Tag Archives: spring

Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!

Standard
Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!

Hi there! I’m popping in here for a progress report on my spring outfit project and some show-and-tell.

Spring Outfit Challenge Update

At the beginning of spring, I challenged myself to make an outfit that coordinated, and where every part except the shoes were made by me. I’m working away on that over here, and it has been a great challenge. I usually work in batches, but not batches quite this large, and not usually coordinating. This has been really fun and has made me so excited to get creating! Here’s what is happening right now:

All patterns have been traced and cut out.

Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!
All patterns traced!
Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!
Piles of fabric ready to cut

The plan is still to make a top, pants, undergarments, socks, a windbreaker/pullover/sweatshirt thing, and a knitted hat (even though it’s a bit warm for that now).

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top

The shirt is finished, and I love it. I modified a Coco Top using inspiration from this picture I found on Pinterest years ago.

Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!
I’m not sure of the source of this picture.
Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!
My Coco in progress, inspired by the picture above

The Oslo Hat–Mohair Edition from Petite Knit

The hat is in progress. It’s a bit warm to wear it now, but I plan to finish it since I know I’ll wear it next fall and winter. So far, it’s really pretty, really soft, and should be really warm, but…it’s a little boring to knit. Endless knitting of the same stitch in a fingering weight isn’t the most exciting. Oh, well.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

Out of Print McCall’s 5303

I’m currently working on the windbreaker using this pattern from 1991. I’m making it in woven Supplex and Taslan. It’s been really enjoyable. I like the colors I picked and the pattern is very interesting and good. It’s just the right amount of hand-holding and problem solving.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

Folkwear Patterns 229 Sailor Pants

The pants are cut out of an old sheet so that I can make a muslin before cutting into my denim. Every pattern company has their own block and not every company’s crotch curve fits well without modification. I haven’t tried Folkwear patterns before, so I want to test the pattern before committing. I hope to straighten the legs a bit and potentially lengthen the rise. I want them to fit a bit more like modern 13-button sailor pants, which I have a pair of for reference.

Sew It Forward Socks from Ellie & Mac, etc.

Other than that, socks and undergarments are all cut out and waiting to be sewn.

Spring Outfit Progress Report + A Coco Top!
Cutting out my socks; the funny-looking glove on the bottom is a Kevlar kitchen glove and protects my non-cutting hand from my rotary cutter–it’s one of my best sewing safety hacks ever

I’ll probably tackle those next and save the pants for last. I’m really hoping to have this done with enough time to sew another couple of things while it’s still spring, but I’m not holding my breath. Luckily the other patterns I have my eye on could easily transfer into summer sewing as well.

Coco Top Show-and-Tell

When I originally planned my spring outfit, I decided I would make a Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top in a coral and white lightweight sweater knit. Well, I did that, and then also made the one I mentioned above. Since I’m saving the modified one, I can share the coral and white one now.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

The Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top is a quick and easy sewing pattern designed for low stretch knits.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!
Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

I made this as a top a long time ago in a very stretchy rayon knit and as a dress in ponte, but haven’t used the pattern since. I like to try lots of different patterns, which is exciting, but admittedly not very efficient since I don’t always make a pattern more than once. Anyway, it was nice to circle back around to this pattern. I cut a 7/8 for the bust and waist (I just traced between those two sizes) and an 8 for the hip.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

This coral and white sweater knit (60% polyester, 40% cotton, now sold out) is from Fashion Fabrics Club. It’s listed as a sweater knit, but is very lightweight–about the same as a t-shirt. The price was great, and it was easy to sew and is nice to wear. The sewing was pretty straightforward. I changed a few things, such as using my serger for construction and a zigzag stitch for my hems and neckline. The pattern suggests using a twin needle and although I have figured out how to do that on my machine, it tends to unravel over time. I must be doing something wrong, but I usually just skip it now and use a zigzag. I also used a fusible tape in my neckline to help stabilize it.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

I’m pretty happy with this shirt! My stripe matching is ok-ish, and that’s fine. The shirt is great for spring, and I like it tucked or untucked.

