Author Archives: Lisa Poblenz (patternandbranch)

About Lisa Poblenz (patternandbranch)

I write the blog Pattern and Branch. Pattern and Branch is dedicated to exploration and curiosity, trying new things, and finding new ideas in the areas of art, craft, food, and life. I love making and learning. Come join in!

The Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns

Standard
The Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns

It’s not often that a dress pattern comes along that is fascinating and mysterious.  That’s not to say that you see a line drawing of a pattern and automatically picture every step just because you know how to sew, but you often know the general process of putting a garment together as well as what the pattern pieces might look like once you have been sewing for awhile.  So when something puzzling comes along, it’s kind of fun.

I’ve been sewing long enough now (and taking in massive amounts of sewing information through the magic of the interwebs) that a lot of patterns look similar to others that I’ve seen.  It takes a lot more for a pattern to surprise me, but that is just what happened when I saw Heather Lewenza’s Hannah dress from Victory Patterns.

Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns in Rayon Challis

Link to the pattern here.

Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns in Rayon Challis

Heather made her dress from crisp cotton so you could really see the interesting back crossover that wraps around the sides of the dress to end in the pockets.  I had never seen a dress like that.

As I researched it online to see what other sewers thought of the pattern, I read over and over again that the pattern pieces were different from any they had ever seen, and that it was fun and intriguing to sew.  I tried to resist the aura of coolness that this pattern exuded, and for awhile I was successful.  It only came in PDF, which is usually enough to make me pass on a pattern, but in the end, I bought it.  I had to try this for myself.

Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns in Rayon Challis

I deliberated over fabric choice for awhile, but finally decided to go with rayon challis for its fluid drape.  Another plus was that I had two coordinating rayons already in my stash–a black one from Field’s Fabrics in Kalamazoo, MI, and a grayscale watercolor rayon from Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH.  I had been saving that last one for just the right project, and I had finally found it.

Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns in Rayon Challis

Once I was ready to get started, I decided to make a straight size 12, which meant sizing up on the bust.  A number of reviews I read said that the bust ran a bit small, so I sized up, which also meant I didn’t drive myself crazy trying to figure out how to grade between sizes.  This isn’t a pattern you want to try to blend sizes on or adjust beyond lengthening or shortening.  The pattern pieces are just too different.

Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns in Rayon Challis

As soon as I began, I questioned my fabric choice.  You do a lot of stay-stitching initially, and mine puckered my fabric.  I immediately switched to a microtex needle and my walking foot, and hoped for the best.  The directions are so precise, which is great, but because of my inexperience working with rayon challis, I found that I was often stressed out, worrying that the dress wouldn’t turn out.  In the end, it did turn out just fine, but it has a lot of puckers that it shouldn’t have.  So, the rayon was good and bad.

Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns in Rayon Challis

My overall takeaways are that (pro) I now have more experience working with rayon challis and the black hides most of the puckers, but (con) the dress isn’t as well-made as I would have liked.  I think if I made this again, I would make it in something more stable, which would admittedly make the silhouette more A-line, but would also be more enjoyable to sew.  The other thing that I am beginning to think after sewing four garments from rayon this year (not all blogged) is that with the exception of the Cotton + Steel rayon, it doesn’t feel durable.  It’s comfortable and presses well, but something about it makes me think it won’t last as long as garments I’ve made from other fabrics.  We’ll see if that proves to be true or not.  So far I think I like silk crepe de chine better.

Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns in Rayon Challis

But, despite my learning curve with rayon, this dress did get finished and has been worn.  And I love it.  It’s so cool!  I would certainly make it again and would recommend it to intermediate sewers.  I’m so glad I took the plunge and bought the pattern.  I’m also hugely impressed that someone’s brain could come up with this.  I wish I had taken pictures of the unique pattern pieces as I sewed, but I didn’t.  😦

Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns in Rayon Challis

So that’s one more down on my 2017 Summer Sewing list.  The autumnal equinox is today, but I managed to get my last summer garment finished on Wednesday.  It might take a little while for everything to show up on the blog, but it’s all done and now I’m setting my sights on sewing some fun things for autumn.  What about you?  Do you have any autumnal projects planned (or spring for those of you in the southern hemisphere)?  I love planning projects.  Other than completing projects, planning them is my favorite part.  🙂

