Fall Sewing Plans

If you are like me, fall is your favorite season and you look forward to relief from the burning summer sun.  If you are not like me, you are probably sobbing over the realization that summer will be ending soon (-ish, don’t freak out, you have some time!).  Either way, changing seasons means something we can all agree is fun: new sewing plans!

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Visual proof of my love for fall.  Wearing a pre-blog Grainline Archer.

All of the realizations that I came to this spring/summer (discussed in a previous post) have taught me that if I really want a handmade wardrobe, I have to take a more pragmatic approach to my sewing.  Yes, I will eventually need to go to a party, but do I need to be making a new cocktail dress every month?  Nope.  The honest truth is that I need blouses and trousers, and maybe some pencil skirts and blazers.

I also need to be able to mix and match all of the pieces that I make.  This is the hard part that I usually avoid by sticking to neutrals.  What makes it depressing is that I really love color!  I have a purple blouse that I made, and absolutely adore, but it never gets worn because I have NOTHING to wear with it.  This sounds ridiculous if you have seen my closet, but it is true.  Rhyme? Reason?  My wardrobe has neither.

SO, with all of this in mind, I’ve slowly been gathering fabric and patterns that will work together to make a cohesive fall capsule wardrobe.  I started with a color palette first: mustard yellow, rusty orange, baby blue and dark green are the main players.  I’ve also picked cream/beige, navy, and black as my neutrals.  Incidentally, these fall nicely in line with the Pantone colors of the season.  Not too surprising, though, as they are pretty much just autumn colors.

I also wanted to incorporate a variety prints and textures.  My only rule here was to stick to geometric and abstract designs (okay, there’s ONE floral, but I already had it in my stash and the colors work).  There’s ponte, plaid flannel, a quilted knit, crepe, satin, gorgeous boucle, twill – everything my little ol’ heart desires!  Some have been lingering in my stash for a while, and others were specifically purchased to coordinate with the existing pieces.

Here are some of my picks:

 

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I’ve picked out most of the patterns I’m going to use, so, barring any game-changers being released in the next few weeks, I’m ready to go!  Guys, I’m SO EXCITED!  I know this again seems like a lot of work, but it’s early and I tend to be optimistic about my sewing abilities (and speed).  Also, I can totally imagine wearing the different pieces together to work.  That has NEVER happened.

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How about you all?  Ready to start sewing for the new season, or still trying to soak up the last few rays of summer?

 

Hello, again!

SOOOOOOOO it’s been a while.  I get that blogging is not a two-way street, so I’ll just say it: my bad.  I do enjoy documenting and sharing my makes on here, and I have actually been sewing.  I just haven’t really been that excited to share anything.  I’m hoping that will change as I take a more organized approach to my wardrobe plans (more on that to come).

To tie up some loose ends, first, I’ll recap what happened with my May challenges.  Jeesh, is it really August already???!?!?!?!!

First: wearing two handmade items per day (not pajamas).  This proved to be genuinely difficult.  Mostly, it was due to my lack of appropriate clothing.  Even though I’ve been sewing for a few years now, I have only really been making “presentable” clothing for the last year.  (2014 Henna would never have imagined she’d be sewing her own formal wear.) Naturally, there are gaps in my handmade wardrobe – especially in the work-appropriate attire department.  On the days I wore me-mades, I basically repeated the same few looks.  I gotta work on that.  It was so embarrassing that I didn’t even take any selfies.  Thanks, Me Made May, you were a real eye-opener!

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Second: sewing 31 yards in 31 days.  Boy, what was I thinking?  I probably could have done it if I had planned it out and prepared like a marathon runner, but that is not what I did.  I just kind of made whatever seemed like fun at the time, regardless of the yards per project ratio.  I misplaced my notes, but I think I sewed 17 yards.  That’s more than half-way, so I’m just going to count it as a win and let myself off easy. It’s nice when you are your own judge and jury.

