Tag Archives: dress

The Plaid Flannel Dress: Simplicity 8014

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I made a dress!  And not just any dress, but a cozy flannel dress.  It’s time to post this cool-weather project before spring gets here, so let’s get down to it!

Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

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Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

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Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

Today’s project is Simplicity 8014, a shirt dress made from lofty Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel in the Adventure colorway.

Not only is this dress soft with plenty of ease for comfort, it’s also underlined with a slippery rayon Bemberg lining fabric so it glides easily over tights or leggings.

Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

If you’re not familiar with underlining, it’s when you take two layers of fabric and hold them together as if they were one, sometimes from the start of the project, and sometimes beginning after the darts have been constructed in each layer.  It is different than lining or interlining.  (In fact, I think we should make up more sewing terms with the word ‘lining’ in them just to make it more confusing.  😉 )  Underlining can have multiple benefits.  It strengthens the garment, especially if your fashion fabric is light or loosely woven, and it can provide a layer to stitch into (for hems, etc.) that won’t show your stitches on the outside.  (Here’s a great article from Threads Magazine that explains everything better than I could.)  In my case, I wanted a smooth layer that would keep my dress from catching on tights or leggings.  I’ve only underlined garments maybe once, but in that case, I read about what underlining was and then applied the definition as I saw fit.  This time, I decided to actually follow the traditional process for underlining.

There are four views in this pattern.

Simplicity 8014

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Simplicity 8014

I made View D, but dropped the hem of the dress to the length of View C.  I also chose to make this with long sleeves and interior tabs in case I want to roll the sleeves up at some point.  I made a 16 in the bust and graded out to an 18 for the waist and hips.  I also lowered the bust dart and did a major broad back adjustment.

Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

Fabric for this project came from Pintuck & Purl, and buttons, thread, lining, and interfacing came from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Despite the look of the buttons, they aren’t pearl snaps.  Buttons seemed more secure for a dress, and these are some of my favorites.

In order to underline this dress, I cut out all of my pieces in the flannel, and then also cut out the body and hem facings a second time in Bemberg/Ambiance rayon.  I didn’t think a smooth inside was necessary for the sleeves. I chose Bemberg as my underlining fabric because it is a semi-synthetic/semi-natural fabric (rayon is made from wood pulp) and because it’s not prone to static cling.

Using the method outlined in the Reader’s Digest Sewing Complete Guide to Sewing, I basted the layers of flannel and rayon together and then trimmed the rayon to more closely resemble the flannel.  Cutting out the rayon was a bit tricky, but a lot of those imperfections got trimmed off or were hidden in the seam allowances.  It would have been easier and more accurate if I had used a rotary cutter, but my cutting mat wasn’t large enough for me to do that without having to move my pieces around.

Simplicity 8014

Sadly, this is the only underlining picture I could get to load onto Flickr.  I had a few pictures of the pieces basted together, but after trying to get them to upload several times, I had to give up.  😦

Once it was all basted, I sewed it together using the pattern instructions.  Since I try to focus on learning only one or two new techniques per project (most of the time), I decided not to worry about perfect internal finishings, and I zigzagged and trimmed my seam allowances.  Because I bought the last of this fabric (although it has been restocked since I made this dress), I didn’t have enough extra fabric to put my yoke or cuffs on the bias.  I did manage to cut my chest pockets on the bias, but here’s where we enter ‘things I should have done’…  Next time it wouldn’t be a bad idea to interface those pockets if they are on the bias because I think mine started stretching a little as I handled and sewed them.  I also think it would have been a good idea to put just a little bit of interfacing under the buttons for the sleeve tabs to strengthen that area a little bit.

Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

So, final verdict?  This is a great dress!  As a friend of mine pointed out, it sort of fits into one of my favorite clothing categories:  secret pajamas.  It’s warm and cozy and kind of like a nightgown with a belt.  I love that it has pockets and is loose and comfy, but has the belt for a little bit of shaping.  Ironically, I finished this the day before we got some warm weather.  I tried to wear it to a Sip & Stitch craft night at Pintuck & Purl, and completely overheated and had to change within about 10 minutes.  Haha!  Oh, well.  It’s been cold since, and I’ve really enjoyed wearing it.  Added bonus:  this was one of my 2017 Make Nine Projects, so that’s one more down!

