Wednesday, December 10

#LadyMSews || Lou Box Top

    This top is the result of a pattern test that I did for Beth at Sew DIY. I saw her put a call out for pattern testers on Instagram along with a teaser pic of the cutest little top, I knew that it was going to be such a fun make so I immediately contacted her. Plus, I'm kind of a sucker for boxy tops… Aren't we all?
    The top is as simple as its name, a little box top with no more than five seams that was super easy to cut and sew. I of course complicated things for myself by using a super drapey and super soft silk. You can see the results of these complications in my wonky curved hem - still getting used to sewing with the good stuff.
    One of the coolest things about this pattern is that it has several mix and match variations to choose from. Beth has drafted the pattern and written the instructions to easily adapt to being sewn in either a woven or a knit. There are also multiple necklines and hemlines from which you can choose, and the pattern is made so that you can switch back-and-forth easily depending on which variation combo you want to make. It's a very unique way of pattern drafting, and I don't think I've seen anyone really do it like this before… Go Beth!
    I chose the curved hem and the scoop neck for my pattern test.  When made up in a woven, the instructions call for you to leave a slit in the center back with a button loop closure at the back neck. When I was cutting mine out I noticed that my head could easily fit through the scoop neck line, so I decided to omit this feature. If I would've thought of this before I was cutting, I could have omitted the whole center back seam ... Making it an even quicker sew!  I of course had to add a pocket, which I cut from a cute little floral silk from my scrap stash that happened to match my body fabric perfectly.
    I chose French seams because well, they look pretty. Also I'm challenging myself to really take time to make the insides of my garments look just as good as the outsides.  Since I chose french seams, the hem was even more challenging as I had to figure out how to easily transition from the cuved hem into the sideseam. The instructions call for a little split at the sideseam, but I could not acquire this with my French seams so I chose to omit that as well.
    Overall, I'm super happy with this top.  I definitely plan on experimenting with the different variations and making many more in the future.  Also it was my first time sewing with this fabric - it's been in my stash for a while and it's so dreamy! I'll be wearing this one a lot!  Not sure when she will be officially releasing this one - I'd follow her on instagram if you want to keep yourself posted.

Pattern:   Lou Box Top by Sew DIY
Fabric: Silk crepe de chine from stash, floral silk scrap for pocket from stash
Notions: Thread
Difficulty: Easy (especially in a more sturdy fabric and without french seams)
Adjustments: Omitted slit and button closure at back neck, omitted slits in side seams at hem
Finishes: French seams, turned hem, bias finished neckline
Time: You could easily knock this one out in one day

Sew it again? Absolutely!  Especially since I have so many options to choose from!


Monday, November 17

#Re-MakeoftheMonth || Bleach-Dyed Galaxy T

    One thing that my adventures in sewing and my research into the sewing community has opened me up to is how much fun manipulating textiles can be.  In the past few years I have become extremely interested in experimenting with fabric printing an dyeing.  Not only are these techniques fun to experiment with for garments made from scratch, its also a great way to liven up an old garment thats getting sort of .... blah.
    That was the case with this black t-shirt.  It's important to note that this was my absolute favorite black t-shirt, so for this reason it was starting to get kind of grey and icky looking.  I contemplated giving it a black dye bath to liven it up, but then I came across this technique using bleach and fabric paint on pinterest from Wise Rabbit Says.

     I pretty much followed the tutorial step by step.  One thing I did differently was go in with some white and blue craft paint which I splattered on with a brush to add some more "starry" effects.  I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I especially like that since I put plastic inside the shirt none of what I did came out on the back - making it look more print-y and "professional".  As professional as splatters of bleach can be I guess!



     Now I have a fun new T to wear that looks super fun and spacey.  At first I would have thought that this type of shirt isn't really my style, but it's nice to have something fun and a little bit funky to throw on with jeans or even jazz up with a bright skirt.  This would be a cool technique to try in a larger scale on fabric as well.

Hope you like it - Happy DIY-ing!


