Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Filling in the gaps

Here I am in early Fall (or the last days of Summer) in a skirt that I started with intentions to wear on my beach vacation to Tulum in July. I am a procrastinator ya'll, but it doesn't matter because it is still hot here so I can wear my beachy skirt for a while. Besides, my priorities for vacation were in the right place and I finished three new swimsuits for that trip. I took photos of this skirt a couple of weeks ago wearing the same sad black t-shirt that I wore with my Flint pants. I finally forced myself to sew up some much needed knit tops, three in quick succession by the way.
  Circle wrap skirt and Simplicity 1366

Both of these pieces came together after some changes and fixes and make it work type scenarios. The skirt was intended to be a self drafted 1/4 circle skirt with a button placket down the front. That did not work. I went back to Joann for more of the rayon challis (those are always hidden amongst the poly in the silky prints fyi) and added another panel to make a 1/4 circle wrap skirt. It is a pretty easy diy. Just use a circle skirt calculator to draft a 1/4 circle skirt based on your measurements. For a wrap version you would add another half of that pattern. I made a seam so it is basically a full 1/4 circle skirt with another half of that added on. Then just a long waistband, long enough to wrap around and tie in front with a buttonhole on one side to slide the waistband through. Hem both edges and the bottom, attach your waistband and you are good to go. I however, had a crazy hard time trying to hem this thing. I either cut it way longer on the added piece, and or it grew by about a foot. I don't have a dress form so hemming anything uneven is really hard. That is why this never made it into my luggage and with me on vacation. I had to wait for my mom to help me straighten the hem out while I wore it. I really do need to invest in a dress form! I think this needs a belt loop on the center back to keep the waistband from traveling but otherwise I love it.
  Circle wrap skirt and Simplicity 1366

The top also was an adventure. I wanted a boxy, cropped top. I started with Simplicity 1366, which is designed for woven fabrics. I cut a size 12, straightened the side seams to make it more boxy and shortened it. I serged up side seams and shoulder seams and was in love with the fit. So excited. Then I went to add sleeve bands and sewed one on with the serged seam facing out, but only one. Cut both off and had huge, gaping armholes. I was so sad. My fix was to take the top way in under the armholes, angling out to meet the bottom of the side seam. It worked out pretty well and I still love this top. This gorgeous brick pink is my new neutral. I am happy with the outcome, but still want to make more tops hopefully without that "fix" needed. This was just what I was missing in my wardrobe, and I still need more tops.
  Circle wrap skirt and Simplicity 1366Circle wrap skirt and Simplicity 1366 Circle wrap skirt and Simplicity 1366 We spent last weekend in San Marcos visiting my parents and working on our 1976 Serro Scotty Camper. I am thinking about adding a link to photos of our progress if anyone is interested. The trailer lives there for now and we don't get there as often as I would like, but it is a great excuse for us to go visit them more often. I also spent a good portion of Saturday doing eco and indigo dyeing with my mom and will post photos of what I made soon.

Monday, September 4, 2017

My Flint Pants and Introducing Pearl

Meet Flint, my swishy, sassy, wide legged pants.
I love them. My Megan Nielsen Flint Pants

This pattern hardly needs introduction and my version is certainly not groundbreaking in any way. But look at them in all their swingy, 70s vibe glory.
Did I mention that I love them?

My Megan Nielsen Flint Pants

Frank said they were fancy, and they do have a certain glamour to them. However, I think the tencel chambray dresses them down. I am noticing gaps in my wardrobe with both non-winter closed toed shoes and tops that work with high waisted bottoms. I am trying to remedy both of those things right now, though my shoe budget and taste don't often jive.

My Megan Nielsen Flint Pants

The fit is spot on. I cut and sewed a straight size Small. 
I originally cut these in a size Small but took them in at the side seams only to an XS. My note to self on the pattern suggests cutting between an XS and S next time. Goodness, those notes really do come in handy. I think they fit nicely on my booty, if you don't mind me pointing that out.

My Megan Nielsen Flint Pants

I should be over hear screaming from the rooftops that I MADE A PAIR OF PANTS. AND THEY FIT. AND I LOVE THEM. I have never found success with pants fitting and several misguided attempts to radically alter pants patterns had scared me off for years. This was the perfect pattern to ease myself back into pants sewing and helped me find my confidence in that realm again. My past mistakes have always included taking a big 4 pattern and trying to make it into something it was not. Starting with a well drafted and loose fitting indie pattern is, I believe, a much smarter choice. Try this pattern if you dig the style. I think you will love it. They could be totally different in various types of fabric. A denim or twill would give a much more structured look, and a rayon challis or silk would be even drapier than these. I am a bit obsessed with the wide leg, cropped pant look now and am debating between the Republique du Chiffon Gaston and the Papercut Nagoya patterns. I can't find versions of either to sway me.

Now meet Pearl, our now four month old bundle of love and energy, who we are totally obsessed with. My Megan Nielsen Flint Pants

This tencel chambray was from Joann and I also purchased it in the lighter blue version that I made my Charlotte Kan Tie dress in. They also carried it in olive green, which I recently snatched up the end of a bolt of and a tan color that I never was drawn to but now want to add to my stash because it is such an awesome base fabric for dyeing or some other type of surface design. Have I mentioned my mom does eco dyeing with two business partners slash friends? Check out their work here.

Are you participating in Sew Photo Hop over on Instagram? I am and I am meeting so many new sewing friends. Check it out. Essential tool kit

Sunday, August 27, 2017

How I added Piping to my Sophie Swimsuit

Sophie Swimsuit

When I made my Sophie Swimsuit I had so much fun picking out fabrics. There are endless options for mixing patterns and/or solids to come up with your own custom suit. I opted to add piping to the bottoms and thought I would show you how I did it. My piping is pretty subtle but you could really make it a stand out with a color that contrasts your main fabrics.

My piping was made from a 1" wide strip of swim fabric. I folded it with wrong sides together and basted close to the raw edge. This part will be trimmed off later.  

I sandwiched the piping between my center and side panels (both front and back) and used a lot of pins to keep each seam lined up.
Sewing the Sophie Swimsuit

This pattern uses a 3/8" wide seam allowance. You will have to experiment with your zig zag width but the goal is to leave a tiny bit of the piping peaking out of the seam. On my machine I used a 3 width and 1.5 length for my zig zag on the seam. After sewing up each seam I trimmed the piping and side panels closer to the seam to reduce bulk.
Sewing the Sophie Swimsuit

I finished each of these seams by turning the seam allowance towards the side seams and topstitching with another zig zag. The seams came out a bit wavy but that is not a problem when the suit is being worn.
Sewing the Sophie Swimsuit Sewing the Sophie Swimsuit

If you haven't tried this pattern yet I highly recommend it. It was intimidating at first, but if you take your time and follow the instructions carefully the suit comes together perfectly. I found it to be a challenging project that left me with a great sense of accomplishment.

Sewing the Sophie Swimsuit Sewing the Sophie Swimsuit

Flowers from my garden
My garden has been happy this Summer! Can you believe I grew that Dahlia?! 

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.