Coco Top + A Spring Outfit Progress Report!

It was also a good warmup for my second shirt, and a nice quick project to get the sewjo revved up. (Sewjo=sewing mojo) 😉 Every spring, I want all the striped tops, so this is definitely scratching that itch!

I hope to be back soon with another update and more finished projects!

Field Trip in April: Tip Top Tulips!

Standard
Field Trip in April:  Tip Top Tulips!

Spring moves pretty slowly in New England, but it really is here, and with it comes the flowers. Blue skies may be fickle and fleeting, but you can tell everything is coming back to life. It’s so exciting. This month, I went on a field trip (two, actually) to Tip Top Tulips in Ipswich, MA, a place where you can ‘tip-toe through the tulips’ and pick your own bouquet!

I was pretty excited to discover this place. Tip Top Tulips is new this year and has two fields. There is a small field with no entry fee where tulips are $1 a stem. You can keep the bulbs if they come up when you pick the flowers or not–your choice. They may not grow next year, but I kept ours. We’ll put them in the garden in the fall and see what happens.

Field Trip in April:  Tip Top Tulips!
The small tulip field just after it opened.

My kids and I checked this out last week. It was a fun way to pick a bouquet. I gave each of them a budget and turned them loose. The farmers were very helpful and friendly, and we had a great time.

There is also a large tulip field in a different part of Ipswich where admission is $10. Tickets can be purchased on their website. Tulips are also $1 per stem here and you can keep the bulbs if you like.

On Thursday, I went back with a friend to check out the large field. We spent over an hour walking through trying to pick out our favorite flowers.

Field Trip in April:  Tip Top Tulips!
Thanks to the cloudy day, we had the whole field to ourselves a good part of the time. The misty skies were really beautiful.

My plans to only pick five dissolved and I came away with twice as many.

Field Trip in April:  Tip Top Tulips!
I even wore the wooden shoes my parents got me on a visit to the Netherlands when I was a child. They were awesome and still fit! My feet stayed dry and they were easy to walk around the field in.
Field Trip in April:  Tip Top Tulips!

There were some really interesting tulip varieties.

Field Trip in April:  Tip Top Tulips!
Field Trip in April:  Tip Top Tulips!
Field Trip in April:  Tip Top Tulips!

My friend and I had a great time. We sort of forgot to catch up because we spent all of our time exclaiming over the tulips. It was such a nice pick-me-up during COVID, you know? I’m not sure how long they will be open, but if you are near Ipswich and you like tulips, it’s a fun outdoor activity, whether you choose the large or small field.

Sounds like there are plans for a sunflower field in August and a dahlia field in the fall. Fun!

Spring Sweatshirt: Brunswick + Josie

Standard
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

Hey! We’re finally into the spring sewing! Granted, I have lots of smaller crafts and knitted items that remain unblogged, but that’s ok. On to spring! This is actually the only garment I have sewn for spring because I’m hard at work on my Spring Outfit! More on that in a future post.

This sweatshirt is made of the softest Tencel sweatshirt fleece EVER.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

I found it at Pintuck & Purl last year, and I bought the last of it. Kali, who works there, even let me buy the little bit she had been saving for herself so I would have enough for my project (thanks, Kali!). I’ve been curious about Tencel, which is a semi-synthetic (like modal, rayon, or lyocell), but which is made with an earth-friendly process by the company Lenzing. I have a thrifted shirt in Tencel, which is drapey like any rayon challis might be, but this sweatshirt knit was a different ballgame. It is drapey, substantial, not overly heavy, so soft, and stretchy.

