Sunday, June 12, 2016

Marilla Walker Roberts Collection: Dungarees

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Hey there! Hope you're having (or had) a relaxing weekend. I just woke up from a little siesta on the couch and am feeling pretty refreshed. I was wearing my new Marilla Walker dungarees - i.e., the height of comfort - so it was easy to fall asleep. It's always a good sign when the thing you're making is the thing you want to put on immediately and never take off. I want to LIVE in these!

I remember liking the Roberts collection when it came out but resisted it for the very silly reason that I felt like I was too old to wear overalls. You see, dungarees and I have a history. Put me in some Doc Martins and a black body suit and I am back in my 90s heyday. Whoo hoo! I can hear the Nirvana playing and the crack of the billiard balls, smell the beer...and, ahem, other substances.

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...Of course, the 90s were quite some time ago. But what I like about this pattern is that there are some decidedly modern elements that weren't in the pair I lived in all those years ago. I love the minimal details, the super skinny straps, and the tapered back. I also love that it's not in a stiff denim, but rather a fluid Robert Kaufman Brussels Washer linen in navy blue.  The other thing I like about this pattern is ALL the variations. I love the little overall dress and, of course, the top. I even like the jumpsuit, though I'm not sure if I have the confidence to pull it off. That's a lot of variety in one pattern.

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I used 5/8" heavy duty snaps (or poppers) for the straps and for the side flap. Sewed the flap on the wrong side. D'oh! It's the kind of the thing you would notice after the 10th trip to the ladies room. Fortunately, though, I really just need to unsnap one of my straps. I ended up inserting the snaps the wrong way, sigh, more than once. It's a huge pain in the ass to remove a set snap. So when I made the same mistake again on the strap I decided I could live with it. It really only bugs me when I see a picture of the back view.

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Both straps are twisted in this picture, but that's on account of sloppy dressing, not faulty snap setting. The construction is pretty simple. I made a 7 (second to the largest size) and shortened the space between the waist (?) and crotch  by one inch and the legs by two inches. At first I was rushing to finish by Tuesday so I could wear them to a work event - a team-building night that involved bowling. Many seams were sewn incorrectly and ripped out because of my rush. Then I started thinking about all the possible wardrobe malfunctions that could occur while bending, stretching, swinging a bowling ball, etc. in a newly and hastily sewn garment and decided to slow down.

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I'll leave you with a picture of me and my buddy Eva. We're not perfectly matched body-wise  as she has a flatter stomach and far fewer lumps and bumps, but at least I have a better butt. :)

Have a lovely week! Thanks so much for reading.





Saturday, June 4, 2016

Fabric Crush: Shibori Knit

My weekend plans #shibori #knit #britexfabrics #fabric #sewing #sewingblogger

Hello! This is just a quickie because I made another Tessuti Mandy Top, and there isn't much to say about the pattern except I love it. The only change I've made is to lower the neckline a bit so it doesn't hit me at an uncomfortable place at my throat. Other than that, the pattern's aces.

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Here's a heading-to-work snap. I basically ambushed my husband on the way to our streetcar stop. The element of surprise is useful sometimes. I'm on a big knit kick as I credit it with getting me out of my sewing slump. The fabric is a bamboo rayon with bit of lycra (maybe 3-5%) from Britex. I had noticed it on an earlier trip but decided on purchasing this amazing linen (pictured below) instead.

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But the shibori fabric stayed in my head, which, incidentally, is a good way to decide on fabric purchases. Then I saw a Me-Made pic of Caroline of Blackbird Fabrics. (I love her blog - such pretty pictures, but she also keeps it real. I've noticed that kind of down-to-earth vibe with other Canadian bloggers as well.) She had made this absolutely lovely Mandy boat neck, using what I'm fairly certain is the same fabric. So I straight up copied her.

