Super Fun Sewing: Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection

Standard
Super Fun Sewing:  Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection

Hi, everyone! My “one month” blogging vacation turned into two months, and is threatening to become three, so I thought I had better break the ice and get a post written!

Today’s project is super fun. Have you seen the Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection from Twig + Tale?

Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection
Elephant Ear and Banana Leaf Blankets from Twig + Tale’s Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection

I came across it when searching for an interesting pattern to make for a nature-loving friend’s new baby. This pattern collection is one of three leaf blanket collections from Twig + Tale. It comes in two children’s sizes and four doll sizes for each of the six leaf shapes in the collection. You can buy just the children’s blankets, just the doll blankets, or a bundle with all the sizes. I bought the bundle. Here is the line drawing of the shapes:

Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection
Line Drawings from the Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection by Twig + Tale

So far I have made three of the large child-sized blankets: the banana leaf, the fan, and the elephant ear. The patterns lend themselves to using new or scrap fabrics, so you have a lot of options. I bought quilting cotton from Pintuck & Purl for the elephant ear leaf, since that was going to be a gift, and searched out scraps in my stash for the other two blankets, which were for one of my kids. For batting, I chose an inexpensive Pellon cotton batting from Joann Fabrics that was large enough for several blankets.

Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection
Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection
Large Elephant Ear Blanket from Twig + Tale’s Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection

These blankets were the perfect project after a bathing suit I had just completed that required a lot of fiddling to get the look and fit I wanted (hopefully something that will get blogged in the not-too-distant-future). There’s no fitting with these blankets, which are like mini-wholecloth quilts and are, in my mind, “quilting light (lite?)”–i.e. a great way to dip your toes into the idea of quilting. While not exactly the same as a quilt, you do get to try out pin basting all your layers together and quilting everything together as you sew the veins of each leaf.

Helpful tip for non-quilters: try out curved quilting safety pins for the pin basting–they’re easier to use than regular safety pins.

Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection
Curved safety pins make pin basting easier.

The process doesn’t take very long once you get started, and I found it fast and fun enough that I didn’t want to stop until I had finished each blanket. The directions are filled with lots of great tips, so you will learn something and have success whether you are a beginning sewist or more advanced. The only place I really deviated from the directions was that I sew a line of topstitching around the edge of each blanket after turning it right side out, which also serves to close up the hole where I turned everything.

Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection
Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection
Fan Leaf Blanket from Twig + Tale’s Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection

I also have to note that while I don’t love PDF’s in general (I’m a paper pattern lover through and through), this PDF was REALLY well-done and impressive. The table of contents is clickable, as are the links that point you to the various places you can find Twig + Tale on the web and get pattern support. The PDF includes inspirational ideas and tips for using scraps and even saving paper as you work with the pattern. It’s clear that a lot of thought and planning went into creating this–enough so that I would try other patterns from this company, even if they are only available in PDF form (their Women’s Trailblazer Vest is really tempting me).

The best part of all, though, is when you finish sewing each leaf and look at it for the first time as a finished object: it is SO COOL!!! It really looks like a leaf, and seeing it in whatever fabric you chose just looks so good. I think my favorite of the three that I sewed was the banana leaf, made using scraps of canvas and poly/cotton vintage sheets that I pieced together. I just love it!

Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection
Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection
Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection
Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blanket Collection

This particular one is going to be used outside quite a lot, and those scraps are perfect tough fabrics for the job. Yay, stash-busting!

I’m not often excited enough about a pattern to want to try most of the options right away, but I really want to make more of these blankets. I had to take a break to do a few other projects, but I think I *need* a monstera leaf for me…and maybe a paw paw. I kind of think we might need some of the doll-sized blankets, too, for stuffed animals as well as for other uses around the house. Maybe monstera leaf pot holders? Who knows? Time will tell if I really do go back to this pattern, but I’m still excited about it, so that’s a good sign. I’ll report back if I do.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

