple and pink floral cotton sateen is from Mood Fabrics, and it combined with the Francoise is basically a perfect marriage. The small amount of stretch and crisp drape make it perfect for the pattern, and the simple shape and exaggerated flare make the pattern perfect for the fabric. I love it when this shit happens!

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

I made the size 1, based on the finished measurements. The only minor change I made was to take a slightly wider seam allowance at the top of the invisible zipper, just because it was gaping a little. I also removed about 3/4″ from the hem length. I’m 5’2″, so taller ladies may want to consider adding some length because it’s a pretty short skirt!

Francoise Dress

Cotton sateen is REALLY easy to work with – like, beginner-level easy (it doesn’t shift, doesn’t fray, presses well, etc) – so construction was super straightforward. You really just need a fresh needle and a hot iron to coax this fabric into submission. I finished all my seams with my serger, and topstitched the neckline, arm holes and hem. The neckline is finished with a facing, and the arm holes are finished with self bias facing. Both of these are covered in the pattern. I followed the pattern directions as they were written for the bias facing on the arm holes, and while they’re great – I prefer my method, as I think it’s a little easier/fool-proof.

Also, looking at that back view just made me realize that the two back prints are mirrored. HAHAHA uhh… oh, look, there’s a rouge thread, too. GOD, I need to get my shit together. Ok, moving on!

Francoise Dress

Because my print is all crazy awesome and takes all the attention, here’s a close-up of the design elements of the dress that actually make is super cute. I love the raglan seams, and the French darts are so pretty! Also – can we talk about how the floral pattern on the fabric looks like watercolors? YUM.

Francoise Dress

Now here is the dress without me or a belt. I will be honest – when I finally finished everything and put it on, I wasn’t crazy about how it looked at me. I think part of it is the color palette (I LOVE that freaking fabric, but I feel like I look like an ass every time I wear pink or purple. It’s not because of my hair color clashing or whatever. I’ve felt that way about pink and purple for a couple years now) and part of it is the fact that the dress doesn’t have a waist seam. I don’t know why, but I feel like a smooth shape with no waist seam doesn’t look right on me (is that weird?). Once I added black tights and a thin belt, I really started to see the cute factor in this dress. I think the black also tones down the overwhelming girly colors, and I like that too. Ideally, I would have loved to put a black collar on the dress, but I didn’t have any black fabric on hand. Maybe in the future I can make a detachable one, idk.

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

Believe it or not, I didn’t buy that zipper for this dress. No, I just *happened* to have a perfectly-matched lavender invisible zipper in my stash. Again, I don’t really wear purple (and especially not lavender), so I have no idea how that happened, but I’ve had it for a few years now. Glad I finally put that shit to good use lolol

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

That’s all for now! Let’s just cross our fingers that I didn’t inadvertently welcome another fucking 6 weeks of winter by announcing spring’s impending arrival. I did that a lot last year and it was way lame.

Francoise Dress

** Note: All fabrics for this project were provided to me in exchange for a review post as per my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network.

My Trip to London & Paris!

8 Dec

Hey everyone! Ok, whew, I’m finally back and mostly caught up with boring adult life things, so now I can get back to the fun stuff! Wheeee!! Today is all about my trip to London (with a little two day stop in Paris). Sorry if you just wanted me to dive back into the sewing shizz! Deal with it~

deal with it
God, that gif never gets old.

Anyway, sooo, London! I’m just going to touch on highlights, and share some photos (nearly all of these have been posted on Instagram/Twitter, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little backstory with the photos, yeah? ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, except for the ones I shamelessly stole from other people. Hey, if you tag me in it, I get to use it hahaha). Don’t take this as a ~London guide~ because I really am not a travel blogger by any stretch of the imagination, but hey, I’m happy to share all the things I learned while on this trip ๐Ÿ™‚ Fair warning: I did not take very many pictures. I never do when I go on trips; I find that for me it’s really hard to stay in the moment and enjoy myself if I’m worried about getting good photos. Also, this post ended up being reeeally long, despite my best efforts at condensing it – so yeah. Sorry! It’s totally ok if only my mom ends up reading it ๐Ÿ™‚

Thursday: I flew into London on a red-eye, arriving on Friday morning. Not much to say about the trip, as I mostly slept on the plane (or, rather, tried to). I will mention that I never once saw my seat mate do anything other than stare straight ahead. Not even watching TV – that was off the whole time – just staring at the back of the seat in front of him. At one point, I noticed he was wearing headphones. Later, I realized that they weren’t plugged in. So there’s that.

Saturday: This was the day of the London meet-up on Goldhawk Road. Yes. The day after I flew in. In retrospect, planning a meet-up during which I will likely still have jet-lag (spoiler: I did. Ohhh I so did) is a terrible idea. I ended up feeling very tired, a little sick (in that I-barely-slept-last-night kind of way, although, I *did* sleep well the night before. When you’re staying with Clare in her Elvis Presley Deluxe Suite, how couldn’t you? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and was generally very quiet and a lot overwhelmed – not overwhelmed with the meet-up, per se, but just the whole thing about being in a completely different country and all that. All that being said – I had a wonderful time at the meet-up! We had a smallish group of less than 20 women, which was nice and manageable (I’ve heard stories about those 80+ people meet-ups, and y’all, I would be horrified. Haha!). It was so nice to meet everyone who came out, not to mention shop with them! I do like buying fabric solo, but man… I’m a big fan of the peer pressure influence too ๐Ÿ™‚ And Goldhawk Road is pretty awesome! It’s no NYC Garment District by any means, but there were still loads of shops to check out, the prices were good, and everyone who worked there was pretty friendly ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, some of the window displays were insane.