Simplicity 8014 in Mammoth Plaid

I promise I’m smiling in this picture!  Or am I crying because taking blog pictures is hard?  😉

Recommendations

  • In case you are curious about lining fabrics and other resources related to that, check out this article from the blog A Fashionable Stitch:  Understanding Lining Fabric + Resources .  This is such a great blog if  you want to increase your sewing knowledge and skills.  There are a number of posts on different types of fabric and so much more.
  • In fact, here is a post from the same blog on rayon wovens.  If you are new to sewing or just want to know what the big deal with rayon is, this post will clue you in.  It’s a relatively new fabric for me, but so far I really like it.
  • I know we already talked about my personal 2017 Make Nine challenge, but if you want to read more about it or are interested in jumping in yourself, here’s a recent post from the challenge’s creator, Rochelle New, on what it is and how you can join in.  So far, I’ve found it really fun.

Batch Sewing and a Coco Dress

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After returning from Michigan a month or so ago, I was anxious to start sewing again.  I came back with lots of good fabric from my travels and, since I’m trying to up my sewing game, I decided to try out a different method for getting ready to use that fabric.  Normally I have one or two or even three projects that I’m working on at the same time, but this time, I decided to move several projects through the pipeline together so that I could test out some patterns in preparation for using my “nice” fabric.

I made a big list of all the projects I wanted and needed to do in the near future, and then wrote down the steps I needed to take.  Once I taped those up on my wall and determined which projects could happen now and which would have to wait a bit, I decided to prep all my patterns.  For me, this means tracing out my size and cutting out my traced pattern.  I usually fall into one size at the bust, and a larger size at the waist and hips, so tracing also tends to mean blending two different sizes for tops.  I also want to begin to understand how to fit pants, so I did some research and took a guess at what was needed to make my McCall’s 6848 shorts pattern fit better, and I added those modifications to my already traced pattern.

Once all the tracing, blending, and changing was done on the paper patterns, I cut all my garments out.  I decided to test these patterns out with wearable muslins before making up the winners in my final fabric.  It’s hard for me to take the time to make a muslin, but if I tell myself it’s a wearable muslin, it helps.  Even if I hate the pattern and end up giving the muslin away, it helps somehow.

Then it was on to sewing!  Figuring out what to sew first really showed me:  I love sewing with knits.   Sewing knits is my “low-hanging fruit”–the type of sewing that feels easy and fast.  There’s no seam finishing, no real fitting.  The fabric is forgiving (at least the t-shirt type knits and stable jerseys I was using).  I never understood when I first started sewing why people would make t-shirts when they could buy them so cheaply, but now I get it.  Aside from the allure of making something unique, it’s a quick win that keeps you excited and the other projects moving forward.  That’s why my first three makes from the list were two t-shirts and a knit dress.

After all that wordy build-up, maybe you’d like to see my finished Coco dress!

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I won this pattern during Me Made May ’15 by entering a contest on the blog ‘So, Zo…What do you know?’  The prize was a pattern of your choice by Tilly and the Buttons, and a really cool tote bag with the words “DIY Dressmaker” on it.  I feel cool every time I carry it.  🙂

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I tried out the dress version because…well…because I bought some fabric I would never have bought if I’d had the patience to order a swatch, and I want to use it up while also testing out this pattern.  I thought I had a good idea of what “ponte” fabric was like, so when I saw this go on sale, I ordered it with visions of cool stretchy pants in my mind.  When I got it, it was…polyester-y.  I do not love “polyester-y”.  It was my fault, though.  The site made no misrepresentations as to what the fabric was.  That taught me to be more patient and order a swatch!

When I bought my cool, reversible striped fabric at Haberman Fabric last month, I thought the t-shirt version of this pattern might be a good match for it.  So, I made the dress version thinking I would get a feel for how the pattern fit in the bust and waist section, and I could use up this fabric on a ’60’s style dress that would be a good fit for the mod-looking fabric.

