Friday, May 3, 2019

Seamwork Carter: Hacked Version


Hello from SFO! I'm heading down to San Diego for my nephew's wedding this weekend and, as is my habit, I'm quite a bit early for such a short flight. Thought I might use the extra time to write about my experience with the Seamwork Carter from April's issue. Carter is a dress pattern with a shirred waist, but they also have a suggested hack in the issue of a top/tunic. As soon as I saw this, I downloaded it right away. I've never sewn a square neckline, so I thought that part would be fun. Also, I haven't noticed very many raglan sleeves in their patterns, which also made me want to give it a try. 

I love the neckline and how the squares of the ikat pattern mirror the neckline. At first, as you'll see in my pic below, it was just a tidge too long. But I've washed it since, and it shrunk to a length I like. I had been thinking of an exaggerated tunic to wear with leggings or skinny jeans. 


I slashed and spread for a swingy shape, but I guess the fabric doesn't have enough body, or I did something wrong, because it has more of a cocoon shape. Ah well, still comfortable as all get out. I don't like the way it looks with these pants, though, so in the future I'll be wearing with closer fit pants to balance things out. 

Construction Notes:
  • Size 18 - I checked the fit of the sleeve--no bra showing. Neckline feels good. Could size down, though, since, like most Seamwork patterns, there's tons of ease. 
  • I had some trouble topstitching the neckline, so I used a fusible hem tap to tack it down and slip stitched the neckline to the seam allowance. Ever since my Match top, I don't mind a little slip stitching.
  • I think the pattern's pretty cute, but I don't know if I would make it again. I think it's the fabric that makes it for me. Fabric from Stonemountain and Her Daughter. I purchased 2 yards, but since it's around 46 inches wide, I had to do some major pattern tetris to make this. One sleeve is cut on the cross grain. I can't tell you which one. 


Next up, I'll need to finish some linen True Bias Emersons. Almost there.


In other news, sometimes I wake up with an overwhelming urge to make a pair of underwear. These are the Grace pants from OhhhLulu. I haven't made them in a while, and it's one of those patterns, where I'm, like, why did I forget about this pattern? It's designed for a combo of stretch fabric on the sides and woven center panels cut on the bias. I actually used a Birch Organic cotton for the center panels because it has very limited stretch. It was a scrap from a True Bias Lodo dress that I made and wore to death. (Sadly, the Birch Organic dark fabrics fade pretty quickly.)



Well, time to board soon! Have a fantastic weekend and thank you for reading!




Saturday, April 13, 2019

Cashmerette Montrose


Hello! This will be a quickie blog post (in honor of a wonderfully quick pattern). 

Beej and I finally replaced our old mattress with a gloriously comfortable new one, so I'm shamelessly still in bed right now even though it's 10 AM and I'm looking for ANY excuse to stay right where I am, cup of tea in hand. 

Okay, back to the Cashmerette Montrose, a beginner pattern for a simple woven top. I bought this as soon as it dropped, knowing that it would be a good basic shell with lots of hacking potential. But then, as I tend to do, I sat on it for a while and followed a bunch of other sewing whims. Seeing a bunch of hacks by Rare Device, and this one in particular, as well as seeing so many adorable Sew Liberated Hinterlands Dresses reminded me of my earlier plans. Before trying to change anything (I'm thinking a Cashmer-lands Hinter-Hack), I wanted to make one as-is. After all, I can always use a well-fitting top in my wardrobe. I had 1.5 meters of this pretty and superbly drapey Atelier Brunette Moonstone in my stash, which seemed like a good match. And it is!

Warning: I think I might have reached a critical mass in the uselessness of my modeling pics. Here you have a toilet selfie, a cardigan that covers a large portion of the garment, AND my cross body bag. Yikes. Trust me, though, the fit's great. 