Recommendations

  • If you are local to the Seacoast of NH, there’s going to be a storewide sale at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH on Saturday (the 23rd of Sept.).  It should be a good time!  9 am – 4 pm.
  • Here’s another one for you if you are local to the Seacoast of NH.  If you, like me, use Big 4 patterns (Simplicity, Butterick, McCall’s, Vogue as well as Burda Style, New Look, and Kwik Sew), the Seabrook, NH Joann’s Fabric is the place you should go.  It’s in a sad, empty strip mall, and the store isn’t big, but it’s calm and extremely well-organized.  They are rarely missing a pattern, and every drawer is so nice and neat.
  • For those of us near eastern Massachusetts, north of Boston, Marie’s Sewing Center in Woburn, MA is having a machine sale Sept. 29-Oct. 1.  “Purchase a new sewing machine or serger in stock at MSRP & get a sewing machine or serger of equal or lesser value for ONE CENT!”  This would be a good event to partner with a friend on, so you can both get what you want for less!
  • This video by Candide Thovex is like watching skiing parkour.  As it goes along, it gets less and less believable, but it’s fun to watch!

 

Advertisements

Inspired by Surfing: Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

Standard
Inspired by Surfing:  Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

I’m really excited to share today’s garment with you.  This one was a long time coming, because I thought about it for months before finally starting on it.

In the past few years, surfing has become a fun spectator sport for me, and I’m also inspired by the fashion aspect of surfing.  In my perusal of current surf culture, I’ve noticed a lot of wetsuits/swimsuits that look like long-sleeved, one-piece swimsuits (see some of my inspiration here, here, and here).  I wanted one of my own…and I knew that I had the power to make it!

Inspired by Surfing:  Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

(front view, above)

Inspired by Surfing:  Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

(back view, above)

As I thought my plan over, I realized that the perfect pattern for this project wasn’t a swimsuit pattern.  The one that looked closest to what I wanted turned out to be the Nettie Dress & Bodysuit pattern by Closet Case Patterns.  Maggie at Pintuck & Purl was kind enough to order a few copies so I could get on with my project.  Next I started looking around for fabric and inspiration.  Pinterest and Instagram were great for ideas.  And fabric?  Etsy to the rescue–specifically a shop called Ameritexx Spandex.

Inspired by Surfing:  Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

l

Inspired by Surfing:  Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

Design & Technical Choices

This project was one of my 2017 Summer Sewing projects.  I chose the long-sleeved bodysuit with the high neck and low back in a 12 at the bust and waist and 14 at the hip.  I didn’t want to put a zipper in, so while I originally chose the medium back, I got a little bit worried about how easy it would be to get into and out of, so I decided to go with the lower back.  I also added in a shelf bra (included in the pattern) and padding (traced from other swim cups) for modesty.  I chose to line the body of the suit, but not the sleeves.

Inspired by Surfing:  Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

Inside, front (above)

Inspired by Surfing:  Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

Inside back (above)

As far as equipment goes, I made this on my home sewing machine (an Elna 3005, if you are interested) with a stretch needle, a walking foot, and a zigzag stitch.  I used polyester thread (from Gutermann) in my needle and woolly nylon/bulky nylon thread in my bobbin.  My elastic was swimwear elastic and the foam I used in the shelf bra was poly-laminate foam from Sew Sassy.  It’s good for lightly padded bras or swimwear.

Inspired by Surfing:  Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

the underside of the shelf bra, where you can see the poly laminate foam

When I cut my pattern, I made sure to trace out a full pattern piece (rather than a standard half pattern piece) so that I could cut my fabric in a single layer rather than cutting on the fold.  I also used a rotary cutter.

Process

I always get nervous when I want to sew a swimsuit.  There are so many layers and the fabric is slippery.  You also really need a swimsuit to work–to stay on your body in and out of the water.  Thankfully, this went together really well.  I told myself I would try it on as I went and adjust as necessary.  Usually I just make the thing and hope for the best, but not on this project!  With the exception of including a lining and treating the lining and outer fabric as one, I followed the directions of the pattern to about the point where it was necessary to add leg and neck elastic.

