Monday, November 9, 2015

A Beach Cover-Up

I realized there was a project I left off my Fall sewing plans, part 2, despite the fact I had already started it!  This was just a super simple tank dress to use as a swim suit cover-up, but it evolved over time.

I started out with the Wiksten tank pattern, which I chopped at the waist, and did a simple a-line skirt, with a curved hem.  The fabric I used was originally a double-gauze, but I had already removed one layer, as I just liked the plaid fabric.  I had intended having a button placket center front, but I made my bias tape too skinny, so I dropped that idea, and just did a bias-tape binding around the neckline and armholes.  I also was more in quick-sew mode, wanting to crank it out, so I just pinned the crap out of the binding and sewed it in one step, instead of sewing it first to the outside and then the inside.  It worked out, but it's not my best binding work.

The second change involved the waist.  When I got it mostly sewn up, I just thought it looked like a sack on me, so I zig-zag stitched a skinny piece of elastic along the waist seam.  It was a bit slap-dash, but it works for a beach cover-up!

Piece number 2 of my travel wardrobe down, many more to go!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Off to a good start!

As I mentioned in my last post, I have already started in on my fall sewing plans, part 2, and I whipped up a sleeveless tank Inari tee dress.  I started with my modified pattern from my winter cocoon dress, and left off the sleeves, made it a much bigger scoop neck, and added about 9 inches in length.  It was a quick sew, and I'm in love with it!


The neck and arm bindings could have been a tad tighter, but I love how they give it a slightly sporty vibe.  And because I'm never one to make something without immediately wearing it, below is the way I wore it to work yesterday!  Throw on a sweater, some boots, and some jewelry and it's winter work appropriate.


Fall Sewing Plans, Part 2 (Also known as tropical vacation sewing plans)

Last week I was merrily thinking about my fall sewing plans, and it occurred to me that I'm going on a three week trip to Thailand in December, and therefore should sew my entire wardrobe for the trip.  Tropical Thailand is a little different from Fall/Winter in the Northeast, so my sewing plans have needed a little revision.  I have slowly talked myself down from the ledge of spending every waking moment sewing until December, but even still, there is no way I will be able to accomplish it all. :)  Also adding to the tricky factor is that I've been doing some reading, and it turns out there are a lot of confusing advice about what to wear there.  It's a very hot, humid country, but pretty modest, so things like shorts and tank tops are frowned upon.  I'm not a big fan of skirt-wearing in the summer (thigh rubbing issues), but I'm figuring it out.  Without further ado, here are my fall sewing plans, part 2!

1) Featherweight black/white knit tank dress, based on the Named Inari Tee dress.  My sweater cocoon dress was so comfy, I immediately thought of doing a tank dress out of this delicious feather-weight knit I got from Emma One Sock.  It will be super lightweight, but not clingy, to combat the heat, and will be just below my knees, which from what I can tell is the safest non-maxi skirt length.  Apparently it's totally possible to wear above the knee-length if it's not too short, but that is the shortest length for visiting temples.


2)  Repurposing one of my original fall sewing plans, I've come up with a dress pattern for my silk jersey material.  This will be the Sallie jumpsuit/dress, with the kimono top and again a just below the knee skirt.


3)  Knit wide-leg capri pants.  I'm going to do a test run with some pea-green jersey knit I haven't been too excited about, but mainly I want them in black for traveling purposes.  I'm thinking about just adapting the pants portion of the Sallie Jumpsuit, because I'm too lazy to cut out another pattern (it seriously takes up valuable sewing time!).  When I went to Africa, I took a pair of pants like these and they served me well, so  I think they will work for Thailand as well.

4) The Pauline Alice Rosari skirt in this fun viscose/rayon fabric which I also just got from Emma One Sock.  I would love to have the buttons down the front, but if I don't have time, I will have to skip them.  I've been experimenting with skirt shapes over the years, and I'm not really a fan of full gathered skirts, since I carry my weight in the my middle, so I think this A-line shape will work well both for my body type and for being cooler than my usual straight skirts I wear.  The pattern is actually intended for fabrics with more body than this pretty light-weight rayon, but I think it will work out in the end.  I'm going have it so the solid olive color is at the top, with the floral border.


5) Black/white squiggle silk tank top, using a modified Wiksten Tank and fabric which I once again got from Emma One Sock, but ages ago, and I don't have a photo of it.  Instead of making it straight down, I'm going to add a ruffle to the bottom, more like the tank below.

There are a few more less-defined things on the list as well, but I doubt I will even make it to the end of what I've listed here, so we'll save those for later!  I may have been a little devious and already made one of the items, so you'll get to see that one before too long as well. :)

A cozy cocoon for winter

This dress was actually the second piece completed from my fall sewing plans, and I've worn it multiple times already, but just hadn't gotten around to taking photos yet!  This was the one garment I had a clear plan on, which was to modify the Named Inari Tee dress (photo on the left below) slightly to match my inspiration photo (on the right) slightly better.


I accomplished this by using the sleeves and upper bust area of the Plantain Tee, which is tighter fitting, and grading out to the cocoon shape of the Inari tee dress.  I also ignored the split hem in the pattern, but did maintain a bit of a high-low hemline.  The fabric is a super thick double-knit from Gorgeous Fabrics, which is a lovely color and looks great, but it's pretty synthetic, which I'm not crazy about.  



