Sunday, May 21, 2017

Me Made May Week 2 (for me)

I continued (as best I could!) with documenting the handmade garments I wore each day this week.  I have a couple of days that just didn't work out but here are the ones that did!

 Sunday:
This is a dress that I LOVE, its Butterick 6446 made in a cotton/linen gauze from Fabric Mart.  I wore it to church and its a great pattern, highly recommend.  Of course I changed into something more comfortable and casual after church but can't remember what that was.  My girlies (below) were also in Me Made dresses.  These were their Easter dresses (unblogged) and they look sooooo cute, I'm not biased! Promise!





Monday:
Now this picture was taken for my May Fabric Mart post, not on Monday but since I wore this Monday and knew I already had a photo of it, I DID NOT bother to re-take a picture of the outfit. The top is a modified McCalls OOP pattern and the shorts are Megan Nielsen's Flint shorts which I pattern tested in the fall.  This was the first time I wore the shorts all day and they were sooo comfy.  I will definitely need another pair of these, so breezy in our Georgia heat.


Tuesday:
Its obvious that I love these Grainline Maritime shorts (fabric from Hancocks).  They work so well for me.  The perfect length, great pockets, sit closely to the small of back- which is a minor miracle. The only thing that I will adjust next time is the back crotch curve.  I just need a little more of a scooped out curve back there.
This was a Grainline day because the top in an unblogged Lark tee in a Fabric Mart Precut knit.  So soft!


Wednesday:
This is a Grainline Alder made some time back in a quilting cotton.  Its a cheery dress and good for casual days.

Thursday:
No picture on Thursday because I was elbows deep in scrubbing bathroom floors, walls and toilets, changing soiled bedsheets, cleaning carpets, washing a child twice, changing garbage can liners, fetching apple juice, changing DVDs etc, can any of you Moms out there guess what was going on?!! My child had an upper and lower GI virus, ugh, not pretty that day.  I almost didn't get out of my pajamas on Thursday.

Friday:
A little fancier today since I went into work for a short time, so in contrast to Thursday I got to feel like a human being and get dressed!  This is the infamous McCalls 6886 and it really is a great little pattern.  I get compliments on this dress often and its such an easy make.

Saturday:
I can't report on my outfit for Saturday since it is for an upcoming post for Fabric Mart for their Skirt Sew along month!  I am very excited to share it though, and if you are so inclined Fabric Mart has some fantastic 50.00 gift certificates they are giving away each Monday this month during the sew along.  All you have to do is post a picture of a you-made skirt and include their hashtag and your name goes into the drawing!  Go on over to their blog HERE to see all the details.  I would totally enter every day if I were you! :)

So that's my summary of the second week of Me Made May.  
I hope you are having a great week,
and Happy Sewing!
Elizabeth

Saturday, May 20, 2017

McCalls 6844, A Very Useful Sweater



I am perpetually chilly in air conditioned settings and love a good lightweight knit sweater for the summer.  I began to have cute sweater envy when I saw the Blackwood Cardigan from Helen's Closet and I have always admired Grainline's Driftless cardigan, however I could not justify buying either pattern when I already had a cardigan pattern in my stash, unused but graded for my sizing and cut out and ready to go!

I realized what I liked about the two independent pattern designs were their pockets, cute details and simplicity.  So...I added a few of those things to my McCalls pattern and am super happy with the result.


You can see I added pockets that are simply rectangles and belt carriers which are long tubes of fabric.  I free handed all of these details as well as the tie belt.  Its just a long tube too!


Construction:
The entire sweater was basted on my machine and then serged together with the exception of the pockets and other details.  I stabilized the shoulder seam with twill tape and although the pattern instructed you to ease the shoulder seams together I didn't bother with that detail.

Fabric:
This was a length sent to me in a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart Fabrics.  I believe its a linen knit and probably has no lycra or very little.  Its very breathable and super comfortable.


I find that sometimes the simplest designs with a few added details make me the happiest.  I also find that when I use what's in my stash, practice contentment and get to work I can generate the feeling that I am a good steward of my resources (enter smug self satisfied feelings)- and give myself an excuse to fill the now empty hole in my fabric stash :) !! Ha ha!

Happy Sewing and thanks for reading!
Elizabeth

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Me Made May

I have never ventured into the challenge of documenting my handmade outfits for Me-Made-May before but in a moment of inspiration last weekend I decided to give it a whirl this week.  If you are unfamiliar with Me Made May you can read this blog post: Click here!

