August Project: #sewmystyle

It’s time for Project: #sewmystyle again.  August’s garment is by Megan Nielsen called Darling Ranges Dress.  Megan Nielsen was on the list earlier in the year for the Briar Tshirt.  That pattern was super easy to put together so I was hoping this dress would be the same.

I picked up a cotton shirting from Jo-Ann’s.  I could not decide on a fabric for this dress.  I shopped and shopped online but ended up going to Jo-Ann’s and deciding that I would not leave without something.  The shirting is a navy blue with swiped on white dots.  The cotton is light but still has enough body that the dress won’t fall flat. I did read over the post by Emily at Self Assembly Required.  If I would have retained it a bit better it would have helped but I’ll get to that in a bit.  She did mention that the sizing was a bit off and I agree.  I cut a size small.  I never do that… also just had a moment of déjà vu.  Have I had this sizing issue recently? I also went with version 1 that has a gathered skirt.  I think the other dress looks like a hospital gown with buttons in the front.  Maybe that’s just me.

As I mentioned I cut a size small.  The top sews up fast and I did sew it in the flat as the pattern suggests.  I really didn’t see why it was a necessary suggestion but hey, who am I? I repeatedly tried the bodice on because I was nervous about the fit of a small but my measurements fit into the finished garment sizes so I was going with it.  I attached the skirt and started to finish off the placket.  That’s when the brain became the blame.  I should have remembered from Emily that she thought the bust darts came up too high.  I tried it on after finishing my plackets and realizing how much space I was losing.  Uh oh! I fit but it was tight.  That does not work! I pulled out a majority of one placket.  I was not going to tear this whole dress apart.  I resewed it about 3-4 times before it became acceptable and I fit appropriately.  After I was sure about the one dart, I ventured to the other.  So much better.  I do want to look at those darts a bit more though before another go at this dress.  They do go too high and I think they eat up too much of the bodice.


It took me a bit to decide on the length of the sleeves.  I thought about hacking off the length and creating short sleeves. I ended up keeping the length to my elbow. I think a tulip sleeve might be a fun alternative for a future version. Do you also notice the back gives me some badonkadonk?


I chose little white buttons that would match the dots on the fabric.  They do have a bit of a pearlescent kind of sheen and I think they complement the dress so much better than plain navy or standard white buttons.


I’m not sure how much of a hem the pattern suggested.  I always hem my dresses last and at that point it’s what I want not what the pattern tells me.  I made it a bit shorter than my knee.  This tends to be the typical length I’ve been hemming my dresses at.  See Simone and Sorbetto.  All 3 are the same length.  I go with the old rule of, as long as it’s past my fingertips it’s acceptable.


I wore this dress all day at work and not one wrinkle.  Can you believe that? Especially of a 100% cotton?  I’m amazed and totally delighted! Even with the 100 degree weather, I was still comfortable.  I did add a little belt to enhance the transition from the bodice to the skirt. Is it weird that I love this picture because I have creepy dead eyes?

Very happy with this dress and pattern.  A long bust dart won’t make me dislike this pattern.  Next up is the Yona Wrap Coat by Named Clothing.  I’m looking forward to this one and dreading it all at the same time!

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July: Project Sew My Style

This month’s project for #sewmystyle is the Valley Blouse by Cali Faye. The pattern is a billowy, long sleeve peasant blouse.  The pattern calls for a light, airy fabric such as chiffon, swiss dot, silk or my fav, rayon. I bought a mint rayon (who would have guessed) from LA Fabrics. When I hear mint, I think green more than blue but this is definitely more on the blue side.

The sizing of this shirt is strange. I made a small but the sizing dictates that I should make a large. I understand that it needs to be roomy but a large would have been entirely too big and completely unwearable. Be sure to check your measurements properly against the pattern pieces before beginning this project.

I have never completed a shirt like this so I relied heavily on the instructions. The pattern does suggest using French seams since the fabric necessary is so light.  I complied and did so on the side seams and back placket. The rest of the seams I ended up serging because I could not figure out how you’re supposed to French seam using a gathered portion of fabric as the fold over bit.

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One thing that super annoyed me about the instructions was that it kept telling me to “finish the edge”.  I don’t always read pattern instructions but couldn’t it at least give me a suggestion? If I serged the edge, you would see it through the light fabric so what the piss?  The only spot that it looks bad is on the back facing.  I used a zigzag stitch on the edge and a bit of fray check.  That looks like shit.  I left it but did stitch the facing down to the shirt, which you’re not instructed to do but it kept wanting to flip up and I was going to make sure that booger stayed where it belonged!