I know I got hung up on my Rigel bomber jacket, which ended up taking a week and involving totally unnecessary seam binding that was covered up with a last-minute lining.  Here are some Instagram shots of the things I made:

Top: Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt/Simplicity S8124 top Middle: Papercut Rigel Bomber Jacket/Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt and McCall’s M6659 PJ pants Bottom: Sewaholic Fraser Sweatshirt and McCall’s M4116 Turban/ T-shirt pattern from Sew U Home Stretch

That bomber jacket needs its own photoshoot once I make the matching pants to go with it (and once it cools down enough to permit a jacket photo shoot).  And wow, I have made all of the views of the Sewaholic Fraser.  It’s a cool pattern, though, I love all the variations. It’s going back on my to-do list for F/W sewing.

As daunting as it was, I might try to challenge myself like that again.  I did learn a few things.  For one, I realized that I have very few TNT patterns.  This meant that I either had to muslin for fit or sew something forgiving.  It’s pretty obvious that I opted to go with the latter.  Knits, man.  I love ’em.  (All of the Fraser Sweatshirts are starting to make sense.)

Now that I don’t have a deadline, I’m learning to embrace muslins more.  I have sacrificed way too many pretty fabrics to poor fit.  Hopefully once I’ve altered a few patterns I’ll get the hang of it and it won’t seem so daunting.  Next up I’ll be sharing some swimsuits and a summer dress, both of which involved a few muslins.  Stay tuned!

 

Vogue 1374 Badgley Mischka Gown

Okay, no updates on my May challenges just yet, but I’m excited to finally share this project here!  As I mentioned in a few previous posts, I made a dress for a wedding I attended at the beginning of February.  My cousin got married in Sacramento, California, and almost all of the east coast clan attended.  We all stayed at the same hotel and basically treated the lobby and breakfast bar as our living room and family kitchen.  My family is HUGE, so you can imagine that it was quite a scene to behold.

I really wish I had taken more of my own pictures of the evening, but you will just have to trust me when I say that the wedding was beautiful!  Thankfully, I managed to get my sister to snap a few photos of my dress.  But first, the details!

This is a Vogue American Designer Badgley Mischka pattern (V1374).  It is a dress designed for 4-way stretch knits, featuring a low back with a drape and a fishtail hem.  I couldn’t find many reviews of it online before I started on my version, so hopefully this post helps someone else out in the future.

We had a blizzard around here in January, and I put those school closings to good use by making up a muslin in some stashed jersey.  The pattern calls for 4 yards of 60″ wide fabric because all of the pieces are cut on the fold, but you could get away with less if you don’t mind having seam lines (and if there’s no nap/directional print).  For the muslin, I had seams through my upper back and drape, and I don’t think you can really tell.

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I loooove the figure-skimming silhouette, it feels so glamorous!  Of course, it needed modifications.  I cut the size 14, and the fit was pretty good in a knit (if not a little baggy).  I clearly needed to narrow the shoulder by about 1″ and shorten the sleeves by 2″, both of which are usual alterations for me.  I also decided to lower the neckline by 1/2″ at the center front, just for comfort.  The bigger issue was that I had a not-so-stretchy sequin fabric in mind for the final version.  To account for the lack of stretch, I straightened out the fish tail to make it more of an A-line starting at mid-hip.  This way I’d be able to move my legs around and, you know, walk.

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I kind of made up the narrow shoulder adjustment.  There is a yoke at the top of the shoulder, and I simply folded an inch out of the middle of it.  Easy peasy.  Next I had to match the new yoke width with the front and upper back pieces.  I understand the general idea of a narrow shoulder adjustment (as explained here and here), and I’ve done them before.  You want to make the shoulder seam narrower without changing the armscye or removing width from the bust.  I’m just lazy and hate making all those cuts and hinges.  For my method, I drew in the seam lines and marked the inch I wanted to remove from the width.  I then drew lines from there to a single point on the armscye seam line (making what looks like a dart), and folded the wedge out.  A little tape and everything stays in place.  I know I probably broke some pattern-making rules and risked messing up some grainlines, but it worked!

