Marianne Take Two

On the search for another fast project a couple weeks ago, I happened across a cotton spandex jersey that I got from Girl Charlee without having any real plans for it. It was hot here the week I made this and skirts and dresses were the best way to stay cool.

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I thought about trying out a new pattern but I was getting started later in the day and really wanted to finish whatever I decided to make in time to wear it for Me Made May the next day. My previous Marianne Dress (blogged here) only took a few hours so I knew this pattern was what I was looking for. I think from cutting out to clipping threads this whole thing took me three to four hours. Not bad!

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I made Version A of the Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes. My only modifications were to skip the collar and to add slim bands to the cap sleeves instead of folding over the sleeves and hemming them. I figured out how long to make the sleeve bands by calculating what percentage of the neckline length the neck band piece was and then making the sleeve band length the same percentage of the armhole edge.

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I added the sleeve bands in exactly the same way as the neckband is added in the pattern. Easy peasy!

I decided to stitch down the hem of the dress without my double needle because I still don’t feel like I get the results I’d like from it. I know this means I just need to play with it a bit more but who wants to do that when there are so many other things to be sewing and I could just wish for a coverstitch machine instead.

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I was intending to just stitch the hem down once but when I was almost finished I noticed that I’d missed an inch or so of the hem in one spot. Rather than take out what I’d done (we were going for fast, lazy sewing project here!) I decided to just sew another line underneath. So it looks like I used a coverstitch machine or a twin needle but this was just two lines of stitching with my walking foot.

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Not much else to say. This is still a great pattern. I basically feel like I’m wearing pajamas all day when I wear it, and it only takes a few hours to sew. Doesn’t get much better than that!

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The other great thing about making this dress is that I now know how fantastic this basic cotton spandex jersey is. At $6.50 a yard this medium weight, 95% cotton 5% spandex blend seems very high quality for the money. It sews up very nicely and is about as easy to work with as knits can get. I’ll certainly be adding more to my sewing stash soon!

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Details:

Pattern: Marianne Dress by Christine Haynes

Fabric: Cotton/Spandex Jersey from Girl Charlee

-Hannah

Foxglove Tank and Dress

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I’ve had my eye on the Foxglove Tank by Selvage Designs for a pretty long time. I remember first seeing on Indie Sew as that site was coming on the scene. I didn’t buy it for a while because it was more expensive than other woven tank patterns and I was still leaning about all that goes into putting a sewing pattern together. Not that I’m an expert by any means but after a year of really regularly following a bunch of indie pattern designers I feel like I have enough of a sense of the workload that I definitely don’t feel like I’m overpaying for a $12 pattern as long as it’s a good one.

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And this one is! The pattern goes together easily, there are only two pattern pieces, the instructions are thorough, and the construction is straight forward.

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Continuing in my tradition of making two versions of easy patterns (which totally defeats what I’m usually going for, a quick sew) I dove in with a bunch of double gauze and made a tank and a tank dress.

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I was inspired to make this pattern when I finally gave in and bought some Cotton & Steel Bespoke double gauze last weekend. After I got home I decided that I wanted to try turning the pattern into a tank dress but of course I hadn’t bought enough fabric for that. So I dug up this Kokka broken plaid double gauze that I bought last year and never cut into.

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I made two modifications in order to turn this pattern into a dress. The first was to lengthen both the front and back pieces by 6″ at the lengthen/shorten lines. The second was to lower the front hemline. The original hemline is a high/low hemline. I wanted to maintain the low in the back and mirror the shape, though not quite as low, in the front. Basically I wanted to create a shirttail hem with the pattern pieces I had.

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After making the pattern modifications I cut out my fabric and got sewing. Nothing special about the construction for either of these. I used french seams on the shoulders and side seams which is one of several suggested finishing methods in the pattern. Bias binding around the necklines and armholes and narrow hems finished off these quick makes.

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The only thing I’d like to fix when I make this pattern again is to open up the neckline and the armholes a bit. I’m fine with the style of the higher neckline but it’s actually a bit challenging to get over my head! The armholes are also a bit higher than I’d like so the top feels a little tighter than it actually is. Opening both of those up will be easy and give me the perfect fit I’m looking for.

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I’m so happy to add two new double gauze items to my wardrobe. My double gauze Eucalypt tank got lots of wear during Me Made May and I’m glad I was able to make more pieces out of this fabulous fabric. These are both incredibly comfortable. The Foxglove pattern is also usable with knit fabric and I’d like to give a knit version a try soon!!

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Details:

Pattern: Foxglove Tank by Selvage Designs

Fabric: Kokka Broken Plaid double gauze from Gooba Designs on Etsy and Cotton & Steel Bespoke double gauze from JP Knit & Stitch

-Hannah

 

Mini Collection One–The Reunions

I mentioned in my Me Made May round-up that I was going to try a new method for planning out sewing projects. Instead of making a crazy long, exhaustive list of everything I want to make for a given season I’m going to try focusing my plans on mini collections for specific trips or events. So here’s my first one…

This mini collection is for two reunions that I’m headed to this month, my husband’s family reunion next weekend and my ten-year high school reunion the weekend after. Because my timeline is fairly short I’ve limited this collection to four garments, one of which I actually finished last night and another of which is in progress. Here’s what I’m planning:

My first project, now completed, is a tank dress that is a modified version of the Foxglove Tank pattern. I’ll post more details about how I modified the pattern very soon. **Update: Info on modifications for the turning the Foxglove into a dress are posted here. **

My in progress item is a maxi-length linen Southport Dress. I bought this pattern the day it came out and quickly matched it up with this gorgeous turquoise linen. I got started on this last month but it got pushed to the back burner for a while in favor of some faster projects. This really shouldn’t be a long project either. I think this is going to be an incredibly comfortable dress so I’m hoping to get it finished soon!

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My next two projects have not been started yet but will hopefully be fairly simple makes too. First off is the Cabernet Cardigan which I’m planning to make in this black sweater knit. I think this fabric is a little on the light side for the pattern but is a very similar weight to a store-bought cardigan in much the same style as the Cabernet. I’ve been wanting to add more cardigans like this to my wardrobe and I’m anxious to see if this pattern fits the bill.

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Last but certainly not least, I’m going to give the Greenwood Tank a try. This pattern looks like it’ll produce exactly the sort of tank I tend to wear most so I’m hopeful this will become a quick staple for my wardrobe. I’m planning to make it in this dark green jersey. This should be another easy make and I’m looking forward to using the pattern for some interesting variations later in the summer.

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What do you have for summer sewing plans? Any trips or events you’re planning to sew for?

-Hannah

Me Made May Round-Up Part Two

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I’m feeling very proud of how well I did with Me Made May. I had two goals when I signed up, the more measurable goal was to wear a minimum of three me-mades each week. I achieved this goal easily, and then some!

I wore handmade clothing 27 out of 31 days (I didn’t get photographs on two of those). At least two of those four days that I didn’t wear something handmade I also just didn’t get dressed. I’m a lazy Sunday sort of person! I guess this just means I need some me made pajamas!! There were six garments that were repeated at least once but even with those repeats I managed to wear 20 unique handmade garments in May!

Here are links for all of the garments that I’ve written posts about:

My other, less quantifiable, goal for Me Made May participation was to use the experience of trying to wear me-made for the month to clarify my sewing aspirations. I don’t have any enormous revelations here but I’ve certainly learned lots from the experience.

The first lesson is one I was expecting, and probably one that many of us have learned over and over again. DRESSES ARE FUN TO MAKE, BUT IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO WEAR ONE TO WORK EVERY DAY IT’S TIME TO STOP MAKING THEM!!

What is it about dresses? Sure they’re less work than making pants and a blazer but they’re not an insubstantial amount of work. Why are they so captivating? I’m a nanny so technically I can wear whatever I want to work but of course the goal is that I’m comfortable, not worried that anything that happens to my clothing is going to permanently harm it, and most of all that I can run after a three and a half year old in it. This doesn’t rule out dresses for me entirely but generally I need to stick with things that are really washable, roomy, and long enough that I can bend over easily. I have some dresses that fit the bill but for the most part separates just work better. I don’t need to swear off making dresses but should focus more attention on separates that I can wear day to day. Those are the things that I wore the most during May.