The fabric shops here have the best window displays ๐Ÿ˜‚โœ‚๏ธ

This was my favorite window display out of all of them. How good is that? The more I look at it, the more it makes me laugh.

Price-wise, all the shops in the area were pretty reasonable. I had to be very mindful of whatever I bought – I was limited to one checked bag (an additional would have cost $100), plus, my dollars don’t go as far in London when compared to the pound. Not to mention, I have TONS of fabric at my house that I need to sew through! So I tried to stay pretty restrained (and make everyone else buy lots of awesome fabrics, heh heh heh) and did not buy much.

Just hanging out with myself here ๐Ÿ˜œ #lladybirdinlondon (also, @bbhandmadedress made me a tag, yay!)

After we were all shopped out, we went to Defector’s Weld around the corner for drinks and food. I unfortunately did not get a photo of the meet-up (again, me and taking photos doesn’t really jive), oh well! So instead, here’s a photo of my name on the table. Big thanks to Stevie for wrangling the reservation for this part of the meet-up – couldn’t have done it without her! โ™ฅ Also, big huge thanks to Sally and Fiona for being my personal Tube Guides during this day, as I otherwise would have definitely gotten myself super lost.

So yeah, first meet-up was excellent! Thanks to everyone who made it out – I just wish I’d been feeling better, so I could have talked more and not just sat there staring at my soup like a freaking zombie. I have learned my lesson for the next time! Get over the jet-lag first!

Fortunately, the jet-lag only hung around for another day… then I felt REALLY splendid for the rest of the trip. So that was good!

Sunday: I met up with Birgitte, who was also visiting London from out of town (albeit from Norway… but still! Somewhere Else!), and we went to see the Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibit at the V&A Museum. One thing I loooove about London is that basically all the museums are free! SWEET! Of course, certain exhibits may cost you regardless – such as the one we saw at the V&A, I think it was around ยฃ10? It was totally worth it, though! They will also check your coat and bags at the museum for free, which was nice since it was cold and rainy that day.

Guess where I ammmm... ๐Ÿ˜œ #lladybirdinlondon

After the museum, Birgitte and I wandered into Liberty of London. At the risk of making myself sound like a complete idiot – I had no idea Liberty was a department store? I’ve only ever known it for the fabrics. So I was pretty surprised to see that – not only is it an entire store, but it’s a fucking FANCY store! Now I understand the hype. Still don’t care much for the fabrics (I tried, I really did! But no Liberty fabrics came home with me on this trip), but, I get it.

dalston shopping

Monday: This was the day I really started feeling 100%. I met up with Nicole, Rachel and Vanessa for a shopping day in Dalston Mills, at the Ridley Road Market. Nicole lives in the area and was kind enough to show us around – it. was. AMAZING! Such a completely different culture from what I’d seen the night before (I mean, I went into Harrod’s at one point, for fuck’s sake hahaha). We shopped for fabrics at the little fabric store – as well as on all the tables selling beautiful African wax prints (which you can also get on Goldhawk, but I liked the wax prints here better!). I also bought hair dye (because, why not?) and a new neon green purse, having realized my sling bag was not big enough for the necessary umbrella & other necessities.

Hi, I love meat ๐Ÿ—๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” #lladybirdinlondon

There is a lot of dead meat on Ridley Road. Here I am standing next to some. Yay, meat!

me & Rachel โ™ฅ

It was such a treat to be able to spend some time with Rachel. We may or may not have bought mostly the same fabrics (all destined for lingerie, no less!). In case you were wondering – she’s just as gorgeous in real life as she is in photos. Maybe even more so! And she’s so tall – especially next to this 5’2″ runt ๐Ÿ˜›

And now I'm hanging out with @ohthepeteroh, who was my first roommate in Nashville before he moved back to London. It's been 10 years and he's aged like a fine wine ๐Ÿท #lladybirdinlondon

After my shopping day in Dalston Mills, I stayed in East London and met up with my friend Peter for drinks at a couple of the nearby bars. Peter is an old friend of mine – we go ‘way back, like, pre-high school, and he was my first roommate when I moved out of my parent’s house. I haven’t seen him since he moved back to London 10 years ago, so it was REALLY great to see him and catch up. We both drank ourselves into hangovers that night. It was awesome.

Classic English breakfast today! I will not be eating those beans hahahaha #bpSewvember

Tuesday: Hangover day! I started my morning with a big, proper English breakfast with Clare, which I ate about half of (I know! I hate wasting food, but hangovers for me tend to be the really sick/no appetite types). I did not touch the beans, which horrified about half of Instagram, apparently. Sorry, dudes. Baked beans are gross and I wasn’t about to risk trying them when I was already feeling sick!

Anyway, a hot shower did a good job of clearing me right up, so I was able to drag myself out of the flat and take myself on a date to the British Museum. This was pretty much the only thing I had planned in advance before getting to London – I knew I wanted to see mummies! And I did see mummies – three times, in fact. I kept going back to the Egyptian room, because mummies are awesome haha.

Took myself on a date today and made a new friend #lladybirdinlondon

I also took a selfie with this guy. I felt pretty silly, but I’m trying not to care. I really wanted to take a selfie with the naked Greek statues (head height for me is right about at the weiners, which is PERFECT), but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Next time!

It was also pretty cool seeing the all the Parthenon stuff. We have a full-scape replica of the Parthenon in Nashville (because of course we do), and it’s pretty true to the original. Except for that whole collapsing part haha ๐Ÿ˜›

Tower Bridge hangs! ๐Ÿšฃ๐ŸŒ‰ #lladybirdinlondon

Wednesday: In the AM, I met with Melissa Fehr in her floating house boat on the Thames river. Yes, you heard me – HOUSE BOAT. I had no idea that was a thing in London, but it is, and it is excellent. There’s a whole boat community out there, with floating gardens and community centers and other impressive floating things. Also, Melissa is fucking hilarious, and her cat is adorable and extremely good at laser acrobats.