I did make a few modifications, although not many.  I raised the front leg openings about an inch.  I shortened the length of the shelf bra, and decided to sew over each seam twice for extra security.  I also realized very quickly when I started to add my leg elastic that I needed more width of fabric in the crotch area if I was going to stitch and turn elastic and still expect coverage.  To take care of this issue, I got out the pattern for the bottoms of Jalie 3023 (a tankini), traced it out, and used it as the crotch section of my suit.  I also changed how I applied the elastic.  I used the techniques in this blog post (which I’ve printed out so I won’t lose it), using bound elastic for the neckline and gathered, turned, and stitched elastic for the leg holes.

Inspired by Surfing:  Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

Bound elastic at the neckline

Inspired by Surfing:  Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

Gathered, turned, and stitched elastic at the leg openings

Analysis

I’m really happy with how this turned out, although I’m sorry to say that I finished it so late in the season that I’ve only worn it while swimming once.  It stayed on well, and I felt good in it.  In fact, I think this is my most successful swimsuit to date.  The only thing I might change is to take in the sleeves from elbow to wrist slightly.

As it is now, the suit stays on well, despite the open back.  If it loosens eventually, I could always add a strap across the back.  I’m excited to try this out over time and see how I like it.  It wasn’t overly hard to make (despite my fears) and I like how it looks.  I definitely recommend this pattern if you want to give it a try.  I found that using the sew-along on the Closet Case Patterns website in tandem with the directions was really helpful.

Inspired by Surfing:  Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

With only about a week of summer left, I have one more garment from my 2017 Summer Sewing list to sew up as well as a second version of my black silk shirt.  I want to charge through them, but my back has been messed up (I really have to find a way to prevent that!).  I hope I can do it!  I’ll report back here soon!

Lastly, tomorrow is my blog’s four-year anniversary.  Hooray!  Blogging has been a great way to take part in the fun of the sewing community and a great personal journal of the things I’ve sewn.  Thanks for coming along with me on the adventure!

Recommendations

  • Around the time I made this suit, Rosie Martin of @rosie_diycouture and Katie of @katiemakesadress also made long-sleeved swimsuits.  Rosie used the Nettie, while Katie tried the Rowan Bodysuit from Megan Nielsen Patterns.  There must be something in the air!  We all caught hold of similar inspiration!
  • Have you seen the new Lander Pant and Short pattern from True Bias?  I’m really tempted by those pants.  I mean–wide legs and patch pockets!  Right up my alley.
  • I decided I wanted to look at the fashion designs of Ralph Lauren and Valentino more closely so I requested some books from the library.  Two out of three turned out to be kids books, but…they were great!  It was the perfect way to get a brief biography of each designer’s life and career.  I’m going to have to try this for other people I’m interested in learning about.
  • I never realized all the similarities between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings until I watched this! 😉

 

Silk “Secret Pajamas”: McCall’s 6848

Standard
Silk “Secret Pajamas”: McCall’s 6848

It’s time for another garment from my 2017 Summer Sewing list!  McCall’s 6848, View C is a top I’ve made before (in pre-blogging days, maybe?)…and one that I love!  I really wanted to make this simple top out of a flowy fabric to wear to work and church as well as with casual bottoms.  When I saw that Fabric Mart had black silk crepe de chine on sale, I knew that I had found my ideal fabric.

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

l

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

l

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

Now I know that silk is often viewed as a fabric that needs a lot of special care, but that is really up to you.  If you want to dry clean your silk, you can, but you can also throw it in the washer and even the dryer if you want to.  It does change the look of the fabric a bit if you wash it, but it doesn’t damage the fabric in any way.  So, while I actually prefer the look of the prewashed silk, I knew that I wouldn’t dry clean it due to cost and inconvenience, so I prewashed and dried.

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

l

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

Sewing up this pattern was really fast and easy.  I made it in a size large this time.  It only has three pattern pieces:  a front, a back, and a neckband.  It was easy to sew the side and shoulder seams with French seams, and the neckband encloses the raw edge around the neck.  For the sleeves, I just did a basic hem with the raw edge turned under so that it was enclosed.  Fast and easy with no exposed edges left to fray in the wash!