Monday, November 10

Fall/Winter 2014 Sewing Collection

    There's been so much talk about fall sewing on instagram and the blogosphere lately and admittedly I'm a little late to the game on this one.  Our re-location to Texas has stalled any thoughts of fall as we are just now seeing weeks below 80!  Not to mention I still have a couple items from my Spring/Summer 2014 sewing collection that I plan on squeezing in before I start on these fall garments (one of these seasons I'll finally complete a WHOLE collection).  


    Since participating in the Coletterie's Wardrobe Architect series I've become quite partial to planning out my sewing as a collection, so thats how I decided to lay it out for you guys here.  I also have been inspired to create more wearable, everyday pieces and I tried to make this the driving factor in choosing what to make this season.  I also decided to use the opportunity to force myself to do some sketching - something I've been trying to keep up even though school is not longer requiring me to do so.

    Once again my color story was sort of dictated by the fabrics I chose (as opposed to the other way around).  Since we've moved and my oversized fabric collection has become even more embarrassing   impressive when theres someone else around to witness the madness of it, I've been challenging myself to do a lot of stash-busting.  Not too difficult seeing as the nearest decent fabric store is over an hour away and leaving NY meant leaving all of my free fabric sources with it.  So I had plenty of fabrics to choose from once I narrowed down what I wanted to make, and the color story just sort of blossomed from there.

     First on the list is an Archer button-up.  You may have noticed that my collection is very Grainline-heavy.  I'm a huge fan of Jen and her designs, and when I decided to make more wardrobe staples I knew it was finally time to make my first archer (along with the next two which I'll get to in a minute).  I plan on using this buttery (in feel and color) unidentified fabric I bought from my school bookstores sale bin a while back - although I have some light navy silk twill that I'm also considering.  I think I'm going to go for view B with the gathered back tail.. thoughts?

    Next in line is the Grainline Hemlock T.  The hemlock is a free and fairly simple pattern from Grainline studios that I've had downloaded for quite a while now.  I accidentally bought this fabric when I just needed a few notions from Fabric.com and they told me if I spent more money I'd get free shipping - seems like a no brainer right? (if you ignore the math of course) Its an orange striped light sweater knit (the color is much lighter than the picture of the swatch shows) and SUPER soft!  It will be perfect for day to day wear and should be a pretty quick project to bust out.
     Last but not least on the Grainline front is Jen's newest pattern the Linden Sweatshirt.  I'm a sucker for cute-but-comfy sweatshirts and it just so happens that I acquired some FREE black sweatshirt fleece that I plan on pairing with some FREE white slubby sweater knit fabric that I have.  I also have some fabric that I'm eyeing for the short sleeve version of this but its woven so we'll see how that works out.
     Another pattern that I'm late to the party with is Colette Pattern's Laurel dress.  I saw this modification on their blog and fell in love - now I'm FINALLY going to make it..  I have this perfect white novelty woven that I plan to use (it's not pictured because it is at the bottom of a difficult to reach fabric bin and I was too lazy to get it out for just a swatch!)
    Last but not least there are TWO self drafted patterns I plan on whipping up.  The first is a knit pencil skirt in this mustard wool jersey that will be perfect for everyday fall wear.  Should be another easy make to whip up in no time.  The second is this lovely Raincoat that I know you've seen in my past two seasons goals lists (depressing right?) BUT - I have the fabric, and I'm so ready to finally make this little gal and this year it WILL happen!

   And thats it gang!  I'm feeling super optimistic (perhaps overly-so) about getting all this done before spring creeps up on us.  Although I must note that I'm sticking to actual calendar seasons - not this Texas weather mumbo jumbo!  So you better believe if its 80 degrees in February and I still haven't made that sweatshirt its going to happen anyway.

Happy Planning!

