Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer 10x10 Challenge - day 2 & new Summer top!

You may have noticed I've fallen off the bandwagon on documenting my summer 10x10 challenge, and spoiler alert, I kinda fell off in real life too.  There was a lot going on with life, including a stressful weekend which had a canceled trip to go to a funeral, so I'm giving myself a bit of a pass on that one.  

Day 2 was another work from home/errands day, so I broke out the top I rushed to sew up and my favorite distressed jeans.  John claims I'm too old for them, but I just think it's smart to have ventilation when it's hot outside!  I also recently got the plastic Birkenstock sandals and I'm in love.  They are like a slightly fancier version of flip flops, and super comfy.  

Details on the top!  I've had this light-weight seersucker for at least a year or two and I kept changing my mind what I wanted to make with it.  I came across this picture on Pinterest, and decided it was perfect:

I didn't notice until I was underway that it's actually a picture of a baby dress - oh well!  I think it turned out pretty cute.  I completely winged the pattern by starting with the bib portion, which was doubled up with the fold along the top, and then gathered a trapezoid for the bottom front.  I basically did the same total shape for the back, just extended to account for the front wrap-around.  Totally clear, right?  I enclosed the gathered seam in the two layers of the bib and french seamed the sides, so the insides are all pretty.  Add some bias tape to finish the armholes and straps, and voila!  It does stretch out a bit as I wear it, so I may end up shortening the straps, but all in all, a successful make!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer 10x10 Challenge - day 1

I kept it simple for day 1 of the Summer 10x10 challenge (Monday).  It was a work from home kind of day, and I don't think I left the house all day.

Outfit:  black twist-front tee, distressed jeans

Thoughts:  I recently bought this black tee because I wanted a black tee with a tad more interest than a basic tee.  I've worn it a bunch already, as it helps elevate my everyday look while still being super comfy!

Summer 10x10 Challenge!

I've done this a few times now, but I'm currently participating in the #summer10x10 challenge hosted by Style Bee and Un-Fancy.  The basic idea here is to take 10 items of clothing and wear only them for 10 days, and there can be a lot of reasons for doing so.  I'm mostly just bored with my summer wardrobe so far, and want to be more intentional about, so no big overarching goals this time around.  I noticed as I started pulling things together I was going more neutral than usual, so I decided to stick with it and only do black/white/a touch a denim this time around.  These are very common colors for me, but I don't usually go that long without some color in there as well, so it will be interesting to see how it goes!

I'm technically on day 3, and doing well so far!  I'll probably do a couple of posts along the way with my daily photos and any general thoughts along the way.  Have you ever considered doing a challenge like this?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Polka dots, flowers, and birds, oh my!

I bought this fabulous reversible jacquard fabric from Emma One Sock a year ago, and have been debating what to make with it ever since.  I debated a skirt, a tank top, and a reversible cami dress, but I eventually settled on a simple shift dress, which would be perfect for the two weddings in three weeks that I just wrapped up.

I ran across the picture below on Pinterest, and of course I can't find any info on it now, but it was a designer dress from the 60s, and I loved the simple shape.

I started with the bodice pattern of the Burda Style stretch slip dress, which I modified by straightening out the top and leaving out the back darts.  For the skirt, I just did two rectangles with deep pleats lined up with the bust darts.  In the inspiration photo, the pleats are actually lined up with the sheer panels, which are lined up with the outside of the straps.  Because I wasn't doing the sheer panels, it didn't look as intentional to do the pleats there, and the shape was a bit better moving them in as well.  I added in-seam pockets, so I didn't have to deal with a purse - I always add pockets when possible!  This was also a last minute sewing project, in true Laura form, and I finished it up a couple of hours before we left for the first wedding.  I did have an excuse though, as I was working on a special project for the bride earlier that week. :)

While I love how it came out, the pleats have the unintended consequence of making me look at least 7-8 months pregnant.  Not ideal.  As long as I stand up perfectly straight, it's good, but in all the pictures where I was at the end of the line of people leaning over, yeah, not so much.  I'm debating either cutting it off as is into a tank top, or taking it apart and making a super simple cami out of it (a la Odgen Cami).  What do you think?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Sewing - Shorts (by accident)!

I've gotten bad about posting lately again, but I managed to take some photos of my most recent make this weekend, so figured I would get it up on the ol' blog!  I've been wanting some loose, light-weight cropped pants for the New Jersey summer that has descended upon us, so I figured I would finally break out this fabric that I got from Britex Fabrics years ago, and could never decide what I wanted to do with.  Amazingly enough, they still have the fabric, which is great, because I could not remember what it was made out of at all.  I thought it might be polyester, and it turns out indeed it is a stretch polyester crepe.  I'm not a huge fan of polyester, but I really loved the fabric, so I got it anyway!  I still have some left, so I may make a matching Ogden cami as well.