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

(front view, above)

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

(back view, above)

I love the boxy cut and drape of this shirt and, while I wear it as an everyday shirt rather than as pajamas, I can feel how lovely this would be as a silk pajama top.  If you are looking for a basic drapey, boxy shirt pattern that is quick and easy, this is for you!  I’ve already got another cut out in rayon.  Highly recommend!

Silk "Secret Pajamas":  McCall's 6848

Recommendations

  • Proceed with caution if you try this one out!  Cooking Fever is a fun (and addictive) game where you have to serve your customers food as quickly as possible.  The better you do, the more (virtual) money you’ll have to upgrade your appliances and restaurant.  My fast food establishment is pretty awesome by now, I have to say!  😉
  • The Refashioners blog series and competition is up and running again this year with a theme of suits.  If you love refashioning, you can remake a suit into a new garment to compete for prizes (rules and prizes can be found here).  Right now, Portia, owner of the Makery blog which is hosting the event, is posting inspiration by various bloggers.  I was completely blown away when I saw Joost’s zebra-inspired coat.  You HAVE to check it out!
  • I just finished the audiobook version of Wonder by R. J. Palacio.  It was a great kids’ fiction book about the power of kindness.

The Perfect Summer Cutoffs: Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

Standard
The Perfect Summer Cutoffs:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

It’s late summer here, and I think it’s time I introduced you to my most-worn shorts of the season.  This year I finally realized that the shorts I’ve been making myself are kind of…well, short.  This may have been obvious to everyone around me, but it really wasn’t obvious to me until I realized that I wanted some longer shorts and only had one pair that I had thrifted.  But I know how to sew, so that’s a problem I can fix!  😀

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

Enter what is quickly becoming a favorite pattern not only for my husband (see versions one and two of his cargo pants from this pattern), but also for me (my pants version is here):  Thread Theory’s Jutland Pants pattern.

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

l

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

My husband loves this pattern because he loves cargo pants, but I love this pattern because, for some reason, it fits me!  It doesn’t fit me to the sewing world standard of “perfect fit”.  It fits me in the way women would want a pair of men’s jeans to fit for that authentic “boyfriend jeans” look or in the way that you want a pair of work pants to fit.

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

This summer, I dreamed of a pair of long cutoffs that weren’t tight, but were loose and comfortable.  More and more, I realize that I want my summer clothes to be loose and breezy, and my winter clothes to feel like a warm hug.  😉

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

l

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

l

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

Before our trip out to visit family earlier in the summer, I cut these jeans out of a non-stretch denim that I bought at Fabric Place Basement, and flew through the sewing!  I wanted these done FAST, so I didn’t do much extra top-stitching or any seam finishes beyond zigzagging my seam allowances.  I didn’t even hem them, because I wanted them to look like cutoffs.  I figured that I was making them secure enough to last, but if they showed some fraying and wear and tear, they would have even more of that authentic look.  And let me just say, I LOVE these shorts.  In fact, I have to hold myself back from wearing them every day.

The only thing I did differently from my pants version (besides the length) was to use the actual Jutland Pants back pockets rather than the back pockets from the Ginger Jeans.  I knew that the Jutland Pants back pockets were bigger and more square, but I just wanted to try them to see if I would like them.  And I do!

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

l

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

Another thing I like about these shorts is that you can wear them long or roll them up one or two times, giving you some different options.  I probably wear them rolled up twice most often, but I really like all the different lengths I can achieve.  Now I’m beginning to wonder if they would look good in canvas and if I have enough left over from other Jutland pants I’ve made…

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

l

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

l

Thread Theory Jutland Pants as Boyfriend Jeans

That might be a job for next summer, though.