Sunday 
Dress is a New Look mock wrap, Fabric is FabricMart ITY
Sweater is a McCalls(6844) pattern in a mystery knit from FabricMart
and I made some modifications to the pattern, added belt carriers, a tie belt and pockets.

As I understand it, Me Made May is the practice of intentionally wearing your handmades during the month of May and mulling over what you wear, why you wear and what you might like to add to your handmade wardrobe.

I wear at least one handmade garment a day on most days and this shouldn't be a huge stretch for me. I have not taken a pledge of any sort, I don't really do pledges anyway (no New Years Pledges either) but I do better with an overarching goal.  So since I wear at least one handmade garment a day anyway I figured I would document each day with a picture this year.  I am a little slow to start and missed the first week but here is my second week!

Monday
 Grainline Alder in a thrifted cotton

Tuesday
 McCalls (7348) T shirt dress in a Modal/lycra from FabricMart
and the sweater tied around my waist is a McCalls (7484) sweater in FabricMart rayon/lycra.

Wednesday
 Butterick (5526) Top in Cotton Voile from Hancocks
Grainline Maritime shorts in a stretch cotton sateen from Hancocks
This is my second favorite outfit of the week, its just about perfect to me, the shorts fit comfortably and I love a button down when I know that I can roll the sleeves down the air conditioned indoors. 

Thursday
 Hey June Raglan made from salvaged(a project that went awry) black rayon lycra and the white ribbed knit is from a 4X white tank bought at Walmart.  

Friday
Picture credit goes to my 4 year old :)
 Simplicity (1167) Tank made from a FabricMart rayon/lycra.

Saturday
 This has to be my favorite outfit of the week.  
The jeans are comfortable and I love this McCalls (7387) top, its very loose and breezy for summer heat but still feels put together. 

Saturday
 That is my first week of Me Made May, I think I will try to keep going and documenting each days outfit including at least one handmade garment.

I can already see that I need at least one more pair of shorts and since I love wearing the McCalls top, I should make another one of those as well.

Well that's it for this week!  
Happy sewing and thanks for reading!
Elizabeth

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Great Basic Knit Dress

So many people have made McCall's 6886, including me.  You can see my version HERE and there is a lot of love on the internet for this pattern which you can find with a quick Google search.  There's good reason why so many love 6886... it has just a few pattern pieces, the fit is forgiving, and it can be made up in a variety of knits.  All good reasons to sew it up.

But I think I have found a new favorite knit dress and I will tell you why!  But first here is the dress in action...




McCall's 6355 is such an unassuming little pattern.  Looking at the cover may potentially be off-putting since it is slightly dated from all the other pattern covers.  Another reason you might pick it up and then discard it is the back line art.
Side note: I always examine the line art of a pattern because it gives you a clean slate (no busy fabric patterns to distract you) to study.

The back line art on this pattern really short changes the pattern because it doesn't include the optional bodice darts built into the pattern for additional fitting adjustments (you can see the bust darts but not the other four darts included).



If you read the pattern description on the back it does mention the darts but if you are like me, very visual, you might look at the drawing and completely miss this important detail.  Another awesome feature of this pattern is that it is made for wovens and knits.
Disclaimer: I have not made it up in wovens so I can't speak to exactly how it behaves with wovens but is a great idea and very intriguing to me.

Another feature of this pattern are the neckline and armscye finishing.  There are specific pattern pieces for those finishes and I always appreciate their inclusion in a pattern since it means I don't have to fiddle with figuring it out myself.  BTW I always shorten those pieces for a closer fit around the neck an arm on all big four patterns.

But wait!! There's more!  One more thing about this pattern that I love is that it is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern.  Palmer/Pletsch patterns always include extra fitting lines/adjustments already drawn on the pattern.  I love this detail since I almost always have to make a small sway back adjustment and its already on the pattern, I just fold it out!

For those of you who are curious about the comparison between 6886 and the above 6355, here is the line art for the 6886 (below) and you can see there are no darts on this pattern, that's part of the reason why it is great for beginner knit sewists.  Also the lack of darts on 6886 makes it great for knits with patterns that you don't want broken up with darts (the dress I made here is a perfect example since bodice dart would interrupt the cute aztec print).



So if you are pattern shopping soon maybe you will give 6355 a second glance, its a great alternative to 6886 and IMHO there's just more bang for your buck, or your buck plus .99, depending on the sale.

The fabric I used for mine is a Fabric Mart jacquard double knit and worked perfectly.  The consistency of the fabric masks any lumps or bumps and is very comfortable to wear.  The scattered print also works great since it masks the darts.  I love the fit of this dress, it is figure flattering in that it doesn't cling but still is shaped closely enough to look good.

