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.

  • What a fabulous method for making perfectly-pointed collars from Off The Cuff.
  • As I’m preparing to work on my Minoru muslin I’ve been looking for useful instructions about dart manipulation. I found these two posts about moving darts to side seams and general dart manipulation. They don’t answer all my questions but they’re a useful jumping off point.
  • This post from In House Patterns about back and neckline shaping is also helpful.
  • I’ve just started watching The Great British Sewing Bee and was checking out Lauren’s website. Lauren was a runner up in the first season. She posted a review ten days ago of the show’s newest accompanying book, The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric, along with one of her makes from the book. The skirt is nice and all, but I am OBSESSED with the shirt she’s wearing with it. Lauren admits in the comments that it’s a store-bought shirt, but I’m determined to figure out a way to copy it!

And those buttons on the yoke!

Love those pintucks!

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SSW Updates

I mentioned before that I was calling last week Selfish Sewing Week because I was on spring break and had a bunch more time to sew. I didn’t get quite as much done as I was hoping to but I made some pretty awesome progress on a few things.

The big accomplishment last week was that I got a muslin made of my Ginger Jeans. I’d been trying to figure out a mash up of the two versions, a lower waist with skinny legs. I think I’ve managed to try to do this the harder way by slimming out the legs on the version with the lower waist instead of lowering the waist on the version with the skinny legs. I made some pattern alterations ten days ago and then on Thursday I got it stitched up. I’d ended up taking off 3/4 of an inch on both sides of the leg, front and back, grading out to nothing a couple inches above the knee. I also took out two inches of length at the knee. I’d been sort of worried that the pattern pieces as I’d cut them out, in a size 8, just looked way too big. Fortunately I was pretty happy with my muslin.

I’d decided to make a real muslin instead of just basting together my real denim because other than my Hudson pants I’ve never made pants before. As I was trying to make a number of alterations, in ways that I’ve never done before, it seemed like it made sense to put in the small amount of time to do a muslin.

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I discovered that I most certainly took out too much width on the legs. I tried to hard to get that muslin on but couldn’t get it pulled up all the way. I looked pretty ridiculous trying to make that happen. I ended up just chopping off the pants at the knees and was able to get them on and get them all the way up. And guess what??

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They fit!! I’m going to add 3/8 of an inch back into the legs when I cut my denim. I’ll baste them though since I don’t know how the stretch in the denim will work itself out. I can’t wait to start working on these.

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I also made a muslin of the Felicity Dress bodice. I was a little concerned when I read that she drafts for a D cup, which I most certainly am not. But I think because the bodice has gathers instead of darts it works pretty well.

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I also finished off clipping threads and such on my Sutton Blouse and got the pleats hand-basted on my Natalie top. Hopefully I can finish Natalie off soon and it’ll be warm enough that I can take photos of those.

Finally, I got a quick make cut out over the weekend. I fell hard and fast for this reversible sweater knit at Joann’s last week. It’s not made of synthetics!! Rayon and cotton all the way. I’m cooking up something awesome, you’ll have to check back later to see how it worked out.

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Hoping to get a muslin for Minoru started soon. And I’ve got a couple small quilting things to finish up. Busy busy busy around here.

-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’ve been looking recently at the Carme Blouse by Pauline Alice. At first I was wondering if it was a bit too stiff looking for me but this swiss dot version is absolutely lovely. I even have some swiss dot that I bought for a project I decided not to do. That’ll definitely be going on my project list.
  • I’ve made a couple different bags that I use as luggage, but it’s been a while since I made them and my skills have definitely improved so I’ve been thinking about making a new bag for some of the traveling that I will do this summer. The Cargo Duffle by Noodlehead has been on my list and this version from Coconut Robot that I found yesterday has inspired all sort of plans and modifications.
  • When my real sewing adventures began about two years ago, quilting was what I thought I’d stick with. I’ve moved on from there but am still inspired by the modern quilting movement. There’s something so satisfying about older blocks remade in the bright, vibrant quilting cottons now available. An instagram photo led me to sotosewn and I’ve been enjoying looking at her quilts.

Selfish Sewing Week

Technically last week was Selfish Sewing Week but I had a midterm, class, reading to do, all those school shananigans and then we were away over the weekend. I did manage to get some sewing done but since this week is spring break for me (meaning I’m just working full time instead of working and going to school) I’m calling this Selfish Sewing Week. Not that I really need one. I spent some time last week writing a list of all the garments I’ve made, it’s on my Makes page if you’re interested in perusing, and realized that 13 of the 18 garments I made last year were for me. I’m not pointing that out because it’s a bad thing, simply to say that I’m pretty sure every week is Selfish Sewing Week for me.

