Tag Archives: Alabama Chanin

Happy Independence Day! (Red + White Corset Tank)

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Happy Independence Day to all my American readers!  British readers, I’m glad we’re friends again.

July 4th (American Independence Day) is one of my favorite holidays to spend with my extended family.  This almost never happens any more, and so I usually find myself missing my parents as I plan out whatever red, white, and blue outfit I can come up with for the day.  My Mom, especially, always got into July 4th, telling us we had to wear red, white, and blue.  And if my Aunt Jane was with us…well, it usually got out of control!  Picture temporary tattoos with flags or glitter or both, all kinds of sparkly nail polish, and really whatever weird or embarrassing thing they could come up with.  I would roll my eyes and say how ridiculous it all was, but now that I rarely get to be with them on Independence Day, I miss all the craziness.  And I still find myself looking for a red, white, and blue outfit come July 4.

For the past few years, I’ve wanted to make my own version of this Alabama Chanin corset tank, so I finally decided now was the time to do it.  My friend Mary (also mentioned in this post) gave me some unused white t-shirts, and I cut them up according to the pattern in Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin, and sewed them back together to make my own tank.  I’ve made this pattern before and liked it.  Rather than hand-sewing the shirt, I chose to use my machine for speed, and instead of beading my tank like they did in my inspiration picture, I used a double strand of red button/craft thread to hand-sew my seam allowances down in a way that I liked.

Happy Independence Day!  (Red + White Corset Tank)

Front

Happy Independence Day!  (Red + White Corset Tank)

Back

I also chose to bind the bottom edge.

Before making this, I tried to raise the neckline using the instructions in Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns (also by Natalie Chanin), but I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up with things just as they had always had been.  The low cut is definitely flattering, but it’s a bit too low for my comfort level, so I had to enlist an undershirt for a little extra coverage.  I’ll try to raise the neckline again another time.

Happy Independence Day!  (Red + White Corset Tank)

Happy Independence Day!  (Red + White Corset Tank)

While sewing this, I was watching a movie with a baseball theme, and pretty soon, all I could see was a baseball-inspired shirt.  I guess I could wear it to a game or for the 4th of July!

I kept my knots on the inside, although the shirt is reversible, so I can also flip it inside out, if I want something a little different.

Happy Independence Day!  (Red + White Corset Tank)

detail, shoulder and neckline area

Happy Independence Day!  (Red + White Corset Tank)

detail, hemline

All I needed was some blue jeans and I’m ready for the 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day!  (Red + White Corset Tank)

Happy Independence Day!!!

P.S.–I may take a little time off this month.  I’m not sure what that will look like or how often I will or won’t post, but if it seems quiet over here this month, don’t fret.  I’ll get back up to speed in August.

Me-Made-May ’15: The Last Three Days

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Well, I can’t believe it.  May is over and it’s time to wrap up Me-Made-May ’15 with pictures from the last three days.

The first of these is a Friday, which had the theme “Your Town”.  I picked something that represented this area rather than something specific to my town:  clamming and shellfish!  Shellfish are a big industry here and for the last few summers, I’ve taken out a recreational clamming license (see here and here), so I tried to take a few shots with some shellfish-related props.  My me-made clothing piece is this shirt (which you may remember from Day 16) made from a bedsheet and pajama pattern (M6848 by McCall’s).

MMM'15 Day 29 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 29: Pajama shirt as everyday shirt from a sheet and McCall’s 6848 #mmmay15

 

MMM'15 Day 29 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 29: Pajama shirt as everyday shirt from a sheet and McCall’s 6848 #mmmay15

Day 30 was two layered Alabama Chanin pieces.  The top layer was the Alabama Chanin corset from Alabama Stitch Book you saw on Day 25.  The layer beneath is the short fitted dress pattern from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.  It’s a variation of the dress I wore on Day 28.  The dress alone wasn’t inspiring me that day, so I thought I would make it more interesting with some layering.  I love how they layer pieces in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, so I decided to go for it, and I loved it!  I will say that this type of layered outfit is not your friend in the hottest, most humid weather, though.  With the camisole as the base piece, I was wearing three layers on top which got a little bit warm.