I got the idea in my head that I wanted to make this fabric into a Brunswick Pullover, a pattern by Hey June Handmade, with a curved hem like that of the Style Arc Josie Hoody.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

I have made both of these patterns before (Brunswick and Josie), and they are two of my very favorite sweatshirts. I’m actually wearing my Josie Hoody as I type this. After checking, I had just barely enough fabric if I chose View A with the hood rather than the cowl neck. The only issue is that the Brunswick is made for heavier weight, lower stretch knits–actually for two-way stretch knits. None of these things describe this black sweatshirt knit. However, Adrianna, the pattern designer, helpfully included fitting notes for anyone who, like me, veered off-script.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

Per her instructions, I sized down from my measurements (which put me at a 20 bust and 22 hip) to the 16 bust and 18 hip I had used previously. It was so helpful that I could try on the Brunswick I already had, which is still a good fit at those sizes. I also took 1/2″ off the bottom sides of the sleeves and 1″ off the width of the cuffs as suggested. Then I added the Josie Hoody hem shape at the bottom of front and back, knowing I might have to work out some issues when I got to the plackets and hem facings.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

For my arm pocket, I cut into one of the two precious fat quarters of Liberty lawn that I own and underlined it by fusing some black silk crepe de chine to it. Fancy! The fusing made things a little on the stiff side, but it was fine in the end, especially after a few wears. I’ve used lawn for pocket bags in pants before and, let me tell you, it is not a good idea. It’s just not durable enough for that kind of wear and tear. This pocket wouldn’t have as much stress on it, but I didn’t like even the smallest possibility of it wearing through in the future, so underlining it was! I didn’t worry about the lawn on the plackets. They’re interfaced where necessary and don’t come under much strain.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

Things went along pretty well, even at the spot where the plackets joined my modified hems and when I installed grommets for my hood strings.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

The one part I wish I had done differently/better is where the sides of the hood meet in the front. The instructions tell you not to overlap the pieces, but I wonder if I understood it incorrectly. I think they should overlap in the seam allowance and just *kiss* at the seam line (at least in this lighter weight knit). Mine have a gap, so there was probably some user error in there, since Hey June’s instructions have so far proved impeccable.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

I love how this sweatshirt came out. It was worth the crazy hassle to find notions that were color coordinated (why is this so hard?!) and the extra steps to modify the pattern. There is, however, one thing I should have thought about before, but completely missed. It’s not a deal breaker, but here it is. Using a shaped hem with facings actually shortens the sweatshirt from its intended length. The original pattern has you cut the front and back and add a separate piece for the bottom cuff, which adds some length. I didn’t think about that one bit until I put it on at the end. I’m cool with the length it ended up, but if I could travel back in my time machine, I would add the extra length into the body of the sweatshirt.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

Otherwise, I like it. It has a different feel from a low-stretch sweatshirt. It is drapey, stretchy, and has a pleasant weight that isn’t overpowering. I’ve been wearing it a lot, and it’s only increased my love for these patterns and fabric.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

Standard
Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

What seems like a story about a pattern, is actually a story about fabric. The wool/polyester waffle knit I chose to sew into a Visby Henley surprised me and caused the project to take an unexpected turn.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

I love henley shirts for fall and winter. These long-sleeved knits with a short placket at the neck, epitomize rugged yet comfortable cool-weather style in my mind. Although I have hacked the Thread Theory men’s Strathcona Henley in the past to create such a top for myself, I was excited to try the Itch to Stitch Visby Henley & Top when it came out. Not only is it drafted for women, it has a raglan sleeve and a number of other options that could be fun to explore in the future.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit
Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

After searching and considering different fabric options, I decided to try a wool/polyester waffle knit I found on e-bay. It was 80% New Zealand wool blended with 20% polyester at an affordable price, and the seller promised that although they didn’t cut straight, they cut long yards. And they weren’t kidding! When I got my fabric, I measured and found that they had given me an extra 2/3-3/4 of a yard!

The fabric felt like your typical, fairly thin waffle knit. It had just enough stretch for the pattern (barely!).

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

I like to wash my wool and, if it seems warranted, shrink it down as much as possible before sewing it up so that I can machine wash and dry the finished garment. Believe it or not, this usually works for me. I wasn’t sure what would happen with this fabric, so I cut a little test swatch and threw it in the washer. It showed some shrinkage, and it did change the hand slightly, but in a really nice way, making the fabric a bit fluffier and beefier.

