An Unpopular Pattern (By Hand London Sabrina)

An Unpopular Pattern (By Hand London Sabrina)

Pretend you don't see a remote
Pretend you don’t see a remote

I rarely ever research a pattern before I buy it. I know a lot of sewists do, and perhaps I should, but I don’t. So when I saw the Sabrina dress from BHL, I snapped it up without a second thought. I’d been searching for the perfect pattern to use with Gertie fabric, and this gave me beautiful 90’s nostalgia. So imagine my surprise when I finally searched and found almost no reviews…

No, the back isn't uneven, I'm just standing weird again.
No, the back isn’t uneven, I’m just standing weird again.

What’s with the hate, sewists? The pattern is fairly straightforward, alterations are easy. In this rayon, it’s light and breezy, perfect for summer. Putting it on, I immediately wanted Dr. Pepper lip smacker lip balm, glittery eyeshadow, and platform shoes. I wanted to sit in an inflatable chair and watch Friends. How could any of that be so bad? Is it the buttons? I’ll admit, when I saw the pattern call for 30 buttons, it seemed a bit daunting. In reality, though, I could only fit 14 on the dress, and my buttons were pretty small. What gives, folks?

Forever awkward.
Forever awkward.

To be fair, I did make some slight alterations. Once the dress body was assembled, the dress gaped too much under the arms. To remedy, I just made a dart at the top of the side seam, if that makes sense. I added pockets, albeit too low pockets. It’s a fairly common mistake for me, but sometimes I place my pockets at the most comfortable place. I have fairly long arms, so this is rarely flattering, they should really be several inches higher. I also omitted the facings, because I hate facings and I try to take them out whenever possible. I’m not a big fan of creating thin straps, either, so those had to go as well. I lieu of the facings and straps, I have thin bias tape. I bound the neckline seams with bias, and extended it up to create straps. Quick, easy, and it didn’t cause me to lose my temper. Win win.

A bit closer up.
A bit closer up.

The placket was the only thing that really threw me for me a loop here. I’ve never sewn a placket without using interfacing, and this dress calls for none. I wasn’t really sure how well my machine would handle buttonholes on uninterfaced flimsy fabric, but it went flawlessly. I think I will probably nip the waist in a bit more, but overall, it’s a great, comfortable dress. It’s been oppressively hot and humid in Ohio lately, but I stayed as cool as possible all day in this. Really, you guys, what gives??

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along Is Back! #Maxisewalong2016

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along Is Back! #Maxisewalong2016

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I know it might be a little late in the summer, but anytime is a great time for a maxi dress! Who doesn’t love a good, comfortable maxi dress? Last year we had a lot of fun sewing up our dresses and chatting in the a Maxi Sew-Along Group. Make sure to join the group if you plan on participating in the sew along. Once again I’ve teamed up with Amy from That’s Sew Amy and we’ve got a great sponsor: 5 Out Of 4 Patterns! I’m super excited to have them on board. The sew along starts now and ends August 17, 2016 EST. I’ll post the showcase on August 19, 2016. And there is a BONUS! This year a random participant will receive a FREE pattern of your choice from 5 Out Of 4 Patterns! You can also use coupon code maxisewalong2016 at checkout on their website to receive 20% off your pattern order, good through Tuesday, July 27 (EST). They currently have one maxi dress pattern: Journey Tank and Dress, but they have a few others that are screaming to be hacked into a maxi. Check out all the details below. (Note: you do not have to use one of their patterns to win the free pattern or participate in the sew along)

Various images from Google Images
Various images from Google Images

What is a sew-along? Where a group of people get together and sew the same pattern or garment style together. In this case it would be a garment style: maxi dress.

What is considered a maxi dress? A dress that falls to the ankles.

Who can participate? Everyone and everyone! No need for a blog, you just have to be able to send in a picture to be posted to the showcase and entered to win the free pattern.

Will there be a winner? There isn’t a winner, just a group of sewists having fun. After everyone has submitted their dress picture(s) (either by e-mail or post in the Facebook group), I will draw a random name for the free pattern.

Time frame: Start sewing now and be sure to send in your picture by August 17, 2016 (EST) by either e-mail or post in the Facebook group.

Why? Sew-alongs help motivate and push you to try new things. Also, you get to make new friends and have fun at the same time! Win/win!