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The sleeve cuffs are a bit weird. You leave the end at the wrist open so it looks like a regular sleeve and cuff with a button.  I’m used to other patterns where you cut a new slit so it’s on the outside of your wrist.  This one is at the back of mine. I put the button hole stitches through both sides of the overlapping cuff pinning them together.  I knew I could slip my hand in and out so no worries on ever needing to unbutton the little button.  I also stitched the top stitches where the cuff overlapped together because they were trying to angle away from each other.  It bothered me.  No one would ever notice that I did this extra bit of stitching but it made me happy to not see the twist it was trying to achieve.

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The front placket and in the front shirt piece calls for a keyhole.  In every picture I looked at of completed blouses, you can not really see this feature so I said “screw you giant keyhole”.  I really didn’t want to fiddle with the little piece of fabric that was supposed to finish the cut edge.  Squirrelly rayon and a thin fabric pattern piece coming together and me being happy about it? Hell no! I did leave the front plackets split from one another so it created a noticeable keyhole. Ha! I like it and it was worth the effort because you can see it. I also added a little loop of fabric to place my button in rather than add a buttonhole.  Yes, I know that was a fiddly little bit of fabric but it would cause me a lot less grief to add than that giant keyhole.

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My favorite thing about this shirt? The sleeves! They’re large and you can feel the wind catch them as you walk. And yes, I kept flailing my arms about even as I walked because it’s too much fun!

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The blouse definitely walks a thin line of being able to be a dress.  It’s quite long. I folded the hem up a bit more than it tells you. Another fiddly bit is getting the hem to lay flat since it’s a rounded edge. Folding up that much of a fabric onto itself does not go easy.  There’s a small bit (I won’t tell you where) on my hem that has a small pleat in it because of this.  This is why I use bias tape on rounded hems because it will move around the curves appropriately.

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I believe July’s garment is a success.  There’s small things that I would change about it for next time like the neckline seems really open but this shirt is not a style I would normally wear so maybe I’m not used to it.  I have to say when I did wear it out I didn’t fidget with it as much as I imagined I would. The length is a bit too long and I need to figure out a better way to deal with that back facing.  I’m curious to see how other sewists finished it off.

We’re now over halfway through the yearlong sewalong!  You can still check out all the details at Bluebird Fabrics.  Keep your eyes peeled for discounts on the patterns.  It seems that shortly after the month is finished a discount will pop up. As always, you can check out the finished garments from me and other lovely sewists on Instagram using the #sewmystyle hashtag.

Orla

Instagram brings a lot of things to my attention.  The two latest are the free download of The Orla Dress by French Navy Patterns which has a dress challenge and the maxi sewalong both for the month of July.  I was planning on making a maxi dress with the ridiculous amount of fabric I scored for $7.50 from Walmart. (15 yards of knits) Maxi fabric check! The Orla Dress happened to be what I was envisioning for my maxi. Dress pattern check! The sewing gods are encouraging.

The Olra dress is designed as a short sleeved, knee skimming dress. It has darts in the front and back, gathered waist and zip up the center back. The dress challenge does encourage you to “hack” the dress pattern. (BTW, totally hate that word “hack”. It makes me think of spitting a giant ball of phlegm.) I’m not scared about changing up a pattern so no problem! I decided to lengthen the sleeves, omit the zip, change knee-skimming to maxi, add pockets and tighten up the neckline.


As I was cutting my fabric I re-worked 1 pattern piece in particular. The front piece of the pattern was too wide at the shoulders. As I mentioned, I was going to tighten the neckline. It’s a lower scoop neckline and I wanted more of a t-shirt style. I raised the front by 1″ and redrew the curve. I also had to move in the shoulders. I honestly can’t remembered how much I took it in but it was a lot. The pattern piece looks a bit like Frankenstein now. I did taper both bodice pieces (front & back) by a bit toward the waist to make it more fitted.


When I was sewing the bodice I had a bit of an issue with the darts. I’ve never sewn darts coming up from the waist like this. I wasn’t sure where they were supposed to stop and should they look like they are at the center of my boobs or what? I winged it. I had to do the first one a few times before it looked right. I moved them both more towards the center compared to what was on the original but I guess that makes sense considering all the damage I did to the original piece. What was nice about this bodice is that I didn’t have to shorten or lengthen it!


I added clear elastic into the waist. It’s a lot of fabric that needs to be gathered and I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t stretch out and lose its shape. Plus it nips it in just a tidbit. 