Recommendations

    • After going to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, I would definitely recommend them!  Now I want to go back and go camping!  (You can see my last post for some pictures of our trip.)
    • I just finished listening to the audio version of Willpower:  Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister and John  Tierney.  It was a really fascinating psychological look at what willpower is and how you can cultivate it in your life.  I think I need to go back and listen through it again.
    • Devon Iott (@missmake on Instagram) does it again!  I’ve got her version of Style Arc’s Josie Hoodie in my head, and now I want to make my own!
    • This video is a little longer than what I usually post, but it was interesting to learn about the “Pros & Cons of Common Fabrics” both for everyday and as far as environmental impact.  I definitely learned some things!

Outside in August

Standard
Outside in August

This one is coming to you a little later in the day than usual, but that’s because I was on a mini-vacation Wednesday to Thursday and we got back late last night.  I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share some photos of where we went, because there was so much beautiful outdoor scenery.  Despite the fact that these pictures were all shot on my phone rather than with my DSLR, I think there are still some good ones.  Get ready to vicariously visit the White Mountains of New Hampshire!

The first place we went was Diana’s Bath in the North Conway area of New Hampshire (NH).  It’s a series of little water falls that you can explore and play in.

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

I guess this post could also be sub-titled “Amazing Fungi of New Hampshire”.  There were so many weird and amazing fungi all over the woods!

Next we went over to Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves in North Woodstock, NH.  With the help of boardwalks built along a river, you can explore the rocks and caves in a way you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.  These pictures don’t do justice to the amazing boardwalk system they have here (which has over 1,000 steps) or the caves you can squeeze through if you so desire.

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

l

Outside in August

It was a great trip, and I hope we can go back and explore more one day.  Have you ever been to the White Mountains?  What did you do there?

Vintage Butterick 3731 Dress in Blue Rayon Challis

Standard
Vintage Butterick 3731 Dress in Blue Rayon Challis

This summer we attended two weddings, which seemed like a great reason to challenge myself to sew a few dresses.  I’ve never been much of a dress-wearer, but I’d like to find a style or two that I like for summer, and wear dresses more.  My original plans involved making a fit-and-flare dress for the first wedding and Butterick 3731 for the second, but creative plans often change.  I don’t know what it is, but so far, after trying two different patterns, the fit-and-flare, darted-bodice dress style eludes me.  There must be some fitting knowledge that I’m missing.  So, after a hearty (but failed) attempt, I put that style aside and got to work on Butterick 3731.

Vintage Butterick 3731

l

Vintage Butterick 3731

l

Vintage Butterick 3731

This pattern is probably only my second vintage pattern that I’ve worked from.  On one of my trips to the Brimfield Antique Show I found this pattern, which was in my bust size…but was missing instructions.  The antique dealer gave it to me for free since it only had the pattern pieces.  I posted about it online, and crossed my fingers hoping that someone in the sewing community would have it and could send me directions.  And a wonderful lady named Sara did.  Isn’t the sewing community great that way?  Thanks again, Sara!

Vintage Butterick 3731

My original intention was to make the maxi dress.  I graded the waist and hips out to fit my measurements and made a muslin (which was a good idea, because I found a few little problems I needed to fix).  Then I bought some rayon challis from Joann Fabrics at a great price.  The fabric is one designed by Gretchen Hirsch for Joann’s, which I was excited to try.  I laid it all out, only to realize that in grading the waist and hips up, I hadn’t considered the sweep of the skirt.  It was too wide and I didn’t have quite enough fabric.  I could have made the skirt more narrow, but even so, I was somehow still short on fabric, so I decided that this dress would have to be the shorter version.

Vintage Butterick 3731

l

Vintage Butterick 3731

l

Vintage Butterick 3731

This pattern was so easy to make and fit!  It was great to have a project that wasn’t overly hard to fit!  That being said, however, there were little parts where notches didn’t align or seams needed to be finished beyond what the directions instructed.  I made sure to use French seams or clean-finished seams so the insides would look relatively nice.  My goal wasn’t perfection, just a dress that was well-made and that I felt comfortable in.  And I do feel comfortable in this dress.  I’ll admit that the picture of how I look in my head isn’t exactly how I look in real life, but I still love the dress.

