Thursday, April 10, 2014

Panda Sweatshirt


It's official. I can't resist animal-print fabric. Slap a cute, cuddly animal on some fabric, and I NEEEED it! I have to have it! Of course, when I saw this panda sweatshirt fleece from Girl Charlee (no longer available), I was helpless. Had to buy it!
Sewing Notes- I once again started with my self-drafted long-sleeve shirt pattern. This time, I lengthened it significantly so that it would work as a long tunic over leggings. I also drafted up a kangaroo pocket--super easy to do, just look at a sweatshirt you already have and use your front pattern piece to mimic the shape of the pocket so it will fit your front pattern piece. This pocket is BIG because it extends all the way to the bottom of the sweatshirt. I did my best to match up the pandas on the pocket so it blends in. I also used plain gray ribbing fabric to make bands for the hem, sleeves, neckline, and pocket edges.

Sometimes, you just need a big, slouchy sweatshirt to cuddle up in, and on those days, pandas work.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Unicorns for Women

 

Unicorns! Magical, majestic, wild stallion unicorns! Folks, I am in love with this top. I was absolutely elated when I found this unicorn fabric from Girl Charlee (sadly no longer available). It's a black thermal knit with the unicorns printed on in white. I love, it but I didn't want a shirt made entirely of unicorn fabric--that may be too much of a good thing. Luckily, I had a small piece of black glittery fabric that I'd purchased from the remnant bin at JoAnn. It was less than a yard, but just enough to squeeze out the front of this top. As a result, this shirt is a party in the front AND a party in the back!

Sewing Notes- I modified my basic T-shirt pattern to make this. This time, I made a high-low hem and kept the silhouette loose, but still slim. I also added a unicorn pocket on the front because UNICORNS!

This shirt is super-soft, and I want to wear it everyday. Wearing unicorns could be tricky and look a bit juvenile, but the fact that it's mostly black actually makes this work. Noted. Although I love bright crazy colors, neutrals actually allow you to wear something crazier and over-the-top without looking crazy.

I actually have a dress made from this fabric.
Case and point: a few years ago, I made a beautiful fully-lined work dress out of jungle-print fabric. I never wear this dress. I think about it, but it never makes it out of the house. Why? It's a rainbow of colors filled in with leopards, elephants, tigers, and more. In other words, it's too much. But a black top with tasteful unicorns? Just right, my friends! Just right.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Unicorns for Men

Sewing for men can be tough--am I right? There's not as much variety in what they wear, and the colors and patterns seem to have fewer options. Sometimes, I get a crazy idea of something to make for a guy, but then I realize my hubby probably won't wear it, so I don't do anything about it. But then something magical happened... my brother-in-law was at my house when this fabric arrived from Girl Charlee:

Yes, it is unicorn fabric--wild stallion unicorns. And he LIKED it! He casually said, "Trisha, you should make me something out of that." I simply filed his comment away--happy to learn that he has great taste in fabrics. Until I had an idea. What if I made my brother-in-law a tank top out of the unicorn fabric? Better yet, what if only the back was unicorn and the front was something else??? Even better, what if I added a unicorn pocket to the front?!?!? Thus, the unicorn men's tank was born:
Front

Back

My brother-in-law loves it, and even better, it looks good on him. Ladies, he's single, he's handsome, and he appreciates unicorns! What a catch!

Then, because I had some unicorn fabric left over, I decided to make a pair of men's unicorn shorts. These are NOT to be worn with the unicorn top. That would be too much!!! But I think they'll work well with a plain T-shirt or tank top. Or as weekend relaxing shorts. Check out the insides of these shorts. Yes, they're underlined with zebra fabric and have hot pink pockets!

Outside
Inside
What do you think? Would the men in your life ever wear a unicorn tank or shorts?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Navy Work Dress

I have a dream to have a closet full of slim, classic sheath dresses in every color of the rainbow! Ideally, each dress would have a unique, special design element, but would still be simple enough to be worn in a variety of ways. This dress fits that bill exactly.

