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)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sunday in the Park with Anna

Did you know that I'm a bit of a theatre geek?  Well, now you know.  I spent the better part of my elementary, teenage, and early 20s doing community theatre every chance I got.  For some reason, Sunday in the Park with George popped into my head while I was taking these photos.  It WAS Sunday, so I guess it makes sense.  This dress is not named George, though.  It's Anna!

I'd like to think I'd kind of fit in in the painting.  I'm that lady up by the water with the fierce orange hat on.  I'll apologize in advance, this is kind of a picture-heavy post.  It was pretty outside!

Anyhow, I finally made an Anna dress!  I've been fiddling around with this pattern since it came out.  This is actually my third version of it, although this is the first wearable one.  I still need to make a few tweaks to the fit of the bodice, but for now I'm totally happy enough with the way this fits to wear it.

And, wear it I have!  It was totally worth all of my fitting woes because I wear it all the time.  It's the perfect throw-on dress for work.  It's cute, comfy, and breathable in the summer.  The little kimono sleeves make it perfect for layering with cardigans, too.

As you can see, I did make some changes to the pattern.  I eliminated the neckline facing, and finished with bias tape instead.  The most noticeable one is that I swapped out the skirt for a simple gathered skirt.  I wanted to showcase the pretty border print, so I thought a gathered skirt would be the best way to do that.

In terms of fitting, I found that the bodice ran large on me.  As is, I still have some ease in all places including the waist.  I made a size 4 which should have a 25.5 inch waist.  Mine is currently sitting around a 28.  I graded into a size 2 at the shoulders, and it fit is just okay.  I think I'm going to make some more adjustments in the shoulders/upper back for the next one, as there's still a lot of gaping.  I made a 1/2in swayback adjustment, but I think I also need to shorten the bodice a bit.

If you look closely, you can see that I didn't even bother hemming the skirt.  I had to make the dress on the cross-grain to get the print to sit the way I wanted it to, so the selvedge is at the bottom.  Its one of those that looks just like the rest of the fabric without holes or fringe, so I just left it as-is.  I think it looks fine. Plus, hemming it would have meant loosing a row of flowers at the bottom!

I moved to a new apartment over the weekend, and took these photos in Lincoln Park, which is only 2 blocks from my new place.  I'm so glad to have somewhere nearby that's perfect for pictures.  Also, the zoo is steps away!  I'm hoping that this gives me that extra little push to finally get back into blogging regularly again!

That's all I really have to say about this one!  I'll leave you with some more photos (because when hats are involved there are lots).  

Pattern: Anna from By Hand London
Size: 4, graded to a 2 at the shoulders
Fabric: Awesome purple border print cotton from the Needle Shop
Adjustments: listed above 

Oh, and lest you think I always look all ladylike in a garden, here's a parting shot for you.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Little Matchstick Dress

Does anyone else remember that story?  I'd like to think that this dress is a little cuter than her sad, tattered clothes though.

Anyway, hi all!  It's been a couple of months since I've showed my face around these parts.  I (finally) graduated from my master's on Saturday and finished up all of the things that went along with it, like the end of the school year.  It was a pretty crazy year, and I'm not expecting next year to be nearly as nutty.  Which means more time for blogging, yay!

I've promised myself that I'm going to catch up on the backlog of makes I have piled in my closet over the next few weeks since I have NOTHING else to do.  Except for sew, that is.  I have been sewing a lot over the past few months as a huge stress reliever so I've got lots to share.  Truth be told, I almost didn't get photos of this dress while I had it on today.  I'm not a big fan of wearing my hair up, and wasn't sure if I wanted my slightly wrinkled, crazy, makeup-free face lurking on this space.  Since I've procrastinated so long, I threw on some chapstick and said screw it.  I'm a master now.  That means unclipped threads don't count, right?

This dress was one of the fastest makes ever, and came out much cuter than I was expecting it to.  I made it entirely out of my own house, on sewing dates with other Chicago ladies.  It just sat in my bag with the sole purpose of being something to work on outside of the house.  All in all, I'd say it only took a few good hours of work.

