Tag Archives: spring

McCall’s 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

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McCall’s 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

Do you wear dresses?  If so, do you like knit or woven dresses?  I was a tomboy growing up and after a few years in a school where I was required to wear skirts or dresses every day, I was pretty happy to mostly leave them behind for the rest of my growing-up years.  I feel different about dresses now, though.  I still don’t wear them often, and when I do wear them, it’s mostly in warmer weather, but I can’t resist great-looking dress patterns!  I have so many that I’ve never sewn.  I’m so glad I attempted McCall’s 7561, however.  It was a pattern that I had put in my own Christmas stocking 😉 because I really wanted to try it.

McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

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McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

When there was a sale at Pintuck & Purl before their big move, I bought some of this pink Cotton + Steel cotton/spandex jersey with octopi all over it.  It’s called “Mystery Food Orchid” and even has a fun selvage.  The selvage is easy to turn into a fun tag.  🙂

McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

I had some of it in a quilting cotton in my stash, but I really wanted to try the knit, too.  Does it look a little juvenile?  Maybe.  But I like it, and I’m not here to sew all “normal” clothes.

McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

When my parents were here visiting, we had a trip planned to the New England Aquarium and, like any sewist who likes an unrealistic deadline, I put two and two together the day before we went, and thought, “Maybe I could make an octopus dress tonight!”  I’m not the world’s fastest sewer, but I had the pattern traced, it was a knit (which can make fitting easier), AND I wouldn’t have to finish any seams.  It was on!

And I did it!  Not only did I make it, but I made it with pockets, too!  And you know what?  It was really fun to wear my dress to the aquarium the next day.  It’s comfortable and very easy to wear with leggings when the weather is cold.

McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

Details

This pattern was (happily) so quick and easy.  It took me 45 minutes to cut out including pockets (which are a free pattern from Tilly & the Buttons, not a part of the McCall’s pattern).

McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

I made Dress B and lengthened it about 5″ since I knew that would feel more comfortable when I wear it without leggings.  I made a large in the bust and graded out to an extra large for the waist and hip.

McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

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McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

I sewed clear elastic into the shoulder seams so they wouldn’t stretch out.

McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

The waist was kind of funny in that you sew the bodice to the skirt and then encase your elastic in the seam allowance so that you don’t do any stitching on the outside of the garment.  It was a little weird, but also creative, so I don’t quite know how I feel about it construction-wise.  As far as wearing, it’s very comfortable.

McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

The pockets are made following Tilly’s instructions, but I find that they gape sometimes, so I don’t know if I should understitch somewhere or if there is a better method.  Does anyone have any thoughts on that?  For this particular project, speed was the name of the game, so I didn’t think about it too much.

This was all done with a zigzag stitch, jersey needle, and walking foot on a regular home sewing machine.  And that’s about it!  I would definitely make this pattern again, hopefully in a summer version.  We’ll see.  I’d also like to try a t-shirt style knit dress, so if anyone has any favorite patterns, let me know in the comments!  Thanks!

McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

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McCall's 7561 Knit Octopus Dress

Recommendations

  • The History of English podcast just had a great episode (#110) called “Dyed in the Wool” that is all about words and phrases in the English language that were originally related to the wool trade.  You’ll be surprised when you find out where some of the last names, terms, and phrases you’ve heard originated from.
  • Have you ever looked at the knitting patterns from Boyland Knitworks?  I’ve seen a few on Instagram and at Pintuck & Purl, and they’re so beautiful!  I’m in love with the Alyeska sweater.  I kind of thinking I could actually make the Glacier Park cowl.  I’ll have to keep it in mind if I need another knitting project.
  • I went on a little trip up to New Hampshire last weekend and stopped at the Tilt’n Diner in Laconia, NH.  It was great!  It was decorated in a fun 1950’s style with paintings of ’50’s scenes on the walls and quirky sayings all over.  I got breakfast, but I think they serve all meal types at all times of day.  Milkshake for breakfast?  That’s up to you!
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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern: the Deer and Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer and Doe Plantain T-Shirt