Sewing Notes- For this dress, I used Butterick 5780. I liked the interesting design details on the neck. The instructions were very confusing to read through, but it made sense when you were actually working with the fabric. Still, I wouldn't recommend this pattern to a beginner. I like how the top half of the dress turned out, but I'm not fond of the skirt. They had you use tucks which puff out a bit. I found out that I prefer darts that give a sleeker silhouette. Duly noted for next time.


For the fabric, I went with a navy double knit. I honestly don't remember where this fabric came from... probably fabric.com. It has a nice hand and drape. I believe that it's mostly rayon (I try to avoid polyester double knits).

Still, this dress is the perfect neutral background. I've worn this dress with black, emerald green, gold,  orange, and fuchsia. Each time, I'm asked if it's a new dress. I think that speaks to it's versatility. Likely, I won't sew up this pattern again, but more simple work dresses are definitely to come!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sacred Geometry T-shirt





I've been looking a lot at sacred geometry lately. What do I mean by sacred geometry? I'm talking about things like the Flower of Life, the Golden Ratio, Metatron's Cube, Sri Yantra, and the like. I find the repetition and the symmetry of the designs to be equally calming and exhilarating. I decided to use sacred geometry as inspiration for this top.

Source
Here's some examples of sacred geometry. See what I mean? Looking at them is dizzying, yet peaceful. And you can get lost in the complex simplicity of each design. 

Sewing Notes- Yes, I created the design on this shirt, but I also sewed the shirt up from scratch as well! It's a modified version of my basic, self-drafted T-shirt pattern made up in a tissue-thin white knit fabric from fabric.com. This fabric had been sitting in my stash for a while. I was worried about sewing with it since it is soooooo thin. But I don't know what I was worried about. It was only slightly more-fiddly-than-normal to work with, and since it is so thin, it is EXCEEDINGLY comfortable to wear. It feels like I'm wearing nothing!



To make the design, I first ironed a piece of parchment paper to the back of the front piece of the shirt in order to make it a little more substantial and easy to work with. Next, I marked the center front line of the shirt with pins, so I could keep everything as symmetrical as possible. Then, I took a ruler and a Sharpie and went for it! That's right, this design was made free-hand! And I love it! I love that it's not perfect, and I love that it's simple. To me, this is a perfect summer shirt that will be breezy to wear and reflects "me" at this moment in time.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Going with the Flow

Make your own word necklace here.
Going with the flow--it's not so easy for me. I am a planner and a thinker. I like to plan ahead and know what to expect. I have to-do lists and planning documents for all sorts of things. Heck, if we're going to watch a scary movie, I even read the plot ahead of time so I know what to expect and I'm not too scared! One of my best friends--who always has a great energy about her---used "flow" for her theme for 2013. I think she's on to something, so I'm copying her and making "flow" my theme for 2014, hoping this will add a new layer of positive energy in my life. (Like my necklace? Keep reading to learn where I got it.)

I was thinking about these things, when I watched the movie Happy. (Same director as I Am, also a great movie. Both are on Netflix.) In Happy, they talk about the concept of flow in a different way. They reference flow as the state of being completely in the moment when you lose yourself. This can be achieved differently for each person---sports, singing, cooking... or sewing! For me (and I'd imagine for most folks reading this blog), flow comes from sewing. And from drawing, painting, and dancing. Being in the state of flow is an act of meditation. It's taking time to slow down and appreciate life. Not only will flow make you feel good, but getting in the flow is actually good for your health and longevity. Yet further motivation to keep these activities in the forefront of life!