Great lunch/beer (ok, I'm the only one who had alcohol ๐Ÿ˜œ haha) this afternoon with @fehrtrade and @tillybuttons ๐Ÿป yay for mini sewing meet ups! ๐Ÿ‘ฏ

After tea & pumpkin pie and general boat-awe, we took a bus to get lunch with Tilly on her side of London, as well as check out her beautiful studio where I would be teaching my class later that evening.

class at Tilly's

Oh, so, my class! Zips & Buttonholes was 3 hours of great fun! My students were all fabulous and really killed their zipper insertions (and I’m a little jealous that my first zippers never looked that great! Many, many MANY years of dodgy zippers are in my past, ha!). Everyone was so lovely and fun to chat with – one person even brought me a gift of bicycle print jersey (for real! I was – and still am – completely floored by her kindness and generosity. Thank you so much, Caroline!). We did have one injury in the class – I think that was a first for all of us (knock on wood, haha). Poor Rosie! Actually, she was a really great sport throughout the ordeal – and I love the photo we got together haha. I hope your finger is feeling better now, Rosie! You should be proud of your battle scar ๐Ÿ˜› haha!

train to Paris!

Thursday: While my family spent the day feasting and hanging out, I woke up at the ass crack of dawn (aka 5AM) to catch a train to Paris! Our party (me, Clare, Kelly and Emmie rode the Eurostar into Paris bright and early, with a couple hours to spare before the big meet-up arranged by Carmen. Clare was staying in a separate hotel (being preggers, she has greater rest needs, plus, she was staying an extra day in Paris), but Kelly & Emmie and myself – along with Tilly & Freya (who I just met during the trip and OMG LOVE HER) – booked ourselves up a swanky little pad via AirBNB. Like, my bed nook (hell yes I got my own bed… I’m opening to sharing, but I also snore, so that usually means I end up solo hahaha) had PARIS DISCO LIGHTS:

Made it to Paris! Our swanky flat has a lofted bed with red and blue lights... Naturally, this is the one I chose #lladybirdinlondon

I almost wish we staying in Paris longer just to enjoy that damn apartment. We were on the top floor, with skylights on the roof and chandeliers hanging off everything. There was also pink toilet paper, which really cracked me up. Apparently, that’s not uncommon in Paris (or London, for that matter)? I’ve just never seen it in the US – only ads from, like, the 60s. I wish we had colorful toilet paper here now. My bathroom would be so much more exciting.

You know it's been a good trip when you forget to take any pictures! Paris, you are amazing. Thank you for being so lovely these past 2 days ๐Ÿ’• #lladybirdinlondon

Paris Spoolette Meet-Up November 2014

The Paris meet-up was SPLENDID. Carmen really outdid herself with planning everything down to the last detail, with an itinerary, maps, and GOODIE BAGS.

Gifts!

I am pretty sure I have the worst manners ever, but Kelly & I fucking ripped right into those bags the second they were handed to us. Everyone else was standing patiently and politely up to that point. Whoops.

Paris Spoolette Meet-Up November 2014

I was really excited to see Norma! I met her in NYC while I was there in March, but we didn’t really have a chance to talk then – so it was nice to actually have a good chat with her. Love Norma!

Ok, so, as far as places we shopped in Paris… I’m afraid I can’t really give you a running list. I ended up following my small group like a little puppy – not to mention, I couldn’t read any of the signs (I really did try to brush up on my French in the months before I left, but learning a foreign language is hard!), so I don’t remember them. Sorry, guys! If you want suggestions on where to go for fabric shopping in Paris, best ask someone else… because I’m pretty useless haha.

We did find some great shops, though! There was one- Les รฉtoffes du Sentier (I took a photo of the bag, ha) – who liked us so much, they led our small group (we were long split off from the big group, being slow shoppers and all) to their big warehouse where they had even MORE stuff, including (really inexpensive, really nice quality) leather. Loved those guys!

Spoolettes in Paris

We also went into La Maison Sajou, which is basically the cutest shop in the world. I could have bought one of everything in there, were my bank account limitless. I am chatting with Rehannon here, omg that girl is such a trip! โ™ฅ Also, I’ve never seen a bigger collection of Lauren derp faces than there are from this trip HAHA!

Paris Spoolette Meet-Up November 2014

The ladies at Sajou were kind enough to make us all tea, and clever enough to serve said tea in their branded mugs. PROTIP: If you want me to buy something, just let me carry it around for a while. By the time I finished my tea, I knew that mug was coming home with me. You can totally see it in my eyes, haha.

Paris Spoolette Meet-Up November 2014

Oh yeah, we also hit up the sweet Les Coupons de St-Pierre, which is one of those mythical “coupon” shops where you get 3 meters of fabric for 8โ‚ฌ or 10โ‚ฌ (or more of less, depending on fabric!). That place was sweet, the employees were awesome, *and* they gave us a discount because of Carmen! Woohoo!

Paris Spoolette Meet-Up November 2014

Finally, what was left of our party moseyed over to The Pink Flamingo Pizza Parlor rue Muller (fair warning – that link auto plays music!) for drinks and dinner. I really loved this place – the pizza was outstanding and there were some cray flavor combinations. We shut that place down with our chatting and drinking.