Standard
Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

As summer goes by, I’m sewing less and going outside more, so after this post, things may slow down for a little bit.  You just can’t waste beautiful outside days when you live in a place with cold and snowy winters, you know?  Today’s project is just right for summer.  While I love breezy woven fabrics in the summer, I also wear a fair number of t-shirts.  My go-to winter t-shirt pattern is the free Plantain T-shirt from Deer and Doe, and while that one does have a short-sleeved view, what I really wanted for summer was a great relaxed v-neck with additional options.  The Union St. Tee from Hey June Handmade looked promising, and I absolutely love the Brunswick Pullover pattern that I tried from this company, so, having gotten the PDF as a Christmas present, I decided to try it out this summer.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

The Union St. Tee pattern comes with four sleeve lengths and three necklines and can be made with or without a pocket.  It also includes a provision for full bust adjustments if that is a change you usually make.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

l

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

The recommended fabrics are things like “cotton/poly, triblend, rayon blends, bamboo, and modal.”  I have been trying to use what I have on-hand for the most part this spring/summer and I already had some cotton/spandex jersey from Cotton + Steel in my stash that I really wanted to try.  This is not a recommended fabric (it’s actually a fabric that the designer tells you not to use unless you are sizing down for a more fitted t-shirt), but I decided to go for it anyway.  This fabric is (I think) 95% cotton and 5% spandex and is soft and nicely substantial–maybe a midweight.  The design is called “Flotsam & Jetsam” from the Hello collection from Cotton + Steel in its first iteration (those designers have since founded Ruby Star Society with Moda Fabrics), and I got it from Pintuck & Purl during one of their sales.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

l

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

As for the sewing, the instructions and illustrations in the pattern were great.  They are very detailed, and include a link to a video tutorial for sewing a great v-neck.  While mine isn’t completely perfect, it’s really good considering my very limited experience in that area.  One question I have had when applying neckbands is whether to use a straight or a stretch (zigzag) stitch.  I used a straight stitch for this neckband and it turned out great.  I’m always afraid that a straight stitch won’t be stretchy enough and a zigzag stitch won’t look crisp enough, but I have had no problems with the straight stitch I used for this neckband.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

When I first tried the finished shirt on, I could see why cotton/spandex isn’t recommended.  This is supposed to be a relaxed t-shirt and the slightly heavier weight and lower amount of drape does make it stand out from the body a bit.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

l

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

My first thought was that it looked like a maternity shirt.  My first impressions of my projects aren’t always positive, and I am learning that I need to wear them several times before really deciding how I feel.  I did that with this t-shirt, and now I love it.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

l

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

I’m so happy that I tried this pattern, and I’d love to make it again in one of the suggested fabrics.  I highly recommend it for the drafting and the very detailed instructions and illustrations.

Union St. Tee in Cotton + Steel Jersey Knit

 

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Standard
Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Summer sewing is in full (albeit slow) swing, and these pants are one of the most recent projects I finished.  I really like the look of sailor pants.  I actually have a pair of wool 13-button sailor pants that I love from an Army Navy store, but sadly they don’t fit right now.  I have noticed that I’m drawn to that style, though, so I decided to make some of my own.  First, I tried the Persephone Shorts by Anna Allen.  The pattern and instructions are excellent, but I really, really didn’t like the look of the shorts on me, even though I think they look great on other people.  Rather than fiddling with the fit to try to get something I might like, I moved on to Simplicity 8391.  The Persephone Pants are actually based on sailor pants from the 1920’s-1940’s, whereas Simplicity 8391 is more of a cute take on the idea of sailor pants.  I have to say, though, that I really, really like these.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

l

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

First I made the shorts version (View D) to get an idea of the fit.  I made them up quickly without worrying much about interior perfection or getting things just right.  These were my wearable muslin.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

l

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Cute, right?

My measurements put me in between two sizes, so I traced that out and sewed them up in some leftover Tinted Denim by Cloud9 Fabrics that I got long ago at Pintuck & Purl.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I am finding that in most, if not all, Big 4 pants, I need to do a full seat adjustment and possibly even lengthen the back crotch point.  I didn’t do any of that for the shorts, and while they came out cute, they aren’t super comfortable on me, and I have already given them away.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

l

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Aside from giving me wedgies, sitting was really uncomfortable and I wanted a lot more ease, so I decided to try again and just sort of guess at the amount of adjustment to make and hope for the best.

