Thursday, July 27, 2017

My Sophie Swimsuit

Am I really doing this?
Am I really?
How could I resist, with this perfect combination of Sophie Swimsuit Pattern, Gorgeous Floral fabric and Caribbean waters? So yeah, I am going there, I am there, well I am here, or here I am, in a swimsuit.

Sophie Swimsuit

I'm sorry, but isn't it amazing? That isn't really bragging since a huge portion of the credit goes to Heather Lou. Heather not only designed this fabulous swimsuit pattern, but created it in a way that someone who has never sewn an underwire bra could conquer this project. I can't say for sure, since I do have experience sewing swimwear, but I bet even a confident seamstress who had never made a swimsuit would be thrilled with their outcome thanks to the fabulous instructions in this pattern. In case you haven't heard of this pattern, which is doubtful, it is the Sophie Swimsuit from Closet Case Patterns and it is wonderful. Can you tell I love it?
  Sophie SwimsuitSophie Swimsuit

I am willing to give another chunk of the credit to this suits' success to this fabulous floral fabric. You can still get you some over at The Fabric Fairy. I paired it with a navy and white pinstripe and added teal piping (which I plan to do a tutorial on soon). I will go ahead and take credit for masterminding this great combo of fabrics and sewing up this beauty. Heck, even if I am bragging it's okay because as my dad likes to say "it isn't bragging if its true" and this is a truly wonderful thing that I have created.
  Sophie SwimsuitSophie Swimsuit

I was highly influenced by Sophie, the muse behind this swimsuit. Isn't her suit to die for?! I even ordered the very same floral from Pitt trading, all the way from Australia. I wisened up though and decided I needed to make it my own instead of a straight copy.
  Sophie Swimsuit

Construction wise, the only thing I altered was chopping several inches off the waistline of the bottoms to bring them down to my waist and then chopping off even more to make them not so high waisted on me. I am not sure this style of bikini bottoms is the most flattering on me, but they definitely provide good coverage and fit really well. For the top I used the size 4 with the cup size 5 and I think the fit is spot on. I used the size 6 on the bottoms. The bra sizing was a bit confusing to me at first, having never made a bra. But I trusted Heather and it turned out just right.

I couldn't be more thrilled with the outcome of this swimsuit. Bonus, I now know how to make an underwire bra!
  Sophie Swimsuit

My husband and I took a trip to Tulum a few weeks ago with five of our dearest friends. In case you are wondering, this gorgeous beach I am on is called Xpu Ha. It was secluded and mostly populated by locals, which was just the type of place we were looking for. You turn down a dirt road, pay $30 pesos per person and they let down a rope for you to pass.  We only found this beach because we picked up two young French hitchhikers and gave them a ride from another beach back into Tulum town one day. Don't worry, lots of folks hitchhike down there and it was perfectly safe. They told us that we HAD to check out Xpu Ha and they were right, it was our favorite beach on this trip and the most beautiful beach I have ever been to. If you are interested in seeing what else we did I have all of our trip photos over on flickr and have labeled them pretty well.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Papercut Patterns Flutter Blouse

I don't know why it has taken me so long to share this blouse, because it has been my most worn handmade item of clothing this year. This was my second time making this pattern, so it was a quick and easy project that I finished it early in the year. The pattern is the Flutter Blouse and Tunic from Papercut Patterns.
  Papercut Patterns Flutter Blouse

Here I am with my hands on my hips again. When I shared my Charlotte Kan tie front dress on Facebook last week I joked that I always seem to have my hands on my hips. A friend responded with this fact: Standing like a superhero changes our cortisol levels, and generally configures our brains to cope well in stressful situations. I don't think I stand around like this often in real life (rather just don't know what to do with my hands when I pose for photos) but perhaps I should. Anyways, this pose, in this case, shows off how badass these flutter sleeves are, dontcha think?!

Papercut Patterns Flutter Blouse

This pattern works really well in a drapey fabric like Rayon Challis, which is what I used here. I found this at LA Finch fabrics last fall, but here it is in another color way. My first version of this top was in a hand dyed Silk Dupoini and I think a more structured fabric like that provides a much different fit. It is equally as lovely but definitely a different look.

Papercut Patterns Flutter Blouse

I just adore the low V and split hem on the back. I feel just a little dressed up, but not overly so, wearing this top. It is comfy and easy to wear while still being interesting and flattering.
  Papercut Patterns Flutter BlousePapercut Patterns Flutter Blouse

I made the XS but altered the pattern by removing some of the gaping at the back neckline and hemline. The sleeves on this version are slightly longer than the short sleeve option. I also added 5/8" seam allowances and French seamed the interior. I sewed the center back seam down lower so that the split hits right below my waistline.