While I love these patterns, they are a bit low-cut for me, so I usually wear a camisole or tank top underneath with a higher neckline.  Luckily, if you sew up these patterns and feel as I do, you can now check out Alabama Chanin book number four, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, which takes you through how to alter patterns, including raising necklines.  (Each of the books I’ve just mentioned is written by Natalie Chanin.)

MMM'15 Day 30 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 30: Corset tank top from Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin, made from an oversized t-shirt and short fitted dress from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin, made from a knit sheet #mmmay15

 

MMM'15 Day 30 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 30: Short fitted dress from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin, made from a knit sheet #mmmay15

 

MMM'15 Day 30 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 30: Short fitted dress from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin, made from a knit sheet (close-up) #mmmay15

And the final outfit for May?  This dress which I copied from a vintage dress.  I think the fabric is silk.  My husband’s parents were kind enough to give me my pick of his grandmother’s sewing supplies after she passed away, and this is one of the fabrics that she had in her stash.  It’s very light and comfortable.

MMM'15 Day 31 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 31: Silk dress copied from a vintage dress #mmmay15

 

MMM'15 Day 31 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 31: Silk dress copied from a vintage dress #mmmay15

 

MMM'15 Day 31 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 31: Silk dress copied from a vintage dress (close-up) #mmmay15

Final thoughts?  This was a great challenge both from a sewing and a fashion standpoint.  I had to really think about what I had made and how to wear it creatively.  I had more makes than I realized, and now I’m inspired to sew even more of my clothing.  It was extra mental work to figure out new outfits (I tend to repeat a lot more in my normal daily life), but I think that was good for this set time period.  It helped me to think of new ways to wear what I had, and seeing my outfits through the eyes and comments of others helped me to take a new look at them.

This challenge also made me practice thinking through how to take pictures.  Thanks go to my photographers,  my daughter and my husband.  They did a great job!

And thanks to YOU for tuning in throughout the month.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Me-Made-May ’15: Week Four

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Welcome to Week Four of Me-Made-May ’15!  This was another good week with fewer repeats than I had expected.  Let’s get straight to the pictures!

Friday’s theme was “animals”.  I dug out this t-shirt that I self-drafted (with the help of Design-It-Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch).  I had planned to make some changes to it, but after putting it on, I decided it still worked.  Another point for immediate gratification!

MMM'15 Day 22 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 22: Self-drafted t-shirt #mmmay15

 

MMM'15 Day 22 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 22: Self-drafted t-shirt (close-up) #mmmay15

 

MMM'15 Day 22 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 22: Self-drafted t-shirt (detail) #mmmay15

You’ve seen this one before!  This was another wear of my pink Summer Blouse (but this time with new boots–major thrifting score!!).

MMM'15 Day 23 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 23: Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross, made from a vintage sheet #mmmay15

Note the lovely clip-on earrings scored at Brimfield.

MMM'15 Day 23 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 23: Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross, made from a vintage sheet (close-up) #mmmay15

Now for one that long-time readers will recognize.  This dress was in my first post for this blog.  It was a pairing of Alabama Chanin reverse applique and beading with a pattern from The Party Dress Book by Mary Adams.  It was beyond my skill level at the time, but it was so worth it, imperfections and all.

MMM'15 Day 24 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 24: Dress pattern from The Party Dress Book by Mary Adams with Alabama Chanin style reverse applique and beading, made from knit sheets #mmmay15

 

MMM'15 Day 24 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 24: Dress pattern from The Party Dress Book by Mary Adams with Alabama Chanin style reverse applique and beading, made from knit sheets #mmmay15

The bodice actually has three layers of fabric for the reverse applique.  I was hoping the extra layers would also provide stability to the top, which they do.  (Yea!)

MMM'15 Day 24 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 24: Dress pattern from The Party Dress Book by Mary Adams with Alabama Chanin style reverse applique and beading, made from knit sheets (detail) #mmmay15

My photographer (my daughter) told me we absolutely HAD to have a twirling shot.  This circle skirt is pretty awesome.

MMM'15 Day 24 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 24: Dress pattern from The Party Dress Book by Mary Adams with Alabama Chanin style reverse applique and beading, made from knit sheets #mmmay15

Next is this Alabama Chanin corset from Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin.  This is such a great tank.  It has fit me at various sizes and has such interesting lines.