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With those alterations made to the paper pattern, I started making up another muslin in some stashed black lace (no lycra, only some mechanical stretch) and poly crepe lining.  I figured it was a good idea to try the pattern again in a non-stretch fabric.  By the time I was done, I kind of loved it!  I also realized that I could not for the life of me figure out how to lay out the pattern on my sequins in a way that would fit all of the pieces and look okay.  (Still love those sequins, though!  I’m desperate for another wedding so I can sew them up!)

As usual, I had to make some adjustments along the way.  I found out that having an open back means you can get the dress over your head easily, but it does NOT mean you can get it over your bust easily.  I needed a side zip.  Putting it in was easy enough (I took some tips from the Colette sew along blog), but I later realized that I needed something a little longer.  My zipper was only 9 inches and slightly useless.  I also ended up taking the sleeve seams in by 1/2″ (and now looking at the muslin photos, I wonder why I didn’t notice they were big before).

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Those are pretty much all of my construction notes!  I didn’t hem the lace originally, since it seemed to actually look better without it.  After putting it through the wash once, though, the white (?!?!?!) cording in the lace started to peek out on the cut edges.  I just turned the hem about 1/4″ and topstitched with a zigzag.

Once the dress was done, finding the right bra to wear became an issue.  I don’t feel that the stick-on cups are very supportive, so I actually sewed a RTW bra into the lining.  This felt great at first, but by the end of the night didn’t really do much for me.  I think that with the moving and dancing and one quick costume change, the dress lost a bit of its shape.  My sisters assured me that they did not notice anything weird, and I’m sure I asked them a million times!

I played up the back drama by hanging some gold necklaces across my back.  My only other jewelry was a pair of simple dangly earrings.  I felt super glamorous for a change, especially with the awesome hair and makeup I got done!

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I really love having special occasions like this so that I can try out some fancier designs, but deadlines can be a lot of pressure.  I was lucky enough to have all those snow days to get a lot of the fit issues out of the way, but I still ended up putting the finishing touches on it just a few hours before my flight!

A Month of Stash-Busting

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It’s that time of year again!  I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon and participate in Me Made May. It’s my first time! I thought about it very carefully chose the following goal for myself a few weeks ago:

‘I, Henna, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear two handmade items (that are not pajamas) each day for the duration of May 2016’

The pajama stipulation is key. I love all of my me-made garments, but it’s a painful truth that I wear a lot of them to bed. That, or to fancy parties. I have a lot of gaps in my wardrobe, so I’m going to try to sew more garments that are appropriate for day time and even for work! Don’t worry, I won’t bombard you with selfies. I might just do a couple round-up posts.

Since I made this goal, though, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much stuff I have, especially sewing stuff. I mentioned this earlier in a post about the spring “cleaning” of my stash. That really put my consumption in perspective, and it’s just been bothering me ever since. I’ll spare you the soul searching I went through, but I will tell you that I’ve come to a few conclusions:

  1. I am adding to my stash at a much faster rate than I am sewing it.
  2. This makes me feel bad.
  3. I still love all of the fabric and patterns that I own.  De-stashing is not my jam.
  4. I’d love my fabric and patterns even more if I could wear them on my body.

Basically, my stash is overwhelming my tiny sewing space as well as my mind. It needs a diet. So, in an effort to use what I have already consumed (and to have a little fun with it), I’m setting another personal challenge for myself: 31 Yards in 31 Days. Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like! I’m going to try to sew up 31 yards of my stash fabric over the 31 days of May.

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Some ground rules: the 31 yards will include fashion fabric and linings, but won’t include fabric used for muslins (unless it turns out to be a wearable muslin). I’ll also only be using patterns I already own, but there’s no specific goal for those. It probably goes without saying that I am going to avoid adding to the stash during this month. I may need an odd zipper or button, but I will be limiting any notions purchases to only what I absolutely need in order to finish the garment.

I’m pretty excited to see if I can actually make this happen! It felt like no big deal when I thought of it, but now I’m like woah that’s a lot of fabric!

