We’ve moved cross-country from TX to GA, Z started 3rd grade, and my very neglected (forgotten?) Etsy shop has finally been re-opened. Staying so long in San Antonio made me realize I’d starting putting down roots unintentionally. It hit me like a ton of bricks, usually when a PCS is coming up I’m allll about the new place and experiencing new things, etc. Hubby was a little concerned with how hard it was for me to get over the fact we were in small town Georgia vs. the bustling city of San Antonio. Spoiled by the convenience of having pretty much any store *somewhere* in town within a 45 min. drive or less. Comparison really is the thief of joy, so I’m getting over it. Slowly. Either it’s because I’m getting a little older, we’re getting closer to hubby’s 20 year mark, or the fact that packing around 2 kids for big moves has made it something to dread rather than look forward to. Light was found at the end of tunnel, thankfully, once my studio was set up and I could fire up my torch again. Ahhh, relief. And now my sewing space is nearly ready and I’m trying to narrow down which project to sew first. Fret not, brain, we shall find our equilibrium! I’ll slowly but surely be adding listings to my Etsy shop- why you take so long Etsy listings?! This is the necklace worn to this year’s ISGB Gathering in New Orleans, the annual conference we Lampworkers migrate to every year to catch up, network and learn. It was so great to see friends and make new ones.
Oh, Inari, how you’ve stolen my heart. This fabric has been patiently waiting to be made up for over 8 months. It came about when Vickie Hallmark came to visit with her dyes and we decided to experiment with some linens that weren’t flattering for my skin tone. What did I have to lose?
Turns out, those happy mistakes- the ones like forgetting to serge the cut ends to avoid tangling in the washing machine- are the ones we end up loving the most. At least, it certainly turned out that way for this fabric. It was originally a pale aqua, then Vickie put in soda ash and that made it slightly gray. Then we added the fuchsia dye and it turned into this organic/psychedelic piece of lovely hand-dyed linen.
Research was a lifesaver, since a lot have mentioned problems with arm mobility and taking height from the sleeve and armscye seemed to help. Find more fitting help on Gail’s blog, she posted plenty of pics for the visual learners among us.
It’s not perfect, but it’s loved regardless. There is some gorgeous Liberty of London burning a hole in my stash waiting to be used for another Inari. Size and fit details:
Size 42, with 3″ added in length since I’m 5’8-1/2″ tall. 1″ was added below the underarms, then 2″ added below the hip lengthen/shorten line. My current measurements are around 39/32/40. Took out nearly an inch in sleeve height and armscye.
The sleeves were a piece of cake, I had made a mountain out of a mole hill worrying about puckers, etc., but they went in perfect the first time. Normally, I always try to sew sleeves flat and then sew the sides and underarm seam at the same time. But if I don’t practice, I won’t improve and this was a fabulously drafted sleeve. The easing within the seam allowance probably helped, as well.
I drank the kool-aid.
Culottes have been on my mind for MONTHS, if not a year. I’ve pinned many a cute pair on my Pinterest boards.
They can be tricky to fit and look ghastly when they go wrong. To be honest, there is a red linen already cut out in to UFO pile waiting to be sewn up in a Burda pattern that has been sitting for weeks now. However, I saw this pattern made up here and it totally jumped the queue. Go straight to view D, don’t let yourself be thrown off by the cover model’s outfit!
They go to your natural waist, which I like since I can wear the more cropped top look that I’m slowly coming around to. The Style Arc Ethel Designer Top has been in constant rotation ever since it was finished. The yarn dyed linen has started to relax and lay a little more softly. Really need to make another since it is perfect for summer. My measurements have me falling nearly perfectly into a 14, but there was so much ease that I ended up making a 10. Still worked out nicely. Style Arc has been getting a lot of my money lately, can’t seem to resist their look and end up loving most of my makes.
There was a lovely neutral/cool brown cotton-linen in my stash from last year when the ISGB Gathering was in Houston. We managed to sneak a quick trip to High Fashion Fabrics and got 2 yards of this Armani linen. It’s a crossweave with brown and off white- incredibly fine and smooth. It was just enough to make in View D, size 18.