Last week I made a Sutton Blouse, did some work on the Natalie Top I started ages ago, and worked on some pattern alterations for my Ginger Jeans.

I’m really on the fence about the Sutton Blouse. I thought the seersucker would be so nice and airy, a perfect late spring/summer shirt but the seersucker is just not draping the way I wanted or expected it to. That, combined with the pattern being intentionally boxy, and the voile that I used for the contrast yoke draping so much more than the seersucker, means it’s just looking a little off. It’s finished now, just needs threads clipped and a final press. I’ve been forcing myself to finish it because otherwise it’ll just sit in my sewing cabinet making me feel guilty every time I start a new project. Hopefully once it’s totally done, and I’ve tried it on with a more summery bottom I’ll like it more.

Unfortunately the Natalie Top I’ve been working on is also not feeling totally awesome right now. I started it quite a while ago, not totally sure when but it was definitely in 2015. I was a bit skeptical about the pattern, not feeling totally sure that the front placket/pleat dealio was really for me. But because it came in the Indiesew Fall Collection I felt I should try it at some point. At some point in January I was surfing through the blogs I follow and I came across Teresa’s Natalie Top and realized how much I loved her version and that I had the exact same fabric. I’d seen her version last fall when the collection came out but when I saw it again and realized I could make it without needing to buy anything I was pumped. This seems to be a bit of a trend for me. I’m checking out sewing blogs over coffee on Saturday or Sunday morning and decide I have to, absolutely have to, make a version of an awesome make I saw on someone’s blog. It means I am not thoroughly thinking through how much I like the garment for me, whether I would really wear it, or whether the fabric is right. I think if I could break this habit and do a better job of psyching myself up for the projects I’ve already planned I would be infinitely more productive. And probably lacking in UFOs, which would be a miracle.

Anyway, long story short I got the pattern and the fabric cut out and was zipping along. The only modification I made was to lengthen it, perhaps 5 inches, I can’t remember right now, and give it a shirttail hem so that I could wear it as a tunic. This may be where I went wrong. I think I could look good in tunics, and I like the idea of them, but there something I’m just starting to explore fashion-wise so perhaps making one from a shirt pattern I wasn’t 300% sure I liked was poor planning. So I was cranking it out but then I was having a really hard time sewing the plackets/pleats at the front so that they met really evenly. I finally finished what I thought then was an okay job. (Definitely wasn’t upon more recent inspection.) I tried it on after that and was just not excited at all.  After deciding to just finish it up and make a decision on it later, I managed to sew on a sleeve inside out. So I ripped the sleeve out, folded it up and in a slightly more adult way said something like, “oh let’s just forget it,” which was 2 year-old Hannah’s favorite phrase.

Last weekend I was grabbing a few projects that I was hoping to finish up during our trip to Vermont and I grabbed my Natalie top along with my Sutton. I got my sleeves pinned in correctly and sewed those. But the front pleat was still really bugging me. I ripped that out and I’m thinking now that I really just need to hand baste it. When I was pinning it I was either sewing too close too the pleat or too far from it. I’m also bugged by my topstitching right at the top corners of the pleats. I’ve ripped out one of those and I’m going to try that again. At this point I just need to fix the front pleats to my satisfaction and then figure out whether I’m keeping the tunic length or axing it. Then a hem and some buttons and buttonholes on the sleeve button tab. Not too far away but I’m going to have to keep pushing myself to not toss it in the back of the cabinet.

One last quick project update. I’ve been wanting to recover my ironing board for a while now. The padding is basically disintegrating and the cover has water stains all over it. On Monday I was at the store and noticed a nice think pad intended for ironing board covers. I tossed that in the cart along with some cheap but adorable fabric and that night I banged out a cover. Nothing terribly impressive but it’s been on my mind for a long time and it’s nice to have it finished.

That’s my Selfish Sewing Week for now. Hopefully it’ll be a productive week!

Helpful Links for Upcoming Projects

I’ve been totally lacking in free time at home recently so I haven’t made as much progress as I’d like on the projects I’ve outlined. But I have been spending some time (at work and commuting to and from work) looking out for tips and tricks that will help me customize projects. Things like different pockets for my Archer, in whatever form it may take and petite adjustments for my Ginger jeans.