MMM'15 Day 25 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 25: Corset tank top from Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin, made from an oversized t-shirt #mmmay15

MMM'15 Day 25 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 25: Corset tank top from Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin, made from an oversized t-shirt (close-up) #mmmay15

It’s also reversible!  I usually wear it like you see it above because I like to see the seam allowances, but you can also wear it as below for a more subtle effect.

Check out the starfish we found!  (Don’t worry, we put it back.)

MMM'15 Day 25 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 25: Corset tank top from Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin, made from an oversized t-shirt; reversible #mmmay15

These shorts are a free pattern from Anna Maria Horner.  I really needed some shorts a few summers ago, so I made these from some Amy Butler Nigella fabric that was a home décor cotton.  At that point, I just used pinking shears on all my seam allowances after sewing, so I always have little frays and strings hanging down inside, but the fact that I am starting to think about finishing my seams on a regular basis shows me how far I’ve come.  Maybe someday I’ll be a patient sewer…or maybe I’ll be so fast and AWESOME, I won’t have to be patient!  Even better.  ;)

MMM'15 Day 26 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 26: Pleasant Pathways Shorts by Anna Maria Horner for Janome (free pattern) using Amy Butler Nigella home décor weight fabric #mmmay15

 

MMM'15 Day 26 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 26: Pleasant Pathways Shorts by Anna Maria Horner for Janome (free pattern) using Amy Butler Nigella home décor weight fabric (close-up) #mmmay15

You will probably not be surprised to see yet another Alabama Chanin make.  These are a summer staple for me.  This is the Fitted Top from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin.

MMM'15 Day 27 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 27: Fitted Top from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin, made from an oversized t-shirt #mmmay15

 

MMM'15 Day 27 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 27: Fitted Top from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin, made from an oversized t-shirt (close-up) #mmmay15

It’s also reversible.

MMM'15 Day 27 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 27: Fitted Top from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin, made from an oversized t-shirt; reversible #mmmay15

Try not to be shocked.  This one’s from Alabama Chanin, too.  This is the Long Fitted Dress from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.  Maybe you can tell that the top in the above picture is really just the top part of this dress.  You might also recognize the fabric from Day 21.  I got a lot of mileage out of this sheet and the t-shirt I cut up for neck and armhole binding.

MMM'15 Day 28 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 28: Long Fitted Dress from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin, made from a knit sheet and a t-shirt (trim) #mmmay15

The dress has a small train, which I love.  Yes, it means you have to hold your dress up a like a lady of the olden days, but that’s kind of fun.  I could have cut it off, but I kept it.  It makes me feel fancy.  ;)

MMM'15 Day 28 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 28: Long Fitted Dress from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin, made from a knit sheet and a t-shirt (trim) #mmmay15

I like to wear this one with the seam allowances showing, too, but you could easily turn them to the inside.

MMM'15 Day 28 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 28: Long Fitted Dress from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin, made from a knit sheet and a t-shirt (trim) (details) #mmmay15

Most of these makes are from pre-blogging days, so it’s fun to get them out.

Next week’s Me-Made-May post will cover the last three days of May.  Three more to go!  I can’t believe it.  See you then, if not before!

Me-Made-May ’15: Week Three

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Here we are at the end of week three of Me-Made-May.  I’m excited to show you some more pictures.  I was expecting a lot more repeats by this time, but I’ve been digging deep in my closet and storage to try to keep things changed up.  It’s encouraging that I’ve made more garments than I thought I had.  It also makes me want to sew even more!

Since May started on a Friday, the weeks are running Friday to Thursday (at least as far as my blog posts are concerned).  Fridays come with a little extra challenge for anyone who wants to take it on, and week three’s challenge was “Something Old”.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 15: Summer Blouse from the book Weekend Sewing, made from a vintage sheet #mmmay15

The shirt I’m wearing is “old” in that I made it before I really got traction with sewing and before beginning the blog.  It’s also made from a vintage sheet.  If you read the last post, you’ll recognize this shot.  I found a vintage sheet that almost matched my shirt at Brimfield!

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 16: Pajama shirt as everyday shirt from McCall’s 6848 #mmmay15

This shirt is made from McCall’s 6848, which is a pajama pattern.  You may recognize the fabric from the Mother’s Day skirt in last week’s Me-Made-May post.  It’s a sheet that someone gave me.  I love the fabric and I wanted to see if this shirt would translate into an everyday shirt.  I’d also thought of making it from a knit for exercising and/or day-to-day wear, but I’m not sure.  I like it in these pictures, but when I was wearing it, I kept seeing an old pair of scrubs I used to wear as pajamas.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 16: Pajama shirt as everyday shirt from McCall’s 6848 (close-up) #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 16: Pajama shirt as everyday shirt from McCall’s 6848 (close-up) #mmmay15

The back yoke is actually the hem of the sheet.