The instructions were good, and only managed to make one major rookie mistake. And it’s a doozy. Almost didn’t show it, but I like to see the whole truth in other blogs, so here you go:
Argh, why didn’t I rip it out and fix it when it would’ve been easier?! Hindsight and lost patience. They have you putting a centered zipper on the CB seam and have a dot to place your zipper. Maybe I misunderstood and placed my zipper too low because there is an inch of space that the zipper was supposed to take up before it meets the waistband. Face, meet Palm. (Apologies for the wrinkles, we went to the store before photos and, well, it’s linen)
BUT! I still like them..an awful lot, but I’m not sure about where the hem hits me. Adding an inch may not have been a most genius idea without doing a muslin first. Took a deep 2″ hem- can’t recall what the original allowance was, maybe 1-1/4″?
Then the question of footwear. Sandals or wedge?
How it usually is when trying to get good photos:
A handful of times I’d visited the Tina Givens website and perused the patterns, then I saw she had free patterns to try and printed out the Bloom Dress. This is sewn up in Cotton and Steel’s Double Gauze from the Fall 2014 line. The colors are what I’m really into right now, especially that red and teal. This fabric had been languishing for months in my stash and had subsequently fallen in and out of love with it a few times. It would do for a wearable muslin.
After it was all sewn up, my love for it was reignited. I did a cursory measurement of the bust and even the small was quite voluminous- over 50″. The pattern states the small is for busts up to 44″. I’m a 40″ bust right now and figured taking out 2″ on the front and back would be a good starting point and would make tweaks from there. Her aesthetic is very free-flowing and loose for lots of layering. There are no bust darts, but there are in seam pockets.
Here is a quick and dirty pic of the two mods done for shaping:
For the hemline, I was hoping the hi-lo shape would help balance out all that volume. It will also look interesting if I get around to making the slip to layer underneath. The hemline from View D of McCall’s 7120 was my guideline. To save time and fabric, bias tape was used on the neckline and hem. This pattern calls for 54″ wide fabric due to the width at the bottom, but taking out those 4″ and moving it just enough over on the bottom so it fit worked out ok. The elongated ‘c’ shape taken out on each side near the underarms helped with fit at the bust. This was totally a shot in the dark, but it worked for the most part. Sewing by the seat of my pants. One thing to note, the front scoop is almost too deep when you have your hands in the pockets, something to remember for next time. Oh, and taking in the underarm helped slightly with side bra exposure.
Cotton and Steel’s choice of substrate in double gauze is even finer than the beloved Nani Iro in my stash. I’m no expert but taking the two different tops out of the dryer, Nani Iro’s sticks to itself like velcro whereas C&S double gauze will fall a little more smoothly. They both, of course, need to be ironed. It’s a very small difference and won’t keep me from Naomi Ito’s amazing fabric. (No tsking, we keep it real in this household and if it’s not machine washable, it probably won’t be worn, lol)
After Googling the Bloom dress to see other makes, I was surprised to not see more- especially since it’s free! I’m happy with my comfy top, now to just figure out which bottoms to wear with it besides jeans since my red pants are too lipstick red compared to the tomato of this top.
This is a book I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on ever since I first got wind of it being published. I’ve loved all my Merchant and Mills patterns and the only one I’ve held back on making was The Factory Dress– but after seeing this video of Carolyn Denham wearing hers, it has moved up the queue drastically.
I had mentioned in a previous make how nice it would be to have finished garment measurements on the patterns and my dream came true in The Workbook! The sizes show FINISHED measurements so you can know precisely how much ease will be built into your usual size. This came in particularly handy when I was deciding on which size to trace out for the Heron, a bat-wing wrap top.
There are 6 timeless patterns and The Curlew Sleeveless T-shirt is a bias cut top with bust darts for additional shaping. The fabric choice is a crossweave cotton in a lovely teal/emerald with cross threads of black. This has been in the stash for a year, back when I went home to Indiana for a visit with family and went to Margie’s Country Store in Madison, In. It is much thicker and more stiff than what is recommended, but this is a wearable muslin since I wanted to check fit on size 16, which falls on my body measurements the closest.
My guess is that it will be a bit more tricky to sew with a more shifty fabric when I make my next/nicer one in a linen or silk. Since my wearable muslin is more of quilting cotton weight, the bias cut drape isn’t really noticeable. It is incredibly comfy to wear and easy to pull on and off even with the close fit.
