Saturday, November 21, 2015

Back to Black

Just to prove how backlogged I've become with the old blogging thing, here's a dress I made a year ago and photographed 2 weeks ago that I'm just posting now!

Initially, I had visions of wearing this over a cute red and white striped shirt all winter long, but that didn't work out.  I actually made the Simplicity top included in a bamboo knit, but the fit was just weird.  The neckline came in wayyyyy to close/high.  It was almost like a turtleneck without the turtle/neck part.

Plus, I looked like a weird elf, so there was that.

Truth be told, this isn't the most reached-for make in my closet, although I do whip it out occasionally.  The saga of making it (I accidentally cut out the blazer front instead of the dress front, then ran out of fabric before stealing some extra from Sally's stash) left me a little disillusioned with it by the time it was done.
See all those lumps?  LIKE VELCRO.

It lays much better with just a tank underneath and without tights as the fabric tends to stick like velcro to whatever's underneath in an unflattering way.  I had a hard time finding photos where the clinging didn't make me look like I was wearing a too-small dress stretched to the seams.  In the photo above, you can even see that it's clinging to the top of my leggings.  The bodice is also just a liiiiitle bit too long.

And one where I un-stuck the dress before the picture...

I'm sounding really negative, I know, but I do think this dress has potential to be really cute if you had the right fabric!  The fit was pretty good out of the package, and it would have been a quick sew if I hadn't cut out the wrong pattern piece!

Overall, I'd recommend the dress if you've got the right fabric, but definitely not the top.  I probably won't be making it again; it just doesn't feel like my style.

Pattern: Simplicity 1325
Size: 10
Fabric: Polka dot ponte knit
Adjustments: Hacked 4 inches off the length of the skirt

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Into the Woods

The fall is here again!

I always do a little happy dance for my favorite time of year.  I had a chance to get out and take some engagement photos (a year later--we're on top of things here) last weekend which was a ton of fun.  The colors on the trees were absolutely perfect.  Hopefully I'll get them back so I can share them with you all soon!

It seems like I always find the best fabrics in the fall, too.  This quilted jersey was just begging to be made into a cozy top of some sort, so the second I got it home, I cut into it.  I've been on the look out for a cute sweatshirt pattern for a while, but none of them really did it for me until I saw the cute little crossover on the back.  I bought it over the summer knowing I'd want something snuggly soon, and this fabric seemed like the perfect fit.

It was a pretty easy make.  It took a couple of hours, start to finish.  All of the raw edges are serged, turned under, and stitched with a long straight stitch.  I left the sleeves a little long because I like to pull them over my hands on chilly days.  Plus, in Chicago, every inch of skin needs to be covered come winter.

I'm not crazy about the fit in the shoulders.  I probably should have graded down there--I usually do.  There's not a picture of the front on the pattern envelope, and I think that it's meant to be pretty slouchy from the start.  Not a huge issue for me, but worth noting if you hate your bra straps peeking out.

Pattern: McCall's 7127
Size: 10
Fabric: Quilted jersey from joann

Friday, October 16, 2015

12 in 12

Ahoy there!  My camera is currently missing its memory card.  I think I left it behind on a recent trip to California for a wedding.  I have a couple of sewing projects to share once I get a new one, but I've been spending a good chunk of my time knitting recently.

I sorted through my stash a couple of weeks ago, and discovered I have four (4!!) sweaters in the works.  Two of them are nearly done.  Two of them are about half way done.  I did a bit of thinking and I think that's just ridiculous.  So, I'm doing something about it!

If you're a knitter, you may be familiar with 12 in 12 challenges.  The basic idea is that I'll finish knitting 12 things in 12 months.  I'm starting with October, so I'll end next October.  I'm hoping that I'll have a pretty good stash of warm things to get me through next winter by the time I'm done, and some new sweaters to get me through this one as well!

I'm not committing to anything really specific, but here are my general plans from my ravelry queue:




Raglan with Bow


I'm always updating on instagram, so you can find me there as well!

What knitting projects are you working on or planning for the big chill??  Have you made any of these before?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Wrap me up in Ribbons

Hi all!  It's back-to-school time here, and it looks like fall has arrived just in time.  I tried to give myself a couple of responsibility-free weeks at the end of the summer, and it seems like it did the trick.  I'm much more relaxed going into this school year (it also helps that grad school is over) and I've found myself with a much more manageable schedule, which means more time for SEWING!  WIN!

In those last couple of weeks before school started up again, I made myself a sewing goal.  I really wanted to be able to go back to school with 5 new dresses: something new to wear every day that would be comfortable and would transition into the fall.  I started with these two (1, 2), and this one is the third.  I fell one dress short, as I'm just finishing up the 5th dress now (and I may put it on the back burner since it's a bit summery).  But, I'm excited to go back to school with lots of pretty dresses!