After two test swatches, I threw in my yardage. I washed it a few times so it would shrink as much as it was going to. That’s when I started to feel some surprise. That extra yardage? It shrunk right out. What I mean is that the fabric shrunk down to the amount I had originally ordered, which was three yards. Maybe I had gone too far, but I LOVED the feel of the fulled (felted), shrunken fabric. It was so soft and nice!

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

Now it was too thick to make the henley, however, so I changed course and opted to try the basic top option. The pattern was easy and clear–no problems with the small exception of a slightly wavy neckline, which I figured would be fine after washing. I had sized up so the finished garment would be on the looser side.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit
The neckline has mostly settled and straightened since washing.

When I was finished, the fit was great. So was the feel! Rather than a shirt, this felt like a light, cozy sweater! I wore it once to test it out, and threw it in the wash, figuring I would just plan to wash it on cold and air dry it from here on out.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

When I wore it next, it seemed…well…a little smaller. Was it still shrinking?! Even with a cold wash and no dryer? Yikes!

The next time I wore it, it fit perfectly–no longer oversized, but just right. However…if it shrinks any more, I’ll have to give it to one of my kids. I love my kids, but I want this shirt-sweater for me! Now the shirt has been relegated to the hand-wash pile (I don’t hand wash anything if I can help it, so it’s the only thing in the pile.).

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

The future of the shirt is unknown! I’ve just hand washed it, and it looks good, but now that it’s warming up, I’m going to put it away until cooler weather. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t shrink any further!

Takeaways? The Itch to Stitch Visby Henley & Top is a great pattern that I would happily make again. This fabric is wonderful, but if you try it, proceed with caution and don’t be as tough on it as I was. Happy sewing!

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Standard
Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Time to post my last few winter sewing projects! Today I want to talk about the Émilie (formerly Yoko) Square Roll-Neck Top from Jalie in a wool/Lycra jersey (plus a kid-sized top in cotton/Lycra!).

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

This is a free pattern for women and girls that comes with 28 sizes–pretty impressive! That is typical of Jalie’s patterns, making them a great value for money. I haven’t worn turtlenecks/roll-neck shirts in a few years, so I thought I would use this pattern to do a little scrap-busting and try the style out.

Like my last two sweaters (Engle and Wool & Honey), this pattern has a boxy/square body and fitted sleeves. Unlike those sweaters, however, this pattern has a drop-sleeve. I guess this is the year of that fun but odd silhouette for me! It’s not my favorite silhouette, but it’s interesting and comfortable. I used a green wool/Lycra jersey that I got from Fabric Mart Fabrics a number of years ago for my top and some navy and flower print cotton/Lycra jersey for a kid-sized top. I can’t remember where I got the navy, but the flower knit is an old Cotton + Steel fabric that I got from Pintuck & Purl some time ago.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

For my top, my measurements put me in size Z for the bust and BB for the waist and hip. Because this is a boxy style, I opted to make a straight size Z. For the kid shirt, I made a straight size N. I used my serger for the main seams and my sewing machine for the hems.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

The tops were pretty easy to sew. There weren’t any points where the instructions were unclear or where things got tricky, making this a nice, quick project.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Jalie’s instructions come in French and English and are not extensive, but are clear. This free and simple pattern would be a great way to get a feel for the company if you are interested in trying their patterns. While I haven’t tried many of their patterns, I know I can turn to them when I want a reasonable cost for a LOT of sizes and professional results, especially if I want to make activewear.

Let’s get back to the tops! The hems came out much better in the cotton/Lycra than in my thin wool/Lycra jersey where I ended up with some tunneling and scrunching.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Still, you only really see that up close, and it doesn’t affect the fit at all. The neck is a double layer of fabric, which both looks and feels good.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

These tops turned out to be nice and comfy, and while I’m sort of over the whole extreme dropped sleeve look, I’m happy I made them and tried this pattern out.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

I like how they look in the cotton better than in the wool, as this thin jersey, while comfortable, attracts lots of fuzzies, and is slightly on the pukey side of spring green. Still, it’s a great layering piece that will work in any sort of cool weather, and I do love having a few wool jersey tops in my wardrobe. I’ve made one other shirt in this fabric, which you can see here.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Look! It’s blue sky! (The photo shoots get silly more often than not.)