Ok that's my infomercial for this pattern, hope it was helpful or gave you some ideas for your own projects!  If you are interested I wrote up an entire post on the Fabric Mart Fabricista's blog with a variety of Spring separates. You can read that HERE.

Happy Stitching!
Elizabeth


Friday, April 14, 2017

J. Crew Knock Off Easter Dress


Pattern Review has a great contest running right now called Barganista Fashionista.  Its a knock off contest where you are required to make your own bargain based version of a pricier garment.  Now I realize that there are far more expensive dresses I could have attempted to knock off and that you could probably buy something cheaper than my version at a big mall sale but for me, sewing is that opportunity to craft something with your own two hands using higher quality fabric than can be bought at the mall and most importantly it is the embodiment of creative expression that comes as a result of planning, cutting, stitching, imagining.


The inspiration for this dress came when I saw this J. Crew dress in a magazine last summer I loved the design, it had several elements I love in a dress.  The mock wrap front, pleated skirt, pockets, and waist tie.  I have learned that although I could probably have bought this dress at some point online and on sale, I could guarantee that the store bought version would never fit me like my me-made version.  Sooo when Butterick released pattern 6446 I knew it would be a great Easter dress!!  Yippee!


The printed fabric is from Fabric Mart last spring.  It was deeply discounted if I remember correctly.  Its a cotton/linen gauze and is super sheer.  Its also so well behaved, it pressed beautifully and was not slippery or unruly when handling like a silk or chiffon, so it was a pleasure to work with as far as sheer fabrics go. I underlined the entire garment with cotton poplin from Hobby Lobby.  I don't often, if hardly ever, buy apparel fabrics from Hobby Lobby but this poplin worked beautifully.  It gives the skirt an element of fullness that it needs and the structure necessary to support the gauze.



A few notes on the pattern.  I had to fiddle with the armscye a bit and used the tissue fitting method to get a good idea of the changes necessary for a good fit.  Now normally I don't have to fiddle with the armscye drafting in big four patterns but I don't know, this one needed to be lowered a bit and shaved off a bit more than my normal for narrow shoulders.  Looking at the back picture I think that back arm area could use some more shaving off and shaping too, just looks too wide back there for my taste.  

Other minor pattern changes included a small dart at the back neckline, sway back dart, grading that I always have to do for my sizing, 8 shoulders (smaller in this case), 10 bust, 12 waist, 14 hips.   


I am soooo glad I finished this in time to coordinate with the girlies this Easter!  I finished their dresses earlier and was really hoping to finish mine so we can be all matchy matchy :)  Can't wait to take pictures with them in their dresses too especially since the 4 year old LOVES her dress soooo much and asks to wear it every day :) makes my Momma heart smile.

Ok well that sums it all up for me time to go enjoy some sunshine!
Happy sewing!
And thanks for reading!
Elizabeth 


Monday, March 20, 2017

Flint, Lark and Lisette

For the past couple of years I have tried to sew garments that I can get a lot of versatile wear from.  I love making unique, one of a kind pieces but at the end of the day I must have a basic wardrobe back drop to pair those unique pieces with! 

Here enters patterns like the following three...


I was a pattern tester for Megan this fall and sewed her pants up in a drapey poly/lycra suiting from my stash.  I was unsure about the volume of these pants but after putting them on and taking pictures I loved them.  They are so comfortable and my very favorite feature is the waistband closure.  There's no zipper, the closure in incorporated into the pocket and is so clever.  

I am 5'5" and was a little skeptical about the length of these, they turned out not quite long enough or not quite short enough based on your perspective but in the final draft Megan ended up shortening this length by a couple of inches based on tester feed back.


The pattern includes a shorts version and a version with a cute tie at the waist, I am hopeful that I can complete a pair in rayon for this summer. I think they will be super comfortable and with the high waistband I can wear shorter tops without the dreaded belly flash potential!!





This is a simple tee, and the pictures pretty much do the talking.  Its longer in length, a touch too long for my taste so I will probably shorten in the future but that is such a simple fix it hardly warrants mentioning. 


The fabric is from FabricMart and was one of the wonderful pre-cut rayon/lycra lengths.  If you haven't discovered their pre-cuts, you might want to check them out.  They are so affordable and I am always in need of inexpensive knits for my girls.