Here are a few details that may be more helpful than this pic:
  • Size 18 G/H -- Full bust adjustment included, Yeehaw!
  • The fit is fantastic around the neck and shoulders. The neckline (I made Version A, the scoop neckline) hits at just the right spot. Not too high, not too low. 
  • I French-seamed everything except the sleeves. Note for next time: Finish the sleeves seams (either serge or bias binding) BEFORE sewing up the side seams. 
  • Even though I'm a shorty (5'2"), I did not need to shorten the bodice as most of my shortness is in my arms and legs. 
  • This is an easy beginner pattern and also a great basic. The instructions are precise and detailed without being overwhelming. I liked that the sleeves went in flat (my favorite) and the helpful instructions include bits like sewing the "sleeve side down against the feed dogs." That's the kind of info that I always wonder about and can't recall seeing in other indie patterns. 
  • I didn't have enough fabric to cut the pattern piece for the bias neckline strip, so I used a few squares to make my own bias tape. Atelier Brunette actually sells matching bias tape, which I think is brilliant, but I didn't have any. It felt good to have only teeny tiny scraps left over, and, bonus, I have enough tape to finish another neckline. 😊
So that's all I can think of to say about the Montrose, which my phone keeps trying to turn into "Mint Rose." I'm looking forward to adding a few more to my wardrobe for spring and summer. And, of course, there's lots of hacking potential. 

In other news, I bought fabric for the first time in several months and added these beauties to my collection, which has caused so many ideas to swirl around in my head. I love project planning!

Well, that's all. My tea is finished, and I really should get out of bed so I can make something. Thank you so much for reading and have a fantastic week! 




Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Sew Liberated Matcha Top



Hey there! Happy Hump Day! I've been wanting to blog my new Matcha top for a while and was waiting for better pictures. Unfortunately, that just never happened, and I didn't want it to go too long that I'd forget all my observations and fitting notes. It was important to get pics of this because it's one of those patterns I've only seen on lovely slender ladies and no lovely curvy ladies. Even though I don't have good pics, I will say this to any curious curvy ladies out there: Go for it! I think it really looks nice on a variety of body types, perhaps because the striking collar draws focus to the neck and face. It's also a loose, easy fit with tons of ease.


My big challenge was taking a selfie without blocking the pretty neckline, which caused dopey expressions like above.

Regarding sizing, this has lots of ease around the bust and waist, so it really should be considered as a curvy-friendly pattern. The instructions warned to base your size on shoulder width rather than bust size since it's most fitted around the shoulders. Of course I didn't listen and made the largest size CONVINCED that  the pattern could not handle my uber bust. Well, I should have given the pattern more credit. I ended up having to take the sides to the ends of the sleeves in an inch.


 I just love the neckline so much. Here are some final deets:

  • Size 24. Will definitely size down for the next version
  • Fabric is a viscose crepe. Kind of fancy for a wearable muslin, but I would argue that it's the perfect version for a wearable muslin. Mistakes don't really show, and it's not super obvious if the sizing is a little off. Also, it's beautifully drapey. I think that's the only requirement for this pattern: super drapey fabric is a must. 
  • In addition to taking the entire side and sleeve in an inch, I shortened the sleeves a whopping 4.5 inches. I'm a T-Rex. 
  • Sleeve heads are shallow and therefore very easy to put in. Also, you don't have to set or gather or anything for the sleeves. (Obviously, there is some gathering to do around the collar.) LOVE sewing in sleeves flat. 
  • I recommend taking the time to hand slipstitch the collar rather than stitching in the ditch. It's the focal point, and it really didn't take more than a half hour. 
  • Hemmed 3/4 inches per instructions and did not shorten the bodice. I like the length a lot. It sweeps past my tummy but doesn't drown me. 
So that's my new favorite top! Thanks for reading and have a fabulous week!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Moon Dust Toaster 2


Hey there! Just want to record my last winter make before I focus on spring sewing. I don't know about you, but I can't WAIT to wear my clogs again and bare my ankles. It won't be happening this week, though, since there's an "atmospheric river" on its way to the Bay Area. Oh well, at least I've got a new Toaster to keep me toasty. 

This is my third Toaster2, by Sew House 7. First one blogged here and second version unblogged but instagrammed here. The first version was a wearable muslin made from a cheap ponte with just a leeetle too much poly for my taste. The second version was made from a cheap french terry that shrunk (in length) to the point that it's now "around the house with sweats" clothing. 


First, the fabric...Can I just tell you, I'm having so much fun shopping my stash. I haven't bought a substantial amount of fabric in months and while I occasionally window shop online, I've been enjoying thinking of projects to use up all the really lovely pieces I've already purchased. For me, I need to hit just the right stash balance: Too much fabric weighs on me and makes me think I should hurry and sew it up. On the other hand, it's awesome to have beautiful, high quality fabric to whip something up whenever the mood strikes me.

I originally planned to make some Wendy Ward stretch pants with this. Ultimately, though, I decided that with its limited 2-way stretch, it might not be best. Also, I really liked the fabric too much to use it for a pattern in a book that I hadn't seen made up into very many successful and/or flattering versions out there in the blogosphere.