I actually got the idea for this from my sister. She doesn’t sew, but she’s quite the make-up junkie (and a nail polish fiend). She’s been doing something called Project Pan for a while, which focuses on using up the make-up you own (all the way down to the metal pan), instead of just constantly buying new stuff. I’ve seen her participate in challenges like this, where there is a goal for using a certain amount of products by a certain deadline.  I just subbed the eyeshadows and lipsticks for chambray and linen.

 

Ahhh I’d better get prepped, I’ve got a long month of sewing (and wearing me-mades) ahead of me! If you’d like to follow along, I’ll be posting my progress on Instagram.

Spring Hoarding

Isn’t it amazing how quickly you can accumulate stuff?  I spent last weekend overhauling my fabric and notions.  I remember when I first started sewing I would go all heart-eyed when people shared pictures of their huge stashes.  I never imagined that my grocery bag stash would grow into three 18-gallon bins (and a couple shelves).

While I didn’t throw anything out (see title), I did organize it.  Until now, new acquisitions were either washed and cut immediately or thrown into the bin with the most space available at the time.  No method, just madness. Now they are all organized by type and occasion, so I will know generally where to look to find any piece I need.  It’s still not pretty.

Naturally, tidying up involved swearing up and down that I was not going to buy any more sewing stuff until I sewed through my stash.  After which I promptly ordered three new patterns and 2 yards of fabric.  Hey, cleaning is stressful.  My new oath is: no more new bra sewing stuff until I sew through my stash.  Set your standards low and you will never be disappointed, right?

I now present to you the fruits of my first stash-busting project: a Pin Up Girls Classic Bra and a pair of Make Bra hipster undies.  Even though I only used a third of a yard of fabric for this set, I did get through a fair bit of the elastic stash.  That totally counts.

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The notions are all from Sew Sassy, and the fabric was originally a white nylon mesh from Fabric Mart.  I dyed both the mesh and the notions with Rit dye in “pearl grey.”  I know now to expect varying shades for each of the different pieces – some of them are way more poly than nylon.  I was a bit surprised at the color of the mesh, though.  It looks more blue than gray, but I still really like it!

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I’ve made this pattern before, but I kept making a 34C (based on RTW bras I own) and it was too small no matter how much I altered it.  I decided to size up to a 36D and the fit is much better right away!  It will need a few changes, though: the straps are a little too long and the band fits only on the smallest hook.  Other than that, the bridge fits great and the underwires haven’t bothered me yet.

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The cups fit pretty well, too.  I was worried that the mesh was too stretchy, so I lined the whole thing in a beige tricot.  I usually don’t care about the guts, but this looks so neat inside!  The lining and mesh pieces are all joined at the topstitching.  Looking back now, I’m realizing I probably should have had the stretch of the lining pieces going in the opposite direction (for the cups).  They’re not super supportive, but they’re okay.  The underwires definitely help.

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The lining of my bra was inspired by Erin’s latest post.  Have you seen her #BRAAWEEK challenge?  I’ve been following Erin’s posts about bra making for a LONG TIME.  Like, before I ever bought any supplies and made my first bra.  She’s super talented and I always learn something new.  After taking my personal oath to sew through my bra making stash, I’ve given this bra-a-week thing some thought.  It’s time to join in, I think!  Since I’ve got the basic bra sewing techniques down now, I’d like to use this challenge to focus on getting a great fit.  Not sure it’ll be weekly, but monthly at the very least!

 

 

 

Athleisure (Fabric Mart Pinterest Contest)

I know I’m not the only sewist who cruises Pinterest regularly, looking for inspiration.  It’s like an endless fashion magazine (okay, and a food/fitness/tabloid/design magazine too).  In fact, browsing pins is usually one of the first things I do when I’m looking to get out of a sewing slump.  You can find everything there: sewing bloggers, new patterns, street style looks, magazine editorials, and (my fave) fashion week runway collections!

So imagine my excitement when I found out that Fabric Mart has a Pinterest page and is looking for some guest pinners!  To decide who will have this opportunity (and win a gift certificate), they are holding a contest.  The challenge: make garments using the mystery fabric in one of their bundles.

