Julia and Natalie

This post is a bit of a photo/project dump. I’ve got a two finished projects that I’m not sure I have a whole lot to say about, not necessarily because I am unhappy with them but mostly because they’re been going on for a while and I just want to get them written up and be able to move on.

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My first finished project to show you is the Julia cardigan by Mouse House Creations. This was an unplanned project. I was at Joann’s a few weeks ago and noticed that in amongst the piles of polyester grossness was this amazing reversible double sweater knit. I was excited about it when I thought it was just a cotton/rayon striped sweater knit. Imagine my amazement when I discovered it had polka dots on the other side!!

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Instead of making this fabric into a quick project I decided that I had to take advantage of it being reversible and then set about trying to figure out how to make the Julia cardigan pattern work that way. At first I was considering flat felling all my seams so I could just make it according to the pattern with the doubled-over collar. But trying to neatly flat fell a sweater knit seemed a bit crazy, even to me. Then I realized I could just use the technique in the Meridian cardigan, a pattern I’ve had for a while but not used yet. So I managed to squeeze two cardigans out of the three yards I’d bought. I made a version with the stripes on the outside and a version with the polka dots on the outside, adding a single collar to each. Then I just serged the outer collar edges together with the right sides of the two cardigans together.

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I stitched in the ditch in a few key places so that the two layers were anchored together. I got stuck for a while on the cuffs. I really wanted to figure out a way to attach them with the serger, not have any seams showing, and make sure that the stripes weren’t showing on the polka dot side or vice versa. I tried a two piece cuff serged to one side and then topstitched with a zigzag on the other side but it just stretched the cuff out too much. Next try, a severely lengthened two piece cuff serged to both sides. The serged seam shows on the striped side but the cuff is long enough to be folded up. Done and done!

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After months of hiding the Natalie top, by Liola Patterns, in the back of my sewing cabinet, it’s finally done. Man was that a pain in the ass. I zipped through a lot of this top in one evening. But then I couldn’t get the front pleats to sew up properly. And then I managed to sew in one of the sleeves inside out. So it got put in time out for a month or two.

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On the fourth or fifth attempt, and after finally just hand-basting the center front seam, I got the front pleats taken care of. The sleeves went in easily.

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Of course my needle went straight through the first button I tried to sew on, fortunately I had an extra. And the first buttonhole I sewed was crooked. I got to try every single step multiple times with this thing. But it’s done. And guess what?

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I actually like it!! I’m not sure I’ll be making another any time soon but I’m so glad it’s not feeling like a waste of fabric, time, and energy.

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I think I’m caught up on finished projects now. On to the new ones!

-Hannah

Ginger Jeans!!

(Caution: What follows can only be described as full on gloating, unabashed pride, and a complete lack of modesty when it comes to any compliments. I apologize in advance but I am just so stinking proud. Have you seen these things? They’re badass.)

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Well hot diggity dog! Or as the beloved namer of the blog would say, “Hot dog, hot dog, hot dog, diggiyah dog!”

I made jeans!

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Not just that…I made wearable jeans!!

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I’d like to take some of the credit and say that perhaps I’m a better seamstress than I thought but I think mostly Heather just wrote a really amazing pattern because these turned out so well. It took me a long time to actually get started on my Ginger Jeans because I was so worried about how they were going to turn out. It’s been five weeks since I made my (successful) muslin and three weeks since I got everything cut out and prepped.

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Do you ever have that happen to you with a sewing project? You’ve read the pattern, cut out the fabric, you’re really excited about the idea of the finished product. But you’re just not sure your technical ability is up to the task? My biggest concern was how my topstitching and finishing skills would hold up on the denim. The places on my previous makes where I’ve been the least impressed with my skills have been topstitching and finishing in particularly bulky areas. I was also worried about fit, of course. Other than a couple pairs of Hudson Pants made around Christmas time last year, I’ve never made pants so I was anxious about how well they’d fit, even though I made a muslin.

