Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pendleton Wool Tote Bag

Fabric: Pendleton Wool & Scissor print cotton - Fancy Tiger Crafts (I can't find the name/line of the
             lining fabric on their website)
 Notions: Fancy Tiger Crafts Leather Bag Handles + Closure Kit (26")

This past weekend I went down to the Fancy Tiger Crafts shop to take their Pendleton Wool Tote Class which they offer now and again. Not to boost my own ego but I definitely could have skipped the class; however, it was a joy to browse all of their fabric and nicknacks they have in the shop. It was gorgeous in there. The machines they had available for us to work on were really nice as well. They definitely weren't anything too fancy, I was working on a beginner Janome, but they were so much quieter than my Singer.

All Pendleton fabric is double sided and I used the side that was more white - the other side has a lot more blue. I debated for awhile between a plain lining or something patterned and ended up deciding on this scissor print. I liked the yellow color because of how it matched with the bag and I knew the scissor print would make me smile when I looked inside. I have two pockets in there made out of the lining fabric. I went with two instead of three because I wanted to be able to fit my phone, wallet, and keys inside easily.

I think my favorite bit of the bag is the leather handle/closure. I feel like it really pulls the whole thing together and makes it look like a store bought bag even though it is one of a kind! In other news I have a fabric for a pair of jeans cut out and a half finished dress on my sewing table. I've been so busy lately and I keep finding other projects to work on. Grrrr - but this is what I love about summer!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Harper Blouse

Pattern: Harper Blouse - Spit Up & Stilletos
Fabric: Something polyester from Colorado Fabrics - I honestly have no idea what this fabric is made up of, it's pretty drapey & shifty though

I made my first 'summery' top or blouse as I like to think of it this past weekend and I really like how it turned out. I picked up this fabric last fall when I was at Colorado Fabrics down in Denver and I had been contemplating making a dress, maxi skirt, or top. I'm usually not one for busy fabrics but to me this felt summery and fun while still being work appropriate. It is sheer and you'll have to excuse my bra peeping out in the pictures above. I wore this outfit to work yesterday, with a shirt underneath, but didn't have time to photograph it so I threw it on this morning, with no shirt underneath, in order to take some quick pictures. 

The pattern was really straight forward and easy to follow. I french-seamed my seams so that I wouldn't have any exposed insides. I really like the neckline as well - would you call it a V-neck? It's not as deep as a traditional v-neck. I made my own bias tape out of the fabric and used it to finish the arms and make the waist-belt. I think using contrasting bias binding for the belt and armholes would be fun to try on a solid version of this.

As far as changes go I think I would make it a 1/4" wider on the back piece in the shoulder area and 1'4" wider right at the bust. There's no obvious stretching or pulling lines it just felt a little tight to me. Because this was such a simple top I can see myself making a ton more in other fun fabrics. I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear this a ton this summer. It also looks nice worn with a cardigan - so office appropriate in the summer time when the air conditioning is blasting. I think it would be easy to extend the hem and turn this into a fairly simple dress as well.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

'Wearable Muslin' White Denim Ginger Jeans

Pattern: Ginger Jeans - Closet Case Files
Fabric: White Stretch Denim - JoAnn's

It's still quite unbelievable to me that I'm sitting here in my first pair of jeans ever - the jeans that I'm probably going to wear everyday this week if I'm being honest. Oh man, making these was equal parts great and awful. So many things went wrong most likely because I was distracted by whatever Netflix show I was watching. That's the point of making a muslin right? To figure it all out before you make the real thing. Luckily these turned out wearable but just barely. The nice thing is that I did feel like i learned a lot and I know now what fitting changes I will make for next time. And there will be a next time because I have 6 yards of raw denim waiting on my shelf to be cut into - wahoo!