Rules: Dress can be for you or someone else, any age. It has to be made within the time frame above. You can use any pattern you wish or draft your own. Adding embellishments to a current maxi dress will not count. The dress can be as formal or casual as you want. You have to submit pictures of your finished dress. You don’t have to be wearing the dress in the photos – but it makes it more fun!

Social Media: Use hashtag #maxisewalong2016 on social media to see what everyone else is up to. Post inspiration and progress photos for everyone to see. You can use the below photo on any social media.

maxidress2016

If you want a smaller icon to post on your blog:

maxidress2016-icon

Final:
-Make sure to e-mail or post in the Facebook group on or before August 17, 2016 (EST) with your finished garment photos.
-Be sure to let me know what name/website to credit your photos with.

HAVE FUN AND THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSOR:

5outof4logo

The Doctor Who Dress (Tilly & the Buttons Mashup)

The Doctor Who Dress (Tilly & the Buttons Mashup)

Where is my neck?

I’ve had both the Tilly and the Buttons book and this Doctor Who fabric laying around for quite some time. Since winter, possibly. The fabric is basic quilting cotton (trust me, I wish it wasn’t), so I’d been toying with several patterns, trying to decide how to use it. I hate quilting cotton, but I love Doctor Who, so whatever. I wanted something that would showcase the print, but at the same time play nicely with the 0% give of the fabric. Once I started flipping through Tilly’s book, I discovered the Lilou dress, complete with a bow tie belt. Perfect for Doctor Who, right?!?

So I accidentally set my phone camera to square and also framed myself terribly.
So I accidentally set my phone camera to square and also framed myself terribly.

The only problem, at least for me, was the pleated skirt. It seemed to me that the lines of text on the print wouldn’t work well with pleats. So I opted for the Delphine skirt, with it’s sleek lines and sturdy shape, it was a much better option. Now, you may have noticed, there’s no bow tie belt here! Truth is, I got super frustrated with it. Irrationally so. The plan was to just attach the bow tie to the exiting waist band. But the first bow tie was far too small for the band. The second was a fine size, but then I felt the black bow tie on the black band would be lost. I contemplated a third, this time in the print, but the dogs had carried off my scrap fabric. So…no bow tie. Sorry, folks!

Awkward hands.
Awkward hands.

Based on my measurements and Tilly’s size guide, I cut a 4. I love a fitted dress, but this is a bit too snug. I used stretch sateen for the waist band, because that’s just what I had, and I think that may have contributed to some of the bunching you’re seeing. I think next time I’ll cut a 6 and grade the waist. As always, I added pockets. I also decided to fully line the bodice instead of doing facings, because I fucking hate facings. After I serged the hem, I decided I liked the look of that, just as is with no additional bulk, so I just left it. I know that’s not very professional and isn’t something I’m supposed to do, but I’m not a professional. I do what I want!

I dunno why I didn't take any pictures from the other side? Or of the back...
I dunno why I didn’t take any pictures from the other side? Or of the back…

This dress definitely has a different vibe than most of the things I’ve sewn. Kind of 60’s, you know? I really need to make the Delphine skirt on it’s own, it’s so quick and easy, it would be great to have a few fun work skirts! The fabric is also really fun, I’m thinking of wearing this to Time Traveler’s weekend this year. Oh! And you may be noticing a bluish tinge to my hair. You’re eyes aren’t deceiving you, there are blue sections in there! It’s actually much more obvious in person, just wasn’t coming through in pictures. Happy sewing 🙂

The Unhemmed Dress (Colette Wren/Colette 1033)

The Unhemmed Dress (Colette Wren/Colette 1033)

BLAH
BLAH

I know I’ve been pretty vocal about it lately, but I’ll say it again, I fucking hate knits. I know I know, everyone loves them, and I get it, they’re comfy and they sew up quickly. I just can’t get on board. I tried, I made this knit dress several times. The times I made it in a woven were my favorite. I hate how knits “grow”, I hate they just flop everywhere with no structure. Ponte has structure, you say. I know, and if I must sew a knit, I prefer to use ponte. For this dress, I didn’t. For this dress, I made the worst fabric choice.

My true feelings on this dress.
My true feelings on this dress.