Friday: We had a small meet-up rendezvous at Anna Ka Bazaar the next morning. They served us tea and cookies and gave us a nice discount (and yes, I bought myself a special piece of splurge fabric. Anna K instead of Liberty, fuck yea!), and let us hang in the shop for a bit. Norma came out, because I wanted her to see my Marlborough bra and assess the fit. Sooo… long story short, after realizing there was no bathroom to duck into, and determining that no one in the shop (especially the owners, obviously) minded seeing some bewbs, I just stood behind the counter in my bra and Norma gave me an impromptu fitting lesson for the crowd’s entertainment. Ha! Fortunately, the major fit areas (band, bridge, most of the cup) are spot-on. I just need to tweak the upper cup and the strap placement, which Norma told me how to do. How’s that for some customer service, amirite? Also, the ladies at Anna K were really excited when they realized that, not only did I make my bra – but the patternmaker was Norma! And now I can say I spent some ~topless time~ in France hahaha.

Jolies Bobines met with us and took our small group (me, Kelly, Emmie, Tilly, Freya & the addition of Nicole) on to more shopping after Anna K to some of her favorite Paris fabric shops. One of the places she brought us to was Malhia Kent, which was AMAZING. So much brocade and sparkly lurex! It was hard to restrict myself to just one special piece, but I was worried about luggage restraints at that point. I managed ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, it was really cool to finally meet Jolies! Despite my complete and utter lack of French knowledge, she was able to speak enough English so that we could get a good conversation going ๐Ÿ™‚ She did suggest that I start following French blogs and reading French patterns, as it helped her learn English faster – so I might have to try that!

After Jolies left while we ate lunch, I starting feeling my hangover (two in one trip, argh), so the rest of my time in Paris was spent avoiding the wine and steaks that my fellow travelers were eating. Bummer! As luck would have it, I felt better right about the time we boarded the Eurostar to get back to London. Figures!

Shopping date with @tillybuttons today! I'm a little fabric'd out after Paris, but managed to squeeze a little piece from Cloth House in my bag ๐Ÿ˜‰ #lladybirdinlondon

Saturday: Since Clare was still in Paris for another day, I went back into central London (by myself! I am getting so good at this tube navigation system, haha!) and met with Tilly for a nice relaxed shopping day in Soho. We went to lots of little shops in the area โ€“ some fabric, some gifts, some clothing โ€“ but the only place I bought anything from was Cloth House (see above for fear of my loot not fitting in my luggage, ha). Tilly also took me into the clothing store Joy, which is full of some of the cutest stuff Iโ€™ve ever seen (I really really really want to knock off this toggle coat now. I mean, come on!) (Oh, I just lied to you; totally bought a necklace from this store). We also went to Bravissimo, because the bras there cost about half as much as they do in the US (even with including the exchange rate). This is probably bordering on TMI โ€“ but, Tilly & I actually wear the same bra size (lolz), so we were able to get side-by-side fitting rooms and swap bras haha. I ended up buying the Satine bra in black, in case you were curious!

Iโ€™m really happy with how well Tilly & I got along. Iโ€™ve been friends with her online for ages, but this trip was the first time I was able to meet her in person. Sometimes, people can be different than their online persona (this hasnโ€™t happened to me in the blog world, but Iโ€™ve heard horror stories! And I’ve used OkCupid in the past hahahahaha), so it can be a gamble when you plan to spend a multitude of days with one person if youโ€™re not sure that your personalities will mesh. Like I said โ€“ I havenโ€™t had this issue with anyone Iโ€™ve met through this blog (no, really! Every single one of yโ€™all has been really cool and fun!). That being said, Tilly far exceeded my high expectations. Sheโ€™s just a really great person and Iโ€™m glad I got to spend some time getting to talk with her and hang out. Now I’m getting Tilly withdrawals! Wah!

sewing party at Tilly's

Sunday: Last day in London! When I was originally planning this trip, Tilly offered to let me take over her studio for a little sewing shindig on the last day I was there. After nearly 2 weeks away from my machine, it was pretty awesome to be able to sit down and sew again! We had a small group โ€“ unfortunately, Clare was feeling pretty beat up after Paris, so she wasnโ€™t able to make it ๐Ÿ˜ฆ – but it was great seeing the rest of the ladies: Karen, Roisin, Freya, Emmie, Jane, and of course, Tilly! Everyone brought a project to work on, foods to snack on, drinks to drink on (Iโ€™m currently a Prosecco convertโ€ฆ mmmm), and we just had a lovely afternoon. It was a great send-off to a really really awesome trip.

BUT WAIT, THEREโ€™S MORE!

I will live on Party Rings for the remainder of my time on this earth ๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŽ‰ #lladybirdinlondon

After we left Tillyโ€™s, Tilly took me to Sainsburyโ€™s in my quest to find Party Rings. These ridiculous cookies biscuits were a staple for my family back when we were visiting London in the late 90s โ€“ as in, my siblings and I ate the SHIT out of them. We brought a metric shit-ton back to the states with us, and it was a sad day when we finally ate the last one. I was bound and determined to find some to take home โ€“ and I did! Yay Party Rings! ๐Ÿ˜€

me & Jamie Susan

Finally, I met with my friend Jamie Susan in Greenwich for some Vietnamese food and much-needed Nashville gossip. Funny story about Jamie Susan โ€“ sheโ€™s an old friend from Nashville (we used to go on laundromat dates together haha) who moved to London about 2 years ago after getting married. I knew she was in London, but I figured sheโ€™d be so far out from Greenwich (where I was staying) that meeting up would be too much of a hassle. Turns out โ€“ girl LIVES in Greenwich! What are the odds, amirite? Anyway, Iโ€™m glad we made time for each other because it was great to catch up and I realized how much I miss her. Dammit, Jamie Susan! Come back to Nashville and visit already!