I have yet to make the tunic version of this pattern or the longer sleeved version but will be doing both at some point. I highly recommend this pattern, it is really fun to sew and wear. Between the dropped flutter sleeves, the deep V and split hem this pattern has a ton of though put into it.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Charlotte Kan Tie Dress

Charlotte Kan Tie Dress

I had my eye on the Charlotte Kan Tie Dress pattern for quite a while but kept talking myself out of purchasing the pattern. I was telling myself that it was so simple and I could draft it myself. Well, I needed a quick project and finally talked myself into the purchase. I was so glad I did. Despite its simplicity, this is a very thoughtfully drafted pattern. The curve of the hips, the curved hem in the front and the angled tie panels were all well designed, and much better than my rectangular version would have been.
  Charlotte Kan Tie Dress

My measurements on this pattern landed me squarely in the xs, but I decided to go with a small for more ease. I figured I could always take it up if it was too sack like. The pattern is pretty easy to fit with the tie panels creating a somewhat more defined waist, you can opt to tie them looser or tighter than I did. Overall I think the fit is right for me.
  Charlotte Kan Tie Dress

I used a tencel chambray from Joann that I love. I am hoping to find more of this fabric but I may be out of luck. It does wrinkle easily, but so do all of my favorite fibers so I am pretty used to that. I left off the pocket and sleeve cuffs, wanting a bit more dressy and streamlined version.
  Charlotte Kan Tie Dress

You can see how the front hemline curves up here.
Charlotte Kan Tie Dress

I am really happy with this make. I needed a win after a couple of frustrating projects. This dress is comfortable, easy to wear, and I think pretty flattering. I definitely recommend this pattern. I can see making another version of this dress, as well as a kimono sleeve top and a simple tunic minus the tie panels. I think this pattern will be put to good use.

Besides sewing I have been working in the backyard gardens quite a bit. They are in full bloom and are really happy right now. We went down to my parents house in the Hill Country a couple of weekends ago and somehow an awesome vintage camper fell in our laps. You can see it over on my Instagram. It will be quite a project to fix and renovate but gives us all the more reason to visit my parents in the beautiful Texas Hill Country! We are also getting ready for a beach trip to Tulum with a group of friends this summer. I am getting anxious to sew swimsuits for the trip and I think the Sophie Swimsuit Pattern is at the top of my list.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Vintage Butterick Jumper

Butterick 4200

This vintage Butterick jumper pattern from the 70's (I couldn't find a year printed on the packaging) was an Etsy purchase last fall. The fabric was a remnant that I found at my favorite warehouse outlet off Harry Hines in Dallas, Super Textiles. This place is either hit or miss for me. I come out with a huge pile of fabric or nothing at all. Last time I went I scored big time. If you haven't been it is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. This piece of fabric was from the $2 bin and I squeezed this pattern out of about 1.5 yards. That didn't leave much room for pattern matching, but I think I did ok.

Butterick 4200

I don't think you can tell here but I shortened the straps a tiny bit too much and had to end up putting my brass snaps really high up on the bodice front to compensate. I used brass buttons on the back but used one less than the pattern called for, left off the bottom. I also left off the ruffle from the bottom of the skirt. I didn't have enough fabric and I think this fabric would have been too heavy for a ruffle anyways even if I had.

Butterick 4200 Butterick 4200

I did a sway back adjustment the way I normally do with a fitted waist, simply by curving the bodice back bottom up to take out the excess fabric and meet my actual waistline. I suppose I should learn how to do a proper sway back adjustment since I also need them in blouses. I added a snap right below the waistline but should have used a hook to prevent gaping.

This pattern is a size 12, which lines up with my measurements perfectly. I kind of love the vintage patterns with only one size printed per package. It makes cutting and tracing easier anyways.

Butterick 4200 Butterick 4200

I am still digging on the 70's vibe. I think my interpretations are thoroughly modern however. I doubt my love for 70's fashion will ever fade. I was born in '75 and my mom sewed lots of clothes during my childhood for both me and her. I think this pattern would be great in the longer version with a more drapey fabric. I will definitely use it again.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Plantain Tee in Leah Duncan Knit

Plantain Tee in Leah Duncan knit

This was my fourth time to use the Plantain tee pattern, and I didn't make a straight up version until the fifth make, right after this one. If you haven't tried this pattern you should check it out. It is a free pdf pattern from Deer and Doe, and a great basic with lots of opportunities for alterations.

IMG_1198Plantain Tee in Leah Duncan knit

I made this version up in this gorgeous knit designed by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Fabrics. It is buttery soft and has a nice stretch and recovery. I have noticed however that it is starting to pill slightly after a few washes. I suppose I won't be able to wear it as often as I would like if I want it to last.