Connie is thinking 'Why are you taking so many pictures of your butt?'
Also can you see the dirt on my seat from riding my bike seat earlier? This is why I can't have nice things

I knew I wanted to make a muslin of these because I've never made jeans before and I was worried about all kinds of fitting issues. I decided to make view B first which is the high waisted skinny leg variation. Before sewing I basted all of the pieces together and everything seemed to fit just fine. What I completely ignored at the time was that the waistband was falling about 2 inches below my belly button. On the instructions there's a little notation that says that view B is supposed to fall right above the belly button. When I cut out my pieces I based them off of the finished measurements listed. I cut a 12 throughout the legs and hips but graded to an 8 up to the waist and I cut an 8 in the pockets as well. Big mistake number 1. This would've been fine if the rise of the jeans actually ended above my belly button where I fit into the size 8 measurements, but because these fit lower on me where they ended was about a size 10 measurement. So when I tried them on after sewing them pretty much together minus the buttonhole they were way too tight around my waist. The pockets were also to small and were gaping and bulging. Disaster.

 Luckily due to the 5/8" seam allowance I was able to unpick them at the sides and ease out the seam to a 1/4". I had enough leftover fabric to recut the waistband and all was good and well... until I pulled the slider off the zipper and then almost cried when i couldn't get it back on. I was ready to give up (I was not taking apart the fly front and resewing it with a new zipper) when I managed to get it back on. Crisis averted and all was well...except for the pockets which were still gaping because they were too small. So I decided to just sew them shut along the topstitching and voila! No more gaping - alas no more front pockets. Who uses front pockets anyways? The fix for next time is to lengthen the wait rise of the pants at the lengthen/shorten marking probably by an inch or two. I think I'll still cut a size 12 through the legs, grade up to a 10 through the hips & start of the torso and end at an 8 around my belly button. I think I'll err on the side of caution and cut the pockets at a size 10 next time just to avoid gaping issues.

The topstitching was actually really fun even though I need to work on going slowly and staying even a bit more. My basic Singer machine handled it like a pro and only needed some coaxing over the thicker fabric areas.

These took me about two and a half weeks to finish mainly because I only had time to sew in fits and spurts. I'm pretty sure they'll take less on this second pair. I'm going to take a break and sew something else in the meantime but then I'll be back with my second pair. I have some otter wax I've been holding onto that I think I'm going to use to make a waxed pair! Let me know what you guys think in the comments below.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ponte Knit Alyssa Dress

Pattern: Alyssa Dress - Spit Up & Stilletos (formerly Sewloft)
Fabric:  Ponte Knit Fabric - Remnant from JoAnn's

I sewed this dress in a day way back when before Easter but never got around to posting it until now. This was a really straightforward pattern - just two pieces - and I sewed my standard size 8 grading out to a 10 in the hips. I should say this was also a free pattern! Spit Up & Stilletos used to be Sewloft Patterns but they decided to make the switch from women's patterns to children's patterns and as a result all of their old women's patterns are free pdf downloads. Needless to say I downloaded just about all of them and based off of how this dress turned out I think it was a pretty good idea.

Since I used a ponte knit this is a bit tighter/slimmer fitting and it's easy, depending on what I pair with it, to dress it up or down. I think it would be interesting to make this again in a knit fabric with more stretch because I'm pretty sure the fit would be more sundress and less bodycon.

All in all it's a nice addition to my summer wardrobe, I used up some fabric I had laying around, and I felt like a sewing champ after making it in two hours. In other news I've been working on my 'muslin' ginger jeans for the last two weeks and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be finishing them up today - so excited to be able to wear them and get started cutting into my fancy raw denim.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Navy Blue Eyelet Strip Granville Button Down

Pattern: Granville Shirt - Sewaholic Patterns
Fabric: Navy Blue Cotton Eyelet Stripe Shirting - Colorado Fabrics 

I was super  excited to take pictures this morning because I realized over the weekend that my old-school point and shoot digital camera had a timer option that would take two pictures in a row. After figuring out the perfect height to place the camera, what spot in the room I got the best light in, etc. the batteries died. Of course we're fresh out of AA batteries. Blah - why do Monday's always inevitably not go quite right. Anyways it was back to the laptop pictures, but I did manage to figure out how to turn the exposure up. So even though the pictures might be a little bit grainy you can see the fabric!