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This was a great pattern to work with.  It was easy to put together, and I really like the finished product.  I think the best compliment I got was when someone mistook it for a vintage dress, partly because of the fabric!  Really, though, that compliment belongs to Tilly.  This dress has such a great ’60’s look (well, my idea of the ’60’s anyway–feel free to correct me if you lived it).  It has the wide roll collar and cute cuffs as well as that A-line shift dress thing going on.  I also like where the shoulder seams hit my shoulders.  It’s the perfect spot for me.  It’s very comfortable to wear (partly due to the softness of the fabric, actually).  This pattern did make me realize that I like my A-line dresses and skirts a little longer, despite the fact that a pencil skirt feels comfortable to me at this length.  I think it’s because with an A-line, I can’t always feel the back of the dress or skirt against my legs, and it makes me worry that things are getting exposed back there!

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Here’s what happens when a bee decides he wants to hang out with you while you are shooting pictures.  Or this is how I think people danced in the ’60’s.  You pick.  😉

So, the Coco dress is a win.  Thanks, Tilly!  (Can I just say that she is really nice, too?  I wrote to thank her for the pattern and she wrote back and was so sweet.  You gained a fan, Tilly!)  Her site is great for beginner and more advanced sewists.  She has clear pictures and instructions, a book, etc., etc.  You should check it out if you haven’t already.  The Coco goes back into the pile to be made in other editions.  It’s definitely a contender for the reversible striped fabric I mentioned!

Lastly, a little technical note.  I’m going to start posting my pictures to Flickr instead of keeping them stored in my WordPress media library (I ran out of room and didn’t want to pay for more!).  If you find that a picture is not showing up, please leave me a comment and let me know (there should be seven pictures in this post).  This is new for me and I think I have it figured out, but we’ll see if I’m right or not.  Hopefully I’ve got it because figuring all this out is eating up my sewing time!!!

That’s all for now!  See you next week!

 

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 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.

Pattern Review: New Look S0595

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In my quest for a real winter wardrobe (as opposed to wearing fall clothes that aren’t really warm enough and just trying to layer them), I made a winter dress with more of the Polartec 200 that I used in my Alabama Chanin Long Skirt.  The fabric is from millyardage.com, and it has a sweater look on the outside, but is fleecy on the inside.  It’s also really thick and lofty feeling and is nice and wide.  My husband was wonderful (as always) and bought me six yards, so I have a lot of it.  I was inspired by some of the loungewear-type dresses I’ve seen in places like the sundance catalogue and the clothing section of Victoria’s Secret (I couldn’t find the image on their site, so here is a link to it on PopSugar).

As I was wandering around Joann Fabric one day, I found this pattern, New Look S0595 (which is listed on the Simplicity website as Simplicity or New Look 6298) , and it looked like just what I was going for.

Pattern Review:  New Look S0595

Pattern Review:  New Look S0595

I’ve also been in search of the perfect raglan t-shirt pattern, so I thought that if I liked this pattern, I could also turn it into a t-shirt or tunic.  The pattern is made for knits, so it seemed like it would have a lot of possibilities.

There were no reviews on the Pattern Review website, which is my gold standard for finding out about patterns before trying them.  Fortunately, thanks to the reviews of this pattern on the Ordinary Time blog (here and here), I went with the smaller of the two sizes I was contemplating (I would fit the 14 in the bust and the 16 in the waist and hips, so I went with the 14.).  She notes that the pattern has a lot of ease, so when in doubt, choose the smaller size.  I wonder if I could have gone down another size, but I wanted some ease, so I think the size I chose was ok.  I made View D, but with long sleeves instead of three-quarter length sleeves.  (Warmth!)

The pattern came together really quickly.  It definitely helped that I used a jersey needle and a walking foot.  I’m a slow sewer, but I cut it out one day and sewed it the next.  I love that there is no need to finish any inside seams since the fabric won’t fray.  That definitely saves time.

I had hoped there might be a little more shaping around the waist area, but there isn’t, so it looks a little…sack-like.  That’s not necessarily bad, if that’s what you are going for.  As my husband and friends pointed out, my sundance inspiration picture is also a straight silhouette, but the way that the model is standing keeps you from noticing it quite as much (and it’s probably all pinned in back to give it more shape).  See what you think:

Pattern Review:  New Look S0595

(Standing sideways kind of minimizes the sack thing.)  Here are front and back views:

Pattern Review:  New Look S0595

Pattern Review:  New Look S0595

Now some cool styling. 😉  I was pretty proud of it, but my men’s jacket does make me look a little pregnant (which I’m not).  Hm….

Oh, well.  I’m still going to wear it.

Pattern Review:  New Look S0595

 

So, would I sew it again? Would I recommend it to others?