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Heather nailed this pattern though, and that’s evident not just from how well I think my jeans¬† came out, but also from the enormous number of glowing reviews of this pattern and the number of fantastic Ginger-clad butt selfies running around on Instagram.

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All in all, I was surprised by how easily these came together. I’d made a full muslin version several weeks ago, I’m pretty¬† sure the only things I skipped were some topstitching and the hem, so it was basically my second time putting them together. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly it went. Probably 15-20 hours over the course of 3 days. Maybe that’s a long time, but I’m trying to get myself to slow down and do everything well. And I think it shows. (See above caution about lack of modesty.)

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I think I have to give all of the credit for my good topstitching to my Jean-a-ma-jig which I used whenever I was stitching over other seams. You just place it under the back of your presser foot as you’re coming up to a particularly bulky area and it helps you maintain an even stitch length as you make your way across the bulk. I also used a little makeshift one that was just a folded over square of denim. I used that for the start of topstitched seams where I was just going to be sewing on a couple layers of denim. It helped me get a nice even start.

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I don’t think there’s much to say about fit that I haven’t already mentioned here. When I decided to make these I knew that I wanted the lower waist of one version with the skinny legs of the other. I couldn’t begin to explain why I thought that it made sense to try to skinny out the legs of the lower waist version instead of just lowering the waist of the skinny version. But that’s what I’d decided to do. In my muslin I took out 3/4 of an inch on the side seam and inseam of each front and back leg. This result in having to cut my muslin at the knees because they were SO tight in the calves. When I cut out my denim, I added back 1/2 an inch to the side seams and inseam. Then I basted those seams to check fit.

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I could certainly have left them the way they were, but I really did want skinnier legs so I took out 1/8 of an inch on the side and inseams when I sewed those seams permanently. I could probably have gotten away with more, but I think they look good. Next time around, and believe me there will be a next time, I will try lowering the waist on the skinny version instead of messing with the leg width.

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There are a couple other places I will want to focus on next time. I think I could still take out a tiny bit more length. Probably just another 1/2 inch at the knees. They’re also feeling a bit big from the crotch up. I think they’ve stretched at bit, which makes sense, it’s stretch denim, and I might even be able to get away with a smaller size. If I stick with the same size next time I’ll need to take a chunk out at the center back seam and take out some extra fabric around the crotch too.

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Other than the tweaks I’ve mentioned I sewed these up just as the pattern calls for. I was expecting to find the switching back and forth between regular thread and topstitching thread to really drive me nuts but it wasn’t that bad. I did my best to break some of the construction sequence rules so that I was doing everything I could with whatever thread I had in the machine before switching. Other than that they were sewn up as prescribed.

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My one and only frustration with these was the rivets and button. I’d picked up the jeans notions kit from Thread Theory because Heather recommended it in her supply round up. I was happy with the zipper, and the rivets were okay, but the button in that kit and I are not friends. I think the problem is actually with the pin that you hammer into the button. I’ve done some research on this in the last few days and many of the other buttons I’ve found come with pins that have several ridges on them that catch inside the button to secure it. The pins that come with the kit only have one, very slight ridge on them. The result was trying both of the buttons from both of the kits I’d bought and neither of them working. The first one seemed to catch but then pulled off and bent when we tried to get it back on. The second one just never caught. I went ahead and bought new buttons from Pacific Trimming. They got here very quickly, and went on easily.

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Other than the button nonsense, these were such a fun and satisfying make. If you’d told me even six months ago that I would make jeans and there would be no crying involved I would’ve told you to cut the crap. I know that my sewing has improved a lot in the last year but there’s something about finishing these jeans that makes me feel able to try anything!

I can’t wait to wear these all over the place and start planning some new pairs too. I’m thinking they probably need to happen in corduroy this fall. What do you think?