The fabric is composed of is a double faced double knit--70% poly, 25% wool, 5% viscose. It's navy blue with pink speckles, which gives it a really nice texture. I paid $9.43 per half meter from Blackbird Fabrics. It's super easy to work with, albeit not the most breathable of fabrics. I just need to remember to keep this baby out of the dryer.


Okay, before I forget... here are the deets:
  • Sized down from XXL to XL with a much better fit in the shoulder. 
  • Shortened 4" at sleeve. I like the length but could go 1/2 inch shorter. 
  • Lengthened the front by 1 and 1/8" but could do 2" and would be fine. 
  • Ended up tossing out my pdf version because the mitered corner, split hem did not go well. You can see this a little in the way the side bubbles out--that's fabric not flesh. Not sure why this happened, but sometimes it's better just to start fresh. 

So that's it for me. Thanks so much for reading and have a great week!

Monday, February 18, 2019

CCP Carolyne Pajamas: Preliminary Notes


Hey there! I wish I had a complete pair of Closet Case Patterns Carolyne Pajamas to share with you today, but at least I have a wearable muslin for a future pair. Beej gave me the pattern for 2017 Christmas. I'm finally getting around to making the bottoms while also doing a little scrapbusting.  They're a nice replacement to my ratty, threadbare pairs.

Let's start with the fabric: I took this picture in the morning when the light was a little cooler, so the colors are not quite as lurid as it appears here, but it is still a lot brighter than the colors I usually gravitate towards. I bought this double gauze maybe 4-5 years ago when I hadn't yet figured out my preferred color palette. I used to attach little note cards to my fabric with the type, yardage, price, possible fabrics, and other notes. In my notes, I actually considered this for a blouse, which would be unthinkable now. I bought it at Fabric Outlet during one of their  50% sale. It ended up costing $4.44 per yard, and I purchased 2 yards. It's also reversible. I wish past me had bought more yardage because the CCP Carolyne Pajamas pattern is a major fabric hog. I barely eked out the pj bottoms with 2 yards and had to settle for very narrow cuffs. For a full set, you need about 5.5 yards, and I don't have 5+ yards of anything in my stash.


Moving on to the pattern. These are major lounging pjs. They have a much more fitted cut than your average pjs.  Hit just below the natural waist. Also... pockets. I love them.

  • Size 18 with the following adjustments:
  • 3" shortened at leg line
  • 1" shortened at hip line



I did zero pattern matching, which is, of course, obvious, although I kinda did luck out. I couldn't cut on the fold, and even had to cut one of the back legs on the cross grain. The best part was having only a small handful of teeny tiny scraps upon finishing... And also using up an old stash item to make something comfy and useful. I went for flat piping, and I definitely need more practice. It's pretty uneven.

I'm looking forward to making a full set with all the piping. I'll have to wait for the next Fabric Outlet sale to buy some more double gauze which, by the way, makes for REALLY soft pajamas.

Have a great week and thanks so much for reading!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Klum House Fremont Tote: A Review


Hello! Just a quick post to share my latest project.

Thanks to heavy hinting on my part, Beej gave me the Klum House Fremont Tote pattern for Christmas. Most reviews that I read suggested going with the finishing kit, which consists of rivets, D-rings, all the necessary leather straps, etc. At $60, the kit is not cheap, but it's nice to have all the necessary pieces match perfectly and they seem to be high quality. There are three different shades of straps and three types of hardware to choose from. My only gripe is that that the straps are only finished on one side and raw leather on the other side.


I opted to buy some duck canvas and wax it myself. In hindsight, I kind of wish I had just purchased waxed canvas. It was kind of fun to do and fairly easy to apply, but the weather has been really damp and, a week and a half later, it still hasn't fully cured. Someone on instagram suggested that I apply brown paper and a low iron to lift the excess wax. I'm going to give it a try.

Unfortunately, since I was such an eager beaver, I ended up gunking up my machine with the waxed fabric. I'm actually due for a cleaning anyway, though, so all good.



Here's a view of the inside. I love the look of the leather washers, which are supposed to strengthen the rivets. I used a large leftover scrap of this gorgeous loomed ikat from Blackbird Fabrics. I made a Seamwork Bo from this fabric as well, so I guess my top and bag will match. Fine by me!


The finishing kit comes with a cute little label.