The Granville top is a new pattern release from Sewaholic Patterns. Way back when I first started this blog one of my first projects was the Minoru Jacket. I was excited when I saw this pattern release because I love the look of a fitted button down. I feel like this can transition from work wear to everyday wear depending on what you wear with it. Not to mention that this fabric makes me think of spring and summer. I love the texture and the tiny little eyelet hole strips (not sure what the technical term is sooooo I'm going with that).

I based my size off of the finished measurements included on the pattern envelope and ended up cutting a 8 through the top, a six through the waist, and I graded back out to an 8 through the waist. I like the way this ended up fitting through the bust and waist but I don't like how exaggerated the hip flare is. I know part of that is the design of the shirt which is supposed to be curvy and not straight but I think I would prefer and could just sew a straight 6 or keep the 8 in the bust. Alternatively I think I could just take a half inch off of each side on those two front pieces right at the seam. I also have some major swayback going on which I think I'm actually going to try and fix and make the adjustment on my pattern piece so that it will be fixed forever. I just really want this to be very fitted and streamlined that way if I ever wear it under anything I won't look lumpy.

I got the buttons from JoAnn's and they're LaMode Style 27673. I was originally going for a nautical vibe but I feel like it ended up looking more cowgirl. Ahhh well. I also spent a lot of time making sure my sleeve plackets were perfect only to end up sewing one sleeve on completely inside out - which somehow resulted in the placket not only being wrong side up but also on the top of my arm instead of on the bottom. I thought about picking it out and reattaching but for once in  my life I actually took the time to flat fell all of the seams of the shirt so I wouldn't have any raw edges exposed inside and that meant I'd have to unpick that seam too. Way too much work for something only I'll notice but also very frustrating to have happen after spending a ton of time being careful with every other part of the shirt. 

All in all once I get things in order with this pattern I feel like this will definitely be a wardrobe staple. Now in the meantime I will get some batteries so I can show off the dress I made a week ago and wore to Easter! Next up on the cutting table....jeans!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring/Summer 2015 Wardrobe Plans

     Now that the seasons are changing, even though it might snow on Friday, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to make for the spring/summer season. I'm trying to avoid buying any clothes unless it's something that I absolutely have to have, won't be able to find again, and is a reasonable price. When I was planning everything out I was looking for patterns that were nice for summer but dependent on the fabric they're made in could transition for work and for fun summer events. I always feel like I'm behind the curve during the seasons - on the first nice day everyone here busts out their cutest sundresses/shorts/tops/etc. While I want to be fashionable I don't want to buy 'fast fashion' or clothes that are cheaply made and will only last for the season even if they look good now. It's hard not to be tempted but I think I can avoid this dilemma based on what I choose to make.

To start - dresses. I love wearing dresses period. They make you look nice with minimal effort and they're usually pretty comfortable. Especially on a hot summer day when pants just feel sticky and a nice breeze is desired. Looking at these now I realize that the silhouette for each dress is pretty similar - fitted in the bodice with slight bell shaping in the skirt. It's definitely a silhouette that I love because it highlights my  body at it's smallest point which is my true waist. I also already own two dress patterns, the By Hand London Sabrina & the Deer and Doe Belladone, and I've blogged about them here and here. I haven't gotten a chance to make up the Sabrina dress in the button up version yet so that will probably get added to my list as well.

