Sunday, April 24, 2016

Asymmetric Ruffle Tee with Free Motion Applique Flower

I made this cute t-shirt for Elena too long ago to remember for sure which pattern I started with, which really only means about a month ago. I want to say it's another CINO Nessie Tee. The Nessie has flared out sides and I wanted this swingy. The main fabric is a light coral cotton jersey from CaliFabrics. It is such a nice shade of pink/coral in my opinion and the weight and drape of the fabric worked out perfectly.

To get the angle at the bottom, I cut the full pieces out and then trimmed a triangle off the bottom making one side seam 3" higher than the other. Then I cut my ruffle piece twice the width of the bottom of the shirt and again cut a triangle off the top making one side 3" higher than the other. I think the strip was 5 inches high so that I could have one side 2" tall and have some seam allowances. Does that make sense?

Then I had some fun sorting through the scrap bag finding fabrics that would coordinate. Elena wasn't feeling it at all at this point, but I didn't care anymore because this project had become all about me being creative and trying something new. I decided not to turn under the edges and look forward (I think) to a little bit of fraying. It will add to the rustic charm of my sad scribblings. Free motion applique takes some practice I'd say, but it's fun to drop those feed dogs, hook up the darning foot, and just go wherever. 

Elena was having lots of fun taking pictures. What a relief it is when you can get some pictures and some giggles and be done in 5 minutes.

This top took quite a bit more time than a simple tee. From choosing the fabrics and flower design to gathering 2 ruffles and all that basting and serging and topstitching. This is the kind of slow sewing that makes me so incredibly happy though. It was fun, it produced a cute shirt that she likes in the end, and I know exactly what time and materials went into it. I have so much more appreciation for this top than any I could buy ready to wear. I don't have many friends that sew locally, but I hope to inspire a few to give it a go.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sew Straight & Gather Legends Dress Review

I wanted a new dress for Easter, but I wanted it to be a dress I would want to wear a lot so knit fabric would be a bonus, but I wanted it to be more than a t-shirt dress. The recent Legends dress by Sew Straight & Gather fit the bill perfectly.

Ladies Legends Collection

What a beauty, right? You can make a dress or a top with all different sleeve options including sleeveless. This is not something I could dare try to hack myself so I happily bought the pattern, actually the bundle so Elena will be getting one soon too. I love the dropped waist dress version for kids. So for being a knit dress, this pattern brings elegance, comfort, class, and fun sewing.

Fun sewing? The clean finishes inside and that collar/neckline make this a fun sew. There is a video tutorial in case you need extra help, but the instructions are really very good. I loved everything about making this dress. I did make a crazy ugly muslin out of scraps of fabric. It was soooo ugly, but it served it's purpose in testing size and techniques. I think that the cotton lycra (the recommended fabric) I muslin-ed with was lighter weight with maybe a little less lycra content than my dress version. Not by much, but as a result, the dress is a little tighter across the shoulders/bust than I intended, but I think it's a pretty good fit (and I'm always hopeful I'll lose those 10 pounds).

I was worried that the gathered skirt wouldn't be flattering, but I like it. It hits high enough (at true waist) that it highlights the narrowest part and floats out over the not great parts below. I am 47 years old and getting so tired of holding in my stomach, but I will not give up the fight, I will not go quietly into the night... (anyone else excited for the Independence Day sequel?)

Back to the dress, I think I would add in seam pockets to the skirt next time. They aren't included, but would be a very practical addition. I look forward to a long sleeved top version for fall. And since the front of the bodice is 2 layers, I'm thinking that is the perfect canvas for some reverse applique. There was nothing bad about this pattern at all. I love it. Totally worth the money. 

Have you tried this pattern yet? I'd love to see your version if so. Leave a link in the comments. Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Capsule Wardrobe: Simplicity Culottes & a Plantain Tee

So a while back I ordered some fabrics from Cali Fabrics and was surprised to see that the organic french terry I thought was called camel was actually called caramel. Oops, thought I was a better reader and shopper by now. Turns out that I love the color caramel, but I wasn't sure at all what to do with it. 3 yards of it no less. It's pretty heavy weight so it would make a nice hoodie for sure, but I don't really need one. I experimented with these culottes figuring they could always be pajamas or just for the beach if nothing else.

The pattern is an out of print Simplicity 4237 from 2006. I really like this pattern and have used it for a couple of skirts in the past. I made only one change to view C and its the same change I've always made on this pattern to all versions. I don't like a fold down waistband so I just cut it half as high. Easy change. Especially in this thick french terry, a fold down would be crazy. I insert elastic as well because I like the extra tummy support and insurance against young ones pulling and hanging on me all the time.