Plantain Tee in Leah Duncan knit

Plantain Tee in Leah Duncan knit

Like I said, this was an altered version of the Plantain. I had used this version before and it worked well in a super drapey and thinner rayon knit. I was going for a fit and flare look but my pattern altering skills were a bit off on this one. When I sewed it up in this heavier weight knit this pattern just looked funny. The little wings on the sides just drooped sadly and folded in on themselves. I wasn't about to let this fabric be ruined however so I cut a big wedge out of each side. I think it still ended up wider than the original pattern but it hangs more naturally now. After that I ended up needing a sway back adjustment and once again hacked a wedge of fabric out of the back at about the waist level. It ended up looking purposeful, almost like the peplum that I added in my previous make. It works for me and saved this coveted fabric. I need to try the Closet Case Patterns Ebony T-shirt for that fit and flare effect that I was going for.

Plantain tee alteration

If you haven't heard of Leah Duncan check out her work here. I am a big fan. She is a fellow Texan, and I met her once at a pop up shop at the Modern Art Museum here in Fort Worth. I adore her botanical designs and have a print of hers that I need to frame and hang.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Brumby, Brumby and Agnes

My first Brumby skirt was made last Fall out of royal blue rayon challis from the clearance bin at Joann. Excuse the wrinkles, this was taken in Dallas after tacos at Trompo and sitting in the car.
  Brumby #1Brumby #1 Brumby #1

Brumby #1 was made with version 3 in a size small with the exposed zipper. It is an easy, breezy skirt and I have worn it quite a bit in warmer weather. This is a good beginner pattern, since there isn't much fitting involved. You just have to make sure you get the waistband fitted to your comfort and you are good to go. I don't normally like gathers at my waist but these gathers are just enough to give a fit and flare effect and not be over the top pouffy.

I obviously had to make the other versions with the HUGE pockets as well. This is version 1 in polka dot Chambray from Robert Kauffman. This fabric is more structured and definitely helps show off those awesome pockets. Being a bit heavier weight than the rayon, it works well in this less gathered version. I cut this version between an XS and S and the fit is just right.
  Agnes meets BrumbyAgnes meets Brumby

I paired it here with my first attempt at the Tilly and The Buttons Agnes Top. This fabric is a bit juvenile but I just adored the print and color scheme. It is literally from the kids section at Joann. The knit itself is 100% cotton with very little stretch and recovery, not the best choice for such a fitted top.  I definitely have plans to use this pattern again and I want one of those pouffy, gathered sleeve versions for sure. How fun is that?! Overall, this combo is more girly and dressier than I would normally wear. For some reason this is just they way I pictured styling both of these pieces. I am totally enjoying finding my style through creating my own wardrobe. Sewing for myself allows me to play with different looks and find out what I am truly drawn to and comfortable in. While I do like this entire outfit, it isn't the overall vibe I am going for these days. I think separately both pieces will have a place in my wardrobe, and I see the skirt already getting lots of wear.  

Agnes meets Brumby Agnes meets Brumby

Megan Nielsen has an exposed zipper tutorial that can be used for this skirt or an exposed zipper application. I was a bit confused on this insertion and had to end up making the waistband shorter in order for the zipper to end right at the top of it. Somehow I had made it work fine with my first version last Fall so I am not sure where I went wrong this time.
  Agnes meets Brumby

FYI, this version is pretty short, at least for me and I'm only five foot four. I didn't want to turn it up twice to hem, so I used bias tape on the hem line to give it a tiny bit more length. It turned out to be just right, but heads up if you don't want a mini version you may need to add a bit of length.

I am currently working on my third Brumby skirt. I have definitely gotten my money's worth out of this pattern. I have another one planned as well. Perhaps I am a bit obsessed. I just love that using different fabrics, trims, treatments, etc can create so many different looks with one pattern.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Black and White Clover Top

Black and White Clover Top

Meet miss Clover, I adore this comfy little top made with the Clover Dress Pattern by Brooke Tyson from Papercut patterns. This awesome black and white rayon was a score at Super Textiles in Dallas out of their $2/yard bin and the inset contrast fabric is a rayon linen blend from Joann. I made the dress version a couple of years ago, also in Rayon Challis.

Black and White Clover Top

I love this pattern, the fit is spot on and it is an easy make. I didn't have to do any alterations on either version and I made it up in a straight size XS. This sweet addition to my wardrobe meets so many of my qualifications for a favorite piece of clothing. Rayon Challis is super slinky and comfy to wear and I will always scoop it up whenever I find it in a good color or print. I am drawn to black and white patterns that can be worn with nearly anything and simple silhouettes in both pattern and fabric design. Check, check and check this one is a winner.
  Black and White Clover TopBlack and White Clover Top

As with my previous make of this pattern I used French seams everywhere except on the inset panel, where I serged the raw edges. It made for a nice clean finish on the inside.