She doesn't have anymore of the shibori knit, but Britex does so I ended up using the remainder of my gift certificate. I did some price comparison and was happy to find that her fabrics are totally reasonable (her shibori knit was priced lower than Britex). The Canadian priority shipping is under $19. Since I'm totally addicted to bamboo rayon now, I put an order for four different bamboo rayon knits in and can't wait for it to arrive next week.

In love with bamboo rayon. #seamworkmag #seamworkmakes #seamworkgeneva #sewingblogger

I'll end with a pic of my underpants. This fabric is so pretty and feels so lovely against my skin that I wanted to be sure to use as much as possible. The pattern is the Seamwork Geneva, which is just a basic brief - very comfortable. I'm a bit out of practice sewing elastic, so I referred to this elastic tutorial by Emerald Erin (yet another cool Canadian blogger).

So that's it. Nothing new pattern-wise, but it's nice to have a couple of garments I feel really good about. Have a great weekend and thanks so much for reading!


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sewing Slumps and TNTs



Almost finished with my #deeranddoepatterns lupin.just need cuffs and top stitching. #sewingclothes

Hello! It's been a while hasn't it? Hope you're doing great and enjoying your weekend so far. So, after listing my somewhat ambitious spring sewing plans almost two months ago...nothing, not  a peep. I'm chalking that up to a major sewing slump and an inability to finish my projects due to not being present. I've been sewing lots, but I'm not paying close enough attention to what I'm doing, being sloppy, etc. I've just been focusing most of my energy on my job because it's still relatively new and there's lots to learn. No big deal, life happens and hobbies have to take a backseat sometimes.

So here's a recap of some of my projects and where I'm at with my spring sewing plans.

The top pic is the Deer and Doe Lupin jacket that I outlined in my last blog post and I've been almost finished for weeks now. Seriously, all I have to do is the top stitching and the cuffs, but I'm afraid I'll mess up the top stitching. I think I might take a look at my special sewing feet to see if I have an edge stitch foot or something to help. I also reviewed these tips from the Colette blog (too much work to try to spell the real name) the other night to help shore up some courage.

Melilot in progress #deeranddoeaddict #deeranddoe  #robertkaufmanrosechambray #sewing

And here we have another UFO -- the Deer and Doe Melilot blouse. I've since added the collar and that's where I ran into some trouble. The FBA worked out great, and most pieces fit together nicely, but somewhere along the line my collar came up way too short. I did forget to stay stitch the neckline (see, not being present here), but I can't imagine that it would stretch out THAT much. Anyhoo, I made a little pleat in the back to get the collar to fit, but it all just feels a little sloppy. Not just the collar but also the the sleeve cuffs don't fit exactly.  I'm trying to decide if I need to rip out some stitches and redo some parts. I've learned that a half-ass project won't get worn, so I guess writing that bit just helped me make up my mind. :)

Sweet pattern, but I don't think it's me...#itchtostitch #itchtostitchzamora #indecisione

Next up is the Itch to Stitch Zamora blouse in the same fabric as the Melilot. I really love this Robert Kaufman rose chambray - so lovely to sew with - so I hope I can save at least one of these projects. Itch to Stitch sewing instructions are so amazingly detailed yet concise, and everything went together well, but I ended up just feeling very frumpy with the bow tie. I did not feel like Joan of Mad Men at all. Of course I knew about the bow going in, but I wanted to give it a try anyway.

Any suggestions for how I could make the #itchtostitch Zamora without the bow? I was letting myself be open...but front bows are not a good look for me. Love everything else about it, though. #sewingblog #sewingclothes

Here I have it on my dress form with the bow tucked in. Doesn't it already look so much better? Now this is why I'm such a fan of Kennis Wong and her Itch to Stitch patterns: I left a comment on her facebook page, asking if she would ever consider posting a hack for another neckline option and, well, she did! Talk about listening to your customers! She also posted a tutorial for raising the neckline, which would have to be done first. i.e., some major reconstruction efforts on this blouse. But it's great to have that option and I can always try again with new fabric.