They couldn't be more comfy, but I'm still not sure just how flattering they are. A soft fabric with drape would be very nice I'm sure, but I do think I'll wear these anyway. On Pinterest I saw this color paired with mauve and thought, "Hey, wouldn't you know I got some mauve jersey in that same order from Cali Fabrics." The colors feel very desert sunset to me. I'd like to go to southern Utah, Nevada, and Colorado this summer so I must be feeling the southwest influence.

The t-shirt is another Deer & Doe Plantain Tee. I changed the hem to a rounded hem because that is more flattering for me and also shortened it a couple of inches. This jersey fabric is thinner than I like so it is a bit see-through which doesn't work for me. I doubled the front and back bodice pieces and all is well. Now I can wear any color bra and no one will know it. 

This top will get a ton of usage in my capsule wardrobe coordinating with several other bottoms. In it's first version, I tried to raise the neckline a little and hand sew a binding with a fancy herringbone-like stitch. I had to take it out though because it looked really old lady to me and the binding was rolling inward too. Not good. So I took it out and cut the standard Plaintain neckline with the standard neckband and I love it. Sometimes, basic is good enough.

So the only remaining question is: are these pants a yay or nay? Please be honest and tell me if I can leave the house in this outfit. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Capsule Wardrobe: Gray Granville Buttowndown

Doesn't every capsule wardrobe have to contain at least one neutral buttondown shirt? I didn't want blue chambray, but I went with a light gray cotton/tencel blend from CaliFabrics. 

The pattern is the Sewaholic Granville. I did one pocket with some decorative stitching on it and long sleeves. The other time I made this pattern I made it sleeveless, but I'm planning on using this one as more of a lightweight layering piece for the spring and summer so I wanted sleeves. They are long, too long really, but I think they'll mostly be rolled up anyway but something to be aware of with this pattern. It turns out a lot of people have this issue. I find it strange because I have pretty long arms and often add length.

The back has nice shaping and gave me a place to do more of the decorative stitching. It is unbuttoned in this picture if you think it's hanging funny. Sewaholic designs for pear shapes so I had to remove some width at the hip, but that is the only change I made. I could still take out a bit more I think.

I'm having a hard time keeping up with blogging lately. I just don't have the time to take the pictures, edit them, write posts, etc. You will probably see less and less of me here, although I hope to keep sewing most of my wardrobe. I have made a lot of pieces for myself lately and may just photograph them hanging up or something less time consuming. I'm getting so far behind that it seems impossible to catch up. And if I'm not going to take the extra time to link up and promote on social media, then it really is just not a good use of my time right now. We shall see...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Denali Jacket for spring

More pink and purple coming out of my sewing room. Elena needed a new jacket with sleeves long enough for a monkey armed girl. She loves fleece jackets and I wanted to make one with buttons. So this jacket is the answer.

 I went to Joann's and bought some antipill polar fleece in colors I knew she would like, but that would include some colors I like. It's all about compromise with this opinionated girl. The pattern is the Denali Jacket by GYCT Designs. I believe I won this pattern in a contest in her Facebook group. It is a very useful pattern with options for a solid front, a color-blocked front, or like this version a color-blocked and gathered front. There is also a choice of a 2 piece or 3 piece hood. I went with 2 piece. I lined the hood and did the facings with jersey from a tan t-shirt. Not exactly "glamorous" like she would pick, but stable and it does match a color of the fleece print.

She is getting good at buttons, but you can see she's putting some stress on the top buttonhole. I think that's because she can't see that one since it's high up and she forgets which way the hole goes. It is well interfaced so I hope it holds up. The buttons are thick for little fingers to grab easily. They came off of an old jacket of Olivia's.

She really likes it and is wearing it a lot. The poor kid spends a fair amount of time in the car every afternoon driving the teenage siblings around so a light jacket is all that she needs for that or she gets overheated. Andrew has changed swim teams so now our afternoon drive for him is down from just over an hour to only 40 minutes. In a couple of weeks (after spring break) it will be 15 minutes so YAY! For all of us.

I do really like this pattern and can fully recommend it. I had no trouble with it and think it produced a nice jacket. I'm also thinking that if I sized up, I could make it in a woven, maybe even a raincoat type fabric. There are side seam pockets but Elena finds those kind hard to find usually. I was thinking of adding a vertical seam to the front panel so I could move them there, or I could bite the bullet and learn how to make a welt pocket. Hmmm. But this version is great for playing outside on the warmer days we are starting to get.

Of course she chose pink pants and pink shoes to wear it with. I could gag on so much pink but she loves it. The top she is wearing underneath is swirly pink and purple. Oh my goodness.

I'm still trying to de-emphasize clothes and blogging for her, so this wasn't an official photo shoot. We were just playing outside and I took some occasional pictures. I like this last one shot through the toy barn we were playing My Little Pony with. She was being so silly and cute.

