Wednesday, September 17, 2014

/sweatshirt season

Here we are, another post, another quest for my version of the perfect ________. This time it was a sweatshirt. It's so silly when a product is straight-up named "perfect tee, sweatshirt, trousers", right? Is it just me, or do those companies have a bit of an inflated sense of self? 

 No way I'm falling for that ploy, but here's what I had in mind for my ideal sweatshirt:
  • a wide, roomy neckline - Still covering any straps, of course! And wide enough to peek an Archer collar from underneath.
  • raglan sleeves that aren't to tight up the armpit - Not going to take the sweatshirt title to heart, give those pits some breathing room!
  • sleeve ribbing that's not too tight when pushed up to the elbows - I'm always wearing my sweaters and sweatshirts pushed up.
  • not too long, not too short.- 'nuff said.

First test: striped rayon French terry. A little sleeve tweaking was still in order, but this is probably my most-worn garment in my entire closet for almost a year. You did read that correctly- I made this October 2013 and am just now getting around to sharing! This sweatshirt is actually pretty messed up; the sleeves are not straight and the neck binding is sewn on backwards. BACKWARDS! Yet, people still ask me where I bought it so I guess others perceive these things as design details? Fine with me! The stripes are just so stripey and irresistible I'll wear it no matter what!



Here's the second sweatshirt I made in May (of this year). A definite rule breaker. That's right- cotton navy sweater knit and black ribbing, with an oversized appliqued monogram! I managed to get the neck binding on in a normal fashion this time and fixed the wonky arms.




Next, I've got high hopes for a midi-length dress from this pattern. I'm totally and completely ready for fall and all the snuggly clothes (read: sweatshirts) that I get to wear and layer!

Oh, and BOOTS. Tall boots, short boots, rain boots, booties.

I've spent half of this post waxing about my perfect sweatshirt; anyone else have such fervent sweatshirt opinions? I guess I just take comfort seriously!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

/incidentially blocked pineapple tank

Scraps. We all have 'em and no matter how good our intentions are to use them, it's so hard to do! I'm always distracted by thinking of the next project, the next amazing fabric. I love the idea of using the whole buffalo but rarely get around to it.

Exception: the Sewloft Diana tank, made with leftovers from my pineapple playsuit.

Some sewers call full yards of fabric "scraps", but no, these were really and truly little baby SCRAPS. I couldn't even get a full front or back out of my leftovers, or enough for anything but a crop top!


Luckily I had a random piece of chartreuse linen, also a true-to-form scrap. I only had these bits to lengthen the tank, but it turns out there was a reason I've kept it for years - it was the absolute perfect thing to finish off this tank!

I did screw up the strap attachment/neckline finishing process a bit by not reading through the directions ahead of time... oops.
Piecing together small pieces of fabric is admittedly a bit of a time sucker, but it feels great to have a useful garment hanging in my closet instead of random fabric clogging my drawers & boxes (or actually, on my floor)! I'll just ignore the rest for a bit and revel in this little victory for minute.


I'd love to see more scrap projects or recommendations that would be more suited to autumn than a camisole.. have anything in mind?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

/LAkeside PJs

I'm a really highfalutin thinker/post namer, you guys.
These are the Lakeside PJs and they're made from fabric I got in L.A.


They're a rayon crepe de chine, which I had always fantasized about, but never actually encountered in the flesh (fiber) before. Very pleased with the super silkiness. Sometimes I feel a little guilt in my love for rayon, since it is a semi-synthetic fiber (but derived from natural materials), but then I wrap myself in some rayon (or rayon/cotton blend for guilt-lessening softness) and my doubts melt away.
One thing is for sure: It's the perfect pajama fabric.

Not sure about the print... reptile? oil spill?


I didn't use wide elastic in the waistband because it would wear on this fabric really easily, and I don't like the feel of really stiff, wide elastic under thin and silky fabric. Also, I have tons of 1/4" elastic, so it worked out. I just made two 3/8" channels and shimmied that elastic right through, resulting in a nice lightweight waistband.

Be warned: If you're not feeling really jazzed about sewing bias binding on that particular day, do not even attempt these. Sewing time on these guys works out to 5% seams, 95% bias making/applying. I did the math. If you don't own a bias tape maker, it will make your money well-spent list after the first yard, I promise!

