Tag Archives: Closet Case Patterns

The Hannah Dress by Victory Patterns

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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!

 

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Inspired by Surfing: Nettie Bodysuit as Swimwear

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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

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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! 😉

 

Ginger Jeans Hack Inspired by Meggipeg

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Ginger Jeans Hack Inspired by Meggipeg

Today’s project has been a long time in the  making.  And the inspiration for it comes totally and completely from an amazing seamstress on the other side of the world:  meggipeg.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Ever since I saw her version of a pair of Balmain jeans made from the Jamie jeans pattern by Named, I wanted my own.  But, like a lot of projects that I knew were going to take some work, I had to psych myself up.  I didn’t own the Jamie Jeans pattern and, like most indie patterns, it wasn’t cheap.  I kept thinking about it, and almost committed to buying the pattern before realizing that with just a little more work, I could use a pattern that I already had.  And then came the perfect impetus to get going on making my dream a reality:  I had signed up for a class.  And not just any class, but a choose-your-own-sewing-adventure kind of class where you pick what you want to work on.  The time was now.

Class Projects!

All my class projects ready to go!

I had verbally signed up for Lauren Taylor’s (a.k.a. Lladybird’s) Sewing Master Class at Pintuck & Purl way back in May, when I first heard about it.  I love seeing all the things that Lauren sews, and I knew it would be a great opportunity to work on some projects that I found intimidating.  So, along with a few other projects, I came up with my pants scheme.  It was time to finally make some super-cool pants a la meggipeg and Balmain of my own.

However…I didn’t love the idea of figuring out how to fit a new jeans pattern, especially when I also had so many other project supplies to buy, and that’s when I realized:  I could use the Ginger Jeans pattern.  All I needed to do beyond what I was already going to do was change the front pocket and add front leg seams.  I don’t hack patterns much.  But this seemed worth the time investment.  In addition to the aforementioned changes, I drew up some parallelograms for the sides of the front legs and divided up the back pocket.

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

Adding a seam to the front leg.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Changing the front pocket shape.

I had plans to add zippers to the front of my jeans as well, similar to Papercut Patterns’ Starboard Jeans, but these didn’t make it into the final pants (because I forgot to put them in before doing the pockets).  Oh, well!  I also contemplated zippers at the bottom of the jeans, but decided against those before beginning.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Ooops!  I forgot the zippers!

I didn’t get a lot done on these in the class, because this was the third of my several projects (not all of which will show up on the blog–sorry), but preparing for the class forced me to make the necessary pattern changes beforehand.  It got me going on the pants and I managed to cut out the pattern and get started during class.

Ginger Jeans Hack

Just in case you’re wondering about supplies, I’d love to share.  Here’s where everything came from:

Ginger Jeans Hack

I love this vintage sheet as pocket material!

I did one or two things differently on the construction side of these than on my first pair of Ginger Jeans.  This time around, I interfaced my waistband (good idea!) and used true topstitching thread (so-so).  I do think I’ll interface the waistband in the future, but I might try a different alternative for the topstitching thread.  Maybe I’ll use upholstery or button/craft thread, or maybe I just need a bigger needle and different tension on my machine.  I had a lot of thread nests with the topstitching thread and it just wasn’t my favorite overall.

Time for less talk and more pictures, right?

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

 

Ginger Jeans Hack

The pants themselves?  I LOVE them!!!!!  So far I’ve worn them about five days out of the last two weeks.  Yep!  I hope I’m not the only one that calculates how many people I’ll see more than once in a week so I can rewear outfits!  But even if I am–oh, well!

I love these pants so much.  The ease is great, the fit is great, the stretch is great, and the fabric is great.  It was definitely worth the effort to make these.  Thanks for the idea, meggipeg!  I hope you take my emulation of you as a compliment.  I’m always impressed with your style.

Ginger Jeans Hack

I even made a flannel shirt to go with it!  Stay tuned for more details on that…

Recommendations

  • I really love these Carhartt’s socks.  This isn’t an affiliate link or anything (I don’t do those currently.), just some socks I like.  I like the colors, and they keep my feet warm without making them sweaty, which means I can wear my Converse All-Stars or moccasin booties without getting numb toes when the weather is cold.
  • Robert Kaufman fabric.  I love Robert Kaufman fabric (in fact, I have some of their Mammoth Plaid that I just made into the flannel shirt of my dreams).  The fabric is moderately priced and great quality–and they have so many options.
  • The Imagine Gnats online shop.  I have a really hard time getting myself to buy fabric online, always preferring to see it in person first, but I have to recommend this shop.  The customer service is great and so is the curated fabric selection.  I’ve probably ordered twice from here and I have to give owner Rachel Gander props for the extra little sticker and piece of candy she put in my orders and for ending what has felt like an age-long search for the perfect olive green stretch twill.
  • And because candy corn is one of my favorite fall treats, here is a video that shows how candy corn is made: