Sunday, October 25, 2015

I'm a Fabricista!

This top was my first entry in the Fabricista Sewing Challenge and the adorable, camera-shy dog is Buster.

I wrote my first post for Fabric Mart's blog as a Fabricista this past week.  If you would like to check it out you can follow this link.  

I share a bit about how I got into sewing and what I love about sewing.  I hope you will go over there and take a look!  Have a great week!

My 12th Anniversary Dress!  Vogue 9109

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Final Fabricista Challenge Results- Thank you!

I am so very flattered and excited (I had some really stiff competition) to have been chosen as the winner of this competition and a huge THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to vote for me.  It was an intense 5 weeks (ok family we can take a break from those rotisserie chickens) but totally worth it and all the garments I made are already in heavy rotation in my wardrobe!  I hope you will pop in from time to time since I will be sewing with some beautiful fabrics from Fabric Mart and guest blogging for them as well! Yippee!  Its gonna be fun!  

Below is only a portion of the full blog post on the final results, if you would like to see the full post follow this link to the Fabric Mart Blog.   

And the winner of the Fabricista Fashion Challenge is...

The votes are in and we have a winner in the Fabricista Fashion Challenge! This was SOOOOOO hard. I wish I could have all of them! Congratulations to....Elizabeth from I Sew, You Sew!

Elizabeth is the winner of $25 a month for one year to spend on fabric, plus be a Fabric Mart Fabricista for 6 months writing guest posts for the blog. (A $300 value with media exposure.) She will also receive a Julie's Picks Membership.

Tiffany is second place and wins a $100 gift certificate and a Julie's Picks membership. Kristen is third place and wins a $50 gift certificate and a Julie's Picks membership. Tiffany and Kristen did an amazing job as well and it was so hard to make final decisions! Don't worry, I don't think this will be the last you see of these ladies. I'm working on the blog schedule and hope to have some newcomers lined up for the new year. If you would like to consider blogging with us occasionally, please email me at for more information. We'd love to have you! 

Thanks goes out to all the contestants that participated in the third year of the Fashion Challenge. I always look forward to doing this and being inspired by everyone. 

Thanks to all the "celebrity judges" for helping to judge all of these talented ladies projects. It is a TOUGH job!

Thanks to all the readers for participating at home and for all that watched from the sidelines. We do this for you and we're so glad you enjoy it. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Final Fabricista Challenge!!

This is my final entry for the Fabric Mart Fabricista Challenge and although it has been an intense few weeks I have really loved the creative challenge.  I really needed a little push to get my sew-jo going!!  I have been thinking about all the pieces I've completed for this challenge and have already worn them all, I love that!  Its pretty satisfying to end up with pieces that work great in your wardrobe! 

The challenge detail are below, taken from the Fabric Mart Blog.  And under that I've included my entry plus a few extra pictures.  If you are so inclined please vote for me on the Fabric Mart Blog just click this link! 


We're in the home stretch! This is the last challenge, can you believe it? All the ladies in this challenge have done an amazing job and I can't wait to see who the winner is. The last three contestants are guaranteed to win something, it's just a matter who will win the grand prize!

This week's challenge is the 3 Piece Wardrobe Challenge. Find a garment (handmade or ready-to-wear) that you hardly wear because you don't have anything to go with it. Create two other garments that would go well with it in hopes that you will then wear the hardly worn piece. The two items must be different items such as a skirt and blazer. Do not make two skirts or two pairs of pants. These two items do not have to match or be worn together. 

This is the time to really put yourself out there. Think outside of the box and think about how you can really make the hardly worn garment a show piece in your wardrobe. 

So as you see, my task was to create two items of clothing that would coordinate with a hardly worn piece in my wardrobe.  My entry to the contest is below!  I chose my beloved plaid wool skirt made last fall for my hardly worn piece.  Keep reading for all the details on my two coordinating pieces!

I love my plaid wool skirt made last fall from thrifted/reclaimed wool.  However I often found that the one coordinating top that I had was either at the dry cleaners or too warm to wear.  So my lovely wool skirt has spent too many days lingering in the closet when it could be a major player in my fall wardrobe.  I also had the feeling that the jackets I tried to pair with the skirt were either too casual or too long and covered up my beautiful plaid.  In order to better fit my wool skirt into my wardrobe rotation I decided to make a coordinating top and jacket. 

First Coordinating Piece: Moto Jacket
Butterick 6169 seemed like a great pick for a jacket to pair with my plaid skirt.  Maybe it makes me think of 90's grunge and that harkens back to my high school days, but I really wanted to see what the two would look like together.  I love the combination of the two pieces and wanted my jacket to have a little twist to it, so I used a herringbone tweed wool for the sleeves and a black sateen with a little stretch for the body of the jacket.  For the lining I used a dark navy bemberg rayon from my stash. 