For version two, I made the pants (View C) from Delaware Grass Green 10 oz. cotton canvas from Big Duck Canvas that I had originally bought to make into Persephone Pants.  This was my first time ordering from Big Duck Canvas.  The price was good and so was the quality of the fabric.  Interestingly, when I washed these, they faded a fair amount.  They also softened a lot as I’m sure they had some sizing on them while on the bolt.  They remind me of one of my favorite pairs of pants from years ago, so I loved how the fabric came out of the wash, but keep the fading in mind if you give this fabric a try at some point.  I have also noticed this sort of fading when I bought duck canvas from Joann’s, so maybe it’s just something that happens with this fabric?

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

As far as adjustments, I really wanted some comfy pants, so I decided to go big or go home with the fitting.  I retraced the pattern half a size larger, and then did a 1.5″ full seat adjustment, as well as adding 1.5″ of length to the back crotch point.  I used The Perfect Fit from the Singer Sewing Reference Library series to figure out how to do this.  I’m always a little confused about which adjustments to do and how in the world to know what I need in each case.  It helps that I sew a lot of Big 4 patterns and can use a lot of similar adjustments on those, but what about when I sew a pattern from another company?  Isn’t there some way to measure the flat pattern and know if I will need to adjust things?  I still need to finish reading Pants Fitting:  The Crotch and Pants Fitting:  The Crotch Part 2 from the Winmichele blog and do the exercises she mentions because I think that will answer those questions for me.  I understand how to measure the back of a shirt pattern to see if I need a broad back adjustment, but I still don’t fully have pants figured out, even after making a number of different types.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

Back to these pants.  When hemming, I took 2″ off the length of the pants.  I think if I had left the size the same as the shorts, the pants would have fit closer and been higher on my waist, and then maybe that 2″ would have been too much, but with the adjustments I made, they sit just below my navel and taking 2″ off looked better to me than just hemming them at the normal hem allowance (for reference, I’m 5′ 8.5″ tall and I don’t usually make length adjustments).  I had to stretch the fabric as I hemmed so that everything was nice and flat.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

l

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I got to use a few vintage buttons on both the pants and the shorts.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

l

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I used whatever invisible zippers I had around.  The zipper on these is on the left side.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

One other thing I changed was on the inside of the waistband.  I covered the inside edge of the waistband with bias tape, which made catching the waistband SO MUCH EASIER when stitching in the ditch from the outside.  I do have to be careful when zipping and unzipping because the bias-covered edge likes to get in the way a little bit, but it’s not too bad.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

The adjustments I made to this pattern made the finished product feel WONDERFUL.

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

l

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I’m really thinking hard to analyze how I want to feel in my clothes during each season, and so far what I have come up with for summer is loose and breezy, which means no tight clothes (except things like bathing suits), lots of breathable cotton and linen wovens, and plenty of elastic waists.  Even without an elastic waist, I love these pants for summer.  They’re nice and loose, and I would definitely consider trying to lengthen them to full length and make them in linen or some other great fabric.  I think I have worn them almost every day this week (don’t worry–they’re going in the wash after today).

Simplicity 8391 Sailor-Inspired Shorts and Pants

I know that’s the picture you were all waiting for.  😉 Have a great weekend.

I Finally Tried It: City Gym Shorts from Purl Soho

Standard
I Finally Tried It:  City Gym Shorts from Purl Soho

Hi, everyone!  It’s been a little while, but I finally have some finished projects to share that are slowly getting photographed.  I usually work in batches and I love it when I get to the sewing part of a batch because it feels like I’m quickly turning out projects.  What it really means is that I spent a lot of time planning, tracing, and cutting a bunch of things, but it still feels great to finish several projects in a row.  One of the projects in this latest batch is a popular free pattern that has been around for almost six years, but that I hadn’t tried.  This year it was finally time to jump on board since I really need some shorts…and elastic-waist shorts sound amazing.  The pattern is the City Gym Shorts for All Ages from Purl Soho.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

l

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

l

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

This pattern comes in a range of kids’ and adult sizes.  It was published before PDF patterns were as popular as they are now, so it and the directions look a little different from what you might commonly see today, but I think they are still good.  I used the largest women’s size.  Although I’ve purchased a small amount of fabric in the last several months, I’m mostly trying to use what I have on hand as much as possible, so I pulled out some vintage sheets and some bias tape I had as well as whatever thread was closest in color to my fabric, and got started.  I had to buy some elastic, but that was it.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