I got this lovely floral fabric from Girl Charlee during their big Christmastime sale. When Colette came out with the Wren pattern, I immediately thought of that floral fabric sitting in my stash. I love the vintage summertime feel of the fabric, and the pattern did call light to medium weight jersey with a nice drape! Perfect, right!?!? NO!

Not doing much for my shape, here.
Not doing much for my shape, here.

This fabric is WAY too lightweight for this dress. The skirt is just weighing the bodice down and and creating a shapeless mess. My measurements sit comfortably between the small and medium sizes, but I went ahead and cut the small. Should be a bit snug, right? NO! Not with 45% stretch. To make things just a bit more annoying, the white underside of the fabric shows through when stretched. UGH! I did try on the bodice before attaching it to the skirt, I basted the front bodice sections together where I wanted them. All seemed well!!! Added the skirt and everything went to shit. At this point, I decided not to even hem the sleeves or skirt. I was so frustrated, I couldn’t justify wasting more time here.

Is it better from the side?  Nope, not at all.
Is it better from the side? Nope, not at all.

At this point I should point out that the problem here wasn’t the pattern, but my terrible terrible fucking fabric choice. I should also admit, I skipped the waist elastic. Perhaps if I’d used that, this dress wouldn’t be such a tragedy? I doubt it, but it is possible. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll make it in a better fabric and my opinion of knits will change entirely, I have seen some really cute versions of this dress out there.

Catelyn is the only thing saving this picture.
Catelyn is the only thing saving this picture.

I thought about not posting this dress, because it is such a fail. But…I’m human and sometimes my sewing just comes out awful. Why pretend like it doesn’t? I’ve learned things, like to stay far away from lightweight, super stretchy knits. I still wore it around the house yesterday, it’s comfortable enough to wear, as long as no one sees me. So it’s not a total waste! That said…I’m still treating myself to a woven project next. With no stretch! Happy sewing 🙂

The Six Hour Dress (Gertie surplice bodice & 3/4 circle skirt)

The Six Hour Dress (Gertie surplice bodice & 3/4 circle skirt)

These are cellphone on a tripod pictures, forgive them

I’m forever terrible at starting anything when I should. For instance, I knew months ago that I wanted to make this dress for the 4th of July. Weeks ago, I bought the fabric. When did I actually start the project? July 2nd, and by start I mean traced the bodice. Ugh.

Beheaded again!
Beheaded again!

The pattern is yet another one from Gertie’s latest book, this time using the surplice bodice. To save time, I used the same 3/4 circle skirt from my lemon dress. The fabric is a lovely blue cotton with embroidered anchors, I’ve been lusting over it for about a year! The bodice lining is a red sateen from my stash.

Despite the expression on my face, I love the skirt
Despite the expression on my face, I love the skirt

Since I rushed myself and did my sewing at lightning speed, there are errors here. The hem needs to be redone, for sure. As for the bodice, I totally forgot to understitch, and the red keeps peeking out. I also need to adjust the bodice so it doesn’t gap open so much.

Such bitch face.
Such bitch face.

Now, full disclosure: I am not built like this. My waist is not nearly this small. In all of these, I’m wearing a steel boned waist training corset here. For a pinup-type dress, I like the dramatic curves a corset gives. I’m also wearing a petticoat, to add fullness and more drama to the skirt. Going for the whole package here, ya know?

Blurry little photo bombers
Blurry little photo bombers

Overall, this dress is FAR from perfect, but I’d still say it’s not too bad for a Saturday evening’s work. It’s patriotic as balls, if it wasn’t monsooning Ohio I’d be out celebrating the holiday in it! Happy 4th to my fellow American sewists, and to my international friends, I hope we’re not overwhelming you with blue and red! Happy sewing 🙂

The Belated Sewalong Dress (McCall’s 6696)

The Belated Sewalong Dress (McCall’s 6696)

Albus photo bombs.
Albus photo bombs.

Recently, McCall’s announced a shirtdress sewalong, and I immediately jumped on board. I’d been planning to make the full skirt version of this dress for awhile, in a vintage repro fabric I had laying around, so it seemed like perfect timing. NOPE. My machine ate shit and it took me two months to finish the dress. Oops.

Why am I doing that with my neck?
Why am I doing that with my neck?