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 17: Ankara peplum from Simplicity 1699 #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 17: Ankara peplum from Simplicity 1699 (close-up) #mmmay15

This shirt is made from Ankara fabric and Simplicity 1699.  I think, in my imagination, where I actually tweak and fit patterns to be just right, I would add an inch to the bodice of the shirt just above the waistline since this sits about an inch high, but in real life, I still love to get a project done and move on.  Maybe someday…

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 18: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique scarf/wrap #mmmay15

Day 18 turned into a bit of a photo shoot, so even after narrowing down my choices, I have a lot of pictures to show you.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 18: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique scarf/wrap #mmmay15

This scarf/wrap is really versatile.  I designed it from some of my husband’s old t-shirts in reverse applique a la Alabama Chanin.  It was a lot of fun to work on and while I don’t wear it as often as I would like, I think it’s still one of the pieces I’m most proud of.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 18: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique scarf/wrap (close-up) #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 18: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique scarf/wrap (close-up) #mmmay15

 

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 19: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique shirt #mmmay15

You’ve seen this one before!  The challenge with a repeat garment, especially since I’m taking pictures every day, is to find a new way to style it.  I do that in normal life, too, but when I find a good outfit, I also repeat it.  I’m trying not repeat whole outfits this month so I can give you something a little more interesting than seven of the same outfits repeated each week.  It’s a good creative exercise.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 19: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique shirt (close-up) #mmmay15

This picture makes me feel like I’m in an Alabama Chanin book.  Not sure why they haven’t called me to model yet…

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 19: Alabama Chanin style reverse applique shirt (detail) #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 20: Exercise shirt, McCall’s 6848 #mmmay15

I used to be so good at exercising regularly, but my main motivation to exercise this spring has been because I made a new piece of exercise clothing.  I made this shirt and it looked so awesome with the chevron fold over elastic as an edging, but when I wear it, it gapes more than I would like.  I think I may go back and fiddle with the neck and armholes to see if I can get a fit I’m happier with.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 20: Exercise shirt, McCall’s 6848 (close-up) #mmmay15

This shirt is also from McCall’s 6848.  You can see my first gym-ready version of it here.

Last, but not least for this week is an Alabama Chanin sleeveless shirt.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 21: Alabama Chanin sleeveless shirt #mmmay15

I love this shirt, but I think if I make it again, I’ll make it one size larger.  I’d love something with a slightly looser fit.

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 21: Alabama Chanin sleeveless shirt (close-up) #mmmay15

I made this shirt from a knit sheet (the main part) and an old t-shirt (the binding).

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 21: Alabama Chanin sleeveless shirt (detail) #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 21: Alabama Chanin sleeveless shirt (detail) #mmmay15

I love the Alabama Chanin patterns year-round, but especially for the summer.  I have a feeling I’ll be making more in the warmer months.

That wraps up another week of Me-Made-May.  Thanks for following along.  I’ll report back with more soon!

Me-Made-May ’15: Week One

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I can’t believe Me-Made-May ’15 has only been going on for eight days!  It seems like a lot longer.  It’s hard to come up with something me-made to wear every day!  It’s also a fun challenge.  So, while I do have other things to show you, we’ll be doing a fair bit of week-in-review stuff this month, so you can see if I’m keeping up with the challenge.  So far I haven’t had to resort to counting the me-made leggings I’m wearing as pj’s as a day’s outfit, but I think that is probably coming.  That’s my fallback.  ;)  Here’s week one:

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 1: Alabama Chanin style shirt #mmmay15

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 1: Alabama Chanin style shirt close-up #mmmay15

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 2: raglan t-shirt #mmmay15

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 2: raglan shirt close-up #mmmay15

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 3: kimono sleeve dress #mmmay15

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 3: kimono sleeve dress close-up #mmmay15

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 4: pink t-shirt and altered jean shorts #mmmay15

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 4: altered jean shorts close-up #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 5: Summer Blouse #mmmay15

