Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sewing Excuses

Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with excuses to sew beautiful garments,...because, quite honestly my days are full of some pretty messy stuff- soggy spit-mushed foods, stuff that comes out of all parts of the human body, cheerio dust (you know the stuff that results when you step on a dry cheerio), etc.  So whenever we get an invitation to a wedding I get an incredible excuse to sew something beautiful, something out of the ordinary, something made of challis, charmeuse, and lace.  And that's just what I did.    

The Skirt
This is the new pattern from Sewaholic Patterns, the Gabriola (there's a sewalong right now).  I LOVE this pattern.  I love long flowy skirts, but the reason I love this long flowy skirt is because of the way it is shaped.  It has a lot of different panels, some cut on the bias.  You know how a lot of maxi skirts are just gathered tubes of fabric, this my friends is no gathered tube of fabric!  It elongates the body and swishes a bit when you walk.  I like that!  As far as sewing goes, this was not a difficult skirt to sew, my pieces never did line up perfectly but with so many parts of it cut on the bias I figured they wouldn't.  Sometimes in sewing I've found that with some patterns you just have to trust the process and keep plodding on, trusting that its going to come together in the end.  That worked in this case.  
The fabric is rayon challis from Hancock's.  Originally I had envisioned a coral skirt but the only coral fabric they had was polyester and I generally try to avoid polyester.  I probably should've lined this skirt but will just wear a slip with it instead.  

The Lace Shell 
This lace shell turned out exactly as I hoped it would.  Its Butterick 5922.  I guesstimated where I wanted the sleeve to hit and then cut it off there.  As for the neckline, it was originally much higher up and had a slit opening with hook and eye closure.  It did. not. look. good., so I sewed it up and widened the neck which fixed all the problems.  I used the Grainline Pattern's Scout Tee neckline as a guide and it was perfect.  The lace is a stretch lace from Hancocks (see a theme here, Hancocks is only a short distance from my home!).  I treated it like a stretch fabric, using a stretch ballpoint needle to sew.  I read some online tutorials about using wonder tape for the hemming but just pinned everything down instead and went slowly.  With practice all the hems came out great.  I ended up having a bit of a sway back with this pattern and lace but I feel it was due to the lace not the pattern.  My muslin in stretch jersey did not have a sway back soooo note to self stretch lace is not entirely equal to stretch jersey!  I really love how this turned out, I've wanted a lace shell like this for a while and it was my first time to sew with stretch lace.  So glad I did!

Charmeuse Camisole
This was my first time to sew with silk charmeuse and I used the slip pattern from McCalls 6696, cutting it off at camisole length.  Its a simple make with rouleau straps.  I was a little skeptical about the instructions for making the straps but they worked perfectly!  I have to say I intended to make the skirt out of charmeuse but after sewing this camisole I knew that it would be a major headache to try to get the charmeuse to behave for all the parts of this skirt.  The charmeuse feels wonderful as a camisole, so soft and light weight.  I see why everyone raves about its texture. 

The Shrug 
The shrug is Mccalls 6845.  I used a damask fabric that I think is rayon (I thrifted it ages ago) and it worked out pretty good.  Admittedly my sewing of it was a bit sloppy but the effect is just fine.  I am one of those people who gets chilled all the time so I knew I'd need a little shrug to take along.  I used my serger for most of the construction and this is a super quick make.  I also tried it in chiffon which didn't go so well.  

The Clutch Bag
This bag was made using this tutorial.  It was super simple and turned out great.  I used some shiny upholstery fabric for the outside and some lace fabric for the bow.  A simple make.  This is a perfect example of why I sew.  This bag cost next to nothing to make and turned out as cute as or cuter than a little clutch I'd buy at the mall.  Plus I am at the point in my life where I prefer my own handmades because they represent so much of myself in each stitch, my thought, my preferences, my time.  I feel the depth of personality in an object that I've created that I don't feel when I just buy something at the mall.  Its strange and hard to describe but I'd say I've felt this way more acutely in the past couple of years.  Going to buy something at the mall or anywhere else just holds no allure for me anymore.  Anyone else have these feelings? 
Since I forgot to include the clutch in my pictures I had to recruit a model.  She was very willing and also wanted to show me how versatile my clutch is.  See below how it can function as an impromptu hat if there is a sudden downpour.  Sweet and hilarious girl.   
So what about you, does it take something like a wedding invitation to give you a good sewing excuse or do you just make these kinds of garments regardless?  Do you feel differently about buying something from the mall now than before you made your own garments?  I'd be interested to hear some other's thoughts on this idea....


  1. What a lovely, lovely outfit! I want to try silk charmeuse but honestly I am scared.

  2. Thank you! I understand about the charmeuse, I have to say that Sullivan's Fabric Stabilizer is the only way I'd ever attempt any slick fabric. Its great stuff when it comes to making chiffon and silk charmeuse manageable. You should try it some time you'll love the way it feels.

  3. Oh Elizabeth!! This outfit is so beautiful. Very Downton Abbey! I can't believe that you made it. It really is stunning. Love AJ's Sambo look. The clutch is so very pretty. Great job. I don't like shopping or making my clothes, so I can relate about going to the mall, except I skip making my clothes, that is what the internet is for :) sending my love, Holly

    1. Thanks Holly! I love it when people can't guess if I made the garment I'm wearing or not! The clutch is extremely easy, I think I'll never buy one again!! Love to you and yours, E

  4. lovely outfit, especially the charmeuse!!! I came from the We did it wednesday linky. Feel free to visit my blog and say hello ^_^
    Happy friday


    1. Ally, thanks for stopping by our blog and your sweet comment! The charmeuse feels so luxurious so I definitely recommend making something in it! I will stop by your blog and say "hello" soon!

  5. I have also received a weeding invitation and I was planning on wearing a maxi skirt with a lace top. We must think the same. I have just bought the Gabriola pattern and I am planning on using the Grainline Linden sweatshirt pattern for the top

    1. Good luck with your outfit! I love wearing this skirt and this lace top, its always nice to be able to mix and match them with different outfits. The Gabriola is such a great shape too.