When I was contacted by Onecklace to do a review of a product, I was immediately drawn to their name necklaces. I wanted a necklace to remind me to stay in the moment, so I got "flow" printed on a necklace. It's lovely quality, made of sterling silver with a nice chain. You can pick the length of the chain and the style font you want. I chose the longest chain in the Harrie style. I'm quite pleased with it and imagine I'll be wearing it a lot this spring/summer. If you'd like a necklace of your own--and you can put any word or name you'd like--Onecklace is offering 10% off, and they're already quite affordable. Simply use code GIFT when you checkout!

p.s. These pictures show a sneak peek of a new shirt I made! Post to come soon!

p.p.s. I was offered this necklace courtesy of Onecklace, but the opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Reversible Lace Top



This will be a quick post for a quick make. I had some leftover lace from my Mad Men Lace Wiggle Dress and my Lace Back Concert Dress, so I decided to use the leftovers to make a reversible lace top.



With this top, I made the front and back the same so you can wear either side forward. Since it's black, I know this top will get a lot of wear. It will be a great separate to wear with pencil skirts for work, jeans on the weekends, and even under a dress to get a bit of lace peeking out at the sleeves.

In these pictures, I'm wearing a nude colored tank underneath, but it would completely change the look to wear a black tank underneath or even a different color. 

Sewing Notes- I once again used my basic, self-drafted tee pattern. Since the lace is so open, I sewed all seams with strips of black knit fabric for support. I also used picot-edge elastic for the neckline and sleeve hems. The elastic is a great way to finish the edges with minimal bulk, and it works great with the open lace!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Homage to Kate Middleton's Engagement Dress

Source- Made by Trisha/ Wire Image
I loved Kate Middleton's blue Issa engagement dress, and I know I'm not alone here! When Kate was photographed in this dress, the company had trouble keeping up with demand--everyone loved her dress! This dress is my homage to Kate. I bought this lovely, purple, silky jersey on a trip to the LA Fabric District from a random little shop. It was a steal at $8 a yard, and I immediately had a Kate Middleton knock-off in mind. Several patterns were contenders, but I finally went with Butterick 5783. It seemed like the easiest option to get a very similar look. This dress is like an infinity dress--it features long ties that can be wrapped around the dress in many ways to give a different look to the dress.

Sewing Notes- Whoops! I completed this dress back in September, but didn't take pictures until now! I remember it coming together rather quickly. The only hiccup was that I had far less fabric than the pattern called for. To make it work, I made the long ties taper like very long, skinny triangles (instead of rectangles). I think it worked out well--the long ties are thinner now so they don't make as much bulk around the waist.

The fabric of this dress is silky and swingy. It's quite nice to wear, and it certainly makes me feel like a Duchess!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Inception Little Black Dress



This dress is like a dream within a dream within a dream. It's my version of a dress that was inspired by Gertie's Christina Dress, which was inspired by a Herve Leger dress that Christina Hendricks wore. I must have really loved the Christina Dress that Gertie made, because I remember the original post, and I've been thinking about it ever since---that post went up in May of 2010!Three and a half years later, I'm finally making my version!

I'm debuting my Inception LBD at a holiday party where "festive attire is encouraged." Festive indeed!

Let's start with the fabric. This is a black brushed doubleknit from fabric.com that's a great quality. I've had some mixed luck ordering doubleknits online, so when this one arrived, I knew it was something special. And even though I bought it for something else, I knew it was time to finally make my version of Gertie's Christina Dress. (Looking at my order history, I bought this fabric back in February. Eep! Yes, this dress was a long time coming.) This fabric is drapey enough to cling to the right places, but substantial enough to skim over the other areas. It's a dream to wear! Unfortunately, it looks like they don't carry it anymore, or I would be tempted to buy some in every color they have.

Sewing Notes- This dress started with Butterick 5554-- a tried and true pattern for me (see Matrix Dress and Boston Conference Dress for other versions). The lines on this dress fit me quite well, so it's a great starting point. I modified the front and back neckline to be a square neckline instead of rounded. I didn't need to interface the facings on my other versions, but with the square neckline, I knew interfacing would be necessary to keep the square edges nice and crisp. The decorative black straps sewn into the neckline are simply 1" strips that I sewed together and then hand-sewed on the inside of the neckline. An easy addition, but it's what really makes this dress special!

In love with this neckline! Happy New Year, my friends! And happy sewing!