I have a new favorite t-shirt pattern, and guess what?  It’s a FREE pattern!  Yay!  A friend of mine kept telling me she loved the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt, but it took me so long to try it.  Now that I have, though, I see what she was talking about.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

This T has a scoop neck and is fitted in the shoulders, but tapers out at the waist and hip for a body-skimming fit in those areas.  It comes with a few variations in sleeve length and optional elbow patches.  I made two of these shirts and I’m excited to make more in the future.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

While PDF isn’t my favorite format, for a free pattern, I’m happy to make an exception.  I stalled on this a bit because the few Deer & Doe patterns I’ve tried in woven fabrics cut into the front of my shoulders, something I haven’t resolved.  I thought a shirt in a knit might be fine, but I just wasn’t sure.  Well, I didn’t have to worry, because these turned out great.  Even if whatever fitting issue I have with Deer & Doe is still present, the knit makes them really comfortable, which makes me really happy.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

So, here are the details on the pattern and materials.

Fabric

While I often love natural materials, I got sucked in by this cute cactus print and ordered some double brushed polyester knit from Cali Fabrics.  (The black cactus print is currently sold out, but there is still a blue colorway.)  I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but…I love it.  It’s really soft, and I just love those cacti!  I thought it would attract a lot of hair and fuzz, but it really doesn’t.  I’m glad I tried it.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

The other fabric I used was a merino jersey I found on sale at Fabric Mart (long since sold out).  I hesitated the first time they had merino jersey, and I missed out, so when this appeared, I snapped it up.  Merino was on my list of fabrics to try.  I also used the scraps of light blue washable wool jersey from Fabrications I had left over from my Strathcona Henley.  I was surprised to find that I liked the merino less that I expected to.  It’s a good weight and all that, but initially when I put it on, it has that very slightly scratchy wool feel.  (To be fair, Fabric Mart did say this had a “slight wool feel”.)  I stop noticing it after a few minutes, but that was a surprise to me.  It also tends to attract all the hair and fuzzies in the washer and dryer (yes, I wash it on cool and dry it on low a lot of times–I prewashed and dried so I could do this without fear of shrinkage).  It would be interesting to be able to feel different versions of merino in person to see if that “wool feel” is typical or not.  This is less of a problem with the yellow wool/Lycra ponte I used in my Strathcona Henley.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

While I always prefer to shop for fabric in person, it’s not always possible.  Both Fabric Mart and Cali Fabrics are online shops I like for their competitive pricing, variety of choices, and sales (in the case of Fabric Mart).  I’ve only shopped at Fabrications online once, but was very, very impressed with their customer service.

Pattern and Sewing Details

I cut a 44 in the bust and 46 in the waist and hips of Version C.  I tried using Eloflex thread, the slightly stretchy thread from Coats, but it didn’t work well with these shirts.  I also found that a stretch needle didn’t work well, but a 70/10 jersey needle did.  I used polyester Gütermann thread in the top of my machine and woolly/bulky nylon in the bobbin.  I lightened up the presser foot pressure, and used a zigzag stitch for construction and a twin needle for my hems and neckband topstitching.  It was really fun to use some contrasting thread in these spots on my blue shirt.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

I also added clear elastic to the shoulder seams as instructed to keep them from stretching out.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

Rather than using a straight stitch to attach the elbow patches on the blue shirt, I used a zigzag stitch (so there would still be some stretch) and then went over it again with a satin stitch (a closely spaced zigzag stitch).  The zigzag alone didn’t look that nice and  the satin stitch alone caused tunneling.  For some reason, this combination of the two was a winner.

 

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

I really, really like these shirts.  As I look at the pictures now, I can see some drag lines around the armhole, but that’s an area of fitting I haven’t really delved into yet and, in a knit, these are more than good enough–they’re great.  I would love to fill my drawer with Plantains in a variety of fabrics.  This pattern is a quick and easy sew—a real winner.