If I were to make this again, I would consider cotton/Lycra or a slightly heavier weight wool/Lycra . That’s not a “rule” of any sort, just my feelings after making this in these two different substrates.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Interestingly enough, Tessuti has a very similar free pattern, the Monroe Turtleneck, which you could also try if you are thinking of making a top like this, although it doesn’t have the extensive size range Jalie does. It would be fun to make both and compare them. If this is a style you are into, this is a great pattern. I like it, but don’t absolutely love it, although I do really like Jalie as a pattern company, and hope to make many more of their patterns in the future.

Spring Sewing Plans: My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Standard
Spring Sewing Plans:  My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

*I’m reposting this because the pictures were only showing as links when viewed on a phone. I’m sorry for any confusion! Hopefully you can see all my pictures now, no matter what type of device you are reading on.*

Hi, everyone! I have something a little different for you today. Normally, I do a photography post the last Friday of every month, but I never made the time to get out and take those photos in March. So instead, I want to share a little challenge I have set myself for the spring.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Now, I love planning sewing projects–and knitting projects, actually, but especially sewing projects. I wanted to try something new for the spring–a personal challenge of some kind. I know there are a million sewing challenges floating around the internet, but I usually have so many ideas of my own that I find it hard to take time away from my never-ending list of fun possibilities to follow the guidelines of a challenge. So, I decided to create my own! I want to try to make myself a spring outfit that all goes together. My plan is to make as many of the pieces as I can. While this isn’t an especially novel idea in and of itself, it’s distinctly different from how I usually work, which makes it fun and refreshing for me.

Here’s a broad outline of what I want to make: a long-sleeved t-shirt, some pants, and a windbreaker for my main pieces. In addition, I plan to make undergarments (which won’t show up here, as I don’t feel comfortable blogging those, but which I will still make), socks, and a hat. I haven’t learned to make shoes, so I’ll exclude those.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

All right! That seems like a pretty good list. Now let’s break it down.

Where I live, spring starts off quite cool and takes awhile to warm up. Every year, I wish I had some Breton-striped long-sleeved shirts in bright colors for spring time, so that or something similar is what I want to make for my shirt. (Never heard of Breton stripes? Check out this article on the history of Breton Stripes.)I decided that I would pick my pattern based on what fabric I found. I could use the Union St. Tee from Hey June Handmade if my fabric was pretty stretchy or Vogue 8950 if I found two coordinating stretchy fabrics. If the fabric was low-stretch, I could make the Coco Top from Tilly and the Buttons.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

After lots of deliberation, I ordered this coral pink and white striped sweater knit from Fashion Fabrics Club. It’s low stretch, so I’ll make the Coco top with long sleeves and boat neckline.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Since a Breton-striped shirt has nautical roots, I thought it would be fun to make the Sailor Pants, Pattern 229, from Folkwear, which I got for Christmas.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge
My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

I found some non-stretch, medium/heavy weight denim also at Fashion Fabrics Club. I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about this, but I plan to compare the pattern to jeans patterns that fit me as well as some genuine sailor pants that I own. The pants I have are the same 13-button style, but are made in a wool gabardine (I think). They are truly high-rise and don’t have quite the bell-bottom shape of the Folkwear pattern. I plan to use them as a guide. I may even make a muslin. All the extra steps and double checking are, admittedly, the kinds of things that usually lead me to procrastinate, so fingers crossed on these.

