Monday, August 17, 2015

Papercut Clover Dress

I have been sewing, I really have, but my finished projects rarely get photographed. This dress was finished quickly last week and then worn two days in a row. Frank says it is his favorite thing I've ever made. It is my favorite for the moment. This is the Clover Dress from Papercut Patterns and is a perfect summer dress. Clover Dress Clover Dress Clover Dress Clover Dress Back Clover Dress Detail Clover Dress
This dress is so simple to make that I didn't refer to the instructions at all. I had wanted to use this Rayon Challis (still available in another colorway here) for this pattern but was struggling to find the right trim for the insert detail. I was looking at trims by the yard but then it occurred to me that I had the perfect lovely orange Eyelet from Golden D'or in Dallas in my stash.

The only change I made to this pattern was adding an inch to the hem. I then ended up making a pretty deep hem, so may not have been necessary. I didn't do the full belt, but opted to sew ties for cinching in the back, which I think is more flattering on me. There is really no fitting necessary as this is a loose, pull over dress. I made the size XS based on my measurements and the fit is great. I also did French seams to all but the bust insert. This probably made the dress ever so slightly smaller, as my French seams always end up bigger than they are supposed to. I serged wrong sides together and then turned and sewed a straight stitch on my machine.

This is my second pattern and third make with Papercut and I love their designs. I have made two versions of the Soma Swimsuit, which haven't made it to the blog because me in a swimsuit on my blog? Lets just say I'm not there yet. Speaking of swimsuits, I just received two online orders of swim fabric and have big plans for sewing swimsuits for our upcoming trip to Tulum. We are heading there in November to celebrate my 40th birthday on the beach, so I have a little time to get ready.

I am fully on the Rayon Challis bandwagon now and could wear it all summer long. I'm so happy it is becoming available in great patterns and colors for home sewists. It also dyes amazingly well and I have a bunch of white in my to-dye box. So many projects, so little time..... better get back to sewing Karlie's birthday costume.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Miette(s) and their mates

I have recently started doing some un-selfish sewing for a couple of friends. This is not like me at all, but when I saw the Miette wrap skirt pattern it just screamed Gretchen. Gretchen is my life long friend and a talented artist. This skirt just looked like her. I'm so glad that the idea of making a Miette for her came about, because it also motivated me to make one for myself, and I know it won't be my last. I'm totally in love with this pattern!

I made G's version out of a lovely Japanese cotton denim that I found at Joann. It was my first project to do top stitching on and I love the result! I think the skirt is a hit with Gretchen, she said it fits well and she really likes it.
Gretchen's Miette

And an action shot. Gretchen's Miette

I made my version of Miette in a denim with a bit of stretch. The only change I made was a swayback alteration. I'm not even sure if I'm doing those correctly, but it seems to work. I adore this skirt! It is not something that I was initially drawn to for myself, so this un-selfish sewing has benefited me as well.
Miette meets Anna Maria

I dig the 70s vibe of this design, it is really an era that I am drawn to lately.  Perhaps because I was born in 1975 and my mom was a young, stylish woman in the 70s. The skirt overlaps by quite a bit in the back, so there is no fear of a wardrobe malfunction, at least in a sturdy fabric like denim. It also has the perfect A line shape, slightly flared, but not over the top.Miette meets Anna Maria

And great big pockets! Miette meets Anna Maria

Here is my favorite detail, the top stitching. Might be time to try to make some jeans. Miette up close

The top is a super simple, but new favorite pattern, Simplicity 1106. I made the size Small, view D without the pocket. I left off all facings, opting for self bias tape instead. I shortened this quite a bit, but will make the longer, tunic length to go with leggings in the Fall. The fabric is Anna Maria Horner Rayon Challis and I LOVE it. I always snooze on designer fabrics, but am thankful for Etsy sellers who have them long after the big boys are sold out. I made this top out of 1 yard of fabric, barely enough but it worked. This top looks fabulous untucked with jeans as well. What you can't see here is the cute shirt tail hem. I do love a good shirt tail hem line! I recommend this pattern as well, it is a quick make and fun to wear.Miette meets Anna Maria

The back cutout detail is my favorite. It adds just enough interest to make this top not be plain Jane. Miette meets Anna Maria

I forgot to mention that there is something to be said for sewing in multiples and really getting a pattern down. Of course this one was easy to fit, and didn't require any fitting really (aside from my swayback alteration). I think having made one up for G first really made my skirt go faster. I have done some un-selfish sewing for my mom, my mother in law and my other bff Christi. The funny thing is both the piece that I made for my mom and for Christi I want to make for myself as well now. Perhaps the un-selfish sewing will continue, if only to get me to explore new shapes for myself that I may not have been drawn to or thought of before.