My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

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My New Favorite T-Shirt Pattern:  the Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

Recommendations

  • I checked out The Cool Factor by Andrea Linett from the library thinking it was probably a do’s and don’ts of fashion kind of book (I’m not super into that), but that I might find a little inspiration.  Well, I was wrong.  It’s a GREAT book where the author rounded up her most fashionable friends and showcased their style, breaking down how they think about creating their outfits.  This is definitely NOT a do’s and don’ts book.  It was really fun and inspirational, and it got me thinking that fashion is a kind of everyday art anyone can participate in if they want to.  Unless you’re a nudist, we all have to get dressed.  I found inspiration even from looks that are very different from what I would wear myself.  Now I have new ideas and types of clothes I want to try.

Outside (and Inside) in March

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Outside (and Inside) in March

This month has flown by, and after being hammered by storm after storm, I’m ready for spring!  OK.  I feel that way at the end of every winter, but three Nor’easters in a row is notable.  I also didn’t get outside much, but I made it a priority to get out recently, and even though the snow is still on the ground, I could tell that spring was coming.  Bring it on!

Outside in March

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Outside in March

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Outside in March

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Outside in March

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Outside in March

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Outside in March

And a few from my favorite greenhouse.  Greenhouses are a great place to visit in the winter and early spring!

Outside (and Inside) in March

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Outside (and Inside) in March

The geometric patterns formed by the spikes on cacti are so cool!

I hope you are having lovely weather wherever you are!  See you next month with more sewing!

 

 

I Knit a Hat That Actually Fits! Meraki in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

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I Knit a Hat That Actually Fits!  Meraki in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

Ever since I discovered my love of sewing (and my proclivity to knit things that were WAY too big, even after making a gauge), knitting has really taken a backseat in my creative life.  However, you hang out at a shop that sells gorgeous yarn long enough and you just might get tempted.  So, thanks to Sip & Stitch and hanging around Pintuck & Purl, I started knitting again.  One thing I am learning is that, at this point in my creative life, I’m more interested in making a finished object than the textile the object is going to be made from.  This is interesting because in the time between knitting and sewing, I had dreams of being a fabric designer.  I’m not ruling that out, but I think that my love of making a finished object over making my creative materials holds a clue as to why I may do more sewing than knitting.  The truth is, though, that I’ve missed knitting.  While I want to put most of my mental energy into improving my sewing skills, I miss having a simple, small knitting project going that I can work on while talking to friends or watching TV.  So maybe for now I’ll knit hats and cowls.

Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

This project was yarn-led.  I had a mini skein of Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn in Boombox.  Someone like me who isn’t great at sizing and wants results quickly, has little business buying sock yarn, but the colors were so great that I couldn’t resist!  The hand-dyed yarn these days is amazing!  I stumbled upon this free hat pattern on the Hedgehog Fibres site after rejecting my first few ideas of how to use the yarn.  This pattern was perfect for me.  It would allow me to try out the super-cool fade technique that’s popular right now, but on a really small scale.  You get to hold the yarn double for this hat, which makes things go faster (or at least seem like they are going faster), and it’s mostly stockinette, so it’s perfect to work on while you talk to people.

Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

So, let’s talk about the hat.  I took the time to make a gauge swatch (actually, several) because I tend to knit very loosely.  I used this helpful blog post for swatching in the round to make sure my knitting would be accurate.  In the end, I used size 1 (US) double-pointed needles for the main body of the hat, which meant using size 0 (US) double-pointed needles for the ribbing.

This was my first time trying a fade, and if I were to do it again, I would choose my colors differently.  This looks more like messy stripes rather than a hat that fades from one color to another, but thanks to this project, I feel like I understand the technique a lot better, and could choose colors that would fade better next time.

Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

For yarn, I used black Malabrigo sock yarn for the ribbing at the bottom of the hat (Color A).  Following the black yarn I used Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn from Pintuck & Purl in North Hampton, NH.  The purple (Color B) is called Spell, and then the white with flecks (Color C) is a combination of Cheeky (white with black and pink flecks, left over from the light colored cowl in this post) and Boombox (white with many bright colored flecks).  I ran out of the purple about a half-inch before I was supposed to change, so I just started the change earlier.  I did make some mistakes at the very bottom of the ribbing, but I decided I could live with it and I moved on. (I like to ignore my mistakes when possible.)  The Hedgehog yarn does like to split a little bit, but it wasn’t too hard to watch for that, and it didn’t become much of an issue.

Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

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Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

I’m really happy with my hat.  This is probably the best fitting hat that I have made to date, and I would both recommend it and make it again.  It’s a good way to use up odds and ends or mini skeins, and the fade is really fun.  I love the knit fabric the sock yarn creates.  It also doesn’t hurt that the pattern is free.  And finally, if you are a Hedgehog Fibres fan and plan to use that yarn, the pattern gives you suggested colorways to help you create successful gradients, which is a nice touch.  I’m so glad I tried this.

Meraki Hat in Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo

Recommendations

  • I can’t remember where I saw this recommendation (maybe Sew News Magazine?), but I just checked out Closet Essentials by Amber McNaught from the library, and it’s really fun!  It’s a fashion book that shows different clothing items and gives you various ideas about how to wear and style them.  I find it very inspiring for sewing ideas, even if I do already have a mental sewing list a million miles long!
  • Have you looked at Making Magazine?  I have to say, I’m getting intrigued.  I had just started listening to the Woolful podcast so I could learn more about the knitting world when it merged with Making magazine and broadened its scope.  Then I managed to flip through a few issues, and found the magazine very beautiful and interesting.  It is quarterly and is priced and laid out more like a soft-cover book than a typical magazine.  It’s also not specific to only one type of craft, and each issue has a guiding theme.  I plan on keeping my eye on future issues in case there is one I can’t live without.  😉

Striped Lark Tee

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Striped Lark Tee

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

Black and White Striped Lark Tee

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

Lark Tee in Black and White Stripes

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

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

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

Black and White Striped Lark Tee

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

Black and White Striped Lark Tee

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

Black and White Striped Lark Tee

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

Recommendations

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

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

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Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

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

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

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

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

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

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

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Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

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

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

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

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

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

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

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

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Other sewn outfit details:

Skirt:  Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt; blogged here

Camisole:  Shortened slip from McCall’s 6696; unblogged

Cropped Coppelia Cardi for Summer

Recommendations

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

 

Vintage Kenzo for Butterick Top: Butterick 4259

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Vintage Kenzo for Butterick Top: Butterick 4259

Wow!  This pattern was a crazy one.

Vintage Kenzo for Butterick Top

I got Butterick 4259 for Christmas from my family.  I fell in love with the shape and style of the pattern and–let’s be honest–the cover art.  This is a vintage pattern with “Young Designer Kenzo” printed on the front.  I’ve never tried one of the vintage designer patterns, so this seemed like a good start, since it didn’t look too complicated.

Vintage Kenzo for Butterick Top

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Vintage Kenzo for Butterick Top

Well, the shape wasn’t, but…let’s just say I would love to hear the story of how this pattern was produced.  I made a muslin, just to be safe, even though I thought the shirt would fit, although I planned to widen the waist and hips.  I’m so glad I made that muslin because I ran into a significant problem:  the collar was drafted to fit the shirt before the front plackets were folded in.  So, I either had to shrink the collar to a size that would be too tight or expand the shirt.

Vintage Kenzo for Butterick Top

The main pattern pieces were really interesting, too.  Rather than a front and a back piece, there was a right side piece that was the front and the back and a left side piece that was along the same lines.  The picture below doesn’t show the whole piece, but hopefully it give you an idea.  The curve on the right is the neckline and the curve on the left is the sleeve.  The piece is about twice as long as what you see here.