Now, I’ve never entered a sewing competition before, and I don’t know exactly what drove me to sign up for this one.  Maybe it’s a newly found confidence in my sewing?  Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Project Runway?  (Anyone wanna have a talk about All Stars, lemme know.) Whatever it is, I took the plunge and ordered a 6 yard bundle.  Here’s what I got:

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I received 4 pieces.  From left to right, they are: a neon green glittery knit, a textured woven of some kind printed with what appear to be colorful stone blocks, an olive sheer knit (it keeps reading brown in photos), and a grey sheer knit.  I could see that this would be a real challenge.

Actually, when I ripped open the package, what went through my head was something like: HOLY COW NEON GREEN SPARKLES!!?@@!?!!  and OMG BLOCKS ON BEIGE WHAT IS THAT EVEN??!?!?!?  followed by WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF???!!!  WHY MEEEEEE??????

Once my existential crisis was over, and after I had dinner, I returned to the fabrics with fresh eyes.  First, the neon sparkles.  While I can (unfortunately) think of no occasion to wear this fabric myself, I could totally see my four-year-old niece wearing it to gymnastics class.  I made up the leotard from Jalie 3138 for her.  Of course, I couldn’t stop there, so I also whipped up some matching shorts using Jalie 3247.  Let me tell you, I am STILL cleaning green glitter out of my sewing machine.  But aren’t they ADORABLE?!  I don’t know why I don’t sew for my niece more.  Tiny four-year-old bodies require very little fabric and very little fitting alterations.  Win-win.

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Second, those sheer knits.  Since the weather has been warming up around here, I’ve been thinking about coming out of hibernation and working out again.  The problem: in my underemployed life, workout-wear usually becomes all-day-long-wear.  The solution: athleisure!  I knew I wanted some drapey layering pieces, but I couldn’t decide what to do until I saw some great inspo on Pinterest.  I even made an “athleisure” board!

The grey piece became the Tania tabard by Style Arc.  Not only do they make for fantastic medieval formal wear, tabards are actually great layering athleisure pieces!  I opted for a black elastic piping at the neckline and armholes because trying to apply binding in these areas was driving me crazy.  I liked it so much that I also applied a yellow (not elastic) piping to the side slits.  It makes for a fun contrast!

 

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The olive colored piece became Simplicity 1463 (view B): a knit top with a faux-wrap drapey pleated back.  I seriously love this top.  I’ll probably be wearing it 24/7.  Not much else to say about this one – I just made a straight size medium and didn’t deviate from the instructions.

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(Note: I made the galaxy leggings about a year ago, using the Cake Espresso leggings pattern)

Finally, that woven.  In my previous post, I talked about how I (unsuccessfully) tried to dye this fabric.  Well, eventually the loud print grew on me, so I stuck with my athleisure theme and made some loungey-track pants using the Tessuti Suzy pants pattern.  I like them!  I’ve made this pattern twice before, and the only change I made this time was to taper the legs a bit more.  I actually tapered from a large at the hip to a small at the ankles.  I think that if I do make these again I’ll size down to a medium.  They’re a bit baggier in the bum than I remembered.

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I thought this was going to be stressful at first, but it actually turned out to be a lot of fun!  Challenges with restrictions like this really push you out of your creative comfort zone and force you to try new things.

What do you think of my projects?  I hope you like them! And if you DO like them, please go vote for me in the contest! Voting should open in the next couple of days, and I believe the info will be found here as soon as it does: Fabric Mart Fabricista Blog.

Edit: Voting is now open (until 4/8), check it out here: Fabric Mart Pinterest Contest

Happenings in the Stitch Study

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You’re probably thinking that I have a lot of time on my hands recently.  You are right.  I’m only employed part-time (working on it), which means: 1) I don’t have a lot of cash at any given moment and 2) I spend many more hours per week sewing.  And blogging, of course.  Right now I’m working on a few different things that I’m going to share together once they’re all done.  In the meantime, I don’t want to go totally silent on here.  So here’s what’s happening:

Experiments in dyeing.