So that's where I'm at with my woven projects. Lots of sewing with just a few bumps in the road. One thing I learned, though, is that I can always turn to lovely, lovely knits to combat sewjo. They are the best for a satisfying project.

First of many #concordtshirt (s). I love the sleeve tabs. #cashmerettepatterns

First off, I made this Concord tee pictured above and can't wait to make more. Just waiting for the appropriate knits to arrive in the mail. I'm sorry I don't have more pictures of me wearing this project; they were all heinous. But here's a detail of the sleeve tab. It was a reversible knit fabric, so I just had to do something fun.

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I love how Cashmerette (Jenny) really thought about what's already out there and what she could bring to the table that would be different. The multiple bodices are definitely the most awesome part, but the sleeve tabs, hem facing, and multiple necklines are great, too. It's just so nice to have so many options. I wish I had bought the pdf instead of the paper pattern, though, because of all these options. I guess I prefer taping to tracing.

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Finally, if you're in sewing slump because of a string of problematic projects, or you're just too damn busy with life to have a lot of time or focus for sewing, a good old (free!) Mandy Boat Neck tee by Tessuti in a fun stripey fabric will never let you down. :)

There's more to share, but I think I'll sign off for now. Don't want to talk your ear off. :) Will be back soon. Thanks so much for reading and have a fabulous weekend!





Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring 2016

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Hello and happy first day of spring for those of you in the northern hemisphere. It's a bit of a soggy Sunday here in San Fran, and even though I have a project list a mile long I really don't feel like sewing right now. And if I'm not feeling it why force it? So instead, I think I'll work out my spring sewing plans - plans that involve new patterns and recent fabric acquisitions.

Mostly I've been thinking about loose linen shifts, light jackets, and button down shirts. I'll probably throw in some tee shirts as well - the Tessuti Mandy and the Maria of Denmark Kirsten Tee.

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First off, is the Lupin by Deer and Doe - a cropped bomber/moto hybrid. The Anthro version in the center is for color inspiration, though I do love the ribbed cuffs. Hmmm. I have earmarked a khaki silk/wool blend that I picked up a couple of years ago from the remnants floor at Britex. The bright green floral is a Japanese lining fabric from Fabric Outlet.

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Next up is the Deer and Doe Melilot in a Cotton and Steel rayon. Even though I fall outside of the Deer and Doe size range, I've had good experiences in the past with adjusting D&D to fit me. I'm especially attracted to the hidden button placket.

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I have a short sleeve Melilot blouse in mind as well with this cheerful cotton lawn. Without the sleeves the dropped shoulder creates a nice kimono sleeve shape, which also means no sleeve setting headaches. 


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New Itch to Stitch and D&D releases came out within days of each other, so I was really torn between the Lupin jacket and the Salamanca jacket. As a result, I did what I usually do when in doubt: I bought both. I'm thinking it would be great in linen, unlined with Hong Kong bound seams. The brown on top is a nice neutral and a nice weight, but I'm not 100% sold on it.

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Speaking of being torn, I really want to make a shift dress for the summer but I can't decide on the pattern. I've narrowed it down to Seamwork's Kenedy or Hot Patterns's Plain and Simple Shift. I like that the HP pattern has a v-neck option and a back yoke, but I'm also intrigued by the trapeze shape of the Kenedy. I'm considering the seersucker-like, textured cotton with a check/stripe pattern for this.

So that's what I have on my mind right now. I wonder how much of this I'll actually complete before I change my mind or become distracted by bra-making or a new pattern release. ;)  What's on the agenda for your spring/summer sewing?





Sunday, February 28, 2016

Roscoe Blouses

One more for flickr. #roscoeblouse #truebiaspatterns

Hey there! Hope you're having a super weekend.

I made two True Bias Roscoe blouses in the last month or so, and while I've made this pattern before and it's a very straightforward pattern, I thought I'd share anyway as it helps me figure out how I want to move forward with crafting my wardrobe.