Monday: Ok, Monday doesnโ€™t really count because it was my traveling day. However, I did want to point out that the plane from London to Toronto was pretty empty, and I somehow managed to get an entire row to myself for the whole 8 hours. That. Was. AMAZING. Also, I flew Air Canada, which was just nice as hell. The food was really good, the flight attendants were incredibly nice, and everything was just really clean and well taken care of. Oh, and there was FREE WINE. I think Iโ€™m spoiled for life, now though, after being able to stretch across an entire row and basically have a party to myself for the whole flight. It was like a First Class experience, without the First Class price tag. Go, Air Canada!

So yep, thatโ€™s my trip! Sorry the post got so long and out of hand โ€“ I tried to condense it as much as possible (and I figure โ€“ better one looong post than a bunch of short posts, especially for those who would rather skip this kind of topic altogether!). A few things Iโ€™d like to point out about traveling to London & Paris, from a non-international traveler standpoint โ€“ these are the things I wish someone had told me up front:

  • The very biggest thing that threw me off in London? They donโ€™t put cream in their coffee! This is probably a โ€œno shit, Sherlockโ€ type statement to most of yโ€™all, but I had no idea! Europeans (or, at least, those in London & Paris) put milk in their coffee. Half the people didnโ€™t even know what I was talking about when I asked for cream. Obviously I was able to adapt very quickly (I mean, this is coffee we are talking about) โ€“ I learned that I really like flat white coffees! โ€“ but it really threw me off the first couple jet-lagged days I was there.
  • My little passport wallet came SUPER in handy the whole time I was there. It was nice to have one place to keep my cards and my passport โ€“ and I especially loved that zippered pouch for holding all my change. One thing I didnโ€™t realize is that the British use lots of coins, especially for one and two pound amounts (we donโ€™t really have that in the US; the one time they tried to make a dollar into a coin, there was some SERIOUS pushing against it. I know of stores that refused to accept it as payment, even though itโ€™s legal currency haha). So, bring something that will hold your coins!
  • Another big tip if youโ€™re taking an overseas trip โ€“ if at all possible, get a credit card with the chip, as itโ€™s the safest way to carry money around. I think the chip is about to become standard for all new credit and debit cards (I’ve noticed the machines in stores since I got back), so it’s really just a matter of replacing your current card if you already have one. I found that my bank has a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, which saved me loads of money since I only had to pay the exchange rate. I charged everything to my card and paid it off when I got home. Obviously donโ€™t do this if youโ€™re not able to pay off the card โ€“ you donโ€™t want to come home from a vacation already in debt โ€“ but if you can be responsible and hold yourself accountable, itโ€™s very useful. Plus, I earned points for every dollar I spent, so itโ€™s like a double bonus!
  • Speaking of those chip cards โ€“ youโ€™re supposed to get a pin so they can be used in the machines. For whatever reason โ€“ mine just didnโ€™t work. The card worked, I mean, but I had to sign for every purchase. Iโ€™ve heard it might be an American card thing (some people told me they had the same issues with US credit cards), but itโ€™s just something to be aware of. Again, carry an ID with you if this is the case because they are required to check the signature if you donโ€™t use a pin.
  • If youโ€™re going to a foreign country and want to still use your phone without having to deal with roaming/international charges, I would seriously recommend getting a prepaid SIM card. I had my phone unlocked through my provider (DO NOT do this through a third party โ€“ nine times out of ten, youโ€™ll get scammed. My provider tried to give me hell about unlocking the phone because Iโ€™m still under contract โ€“ despite paying cash for the phone when I bought it โ€“ so I unlocked it through their website and it went through. Worth a try, anyway!) and bought a prepaid SIM card through EE. For ยฃ15, It had 150 minutes (more than enough for me; I never talk on the phone haha), unlimited text messages, and 2 GB of data while in London. Since my plan was local only, I used WhatsApp to keep in touch with my US friends, and FaceTime to talk to Landon ๐Ÿ™‚ The phone stayed off while I was in Paris (although Iโ€™m sure there are prepaid options for roaming other countries, if thatโ€™s a need for you!). This was obviously LOADS cheaper than what my provider was trying to charge for me to roam with a US number. Of course, I could have kept the phone off entirely, but it was pretty useful to have a local number so I could text people to arrange plans/meet-ups, and also have the data for mapping my tube routes and playing on Instagram ๐Ÿ™‚
  • I didnโ€™t realize this until I was actually in London, but if you use Uber (a ridesharing/taxi program that is way cheaper than a typical cab), it *does* work in London. I used this to get home after teaching at Tillyโ€™s, and also to get to the airport on Monday morning (Iโ€™m sure every single commuter on the train loves and appreciates me for not subjecting them to standing behind me dragging my luggage onto a crowded train haha). The rates are great โ€“ I paid ยฃ40 to get from Greenwich to Heathrow, which was about a 70 minute drive during rush hour traffic. If you havenโ€™t used Uber before, hereโ€™s a shameless free code for ya โ€“ laurent319 will get you a free ride (up to $20, then you pay the difference if it’s more than that). You just need to download the free app to use it (full disclosure โ€“ if you use that code, I will get a free ride, which I will then use to take me to and from the airport when I travel. Free Ubers for everyone! Yay!). Anyway, Uber or not โ€“ I would strongly recommend setting some money aside to get you a cab back to the airport, if public transportation is your only other option. Itโ€™s worth the money just to know you can sit and relax and not be banging your giant suitcase into someoneโ€™s poor ankles.
  • Wardrobe-wise, my capsule wardrobe ended up being a really great decision on my part. I made everything I had planned and wore almost entirely handmade (save for my jeans, which I canโ€™t bear to part with because I love them so much) for the whole trip. It was nice to have a mix and match of outfits to choose from โ€“ saved on both luggage space and getting ready in the morning time. Of course, this meant that people saw me wearing the same thing more than once (gasp!), but, you know what? Fuck it.
  • Speaking of clothing and dressing appropriately for the weather, it must have been a REALLY mild time in London because I definitely was not cold! I brought both my big plaid coat and my bomber jacket, which turned out to be very useful because I ended up needing them both at one point or another. I found that by wearing lots of lightweight layers, I stayed very warm – and it was easy to peel layers off if I got too hot. It also barely rained while I was in London – it was mostly grey, which I found quite nice. I must have brought something gross back with me to the states, though, because it’s been REALLY cold and rainy ever since I got back! Ew!

