Saturday, February 28, 2015

By Hand London - Textured Sabrina Dress

I was trying to catch the light so you could see dress and the fabric texture

Fabric: textured ponte like knit - Colorado Fabrics
Pattern:  Sabrina Dress - By Hand London

How's it going everyone? I feel like it's that part of the winter where I'm anxious for spring but we're really no where close - do you guys ever feel like that? That all being said I figured making a dress would perk me up even though it hasn't really been dress weather here. Oh well...This is a pattern I've made twice before to make dresses as Christmas presents for my two roommates. I never posted about those dresses because I hadn't taken any pictures but the pattern is pretty easy to follow and sew up.

Both times prior to making this version I had used a non-stretch fabric which gives the dress a much more crisp appearance. This is a pretty sturdy knit and I actually like the drape and weight of how this turned out. Not to mention that because it's a cozy knit fabric this dress is super comfortable. The pattern calls for an invisible zipper up the back. I left that out due to the ease of the knit and it was a good decision because I didn't need it at all. I actually might need to take in the dress a bit on the sides but I'm going to wait until after I wash it just in case it shrinks a little bit.

I flat-felled all of the seams in order to get a nice clean finish on the inside but I kind of wish I hadn't. The reason for that is that the texture and weight of the fabric makes the seams look a little bulky at least to me. I feel like if I had just left the seams unfinished the inside of the dress might be a little ugly but the outside would look more smooth. This dress can definitely be dressed up or down depending on what I wear it with and all in all I think it's a great addition to my wardrobe. I love the texture of the fabric - I actually think it might be the same fabric Erin from sewbon used in her magena fringe jumper. Textured fabrics really stand out to me as different and they just add that extra detail that you don't see in a lot of clothes. That being said it was super hard to photograph but I tried my best.

It felt great to make a dress and I'm already planning my next one. Hopefully I'll have some chair updates to share with you all by the end of the week...i'll just say, it's looking great!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lingerie: Cloth Habit's Watson Bra & Bikini and Rosy Ladyshorts Patterns

 I still can't believe these turned out so great!
Pattern: Watson Bra & Bikini , Rosy Ladyshorts - Cloth Habit
Fabric/Notions: Blackbird Lingerie Kit 

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you these pictures might look familiar. I just couldn't wait to share my latest creations with the world because I'm so excited and proud of how they turned out. This is my first venture into underwear/lingerie sewing and I can see why so many bloggers have been making their own undergarments nonstop over the last couple of months. It's addicting, easy, and a really quick project. I wanted to take a break from the wing back chair project (updates on that here & here) and sew something that I could finish quickly and feel accomplished.

Enter the Watson Bra & Bikini Pattern by Cloth Habit, this pattern was just released a few months ago and people were giving it really good reviews. It's a nice entry into bra sewing as it doesn't involve underwire and it's only $15. The bra can be made in either the long line form pictured above or a shorter typical style bra. Over Christmas I ordered a lingerie kit from Blackbird Fabrics which was great. It included enough fabric to make the bra and two sets of underwear, it included all the notions, and it was only $35. The only problem I had is that shipping was kind of expensive since it was coming from Canada. Next time I would probably source my own notions and fabric, but as an alternative Grey's Fabric based out of Boston also has lingerie kits and a lot of theirs are very lacy & hard to resist.

The pattern was really easy to understand and the diagrams were clear. Some of my elastic stitching was a little uneven and I could probably do a better job of stretching the elastic next time. I think that's just something you get a feel for over time.

                                Watson Bikini                                                                 Rosy Ladyshorts

I made the bikini bottoms that were included in the Watson pattern and those were really straightforward and simple. Probably only took me about an hour to sew up completely. I had quite a bit of fabric left and so I decided to make another matching pair of underwear and so I downloaded the Rosy Ladyshorts Pattern which is a free pattern from Cloth Habit. I actually didn't have enough of the main pink fabric to cut out the pattern pieces completely so I hacked the pattern a bit in order to include a mesh panel using the leftover fabric from the bra band.