I’m also swimming in ideas for customizing my Minoru jacket. Sewing this jacket will certainly be the most involved project I’ve taken on so far and perhaps I shouldn’t be using that as the reason to pull out all the bells and whistles. But instead I’m feeling like, if I’m going to tackle a big project and put so much time and energy into it, it might as well be a jacket that has all the details I’m looking for. I’ll be making a muslin to check fit, and the construction doesn’t really involve that many things I haven’t done before. So I’m going big. I still haven’t decided on inseam pockets vs patch pockets vs welt pockets. I’ve been contemplating replacing the neck gathering with pleats or darts, and I think I’m definitely going to be adding a fifth placket piece to lay under the zipper and keep the cold zipper from my skin and the top of it from rubbing uncomfortably against my chin.

I’ve also just generally been lurking on the sew-along pages for all of the projects I’ve got planned. The Minoru, Archer, and Ginger sew-alongs are all over so I’m really just using those as tips. But the Felicity Dress sew-along is just getting started and I’m hoping to actually participate in that. She’s planning a pretty long sew-along schedule so I may end up finishing early but I enjoy the detailed instructions that come with this sort of thing.

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.

  • Jen’s review over on Grainline Studio of the Fabric for Fashion books definitely caught my eye. This set of books (sold separately) includes Fabric for Fashion: The Complete Guide and Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book. While I’d love to own both some day, the swatch book is going straight to my birthday list. One thing I certainly miss out on by being a self-taught seamstress instead of a school-taught one is all the instruction about different fabrics and that’s something I’d really like to know more about.
  • I’m loving the shirt length versions of the Marianne Dress that Amber over at Fancy Tiger Crafts made for Selfish Sewing Week. I’ve got a few single yards of jersey that I could definitely throw together to make some super cute tops.
  • I can’t even handle how fantastic this Minoru jacket it. Purple is totally my color, the sheen on the fabric is gorgeous, and Birgitte has added some awesome details.
  • This post on Sew Mama Sew about printing your PDFs at a copy shop caught me at just the right time. I’m definitely a PDF pattern over printed pattern kind of gal. As much as I don’t enjoy all the printing, cutting, and taping, I like not having to trace patterns and I like knowing that I can always just print something out again. But I balked a bit when I saw how many pages I’d have to print out for the Minoru jacket I’ve got planned. 61 pages feels like an awful lot of cutting and taping, especially when I already feel like I don’t have enough sewing time. I’ve got to do a little investigating to find the right place to print my patterns but depending on the pricing I may start doing that regularly with all the patterns that offer a copy shop version. This article certainly gave me the info I need to check out this option.

Striped Dashwood Dress

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I couldn’t help but think of Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility when I saw the name of Christine Haynes’ newest pattern. The Marianne Dress is a casual but classy knit dress with options for short or 3/4 sleeves, contrast yokes and a peter pan collar.

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I loved the look of the solid yoke and cuffs with striped main dress and sleeves so I went with version B. The fit is supposed to be pretty relaxed but I tend to prefer a rather fitted look so I sized down a bit. I think I made a straight 0 but next time might go with a 2 for the sleeves as they’re just a bit tighter than I’d like them. Still totally wearable and comfortable but something to fix next time.

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I wasn’t planning to make any alterations style-wise, I love the buttons on the cuffs but totally spaced on that step for some reason. I sewed the short ends of the cuffs together instead of folding in half length-wise and sewing the short ends and flipping out to overlap for buttons. Once I realized my mistake I decided to stick with it so I wouldn’t have to recut. I reserged the short ends about an inch in to make it fit the sleeves, folded them in half right sides together, and then attached them like regular t-shirt cuffs.

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I think this dress took me a total of 6-7 hours including cutting, possibly less. I did everything but the hem in one afternoon/evening. I hung it up that night to let the hem straighten out and then didn’t get back to it for about a week. It’s been so damn cold here that I haven’t had a chance to wear this until today. I’m so happy with it and will definitely be making more. I think I’d like a color-blocked one and maybe another solid yoke/striped main combo but with lighter, summery colors. I can certainly imagine these getting lots of wearing in the spring, early summer and early fall.

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Details:

Pattern: Christine Haynes’ Marianne Dress

Fabric: Organic Jersey from Gather Here in Cambridge, MA