Construction and Fit: 
I was a little nervous that the black stretch satin would stretch out during construction so I used strips of fusible knit interfacing to stabilize the seams.  In this case I think it might have puckered my seams slightly- so it was the choice between stretched out seams or slightly puckered seams!  
I also stabilized the wool tweed with the same interfacing and it worked great!  Wool is so warm and it definitely makes the sleeves cozy.  I wanted to reinforce/stabilize the sleeve caps of the sleeves so I used thick red fleece remnants to fill out the sleeve caps.  I referenced the tutorial on the Lisette site to figure out how to do this.  She uses quilt batting, but the fleece I used is pretty close in texture to batting. 

The fit of this jacket is a bit tricky but thanks to the princess seams it is completely manageable.  The tricky bit is that the jacket is meant to be closer fitting and I find that to be a balancing act since I want to (obviously) wear the jacket over a long sleeve top- so there has to be a bit of extra room.  I tried the shell of this jacket on numerous, numerous times trying to strike the perfect balance between fitted and roomy.  I ended up taking the outer shoulder princess seams in by 1/2 inch each to accommodate my slightly narrow shoulders.  I also made sure to let the princess seaming out in the bottom back part of the jacket to make room for my bum.  I took the rest of the back seams in by approximately 1/4 inch each.  For reference, I started with a size 10 which is usually just right for my bustline.  I also took the side seams in 1/4 inch each.  The length of the jacket was just right for me so I left it alone.  The sleeves were a bit too long so I ended up taking off 3/4 inch from them.  I didn't combine the lining and jacket as per the included instructions but used this tutorial from Grainline Studio. 

Final Thoughts:
I feel that all the small changes made the fit of the jacket were just right for my frame and I will be able to wear long sleeves and dresses under the jacket very comfortably.  Nothing screams "fall" to me like plaids and I love wearing wool plaids in the colder seasons, I'm thrilled that I now have the perfect jacket to wear with my skirt.  Also when I wear my new jacket with my plaid skirt I really feel like I'm on a time warp to 90's grunge but I am completely fine with that!  I liked the early 90's!  I think the jacket gives the skirt a little bit of edge instead of the usual preppy feeling I have when wearing it- I love options for styling!   


Second Coordinating Piece: Fitted Button-Down Shirt
I love print mixing but don't always take the time to try it, so this challenge was perfect since it pushed me into finding a print that would work with my plaid skirt.  I loved this pairing and really wanted to get a similar look so I combed my local fabric store and found this cotton voile and knew it would be perfect.  I love cotton voile for button-down shirts. 

Construction and Fit:
Butterick 5526 was almost exactly what I was looking for when trying to come up with the perfect top for this skirt.  I say "almost exactly" because I really took issue with the collar.  Can I say ugh!!  I cut the collar and considered using the mandarin collar option but when I stitched it on the shirt it looked awful.  

So I decided to compare the Butterick collar and collar stand with the Grainline Archer collar and collar stand that I knew I liked.  The drafting of the two collars is very different- both the collar and collar stand of the Archer are significantly smaller than the Butterick pattern.  

I ended up Franken-patterning the Archer collar onto the Butterick pattern and it worked perfectly.  This was a moment when ripping out a completed collar was totally worth it.  I know the original Butterick collar would have completely overwhelmed my slightly narrow shoulders, but the Grainline Archer collar is the perfect scale.   

I love the princess seaming on this pattern for two reasons, the first being that I feel the slimmer lines of the princess seams help the shirt tuck into the skirt more smoothly rather than billowing out like other button-down shirts.  I can't stand the bunchiness that happens under a skirt when a top is tucked into it!  The other reason being that princess seams work in your favor if you usually grade between two sizes in bust and waist.  I started out with my usual size 10 bust and let the seaming out for my waist and hip area since I normally grade those to around a size 12.    

I added sleeve tabs to this top since I often wear my sleeves rolled up and used pearlized shell buttons from my stash. 


Final Thoughts:
I really took my time in constructing this top, I wanted to wear it with pride and I do!  I serged all the seams to finish them and everything feels just perfect with the fit.  It is soooo satisfying to wear a handmade garment with pride and know that the styling and fit is exactly to your liking.  And I love the combination of these two pieces, I can see myself reaching for this pairing over and over, in fact my co-workers will probably tire of me wearing them this winter!  I'm also pretty excited that all three of these pieces play together nicely and so can be worn all at once.  I have had so much fun during this challenge, coordinating fabrics, thinking outside the box and sewing pieces that I will grab over and over with my skirt.