What you end up with is a boring, grey maxi. And I love it! I don’t normally make plain Jane kind of stuff. I love prints but having something boring that I can accessorize is a nice change.

You can check out more about the Orla Dress Month Challenge and Maxi Sewalong by clicking the images below.orlamonthbanner

No Stowe

Part of my #makenine2017 was to make a bag similar to the Stowe Bag by Grainline Studio. If you’re not aware of this little tote, you have to check out all the different versions.  It’s too adorable!

I do have a tendency to make my own pattern for any bags that I make. I studied the Stowe bag and I liked the size. I started there with my measurements. The bottom should measure about 5″ x 9.5″. That’s a nice sized handbag. I couldn’t decide how I would incorporate the handles and the fabric that I wanted. And this is where any resemblance to the Stowe bag disappeared.


What I ended up with is an alternating fabric using my suede-like fabric along with Daleks fabric. This is super similar to the makeup bag that I made the bestie for xmas. I loved that little bag so it’s not really surprising that I’m making this so similar. The construction is even about the same.  Did that statement just take out all of the air of this blog post.  Well I don’t care! I’m excited about my own ‘little can of hate’ bag!


I did add a little bit of Dalek on the inside of the bag.  It’s cute and happy yellow gingham but I stitched in “exterminate” around on the bottom.  It was almost 2 am and it sounded like a good idea.  It did not strike me that I will only see this when I’m desperately digging through my bag hunting down something that I swear is in there. It might not amuse me as much as it did stitching it during my late night sewing session.


The measurements came out to what I was intending for the base.  I put this bag together thinking of not closing the top completely. I only wanted a flap I could secure to keep things from falling out or other people digging in.  Not connecting the flap on the sides of the bag kept it from keeping the boxy shape that I liked.  I did some quick stitching and attached a few points on the flap to the bag’s body to help pull in the wandering sides.
After using the bag for a week or so, I realized the handles could be about an inch or so longer. I could have also dropped the flap down about an inch into the bag instead of putting it right at the top like I did. It’s a little flimsy even though I used interfacing on the gingham. A stronger interfacing would have fixed this.

Super short little post for an angry little bag. 🙂

3 items left on my list! Sewaholic Thurlows, Burda Flares and rainbow belt. A little over 5 months left and I have everything I need to make them. If I can’t complete this, I have a serious case of the “lazies”.

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Scrappy Floral Garden

Have you ever gone into your fabric stash and come out with an accidental project? You feel the immediate need to complete it A) because you have the fabric in hand B) there’s a pattern that is dying to be made from this sad little remnant.  That’s where this shirt began.  Lying in a little neat folded pile amongst other fabrics waiting for their turn to be beautiful.

I have a See & Sew pattern B5632 (out of print) that I haven’t used for a very long time.  I think it may be the first pattern I bought when I decided I would try to make my own clothes.  it touted that it would be “Sew Easy”! I had a hard time with it. I chalked it up to being a beginner and thinking I could slap something together without needing to fit it.  Well I’m much wiser at this point and realize that’s not how sewing goes, at least most of the time  anyway. The pattern is a dress but I figured I had enough to squeeze out a shirt. Simple enough!

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The top patterns pieces for this are cut in duplicate; one innie and one outtie. I have some very thin cream jersey that I figured would work for the innie and the outtie is the floral rayon scrap.  The package told me that I should cut a size 14. I knew it was wrong but I cut it anyways. Trimming down is easier than trying to magically make fabric grow. When all was said an done, I should have cut the size 8 which I figured but hey, I was trusting the creator.

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I have to say for such an easy pattern, I had a hell of a time with it.  Partially because of cutting the wrong size and the other because the pleats and overlapping is quite fiddly in the front. The pleats do not make for a nice rounded cup. It does weird things and I couldn’t get the fabric to lay flat against my bosom. So piss on that. I kept changing the position of the straps because putting the strap where instructed caused the fabric to flare out at the side.

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Talk about barely squeezing this out! I had to use the selvedge!

After wrestling with this “sew easy” project over a few days and many strong curses had been had, I completed a simple tank top.  All that for just a tank.  It should have been something more astonishing and marvelous but sometimes you take what you can get.

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For the hot, hot weather we’ve been having, this top is perfect. The rayon makes it light and it feels like I’m not wearing a top at all! Which did cause me to touch the hem a few times to make sure it hadn’t flown up or magically disappeared.

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I still think I need to come up with a much better way to construct the main pieces of this pattern because it is adorable and I can see me using it again. That can happen another time, when I have lots of patience and alcohol.