The directions were pretty straightforward, although the seam allowance is only 1/4″, so keep that in mind or your shorts won’t fit as expected.  The nice thing about this smaller-than-usual seam allowance is that you won’t have to trim your seams.  I didn’t bother too much with making my sewing look pretty for this version, except where I sewed on the bias tape.  The goal was to finish these quickly so I could try them out.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

The one thing I changed was the waistband.  I plan to follow the directions if I make this pattern again, but for this pair, I wanted to use the folded over edge at the top of the sheet as my casing.  That did make the casing a bit wider than what is called for, so I anchored my elastic by sewing through the waistband at the sides, front, and back so it wouldn’t flip around in the wash or while I’m wearing the shorts.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

l

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

Once I finished the shorts and tried them on, my initial thoughts were that these were pretty good!  I liked the length and found them pretty comfortable.  I thought that if I made them again, they should have pockets (of course!) and possibly a bit of a full seat adjustment and back crotch length extension as well as possibly a bit more ease (maybe I would grade up one size).  After wearing them for awhile, though, I think all those things (except the pockets) are things that might improve this pattern slightly for me, but aren’t things I absolutely have to do to enjoy wearing these shorts.  I’m really happy with them.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

Speaking of pockets, if you have tried this pattern or want to try it, but also want somewhere to hold your keys or phone, I found this post on the Zaaberry Handmade blog that covers her variation of this pattern and includes how to add pockets (she links to a tutorial she created for adding pockets).  In her version, she eliminates the bias binding.  If you want slash pockets, but want to keep the bias binding, you could check out this post over on the All Wrapped Up blog.  What I haven’t found is anyone who added inseam pockets and kept the bias binding.  Those are the lines I was thinking along, although I also really like what each of the these women did, so I would be open to either pocket style (slash or inseam).

One tip I have is that if you are running short on matching bias tape, attach what you have to the front side seams first as most of the back side seams will be covered and you could easily hide mismatched bias tape there if you wanted to.

City Gym Shorts made from vintage sheets

I think the City Gym Shorts pattern would be a good one for a beginner.  It doesn’t have too many pieces or things like buttons or zippers, and you can make it out of quilting cotton or even old sheets, like I did.  You can purchase bias tape or learn to make your own, so it’s a good skill builder while still being completely doable.  And for the seasoned sewist, it’s a fun and quick project with lots of possibilities to customize the end product.

Last Summer’s Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited: Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

Standard
Last Summer’s Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I got dress-obsessed this spring and wanted to sew all the boho, ruffled, yoked, big-sleeved dresses.  It’s one of my summer goals to wear more dresses, so after sifting through many, many patterns, I decided to revisit Simplicity 8689, my favorite dress pattern from last summer (in black and yellow here).

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I had a beautiful cotton gauze border print from Pintuck & Purl that seemed perfect for this pattern, especially now that I had my colorful slips.  While most of the fabric has numbers and symbols on it, one edge has gray and burgundy stripes.

I chose to make View A with the sleeves of View B.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

While my size has changed a bit since last year, this dress has a nice amount of ease, so I used my previously traced pattern and sewed a 16 bust and 20 waist and hip.  I found one issue that I had failed to address (or even remember) from last year.  Due to some adjustments I made last time, my front and back bodice side seams were different lengths.  I never think to walk my seams (i.e. compare the lengths of seams that are meant to be sewn together to make sure they are the same length) after adjusting things, and this time it came back to bite me.  The back was 3/4″ shorter than the front.  In the end, I cut the front shorter, but I made sure to adjust my pattern for next time.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I used a 70/10 Microtex needle to sew this gauze.  I was a little worried that it would be really delicate, and while ripping out seams had to be done carefully, it wasn’t hard to sew.  I used a combination of turning and stitching, French seams, mock French seams, and a small zigzag to finish various parts of the inside.  I wanted to use French seams throughout, but that wasn’t possible in places like the center front bodice seam or along the side seams and pockets.  I wanted everything to look nice on the inside since the gauze is actually somewhat sheer.  You can really see this with the pockets, but since I had enough fabric for pockets, I didn’t want to omit them.  No regrets on that choice!

