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.
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..
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!
To say that the last few days have been trying is like saying San Antonio summers are a little warm. Eva is firmly entrenched in her terrible twos and the holidays have me scrambling. I almost reached my tipping point a couple of days ago when Z walked into the living room, gasped and said, “MAMA! look what sister diiiid!” This usually is a terrible precursor to something that will either be covered in marker, leaves a wet mess, or her with all her clothes off in a combination of the first two. But let me backtrack.
I had been sewing, and had the iron on which was nearby on the iron board for easy reach. The last month has been an ongoing love affair of Merchant and Mills patterns, and that day was reserved for The Dress Shirt pattern. In a lovely single gauze purchased at, you guessed it, Miss Matatabi on Etsy.
So there I was enjoying the whir of the sewing machine, the puff, hiss of my iron as it waited patiently to be used to press a seam. The faint scent of starch was a pleasant aroma. As so often it happens, time got away from me and I lost sight of how quiet E had become for the last 20 minutes..never a good thing for a two year old. Z comes clomping down the stairs and goes into the living room and starts screeching.
Turns out, that pleasant aroma of starch was drifting from the living room, not my ironing board like I’d thought. She had decided to try and completely cover the TV stand and TV with starch. She was quite proud that she had figured out how to work the spray nozzle, and had the area completely saturated. Much drama ensued as this was our only big TV and it was quite important to the kids and hubby. (I couldn’t care less if we had a TV at all in the house, but that is neither here nor there)
We thought it was a goner, lights blinked crazily and the screen was fuzzy. Of course, hubby tinkered and got the back casing off and managed to soak up most of the starch and the next morning it was working again. Just another catastrophe averted in the Vaz household. That’s just one day that has blended into many days of the same these past few months. Some days I think I’m crazy to say yes to more teaching gigs, since there is so much coordinating to be done, etc. But the time will pass anyway, and I’d rather avoid that loathsome feeling of, ‘what if?’ There have been special orders for customers that have been delayed for lack of torch time and class supply lists that needed to be updated before getting sent out for a future class in the Seattle area. These crazy days of kids running around underfoot will be short and soon missed once they get old enough to be embarrassed by their parents.
Lots of little things that have added up to a big headache before the end of the year. But this is nothing new for most of us, by the time the end of the year is on the horizon, I usually start reflecting. Of course, I’d like it to be deep and profound- but let’s face it; with a two year old and a first grader in the house it’s mostly been about messes that had to be cleaned, dirty diapers you hoped didn’t leak before they were changed and trying to maintain some sort of balance for sanity’s sake.
My hubs has coined this make ‘the Reverse Penguin’ since he said the bib is black instead of white. Men. Fit for me and details on the make:
Size 12 and the fit in the shoulders is quite nice. The waist and hips are quite spacious, perhaps a bit too much- maybe go down a size in that area? I’m thinking I may do an inverted pleat and sew it down a couple of inches below the bib to control some of the billowing. Again, I’m really wishing the pattern had a finished garment measurement on it somewhere. This fabric is quite thin and semi-sheer in the light, not sure how it will withstand the inevitable tugging and grasping of a two and 6 year old. The fold back sleeve is a nice touch, you can leave it rolled down if you looking for a little bit more length. I’d love to make this again in a yarn dye linen. Maybe next time add some in seam pockets since my hands had nowhere to hide. There is still much love for all things Merchant and Mills (ack! Entomology pins) and look forward to trying this one again.
Here’s to a merry and bright holiday season!
It was bound to happen with all the sewing I’ve done this year. I was picking out clothes to wear with my (finally) finished Sewaholic Renfrew Top, and managed to put a complete handmade outfit on. The best part was that I wasn’t trying to grab something made by me, it just happened to catch my eye and let’s face it, white will go with pretty much anything!
Although the photos may not capture it, the fabric isn’t bright white- maybe a bone or slight off-white. Ponte knit bought frommmm..Girl Charlee, I believe. The jacket is my favorite make from Sew Chic Happy Homemade, Jacket J. The skirt was in heavy rotation this summer and is Simplicity 1428 in View D with French General fabric by Moda.
I traced a size 12 in the Renfrew and it has been sitting on my table for the better part of a year. Which is probably why I forgot and sewed the recommended 5/8″ seam rather than a 3/8″. It’s a little more snug than I like, especially in the arms. The cowl neck version is very flattering and if you Google images for this pattern, you’ll find some fabulous makes. Just need to narrow down the fabric so I can get one made.
You can see how it’s too snug in the back, I’m hoping the extra seam allowance will make enough of a difference so I don’t have to really tweak the fit.
It even looks slightly festive for this time of year.
Finished the Endless Summer Tunic from A Verb for Keeping Warm. The fabric was from High Fashion Fabrics bought this summer in Houston while I was at the ISGB Gathering. It’s a soft and slightly crisp chambray shirting in solid blue on one side and a subtle pinstripe on the back. May not be the best use of fabric for this pattern since it has some body, but it will do for a wearable muslin.
It was late sewing on the night I picked out bias binding. This was on clearance at Joann’s, I believe, and now love this color against the blue- the hem was also done using this way. And I must say, doing the shirt-tail hem was a little easier for me using this method- especially when I used the invisible hemming foot to help keep my stitching straight.
My son was the photographer since I couldn’t find my remote, he did a pretty good job, regardless.
This is a size 41, and has room for layering to transition the seasons. I love the fact that the size is the finished measurements- one of my pet peeves for Merchant and Mills patterns is that they don’t include finished garment sizes! But that is for another day.
The armscye was *almost* too low for my comfort in wearing it sleeveless. And I’m enjoying the look of yokes, although they’re not my favorite to sew.
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I’m also happy to finally have some photos of my Frankenpattern dress that was a mash-up between Simplicity 1652 and Simplicity 1882.
I forgot to staystitch the back neckline and my yarn-dyed linen stretched out a little in the back. Still super comfy and eminently wearable. Princess seams are my new best friend and another dress is already being planned..perhaps one with sleeves.