I am starting to understand the appeal of making the same sewing pattern multiple times. When you know a pattern is going to fit it is so much faster to whip up. Rather than continuing to hoard sewing patterns when they go on sale at Joann, I am finding indie patterns to be more well drafted and easier to fit from the get go. I am currently sewing my third version of Megan Nielsen's Brumby Skirt with one more planned for the near future. Now back to my yard work while the weather is perfect here in Texas.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Woes of a Wanna Be Knitter

Here are a million photos of one hat because it can be worn a million ways. Okay, four ways. I made it a little slouchy with the option to fold the ribbing up for a more fitted look. It looks good inside out, outside in, folded and unfolded. I adore this hat!
  My cashmere hatMy cashmere hat My cashmere hat My cashmere hat My cashmere hat

My hat was made with the Honey Hat pattern, but only as a starting point. I decided that this gorgeous hand dyed yarn would be best featured in a more simple stitch. I only used the pattern for the sizing and to get started with the ribbing and then continued on in reverse Stockinette stitch to the desired perfect slouchy length. The yarn is Anzula Cricket in Dark Matter (love that name) purchased locally at the gorgeous shop West 7th Wool. This yarn is 80% Merino Wool, 10% Nylon and 10% Cashmere. It is just as soft, squishy and luxurious as you can imagine. I adore the jewel tones and the resulting marbled look.

Now lets talk about the woes of a wanna be knitter who lives in Texas, shall we. Every year I get sooooo excited to knit, and I am going to knit up soooo many things. I go to the local yarn shop and ooh and ah and find the perfect lovely yarn for my first of many projects to come. I ever so slowly knit up said project, it may take me a month like this hat or several years of knitting (in the cold months only) to finish the first project of the season. Then I get to wear that precious item exactly ONCE before it gets too hot. And then it IS too hot and I am out in the garden working, or sewing up Summer clothes and swimsuits, with absolutely NO desire to have wool on my lap. I will say that in the years of scattered practice my knitting skills have grown, but I do not think I will ever be a fast knitter. It just isn't meant to be. I will however continue to knit that one special project each Winter in Texas and I will covet these pieces and wear them on at least one cold day each year.

The newborn hat was made in January and took me forever. I think the newborn recipient wore it once (he was a big little guy) but that's okay because I learned a lot and it was gifted with love. Sorry for the bad phone pic, but I couldn't not share. This is the Easy Peasy Newborn hat, a free pattern intended for leftover sock yarn. I purchased a 100 yard skein of Madeline tosh sock yarn and taught myself how to knit on teeny tiny double pointed needles. I attempted the magic loop technique but failed miserably and had to start over on DPNs. This hat actually came before mine, so the practice on DPNs came in handy when it was time to finish up my hat. The yarn was difficult for me to work with because it split a lot and I am not used to working with this weight of yarn. In the end I learned a lot and I am happy that I persevered. I think this hat found a home on one of baby River's stuffed animals and I am happy with that outcome.

Baby River's hat Baby River's hat

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Vintage McCall's 3835

McCall's 3835 Front

This was my first finished garment of the year. I actually started this overall dress back in December but the topstitching was giving me so much trouble that I set it aside for a while. My machine just didn't want to stitch over even one layer of this lightweight denim with topstitching thread and it was super frustrating. I finally cleaned and oiled my machine and came back to the project with more patience. In the end it was totally worth persevering. This is McCall's 3835 from 1973. Oh how I adore 70's fashion, I am a child of the 70's after all. I found the pattern on sale on Etsy and just had to have an overall dress. I used some Japanese cotton Denim leftover from the Miette Wrap skirt that I made for my friend Gretchen.
  McCall's 3835McCall's 3835 McCall's 3835 Back

Styling wise I think this dress works pretty well with tights and this tee, however it looked even cuter with a more fitted Nettie top that I wore with it this week.

The original pattern has an invisible side zipper but I wasn't feeling that. Instead I made a little tab for
a button and button hole. I sewed one side shut, as I only required one button to be open to shimmy into this thing.
  McCall's 3835 BackMcCall's 3835  Back detail

I shortened the dress, and had to draft the missing strap pattern piece. I use the term drafting loosely because, rectangles, duh. It did work out better that way so that I could make them fit my hardware perfectly.
  McCall's 3835 Vintage Overalls and Overall dress pattern

I am really happy with this addition to my wardrobe and I feel like I will wear this dress year round. The fabric wrinkles easily but that really doesn't bother me too much. I think this style is the perfect mix of vintage and modern, hip and art teacher-esque.