I might sew it again.  It does sort of fit in with the idea of wearing blankets shaped into normal clothing.  It definitely fits the goals of warmth and comfort.  As far as flattering my form, I don’t think it does that, but it’s so comfy, I wear it anyway.  I got lots of compliments because it looks so warm and cozy (which it is; this fabric is great), but I wish it had just a little more shaping near the waist.  What do you think?  Is it worth trying to take it in a little on the sides or in that back seam?  Would it work or would it just skew things?  Maybe that’s something worth trying if I make it into a t-shirt.  Now, though, I’m anxious to get on to other things.  I still have a bunch of the Polartec fabric, so I cut out a cardigan, and I have a few other projects in mind, too.  Gotta keep things moving!

You can read my review of this pattern here on Pattern Review.

Happy Birthday, Pattern and Branch!

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Today is the first birthday of the Pattern and Branch blog!  I can’t believe it’s been a year of blogging already!  Here’s a look back at the very first post.

 

Pattern and Branch turns one year old

Anyone remember this dress?

This was the first project I posted:  a Mary Adams/Alabama Chanin style party dress made from thrifted sheets.  What a fun project and what a fun year it’s been.  Thanks to everyone who has been a reader from the beginning and who has joined us along the way.  I look forward to starting another year with you of creating and discovering new, fun, and funny things.  Cheers!

Finished Projects! Wow!

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Well, you may not believe it (I can hardly believe it myself.), but I found new drive to finish all those projects I was procrastinating on.  I’m excited to show you.

 

Now this first one is borderline “Craft Fail”:  The Swimsuit.  The nice thing is, it looks great on the hanger.

 

I sewed my first swimsuit! (Pattern and Branch)

Front view

 

 

I sewed my first swimsuit! (Pattern and Branch)

Back view

Now, maybe you will (immediately) notice something I did not.  I was so enamored with the chevron design that I only focused on lining the points up with the middle of the suit.  I was so proud of myself!  Now my husband noticed what you may be laughing about right now, but he knows that it annoys me when he trouble-shoots my projects, so he wisely stayed silent until I tried my finished suit on and saw it for myself.  In case you haven’t noticed, think about how the points of a chevron design could, possibly, act as arrows…Do YOU want arrows indicating your most private areas?  I certainly don’t!  Despite this feeling on my part, it seems I managed to point arrows at both my upper and lower private areas.  Oops.  That’s awkward.

I also realized partway through that although I thought I was sewing View C on my pattern, which has a built-in shelf bra, I had actually been sewing View A (even though I cut out View C), and had left the shelf bra out.  Oops.

Swimsuit woes (Pattern and Branch)See that extra piece on the left?  Yep.  Forgot it.  But, you know, I figured I could just skip it because there is that other view without it, so whatever.  Moving on.

At that point, I made the decision to carry on and just finish the suit and hope for something wearable.  I knew I could rip it out, and I also knew that if I did, it would cause a mental block and I would never finish this suit or make another one again, so I had to push through.  I ran into a few quality issues, but I decided to ignore them.  Here is my contrast edge with a few wrinkles.  Still a cool concept though, don’t you think?

Swimsuit woes (Pattern and Branch)I found the instructions for the contrast elastic edging on Kadiddlehopper’s 2013 Swimalong.

So, I finally finished, and was hoping for something wearable.  (Sorry, but you aren’t getting a picture of the finished project.  I don’t feel embarrassed by how it looks, but there is something about modeling a bathing suit on the internet that doesn’t appeal to me.)  It looked ok when I put it on, although the fabric was a little thinner than I would have liked.  That’s when I saw the “arrows” on the suit and also realized that it wasn’t squishing me because it was actually a bit too loose.  I had followed the measurements on the pattern, but either I had picked the wrong fabric (very possible) or they don’t have enough negative ease built into the pattern.  It’s really had to tell what is operator-error or pattern-error here.  Most/all is probably operator-error since this was my first attempt.

Will I wear this in public?  No.  But am I glad I made it?  Yes.  Now the question is:  Should I buy more fabric and try again since I could probably get through it quickly now that I’ve done it once, or will I still get a mediocre suit because the pattern is not awesome?  I don’t have the experience to know.  What do you think?

(In case you want to read it, I posted a review with more technical details on PatternReview about this pattern.)