I didn't feel like muslining such a simple design (plus it's only one piece for the front so I would have wasted a lot of fabric) so I ended up making a lot of alterations as I went to make it fit as best as I could.  I'm still not totally sold on the fit, but it's super comfy and airy because it's a little big.  If you have any experience with a Chicago summer and 100% humidity all the time, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  That being said, the sizing was a bit off.  I went by the finished garment measurements, but still could have sized down.

I'm love the little back cutout on this dress.  It's like a little party in the back.  As is, I'm yanking my bra down so you can't see it, so  I wish it hit up just a little higher.  I think that on someone a little taller this would be no problem, but if you're small like me, it's something to think about.

Bra+Unclipped Thread = Worry-free Summer

That's all I have to say about this one! I hope you're all enjoying the beginning of your summer!

Fabric: Meet Your Match from Cotton+Steel
Pattern: McCall's 6924
Size: 12, graded to a 10 at shoulders
--Took in 1in. at side seams
--Eliminated back button closure and sewed with 1/2in. seam allowance
--Shortened length by 4in.
--1/2in. swayback

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Hey there, blogging land!

My poor, neglected blog has been alone for too long.  I finally had some time this weekend (and some nice weather) so I could get out and take pictures of my shiny new Sophia Dress.

I have a huge backlog of makes that will hopefully get to say hello now that it's not freezing and raining or snowing all the time!  More on that later :)

This dress is a story of poor impulse control if there ever was one.  The second I saw the godet version of Sophia, I had to have her.  Click--preordered.  Then, there was this swan fabric.  Click, done.  And, I mean I HAD to have this floral voile.  I might as well get as much as I could in that box for the shipping costs, right?

When I bought them, I had no intention of using them together.  My original idea was lace panels on the skirt, but they arrived next to one another in the package and refused to be separated.  I love the combination and LOVE this dress.

I was really, really, anal about those swans matching, the darts matching, and the waist seam matching.  I was so successful, the Mr. insisted on taking a zoomed in photo of the front.  Not my most flattering look, but when swan butts AND darts match up, you roll with it.

If I'm being honest, the fitting here isn't perfect.  I am not crazy about the fitting in the bust (it's a bit pointy and tight), and I forgot to shorten the bodice, so it keeps riding up.  Most days, I'm not feeling too honest, though, so I'll stick with it because I love the overall effect.  I'll also probably wear it with a belt so the riding up doesn't make me nuts.

I chose to fully line the dress because of the sheer voile, and serged everything.  It's very pretty inside (and out, if I do say so myself).

There's not much else I can say, so I'll let the photos do the talking.

Pattern: Sophia from By Hand London
Size: 4, graded to a 2 at the shoulders
Adjustments: fully lined the skirt with a 1/2 circle skirt
                      shorted the skirt by 4in
Fabric: Pongee Swan Cotton, Flocked Cotton Voile, bemberg rayon lining

Monday, February 16, 2015

Lingerie Lessons

By now, it's no secret that I'm obsessed with making lingerie.  I'm still struggling with the fit on my marlborough bra (3 muslins later) and have tried out a LOT of different patterns recently.  Seriously, it's like a mini underwear sweatshop up in here.

Here's what I've learned so far:

  1. Woven undies are not for me.  I've made 4 different patterns and at best I feel ehhhh about them.  At worst, my butt just won't fit.
  2. Comfort is king.  I'm not going to wear something again and again if it doesn't just melt away with layers.
  3. Different clothes = different underwear.  Soft bras are king when lounging around the house, but they're not leaving the house with me if I'm doing more than walking the dog.
  4. I wear foam bras all the time.  I know that there is a way to make a soft bra that is supportive for larger cup sizes, but I haven't found one I've liked yet.  I prefer the feel and look of foam-lined bras and have a drawer full of very expensive ones that I reach for again and again.
  5. Examine what you already own and buy lots of, if you don't have something in your drawer, maybe there's a reason.  Lingerie is heavily influenced by style, just like the rest of your wardrobe.
  6. Lace wins.  Every time.  Picot-edge elastic is a close second, but you can't beat the comfort of a stretch lace finish on undies.  Plus, if you do it right, there aren't lines under most clothes.
  7. Organization, organization, organization.  All those little pieces are not easy to keep track of!