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I wasn’t digging the color palette of this piece of fabric, so I thought I’d try to change it.  I’ve dyed stuff before (the notions for a bra blogged here), but I’ve never tried to dye fabric that wasn’t white to begin with.  First, I tried using Rit color remover, but that didn’t work.

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Then, I stuck a swatch in a bleach solution, which did absolutely nothing.  I assumed it was a yarn-dyed poly that was here to stay.

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Finally, I picked up some iDye Poly (in green) and tried to simply over dye it.  Guys, I stood over this boiling, fuming, stinking pot for almost an hour and I thought I had achieved an okay shade of forest green.  NOPE!  Once I pulled it out and washed it, all I was left with was a green/grey tint.  Very disappointing, but I think I can still make it work for what I have in mind.

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On a happier note, I threw some bra notions in the pot as well and got some nice shades of green!  The darker bits were left in longer because I had forgotten about them.  Such is life.

Experiments in sewing.

I also made this funky little mesh sweatshirt, just for fun.  I’d had this utility mesh in my stash for a while, and I’d actually been using it for an electron transport chain demonstration for my classes.  I used the Sewaholic Fraser sweatshirt pattern, and used some black ribbing for the cuffs and bands.  It was very easy to put together on my serger.  I just shortened the stitch length to make the stitching more dense.

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This is not what I’d normally consider my style, but I was drawn to the idea of a workout wear layering piece.  I’m aiming to look less frumpy in my day-to-day underemployed life.  The problem is I haven’t yet figured out what to wear under it!  It’s way too open weave for just a sports bra.  Suggestions are welcome!

Anyone else doing any experimenting lately?

Getting in the Mood

Sewing slumps.  They happen to the best of us.  I make plans, gather materials, and even cut out patterns, only to be hit in the face with a lack of enthusiasm.  That pretty magenta wool that I petted and cooed over just a few weeks ago now barely gets a glance.  Who wants to make a fussy coat?  Not me.  Bah.

I’ve realized that when I get in a slump, I just have to let go.  Believe me, I’ve tried to press on with my already made plans before, even though I wasn’t feeling it.  It sucked.  And the outfit sucked.  And now it’s in the scrap pile.

No, a sewing slump is not the time for practicality.  It can only be cured with something new and fresh.  Something frivolous, even.

What’s more frivolous than sewing lingerie?

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This here is a set I made using two patterns from Ohhh Lulu.  The bra is the longline bralette (I believe it’s called Sarah), and the bottoms are the Betty high waist panties.

I’ve made the bralette twice before, but this is the first time it’s actually comfortable to wear.  My first version was made entirely out of a thick neoprene that kind of suffocated me.  It was really pretty, but there was just not enough stretch in the fabric.  My second version was made in a super stretchy swimsuit material, lined with a thin stretch mesh.  That one just made me feel like I was “spilling out” the whole time I wore it.  Not a good feeling!

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For this, my third iteration, I decided to go up a size (from medium to large) to see if that would fix both breathing and spillage issues.  You may recognize the fabric from my previous post – it’s the same black embossed scuba!  Seriously, this 3 yard piece has now made 5 separate garments (I also got a pair of leggings out of it).  To account for the low stretch of the scuba fabric, I opted to use black power mesh for the side and back panels.

I tried it on mid-construction and realized that, while the cups fit PERFECTLY, it was waaaay too wide.  (In retrospect, I should have anticipated this and measured before I cut.  This is really a lounge bra and there is no cup+band sizing like a regular bra would have – you just pick your size based on your full bust measurement.)  To fix this on the fly, I took both side seams in by about 1/2″, and then sliced the back open and took out about 2″.  I contemplated placing hook and eye tape at the CB, but since I didn’t taper it before putting the elastic in, I’d need the tape to be 5 hooks long.  That seemed a bit excessive.  So now I have a seam down the back.

All in all, it’s super comfortable.  I’d wear it around the house every day if I could.  It doesn’t offer a lot of support, but it’s totally fine under thick sweaters.  Third time’s the charm!