I had just done some minor alterations to my never-blogged Sallie jumpsuit (adjusted the waist elastic and rehemmed), and realized that the pattern would work perfectly with the fabric.  Unfortunately, when I was figuring out the fabric layout, I made a stupid mistake, and they ended up shorter than I wanted, so after I finished them, I decided to just cut them off into long shorts.  They are a little more sporty looking than I was originally going for that way, but they needed to be about 6-9" longer than I originally cut them out to work properly.

Other pattern adjustments - obviously I left off the top. :)  I am always fiddling a bit with the rise on my jumpsuit version, which is weird since I'm short, but I wanted to have a lower rise on the shorts. My initial plan was just to shorten the rise and add an elastic waistband casing on top, to preserve the pockets.  They were still a little too high of a rise though, because I didn't want to mess with the pockets too much, so I ended up doing an interior facing for the elastic, which worked out very well.  I could have done with a touch more room through the hips though, as my fabric wasn't quite as stretchy as the pattern called for, so the pockets are a bit smushed.  I may eventually take them out.  All in all though, a good addition to my summer wardrobe!

And while not directly sewing related, I do want to share a few photos from my day on Saturday.  We went to Innisfree Garden in New York, and it was so lovely!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Travel Sewing - Kimono Scuba Jacket

I know I'm not the only one who has big plans to sew new pieces before a trip!  I was headed to Michigan last weekend for my Grandpa's 90th birthday party, and just managed to squeeze this jacket in under the wire.  I bought this scuba with metallic flowers on a whim on a trip to Jo-Ann's a few months ago, and didn't have a plan.

I woke up one morning, and had the realization that it would make a great kimono jacket!  I was originally thinking about some kind of sweatshirt, to tone down the fanciness of the fabric a bit, but I would get a lot more wear out of the jacket, so I laid in bed and googled kimono jacket patterns and came across the Wardrobe by Me Kimono Jacket, which was exactly what I was looking for.  I had never used one of their patterns before, and it turned out great.

I sewed up a size 6, which is a touch smaller than my actual measurements, but particularly for over-sized garments it works better to underestimate instead of over, since I'm petite.  I do always double-check the finished garment dimensions first though, which in this case still gave me a couple of inches of ease.

It was a quick sew, and I followed the instructions exactly, except for the front edge, which I was being dense on the instructions and messed up.  I was able to save it, but my bottom corner isn't quite as neat as it should be.  I also adjusted the pockets so the front edge doesn't stick out quite as much as drafted, and I did that just by not lining up the pocket edges with the jacket edges, instead making the pocket piece stick out more.  I really do love the pockets though - I can't stand jackets that don't have them!  These are simple to sew and give a little pizzazz to the jacket, which is always a plus.

I used my serger for everything except top-stitching and hemming, and it was a quick sew overall (which is why I was able to wrap it up before my trip)!  I will definitely be making this one again.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spring 10x10 Challenge Wrap Up

I had a blast this time around with the spring 10x10 challenge, and I think in part it's due to being a bit more loose around the rules, and staying a bit truer to my style.  I think I struck a good balance of pushing myself a bit, but being comfortable.

Without further ado, here's what I wore:


I would have to say my favorites were day 1 (striped tee + overalls) and day 8 (tank + cardigan + jeans).  I like the layeredness of them both, and the monochromatic color schemes.  I like having a touch of pattern (stripes or a patterned scarf), but not too much.  It's funny that they both also use scarves, since I used to wear them all the time and stopped, and have been wanting to wear them more again.  

Lessons Learned:
I tweaked the rules half-way through, and was so much happier doing so this time around.  I think I felt too constrained the previous rounds because I like to incorporate more color and pattern than I see in a lot of the capsule wardrobes out there, and I just need a bit more variety.  Biggest lesson here is to be more relaxed about how I approach my wardrobe and not follow rules so stringently

I love blue!  I've always leaned more towards turquoise/teal before, but I really like this royal blue that I've been pulling in lately.  

Sometimes it's best to go with my gut, even if it's perhaps not as exciting.  I didn't try to force myself to get outside my box as much this time around (although I did a little), and this also helped me be more happy with my selections.  Yeah, a striped tee and jeans is not ground-breaking, but it's very me.  By narrowing in on the specific elements that I like in a striped tee (scoop neck, skinny but not skin-tight), I was able to customize the look to exactly where I'm comfortable.

I don't actually like to be as matchy-matchy as I thought.  Particularly since I was working with a newish color to my wardrobe, I was able to isolate that I prefer color schemes to be similar, but not exact.  Case in point, day 10 I went with navy sneakers instead of blue loafers, and it went from forced to casually coordinated (at least in my head)!

It's been hard to get back to my full closet this time around!  I ended up in workout clothes a few times, and spent a lot more time trying to decide the other days.  If I get a free moment (it's been tough lately), I might try my hand at pulling together a more extensive capsule at some point!