The second lesson, and one that I’m still learning, is that it’s ok if I don’t want to sew certain things, it’s ok if I like my Gap tanks and tees. I’m still in the process of figuring out which basics and wardrobe staples I want to spend time sewing and which I don’t. I’m really excited about the pair of jeans I made and I’m looking forward to making more of them. But I don’t want to make long sleeve t-shirts or knit tanks in basic colors. Making super basic items in the same fabrics I can purchase RTW items, not my cup of tea! I know it is for some people and I’m not swearing off making these things. If it’s what I or someone else really wants to make there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But sewing is an escape for me and deciding that I “should” be making basic tees when I could buy them (likely for less than the cost of the fabric I’d need to make them) takes away from sewing as a soothing activity for me.

My third lesson is really less of a lesson and more of a puzzle that I’m still trying to figure out. That puzzle is all about how I make my sewing plans, stick to them, and get through some of my massive stash of fabric. About six weeks ago I posted here about my summer sewing plans. It included eight garments in May, five garments and a bag in June and six garments in July. I actually sewed quite a bit in May. I made, from start to finish, six garments as well as working on but not yet completing three others. That’s a really productive month for me but unfortunately only one of my finished garments and one of in progress garments were on my list. I’m really happy with the garments I have made but there are also several things on my list for May that I was excited about and would still really like to make.

I think this means that I need to come up with a better system for planning. While I like the idea of having a long list of projects I’d like to get to at some point having three months of sewing all planned out has felt limiting. One thing that I can find a bit overwhelming about the online sewing community is that there are so many patterns coming out all the time and sometimes I just want to jump on the bandwagon and kiss my plans goodbye.

One idea that’s resurfaced several times as this topic has been percolating in my brain is to try to focus myself on really mini collections, the sort that would be perfect for a weekend getaway. I have several shorter trips planned in the next several months and focusing myself on three or four items to make for each of those instead of trying to have one massive plan for a whole season’s wardrobe seems easier. I’ll be back later this week to tell you about my first mini collection.

So there are my Me Made May thoughts. How did Me Made May go if you were participating? Do you plan out large numbers of projects or just sew whatever is on your mind?

-Hannah

Lou Box Tops

My schedule and energy level over the last few weeks have left me most interested in faster, instant gratification sewing projects. This probably has a lot to do with not knowing how much sewing time I’ll have from day to day or week to week. It’s felt too frustrating to start longer, more in depth projects not knowing when I’ll be able to finish them.

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Patterns like the Lou Box Top from Sew DIY, with just three pattern pieces (two without the pocket) and minimal bias binding are really hitting the spot right now. So much so that I made 2!

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One of the best parts of this pattern is the number of options it comes with. In addition to being able to use the pattern with knits or wovens, there are two different necklines (a scoop and a crewneck) and 3 different hemlines (straight, curved or a high-low with a dramatic dip in back).

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There are two front pattern pieces depending on whether you’re going with the scoop or crewneck and then the hemline pieces can be mixed and matched. You can either just print out the pieces you intend to use (she lists the page numbers in the instructions) or print out everything and have lots of options for a variety of closet staples.

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The first version I finished has a scoop neck, a curved hem, and a pocket. There’s not a whole lot else to say about this one. I made it entirely according to the pattern except that I used french seams for the whole thing. The only problem with this is that the tight curve under the arms didn’t take to the french seams quite as kindly as I’d like. Not very surprising but I guess it is a good reason to not question the pattern instructions.

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The second version I color blocked by cutting the pattern an inch or so below the armpit and adding seam allowances to each piece. It has a crewneck, no pocket, and I added a button placket in the back. The crewneck, when made in a woven fabric, requires some sort of opening in the back so that it can fit over your head. the pattern calls for cutting the back in two pieces, seaming it except for the top couple inches and adding a button and button loop at the back neck.