I actually think these are much cuter than the basic bikini underwear, but those could always be jazzed up with fancier elastic lace. I actually used a hem stretch lace for these which was a bad idea because it doesn't have nearly as much stretch as a stretch lace does. They fit fine, but they do dig in a little bit and I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be the case if the lace was different.

All in all I'm really pleased and I know I will be coming back to this pattern again. The fit of the bra is quite nice and comfortable and it provides really good support considering there is no underwire. I'm on a bit of a buying ban however so it may be awhile before I do purchase new supplies. Until then I'm lucky enough to have a stash of other fabrics and projects (like the wing back chair!) to keep me busy.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Reupholstery: Spring tying, padding, and covering the seat

I just thought I'd share a brief update of how my chair project is coming along. It's going good so far if you can't tell by the pictures above.

1. The original chair
2. The chair completely stripped and wiped down
3. The current progress on the chair. The seat padding has been added and the top fabric cut out but it is not yet attached. I have to sew together the fabric that goes along the deck and add piping before I can staple it down completely.
4. The first stage in reconstructing the chair was to apply new webbing to the bottom. This is what holds the springs.
5. The springs then got tied on to the webbing
6. Then the springs got tied down themselves in an 8-point tie. This helps to compress them into shape and make them act as a unit when you're sitting down.
7. I stained the legs and all parts underneath the chair that would be visible a nice rosewood color. The springs were covered with a piece of burlap.
8. Edge roll was added along the edge of the seat in order to help stabilize an area that gets a lot of wear and tear. Cotton batting was added on top of the burlap for padding and to smooth out an bumps from the springs.
9. The foam for the seat was cut out and glued onto another piece of burlap. This piece of burlap then got stapled down to the chair effectively holding the foam seat in place.
10. Maurice the cat thinks that it's good as is.
11. A layer of Dacron got glued on top and around the deck to add more padding.
12. The seat fabric has been cut out and checked for fit.

Even thought I haven't had much time during the week to work on this it's actually coming along quite nicely. I'm hoping to finish it up in the coming week so check back soon!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reupholstery: Stripping the Wingback Chair

Just a little bit left to go!

So I got around to the wingback chair I mentioned in my previous post this past weekend. I couldn't have asked for a better weekend to get started. It was in the upper 50's and sunny and perfect to sit outside with the radio on while ripping off fabric and playing tug-of-war with staples. I don't have too much to say about the process at this point because you really just remove staples, remove fabric, and repeat. I've been keeping the old fabric pieces and labeling them as I take them off so that I have a template for my new fabric. I've also managed to salvage some of the old materials. So far I've found a penny and some crazy 80's fabric under the green fabric. I should have all of the old material off by the end of the night and I'm planning to get started immediately on re-tying the springs! I have a bunch of pictures below that are mostly in order of the removal process.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Upcoming Projects: Reupholstering and Sewing

I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I'm getting ready to start working on both sewing and re-upholstery related.

What a spoiled little pup!

One of the projects I'm most excited to get started on is re-upholstering this wingback chair. I found this thing on the side of the street last fall for free and carried it home where it then sat in the garage for the last couple of months. I finally brought it inside and into my room, and as you can see my roommates dog immediately tried to claim it as her chair. The chair is actually in great condition, the current fabric is a little stained and worn around the lower deck, but other than that it's fine. Right now my room mostly consists of things that are green, white, dark brown, and some gold and bronze. I really want to add some color into this 'reading corner' and I figured this chair would be a great place to start. 