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 5: Summer Blouse Close-Up #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 6: exercise shirt #mmmay15

 

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 7: Ankara/wax print shorts #mmmay15

Me-Made-May '15 (Pattern and Branch) #mmmay15

Day 7: Ankara/wax print shorts Close-Up #mmmay15

Wow!  I feel like I’m writing a post that says, “HEY, EVERYBODY!  LOOK AT ME!!!!”  I guess I kind of am…  So, after you LOOK AT ME!!! and my outfits, look around me!  We have flowers!  We have leaves!  We have grass!  Spring is finally here and we even had some warmer weather which is awesome because it’s warmer weather and because it means I got to add a little more variety to the clothing I could wear that I had made.  There’s no way I’m making it through this month without repeats, but it’s a great exercise in creativity and it makes me want to sew even more, and that’s a good thing.

Hits and Misses: T-Shirts, Exercise Top, Exercise Leggings

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I think it’s time for a little catch-up around here.  I took a break from sewing bathing suits after making my tests runs to try a few pattern alterations and to begin exploring exercise clothing.  My goals were to give my basic Alabama Chanin long-sleeved t-shirt pattern tapered sleeves and a boat neck, to turn a New Look dress pattern into a t-shirt with a curved hem, to make an exercise shirt, and to make some exercise leggings.

During the winter I had wanted a long-sleeved boat (bateau) neck shirt pattern.  I had some fabric in mind for it and I thought it would be a useful addition to my pattern library since it’s a style that is versatile enough to work in casual and more dressed up settings.  I took the basic t-shirt pattern with long, fluted sleeves from the book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design and, using the directions in Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing, tried to create a boat neck that would not be so wide as to show undergarments, but would still have that classic look.  I also decided to taper the sleeves so they would no longer flare out at the bottom.  I think the sleeve alteration went well, but the neckline needs to come together in a point at the sides rather than being a flattened oval.  Here is my test garment, made from knit sheets and sewn with yellow thread for contrast.

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

I’d call this a partial win because even though it doesn’t fit my entire vision, the sleeves are good, and my wardrobe desperately needed some brightly colored t-shirts for spring.  I can always come back and work on the neckline later.

Next is my alteration of New Look 0595 from dress to t-shirt.  I love raglan sleeve t-shirts and have been looking for just the right pattern, so I decided to experiment with altering this one.

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Because it has a lot of ease, and I would be making it with a knit fabric, I sized way down and made the 10 (going by my measurements, I should have made a 14/16).  I traced the curved hem of a button down shirt that I like to get the hem shape, and decided to bind the bottom edge a la Alabama Chanin by simply covering it with a folded piece of jersey cut on the cross-grain and stitching with a stretch stitch (in this case, a zig-zag).  Here is version one:

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Version one turned out shorter than I had planned and anticipated, so I added a few inches and came up with version two.

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Just right!

My too-short shirt and the sleeves of version two were made from some clearance fabric (probably poly/spandex).  I’m hoping it doesn’t pill too badly and get gross, but we’ll see.  Remember these leggings?  The fabric on them is pretty pilled/nasty now, so they don’t make it out of the house any more.  For the front and back of the second shirt I used some skirts from Old Navy that I don’t wear anymore and, by a happy accident, I cut an extra front and back, so I dug out the knit sheets again to add sleeves and got this second just-right shirt:

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

You can’t see it very well in these shots, but the skirts had some seaming on them that adds to the interest of these shirts and also makes me look like I did more work than I actually did.  Nice!

Version Two:  a hit!

Next up is my first try at an exercise shirt.  I was intrigued by PatternReview’s Activewear Contest (although I didn’t enter) and I love looking through the clothing and patterns on Melissa Fehr’s website, FehrTrade.  So, thanks to some wicking fabric and poly/spandex from Joann Fabrics and McCall’s 6848, I ventured forth.

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

This McCall’s pattern is one you may remember from when I made these shorts in a wax resist/Ankara fabric.  The pattern is actually for pajamas, but the shirt was perfect for the gym.

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

This was really fast and easy to sew.  Even though this pattern is for wovens rather than knits, I went with my measurements and made a medium.  I like workout tops that are a little loose for airflow.  This one feels great.  For the edges, I hemmed the bottom by folding the fabric up and sewing with a zig-zag stitch, and for the arm and neck edges, I cut strips of my back fabric cross-grain, folded them over the raw edges, and zig-zagged them on.  Since the knit fabric won’t fray, you don’t have to fold the edges of the binding under or double fold it at the hem (or finish any edges on the inside).  I love knits!