Now for the other two projects, the shirt and the dress.  Rather than getting fancy with them, despite how cool it could have been, I could tell that if I didn’t finish them soon, they would enter that perpetual work-in-progress zone and never be done, so I decided to call them finished with only the contrast binding on the neck and shoulders.

Alabama Chanin shirt by Pattern and Branch

The shirt

Alabama Chanin dress by Pattern and Branch

The dress

I did have to go back and do a small zigzag stitch right on the edges because the wide zigzag I did in the middle of the binding didn’t reach far enough out to tack the edges of the binding down, and it kept rolling up.  Maybe you can just see it below.

Alabama Chanin shirt with contrast binding by Pattern and Branch

Both of these patterns are my machine-sewn version of some of the basics in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin.  I love the look of the hand-sewn garments (especially the embellished ones) in her books, but when I want a quick project with a great silhouette, I sew the basic patterns on my machine (plus, you can use old t-shirts or knit sheets for fabric).

I’ve worn the shirt, and I like it, although I will give you one thing to be aware of if you sew with knits sheets.  Sometimes (ok, every time I’ve used them) the grain is off.  I don’t often notice it in the finished garment, but I feel like this shirt pulls slightly to one side.  It’s subtle.  I’m the only one who will notice, but I haven’t yet started to obsess about fabric grain.  If you do–then buyer beware!  The good news is that knit is really forgiving and I never find any of that to be a problem after a few wears.

The dress fabric is pretty thin, so it shows curves and bumps more than I would like (as opposed to skimming over them), but I’m going to try some of the layering techniques in the Alabama Chanin books and see what I come up with.  I think it will be cool in the end.

Wow.  If you hung in there through this super-long post, way to go!  Before we go, I want to tell you that I’m keeping my eyes open for a day to take you along clamming (virtually).  This has been a terrible clamming summer with lots of clam-bed closures for a late red-tide bloom (I feel knowledgeable saying that, even though I just learned about it.) and due to rainfall.  (I can explain that more another time.)  I tried to go last week to do a little “catch and release” clamming, but didn’t find any.  I’ll try again, though, and try to document it all for you so you can come along via the blog.

Update:  After hanging on hangers, the fabric in the shirt and dress seem to have relaxed enough that the shirt no longer pulls to the side and, while the dress still pulls to the side a bit, the fabric has relaxed enough that it no longer shows every bump and line.  The dress has also lengthened to floor length, rather than ending at the top of my feet.  Problems solved!  😉

 

 

 

Works in Progress

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I thought it would be nice to take a little break from clamming and show you what I’m working on.  Once, I asked my husband to make me only work on one project at a time.  He is a wise man, and did not attempt to do this.  Seems like having multiple projects happening all at once is the way my creativity works best.  At least that way, if I’m procrastinating on one project, I can move ahead with another.

As I mentioned previously, I’m working on sewing something I said I would never sew:  a bathing suit.  This is one of the projects I am procrastinating on.  Here’s what I’ve got so far.

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

Cutting out the bathing suit

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

The bathing suit so far

 

In case you are interested, here is the pattern that I’m using.

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

So far, it’s going ok, thanks to numerous blog posts around the web, but I keep avoiding it because I’m afraid I’ll mess it up.  That’s pretty silly, though.  I mean, really.  If I could master bathing suits, I would probably be tapping into one of the few areas of home sewing that’s actually still cost-effective.  It would be SO GREAT…so I’ve got to get moving.  You can all hold me accountable to actually finish it.  Plus, I need a bathing suit that fits.

One of the projects I am using to procrastinate on my bathing suit is this shirt, made with a pattern from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin (one of my all-time favorite sewing books).  This is the sleeveless t-shirt top.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt TopSo, this was meant to be a quick project.  I need a few of those to motivate me through the long projects.  The book I got this from is all about hand-sewing, which is really fun, but when I need a quick project, I cheat and machine-sew one of the garments.  They come together really fast and all the patterns that I have tried have been flattering at various sizes.  This one is made from a bed-sheet and an old t-shirt.  (Incidentally, the bed sheet is partly made from recycled plastic bottles AND I got it at a thrift store, so it’s like it’s been recycled multiple times!)  But…

I decided it needed some details, so I added the contrast binding and then tried to add some crochet trim.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt TopAbove is the marking I made for the trim, but the trim was too white, so I dyed it in black tea.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Above is the original white, and the tea-dyed piece, but now the white still seems too white and the tea-dyed piece looks…dirty.  See what you think:

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Not to fear, though!  I decided to procrastinate on the t-shirt with this!