Oh, hey, I guess you want to see what I came home with, huh? ๐Ÿ™‚ Hereโ€™s the fabric pile in all itโ€™s glory –
I just unpacked all the fabric I bought in London and Paris. I guess I have a lot of prewashing to do now ๐Ÿ˜œ #lladybirdinlondon

I was going to take individual pictures, but Iโ€™m tired and this post is long enough. Sooo, just a smattering of things! Just a few I want to point out exclusively โ€“ the pretty blue/purple floral-ish one in the very middle is my special piece from Anna Ka Bazaar, the red and gold geometic print is a beautiful boucle (with sparkly lurex!) from Malhia Kent, and the big peacock feathers at the bottom is my African wax print from Ridley Road Market in Dalston Mills. Oh, and the blobs at the bottom are laces and sheers for future bras! I also bought a piece of red and white striped knit from Cloth House, which somehow didnโ€™t make it into this photo. Womp womp.

Also not pictured, but worth noting โ€“ I totally bought a mug from Sajou. I drink my coffee out of it every morning now and I just love it ๐Ÿ™‚

Ok, I reckon this post is long enough, so time to wrap up! Big huge thanks to everyone who helped make this trip the wonderful adventure it turned out to be โ€“ those of you who made it out to the meet-ups, my class, for London and/or Paris hangs, or who just had suggestions for making the most of my trip. You are all awesome and I appreciate all of you and your input! ๐Ÿ™‚ Big thanks to Tilly for letting me take over her studio as much as I did โ€“ and for putting up with me for multiple days (poor girl is likely sick of me at this point, ha!). Big thanks to Carmen for arranging the whole Paris meet-up and making it such a highlight of my trip (psst โ€“ want to see more photos? Hereโ€™s the Flickr Pool!). And biggest thanks to Clare, my love โ€“ who opened her home to me and initially stuck me with the I-Have-To-Go-To-London bug. Iโ€™m sad that Clare and I didnโ€™t get to hang as much due to her pregnancy and work obligations, but even just sitting on the couch with tea and chatting at the end of the day was really really wonderful. Thank you so much โ™ฅ

Also, thank YOU for making it to the end of this post! Whew, that was a big one haha! Come over now for your complimentary Party Ring ๐Ÿ˜‰

Completed: Margot PJ Pants (+Love At First Stitch) (+GIVEAWAY)

31 Oct

Hey everyone! Today I’m joining the US masses to help promote Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking by Tilly Walnes, my friend and fellow blogger.

51Nr-WjrMQL

Most of y’all probably alreaddddyyyy know all about this, but in case you haven’t – Tilly is a fabulous blogger whose clear instructions and gorgeous patterns are perfect for beginner sewers who feel overwhelmed by mysterious sewing jargon and confusing instructions. She’s done so well, in fact, that now she’s got a whole book deal out of it! Which is pretty awesome! I was contacted by Roost Books to see if I’d like to help promote the US launch of the book – it’s been out for a few months now, but we’re just now getting it here! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m kind of over book reviews – but I want to support my friends in their business endeavors, so today you get a non-review-review ๐Ÿ˜‰

Margot PJs

For my non-review-review, I decided to try out one of the patterns in the book – the Margot Pajamas! For someone who loves pajamas as much as I do, it’s kind of surprising to know that I’ve never actually sewn a pair of pj pants (those Lakeside Pajamas don’t count :P). I think pajamas are kind of a rite of passage for most first-time sewers, but not me, I guess! So it’s a first for me as well ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, before we go too much into the pattern, I did want to talk a little bit about the book.

Margot PJs

Margot PJs

MOSTLY THAT IT’S FREAKING ADORABLE!

Everything is laid out with bright and clear photos (LOTS of photos, I might add – it’s like reading a really good blog tutorial, except in book form), and the book progresses to build the skills you need to get into dressmaking. Starting with threading the machine, to understanding how to cut fabric, to choosing a size – it’s very well thought out, very beginner friendly, and shit, I wish this existed when I was learning how to sew. Probably would have ruined about half as much fabric if that had been the case ๐Ÿ™‚

Margot PJs

Each included pattern comes with sections to “Make It Your Own,” for customizing and, well, making it your own.

Margot PJs

There are also blurbs for making sewing a lifestyle, including this one that is my favorite – How to Behave In A Fabric Store. Haha!

Anyway, the short: it’s adorable, it’s well-written, and it’s great for a beginner. For those of us who are not beginners, the patterns are still pretty cute (you can see all the patterns in the book here). The only drawback is that the patterns are printed double-sided, which means you have to trace them. Boo! I imagine this was done to save $ on printing costs. Also, I just hate tracing. That’s a fact of life.

That being said, I did muster up the tracing stamina to at least make some damn pajama pants. Wanna see?

Margot PJs

SUP, MARGOT. How YOU doin’?!

I hope you enjoy this new background that is my living room! To answer your questions: Yes, we love America here. And, yes, that’s a creepy-ass painting behind me, and no, I have no idea who painted it. I found it at Goodwill for $7 and it had to come home with me because reasons. It’s painted on plywood and literally drilled into the wall. My mom hates it.