Lisette Butterick 6183:

I am a fan of Liesl Gibson's Lisette Butterick patterns and this is another great one.  I made this top up in a left over length of ponte that did not have a lot of stretch.  It is a great fitting top.  I made my usual grading between sizes changes and thats it.  The pieces go together beautifully and the instructions so good.  








Butterick 6260:

One more thing to mention.  I am pretty proud of how my March project for Fabric Mart turned out and wanted to include some of those pictures here.

I did a big write-up over on their blog which included stripe matching tips and you can find that HERE.

This was a project that took a lot of hours but was worth it in the end.  I learned a lot about the guts of a semi tailored jacket in the process and made up some of my own rules as I went.  I highly recommend Palmer Pletsch's "Jackets for Real People" if you are new to tailoring.  They have a super practical, logical approach to the process which I so appreciate.

The pattern is Liesl Gibson's Butterick 6260 and its worth noting that this is a VERY fitted jacket so you may want to muslin it first.  I usually have to do a narrow shoulder adjustment for all major pattern company patterns but for this one it was unnecessary with the very fitted cut.  There are lots of fitting lines in the bodice of the pattern so that helps in fitting your waist.








Well that's a quick round up from me on a few pieces I've made!

Thanks for reading! 
Elizabeth

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Clean Slate

I bet I am not the only one who starts a project, is excited about the potential, cuts out the pattern, cuts out the fabric and then for some reason can't find the umph to complete it?  Yeah, you do it too?  Good now I know I'm not the only one! 

The three projects in this post were all UFO's (UnFinished Objects).  They've been lurking in my sewing closet taking up precious space in said closet as well as in the back of my mind.  So it really was time to either part ways with them or complete them!


There is nothing that gives me a good push like a sewing competition.  I guess the thought that there is a deadline and others are also working toward a similar goal inspires me to complete a project- and it can be so.hard.to.restart.a.project!  Pattern Review held a UFO contest this past month and that was enough to get my sewjo back.


UFO #1:

This dress is out-of-print Butterick 5947.  I used this pattern last winter to make this dress and then frankenpatterned the bodice from this pattern to the skirt of another resulting in this dress.  Its a solid little pattern for a sheath dress.  The princess seaming is so helpful with fitting.  

Fabric and construction where similar to the dress made last winter.  The black wool is from a FabricMart make and the herringbone tweed was a purchase from Hancock fabrics back when.  The lining is a mixture of bemberg and poly in the sleeves because when you cut something out a year ago and forget about it you also forget that you did not cut out all the lining pieces...argh! 

In the picture below I am showing the hong kong seams used to finish the armscye, this is done because I don't like the feeling of wool against my skin, so itchy.  I used an invisible zipper which I had a devil of a time installing for some reason.  I just couldn't get everything to line up so after three attempts I called it good. 


UFO #2:

My second UFO is a pair of Grainline Maritime shorts.  I made them some time back and you can see them here.  The reason this pair stalled is kind of petty, but it turned out I needed a bigger size this summer than my previous pair and that just deeply annoyed me. 

I can fit into the old pair, but just barely, sigh.  So I cut out the pattern again as well as the fabric (all last summer) and just lost steam, probably because I just went out and bought a few new pairs. 



The Grainline Maritime shorts are really cute and functional.  I love the styling on this pattern, the zip fly, the curved pockets, back pockets, curved waistband.  All great features.  For this pair I believe I lengthened them by an inch.  Its a really short, short otherwise.  

The fabric is from Hancock and the last of this fabric in my stash.  I previously made a Grainline mini skirt with this fabric.  Btw, that was very short too!




UFO #3:

Get ready for the cuteness! This outfit was originally intended for my youngest and is a size two, so I have had it for two years waiting to be made up.  I believe the fact that my children were 5 and 2 when I cut it out is probably why it never was completed.  But it is so.cute.

Its Burda style pattern 9645.  If you are unfamiliar with Burda patterns, they always have such cute designs but the instructions are always sub par.  I don't go to Burda for sewing instructions but for cuteness.  



Since this will no longer fit my daughter I will be sending it on to Hanni for her little bit to wear next fall.  This peasant top, squeeeee- I can't wait to see her in it (btw where is my size in this top)!  And the cargo pants will be fun and functional since they are corduroy.


So now I am free of most of my UFO's, I say most because I know there are two little girl dresses that I haven't finished and may not!  But it feels good to have the slate mostly wiped clean for the new year of sewing.  I am glad I pushed through with these projects since each one turned out so pretty.

How about you?  Any UFO's you'd like to move past or donate?  
Any that you will shove into the far reaches of your sewing space?

Thanks for reading and happy creating!
Elizabeth