Vintage Butterick 4259 by Kenzo

As far as the fit of the shirt, I decided I liked the size of the collar, so I cut down the length of the right and left side pattern pieces and spread them apart to add the necessary amount of length at the collar, which also widened the shirt.  (You can see this above.)  Then I removed the extra width I had added at the waist and hips.  This worked well, making the shirt and the collar compatible.  I was lucky enough to be able to consult my friend’s mother, who was a professional seamstress for years, and she also advised me to lower the collar in the front by a quarter inch to bring it down from my neck and closer to my collar bone.  She also thought this would help with the problem of the shirt pulling to the back, and it largely did, but you can still see that the back hem hangs lower than the front, which I don’t think is an intentional design element.  The shirt itself has a number of weird drag lines that I don’t love but in the end, we sort of just declared it good enough.

Vintage Butterick 4259 by Kenzo

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Vintage Kenzo for Butterick Top

I ran into problems with the directions as well.  The way that the front interfacing is supposed to be applied seemed wrong, resulting in interfacing that would be visible inside when it was easy to enclose it, so I used my common sense to enclose the interfacing on the plackets.

Vintage Kenzo for Butterick Top

I feel like, fitting-wise, this pattern is a bit tortured.  I would be interested to see it in a drapier fabric, but it really felt like a pattern that wasn’t tested or edited well.  I don’t usually run into that in the Big Four patterns that I sew with, so, like I said, I’m really curious about what the process was to get this particular pattern produced.  Maybe when my sewing skills are at a higher level, I’ll revisit it and work on the collar and sleeve areas to see if I can get rid of some of those drag lines.  The pattern in its current state doesn’t make the grade as my summer dream shirt, but it has potential.

Vintage Kenzo for Butterick Top

In case you are curious about my final version, I used “You’re my Anchor Natural” in the Bluebird line from Cotton + Steel (purchased here) as well as vintage buttons and some of the Art Gallery lightweight denim for the pocket and inside collar stand.

Vintage Butterick 4259 by Kenzo

The denim was left over from these shorts.  I’m not entirely sure if I love the pocket, so I may take it off.  What would you do?

Vintage Kenzo for Butterick Top

One great thing about finishing this project is that with it, I finish up my 2017 Make Nine!  Yes!  This was my last one!  All the others were blogged with the exception of the Liesl + Co. Gallery Tunic since that was not for me (it was for my Mom, one of the few people I’m willing to consider sewing for other than myself–and that’s rare).

So, what’s next?  I’d really like to try to find some dress styles that I like, I have a few bathing suits I’d like to attempt (although I’ve shelved those for the moment to focus on the dress sewing), and who knows what else?  I have tons and tons of things I would love to try making, but sometimes that can be counter-productive (a.k.a. overwhelming–I want to SEW ALL THE THINGS!!!).  Maybe I need a new Make Nine just to keep me semi-focused.  😉

And in case you want to look it over, I reviewed this pattern over on PatternReview.  🙂

Recommendations

  • I would really love to make these Lobster Roll Sliders from Tastemade.
  • I still think it’s hilarious that this store is real, but I recently discovered FatFace when a store opened in our area.  Yes, this store is real and yes, it sells clothes to women (and men and children), and the style is pretty cool.  It still baffles my mind that the men who started this company think the name was a good idea (I think they named it after a mountain), but I am inspired by the style.
  • Rachel from Maker Style did a Q & A episode on her podcast and she mentioned me!  OK, it was just because she was answering the question I submitted, but I’ve never been mentioned on a podcast before, so I was excited.  I really love her podcast, which is all about garment sewing (and the businesses that are connected to that), and I highly recommend it if you like podcasts and sewing clothes.
  • I’m not sure what to say about this video, except that Americans do eat a lot of potatoes.  Here is Rita Pavone singing “My Name is Potato”.  My Italian is pretty rusty, so I apologize if there are any bad words or sketchy things I missed.

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top in Striped Rayon Knit

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Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top in Striped Rayon Knit

Hi, friends!  It’s back to sewing this week.  I have a nice little backlog of sewing projects to share, but the weather hasn’t been cooperating for picture taking.  When the clouds started to brighten on Wednesday, I rushed outside to take pictures of this shirt.

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top

This is the Coco Top from Tilly and the Buttons.