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Now for the bottoms.  These are REALLY high waisted.  Like, really.  As you can see, I used the scuba fabric for the CF and CB panels, and power mesh for the sides.  Again, a very comfy combination.

I cut the largest size based on my hip measurement, but it turned out to be a little too wide at the waist.  That’s just due to my pear-shaped body, but it seems like an easy fix.  I plan to make these again, and for the next version I will take a little wedge out of the side panels and lower the rise a smidge.

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(Side note: I bought a spool of Gütermann “bulky nylon” thread a while ago, thinking it was the same as “wooly nylon” that a lot of blogs have been raving about.  I looked it up, and it appears that it is either another beast entirely, or just a cheaper, less bulky/stretchy version of the same thing.  I used it for this set, in the upper looper, and while it’s super soft, it doesn’t look like the pictures of wooly nylon I’ve seen online.  It was also kind of a pain to sew with since it kept slipping out of the tension disc or breaking. You can see it on the inside shots of the bra.)

If you’re wondering, I got all of the elastics and rings/sliders from Sew Sassy.  The bra calls for fold over elastic for all of the finishes (except the bit of elastic at the underbust seam), but I used a 3/8″ picot edge plush-back elastic.  The panties used the same 3/8″ elastic, and the straps on the bralette used 3/4″ strap elastic.  I’ve barely made a dent in the stash of lingerie sewing supplies I’ve accumulated in just two orders from that place.  I’m trying to remedy that by sewing up some more underwear.  I’ve got a Pinup Girls Classic bra on the cutting table right now, and I’ll hopefully have some time to get it done in the upcoming week.

I also may or may not have just purchased a bra kit on Etsy . . . Anyone else got the lingerie sewing bug?

Black and Blue

Well, it seems that I am quite taken with this ’70s fashion revival.  I think it’s partially because it reminds me a little of my childhood in the ’90s, when flared jeans, platform shoes and crochet tops were also very in.  I’ve heard it all my life, but I guess I’m finally old enough now to notice how cyclical fashion actually is.  Great, now I’m never throwing anything out!

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It’s no surprise then, that I was immediately drawn to the Rosarí skirt pattern by Pauline Alice.  I’ve seen a few other versions of the A-line button down skirt, but I just loved all of the different pocket variations on this one.  Super versatile!

The version I made here is a mini skirt using pocket D (zippers!) in a lovely blue wool crepe.  I picked this up on a trip to Philadelphia about 2 years ago.  I showed up at Fabric Row on a Sunday and only one shop was open (Fleishman’s maybe?).  I also had no idea what wool crepe was.  I just touched it and fell in love.  I bought two yards and immediately used one to make a Charlotte skirt.  I still wear that skirt, but it was one of the very first garments I made for myself and as such is very poorly stitched.  I’m glad I saved the rest for future, more experienced me.

You may have heard this before, but working with wool crepe is a dream.  It sews and presses beautifully, and is squishy and soft and does whatever you tell it to!  OHHHH wool, how I love you so!  I want to buy it in every color and make an entire winter work wardrobe out of it.

Okay, enough gushing.  Now for the serious stuff: fit.  This is actually my second iteration of this pattern.  I made the knee-length version in a medium weight denim first.  I cut the 48 based on my measurements at the time, and ended up taking it in a little before attaching the waistband.  It was still a little big, so before cutting my second, I altered the back pattern piece by taking 1/4″ off the CB and trimming to a smaller size at the side seam (basically cut the 46 instead of the 48).  On top of this, I ended up taking in all of the seams by 1/4″ while sewing.  I think it fits pretty well now.  The waistband isn’t too stiff, so I like how snug it is at the waist.

The only other adjustment I made was adding 2″ to the mini length (just in case – mini skirts kind of scare me).

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The zippers are actually jean zippers.  The pattern calls for 6″ zips, but I was unable to find any locally.  I bought some 5″ zips, and made a mental note to make the zipper opening smaller before I cut.  Yeah I forgot.  7″ jean zippers to the rescue!