Vintage Butterick 3731

The flowy fabric turned out to be a good choice as well.  It’s soft, yet cool. I will say, however, that having used both the rayon challis from Cotton + Steel on a shirt for my mom as well as this rayon challis from Joann’s, there is a marked difference.  I don’t have full confidence that the fabric in this dress will stand up to wear and tear, whereas the Cotton + Steel rayon feels really durable.  Cotton + Steel rayon is also far, far more expensive, so you have to weigh your priorities.  This was the right fabric for this dress at the right price point.  I’d still really love to make the maxi version, but that will also have to wait for the right fabric at the right price point…that maxi will take a lot of fabric!

Vintage Butterick 3731

If anyone is thinking of trying this pattern (and it seems like there are a number of copies out there on Etsy and other sites), I would recommend it.  It’s comfortable, easy to fit, and great in a drapey fabric.  Despite a few little oddities in the directions (a few notches that didn’t match up and a facing that ran a little short), the directions and pattern pieces are good overall.  It also feels current as the ’70’s return yet again.  😉  I’d love to try this in a soft linen.

Vintage Butterick 3731

Recommendations

  • Siobhan of the blog Just Keep Sewing made one of my favorite versions of the Victory Patterns Hannah dress, which is on my 2017 Summer Sewing list.
  • If you love 1970’s fashion, you might want to check out the #70sfashioncult hashtag on Instagram.  It’s full of patterns and ’70’s clothes.  You could even add your own retro creations or ’70’s patterns!
  • Do you live in the Midwest of the USA?  If you do, and you have a Meijer near you (which is like a Midwestern Target), try their Michigan Cherry coffee.  It’s one of my favorites!  Several of my friends in New England have also grown to love it since I have wonderful in-laws and parents who are willing to ship it to me.  😉
  • Since knowledge is power, let me help you with your bowling game.  After watching this, I want to ask my local bowling alley if they oil their lanes with ‘The Badger’ or ‘The Cheetah’ or a house pattern.  They’ll probably think I’m super cool if I do that.  Right? 😉  Check it out:  The hidden oil patterns on bowling lanes.

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

Standard
Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

Hi, sewing friends!  It’s been awhile!  I planned to take all of July off from the blog, but had to stretch it a little longer.  We had family in town and I had no time to take pictures!  I finally rectified that, though, so it’s back to your regularly scheduled sewing posts. 🙂

First up is something I finished back in June.  It’s the Eucalypt Woven Tank Top & Dress Sewing Pattern from Megan Nielsen Patterns.  I have had this pattern for ages and have been wanting to make it, but haven’t until this summer.  I made two different versions of the tank in the same fabric.

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

l

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

According to my measurements, I’m a medium at the bust and a large at the waist and hips, so that’s what I made for my first version.  I made it from a polyester crepe de Chine I bought at Hobby Lobby a few years ago that I’ve been saving to use for a wearable muslin.  Since the fabric is pretty shifty, I traced my pattern pieces out as full pieces rather than half pieces as printed.  Whenever I do this, I layer two pieces of tracing paper on top of each other and tape them together.  Then I line up my tracing paper at the cut-on-fold line, and trace the half piece.  I cut that out and then unfold my taped together tracing paper into a full pattern piece!  Since this was a PDF and I cut the pattern out, I just taped a piece of tracing paper to the pattern piece and cut it out to the same shape.  Then I opened it up so I could have a full piece.  Check it out:

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns in Two Versions

Version one was a bit tight across the back and the bust and was also a little tight on the front armscye.  I decided to go up a size on the bust and make a straight large for my second version since I was having some tightness all around.

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

Back

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

Tightness on the armhole front

Version two turned out a lot better!  I’m much happier with the fit overall.

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

l

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

l

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

l

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

l

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

Front view

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

Back view

So, now, here is my quandary.  There are a few fit issues despite how comfortable it is.  The shoulder seam line looks like it is too far back.

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

The side seam also curves as it reaches the top in a way that I’m sure it is not supposed to.

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

And I have some excess fabric in the back, that makes it look like I need a swayback adjustment.

Eucalypt Tank from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Two Versions)

If I wear the top as is, it is comfortable and provides good undergarment coverage.  If I pull the shirt forward so that the shoulder seam sits where it should, the swayback problem disappears, but I have gaping in the armholes that make it look like I need a dart.  So, do I just ignore the weirdness and make any future tanks just like version two?  Do I do a swayback adjustment to get rid of the excess or add a dart?  Do I tinker with it?  Do I care enough to do a bunch of stuff?  I don’t know.  It is really nice to have a quick and easy pattern that you like and can just whip up.  What would you do?