I am now in the midst of being obsessed with sewing swimsuits. I'm working on a Papercut Pattern Soma top at the moment, and have several more planned. Daydreaming about the trip that we want to take to Tulum this Fall for my 40th I suppose. Gotta have the swim wardrobe locked down first!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Linen Mona Jacket

You guys, this is my most proud make so far! I can't remember how I discovered this pattern but I love everything about it. This is the Mona Jacket by Schnittchen and I highly recommend it. I had quite an adventure making this blazer and I'm so proud of the outcome. I finished it in early April and have worn it a ton.

Yes, linen wrinkles. These photos were taken after an afternoon of running errands. I think this is a linen rayon blend, it was something my mom had given me from her stash. 

I lined the jacket with a poly from Joann. I don't usually like polyester but it works here. There is an option for an unlined jacket as well. In fact, there are two different pdf downloads, one with the lining pieces and one without. There are also two different photo based sew-alongs on the Schnittchen blog for this jacket. Here is the one with the lining insertion.
 Me being silly in front of the Richard Serra sculpture at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

I love the design of this jacket. The shawl collar and the swoop in the front make it very fun to wear and easy to dress up or down.  I used interfacing on my collar pieces, which is optional I think it would look nice and drapey without. I ended up ironing a crease to make the shawl lie down better. mona2

The back is also fun with a vent and a nice shape. Sorry I didn't get a great photo of the back. monaback

I made the mistake of printing this pdf too small. I did the test run and it measured right, but then my dumb printer reset itself. Therefore the whole thing came out at maybe 85%. It wasn't an issue until I got to the sleeves and they wouldn't go on my arms! I emailed Silke before I realized my mistake and she was confused as well. Once I figured it out I was able to reprint the sleeves and squeeze another set out of the fabric scraps I had left. They fit onto the shrunken body fine. This means that the jacket is a bit shorter and smaller than designed. This was a wearable muslin and I am undecided weather I would reprint the body at 100%. I quite like the fit of this one. Don't be a dummy like me though, I recommend printing at 100% for the best fitting garment. I think the wrinkles at the top of the sleeve are from having to gather the sleeve cap a bit to fit the smaller body. They bother me a little but not enough to keep me from wearing this awesome jacket! The only other change I made was shortening the length of the sleeves.

I am definitely a fan of Schnittchen! Silke's designs are modern and fun, with a ton of thought put into them. The pdf patterns are super affordable and I plan to make more of her designs. Be sure and check out Schnittchen and let me know what you would like to make.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Karlie's Easter Dress

Easter at mom and dad's

Karlie answered my mom's phone when I called during her Spring break. She told me, "Aya, I need a Spring dress". Don't worry, I said, I'm already planning one. The entire plan came together around that little scrap of gorgeous green floral that is the top ruffle. I had purchased it at the now closed City Craft in Dallas (so sad) with Karlie in mind.

Easter at mom and dad's

It is a little hard to see from the pattern envelope, but I could tell that McCalls 6685 would allow me to pair lots of fun fabrics together. I love putting colors and patterns together for K as it allows me to go over the top with cuteness. I kept the body of the dress simple with two white eyelets, underlined in coral quilting cotton and a semi-sheer swiss dot. The top two fabrics were from my stash. And who can resist adding a little tulle to a 5 year olds dress?! I think the end result is the perfect blend of cute and fun and I think she liked it.

Easter at mom and dad's
Tricking Gagee (Frank) with the promise of a hug.

Easter at mom and dad's
He got her back!

Easter at mom and dad's
Karlie picked some Indian Paintbrush when she stopped to take pictures with her mom.

Easter at mom and dad's Easter at mom and dad's
This cracks me up so much. She is tough and wasn't phased at all. I look so unconcerned.

Easter at mom and dad's
A little detail of the skirt fabrics. Everytime I make something for Karlie I think it is the cutest thing I have ever made!

We had a lovely, but way to short visit with my family. My dad's birthday was the day after Easter this year, so it was extra nice to be able to be there. Dad is on a diet and said he couldn't have cake anyways, but I think he was just making me feel better about the fact that I ran out of time to make him one. We had lots of cousins and friends for the day and everyone brought delicious and healthy veggie sides and salads. It was the first time I remember eating a holiday meal where I didn't feel gross afterwards. Ham plus all those veggies were the perfect Easter meal in my opinion. I hope that tradition continues!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Shibori Indigo Dyed Muumuu

My dear friend Alley turned 40 on Saint Patrick's day. She is one of those people who is really hard to shop for, but who appreciates handmade items. I knew the only option was to make something special for her birthday. In typical Ashley fashion I waited until the last minute. This project came together from purchasing the fabric to dyeing, cutting and sewing the garment over a long weekend.