Details:

Pattern: Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files

Fabric: Theory Denim from Mood Fabrics

-Hannah

Gifts for Some Special Kiddos

In between all of the garments I’ve been making for myself in the last few months I’ve spent some time working on some projects for some special young ladies in my life. Three years ago I got the amazing opportunity to start nannying for the adorable daughter of some friends of mine. M is partly responsible for the name of this blog. For some reason she initially learned my husband Martin’s name as “Match,” and it has stuck. When I was thinking about possible names for this blog I knew I couldn’t pick “Hannah Makes,” that’s already taken, and I figured “Match Makes” would be a fun way to play off of that adorable nickname.

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M was three months old when I started and just became a big sister a couple weeks ago. The first present I got to deliver to this new family of four was this whole cloth quilt. I ordered these fabrics from Etsy this fall. They’re both from the Flight Patterns collection by Tamara Kate for Michael Miller.

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This was an easy peasy project. I got a yard and a half of each fabric and trimmed those to be about 42″ long so it would be fairly square. I sandwiched them with some batting and did some quick diagonal straight line quilting. I added some straight grain binding, sewn on by machine with a wide zig zag stitch and then ran off to the hospital to deliver this to new baby A.

I made two other quick things for the new baby. I got this fabric, which is a Kaufman Laguna knit, last fall and unfortunately when I washed it it got a bit tangled with a red jersey knit that bled all over it. I washed it again and got almost all of the red out but it still has a bit of a red/pink tinge. I also decided that as much as I loved the fabric, I maybe am not the kind of person who can rock a mustache print tank top.

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It was however perfect for some baby clothes. These leggings are the 6-9 month version of the Baby Go To Leggings from Go To Sew. And the hat is the Top Knot Baby Hat from Pretty Prudent. Both of these patterns are free and they were very quick makes. I made both of these, and an additional pair of leggings and a hat, in maybe 90 minutes or so. I’m thinking I’ll try to start turning my knit scraps into baby leggings and hats because they’re such speedy projects and someday I’m going to need them for myself.

This little girl came a bit early so it’s going to be a while until she fits in either of these things but when she does she’ll most definitely be a styling lady.

My last project was an amazingly fun make. I remember so distinctly as an older sister how important it was to me when I got presents from people who were coming to meet my sister for the first time. So as soon as I knew that M was going to be a big sister I started to think about what I could make for her.

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I’d first seen this bear carrier over on Olivia Jane Handcrafted, and I knew immediately that I wanted to make it. It comes from Liesl Gibson’s book Little Things to Sew. This book is adorable and I am looking forward to making a number of other projects from it.

The bear carrier doesn’t look like much without an animal in it and without it being on a kid. But I think it’ll be super cute and I look forward to seeing M wearing her dolls and animals while her parents and I are wearing her sister.

These were all very fun, very easy projects for some little girls that are so special to me. I’m glad I got to make them and show them off to you!

-Hannah

Finished Sutton Blouse

Just dropping by briefly to show you a project I finished a couple weeks ago. This is the Sutton blouse by True Bias. I’ve mentioned before that I have really mixed feelings about this make. This has nothing to do with the pattern, this shirt is actually really loose and comfortable. The problem has everything to do with the fabric that I chose.

The seersucker is unfortunately too stiff and just doesn't drape well.

The seersucker is unfortunately too stiff and just doesn’t drape well.

I’m honestly feeling a little dumb about this one because I feel like I should’ve known better. I thought the mix of voile and seersucker would make for such a nice little summer top but unfortunately it just does not work with the boxiness of the pattern. I also think that the neckline, which probably would work well with a much drapier pattern, just adds to the boxy, bubbly chest look that this has on me.

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It looks decent hanging up.

The color-blocking is also really bothering me. I’ve never had a lot of color-blocked clothing but when I started this project I was worried that the seersucker would be too stiff on the shoulders and thought the lightweight voile would work well. Perhaps if I’d done two layers of the voile it would feel a bit more equal to the seersucker and would flow into it more easily.

All in all, this top is just feeling a bit like medical scrubs. Not the look I was going for.

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I’m not sure I’ve ever put in a better bias facing.

I’m still on the fence about what to do with it. The finishing on it came out so well so I’m feeling frustrated and reluctant to just give up on it.