My main problem after finally figuring out how to correctly join the bias tape, was the bust darts. These are to be sewn with a stretch stitch since the bias cut makes it similar to a knit with the give in the fabric. I’d never sewn a bust dart quite like this and it shows, unfortunately. I’m wondering if it’s trickier on bias to sew smooth dart points or if it was a combination of user error/stretch stitch/bias-cut trifecta of terror. Using the ham to try and iron it into a smooth shape didn’t work, either. It will be fixed since I love this top..maybe start a short line of straight stitches near the end of the dart and try to get a smooth tapering? If you’ve sewn with a stretch stitch then you know what a b*tch it is to unpick.
I can see this book one that is used again and again for me, I’m already thinking of making this a short sleeved top. Oh, the possibilities! Thanks, Carolyn, for such an ace sewing book- I’m looking forward to seeing my sewing skills advance with the more involved patterns.
Granny Chic is something of a phenomenon to which I was oblivious. Dottie Angel has been selling her lovely vintage fabric aprons on Etsy for years and I loved her aesthetic..the vintage style appealed to me. Seeing her pattern come up on the Simplicity website was a most happy surprise. Simplicity 1080 embodies her most well-known vintage frocks in a tunic and dress length.
For close to a year I’ve had some gorgeous Nani Iro double gauze from Miss Matatabi in my stash waiting to be used. The happy colors really appeal to me right now since the kids and I are missing hubby while he’s stationed in Korea for the next year.
The light fabric is great for summer and I chose the tunic length with yarn dyed linen pockets in a beautiful lilac with white in the cross weave. It was a small remnant in the doggie bag section from here. The only regret for this is that I didn’t make the ties in the lilac, as well. This is the direct link to the fabric, it’s a fairly new addition to their mid-weight yarn-dyed line.
I made the large since I was between sizes and it’s a bit big on me. Next time, I’ll make a medium and add just a little ease for my broad back. You can definitely tell from the back how loose it is on me. But this is super comfy in the summer heat, especially since it’s currently creeping closer to triple digits as the month drags on.
I didn’t use the bias tape in all the places the pattern recommended. And I cheated and used my serger on the shoulder and side seams to help with fraying after sewing the seam with my machine. The shoulder hem stumped me slightly and I should have looked more closely at the diagram since I flubbed the bias at the beginning and end by stopping at the dot rather than sewing to the edge of the fabric. My guess, and it is just a guess- the bias tape for the seams probably helps give support when using vintage/delicate fabrics like Dottie is known for.
For those worried about color matching, etc- the only part that is exposed is the 1/4″ double-fold that is sewn around the pockets. If you don’t want to buy 1/2″ single fold since you have a plethora already in your stash or they don’t have the color you want at the store, go for it..as long as your fabric won’t show through that you used a clashing color ;) Also, instead of basting the 1/4″ to the pocket before sewing it down, I just unfolded one side, lined up the edges and sewed into the nearest crease, being careful to follow the pocket curves. I clipped the curvy parts before enclosing the seam with the bias tape and ironed it smooth.
This pattern is a winner in my book! Now to think about my next frock, this time in dress length..
It’s really May! This is my second year participating in Me Made May and my first outfit is comfy and quick since the scramble for getting the kids up and out of the house for school is a little hectic..hence the sleepy look on my face in the photos.
The top is AMH’s Lemon Drop Tunic in knit from Girl Charlee, bought more than a year ago. Finally able to use- notice the placement of the design..late night sewing strikes and had to fiddle with getting the remaining yardage to fit since I added 3″ to the length without checking to see if it would work with the yardage. Luckily, the stretch was two-way.
The pants are a pdf version of the Claudia Pant by Style Arc. I’ve fallen in love with their aesthetic, but not with how much ease was added for what is supposed to be a ‘cigarette pant’ which makes me think of the close/snug fit that Audrey Hepburn made famous.
They were made with a stretch bengaline from Joann’s. Super comfy but had to take in more than an inch all over and more in some places. Also got rid of the seam on the front pant leg. They’re still a bit too loose for my liking in certain places, but they’ll do as a wearable muslin and plan to make them in a smaller size when getting back around to trying again. And I took a *very* deep hem which basically took care of eliminating the hem dart- I’m 5’8″ so these had a lot of extra length. Next time I’ll take away some length at the lengthen/shorten line, as well.