Dyeing with indigo
I had done some indigo and shibori dyeing with my mom, but this was the first time that I did it completely solo. I used the pre-reduced indigo crystals from Dharma Trading and the indigo bath was very easy to mix up. I didn't think it would work, but it totally did!

Arashi shibori indigo dyed linen

*Ignore my neglected garden.
I did Arashi Shibori, a process in which you fold and wrap your cloth around a pipe. It was harder than I remembered and with the linen it didn't squish down as much as I thought it would. It still came out beautifully though. I was very pleased with the results on my first try.


I wanted to make Alley a swim cover up and I settled on Simplicity 1375, view D. It was an easy make and easy to fit because it is a loose and flowy Muumuu type dress.


I made a little tag for the dress by signing my name with a micron pen and using wonder under to iron it tag into the garment. I think it is a nice touch and I need to start adding tags to all my handmade garments.

I think Alley really liked her short and sexy muumuu and she is going to look fabulous by her pool this summer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Honey Cowl and Plantain Tee

Frank took these pictures of me about two and a half weeks ago when there was snow on the ground. Yesterday it was 85 degrees. I think we skipped from Winter to Summer here. Where are my 60 degree perfect Spring days?!

 Plantain tee and honey cowl

I started this Honey Cowl in a fit of motivation last November. My longest time friend Gretchen's birthday is 6 days after mine and I thought, "I will knit her something for her birthday, and I will start it about a week before her birthday". Being the slooooowest knitter ever I finished this a few weeks ago and finally got it in the mail last week. Luckily she lives in Maryland and it is still cold enough for her to get some wear out of it up there.

Isn't the yarn gorgeous?! It is Madeline Tosh Vintage and I am lucky enough to live in the city that Madeline Tosh is created in and they have a craft store down the street from me! Their colors are so lush and lovely, and this pattern really highlights the subtle changes in the dye.  I am totally wanting to make myself one of these now.  I better get started now for next winter. Seriously, I just finished a scarf that I started knitting over two years ago for myself. Granted, I only worked on it in spurts and it was much larger than this one.

Plantain tee and honey cowl

This tee is made with the Deer and Doe Plantain pattern. It is a free pattern and I love it. I have made two other variations on it and altered this one slightly as well. I have yet to make it up straight from the pattern as drafted, actually. For this version I was inspired by Mad Mims' Flyaway Tee. Instead of adding a gathered section in the back I slashed and spread the bottom section at the back, though I love this shirt my alteration didn't add quite the amount of drama and volume that I was hoping for. Good thing this is an easy pattern to throw together and a perfect basic wardrobe staple. I will definitely make many more versions of this top!

Plantain tee and honey cowl

I am almost finished with a slightly more complex project, the Mona Jacket from Schnittchen. I can't remember how I found her patterns but I really love them and they are quite affordable. I am trying to balance my sewing with an easy and quick project and a more complex one after, or at the same time. I am having fun with sewing again and am super motivated lately.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sewing for the cutest little toot I know

Oh my, I have a serious back log of unblogged projects. My poor neglected blog had comments awaiting moderation and I just never get good pictures of my work. I have been sewing and knitting and plan to start sharing my work again. Here I am just now sharing the two gifts that I sewed for Karlie for Christmas.

As you can see these pictures aren't great and they are from Instagram, but I just can't help sharing the cuteness.  Every time I make something for my niece Karlie I think it is the cutest thing I have ever made and this apron is no exception.  The pattern is Simplicity 1536, an It's So Easy pattern, and it really was super easy.  Despite all the binding with bias tape it really came together quickly.  There is a matching pattern for mom, which I should make for my Sister in law as well.  If you need to sew an apron I think this pattern is great!  I also found small utensils and a little colander to go with her gift. Isn't she the cutest?!

The apron I made Karlie was a hit! #besttiaever

Karlie asked me for an Elsa costume for Christmas but I didn't feel like I had time to get it done. Instead I made her a Frozen inspired outfit that she could wear to school.  I had a lot of fun with this one and I think it is a perfect blend of casual and dressy.  This one is Simplicity 1332 and it was super simple as well.  I changed the construction of the cardigan a bit by adding a band of knit to finish off the front and bias tape around the bottom of the sequin ruffle.  As you can see Karlie was happy to model for me!

Little toot modeling the outfit I made her for Christmas. #sewing #besttiaever

I think those were the only handmade gifts I made for Christmas last year. Every year I swear that I will start earlier the next, but it never happens. One of my girlfriends turned 40 this week and I started her handmade gift on Saturday and finished on Monday, the day of the party. I don't think inspiration really strikes until the deadline is looming for me. Sewing for myself is a different story and I always have multiple projects in the works. Too bad I'm so terrible at documenting them.