So where does that leave me?  

I've ordered some foam and a pattern from makebra, and I'm going to try my luck with making foam bras, since they make up most of my day-to-day wardrobe.  Does anyone have any experience with their patterns?

What lessons have you learned?

Patterns: Pretty as a Picnic and Skirted Thong from The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie
Size: 10 // 12

Friday, February 13, 2015


One of the things I've been doing lately is making lists.  I've got a few TNT lingerie patterns, and I'm working on weeding out the ones that don't work for me and the ones that need some alterations.

The best part, though, is that I've identified a few patterns that work that I've been making again and again.  This really helps when I've got some scraps that I want to use up, and don't want to waste the fabric as a muslin.  One of the things I've noticed with my making is that sizes are not necessarily the same across patterns from the same designer, and different designs from the same designer don't always work for me.

I'm a bit obsessed with Ohhh Lulu at the moment, and this definitely holds true with her designs.  I've tried a few that just weren't for me, and a few that I love.

Most recently, I made up 3 patterns that are perfection, Ava, Gia, and Jasmine.  I wanted to make a set with options.  Different clothes require different undies, ya know?

The construction was really straightforward on all of them .  The only change I made was to add a full powernet lining to the bra, and a hook closure at the back.  The fabric I used is really lightweight, and needed a little extra stability.

And, can I just say how glad I am to FINALLY find a thong pattern that is comfortable!  My drawer was looking a little sparse in that department because I just couldn't find a pattern I liked, and couldn't bear spending $15 on my favorite ones at the department store.

I'm really happy with how all three garments turned out.  I love the striped/pink combo and the fit of everything is perfect.  I'm a little perturbed at the number of skipped stitches, though.  My sewing machine just didn't seem to like this fabric/elastic combo.  In some places, it didn't want to sew at all and I had to go back over again.  From the outside, it all looks fine.  The insides aren't so pretty, though... any advice for me?

So. Many. Skipped. Stitches.

Pattern: Ava // Gia // Jasmine
Size: S // M // S
Materials: Oatmeal Striped Jersey, stretch lace galloon, power mesh, 1in band elastic, hook & eye closure, picot edge elastic
Alterations: added a hook + eye and a full power mesh lining to the bra

Monday, February 2, 2015

Eric's Hat

It's finally stopped snowing here in Chicagoland, about 2 feet later!  Just in time for my guy's birthday! Today also makes a year that I've been living in Chicago!  It's a busy day all-around I guess.

In honor of that, I have some photos of a hat a made a year ago and took photos of month ago.  I'm ON IT over here.

This hat took me FOREVER to make for a couple of reasons: 
1.  It's in sport-weight wool, so tiny needles.  Ugh.
2.  About 4 inches in, I accidentally stepped on my needles and snapped them.  Needless to say, it took me a month or two to get new ones and resume knitting.

The pattern was super mindless and easy to knit up.  And, although sport weight yarn is not fun in my book it definitely makes the hat warmer and looks really pretty.  This project was kind of an "emergency knit" last year during the polar vortex (which, hopefully you'll all blocked out) when my guy didn't have a hat.

What?  Who lives in Chicago without a hat?  Well, that's an interesting story.

Last year, if you recall, it was subzero for weeks on end.  It was dangerous to go outside with exposed skin.  He started the year off with a hat, but about a day or two into the polar vortex of miserableness, he was waiting at the bus stop in the snow with a woman.  It was negative something awful outside and she was severely underdressed.  A jacket, no gloves, hat, or scarf.  As she stood there shivering next to him, my mister just couldn't take it.  He pulled off his hat and gave it to her.

And that's how he lost his last hat.

I, naturally, yelled at him for running around without a hat on.  Secretly, though, I was touched by his act of kindness and 100% sure that he was a much better person than I was.

I've told him if he gives this hat away, I'll kill him because it's knitted up with love, and that takes forever.

Secretly, though, I really wouldn't mind.  Things like this remind me why I'm marrying him.

Don't tell him, though.  I really don't want to make another hat.

"Look! I'm a blogger!  Pose"

Ravelry notes here.