Margot PJs

Margot PJs

I cannot believe how long it took me to finally make PJ pants! They are SO easy and satisfying to make – even with my construction modifications (more on that in a sec). I am between sizes in the book’s size chart, so I spliced between the 1 & the 2, and removed about 1/2″ of length from the crotch (just folded it out horizontally across the middle), as well as 1″ from the length. I also narrowed the legs a little – mostly because I was short on fabric (oops).

Margot PJs

I admit I didn’t much follow the instructions – mostly because they were way too hand-holdy for my needs. However, pj pants are pretty easy to throw together. To match the plaid, I cut everything on the single layer and used my walking foot to feed things evenly through the machine. All seams are serged to prevent unraveling.

Margot PJs

I made a couple modifications to increase the comfort level of these pants. For one, I’m not a fan of drawstring-only pj pants. I prefer a little elastic! To do this, I cut a length of elastic (1.5″ wide, because that’s what I had on hand – and it also is the same width as my ribbon) about 8″ smaller than my waist measurement (enough that it almost came around my hip bones) and sewed ribbon to either end. I threaded it through the drawstring opening as instructed, being careful not to twist the elastic.

Margot PJs

Once the elastic was in place – centered and flat – I sewed down the center back seam with a straight stitch. This keeps the elastic in place so it doesn’t shift (and I don’t accidentally pull the elastic/ribbon out!). Since the ribbon I used is polyester, I burned the edges to prevent them from fraying.

Margot PJs

The finished waistband is much more comfortable, and – bonus! I can actually pull these off without untying the ribbon. Haha!

Also, ribbon bonus: Pretty sure that stuff came from the bouquet I took home from my BFF’s sister’s wedding last year. How’s THAT for recycling? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Even better – now every time I’m lounging on the couch in my comfy pjs, Landon will be reminded that I CAUGHT THE BOUQUET, HELLOOO??

Margot PJs

I ~made these my own~ by adding a pocket to the back – using my phone as a guide for the size (the pockets on most of my pj pants are too shallow, which I hate!). I cut the pocket on the bias for a little interest, and used my existing pj pants to determine the placement.

Margot PJs

The legs have a nice deep hem – partially because I love the way it looks, and also in case these shrink up more when they’re washed. The extra hem means I can let the length down if need be.

Speaking of which, isn’t that fabric glorious? It’s from Pink Chalk Fabrics, a lovely cotton flannel from Robert Kaufman (which appears to now be sold out – here are their other available flannels). When I say this stuff is lovely, I mean it’s AMAZING. It is SO SOFT AND SNUGGLY. I was seriously bummed when I finished these, because I wanted to put them on immediately but I knew I needed to wait to take photos (and have since not taken them off. They are the best!). Between this fabric & the polka dot chambray I used, Robert Kaufman is about to be my favorite fabric source, possibly. I kind of wish I’d bought more, especially now that I see they are sold out ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Anyway, I wanted to do something fun with these photos, but unlike Tilly – I don’t have a cool ~retro~ phone to pose with.

Margot PJs

WHAT I DO HAVE, THOUGH, IS A COMMODORE 64.

Margot PJs

“Aw hell yeah, mom, this is the best Christmas present ever!”

Margot PJs

Don’t mind us, we are just having a moment here.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Anyway, if you read this far- congratulations! Let’s have a giveaway! Roost Books sent me two copies, which means I have one to mail to someone! If you’d like to enter the giveaway to win your very own copy of Love At First Stitch, leave a comment on this post and tell me which pattern you’re dying to make (again, you can see all the patterns here). That’s it! Because we are celebrating the US release of this book, this giveaway is open to US READERS ONLY (sorry, my international friends! I still love you! I’ll see some of y’all in London next month!). The entries will close one week from today, Friday, November 7, 2014 at 7:00 AM CST.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
If you’d like to go ahead and get a copy of the book anyway, you can either buy it on Amazon or directly from Miss Tilly herself (and unlike Amazon, she will even sign it for you!). Good luck, y’all!
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Disclaimer: I was given Love At First Stitch for free from Roost Books, in exchange for a review. All opinions in this post are my own.
From Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes, ยฉ 2014 by Tilly Walnes. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA.

Fall/Winter Sewing Plans for 2014

10 Oct

It just occurred to me that I haven’t share any seasonal sewing plans in… well, a while. Which is lame, because these are some of my favorite types of posts (both to write *and* to read) – I mean, who doesn’t like lurking inside someone’s brain, even if it’s just to see what they plan on doing over the next couple of months? Too creepy? Naw.

Anyway, now that London/Paris is looming on the horizon (less than 2 months! Omg less than a month and a half! Eee!), it’s really time that I start figuring out what I’ll be bringing with me (and making, for that matter! Don’t want to end up with another frantic last-minute sewing disaster, ugh). Especially since my luggage space will be very limited – I’m only allowed to bring one suitcase with me overseas (well… I use the word “allowed” loosely here. I can bring two suitcases if I want to – but I get to pay $130 for the second one! LOL GURL NO.), and I want to fabric shop while I’m there! So, I will be packing a capsule wardrobe, one that mixes and matches with itself, for maximum outfit options, as well as warmth. This is much different than how I usually travel (as I fly Southwest, where you can bring 2 bags free – so why the hell not, you know?), but I’m up for the challenge! ๐Ÿ™‚ Adulting and all that ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve already made/chosen a couple of pieces to base my capsule around, as well as chosen my theme (like Devon, I think all vacation wardrobes should have themes, because, duh) – Minimalist Parisian Chic. Mostly because my capsule will be very minimal – or, as minimal as I can get it down to, because I am still one of those people who delights in overpacking – with lots of black. Not much on the Parisian Chic side (I’m sure Parisian women will be horrified when they see what I wear to stomp around their city, ha!), but it has a nice ring to it ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway – to start – I have these black Jamie jeans that I made a couple of weeks ago:
Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics
I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be bringing the star sweater. It’s a little bulky! On the flip side, regarding the jeans – I just finished wearing them for the 5th time in a row (sans wash), and they’ve stayed very close to their original shape. No bagging out, woohoo! So that makes me feel good, because I’ll be wearing these a LOT come London.