When I went to they gym to test it out, I felt like the coolest person there.  I would definitely make this one again (and probably will).

Workout shirt:  a hit!

Lastly, I made myself some leggings using the same wicking fabric I used for the front of my shirt (above) and a self-drafted pattern (you can see a post on that here).  This was a bit of a learning experience.  The pants came together quickly and easily and, while not as stretchy as the fabric I used the first time I sewed this pattern, I could get them on fine.  Here’s what they look like:

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Not too bad.  Maybe the fabric is a little thin, but it was a start.  I took them to the gym to test them out just by shooting some baskets–nothing too strenuous.

First, I realized this:

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Oops.  The waistband’s a little loose.  OK.  I could fix that.  I folded it over for the time being, and kept shooting baskets.  It was winter.  I was cranky.  I needed some form of exercise.

Then, I had this problem.  Can you see what it is?

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Hm.  My pants started to slide down a bit.  The crotch was getting lower and lower as I hopped around and chased the basketball.  Nothing indecent, but not what you want out of the pants you wear to exercise in.  Good thing I wasn’t on a treadmill!  I had to go through this sort of thing a few times:

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Pull up one side.

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Pull up the other side.

Hits and Misses (Pattern and Branch)

Make sure the front is pulled up and fold that waistband over again.

Hm.  Maybe this was more than an elastic problem.  Luckily, no one is really looking at you as much as you think they are, so it wasn’t like I was a spectacle or anything.  However, I started to think that maybe this problem had something to do with my inexperience and, um, my fabric choice.  I went back to Joann’s and looked.  This fabric only has about 8% spandex and definitely stretches more in one direction than the other.  So, these leggings got chalked up to “a learning experience” and they are going back with the other fabric to be reused in another garment.  I also bought myself the FehrTrade PB Jam Leggings Pattern to one day try exercise pants again.

Exercise Leggings:  a miss and a craft fail (but a good learning experience).

I’m hoping to finish one last project and then get back to bathing suits (and more!).  I really, really want to try adding underwires to the Soma Swimsuit while simultaneously turning Bikini Variation 2 into a tankini.  Even after plenty of online research, I’m not confident I know what to do as far as adding the support I want.  Any advice?  I think I’ve been avoiding it.  It could bomb or it could BE the bomb!  Stay tuned!!!

 

The Unblogged Cardigan

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Remember when I was doing all the sewing with Polartec?  I made the skirt, the dress, a pair of pants that didn’t make it on the blog because instead of fitting me, they fit my child, and a cardigan that has yet to make an appearance here.  So, while I’m currently still busy with bathing suits, I thought I would show you this cardigan that I sewed just a little while back.  Don’t worry though; once I test out my latest bathing suit top, we’ll talk bathing suits again.

This cardigan was made from McCall’s 6844.  I was completely inspired by Bianca’s green jersey version, and would still love to make one like hers someday, but since we seem to be living through a Canadian winter in Massachusetts this year, fleece was more seasonally appropriate.  I made it with the same Polartec Classic 200 Sweater Look fabric from Mill Yardage as the pieces I mentioned above.

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

I made a medium of View C, which has a shawl collar and a high/low peplum.

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Thanks to the many reviews on the Pattern Review site, I skipped the interfacing in the collar and sewed the sleeve in flat.  Also, despite what the pattern says, the front does meet, so I debated adding a closure, but skipped it in the end.

I liked the idea of modelling this in the snow while also wearing the red shirt I made so, on a “warm” day in the 20’s (Fahrenheit), we went out and took some pictures.

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Here’s a shot of the red shirt in action, too. ;)  The shirt was sewn from an Alabama Chanin pattern.  See the link for more details.

I have to say, this was a really quick and easy pattern.  The cardigan is comfortable, super warm, and looks really cool with the variable length of the peplum.  I like that the fleece fabric has enough body to make the back and sides stand out in a really interesting way.  I noticed on Pattern Review that a lot of reviewers loved this pattern, and were churning them out for themselves and as gifts for others.  I was not so generous and only made one for myself.  Selfish sewing is my favorite…

(Maybe someday I’ll have made all I want need and by then my skills will also be awesome, and I’ll start making things for other people instead of only myself.  I’ll keep you posted on that.  It might be awhile.)