Lastly, ever since I finished my 2017 Make Nine, I’ve sort of been floundering around with my sewing.  I feel like I have a very short attention span, want to sew all the things, and get tempted by new patterns left and right.  I missed that sense of purpose I felt when I made my MakeNine goals, so I decided that since summer is really only half over (we have until the autumnal equinox in September!), I was going to make a summer sewing plan.

2017 Summer Sewing

I posted it on Instagram and even made a hashtag for it:  #2017summersewing.  I only chose six garments, and I’ll feel free to slip other little things in if I want to, but these are things I plan to make.  So, one down and blogged, five to go!  I’ll keep you posted, but feel free to join in with your own projects if you want to!  I already feel more focused and creative in my sewing.  🙂

Recommendations

  • One of my new Instagram discoveries is @plantsonpink .  It is literally pictures of plants in front of pink backgrounds.  Why is this so satisfying?  Well, I do like plants, pink, and pink and green!
  • Speaking of plants, I’m really enjoying going through Six Seasons:  A New Way With Vegetables by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg.  He breaks the year into the normal four seasons, but then divides summer down into three (giving you Spring, Early Summer, Midsummer, and Late Summer, as well as Fall and Winter).  The recipes in each section highlight various vegetables that are in season at that time.  I’ve learned to love vegetables in recent years, so I’m always looking for new and creative ways to use them.
  • I was up in Exeter, NH with family on a recent Thursday and happened upon the Exeter Farmer’s Market.  It’s amazing!  It has a great variety of produce, meat, baked goods, flowers, and so much more.  I was really impressed.  I definitely recommend it if you are in the area on a Thursday.
  • I’ve heard New Zealand is beautiful.  It sounds like a great place to visit.  And here is one more reason to want to go–the safety video from Air New Zealand!

Striped Lark Tee

Standard
Striped Lark Tee

I love black and white stripes for graphic impact.  It was something I never thought about until a few years ago when I bought a black and white striped shirt.  It went with so many things and brought something really cool to every outfit I paired it with.

Black and White Striped Lark Tee

About a year ago, I would have said that it was crazy to spend time sewing t-shirts when they can be bought so cheaply, but I think differently now.  T-shirts are quick, satisfying, and really fun.  They are the perfect project in between more difficult projects because, not only are they fun and easy, they build your wardrobe.  For all these reasons, I decided to make a black and white striped Lark Tee (pattern by Grainline Studio).

Lark Tee in Black and White Stripes

This is now my second Lark Tee (my first, a long-sleeved, scoop-neck version can be found here).  This time I went for short sleeves and a crew neck.  Here are my notes:

  • notch out rather than into the seam allowances, since they are only 1/4″
  • leave the shirt length as is if you plan to tuck your shirt in
  • for a more standard t-shirt length, cut off 4″-4 1/2″

Because I planned to wear this shirt untucked, I cut off about 4″ using a stripe as my cutting guide, which was just right.  (For reference, I’m 5 feet, 8 1/2 inches tall.)  I tried to cut the neckband with one stripe going around the neck, but it didn’t work out well, so I switched to the neckband you see in the pictures, which I really like.

Black and White Striped Lark Tee

The fabric is a really nice rayon/Lycra from Pintuck & Purl.  I would say it’s somewhere in the light- to mid-weight zone, but is still fairly opaque.  It was great to work with.

Black and White Striped Lark Tee

Overall, I like this pattern.  Sometimes I wish there was a little more shaping on the sides, but I can always add that later.  I would really like to try a v-neck version at some point, maybe with this fabric, but we’ll see.