I just purchased a whopping 8 yards of this medium weight cotton Hamilton Reflections Fuchsia fabric (shown above) from It was pretty pricey, but I had a giftcard (thanks grandma!) from Christmas that I decided to put to use. I think the print will be big enough to not be overly busy while adding in some pops of color that are complementary to the room currently. I definitely think it will modernize the chair for sure! I'm also planning on getting some fabric to make pillows in other fun bright colors that I can sit on the chair or throw on my bed. One of the fabrics is shown above, and it is also from - I haven't ordered it yet. I just got an email saying the fabric is a going to ship a little bit behind schedule due to all of the orders they're currently processing (everyone probably got giftcards for Christmas). In the meantime I need to pick up some burlap, foam padding, staples, twine, dacron, and cording. I'm debating on whether i want to line the borders of the chair with cording/piping or use tacks. While I'm waiting on the fabric to get here I'm going to start stripping the chair and retying the springs and adding new padding. I'm so excited about this project.

Before they sold out last fall I managed to purchase one of the denim kits that Closet Case Files was selling with the ginger jeans pattern. The kit came with the pattern and enough denim and notions to make two pairs of jeans. The pattern is a skinny jean pattern that includes a normal rise and high waist variation. My kit came before I left for break, but I haven't gotten a chance to do anything with it. I need to get some muslin fabric to make up a practice version before I cut into the denim. Once I get the fit together I'm going to whip these up because I love jeans and two new pairs tailored to my body specifically sounds like a dream!

I also purchased a Watson Bra & Panty Kit from Blackbird Fabrics in the peach color (the photo above shows the sapphire and black kit). The kit includes enough fabric and notions to make one bra/underwear set. The pattern isn't included, but the pattern I'm planning to use (shown in the photo above on the left) is the Watson Bra and Bikini Pattern from Cloth Habit. The pattern includes variations for both a long line bra (shown above) and a regular length bra, both sans underwire. I've seen and read great reviews of this pattern and it looks like a pretty introductory pattern to the lingerie world of patterns. I've been accumulating quite a stash of knit fabrics that would work great with this pattern and I think it would be a good way to use those little scraps I always seem to have left behind.

I have a list of other patterns and fabrics I want to sew into things, but the stuff listed above is what I'm focusing on first and foremost. Plus this post is already long enough so I'll leave you with that. If you're really interested check out my pinterest page and look at the Patterns Fall/Winter board. Hopefully I'll have time to work on some things soon!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Christmas Makes: Finlayson Sweaters, a White Russian Sweatshirt

Eating, and eating, and more eating!

I had a wonderful holiday, I got to go home for two weeks and spend a bunch of time with my family. It was great to get away from work and things in CO for awhile, but it is nice to be back. There's a few weeks before the semester actually starts back up again so I have time to get back in the swing of things here, and do some recharging. Before I left for break I did quite a bit of sewing. I made both of my roommates By Hand London Sabrina dresses (which I'm not going to post today because I only have one subpar picture). Both dresses fit great considering I didn't make muslins of them as I wanted them to be a surprise. I ended up hemming one by about 4 inches and taking the other in just a wee bit on the sides.

Fabric: Black Ethnic Diamond on White Cotton French Terry Blend Knit Fabric - Girl Charlee 
             2 x 1 White Cotton Solid Rib Knit - Girl Charlee
Pattern: Finlayson Sweater Pattern - Thread Theory Designs, Inc. 

I've never made my brother, dad, or grandpa anything I've sewn so I thought this Christmas I'd gift them all with Finlayson Sweaters. This was my first time using a Thread Theory pattern and my first time really sewing any menswear. I thought the pattern instructions were clear and organized and very well written, and all three of my sweaters turned out fantastic. One thing I really liked about this pattern was the different ways you could customize the sweater. I chose to make the version lacking the hood and front pocket, but I was still able to add details at the collar and back of the neck. I think the collar is my favorite part of this sweater. I love how it folds over and how the use of a contrasting fabric really stands out. This sweater was for my brother who's 23. I thought this print was really fun and 'young' and I was hoping he'd like it a lot.

My brother modeling! It fit him great, he even wore it as his Christmas outfit

The fit on this ended up being great, it was a little bit loose in the arms, but I think that's due to the fabric having a lot of stretch. Hopefully once it's washed it'll tighten up a bit. 