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

One thing I might try some other time is lengthening the sleeve and adding an elastic casing and elastic instead of the cuff, but I need to wear the dress more to be sure.  I did lengthen the cuff pattern piece to increase the cuff circumference and give my hand a little more room to go through (just to be safe), and I really like how it turned out.  So far it’s pretty comfortable.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

And I love the dress with the colored slips underneath.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I initially kept the front plain except for having used the striped border in the yoke, but the dress was just a bit boring and I wasn’t excited about it (see below).

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

Even though I can order sewing supplies, I have been taking the last few months to try to do a better job of using what I already have, which has been a fun challenge.  After thinking it over for quite awhile, I added the ivory rickrack,

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

and then used hooks and eyes and embroidery floss to create removable silver cords to attach to the front.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I tried making a few different tassels, but none of them were right, so I did end up ordering some silver ones from the paper crafting department of Hobby Lobby and used jewelry-making supplies to attach them.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I like the dress so much better now and have already worn it a few times.  I love having several fun, comfortable dresses that I really like.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

 

Outside in May

Standard
Outside in May

I hope you’re ready for another mostly flower-filled post!  May is so beautiful around here–all the plants are waking up and it’s not usually super cold any more.  It’s interesting to me to look back and see the flowers I photographed at the beginning of the month, which are gone now, replaced by new and different blooms.  Enjoy!

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

Fun in Green: A McCall’s 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

Standard
Fun in Green:  A McCall’s 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

I have a fun dress to share with you today!  This dress is all about volume, which makes it a joy to wear.  Today’s pattern is McCall’s 7948, View D, a very popular style that is showing up in lots of stores and sewing patterns.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

I bought this pattern last year with the thought of making it in eyelet, just like the cover photo, but with a fun colored slip underneath.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

l

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

I made a few slips, and then finally made the dress.  This was supposed to be my Easter dress, but time got away from me, (or I just plan more sewing projects than I can actually sew), and this didn’t get started until May.  Part of what held me up was trying to decide what trim to use on the dress, but in the end (and after looking at examples online), I decided to go trim-less and just make the dress in green.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

l

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

I traced a straight size 20, and just barely eked it out with the yardage I had.  This green cotton eyelet was from last spring at Joann’s, and I got it on sale this year when it was almost gone.  I managed to find 1 2/3 yards in one store and another piece that was three inches short of two yards in a different store.  The fabric is 50/51″ wide, but 8-9″ of that is plain green cotton without the eyelet embroidery on the edges.  I had to do a bit of pattern Tetris to get it all figured out, but it worked in the end.  I had wanted to include pockets, but I realized that you would probably be able to see them through the eyelet, and I didn’t have enough fabric anyway, so I left them off.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

One really nice thing about the style of this dress is that I didn’t have to do too many adjustments–no grading between sizes, no broad back adjustment.  All I did was to add some width at the top of the sleeves and lower the front neckline by 1/2″ based on Martha’s review on the Buried Diamond blog.  I used The Perfect Fit, my favorite basic fitting book for directions for these things.  It said not to lower the neckline beyond 1/2″ in this size because it would affect other aspects of the pattern, but the one thing I would consider doing if I make this again is to see if I could lower the neckline a bit more.  It’s mostly fine when standing and walking around, but the dress does slide a bit toward the back occasionally and it can sometimes be a problem when sitting.  My husband’s idea was to weight the front hem.  What do you think?  What would you do?

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

That very minor adjustment and issue aside, I LOVE how this dress feels to wear.  It’s my ideal summer dress as far as feel–loose, flowy, breezy thanks to the eyelet, perfectly comfortable.  The slip worked out great–I didn’t even notice it, which is the goal (no one wants an uncomfortable slip).  I couldn’t see its color as much as I would have liked, but that is due to the very small holes in this eyelet.  You can see it at the points where the dress touches your body, but not much more.  Regardless, it provides the opacity I wanted when the light shines through the dress.  Now here is a weird conundrum–do you make your clothes to feel good or look “flattering” (whatever your definition of that word is)?  I don’t think this dress makes me look like any ideal vision I might have of myself, but other than that, it feels great, covers me in all the areas I want covered, and brings me joy…but I don’t think it makes me look amazing.  When you can’t always have both, which do you choose?  In general, I come down on the side of comfort and feel, but I admit that it is sometimes a mental struggle for me.  I could make uncomfortable clothes that I think look good on me, or I can make comfortable clothes that may or may not look good, but that feel good.  Comfort wins for me, but if I’m honest, I really want both in most cases.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