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Playing with pretty fabric #annamariahorner #fable #pegasus #sewing

I made the pegasus one in a really lovely rayon by Anna Maria Horner. It looks like they're out of the green I used, but they do have other color ways. My favorite thing about wearing this blouse is that I can wear a top with a whimsical print at my corporate job and still be perfectly appropriate. One issue that I didn't notice until I had already cut out the pieces is that the fabric has a distinct right and wrong side, so I can't really wear it with the ties open. Just something to consider if you decide to make a Roscoe blouse. This happened to me before when I bought fabric online. It's frustrating because there are so many aspects of a textile that are difficult to convey online, but how it looks on both sides isn't one of them.

The second top, with the blue leaves, is my absolute favorite! Purchased at Fabric Outlet during their last 40% off sale, I think it's a voile. It's very thin and semi-transparent, but the dark color and a busy patter keep it from being too see-through. I sewed this one up with french seams and used my rolled hem foot to create a tiny hem at the bottom. I always get a little nervous about breaking out my rolled hem foot, but really it's actually easier since you finger roll the hem to get it started. It's a lot more work to measure, press, and pin a hem, or even do the basting technique for a baby hem. And this fabric is very thin, so it's perfect for a rolled hem - even at the french side seams there were no problems.

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 I know this picture doesn't show a lot of the blouse, but this is how I actually wear a printed top - i.e. with a solid cardi so as not to be overwhelmed by a print. Also, it was a quick snap on the way to the bus stop.
  • Adjustments for both tops: I shortened the sleeves by 1". Size is 16. Even though there is tons of ease I opted to do a 1" FBA because I wanted it to hang as intended instead of fitting closer in the bust. 
  • I must have done something to one side of the front pattern piece because it didn't line up, which meant I had to true up the neckline. As a result, it sits a bit lower than I like. I tossed out my pattern pieces and will start fresh next time. I do appreciate pdf patterns for this very reason.
 I can probably take a break from tops now. I'd like to make a lightweight jacket for spring/summer - something for the morning chill when I head to the bus stop but light enough for when I head home at the end of the day. I just can't decide on a pattern. I'd also like to resume bra-making at some point, but now that I've found a RTW bra that I like I am less inclined to spend my free time on that.

Thanks so much for reading and have a great week!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Hot Patterns Halycon Sweatshirt: First Wadder of the Year

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Hello! Hope you're having a fab weekend so far. I made this HP Fast and Fab Halycon Sweatshirt last weekend, and, as I'm sure you can surmise from the above pic, it's not really a sweatshirt anymore. This is what it's supposed to look like...

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And here's what it looked like before I turned it into a cardigan....

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I made a size 18 and shortened the sleeve by 3/4 inches. It was HUGE in the back, with an awkward straightjacket-like feel in the front, and the sides coming down to a weird point. I'm not exactly sure what happened. Some possibilities:
  • Wrong type of fabric- This was my test version, so I used an inexpensive knit that wasn't earmarked for anything else. It's quite stretchy  -  probably too stretchy for this pattern since the pattern calls for medium weight sweatshirt, ponte, double knit, etc. It's possible that some distortion happened when I cut it due to the stretch. Maybe that explains the pointy sides. 
  • Wrong type of body - I carry a lot of my extra weight in the bust/abdomen area. Ideally, it would be better to make a size smaller and adjust the front, but with this cross over style it was difficult to know how to do that. The front and back are all one piece - a long rectangle with a U-shape cut out for the neck and crossed front. Also, when choosing a size I focus on the bust and tend to forget that my hips, while by no means narrow, are proportionally narrow compared to the size of my bust - like an inverted triangle. This means that some styles will drop straight past my hips unless I make a pattern adjustment. 
Even though this was a test version, I wanted to try to salvage the fabric. It's super soft and a pretty color after all, so I turned it into a cardigan by unpicking the crossover side seams and and joining the bottom of each front to the side. Wow, there has to be an easier way to explain this. It's actually a lot simpler than I've just made it sound. Anyway, I wanted to turn it into a waterfall cardigan, but after examining a bunch of waterfall styles I noticed that the waterfall effect is dependent on the way it hangs from the shoulder seam. Since this style doesn't have a shoulder seam, I wasn't sure how to create that effect. So I ended up with more of a cocoon shape. A little wonky and loosy-goosey but okay for knocking about the park, or after yoga class (which reminds me, I really should start doing yoga). Here's me wearing it at the botanical gardens last weekend. The magnolias are in bloom