I'd like to think that this Emery is a little more special than the others I made, because I really took my time with the details.  The reality is that it's only special because the fabric is glorious.  I first spotted this fabric when Sarai posted another dress made up from it on the Colette blog.  I honestly wouldn't have given it a second thought if I hadn't seen hers.  The photos didn't do it justice at I'm not usually one for black. One glance and I was hooked.

This print checked off all my boxes: flowers, butterflies, and bows.  In person, it's much more gray than black, too, which made me happy.  The lining is a remnant of shirting that I found at Vogue ages ago, and it was a happy coincidence that it matched the accents of the print perfectly.  I'm going through a bit of a bow phase right now, so it just made sense to add a bit of contrast to the skirt.

The only thing I regret?  I forgot to staystitch the neckline and it stretched out big time.  The lining didn't stretch quite as much, so there's a bit of a bagging at the neckline.  Not a huge deal, though.  This dress is still fabulous.  I also tried mega hard to match up the back seam.  Failed.  Oh well.  Also worth noting: the fabric (if you were lucky enough to snag some) doesn't have the greatest recovery.  There are tiny pinholes everywhere a pin stuck through fabric, which includes a side seam I had to unpick and re-sew...

ALSO, I really need some hooks and eyes...mine went missing!

Fabric: Floral Cotton from Mood
Pattern: Emery from Christine Haynes
Size: 4
Adjustments: See this post

Song: Ribbons

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Raindrops on Roses

This fabric totally reminds be of those dresses Julie Andrews made for all of the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music.  Anyone else?

I was always totally impressed with how Maria managed to sew like 12 outfits out of 2 curtains in a matter of hours.  While I now know that the enormous curtains totally would have provided adequate yardage, I still don't get how they went to sleep one night with no play clothes and woke up the next day with a whole wardrobe of curtain clothes.  Maria must have gotten a little help from the nuns down the mountain.

I digress.  This fabric was a gift from the lovely Sally who got it from an estate sale that seems to be the gift that just keeps on giving.  I think this is the second dress I've made with the yardage she got that day, and she's still got TONS of it left.

This is, of course, the Emery dress.  I'm 100% Emery obsessed, so if you love seeing dresses with gathered skirts made out of cotton, this is the new place to be.  If not, sorry.  You get what you get and you don't get upset.  (Teacher friends, it's totally that time of year again.)

My first Emery is still a favorite, but this Emery is a serious upgrade.

First, the fabric.  It's super vintage looking (and, ya know, actually vintage) and I love the colors.  I think they'll transition really well into fall, and this will look great with a cropped cardigan.

Second, it doesn't wrinkle really easily.  I took these photos after a day at work (and car rides with seat belts) and I'd like to think it still looks pretty good.  Win!

Third: bow.  Enough said.

Fourth, I spent a lot of time making this one pretty on the inside.  My waist seam matches up perfectly at the zipper.  I did an all-in-one finish lining on the bodice using this method and it looks really awesome.  I even took the time to hand-stitch the lining down at the waistline, which I NEVER do.  It looks pretty sweet.

Fifth, house ribbon as a hem finish.  It's like the house in the mountains in The Sound of Music.  Perfection.

I made a couple of extra alterations to the pattern this time around (like incorporating that emergency wedge into the armscye) that I think made a big difference in the fit.  I also had enough fabric to use the original skirt.  I'm diggin' the longer length.

This pattern is officially one of my favorite things.

Finished with the Von Trapp-ian theme?  NEVER

Pattern: Emery by Christine Haynes
Size: 4
Fabric: Gifted from Sally
All alterations from the last version plus:
-additional 1/2 in swayback adjustment at upper back
-1/4 in wedge removed from front armscye

Monday, August 10, 2015

Three is a Magic Number

Ohhhh, yes it is!

How's that for a little walk down memory lane on a Monday morning?

Three is also, apparently the number of times I need to make a pattern before I'm satisfied with the fit enough to wear it out.  It happened with my Anna over the course of a year.  Today, it happened with Emery!

I wish I could say my story was evolving or changing in some way, but it still goes like this:

"Wow!  This pattern looks awesome on so many people.  It's so simple! Awesome!  Ok, so I'll trace off my best guess, add an FBA, and see where things are.  WTF?! This looks horrible.  I must have done something wrong.  Let me start with another size.  WTF still awful.  Screw this.  I'm going back to something stretchy.  Where's the ice cream?"

One year later...