Next up we have shirts & blouses. I feel like a lot of the shirts/tank tops/blouses I own I've had for years and have kind of grown out of. But since I don't have anything better to replace them with I've held on to them. I wanted patterns that'd be versatile enough to wear a bunch of different ways and patterns that had fun design elements like the cutouts on the Datura blouse. I think the Granville Shirt is going to become a wardrobe staple mainly because of how fitted it is and I know I'll be able to wear this alone or layered underneath things. I'm also planning on making sleeveless versions that can be more summer appropriate as well as perfect for layering under sleeveless dresses.

Row 1: Ginger Jeans

I bought the ginger jeans pattern and kit way back before Christmas but just haven't gotten around to sewing them. I'm planning on making both the high waisted and regular versions and I have some otter wax that I'm planning on using to make a waxed version. I wanted to make the maritime shorts pattern last year but never got around to it. I feel like you can never have enough shorts in the summer and I think having a pattern that is a decent length will be nice; nowadays the stores are only selling those super short diaper/butt cheek hanging versions - blegh. I feel like these will look good in twill, denim, or other fun fabrics as well.

I had a ton of fun making a swimsuit last year and I've seen a number of people use this pattern which has quite a few options for you to mix and match. 

 Instead of linking to each fabric I'm going to link to my Pinterest Board that has all of the important info

This season instead of focusing on a certain color palette I decided to stick with fabrics that are mainly neutral - grey, navy, tan and a mix of graphic prints. I typically don't wear a lot of prints and I think that's because I don't have enough basics in my wardrobe to mix and match them with. I feel like all of these prints can be worn with a variety of things I own and mixed-matched for layering as well. Another thing I worry about with prints is that they'll go out of style. I've been seeing tons of tiny 90's flowered things everywhere lately so I'm trying to stay away from fad like fabrics and think long term.

If you've made it to the end of this post you deserve a prize - this was a long one. It's likely that I won't get around to sewing even half of these things. I know at some point I'll be traveling, camping, or just too busy laying in the hammock in the yard to do any sewing. Such is summer. I am trying to prioritize though so I can get the most out of this seasons sewing. I already am working on cutting out a Granville shirt which will be followed by the Ginger Jeans. From there I think I'll try and alternate between dresses and blouses and more Granville's followed hopefully by some shorts! Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Floral Belladone Dress

Fabric: Mystery Cotton from Colorado Fabrics
Pattern: Deer & Doe Belladone

Let me start by saying that I have so much regret...regret that I waited so long to make this pattern because it is fabulous. This is the first pattern I've made from Deer & Doe, a pattern company based in France, and this pattern has basically sold me on them as a whole. I had originally planned to make this pattern way back in the fall when I picked up this fall floral themed fabric. I don't know why I twiddled my thumbs for so long. Sadly now that it's nearly spring it probably won't get a lot of wear until August/September, but believe me when I say I'm going to wear it to death until winter's truly over. It snowed just a tiny bit yesterday so I have a little bit of time.

 Check out that diamond keyhole back! (definitely the technical term)

The pattern instructions come printed in both French and English and while they didn't hold your hand through the process they were still easy to understand and interpret. Based on the measurements I sewed a 40 through the bodice and waist and graded out to a 44 through the skirt. I think I could probably get a way with a 42 through the skirt just because it flares out naturally, but depending on the fabric the bigger size could make for a fuller skirt. The bodice fits pretty well but it's the slightest bit loose. I don't think it's loose enough that I could go down a size. Next time I'd probably take a half inch off each side around the back zipper.

Every dress should have pockets!

I'm pretty sure this is going to become a tried and true pattern for me. I'm already envisioning making a ton of different versions. I think you could really play around with contrast at the waistband and around the back and neckline where you stabilize with bias tape.

Even though it did snow the other day I've got spring on the brain. There are a ton of other fall/winter patterns I wanted to sew this past season but it just didn't happen. I'm putting those aside for now and focusing on the upcoming season. I've been pinning all of the patterns I want to make over on my Spring 2015 pinterest board while trying not to go to overboard. Do you guys plan what patterns you're going to make seasonally?