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top and Dress

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Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top and Dress

I made the dress version around the time I began sewing regularly, but I had never made the top.  The fabric came from Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan, and I’ve been holding onto it for over a year trying to figure out the best use for it.  It’s a great substantial rayon jersey that is actually reversible:  blue and white on one side and orange and white on the other.  I really wanted to make a reversible garment, but in the end, the mental gymnastics became too much and I decided to go with a Breton-style shirt where I could incorporate both sides of the fabric.  The Coco pattern was just right since it had the little pocket and it wasn’t hard to color block (stripe block?) the sleeves.

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top

As far as details, I made the size 5 (Tilly has her own sizing system that is different from other patterns and ready-to-wear) in the long-sleeved shirt view with the pocket.  I used the 3/4 length sleeve line as my color/stripe blocking placement line and just added in seam allowance.  I used a jersey needle and a walking foot as well as polyester thread.  I did try out fusible stay tape for my neckline as suggested, which worked out well.  Instead of zigzagging the neckline, however, I used a twin needle, which I also used on the sleeve edges and bottom hem.  And I opted to zigzag my side seams instead of using a straight stitch.  I used to use a straight stitch on knit seams that weren’t going to stretch a lot, but after wearing those garments for a while, a lot of my stitches popped and I had to resew them with a zigzag, so I went right for the zigzag this time.

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top

I liked sewing this pattern.  Tilly’s directions are very easy to use, and she includes helpful tips here and there.  Her pictures are really clear, and I’m a big fan of her color scheme, which makes all her images fun to look at.  I would certainly make this again–maybe in the dress version.  🙂

Recommendations

    • I recently watched the movie “Queen of Katwe” about a girl living in poverty who learns to play chess and how it changes her life.  It was excellent.
    • Itch to Stitch just released the free Lago Tank pattern.  It looks like a great basic for summer.  I’ve never tried any patterns from this brand although I’ve been tempted.  This might just be the project to start with.
    • Speaking of free sewing patterns, the Curvy Sewing Collective posted an EXTENSIVE round-up of free patterns with a great size range.
    • And to give you a laugh this week, here is a video that reimagines an important part of the Sleeping Beauty story.  😉

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I’m really excited about the jeans I have to share with you today.  I love all the details I put into them!  Just like the gingham shirt from last week, jeans provide a fun chance to experiment with details.

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I made the decision to swap one of the tops (Simplicity 2255) on my 2017 Make Nine plan for some Ginger Jeans, partly because I needed some jeans, but also because I was no longer sure if that top was the right use for the precious fabric I had planned for it.

I knew that Me-Made-May was coming up, and I needed more pants, AND, last but not least, Pintuck & Purl was hosting a Jeans Sewing Master Class with Heather Lewenza of Closet Case Patterns, maker of the Ginger Jeans pattern…and, you know, I thought that warranted a new pair.  😉

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I am both completely in love with these jeans and slightly annoyed by the subtle fit issues that I didn’t notice until after these were finished.  We can leave the annoyances until later–let’s talk about the fun stuff!

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I knew before I even had the fabric that I wanted to use yellow exposed zippers on these (partly because I completely forgot to put them in my green pair), and I knew I could do it because I learned how when making my Refashioners 2015 jacket (worn in the picture above).  The instructions come from the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (1976 edition), my favorite sewing reference.

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I’ll give you a quick rundown of the other supplies I used and where they are from, in case you are curious (I’m always curious about these sorts of things.).  Also, I know there are a billion links in this post.  I love information, and I want you to have all the information I have in case it will help you.  None of these are affiliate links, although I do work part-time at Pintuck & Purl.