"Maybe I should try it again!  I fit into the size 6 measurements reasonably well.  NOPE.  Let me go back through all 500 (that may not be an exaggeration) versions that Roisin has made and see what she started with because she looks awesome. I mean seriously, though, look at those mushrooms.  I die.  I'll just do some swayback action and shorten the bodice and see what's up with the bust later.  Not awful, just a little tuck here and we'll be okay.  Alrighty then, let's sew this up and see what happens...BAM! This pattern is amazing!"

Anyone else?  No? Whatever, it's clearly a workable strategy for me.

Now, before you get all fitting police on me, I know this version is not perfect.  I had to take an emergency dart out of the armscye, which didn't show up on the muslin I made before I cut into this fabric.  Whatever, I don't care, this fabric is perfection and I needed to make it work.  Noone but us sewing people will notice that stuff anyway.  I'll just wear my hair down and stand up real straight.

In case you didn't guess, the saga of the Emery was kind of epic for me (as all sagas are, I suppose) as I now have a bodice that fits really well and is crying out for some quirky prints.  I made 3 (MORE) adjustments to the pattern for the next version I'm sewing up, so I think I'll be set after that!

There's not much else to say other than I'm SO GLAD I worked this one out.  Expect lots more in the future.  I'll leave you with the saga of fitting below if you're interested.  If not, border prints for the win!

Pattern: Emery by Christine Haynes
Fabric: I think I got it on like 3 years ago.  Good Luck.
Size: 4
-Shortened the bodice 1in.
-1in. swayback adjustment
-Shortened darts 1/4 in.
-Made waist darts bullet-shaped at 2 in. below the bust point
-increased neck dart width by 1/2 in. total (1/4 in. on each side)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Easy Like Sunday Morning

As school wound down this year, I found myself craving easy, throw-on basics that would look cute on, well, Sunday mornings.  I consider myself a "dress person," but sometimes pants are just where it's at on a Sunday.  Especially in the summer and spring months when it's too warm for tights, but I'm just too lazy to shave my legs.  TMI?  At least I'm being honest.

I snatched this pattern up right after it was released, but sat on it for a bit.  I wasn't sure they were really my style, or whether or not I was actually brave enough to make pants.  Turns out I AM, but I'm still I little unsure about them.  As a said, I'm not really a pants person.

Side note, I once wore pants to work (which I do occasionally) and a co-worker asked me what was wrong.  "Are you sick today?" "No, why?"  "Because you are wearing pants.  You never wear pants.  Something must be wrong..."  I just feel weird in pants.  Apparently I look weird, too.

ANYWAY, anecdotes aside, I made pants!  These are delightfully soft polkadot chambray that I hoarded for about a year.  I just couldn't figure out what to do with it!  I think the fabric works really well with the loose, relaxed fit of these.  It's comfortable and breathable and doesn't really touch my legs, which is awesome on a hot, sticky Chicago day.

The loose, relaxed factor kind of bugs me, though.  I made zero adjustments to the fit, and followed the recommended size chart, but I feel like I definitely could have sized down and made a huge swayback adjustment.  Something in my gut told me this was going to happen, but I was too scared (because--PANTS) to ignore the size chart.  They have elastic in the waist, but I still have to wear a belt or they fall down continuously to my hips.  I think part of the problem may be my proportionately thinner legs.

Side note #2: Do any other petite ladies have this problem?  I feel like 99% of the time I look at the finished measurements to determine size, then size down one more to get a good fit.  I know your hip measurement is your hip measurement regardless of your height, but I'm always pissed when I have lots of extra ease.  Anyone else?  Am I just crazy here?
I SWEAR the pockets don't look so lumpy in real life, by the way.  That one on the right there has something weird happening to it.  Maybe it's my butt rejecting pockets.

The instructions, as usual, were absolutely amazing, and I had zero WTF moments while constructing these, which was kind of a godsend since I had to do eleventy billion things I had never done before.  One of the many reasons I love papercut so much.

Need a reason to have people stare at you in a public place?   No worries, have your fiancee take detail shots of your crotch.  Works like a charm every time.

ANYWAY, back to the pants.  They're pants.  I'm a little underwhelmed.  I like them for pants, but I'm not quite sure how to style them, what to wear with them, or how I feel about how I look in them.  I learned a LOT making them, and am proud of how they turned out for the most part.  They've been through the wash once and are looking a little lumpy now (I'm looking at you, elastic and welts) but whatever.  Instagram knows what those pockets used to look like.

They're ridiculously comfortable.

They're way cuter than yoga pants.

They're Sunday Morning Pants.

Pattern: Guise from Papercut Patterns
Size: S
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Chambray
Adjustments: Shortened by 2 in, rolled up the legs instead of hemming (too long)