Overall, this was very fun project. The pattern is easy to follow with very clear, well written instructions, and it comes together pretty quickly. I was nervous about cutting squares into the corners to box them because I couldn't visualize it, but when I just did exactly what the instructions said it made perfect sense.

Klum House released a new class on Blueprint with a full tutorial; however, between the finishing kit, the cost of the duck cloth and the $10 bar of wax, I was already in for close to $100. (Yes, I could have bought a bag for less or the same, but that's not why I make stuff.) I found that my experience making other bags and lined pouches combined with some excellent, already existing, free Klum House tutorials available online were enough to get me through. The zipper tutorial is especially good.

So that's all I can think of about this project. It's definitely a fun pattern that yields a high quality result. Thanks for reading and have an awesome week!



Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Very Belated Top/Bottom Five for 2018


Hello! Even though it's already February, I don't want to miss the opportunity to reflect and I love participating in Gillian's Top Five. I enjoy looking back over the years at my Top Five posts and appreciate what I've made and learned and what was important to me at the time of posting.

I'm later than usual posting this year partly because January was a bit of a rough month for me. As I mentioned in my last post, my husband was out of work during the government shut down. Because he's a contractor rather than a federal employee, he did not and will not receive back-pay. Some of the larger contractors did pay their workers but most didn't. It was a stressful time for us, full of uncertainty and anguish. It was also completely unnecessary.

At the same time (and maybe due to the stress), I had some health and emotional issues simultaneously come to a head. The good news is that I found a great doctor, am more focused on my physical and emotional health, and I'm already starting to feel better just through the act of taking control.

Okay, on to the top 5! My absolute favorite and most worn garment for 2018 is my Closet Case Patterns Kelly Anorak. 


This jacket feels like such a triumph even though I made all kinds of little mistakes. It was so much work but totally worth it. It's legit waterproof, which was a new challenge for me, and it's the perfect outerwear for San Francisco almost all year round. I love the drawstring and the angled pockets and think it's a really flattering.

Next up, my True Bias Emerson Pants that I made for my trip to London and Paris.


I've made this easy pants pattern several times, but this was really a perfect match of fabric and pattern. I love the way I feel wearing these.

I'm going to be really boring now and go with another TNT: the Mandy Boat Tee.


I've been reaching for this striped Mandy on a weekly basis since I made it in June. I used a high quality bamboo rayon from Blackbird fabrics, so it's held up well. It's a classic. 



I made five Seamwork Bo tops in 2018, three in ikat fabrics. I love this pattern so much. 

True Bias Top


Another boring TNT, but, hey, if it ain't broke, why fix it? The ponte is high quality and has maintained a polished look. I always feel good wearing it. 

No surprise, my bottom five (actually two) consist of mostly unfinished, unblogged projects. 

Closet Case Patterns Sallie Jumpsuit. 

I had such high hopes for this pattern. It was in the middle of summer and everywhere I looked (on instagram and style blogs) it was jumpsuits, jumpsuits, jumpsuits. Turns out I'm really not a jumpsuit person. I hate pulling everything down every time I go to the bathroom. I drink a lot of tea and water. The pants live on as lounge pants around the house. The top will eventually be repurposed into underwear.

Second up, the Closet Case Patterns Jenny Overalls (Pants Version) 
I made a muslin but even so the fit was still terrible. I would like to pursue pants making in the future, but I don't know if this is necessarily the best pattern to start. 

So that's it. I can't really think of any other unsuccessful projects for 2019, which, I think, is due to the fact that I didn't really take a lot of risks. With a few exceptions, I stuck with TNTs. I also slowed my sewing and fabric purchasing way down, especially towards the end of the year. Lately, I've been interested in taking better care of the clothes I already have by laundering them less (using a spray to freshen between wears rather than automatically throwing them in the wash) and by occasional mending. I see this is a natural result of making ones own clothes, a respect for the time and effort and the quality of materials.

As for 2019 sewing goals, I would like to make more pants--either more Emerson pants or try some other styles. I also want to finish a quilt that I started eons ago. I'm overwhelmed by the amount of scraps I have amassed from sewing, so I would like to address that, either by donating or using up with small projects. 

And with that, I'd like to bid adieu to 2018. For me, it was a year of extreme highs and lows, which was not evidenced by my sewing. I'm thinking... maybe safe sewing was a kind of ballast for me in 2018. I said goodbye to my dad. I also (literally) soared to great heights with a dream Paris vacation. I'm grateful for all of it.

Thanks so much for reading. I wish you all the very best.