For my windbreaker, I want to use the sweatshirt pattern in vintage McCall’s 5303.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

I have had this pattern for a long time. It’s one I got from my Mom’s pattern stash, although she gave me the medium instead of the large. After looking at the finished measurements, I decided to hunt down a large online, even though anything from the medium through the extra large would fit. I think the windbreaker/sweatshirt will be great to throw on when the wind whips up on the beach, and in a Supplex/Taslan, which is water resistant, it will even keep sprinkles off. It doesn’t hurt that Supplex/Taslan also blocks a good amount of UV rays. Woven Supplex is something I have wanted to try more of for awhile now. Previously I used a tiny bit for the neckline placket and pocket of my Patagonia-inspired sweatshirt, but that wasn’t enough to get a real feel for the fabric. I ordered a bunch from the Rainshed so I can make this and hopefully some hiking pants and board shorts later this year. My original plan was to make the main part in yellow with magenta facings on the hood.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

After looking at the various colors I ordered, however, I think I would rather make the main part in yellow with this “Candy” pink for the hood facings. I do need the Candy pink for another project as well, but I’m hoping that with some careful cutting, I’ll be able to make it work for both.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

For the socks, I found the free Sew It Forward Socks from Ellie & Mac, a sewing company that is new to me.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Free patterns are such a great way to try out a new company, and a sock pattern I could sew was right up my alley. I’m not quite sure what fabric I want to use for these, but I’m hoping to use up some of my t-shirt scraps.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Because it is often cool here during a lot of the spring, I thought a hat might be a good idea as well. I plan to make The Oslo Hat–Mohair Edition from Petite Knit. It will be nice to throw a little knitting into the mix.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Maggie at Pintuck & Purl gave me some mystery yarn on a cone and after doing some tests, I’d guess it’s a wool fingering weight yarn. I plan to pair it with some silk mohair from The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers to make this hat. I picked out the color “Stagecoach Mary” from their Mighty Mo line over on the Wool & Co. website.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

If the season gets ahead of me and warms up before I finish with this, I still plan to make it, but I’ll consider substituting a bag pattern or just taking this off my spring outfit list without substituting something else for it.

And that’s it! I’m really excited about this! Even when I work in larger batches of several projects at once, I don’t usually try to coordinate my projects, so it’s fun to do something a little different. We’ll see how I get on as the season progresses. I have a few things to finish up, and then I plan to get started tracing all my patterns. As I get going, I’ll post some projects that I finished recently, and by the time I’m done showing you those, I bet I’ll have some of this challenge finished! If this sounds fun, feel free to join me and make your own spring outfit using whatever parameters sound good to you, then leave me a link in my comments so I can check out what you’re up to!

Last Summer’s Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited: Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

Standard
Last Summer’s Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I got dress-obsessed this spring and wanted to sew all the boho, ruffled, yoked, big-sleeved dresses.  It’s one of my summer goals to wear more dresses, so after sifting through many, many patterns, I decided to revisit Simplicity 8689, my favorite dress pattern from last summer (in black and yellow here).

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I had a beautiful cotton gauze border print from Pintuck & Purl that seemed perfect for this pattern, especially now that I had my colorful slips.  While most of the fabric has numbers and symbols on it, one edge has gray and burgundy stripes.

I chose to make View A with the sleeves of View B.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

While my size has changed a bit since last year, this dress has a nice amount of ease, so I used my previously traced pattern and sewed a 16 bust and 20 waist and hip.  I found one issue that I had failed to address (or even remember) from last year.  Due to some adjustments I made last time, my front and back bodice side seams were different lengths.  I never think to walk my seams (i.e. compare the lengths of seams that are meant to be sewn together to make sure they are the same length) after adjusting things, and this time it came back to bite me.  The back was 3/4″ shorter than the front.  In the end, I cut the front shorter, but I made sure to adjust my pattern for next time.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I used a 70/10 Microtex needle to sew this gauze.  I was a little worried that it would be really delicate, and while ripping out seams had to be done carefully, it wasn’t hard to sew.  I used a combination of turning and stitching, French seams, mock French seams, and a small zigzag to finish various parts of the inside.  I wanted to use French seams throughout, but that wasn’t possible in places like the center front bodice seam or along the side seams and pockets.  I wanted everything to look nice on the inside since the gauze is actually somewhat sheer.  You can really see this with the pockets, but since I had enough fabric for pockets, I didn’t want to omit them.  No regrets on that choice!