Monday, November 3

#Tutorials || How To Hide a Stain by Adding a Seam


    I am always coming up with creative ways to hide irremovable stains.  Yes, I'm a little messy... but also sometimes I find amazing pieces (or they find me) and there's just the tiniest thing wrong with it. All it takes is a little tweaking to get your garment back to new!  This little ponte DVF shift dress was one of those pieces.  It was a hand-me-up (my younger cousin has a fabulous closet and I just happen to be somewhere at the top of her getting-rid-of-shit list), and I was so excited when I saw this in the bag she set aside for me... It. Is. ADORABLE!  And since messiness runs in the family, I wasn't too surprised to find the tiniest little stain on the front hip.  And when I say tiny... I mean TINY.


     Yes, I tried everything I could to simply remove the stain... but it was relentless.  Any normal person probably would have just dealt with it, it's probably not noticeable to the average onlooker.  But for me this pesky, relentlessly tiny stain just had to go.  Since I kinda wanted to hem the dress anyway.. I came up with the perfect solution.


    I simply added a seam at the hipline, getting rid of the pesky relentlessly tiny stain, pulling up the hemline, and maintaining the design aesthetic of the dress.  I feel the seam falls at just the right place that it almost adds to the mod feel of the dress, and even looks intentional - Like Diane herself planned it that way!

    Granted, this won't work for everyone in every situation.  I just happened to have a perfectly placed stain.  But, if your garment could stand to loose some length, and your stain/rip/hole is in a convenient spot to do so... adding a seam could be just the perfect solution for you!  It is also ideal if your garment is mostly straight (as opposed to a-line or circle).  Read on to see how I did it!


Monday, October 27

#Tutorials || DIY: Project Organizer Bags


    I'm not sure if I've shared this with all of you yet but... I'm sort of a neat freak.  If something can be organized, tidied, or streamlined in any way - you better believe I will organize, tidy, or streamline it. I just can't help myself.  So my "works in progress" used to all live in this little plastic drawer.  And by live I mean crammed and mixed up and disheveled.  Every time I went in that drawer the contents would burst out, I'd get stuck by pins, and/or I'd be missing a crucial button or zipper that I swear had been previously placed in said drawer.  I'd had enough.  
    Somehow I got the idea to make these little bags to organize each project in along with all of its accouterments.  The bags feature a vinyl window so you can easily see which project is inside.  So all of the parts stay together and each project is easy to find.  


    Needless to say this project was revolutionary to my studio life.  Not only did it look much nicer but it made my works in projects seem so much less daunting.  I just had to share it with you guys so y'all have the opportunity to experience the same amazing and life-changing transformation that I did :-p    

    Full tutorial after the jump!

MATERIALS:
  • Canvas bags - I found mine on Amazon.  Similar here.
  • Teflon universal sewing machine foot
  • Pinking Shears
  • Clear Vinyl (about 1/4 yard)
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread - I used contrasting

Wednesday, October 8

#LadyMSews || McCalls 5539 Vintage Style Romper


    Ok so I know its fall and everything for all you nice people up north.  But down here in the great state of Texas, we are still seeing days that reach ninety... so no, I'm not THAT crazy for posting this make in October.  (okay so I meant to post it earlier this summer but I just procrastinated a bit - jeez)
    This McCalls pattern was a junk store find, and one that I just had to actually make (as opposed to letting it sit all lonely-like in the pattern bin).  And if you really want to talk about procrastinating, I actually made it LAST summer. If you remember (and of course you do), it was part of my sewing goals for Spring/Summer 2013!  This little outfit is so much fun to play around in with little sneakers on a super hot day, or dress up with heels for a retro-pin-up look at night to an outside concert or something. Sometimes I put this on and think .. "Is it TOO much?" and then decidedly answer "NO WAY!" and prance out the door to the delight of many compliments and admirers.  :)

    This pattern features an open front with three little tie closures.  It has a 1" elastic encased in the waistband. There is also a little flap that hangs over the bust line goes around to the back. The crisscross straps button in the back underneath the back flap. I sewed it up in a navy greyish chambray with little white flecks woven into it. It's the same fabric that I used for my tiny pocket tank - which by the way is extremely difficult to photograph, I mean this thing looks like its three different colors here!  I also made this pattern in a vintage floral (what I had left from my low back dress) for my dear friend Brynn for her birthday - which is three days after mine.  (I swiped a pic of it from her Facebook below) Because only the best of friends have matching birthday rompers. :)