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As you can see the sleeve is an exaggerated dolman. I'd like to figure out a way to fix that, but my craft-A.D.D. is kicking in, and I'm already thinking about other projects. I just want to add that I like Hot Patterns styles a lot. They always have fun construction details.  Just because this pattern didn't work out for me doesn't mean that it won't work for you. I would just recommend that you sew up a practice version in something you're not in love with before cutting into your silk jersey, but you know that already!

Thanks for reading and have a terrific weekend!

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Business Casual: Itch to Stitch Mila Shirt Pattern Review

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Hello! I'm so happy to be sharing my experience with a new-to-me pattern : the Itch to Stitch Mila shirt. For some reason I'm constantly conflating Blank Slate and Itch to Stitch patterns. They have some similar looks, I guess. Anyway, the partial placket Mila shirt, which apparently is called a "popover" according to Grainline patterns, is a great little wardrobe basic and is just what I was looking for. I recently started a new job (totally love it!) and was informed that the dress code is business casual. I suppose that business casual is a broad term and depends on the industry. In my case, I'm working in a corporate environment and knew that my work wardrobe would be cardigan-dependent and that I definitely needed a few collared shirts. Sadly, no more leggings and tunics for me during weekdays.

I made two Mila popovers - one black and one white. Total wardrobe basics - maybe not the most exciting garments - but super handy when I'm blearily trying to find something appropriate to wear in the morning.

Maybe a boring basic but I think it'll get a lot of wear. #itchtostitch #milablouse #iloveswissdot #sewing #sewingclothes

The black one (in a swiss dot) is my favorite and gets worn every week. The white one is okay, but I wish I had been more discerning when I was shopping for white fabric. It looks and feels like sheet -- and not a resorty/super high thread count sheet either. I only have pictures wearing the white one, but they're both the same size and have zero modifications.

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This is a very well thought out pattern, with incredibly detailed instructions. It would make a great first shirt pattern for a beginner.

Some additional notes:
  • Size 16 - with the DD bodice. Multiple cup size bodice - Yay!
  • PDF patterns aren't my favorite, but Itch to Stitch really highlights all the advantages of using a pdf. There is a layers feature that allows you to hide sizes you don't need, reducing visual clutter and cutting errors. They also list the pages for each bodice size, so you don't print out a bunch of unnecessary pages.
  • The very clearly written instructions are broken down into 71 steps and each step has an accompanying illustration. Wow! It's also nice to zoom in on illustrations if something is confusing. SO much better than trying to look at tiny little printed pictures. 
  • My only departure from the instructions was to sew the sleeves in flat instead of setting them. It turned out great. Anytime I can avoid setting sleeves I'm happy.
  • There is a separate pattern piece for the under collar, which is nicer than having to trim one down. 
  • I need to practice more with cuffs. I'm never satisfied with how they look.
  • The buttons are sewn through both sides of the placket. Yes, it's a little lazy, but it's not like I'm ever going to wear it unbuttoned. Also, I wear my bag cross-body style and that can sometimes cause unbuttoning, usually in the most embarrassing situation possible. I sewed the buttons on with my machine. Works great. Just remember to leave nice long tails so that you bring the thread to the back with a hand sewing needle and tie it off in a knot.
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So now that I have some simple work wardrobe basics, I can get back to making frilly underpants.

Thanks so much for reading and have a fantastic weekend!