Stripey Renfrew
I will also be bringing my Imogene + Willie slim jeans (pictured here), because they are basically the best jeans ever. Oh, and probably that stripey Renfrew top. Can’t have enough tshirts!

Now for the sewing plans! Sidenote: By the time of publishing this post, I’ve already finished more than half these makes. Whoops! Guess y’all see where my priorities lie when it comes to posting vs sewing hahaha. Oh well!

Ikat Lady Skater
The Cowl-Necked Skater Dress
I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now – a Lady Skater dress // Renfrew top mash-up! This cotton Ikat knit fabric (purchased at The Fabric Studio here in Nashville) will be the perfect match for this dress – like a giant, snuggly Christmas sweater! I actually don’t know if I’ll be bringing this one to London, due to bulk factor (my capsule really only allows for one dress, which I’m thinking will be the one below – but we’ll see!), but the plans were too good to keep to myself ๐Ÿ™‚

DVF Wool wrap
The Wool Wrap dress
Another big mash-up – I’m starting with the DVF Wrap dress pattern, but adding long sleeves (stolen from the Lady Skater, naturally) and swapping out the gathered skirt for a wrap A-line (Miette Wrap skirt – I’m looking at you). The black wool knit fabric was picked up at Mood in NY a couple of months ago – it’s SO soft! Like, cashmere soft. I’m so in love โ™ฅ

Silk v neck
The Silk Button-down
I already have a nice white button-down – made from the same pattern, Butterick 5526 (my favorite!) – but it’s not really cold weather appropriate, due to the length of the sleeves. Since they are 3/4, they don’t really layer nicely with my long sleeve sweaters! I’d love to make another one, but up the ante with some beautiful silk double georgette, and modify the neckline to be more of a v shape (likely using this V-Neck variation tutorial by Jen!)

Chambray Button down
The Polka Dot Chambray Button-down
Another thing I already have one of, but need a winter version. This one will be made using a gorgeous cotton polka dot chambray, picked up here locally at Textile Fabrics.

SJ Sweater
The Wool Sweater
Button downs need a nice sweater, yeah? I want to try sewing a sweater, using the SJ Tee as a basis (with a higher neckline, and omitting all bindings). The fabric I have is a lovely camel-colored boiled wool, that I bought from Elizabeth Suzann (aka I totally jacked her wholesale order hahaha). I think it’ll look equally good over both those button down shirts I have planned!

rigel bomber
The Bomber Jacket
I know – I’m already planning a pretty sweet coat. However, the weather in London (and Tennessee, for that matter!) can be fickle, so I’d like to bring a lighter-weight jacket for days when the temperature isn’t as low. I’ve been meaning to make the Rigel Bomber for, well, months now. Just been waiting on the perfect fabric – and I think I found it! Check out this black wool coating – to be paired with gold china silk for the lining.

Other plans I have (no photos, sorry! Use that imagination of yours, ha!)
– Need some thin long sleeve shirts for layering – maybe just a couple out of wool knit, such as this textured black wool jersey (that’s apparently already sold out?! Wah!). I wear these pretty much daily in the winter – and sometimes I like to sleep in them if it’s really cold – so it’ll be nice to have a few to choose from.
– Speaking of sleeping – I need some new pajama pants! Currently lurking Margot pj pants in Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch, since they seem to be a pretty quick/easy make (I really want to make the Tofino pants, but right now I need quick and easy!). I picked up some really fun orange plaid flannel to make them with – I know, that fabric is ridiculous, which is exactly why I chose it. It’s nothing like I already own! When it comes to pjs, why not, you know?
– I would like to make a flared A-line wool skirt to make as well – thinking about using the Delphine pattern (also from Love at First Stitch), because I love the shape. A little stuck on fabric selection, though! My go-to is usually wool crepe, but that will be too drapey for this shape. Thoughts? I need it to be 100% wool (pretty nitpicky about this, sorry!) and I’m looking for lipstick red. Budget is no more than $25 a yard (and obviously I’d be delighted if it was less than that!)
– Bras! I want to finish at least one bra before I leave – using the Marlborough pattern and one of my kits from Bra Maker’s Supply. Obviously I want new bras, but even more – Norma will be in Paris while I’m there, and you better believe I’m going to drag her into a bathroom and make her assess and critique my fit. Haha! Man, sewing people are weird ๐Ÿ˜›

I think that’s it for now! It feels good to get everything listed out in one place. I’m hoping I can get all this done before I leave – but if not, no worries. It’s not like I’m lacking clothing or anything as it is!

As a side note, I was just notified that one of my lovely sponsors, Indie Sew, is holding a pretty sweet contest where you can win a YEAR of free patterns! Fuck yes! You can read all about the contest and the reasoning behind it on this blog post, but the general gist is that Indie Sew wants to help you transform your entire wardrobe into handmade and end the cycle of cheap/fast fashion. And what better way to jump start a new handmade wardrobe than with some FREE FREAKING PATTERNS AMIRITE? Such a cool idea, and I really really hope the winner shares their journey via blog or social media so we can follow along! Anyway, soapbox rant over – go throw your name in the hat!

What’s on the table for your fall/winter sewing plans? Do you have any capsule wardrobe suggestions for me? Tips for packing light? Are you going to judge me if you see me wearing the same thing for 3 days in a row while I’m on my trip? ๐Ÿ™‚