  • Ginger Jeans pattern by Closet Case Patterns:  Pintuck & Purl
  • stretch denim: Pintuck & Purl
  • yellow exposed zippers:  ZipIt Zippers on Etsy (a really great shop for zippers!)
  • sparkly gold fly zipper:  Pintuck & Purl
  • jeans button:  Wawak
  • yellow Gutermann topstitching thread and navy Gutermann construction thread:  Jo-Ann Fabrics
  • red Coats topstitching thread: either Pintuck & Purl or Jo-Ann’s
  • interfacing:  Jo-Ann Fabrics
  • Amy Butler Daisy Chain fabric for pockets, waistband lining, and bias tape on the hem:  ?? (I can’t remember where I got this!  It’s been in my stash for a long time.)
  • gold leather patch:  a gift from Elizabeth Berthoud of Sac A main

One great discovery with this pair of jeans is that my Singer Featherweight sewing machine does great with Gutermann topstitching thread.  I was ready to swear that thread off because it didn’t do well in my Elna 3005 the last time I made jeans, but this time I set up both machines so I could use my Elna for construction and my Featherweight for topstitching, and both machines did great with their respective threads.  I used the red Coats topstitching thread in the Elna and it worked great.  It’s so rare that anything disagrees with my Elna that I assumed the problem was with the thread, but I’m glad I tried the Gutermann with the other machine (admittedly, I only did this because it was the only yellow/gold topstitching thread I had on hand and I didn’t want to run out to get more).

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

So, with the exception of the exposed zippers, which I had to put in before doing the pockets, I followed the directions as written.  I made a size 14, View A (low rise, stovepipe legs).  The back pocket topstitching design came from a bunch of topstitching designs Heather sent out to newsletter subscribers.  It was really fun to pick one out.

Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files

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Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files

I was also inspired by my coworker Lauren to add bias trim to the hem of the my pants and a contrasting thread color on my buttonhole as well as some contrasting bartacks.  She makes cool clothes.

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

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Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

So let’s talk fabric.  I chose this great stretch denim, and I really love it.  It’s very different (in a good way) from the inexpensive denim I used for my first pair.  It has a great hand and feels substantial, yet still stretchy.  What I DIDN’T do (but should have) is wear my jeans around for a few hours after basting them.  I was impatient.  I admit it.  I basted them, wore them around for a few minutes, and called them good.  And they were.  They were just right.  So, I sewed them up, and finished them off.  I washed them to get any chalk marks off and hung them up to dry (by the way, I did wash and dry the fabric in the dryer more than once before making these).  Then, I put them on and…they seemed a little looser than I remembered…and a little longer than my other two pairs.  Hm.  In my concern about not making them too tight (you know I love some ease!), I didn’t account for differences in fabric.  This stretch denim is stretchier than my other two pairs.

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

I also asked Heather to take a look at my jeans during a lull in the jeans class (I was around to help out on day one), and she gave me a few fitting tips that she said could remove the excess fabric in the back and my need for a belt.  Her advice was both generous and helpful, and might also apply to my gray pants with the mysterious extra fabric in the back.  She is a fitting master.  It was amazing to see her help everyone.

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

So, final analysis:  I LOVE these jeans.  I think they are my coolest-looking jeans to date (the green pants are sort of in their own category, I think), and I am always mystified when people don’t stop me and tell me how awesome they are.  😉

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

That being said, I really wish the fit was as perfect as I thought it was when I basted them together and tried them on.  They are a little looser than I want them, and I definitely have to wear a belt.  BUT…this is all part of the learning curve for making pants, right?  As much as I wish I had all pants-fitting knowledge magically deposited in my brain, that is never going to happen, and I really do remember fitting things better when it is something I’ve had to learn the hard way (Darn it!  WHY is there no silver bullet/magic potion/easy answer?  Learning and skill development actually takes WORK!  Shocking!).

Ginger Jeans with Exposed Zippers

If you are thinking about making jeans, the Ginger Jeans pattern is a GREAT pattern.  It was much less scary than I thought it would be and the directions plus the sew-along are really, really helpful and well done.  Heather clearly does her research.  Go for it!

Recommendations

  • I just found out about @tinycarpenter_ on Instagram.  It’s a little Lego guy who uses big people tools for his carpentry work.  Fun!
  • I love sewing inspiration, and I find a lot of it in catalogues from companies like J.Crew and Boden.  Often when I see clothing that I really like, I can think of a pattern that matches it.  I think of this as shopping for inspiration.
  • And, um, here is a little prom dress inspiration for you (hahaha!):