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

One thing I might try some other time is lengthening the sleeve and adding an elastic casing and elastic instead of the cuff, but I need to wear the dress more to be sure.  I did lengthen the cuff pattern piece to increase the cuff circumference and give my hand a little more room to go through (just to be safe), and I really like how it turned out.  So far it’s pretty comfortable.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

And I love the dress with the colored slips underneath.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I initially kept the front plain except for having used the striped border in the yoke, but the dress was just a bit boring and I wasn’t excited about it (see below).

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

Even though I can order sewing supplies, I have been taking the last few months to try to do a better job of using what I already have, which has been a fun challenge.  After thinking it over for quite awhile, I added the ivory rickrack,

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

and then used hooks and eyes and embroidery floss to create removable silver cords to attach to the front.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I tried making a few different tassels, but none of them were right, so I did end up ordering some silver ones from the paper crafting department of Hobby Lobby and used jewelry-making supplies to attach them.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

l

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

I like the dress so much better now and have already worn it a few times.  I love having several fun, comfortable dresses that I really like.

Last Summer's Favorite Dress Pattern Revisited:  Simplicity 8689 in Cotton Gauze

 

Outside in May

Standard
Outside in May

I hope you’re ready for another mostly flower-filled post!  May is so beautiful around here–all the plants are waking up and it’s not usually super cold any more.  It’s interesting to me to look back and see the flowers I photographed at the beginning of the month, which are gone now, replaced by new and different blooms.  Enjoy!

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

l

Outside in May

Fun in Green: A McCall’s 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

Standard
Fun in Green:  A McCall’s 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

I have a fun dress to share with you today!  This dress is all about volume, which makes it a joy to wear.  Today’s pattern is McCall’s 7948, View D, a very popular style that is showing up in lots of stores and sewing patterns.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

I bought this pattern last year with the thought of making it in eyelet, just like the cover photo, but with a fun colored slip underneath.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

l

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

I made a few slips, and then finally made the dress.  This was supposed to be my Easter dress, but time got away from me, (or I just plan more sewing projects than I can actually sew), and this didn’t get started until May.  Part of what held me up was trying to decide what trim to use on the dress, but in the end (and after looking at examples online), I decided to go trim-less and just make the dress in green.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

l

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

I traced a straight size 20, and just barely eked it out with the yardage I had.  This green cotton eyelet was from last spring at Joann’s, and I got it on sale this year when it was almost gone.  I managed to find 1 2/3 yards in one store and another piece that was three inches short of two yards in a different store.  The fabric is 50/51″ wide, but 8-9″ of that is plain green cotton without the eyelet embroidery on the edges.  I had to do a bit of pattern Tetris to get it all figured out, but it worked in the end.  I had wanted to include pockets, but I realized that you would probably be able to see them through the eyelet, and I didn’t have enough fabric anyway, so I left them off.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

One really nice thing about the style of this dress is that I didn’t have to do too many adjustments–no grading between sizes, no broad back adjustment.  All I did was to add some width at the top of the sleeves and lower the front neckline by 1/2″ based on Martha’s review on the Buried Diamond blog.  I used The Perfect Fit, my favorite basic fitting book for directions for these things.  It said not to lower the neckline beyond 1/2″ in this size because it would affect other aspects of the pattern, but the one thing I would consider doing if I make this again is to see if I could lower the neckline a bit more.  It’s mostly fine when standing and walking around, but the dress does slide a bit toward the back occasionally and it can sometimes be a problem when sitting.  My husband’s idea was to weight the front hem.  What do you think?  What would you do?

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

That very minor adjustment and issue aside, I LOVE how this dress feels to wear.  It’s my ideal summer dress as far as feel–loose, flowy, breezy thanks to the eyelet, perfectly comfortable.  The slip worked out great–I didn’t even notice it, which is the goal (no one wants an uncomfortable slip).  I couldn’t see its color as much as I would have liked, but that is due to the very small holes in this eyelet.  You can see it at the points where the dress touches your body, but not much more.  Regardless, it provides the opacity I wanted when the light shines through the dress.  Now here is a weird conundrum–do you make your clothes to feel good or look “flattering” (whatever your definition of that word is)?  I don’t think this dress makes me look like any ideal vision I might have of myself, but other than that, it feels great, covers me in all the areas I want covered, and brings me joy…but I don’t think it makes me look amazing.  When you can’t always have both, which do you choose?  In general, I come down on the side of comfort and feel, but I admit that it is sometimes a mental struggle for me.  I could make uncomfortable clothes that I think look good on me, or I can make comfortable clothes that may or may not look good, but that feel good.  Comfort wins for me, but if I’m honest, I really want both in most cases.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

