Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Silk Butterflies Blouse

Sometimes, simple is best. That's certainly true for this outfit--a simple, loose blouse, a slim, straight skirt-- these are the silhouettes that I feel most comfortable in. I'm often drawn to more flashy or voluminous patterns, but it's the simple shapes that I pull out of the closet again and again. 

Fabric Notes- The fabric I used is 100% silk from I ordered it a few years back, and it took me a while to work up the nerve to use it. I love this fabric--it is absolutely gorgeous! But it is also very lightweight; it's see-through. I was worried that it would be troublesome to work with. I shouldn't have worried. It was a bit finicky, but workable. I used French seams throughout to keep the silk from fraying and to make the inside looks just as nice as the outside.

Sewing Notes- This is my first attempt at Sewaholic's Belcarra blouse. I was looking for a simple work shirt, and this certainly fits the bill. It's a very simple raglan-sleeve pattern, and it's drafted very well. I think that Tasia of Sewaholic is very talented at drafted simple shapes well--classics!

The skirt I'm wearing is one of my Grainline Moss Mini skirts. The blue/purple color of the skirt works perfectly with the color in the butterflies. This will definitely be a standard outfit!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Graphic Neon Cambie

This dress really makes a statement! This may be the most striking dress I now own. It's so bright that I think it may actually glow in the dark.

Fabric Notes- The fabric is really the star of this make! I found this navy and neon green peach skin from Girl Charlee. (You can find the print here.) Striking, isn't it? I made an extra effort to center the design and match up the lines. I think it was worth it!

Since the peach skin is poly, I lined the dress in a soft, black cotton lawn. That way, I have a breathable fabric next to the skin. 

Sewing Notes- The pattern used is Sewaholic's Cambie dress. I cut out a size smaller than usual--not sure why. As a result, it was too tight, and I had to add in a small panel at the back zipper. Thankfully, the pattern is busy enough that it's not too tragic, but it does mess up my careful pattern matching.

Still, I'm quite proud of this dress. I really like the way the cap sleeves look while standing up. After wearing the dress all day at the office, I noticed that the sleeves gaped when sitting down. Anyone else have this problem with the Cambie? I am reluctant to take in the straps any more as it fit very nicely now when standing...Would love to hear your suggestions on how to deal with the gaping while sitting.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Go for the Gold (dress)

I'm always on the lookout for good gold to wear to work. Plus, I have a dream to have a wardrobe full of simple sheath dresses in every color of the rainbow! One step closer!

Fabric Notes- My fabric is a gold rayon/poly double-knit from It has a slight gold shimmer to it. I wasn't sold on the shimmer at first, but now I think it makes the dress feel more special.

Sewing Notes-The pattern used is Butterick 5554. (See other versions: Inception Little Black Dress, Matrix Dress, and Boston Conference Dress) This time, I drafted some little sleeves to make it special. I'm quite pleased with how these little sleeves turned out, and it was rather easy to do.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Secret Rainbow Shorts

Let me introduce the Secret Rainbow Shorts, made with the Grainline Maritime shorts pattern. I've been wearing these shorts for a while now, and they're amazing! p.s. Also wearing my Black Rainbow Tank made back in 2012!

Fabric Notes- I really needed a pair of plain, black shorts in my wardrobe. My old pair got worn to death and no longer fits. Luckily, I had this black/gray denim from in my stash. Although I am drawn to bright colors and crazy prints, I want to make more items like this that will get a ton of wear. The best part of sewing your own clothes? Even though these are plain shorts, I can customize the inside with rainbow colored fabric! I love, love, LOVE this lining fabric. It's a black cotton with rainbow bits! I found this fabric at our local Goodwill. There was only a little bit, but I truly wish I could buy up a whole lot of it!

Love the lining fabric in these shorts!
Sewing and Pattern Notes- I have to give a lot of credit to Lauren from Lladybird for making these shorts happen! I took her advice in three areas:

1) To insert the fly, I used Lauren's fly front tutorial, which is based on instructions from Sewaholic's Thurlow trousers sewalong. This tutorial worked well for me and made more sense than the instructions. The only issue is that the tutorial shows how to make a fly front that opens on the left, and I wanted these shorts to open on the right. So I had to flip everything in my head to mirror image them.

Here you can see the back extension and how much I took the center back in.
2) I used Lauren's waist band with back extension tutorial, also from the Thurlow sewalong. This gives you better options to adjust your shorts, if needed.

3) Also like Lauren, the back gaped a LOT on me! I ended up taking out 1.75" from the pattern piece. Beware of this, baste, and do a fitting!

Let's talk about the pockets. You know I love pockets, so this is a very important feature to get right.

Back Pockets: These are nice and roomy with a cute design! I added a zipper to the top of the back right pocket. This is one of my favorite additions to back pockets. Perfect way to carry your ID and cash without having to worry about it falling out. 

Front pockets: I really like the look of the pockets as drafted, but unfortunately, I found them a bit too small for my hands to comfortably fit. I was surprised by this because the pockets from Grainline's Moss Mini skirt are perfect. I'm working on drafting up a Moss-Maritime hybrid pocket to try out in my next pair. That's right, I am planning to make a second pair!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Moss moss moss mini mini mini

Friends, I am in love with the Moss Mini Skirt by Grainline Studio. This year, I took a good hard look at my closet and thought about what I actually need and wear. Slim skirts have got to be near the top of that list for me. I love to wear skirts, and I prefer a comfortable skirt with a fly front and pockets. The Moss Skirt fits that perfectly. I started with the metallic silver one, continued with the red/pink/tan Navajo-inspired print, kept on going with the electric blue, and I imagine they'll be quite a few more of these before I'm done.

