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

 

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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

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

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