The other thing I changed on this dress was the facings.  I did manage to cut them out, but realized that the interfacing I was supposed to use was going to show through, and I didn’t have any fabric I could use as sew-in interfacing that was close to this color.  In the end, I decided to finish the neckline and back slit with bias tape, because I had a lot of it that was close to this color.  It took a bit of thinking, but I managed to figure out how to do the back slit, and I’m pretty happy with the result and definitely happy not to have used facings or interfacing that would show through around the neckline and back.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

I used some single fold bias to finish the hems of the sleeves and skirt and a pretty vintage button on the back of the dress.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

l

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

As far as finishing my seams, my machine did not love zigzagging on this fabric, so I sewed a straight stitch in each seam allowance and then pinked the seam allowances.  The dress is in the wash now, so we’ll see if there is much fraying or not.  Even if there is, the straight stitch in the seam allowance will stop it.  I’m not really worried.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

When gathering the skirt and arm ruffles, I used a technique I learned from Megan Nielsen, where you do a large zigzag over a piece of string in your seam allowance.  I used baker’s twine.  (You know that cute red and white twine they use to tie up boxes in bakeries?  Lots of people use it for crafts as well.)  Once you have gone all the way around, you cinch up the fabric using the string, pin it in place, pull out the string and go on with your sewing. It’s a lot faster and easier on a fabric like this with ruffles this big than it is to sew two rows of basting stitches and gather them.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

l

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

This was a fun dress to sew and not too difficult.  If you can get this pattern on sale, it’s a great deal for a pattern that is very on trend and VERY fun to wear.  I wore this on a walk in the woods with my family and while I’m sure that other people we saw thought I was crazy for wearing a dress on the trails, I felt awesome in it.

Fun in Green:  A McCall's 7948 Dress in Green Cotton Eyelet

A Little More Layering: Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

Standard
A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

Hi, friends!  I have one more layering post today.  I think this garment is going to come in handy this summer.

The garment I’m talking about is the Axis Tank by Sophie Hines.  This simple tank is fast to make and is interesting in that it doesn’t require any elastic–just a stretchy fabric like this cotton/spandex jersey.  My version has a center front seam because I didn’t have much of this fabric left, but this view of the pattern as drafted is actually one piece for the body and then your neck and arm edgings.  You sew a seam in the back, finish the neck and arms and all your seams, and you are done!

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

l

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

I have often wished for (but never bothered to make) a short tank top that would cover my undergarment straps, but wouldn’t make me overheat by covering my midsection, and I think this will do just that.  It is described as a tank top bralette, but it’s not exactly supportive, so I think it works better as just a tank.  It is short–it hits about one inch under my bust.  I’m not the midriff-baring type, so I would wear this with another shirt over top to get that fun, layered look without the overheating.  There are, of course, other views, with a scoop neck and some cool color-blocking that I have yet to try.

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

I’m not much of a pattern hacker, but I think this little tank could have a lot of possibilities.  You could add elastic at the bottom to make a supportive-ish bralette or swimsuit top, extend the length into a full-length tank top, tankini top, or dress, or anything else you can think of.  It’s also a great way to use up scraps, and it works as a quick palette-cleanser after a more involved project.  I plan to try this out this summer and see how/if it integrates into my wardrobe.

More Details

  • Fabric:  “Starry” in the color Seashell from the Hello collection by Cotton + Steel, 95% cotton/5% spandex fabric, purchased at Pintuck & Purl
  • All sewn on a regular sewing machine–no serger required

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

  • Extra detail:  I made a cute little tag for the back out of some of the selvedge!

A Little More Layering:  Axis Tank in Cotton/Spandex

And that’s it!