Fabric: Deep Forest Cotton Modal Lycra French Terry Knit & Sandalwood Cotton Modal Lycra French Terry Knit -
          Girl Charlee

I unfortunately didn't get pictures of my dad and grandpa wearing their Finlayson's, but they fit them both great as well. I made my dad the Forest Green one and my grandpa the Sandalwood color. I think they were both surprised that I had made them sweaters. It was fun to see the looks on their faces when they realized that, yes, I really did make them! For these two I didn't use ribbing on the cuffs or hem, instead I just used the terry knit fabric. Girl Charlee didn't have ribbing in matching colors and I thought white or black would stand out too much.

Fabric: Koala Gray Cotton Jersey Sweatshirt Fleece Fabric - Girl Charlee
             Black Cotton Solid Rib Knit - Girl Charlee
             Black Piping - JoAnn Fabrics
Pattern: White Russian Sweatshirt - Capital Chic Patterns

Last, but certainly not the least is a gray quilted White Russian Sweatshirt that I made for my mom. I've made two White Russians before ( one quilted and another appliqued ) and loved the way they both turned out. My mom had previously mentioned wanting a quilted one, and boy did I pull out all the stops on this one. I loved the way it turned out so much I wanted to keep it. I used real ribbing for the cuffs, hem, and collar which makes it look more like a RTW item. My favorite detail besides the quilting is the black piping I added at the raglan seams! I'm not going to lie, I was inspired by the piping on this fabulous wool top that Katy from Katy & Laney made. All in all I think it was a successful, but a little stressful, handmade gift giving season.  Next year if I make clothes for my family I want to start much much earlier that way I don't have to cram it all in last minute. I'm planning on posting again later today or sometime tomorrow on all of the upcoming projects I have planned. Can't wait to get back to my sewing machine now that I've had some time away.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Rochester,NY - Flower City Inspired White Russian Sweatshirt

Fabric: White Waffle Knit Fleece - Colorado Fabrics
Pattern: White Russian - Capital Chic Patterns

After I made my first quilted white russian sweatshirt I knew I'd be making another before long. I picked up this fabric from Colorado Fabrics when I went down to Denver around September. It's hard to see in the pictures but the right side of the fabric actually is textured with a waffle pattern while the inside/wrong side is some of the softest fleece I've ever felt. The material has a bit of stretch to it and it's kind of spongy. I know that's a weird description but really there's no other way to describe it. When you pinch it between your fingers it almost feels like a foam mattress pad. The inspiration for this sweatshirt comes from Rochester, NY where I lived for a year a couple years back. Rochester was originally referred to as the 'flour city' due to producing a ton of flour, but as farming practices changed and the city did as well the nickname got changed to 'flower city'.

The city of Rochester logo                                                                                  My applique
Since the fabric I was using was already textured I decided to do some applique instead of quilting on this version. Out of a black knit fabric I cut out 5 pieces that I traced from the city of Rochester logo. I then pinned them on the center of my fabric and started to sew them on. I quickly realized that picking knit fabric to applique probably wasn't the smartest idea because it immediately started to stretch out of proportion. I ended up handing basting the pieces down, but they still ended up shifting a bit. After applying the applique the rest of the sweatshirt was a breeze to sew.

I figured I'd probably wear this sweatshirt to go snowboarding in a lot because the fabric was so cozy. With that in mind I chose to lengthen the pattern by 4 inches at the hem and grade out from the waist to the hem an inch on each side. I wanted a looser fit because I like to layer clothes when I go snowboarding and I didn't want to feel too bulky.

An action shot of me on the slopes at Keystone

I've already worn this twice to go snowboarding in and I love the feel and the length of it. I prefer to wear longer styled things so that when I fall (which happens a lot) less snow gets in my pants! I finished this and a couple projects ages ago, but never got around to blogging them. For me, if I don't take pictures and post something within a week of finishing I find that I'm less inclined to post it. Usually I've already started on a new project and am just so focused on that I forget about what I've made. With that said I'm trying to catch up on sharing the recent items I've made and the new stuff I'm working on: lots of Christmas sewing!