Next up (probably):  more bathing suits!!!

 

Details: The Red Shirt

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It’s a good (although slightly stressful) problem to have when your sewing outpaces your blogging.  Maybe it’s all these snow days, but I feel like the sewing has been flowing, if you know what I mean.  I want to get some quality pictures before I show you some of the latest projects, but I do have pictures of the finally finished red t-shirt!  Remember it in its original form?  Or maybe you remember what it looked like after going through the wash?  If not, I’ll give you the quick recap here:

Details: Finished t-shirt

The first version of the shirt with beaded collar

To survive in this household, most garments have to be able to make it through the washer at a bare minimum.  The dryer is negotiable.  So, it was with fingers crossed that I threw this one in the washer and dryer.

Details: Finished t-shirt

The trim didn’t make it through the washer.   :(

After consulting the experts (my mother and grandmother), I took the trim off.  I looked for more in the fabric store (so many good rhyming phrases today!), but nothing had the same pizzazz as my beading.  I could have tried beading it myself or something, but that sounded like a lot of work for a t-shirt of questionable fabric quality.  So in the end, I cut some strips of t-shirt fabric and bound the edge using a zig-zag stitch.

My first try wasn’t awesome…

Details: Finished t-shirt

 

The zig-zag was so wide it looked homemade in the worst way.  So, I ripped it out again and tried one more time.

(Wow.  I can’t believe I just typed that.  Usually I would just ignore this kind of mistake and wear it as it is.  I must be…getting better!  Oh, my goodness!  I’m becoming better at sewing!  I hope this doesn’t mean I’m responsible for fixing EVERY mistake.  You have to have some boundaries.)

The third try was the ticket.  I like this finish so much better.

Details: Finished t-shirt

Details: Finished t-shirt

The back has that little sewing line that both covers the join in the binding and acts as a tag so you know which side is the back.  Clever, huh?  I didn’t even plan it.  I just decided that it was supposed to be that way after I had done it.  That happens a lot in art, too, by the way.  Just in case you ever wondered…

Details: Finished t-shirt

I sewed a little seam at the front to make it look v-ish.  Now it kind of makes me think of this old GAP t-shirt I used to have that had a rough-stitched look to it.  That was a great shirt.  Its spirit lives on.

I’m so happy to have a wearable shirt.  I needed a few good t-shirts with some small, interesting details to form the base of my winter fashion ensembles.  ;)  If anyone has an awesome boat/bateau neck pattern that they love, please leave it in the comments.  I’ve been contemplating that in black for occasions when I want to look put together but still wear a t-shirt.

 

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style

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In my now decade-long quest for THE ULTIMATE WINTER SKIRT, I have thought of many fabric combinations, patterns, and crazy ideas to create a long winter skirt that would be warm and yet still look good.  What I really want is a skirt that feels like I’m wearing a blanket, but looks socially acceptable.  To that end, I ordered a vintage pattern, and started poring over fabric sites looking at faux fur.  I went through my fabric cabinet and considered (finally) using some of my wool.  I even thought about cutting up our Vellux blanket as lining.  The Polartec website became very familiar to me as I researched interesting technical fabrics.  Finally, it dawned on me.  Why not make Version 1 of THE ULTIMATE WINTER SKIRT from a pattern I already knew I liked?  What about a Polartec sweater knit (which I was itching to try out anyway) with the Alabama Chanin Long Skirt pattern from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design?

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

The more I sew, at least lately, the more I find that what I’m interested in doing is exploring.  As I contemplated what I wanted to sew in the coming year, or at least the current season, I realized that I want to try out new and interesting fabrics in (hopefully) new and interesting ways.  My wonderful husband obliged me by purchasing a large amount of sweater-knit fleece in a charcoal color from millyardage.com as a Christmas gift.  Goal number one with that fabric was to attempt the skirt.

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

I cut out the same size in the Alabama Chanin Long Skirt that I usually use (I’ve also made this skirt in cotton/modal jersey.), and bound it with fold-over elastic that I already had.  I didn’t stretch the elastic when I was sewing, though, so the waistband came out looking…wavy.