The other thing I changed on this dress was the facings.  I did manage to cut them out, but realized that the interfacing I was supposed to use was going to show through, and I didn’t have any fabric I could use as sew-in interfacing that was close to this color.  In the end, I decided to finish the neckline and back slit with bias tape, because I had a lot of it that was close to this color.  It took a bit of thinking, but I managed to figure out how to do the back slit, and I’m pretty happy with the result and definitely happy not to have used facings or interfacing that would show through around the neckline and back.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

I used some single fold bias to finish the hems of the sleeves and skirt and a pretty vintage button on the back of the dress.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

l

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

As far as finishing my seams, my machine did not love zigzagging on this fabric, so I sewed a straight stitch in each seam allowance and then pinked the seam allowances.  The dress is in the wash now, so we’ll see if there is much fraying or not.  Even if there is, the straight stitch in the seam allowance will stop it.  I’m not really worried.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

When gathering the skirt and arm ruffles, I used a technique I learned from Megan Nielsen, where you do a large zigzag over a piece of string in your seam allowance.  I used baker’s twine.  (You know that cute red and white twine they use to tie up boxes in bakeries?  Lots of people use it for crafts as well.)  Once you have gone all the way around, you cinch up the fabric using the string, pin it in place, pull out the string and go on with your sewing. It’s a lot faster and easier on a fabric like this with ruffles this big than it is to sew two rows of basting stitches and gather them.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

l

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

This was a fun dress to sew and not too difficult.  If you can get this pattern on sale, it’s a great deal for a pattern that is very on trend and VERY fun to wear.  I wore this on a walk in the woods with my family and while I’m sure that other people we saw thought I was crazy for wearing a dress on the trails, I felt awesome in it.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

A Little More Layering: Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

Standard
A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

Hi, friends!  I have one more layering post today.  I think this garment is going to come in handy this summer.

The garment I’m talking about is the Axis Tank by Sophie Hines.  This simple tank is fast to make and is interesting in that it doesn’t require any elastic–just a stretchy fabric like this cotton/spandex jersey.  My version has a center front seam because I didn’t have much of this fabric left, but this view of the pattern as drafted is actually one piece for the body and then your neck and arm edgings.  You sew a seam in the back, finish the neck and arms and all your seams, and you are done!

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

l

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

I have often wished for (but never bothered to make) a short tank top that would cover my undergarment straps, but wouldn’t make me overheat by covering my midsection, and I think this will do just that.  It is described as a tank top bralette, but it’s not exactly supportive, so I think it works better as just a tank.  It is short–it hits about one inch under my bust.  I’m not the midriff-baring type, so I would wear this with another shirt over top to get that fun, layered look without the overheating.  There are, of course, other views, with a scoop neck and some cool color-blocking that I have yet to try.

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

I’m not much of a pattern hacker, but I think this little tank could have a lot of possibilities.  You could add elastic at the bottom to make a supportive-ish bralette or swimsuit top, extend the length into a full-length tank top, tankini top, or dress, or anything else you can think of.  It’s also a great way to use up scraps, and it works as a quick palette-cleanser after a more involved project.  I plan to try this out this summer and see how/if it integrates into my wardrobe.

More Details

  • Fabric:  “Starry” in the color Seashell from the Hello collection by Cotton + Steel, 95% cotton/5% spandex fabric, purchased at Pintuck & Purl
  • All sewn on a regular sewing machine–no serger required

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

  • Extra detail:  I made a cute little tag for the back out of some of the selvedge!

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

And that’s it!

Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

Standard
Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

Hi, everyone!  I have a quick post today on a fun layering option–a slip dress!  I started to think about this last summer when I bought McCall’s 7948.  The dress on the cover is made of eyelet.  I made my own eyelet dress last year and underlined it with an inexpensive cotton voile, but I thought that it could be so much fun to have colorful slips to wear underneath other dresses with any degree of transparency.  Then I wouldn’t have to line or underline the dress and you could change out the slips to have different colors show through.  Once I saw Alexis Bailey’s version of McCall’s 7948 with a colorful slip underneath, I knew I had to do it.  It’s taken me a long time, but I finally got it done.