I had been hoping to make her an Easter dress, but 1) she doesn't really need one, 2) I don't have any fabric she likes for a "glamorous" dress and 3) I'm running out of time so it isn't going to happen. How about an Easter t-shirt? Is that a thing? If she isn't careful she is going to wind up exactly where her picky older sister (who turned 18 last week!!!) is - not on my sewing list at all. I have a long list of sewing for myself and so I hope that the next thing I show you is something for me. Take care everyone!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Peplum Top and Leggings

Today's outfit was made at least 6 weeks ago. We were blessed with another beautiful spring-like day so we had a chance to take pictures outside. It was full-on sunshine and quite windy and then it started raining huge drops for a few minutes, but then it cleared up quickly. You've got to love the weather around here in March and April - it's crazy.

The top was made using Simplicity 1435 with one minor change to extend the sleeves to full length. I used a womens' tee from the thrift store for fabric. I thought Elena would like the little birds, but alas, there is no pink or purple so she doesn't love it. She might not like it at all and may only be wearing it right now because of a bribe of Hello Kitty fruit snacks.

The leggings are from the same pattern, but for skinny mini, I have learned to adjust the width. I taped a fold down the center of the pattern piece to take out 1 inch in width. This pair was made from a pair of Forever 21 leggings Olivia didn't want anymore. They are a ponte knit.

So the fun is in the details. The leggings got the addition of a triangle of crochet lace added to the bottom. I just sewed it on with a tight, narrow zigzag stitch. It's certainly not a new concept, but it is the first time I did it.

I do enjoy a little hand embellishment, so the top got some blanket stitching around the neckline and bottom hem. The bows were made from scraps and tacked on heavily from the back because I hate when bows are only attached at the center and curl up instead of lying flat. They are made from a sweater knit so I don't think they will crumple up like jersey does.

The whole outfit is a little big on her as you can see above. She looks like she's wearing football shoulder pads. I've used this pattern before but with a cotton lycra and this is just an interlock so I guess that's the difference. I'm hoping that it will still fit her next fall. At the rate she is growing lately, the sleeves will be 3/4 length, but I think the rest will actually be better then. And maybe she'll be over the purple and pink infatuation by then. I can only hope.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hack 'em & Mash 'em - Make it your own

First off, I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted anything. I didn't realize it had been quite that long. I have been sewing a lot, just not blogging. So what have I been sewing? I'm continuing on with the capsule wardrobes for Elena and I. These pieces I have to show you today, go along with lots of Elena's other pieces and were made completely from scrap fabric. Bonus pieces!

This cardigan is hack of the Aster Cardigan. I shortened the bodice pieces making the side seam 5" long and added a gathered skirt. I also spaced my buttons out a bit more. Otherwise, the construction is according to the pattern. This sweater knit is super stretchy so I used a piece of neutral jersey for the neck binding. I also stabilized the shoulder seams with hem tape.

Elena definitely needs more practice with buttons, which reminds me I need to show you her new fleece jacket for spring. It has buttons too, but that will be another day. We took advantage of a warm day to take pictures without a jacket so that's how we chose this outfit. I'm telling you, we are way behind on blogging (and shopping for spring shoes.)

I bought 3 yards of this fabric last fall. I believe it cost less than $20 at It has now become my Jalie drop pocket cardigan, a hooded Bimaa for Elena, and this Aster. That's so crazy. I have nothing left of it. I would have made the skirt portion an inch or 2 longer if I had more fabric, but I'm glad it's not any fuller. I just wanted a few gathers. 

Did you recognize the skort fabric? I used the bitty sized scraps of Stenzo jersey I bought from Mabel Madison last year. It's such nice fabric that I had to find a way to use up the last bits. Plus this way, all these pieces mix and match. We now have a dress and skort from the stripes, and leggings and a fringe tee and parts of this skort from the blue. 

This skort is a mash up of 2 patterns - the skirt and waistband pieces are from the Sofilantjes LIV skirt while the under-shorties are from the Hey June Monkey Bars Skirt. Both are free patterns from a couple of really great designers who have lots of great knit patterns. I've made the LIV skirt before with it's cute circle pockets, but I kept it simple this time while adding the shorts underneath. 

There's no elastic in the waistband so it's super comfy. It took no more than 10 minutes to sew this up and then another 10 to set up and hem with the double needle. It's so quick and easy I was tempted to whip up a half a dozen, but how many do we really need? That's the hard part of the capsule wardrobe and being creative and resourceful. Just because I can make them easily doesn't mean I should. I'm trying to stick to my plans and keep a limited wardrobe for her.

I'll be back with more as soon as we can get more pictures. I have so much to show you and a couple pieces I'm working on for myself that are close to done.