The cocoon shape is not the most flattering, but it's super comfy!  I also promise I am not pregnant, despite the bump. :)  The neckline is the one thing I'm debating changing up.  I used a typical knit band, and it's pretty wide because I used a double-width of the cables, so the finished band when folded over is one cable.  In theory it's a good idea, but the fabric is so thick it kind of makes the neckline look all squidgy and sloppy, as well as I feel a little little like I'm choking (I have to keep pulling it down to look like it does in the photo).  I'm thinking about just chopping off the band and doing a lower neckline without a band, but I haven't decided entirely yet.  What do you think?

There are three pieces left in my fall sewing plans, but I've already decided to switch gears a bit.  Stay tuned for fall sewing plans, part 2!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Keeping things rolling

So I had mentioned a while ago that I had a couple of things completed/half-completed on my fall sewing plans, but I haven't had the time to take photos or blog about them.  Life is a little crazy at the moment, but one of my stress-relief techniques is to fit in time to sew, as I find it soothing to physically create something.  It's been nice to have a plan of sorts to follow, as I don't have to individually plan each project and can just get straight to the sewing!

With all that said, here is one of my creations.  I had originally planned on sewing up this fabulous black/white striped linen from Mood in a loose turtleneck sweater thing from Burda, as shown below:


I had it mostly sewn together, and decided it was horrible.  It really just was not flattering, so I took it almost entirely apart and started over on Saturday.  I kept whittling away at it, and ended up with a sleeveless top with a very small mock turtleneck (?).  Unfortunately I don't really remember much of what I ended up doing, as it was a very organic process (as in I had no idea what I was doing), I also managed to break all my serger needles (4 of them), so the insides aren't finished the nicest, but I did zig-zag the seam allowances, as it will probably be a frayer.  I wasn't sure about it at first, but I do think I like it after all.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hot Pink Scout Tee!

Continuing my fall sewing plan journey, I got busy late last night and whipped up my pink scout 3/4-sleeve woven tee.  I made a couple of changes from my wearable muslin, namely I went down from a size 8 to a 6, as it was a bit loose in the shoulders, and I lengthened the sleeves based on the tutorial on the Grainline Studio blog.  I didn't have enough fabric to do the longer sleeves on my first version, but I wish I had tested it first (more on that later).  The final change I made was to not do the french seams, as the fabric for the pink version is a bit beefier, and it wouldn't work as well.

First things first, I happened to take a picture when I was cutting it out, and I just want to mention that I will never go back to pins or cutting out with scissors if I can help it!  Pattern weights are just so much easier and faster to use, and the rotary cutter is much more precise as well as faster.

And without further ado, I give you the completed shirt!  It doesn't quite have the crisp, tailored look I was going for, and in hindsight, I should have realized it.  While the Scout tee is a super simple, quick, satisfying pattern to sew, it doesn't come with details like darts and any closures.  This gives it a loose fit, and it's particularly noticeable in the upper sleeves with the long sleeves.  I'm not exactly an expert when it comes to sleeves, but I do know there has to be a certain amount of ease if not working with a stretch fabric, but I wish they were just closer-fitting.  It just feels a little sloppy to me, but it is a very comfortable shirt, and I love the color.


This photo shows the texture of the fabric a bit better, which is really the stand-out feature.  It's a cotton/silk woven fabric, which is a bit like raw silk, just less shiny and a little heavier.  Looking at this photo, I'm thinking maybe I should add two patch pockets at the bottom, to give it a little more interest - what do you think?

And just for fun, a closing shot of the insides.  Instead of the french seams, I serged all the seam allowances, as this fabric would fray like no other otherwise.  I used a scrap of bias tape that I had left-over from another project for the neckline binding, which was literally the exact size I needed.  And who doesn't like have some stripes on the inside?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Getting Started on Fall Sewing

So after making my big "plans" for fall sewing, I got started last week.  You may have looked below at the pictures, and said, hey, that wasn't in the plans, but trust me, it's part of it!  I wanted to start out with the magenta blouse, but I wanted to test out my pattern first, since it was a new pattern, I started with the Burda Style 3/4 Sleeve Top, which has an interesting curved dart.

My first muslin I made up in an orange herringbone flannel which has been hanging around for a while, and was super soft, but unfortunately, the dart shape was just all wrong, and I didn't really know where to start to fix it.  I scrapped that pattern and finally broke down and bought the Grainline Studio Scout Tee pattern, which is like the superstar of woven tees in the indie pattern world.  I've resisted, because it's just so basic, but then I found they had provided a tutorial for lengthening the sleeves a few years ago, and it was pretty much the exact shape I was looking for.  

Again, I wanted to try it out first, so I used a plaid lightweight wool that has also been hanging out for a while with no plans.  I sewed it up in a straight size 8, which matches my measurements according the size chart perfectly, but I think it's a little loose up top, and I will size down to a six for the final version. 

It was a super easy top to sew up, given how basic it is, and I even took the time to french seam the whole thing, even the sleeves!  I'm really happy with how it came out, and will definitely be using this pattern to make up the magenta top in my plan (with longer sleeves), not to mention I have a great wearable new top!



An added bonus - it matches my new turquoise tweed blazer, which I'm super excited about breaking out a lot this fall.  I was really looking for a black/white tweed suit, but I fell for this one from Boden.


And this is just the start - I already have 1.5 more items done from my list!  Stay tuned for further progress.