Black and White Striped Lark Tee

Do you have any favorite t-shirt patterns you want to share?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Recommendations

  • Bird feeders.  My family got me a pole you can attach to a railing as well as a bird feeder for Mother’s Day, and I love looking outside and watching the birds.  I think I need a hummingbird feeder that is easier to clean, though.  We have an old one, and it gets dirty quickly and is hard to clean.  Does anyone have any resources for making or buying an easy-to-clean hummingbird feeder?
  • I may have mentioned this book before, but I’ve been looking through Leda Meredith’s book Northeast Foraging over breakfast most mornings.  It’s fascinating.  This year I want to try Salicornia.
  • Ever since I met Heather Lewenza this spring and saw her Hannah dress in person (pattern by Victory Patterns), I can’t get it out of my head.  It might have to be a summer project…
  • What if this happened every time we used “literally” when we actually meant “figuratively”?  Hahahaha!

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Standard
Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

It’s almost officially summer (the Summer Solstice is June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere this year), and it’s FINALLY starting to get warm here!  I am so ready to think about summer sewing!

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

I completely got sucked into that change-of-season-restlessness/spring fever feeling going around, which is bad for your wallet, sewing, and general contentedness and I wanted to SEW ALL THE THINGS!  The fact that this feeling coincided with the end of my Make 9 was rough, because it left me very unfocused and mentally breathless.  Luckily, however, I found this project which actually fills a gap in my wardrobe for a cropped light layer that works with dresses and other garments with a natural waistline.  It was also a great project after the surprising complexity of the shirt from my last post because I’ve made this before, so it fits and I know it goes quickly.  Unfortunately, my having made it before didn’t stop me from making a small blunder, as you’ll see.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Today’s project is the cropped Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

l

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

This is a wrap top with raglan sleeves.  It has a neckband, cuffs, and long ties that also function as a waistband.  It’s close-fitting, but comfortable in a fabric with the right amount of stretch.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Before sewing this, I relied on a few ready-to-wear options that I had when I needed this kind of garment, but they weren’t ideal (one is a wintry knit and the other is very casual).  So this year, when a midweight, four-way stretch rayon/Lycra knit went on sale at Cali Fabrics, I jumped on board and got some in order to make this a reality.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

This is the second time I’ve made this cropped, wrap cardi (The first, as well as the long faux wrap version can be found here.).  This time around I did most things the same way.  I do a few recommendations, however.  I sewed around the hole that the tie goes through with a closely spaced zigzag, like you would with a buttonhole.  A straight stitch looks much better, but I wanted it to stretch.  Test your stitch on some scrap fabric first, though, because I had some distortion of the fabric the first time I tested it.  I also recommend trimming the bottom edges of your neckband after beginning to attach the waistband/tie so that you trim it at the correct angle (yes, I’ve now trimmed it wrong twice).  Finally, when the directions tell you to stretch your neckband as you stitch it, you really need to do that, maybe even slightly more than you think.  I didn’t and you can see that my neckband stands away from my body a bit in a way it shouldn’t.  I was afraid to stretch too much, so instead I went to the other extreme and stretched too little.  Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Neckband issues aside, I’m really happy to have this in my closet.  It will be a good, yet inexpensive way to see if this is a style that I will feel good in with some of my natural-waisted garments.

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Other sewn outfit details:

Skirt:  Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt; blogged here

Camisole:  Shortened slip from McCall’s 6696; unblogged

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Recommendations

  • Have you seen the jeans Jenny of the SoleCrafts blog made?  Jeans are impressive enough on their own, but she made her own pattern!  People who make their own patterns continually amaze me.  I love reading Jenny’s blog because, even though we have different styles, she is completely fearless in her projects and figures out things I would use a pattern for or didn’t even know you could make at home (like shoes!).  Amazing.
  • Speaking of making shoes, Carolyn of Handmade by Carolyn makes ALL her clothes, shoes included!  You can watch a video of her talking about the shoes she has made here.
  • I definitely prefer paper sewing patterns over PDF patterns, and one more thing that has always been a strike against PDFs for me is that you either have to print a bunch of pages at home, or pay close to the price of the pattern to have the large sheets printed at a copy shop.  Jenny of Cashmerette talks on her blog about how to print those large pages cheaply, and she goes over resources to do this for numerous countries.  What a great idea.  Even with my love for paper patterns, I certainly have several PDFs.  The more money we save on printing, the more we have for fabric!  😉