    My only problem with this pattern is that it has no pockets.  I have no idea how I allow this major oversight to happen.  I'm actually considering going back and adding some patch pockets with a little bit of fabric that I have left. Until then I guess I will be that girl who is awkwardly rubbing her hands on her hips thinking that she has pockets where there are none.  As far as adjustments go, I did take in the side seems a significant amount and also shortened the rise about 1". 


    To add a very subtle pop to the neutral fabric I finished the seams in red serger thread which I also used for the hem and to made the front ties. There are also little red buttons hiding under the back flap to secure the straps in place. 


Pattern:   McCalls 5539 view D
Fabric:   White flecked Navy/Grey Chambray
Notions:   Two small red buttons, elastic waistband
Difficulty:  Intermediate 
Adjustments:  Took in side seams A LOT (probably about 4 inches), took up rise 1"
Finishes:  Serged seams in contrast thread, turned hem in contrast thread, neckline facing

Sew it again?   Probably not, only because this isn't exactly a "staple piece" - I mean, how many skimpy vintage rompers does a girl really need in her wardrobe?  I do have the tea-lenght skirted version in my sewing to-do list so I guess we shall see!

Happy Sewing!


Thursday, September 25

#ReMake of the Month: September || Refashioned Dress from Vintage Apron/Smock


    I love refashioning projects because there is so much great vintage/used clothing out there made with beautiful textiles that are just sitting on the shelf/on the rack/in the basement because the silhouette is out of date or something is damaged or theres just no use for them.  Refashioning breathes new life into those items and they get to re-enter the world with a big smirk and a brand new strut.  Plus I like to think that it potentially keep these lovely little beauties from eventually clogging up the landfills.
   

    This is one of those items that I'll have to admit even I didn't see much potential in.  But I got to hand it to the Gentleman - he has a pretty good eye for fun pieces.  This little apron/smock was a last minute grab, you know the one you spot while your already in the check out line?  The gentleman picked it up and said "what about this!?"  Me: (eyebrows raised - unsure if my man's judgement has gone off a bit) "um...I guess I can make it into a dress?"  I love the idea of an "apron dress" don't get me wrong, but these colors were SO BRIGHT and the print was SO WACKY I thought it would be too much.


   Boy was I wrong!  What a lovely little transformation from smock apron to bright vintage summer dress.  Luckily I had the perfect little matching bandeau to wear underneath.  This dress is so comfy and cool for hot days, and I get so many compliments on it!  I especially love the pocket detail.


Bandeau: American Apparel, Shoes: Lotta from Stockholm, Pearls: Vintage - from my grandmother
    The adjustments I made to make this little gal wearable were all pretty small changes that really made a big impact on the silhouette.  I took in the sides, which moved a lot of the open space from under my arms to the center back.  I added buttons and button holes down the center back of the apron to close the flap and make it into a skirt - aren't the buttons so perfect?  Lastly I hemmed it.  I generally hem all of my vintage finds since I'm teetering on the shorter side and they tend to hit me in a weird place.  Usually I get a little over-zealous and make the hem too short, but I'm finally starting break this habit and I think I hit this hem just right.  I used the excess I removed from the hem to make my button and button hole plackets in the back which I also fused for stability.


Original: Apron/Smock
Adjustments: Take in sides, add center back buttons, hem
Final Product: A summery open backed dress
Difficulty: Easy
Finishes: Serged seams where I took in the sides, turned hem

Time: I worked on this on and off - all together maybe 2 hours?
Do another like this?  I love that this style keeps me cool on super hot days (you know how I hate lots of fabric around my armpits - this completely eliminates that problem!)  If I found another smock with the same potential I would definitely go at it again!

Happy Refashioning!


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