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

So, in the interest of time and not losing momentum on the project, I cut off the waistband and sewed on another, this time stretching the elastic as I sewed.  It was still a bit wavy, but the skirt is meant to be sort of low-rise, so when you put it on, it works.  (Only one note of caution–if there is any chance you may have young children tugging on your clothes, watch it.  There’s always the possibility you could get pantsed in this skirt.  Can you get “pantsed” in a skirt?  Whatever you call it, watch yourself–no one wants to lose the bottom half of their outfit in public…well, no one should want that, anyway.  It could definitely happen in this skirt.)  This particular pattern has a small train, which I love, and which I kept in the jersey version of the skirt.  It does drag on the floor a bit, but it looks lovely.  For this winter version, though, I trimmed the back even with the front, cutting off the train.  It would be too sad to have the back of the skirt covered in snow, slush, and salt.

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

As yet it is unhemmed, partially because I love the raw-edged look, and partially out of curiosity.  I want to see how the length works with my various shoes and if I can get away with raw edges in this fleece sweater-knit as well as I can with a cotton jersey.  I may hem it later.  The other reason is that I want some instant gratification on this pattern, and I can call it done if I don’t hem it.  Now you know the whole truth.

And now…I must tell you of my initial triumph.

On Sunday I wore the skirt to church with a stretchy sweater and my wool “poncho” (a.k.a. piece-of-fabric-that-I-wrap-around-myself-and-secure-with-a-kilt-pin).  I wore long johns underneath and booties with socks.  On that day, I knew I had finally achieved an ULTIMATE WINTER OUTFIT.  I was essentially wearing blankets and pajamas:  long underwear (“pajamas”), a skirt that felt like a blanket, a sweater as stretchy as a t-shirt, and a “poncho” that was really a blanket wrapped around me.  I was wearing pajamas and blankets, but it was socially acceptable enough that I felt like I had dressed up for church!

But wait!  Was I essentially practicing deception…at church, of all places?!!!  Was I really wearing my pajamas and blankets to church?!  Well, I’m going to say no to the deception, but YES to the awesome nature of that outfit.  All winter outfits should have the qualities of ultimate comfort and warmth while still being socially acceptable and looking good.  SUCCESS!!!!

I feel that my life is now fulfilled.  Blog, finished.

Just kidding.

 

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

Finished Projects: T-shirt and Scarf

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Monday was my most productive project day in recent memory.  Actually, I forget a lot of stuff, so I’m having trouble remembering any day more productive on the creative project front.  It was a good day.

First up were the two secret Christmas presents I’ve been working on.  In truth, I finished one over the weekend, but they sort of go together in my mind, so I’m counting it as two.  Also, I was having an internal debate on just what the finishing touches would be, but now that that is decided, and those finishing touches have been added, they are done.  I’m looking forward to showing you after they’ve been delivered.

I also finished up a t-shirt.  I took a risk on some cottony-looking polyester fabric I found on sale at Joann Fabric and, rather than doing the neckline the way the pattern shows, I sewed on some beading that I cut off a silk jacket someone gave me.

New t-shirt by Pattern and Branch New t-shirt by Pattern and Branch New t-shirt by Pattern and Branch New t-shirt by Pattern and Branch

 

You can see from some of the close-up shots of the beading that it looks a little…fragile.  Also, it’s not perfect where I joined the ends of the beadwork, but I decided to throw perfection out the window and look at it as an experiment.  We’ll see what happens the first time I wash it.  I may need to post an update.  The edges of the shirt, sleeves, and beading are unfinished because I like that look.

The final project of the day was an infinity scarf.

Infinity scarf by Pattern and Branch

I’m not sure what to think about this one.  OK, truthfully, my first thought was “clown collar”.  It’s not a problem with the pattern–the pattern was lovely.  It’s just really long.  It’s so long that I can wrap it around my neck three times instead of two to make a figure 8.  I’m not sure what symbol can now describe this.  Is this good?  Is it a craft fail?  Should I chop some length off to make it shorter?   I’m not really sure.  I’ll have to wear it for a while and get back to you.  Even if it looks silly, it’s only clothes.  It’s only one day.

At the end of my super creative day, I even made up a grocery list.  I felt so accomplished.  The next day, I took a nap and watched TV.  You can’t be productive all the time, right?

I hope you have a great weekend and find some creative time in the midst of it.