Works in Progress:  Long Fitted DressThis garment is the Long Fitted Dress, also from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.  This was the quick project that was to save me from the avoidance of the other two.  But then I faced a few decisions.  What color binding to add?  Contrast like the t-shirt or the same fabric?  How about keeping the binding the same as the dress and adding some crochet details to this garment?  (I’m starting to sense a trend in both crocheted details and decision-making leading to procrastination.)

Works in Progress:  Long Fitted DressMaybe something like this?  (The trim on the bottom would actually be on the back side.  There is a small train on the dress–similar to a high-low hem but, being a maxi dress length, it’s more like a small train.)

I was trying to actually make a decision, but it was tricky.  I tried the dress on to see how it looked and realized that the fabric is pretty thin and, rather than skimming curves, it reveals the curves and lines that you usually want fabric to skim over.  So now I’m procrastinating on this project, too.

But I did get something done today!  I have a very weedy garden, but I actually weeded a small part of it.  Want to see?  Yes, you do!  (Because if you stop reading now, I can’t tell, so I’m just going to assume you are still going strong.)

Works in Progress: Garden

Before…

Works in Progress: Garden

After!

I also made a little sign with paint pens on some bits of slate to mark our morning glories and moon flowers.  I’m hoping they take over the deck rails.

Works in Progress: Garden

Lastly, check out my leeks.  They flower every year and look so cool.  They also attract all kinds of very waspy looking insects, so I admire them from afar or in the evening, just to be safe.

Works in Progress: Garden

What are you procrastinating on?

Show and Tell (Again!)

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I  loved Show and Tell when I was a kid.  I still like it as a grown-up.  The nice thing about having a blog is that you can have Show and Tell whenever you want and whether or not anyone is reading your words, it feels like they are…or they could someday.

Yesterday I finished up two sewing projects.  It was a big day.  I would have said I finished them Monday, except that I messed the second one up, felt crushingly tired, and just decided to deal with it on Tuesday.  I think that was a good decision.  So here is the first one.  I’ll post the second in the near future.  Hope you like it!

Exhibit #1…

Kimono Sleeve Dress (Pattern and Branch blog)

Remember this dress?  The one above is yet another rendition of the kimono sleeve dress pattern that I copied from an existing dress, but this time using some of my African fabric.  I’ve been holding onto this fabric for years, trying to figure out something to use it for where I could showcase the giant image that reaches from selvage to selvage.  I only wanted to use one repeat for each side, so I had to come up with another fabric to finish off the sleeves.  These two fabrics kept on getting tossed on top of one another (keep your eyes open for a future project with the green fabric), and I liked them, so I put them together.

Kimono Sleeve Dress (Pattern and Branch blog)

This dress is probably the best finished garment I have ever made.  Since it involved pretty simple construction–just a front and a back with the extra sleeve fabric added on–I decided to try to do some French seams.  I think they worked out pretty well.  I tried that once on a shirt I made, but you could see the raw edges of the fabric sticking out from the seams.  (If you’ve never even heard of a French seam, Coletterie, a sewing blog I’ve just started following, has a simple tutorial.)  I also hand-sewed the hems on the bottom and sleeves of the dress.  I had been working on my slip-stitch, so this seemed like another good chance to practice it.

Kimono Sleeve Dress (Pattern and Branch blog)

The neckline was a bit trickier.  I knew that I wanted a bias edge to show, so I tried this awesome binding foot I found for my Singer Featherweight, but I couldn’t make it work in this case, so I had to rip everything out and sew it again.  That’s progress for me, by the way.  My normal method of sewing involves sort of just running over my mistakes with my machine and sewing it down like crazy people in movies run over things with cars.  Mom and Grandma, you can be proud–I actually ripped something out and redid it (and I smiled in the pictures, Grandma!).

My husband asked if I planned to sew more things with this pattern (this is dress #3 that I’ve sewn, #4 that I own of this style), and I laughed and said no…until he told me that it might look good as a floor-length maxi dress…hm….I guess there are no promises on that.