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For some reason I’m all about button plackets right now so instead I cut the top portions of the back in two pieces, adding 1.5 inches to one side for the button placket, and 2.25 inches to the other side for the buttonhole placket. I sewed the plackets down and then sewed the tops to the bottom back portion which I’d cut on the fold.

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The rest of the shirt was sewn just like the first, also with the, “not the best idea ever,” french seams. After I’d finished all the other steps I put four buttons and buttonholes on and called it a day.

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Next time I make this I will size up, while they definitely fit well and are super comfortable, they’re not quite as roomy as the pattern is intended to be and I’d like to give the roomier fit a try. I was short on fabric for the color blocked version, I squeezed it out of two half yard cuts, so I went with the smallest size because with the built in ease I knew it would fit. I’ll probably also go without french seams!

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All in all I’m incredibly happy with these shirts. They’re not a lot of work and are really comfortable, especially in the hot weather, though I know they’ll also layer well in the winter. I would certainly recommend this pattern for some easy basics.

Details:

Pattern: Lou Box Top by Sew DIY

Fabric: Shot cotton from Gather Here

-Hannah

Me Made May Round-Up Part One

Sorry for the radio silence around here recently, it’s been a crazy couple weeks finishing up the semester and supporting Mr Match with grad school milestones. Any available time I’ve had I’ve spent sewing and not updating the bloggity blog.

Here’s an update on how Me Made May is going. This is the first time I’ve participated and I’ve done better than I was planning wearing my me-mades. I’ve worn something handmade 15 out of 18 days though I’m missing one picture.

I’ve been learning very quickly, perhaps relearning because let’s be honest I knew all of this already, which items get the most use in my wardrobe. As much as I love making nice dresses, and as much as I enjoy wearing them, I don’t have as many occasions to wear them as I do dresses I want to make.

What I do go to every day is easy to wear shirts, jeans, and cardigans. My Ginger Jeans have been getting lots of wear, as have my tees and tanks. My more casual dresses have gotten some wear and I certainly want to make more Marianne dresses and Eucalypt dresses.

I think the even more important lesson I’m learning is about fabric choice and wardrobe planning. I’ve got a lot of great prints that had been part of my summer sewing plans but I’m realizing that I may want to rethink some of the those plans, simply based on what I am and am not pulling out of my closet and drawers.

I am hitting the point where I’m going to need to start repeating some things. I’ve still got a few items I haven’t worn though and a few items that I’m working on right now. I’d also been planning on making some Jamie Jeans during the sewalong over on Indie Sew. School work prevented me from participating in the sewalong but I’m looking forward to adding another pair of jeans to my wardrobe.

I’m also prioritizing sewing more tanks and tees. I’ve got a bunch of different patterns I want to try out which will hopefully help me pick out a couple patterns that will become TNTs. So far Me Made May has been a great learning experience and I’m loving getting to show off my handmade clothing a lot more frequently.

Here are links for all of the garments that I’ve written posts about:

I’ll be back in a couple days to show off some of the things I’ve been working on recently. Now that school’s over for the summer I’ve got a lot more time to work on sewing projects. Hopefully I’ll have some great wardrobe additions for the second half of Me Made May. If you’re participating in Me Made May, how’s it going?

-Hannah

Internet Highlights

Today I’m rounding up my favorite bits from the interwebs this week, things that I’ve found interesting, useful or simply entertaining.

  • I was planning to join the Indie Sew Jamie Jeans sewalong so in preparation I was looking around the internet for blog posts folks had written about their Jamies. I discovered over on Peneloping not just Ping’s thoughts on her Jamies but she shared a conversation she had with the pattern’s designer about picking the right denim for these jeans. Reading that was super useful.
  • The quilt templates over at Haptic Lab are blowing my mind right now! I think one of these may need to be my summer hand-stitching project. The only question is Boston street map or Northern Hemisphere constellations!?!?
  • I’m planning on making a Cargo Duffle at some point in the next month or two. This tutorial on modifying a two way zipper so that it opens in the center will definitely come in handy.

Off to stop procrastinating and get some paper writing done so that I can finally get back to all my sewing plans!!

-Hannah