Looking through the wardrobe for this month made it clear that a lot of the tops/dresses are more suited to cooler weather. This time of year in San Antonio can be scorching hot with the occasional mild day, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. More bottoms are desperately needed, too. Here is the photo from Instagram, lots of blue..need to work on that:
My pledge was to wear handmade at least four times a week, shouldn’t be a problem unless the weather stays in the 80+ degree range. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s makes, this is such an exciting month and new patterns and interesting wardrobes are always fun to see. If there is sewing done this month, it’s with the thought of having a unified and easily mixed and matched wardrobe.
One of my favorite color pairings is indigo and mustard- probably why I like this outfit so much, not to forget that it’s downright comfy, as well. Maybe it’s the cooler weather and dreary days, but my wardrobe has had some extra chroma added lately. Between my first Liberty top and now this Simplicity 1366 top, jewel tones and saturated color seems to be my panacea for the winter doldrums.
The vintage wrap skirt is Anne Adam 9066 in a Michael Miller yarn dyed ikat.
An easy skirt, left off the waistband since I didn’t feel like fussing with it and wanted to make sure there was enough fabric for the facing. Lined it will Bemberg rayon in cream/natural in case I decide to wear it with tights. Of course, I tried my best to get the seams to line up. Unfortunately, my two sides got switched and the seams don’t match up as perfectly as expected since yarn dyed fabric can be impossible to tell right side from wrong side. So that means my wrap is suppose to fold over to the other side. Live and learn.
You can see on the photo below how my skirt sat too low before I took out some ease to have it sit higher. Pardon my RBF, the lighting wasn’t the best and I was rushing. I may end up dying that top since it’s too pale for my skin- maybe a dark gray would be better. I got it last year on a whim when I ran into Marshall’s unexpectedly. Although, I bet the Sewaholic Belcarra would be very similar to this top..hmm.
It’s always a nice feeling when I manage to go out the door in a handmade outfit- not to say that all my makes are successes- but today it felt good to throw this outfit together and run to the post office. Three cheers for chroma, ikat and handmade love!
This has been another pattern I’ve been wanting to use for a very long time. The main thing missing were pockets..in comes Top 64 from Merchant and Mills for mods, and voilà we have the making of a (fun)ctional top.
There was only 1-1/2 yards of this Liberty of London in Alma to use, so the black linen came in handy, although I ran out before I could add cuffs for my sleeves. I’d been sitting on this fabric for more than a year, trying to decide what to make. It’s definitely a pricey fabric, but the idea is to make quality over quantity and I plan to wear this til it falls apart. Going thru a lot of my fabric makes me wince when I see how often only a yard or yard and a half was bought- little did I know then that it really limits what you can make. So I’ve been more careful about ordering in 2-1/2 to 3+ yards if they’re meant for clothes. Live and learn.
This is a size 14 and thought I would have plenty of room for my broad back according to the finished measurements. However, I forgot to take into account the sleeves. These are close fitting sleeves- quite nice actually, without all the extra looseness around the armscye. The problem is that I never thought about how the sleeve’s construction can change the ease in the back. So it fits, but it is a little snug when I bring my arms forward while driving, etc. When this is back on my cutting table, I’ll add an inch at the back for extra ease.
All hail, Liberty of London fabric- and the colors are so nicely saturated. A bit out of my comfort zone, but the black gives a litte relief.
Happy New Year, here is the first make for 2015 in a modified Vogue 8840 in Nani Iro Brushed Cotton. From Miss Matatabi, of course. Apparently, brushed cotton is a fancy way of saying flannel. With winters being so short in San Antonio, I had to stop waffling about cutting into this gorgeous fabric.
Also. This had gold accents. Yes, gold..on me? If Naomi Ito designs it, I will probably love it.
For a while I was wanting to make this into a Weekend Getaway Tunic, but didn’t have enough fabric. But my 2 and 1/2 yards would be enough for something a little simpler- Vogue 8840 (size 14) came to me in a flash since it was already cut out and would be easy to modify.
So, modifications to the pattern: Added 8″ to bodice length, and sleeves. Did a freehand faux button placket, a la Lisette’s Market Blouse– sadly out of print. And added in seam pockets using the Endless Summer Tunic pocket pattern piece. I also sewed all the way up the back since the opening is just big enough to squeeze my head through after mods.
My 2015 is already off to a good start- hope yours is going swimmingly, as well!