At first I thought that fixing the boxiness of the sleeves would be sufficient. I did notice someone on Instagram made the pattern with a heavier fabric and modified the sleeves a bit to make the boxiness less dramatic. So I thought I’d just give it a couple wears and try pulling some boxiness out of the sleeves if necessary. But having worn it once, I’m feeling like the color-blocking is also bugging me a lot. And that’s a lot less simple to fix. Also this top just didn’t take that long to make so it feels a little crazy to spend a lot of time trying to fix it.

So for right now I’m just going to let it hang in the closet. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to fix it, or perhaps someone will see it in there and look a lot better in it than I do. I’m sure I’ll try making the Sutton blouse again at some point but right now I’ve got other projects to focus on. It’s always a bummer when something I’ve spent time on, even if it’s not a lot of time, doesn’t come out the way I want it to. But it’s certainly helping me to continue learning about the fabric choices I make.

On to more successful makes!

-Hannah

Felicity Dress

When the Felicity Dress pattern was released by Jennifer Lauren Vintage in February I snapped it up right away. I think perhaps this was partly a desperate, “if I start making spring and summer clothes this blizzard will stop,” moment. But I was also really attracted by the gathered neckline and the swingy skirt. While I haven’t been a circle skirt kind of lady in my adulthood, there’s really something about being able to spin in such a delightfully ripply circle that feels so playful and fun and childlike in the best possible way.

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I apparently can’t spin quite as much as I could as a child, I spent the next five minutes after this photo gripping Mr Match’s arm and trying not to throw up. Whoops!

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I’d originally planned to make this dress during the sew-along and hoped to have it done for a wedding we were planning to attend this summer. But it was such a quick sew that it only took me a weekend. I made View 1 without any alterations.

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I ended up slip-stitching the neckline and armhole binding on the inside. I wasn’t sure at first that I would do it this way but as I was turning it under I was just loving how clean the binding looked on the outside and didn’t want to risk ruining it with top-stitching so I went for the slip-stitching. It took a little while but really not that long and totally worth it for high-quality finish.

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I made up a muslin of the bodice and was happy with a straight size 8. It turned out that the seersucker didn’t gather quite as easily as the muslin, not much of a surprise there, so I ended up adding a tuck on either side of the neckline to pull it flatter against my chest. I think the tucks helped enormously. I probably should’ve used Jennifer’s instructions for a smaller bust adjustment, she drafts her patterns for a D-cup which I’m definitely not. But that post hadn’t come out by the time I was working on this and I think I made it work. The gathers are pretty forgiving although I think if you have an A or B-cup a small bust adjustment would be necessary unless your fabric is light enough that it really gathers well.

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The pockets on this turned out really well. I’m a firm believer in pockets in dresses. I put them in the very first dress that I made and they’re just not that hard to do so I can’t imagine making a dress without pockets unless it really doesn’t work with the fabric. Even my wedding dress had pockets, major selling point! I think it’s possible that I didn’t cut the fabric on the right direction for the pockets, it certainly doesn’t match the direction of the skirt fabric. But I think it works. The nice thing about the narrowness of these seersucker stripes is that it looks great when they match up but it also doesn’t detract from the look if they don’t match up.

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I’d never put in a lapped zipper before making this dress. When I was first looking through the pattern I couldn’t make sense of the zipper directions for the life of me. As usual, at least for me, as soon as I actually had the fabric cut out and was working on that part it made total sense.

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All in all a really satisfying make. The pattern comes together easily and the sewing is quick work. I got to wear it for Easter dinner last weekend. It layered well with a cardigan, blazer, tights and boots. Oh New England, will you ever warm up again!! Can’t wait to wear this in real spring/summer weather. The seersucker I used is so yummy and will make for such a nice dress in the hot humid summers we get here in Boston. I’m looking forward to making another one soon!

Details:

Pattern: Felicity Dress by Jennifer Lauren Vintage

Fabric: Robert Kaufman Seersucker in Lupine from fabric.com

-Hannah

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