Because I was on a roll, I immediately completed the outfit by whipping up a basic black Nettie bodysuit in a lovely soft modal/lycra knit.  It’s so comfy (and opaque), and I love that I don’t have to worry about tucking anything in.  Not much else to say about this: I raised the depth of the scoop neck by about 1″ (wow, I’m more conservative than I thought) and added cuff bands in order to avoid using the twin needle.  A little more cutting, a lot less re-threading.

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This outfit was also part of my travel wardrobe for my trip to Sacramento at the beginning of February.  I wrote about a few other pieces here.  I’m still putting together a post about the dress I made for the wedding I attended.  Watch this space!

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Feeling Slick

I haven’t really felt like sewing much recently, so instead I took some time to take photos and write up some posts about a few older projects.

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This dress is Vogue 9076, and it was completed sometime last November.  I know this because it featured heavily in the first week of my posts during #bpSewvember.  Which reminds me, is anyone taking part in #MIYMarch?  It feels like there’s a new sewing challenge every other day, but I welcome it.  I don’t have any local sewing buddies, so the online community is really all I have!  (Also: thanks for stopping by!)

I’m terrible at taking notes while I sew, so I am actually relying on Instagram to guide me through this review.  What sticks out the most to me is HOW LONG this took to make.  It felt like forever, and in reality it was about a month start to finish.  I originally wanted to wear it to a bridal shower, and when that deadline passed, I just worked on it a little bit here and there.  This worked out well since there were so many little details.  You can see in the pattern drawing that there are quite a few fiddly bits: a stand collar with ties, shoulder yokes that become button bands at the CF, waist yokes, and lots and lots of gathering.  It kind of sucks that you can’t really see a lot of the details because of the busy print.

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Vogue 9076

I cut the size 14 (based on my upper bust measurement), grading to a 16 at the waist and hip (based on my waist measurement).  I figured the bust would be pretty loose due to all of the gathering above and below, so I skipped any sort of adjustment in that area.  In fact, I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern before cutting out my fabric.  I tend to make adjustments on the fly.

Well, it was actually kind of impossible to make adjustments on the fly.  I realized AFTER I had attached all of the yokes and facings to my bodice that it was too wide at the waist.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong here – not measuring myself correctly or just losing weight mid-sewing.  I keep making garments that are way too big and need to be taken in while I’m assembling them.  Anyway, I did not feel like ripping apart the facing on this fabric that already liked to fray, so it stays a bit wide at the waist.  Oh well.

My fabric is a poly chiffon from Fabric Mart.  It was described as an abstract animal print, and I can kind of see it.  Personally, it reminds me of an oil slick.  I was drawn to the colors – shades of blue, green, and rusty orange.  It also has shiny silver threads running through it.  I found the buttons while browsing at a JoAnn after work one day.  They’re kind of mesmerizing!  I think they compliment the fabric nicely.

The pattern has you make button loops using cord.  This part was a real pain.  The cord I used was a silver elastic, and it kept slipping around when I tried to baste it in place.  I re-did the loops twice: the first to make them smaller, and the second because the stitches didn’t actually hold.  I had already trimmed all the seam allowances and totally finished the bodice frame when all of the loops slipped out of the button band with just a little tug.  ARGHHHHH!  All is well, though.  I stitched them on again (using a shorter stitch length and a lot of back tacking) to the back of the button band, with a strip of ribbon to hide the mess.  You can see this in one of the photos above.

I finished the skirt with a rolled hem done on my serger.  I’ve done this before with better success.  I think the key is testing on scraps to get the tension just right.  Mine was a little tight in places and pulled on the fabric.

You can probably tell that the fabric is sheer.  I didn’t line it, but don’t worry, I’m wearing it with a slip.  I think that the heavy, dark print obscures most things, anyway.

I’ve worn this dress a few times, and I think I do like it.  I’m just not sure if I’d want to make it again.  I’d want to do a few fitting adjustments at the waist and shoulders, and all those pieces (with facings!) scare me.  Maybe if I work up the courage one day . . .