All that tiny baby bias is worth it though, once you feel those silky back flaps fluttering as you walk across the room.

pattern: Grainline Studio Lakeside Pajamas
fabric: rayon crepe de chine from Fabric Planet in Venice, CA (ok so not really LA. Whatevs.)
handmade pj set tally: three (one and two)


Saturday, August 16, 2014

/pineapple playsuit

It's not often I get started on a sewing project knowing that I'm not going to get a lot of wear out of it, and still carry on. Generally with sewing and ready-to-wear, I need to answer the question "could I be wearing this ten years from now?" with a resounding yes.

But for summer?
Come on- that's way too reasonable.
I need to get at least a little crazy. Afterall, I was headed to southern California where this new garment would happen to fit in perfectly with all those palms and whatnot...

The sun-bleached photo strikes again! Poolside! I also wore this bowling, please imagine w/ bowling shoes.

No, this crazy didn't just happen, I was on a mission. I bought McCall's 6083 on a whim, then got this intense urge to make it with a rayon challis in a vintage-look Hawaiian pineapple print. The problem being that I had no such fabric. I sort of pride myself on being able to find ridiculously specific things I get in my head on the internet, so this seemed doable. 

Not so. I went on an hours-long HUNT for a fabric within my parameters and almost gave in to a rayon challis that was too expensive, in the wrong colors, and with no pineapples.

A few days later, I miraculously came across Wanderlust fabrics and then this AMAZING pineapple hibiscus rayon challis. It was on its way within minutes!

Since I was already committed to this print, I just went full-on vintage Hawaii themed and bought some crochet (was trying to find more of a macrame look) trim and stained wood beads. Just seemed like the natural thing to do. Absolutely worth the hand sewing.



The only thing I remember doing differently than the pattern was eliminating the back neck facing, opting for bias binding. Ew, I really despise facings and all their general flappiness, so I try to eliminate them as often as possible. "Invisibly" hand sewing them down to a single layer of fabric is even worse. I also lengthened the bodice by 2" for my long torso to ensure my wearing experience was sans-cameltoe.
A good note; this pattern has the best pockets! I'm plotting a pair of pants using them.

I know this thing won't get a whole lot of wear, but I think it's served its purpose for the time being. It will certainly serve another by cheering me up in the middle of winter when I see a sliver of it in my closet!

p.s.
If after that first photo you put money on me getting a nasty sunburn before this vacay was over, congratulations, you've won.
And the back of my legs certainly lost.



Friday, July 25, 2014

/the bossy dress shirt

Motivated by Morgan and Sally's awesome exchange last month, Katie (of What Katie Sews) and I decided to initiate our own installation of the Sew Bossy Initiative (Originated by Heather and Oona). I'm pretty impressed with how fast we were able to get this together, considering we're all the way across the globe from each other!

We exchanged a couple likes and dislikes, and both agreed on picking projects that would be good for the summer weather. Gotta take advantage of that ever-reclusive sun!

I was super excited to open my package and find:
1) Amazing handwoven nubby eco-friendly cotton from India.
Easy care fabric with great texture? YES PLEASE.
2) The Merchant & Mills Dress Shirt pattern(!!!)
3) The most adorable embroidery scissors in a super cute Liberty print holder. I am such a scissor fiend (but aren't all sewers?)
It really doesn't get any more British than this, folks. Katie sure knows how to pick 'em.


We've been having great weather, so I kept on putting off "officially" photographing this dress until the last minute (of course) and now it's POURING outside (of course) so all I'm left with are a couple super golden sun-drenched sunset phone photos from a wedding I went to a couple weeks ago.
Side note: Someone at the wedding said I looked like a "grown-up Madeline", which is basically the best outfit comment I've ever received. That mischievous redhead was always a kindred spirit.


Here. It's much easier to just have the dress form model. 


This pattern was really enjoyable to put together; not so boring you'll fall asleep, but not difficult at all. While cutting, I decided what was so great about this fabric. It's striped, but you DON'T HAVE TO MATCH THE STRIPES! I felt like such a cheater playing with the stripe direction to my heart's content and only worrying about being on grain! The front yoke panels ended up cut on the bias and the back yoke perpendicular to the main body. This dress has really nice details and just the right amount of them; I love the oversized bib and feel like the pleat below it is really lengthening.
I contemplated shortening the hem quite a bit, but decided to try it out in the original midi-length just to see what it would look like on me. Turns out, I love the length and the shirttail hem does flash a little lower side-knee. Mmmhmmm.


 Thanks so much Katie bossing me into such a great project! It's already getting its share of wear.

p.s. Check out Katie's project here!
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