Sewing Notes- I found this pattern very easy to work with. All three came together beautifully even though this was my first attempt at a fly front. I'm happy with all three of these fly fronts, and I followed the instructions that came with the pattern. I've since been experimenting with some alternate methods. More notes on that after I've thoroughly tested out another fly-front option. Two things I'd like to note about this pattern: 1) It's simple! That means that it can work as a plain basic that you'll wear again and again, OR it is the perfect piece for some statement fabric. 2) It doesn't take much fabric! If you embrace the "mini" length (like I did with the Navajo-inspired print), you can easily squeeze this out of a yard of fabric or less. That particular piece was a remnant that was about .8 of a yard (and I had enough left over to add back pockets). On the other versions, I lengthened by 2-4".

Let's Talk Fabric- Silver Metallic-I bought this beauty from JoAnn at least a year ago. It was my intention to use it for a skirt, but I didn't know what pattern to use until now! This fabric is a stunner and it gets a lot of compliments! The only drawback, it's scratchy. And I didn't notice it until I tried on the almost-completed skirt. I ended up going back and binding all of the seams with soft, hot pink cotton voile. Navajo-inspired print- This was from the remnant bin at JoAnn. It's not my normal colorway, but I loved the look of the print. It's a thicker fabric--like a thick denim or even maybe home-decor weight cotton. I think it works great as a mini skirt! Electric Blue- This is a cotton/poly twill blend bottom weight, also from JoAnn (man, I swear they're not paying me!). I picked a poly blend with the hopes that it won't wrinkle. So far, so good!

Both the outside and the inside are beautiful! The pattern gives you the opportunity to pull out some fun, contrast fabric to use on the inside of the pockets and as facings. I certainly had fun picking out some nice, soft cottons to add as lining on the inside. I'll leave you with some pretty pictures of the skirts laid out flat.
Pretty lining fabric and lilac hem tape


Back- left has back pockets, right does not

This is a great pattern to pull out contrast fabric for the innards.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ursa Major

Does the design on my shirt look familiar? As familiar as the night sky? This design was inspired by the constellation Ursa Major, which also encompasses the Big Dipper. Although it's inspired by Ursa Major, I like how it could also reference a monkey, or a skeleton, or something else entirely. It's fun how to let your mind wonder---just as our ancestors did when they made up the constellations. 


Sewing Notes- I made this shirt using my simple self-drafted tee pattern, but before sewing it up, I made the design on the front. I used a bleach pen to draw the stars and lines. You could draw it out on the shirt first with chalk, but I just free-handed it making dots for the stars and lines to connect them. I do recommend testing out the bleach on a scrap of fabric first. I did this with about five test swatches of different fabrics. Some took the bleach well, others did not. It was interesting to see the different colors made on different fabrics. I'll have more examples to show you later!

As a bonus, I'm modeling the top with this rather fabulous jacket I found at Goodwill. It was HUGE and quite crazy--I wish I took a before/after photo. I took in the sides, removed the collar, got rid of back poofiness, and took off some unnecessary embellishments. Now, it will make a great summer jacket. 

Have you ever tried bleaching designs on fabric? Any special tips?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Little Mermaid Dress

Look at this dress. Isn't it neat? Wouldn't you think my collection's complete? Wouldn't you think I'm the girl, the girl who has... everything?

Speaking of having a weakness for novelty fabric... Your eyes do not deceive you, I have made a Little Mermaid dress! This dress was made for a dear, dear friend of mine who bravely volunteered to go out with me in fabulous cartoon dresses. Remember this, my Carebear dress?

She loves The Little Mermaid (who doesn't?!?), so when I found this Ariel bed sheet, I knew it would be perfect.

Sewing Notes- The fabric here is the star! I also bought some teal/aqua chevron fabric to use as accents---it reminds me of waves. I wanted a simple pattern to let the fabric shine. The pattern is a modified New Look 6557. The bodice is view D, and the midriff is basically half as wide. I made a simple gathered skirt, and it's double layered so that the wave fabric peeks out at the bottom. 

I also took a lot of care to cut the fabric strategically. Check out Ariel on the front, King Triton on the back, and the castle on the midriff. Pretty sweet!

Sewing for someone else who's a different size is pretty nerve wracking. Luckily, my friend likes it! Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of her wearing it, but if we ever work up the courage to wear them out somewhere special, I'll definitely share. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ice Cream Cone Jammie Set

Just popping in to say hello! I am a sucker for a novelty print, which is how I came to own ice cream cone fabric and teal hearts fabric. Both are from Girl Charlee. Both prints are adorable, but not exactly the most sophisticated. No worries, I used them to whip up a set of spring jammies! Love wearing these when it is starting to get warm, but there's still a chill in the air. The sleeves provide just enough warmth, and the cute ice cream cones have me excited for summer!

Sewing notes- The top was an experiment. I modified my basic long-sleeved tee pattern to raglan sleeves. I just winged it and made up the sleeve pattern... Worked pretty well for my first attempt at this. The shorts are my basic jammie shorts pattern. I love these shorts so much! I've been wearing them like crazy!

How about you--do you find yourself buying crazy, novelty fabrics? Or can you restrain yourself? Looking in my sewing closet there is fox fabric, cartoon flower fabric, and galaxy fabric, to name a few. I've already made up items in zebra fabric, panda fabric, heart fabric, and unicorn fabric... Eep!