I was looking for a slip pattern that was for woven fabric cut on the straight grain, rather than a bias or stretch slip.  Simplicity 8545, View A was perfect because it was made to be just that kind of slip dress to go under transparent dresses and tops, patterns for both of which are included.  I had some Cotton + Steel cotton lawn from a sale at Pintuck & Purl, and it was great for this pattern.

Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

l

Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

I often have to lower darts on patterns and I completely forgot to check before cutting my fabric if that would be necessary on this one.  Assuming it would be, I sort of fudged things and lowered the dart point since I couldn’t lower the whole dart.  It turned out that this wasn’t necessary, but as this will be under another dress, there’s no need to worry too much.  Now I know for next time.  I think I graded from an 18 at the bust to a 20 at the waist and hips, which was a good idea.  There is a good amount of ease at the waist, but not as much at the hips.  Grading made it all work just right, though.

Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

front

Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

Other modifications included shortening the straps 1″ beyond the recommended point and shortening the bottom of the dress 4″ from the raw edge.  I want it to be around or a little shorter than the dresses I plan to wear over these slips, so I picked the shortest my dresses might be likely to be and hemmed the slips around there.

Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

back

Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

I noticed again that my natural waist is 1″-2″ above the pattern’s waist mark.  Interesting…  Maybe I’m a bit short-waisted.  Also, I probably need a swayback adjustment, but I just can’t be bothered.  You could most likely eliminate the zipper on this pattern and still get it over your head just fine.  And lastly, if I were to make this pattern again, I would try eliminating the facings and use bias tape to finish the top edge.

Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

Inside back (above) and a close-up of the zipper from the outside (below)

Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

l

Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

Inside front (above) and a close-up of the facings and strap (below)

Thinking About Layering with Simplicity 8545

I would like to try the camisole view of this pattern (View B) to wear under shirts that aren’t quite opaque enough in the summer.  I have some more lawn, so I might get around to that at some point.  I suppose it would be wise and practical to have a white slip, too, but that seems less exciting than brightly colored slips.  🙂  The dresses I hope to wear over this are currently in progress–the aforementioned McCall’s 7948 in green eyelet and my favorite dress pattern from last summer, Simplicity 8689, in a light pink cotton gauze.  Hopefully once I make them, I’ll actually wear them to swan about the house instead of wearing stretchy pants!  Or I’ll wear them over stretchy pants!  😉

Outside in April: Spring Flower Edition!

Standard
Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

It’s time for a spring flower edition of the Outside series.  My family members and I have been trying to spot as many different flowers as possible on our walks and I’ve been taking pictures of them.

Before we get started, though, I wanted to say that I have noticed a shift in my sewing and blogging since the summer.  The schedule change and vacation time this past summer changed how I was sewing from a pretty regular practice to one that now happens in small and large blocks of time.  In short, I’m not sewing quite as much, and I find that my mindset has shifted from using the blog to record my projects and add to the online sewing community with pattern reviews, etc. to making sure I have blog material.  I think that’s backwards.  The point of my blog, and the point of my blog being intentionally a hobby activity (rather than trying to monetize it) is that it is in service to my sewing and not the other way around.  So, I still plan to blog my projects, but I’ll post if I have a project done and photographed.  There may be a few missed weeks, but that will give me the flexibility to take a little longer on regular projects and sew projects I don’t bring to the blog, like undergarments.  I’m sure most people don’t notice that I always publish a post at 8:00 AM Eastern Standard Time on Fridays, so I’m writing this more for myself than anyone else.  I need to loosen up the routine I’ve created in order to give myself a little more creative freedom.  I’ve resisted doing that for fear I’ll let the blog slide, but I think it’s what is right for my sewing practice.  Anyway…now that I have that off my chest, let’s get on to some spring pictures of flowers.  We can all use a little beauty in our lives, right?

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

Looking down at these grape hyacinths from above, I noticed that their little flowers create a sort of spiral!

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

I would love to see (or wear) a dress inspired by these cherry blossoms.

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

l

Outside in April:  Spring Flower Edition!

I’m so glad it’s spring!