I was really excited to use this fabric, I love the retro, almost-curtains print. Plus, it’s 100% cotton, so sewing it would be a breeze!! While it did press beautifully, wear from ironing and pre-washing began to show pretty much immediately. The gold doesn’t hold up, perhaps there’s some trick to pressing fabric with metallic print, that I don’t know about? If there is, let a girl know!!! I hate to damage beautiful fabric.

Needs to tuck in more at the waist, ya know? Also, wrinkles, I know. Shut up.

I kinda think this project was doomed from the beginning, really. First the machine dies, then I cut my skirt fabric upside down. After correcting that mistake, I barely had enough fabric to finish cutting. While doing this pattern puzzle, I of course jammed my hand down in the pin dish. Smart, right? Some days are just not sewing days, and I should stop trying to force it. Oh well…

image
Sometimes, I try to brighten photos and they just look weird. Like this one.

I cut this pattern at a size 14 (view A minus the carriers), last time I cut a 12 and it was WAY too tight. At a 14, it’s too big. Next time I’ll do some grading and actually make a muslin like a normal person. Weirdly, last time the armscye fit well, but I don’t like the way this one fits at all. I think it needs to come in a bit on the top, yes? The only other change I made was to take out a bit of the gathering in the back. For some reason, and I’m not alone in this, I find the back to be super fucking poofy. Even now, with so much taken out, I still think it’s too poofy. Oh, and this collar is far from my best sewing. Not an alteration, but still worth mentioning.

POOF
POOF

Despite it’s flaws, I still dig the 50’s housewife look of this dress. It definitely has enough ease for sitting and eating man sized meals, so silver lining. The skirt was also full and long enough for me to sit crossed legged and not flash anyone, as you’ll see in this next photo. Great pattern, bad sewing! I’ll leave you with this adorable doggie picture, happy sewing 🙂

This is Minerva, one of my nursing puppy momma fosters. Don't judge her bod, she's feeding lots of pups!
This is Minerva, one of my nursing puppy momma fosters. Don’t judge her bod, she’s feeding lots of pups!
Stash busting (Gertie Pencil Skirt)

Stash busting (Gertie Pencil Skirt)

Real awkward posing this time, sorry.
Real awkward posing this time, sorry.

As I’ve already mentioned 283473987 times, I recently moved, which means I recently packed up all my fabric. Whoa. It’s insane how much fabric I have, that I’ve already used for other projects, with more than a yard remaining. Perhaps I should reevaluate my policy of always buying 4 yards, but…who am I kidding with that nonsense. Extra fabric is always a good thing!

Not pregnant, just like snacks.
Not pregnant, just like snacks.

Faced with the daunting task of moving all that extra fabric, I decided to stitch up a few things. Fabric is easier to move once it becomes a garment, in my crazy mind. Realizing that I also desperately need work wear, I landed pretty quick on pencil skirts from Gertie’s first book. I know I’ve been sewing a ton of her shit lately, but this really is my go-to pencil skirt. It’s crazy fast, doesn’t use much fabric, and I already have the pattern traced. Her newest book also has a pencil skirt, but tracing that was an extra step I just wasn’t prepared for, you know?

Yeah I realize that black shirt is too tight, shut up. Also, check out that sweet lazy eye.

I actually made three of these, but one of them is in the laundry, so you’ll just have to visualize it. Each skirt took about a yard of fabric. The first is stretch twill, leftover from my frankenpattern dress, which actually uses the pencil skirt pattern, no creative leaps here. The black is a poly stretch twill from Mood, leftover from my unblogged Sewaholic Robson trench. Third is the unphotographed blue satin, with fabric left over from my Nita wrap skirt.

Unflattering back view.
Unflattering back view.

Gertie gives you two options with this skirt waistband, interfacing or boning. I opted for the interfacing, simply because it’s quicker. I don’t enjoy sewing garments for work, so I really wanted to power through these quickly. If I remember correctly, the instructions are fairly easy to follow, but I honestly haven’t used them in ages. These stitched up in around an hour apiece, seriously simple sewing here. I cut a size four, I think, and the fight is tight, exactly how I wanted them. Definitely make sure your fabric has a decent amount of give, though. If not, more ease will keep you from an embarassing wardrobe malfunction! In the end, I needed work skirts, and these definitely fit the bill. I’m naming this a success stashing busting session, happy sewing 🙂

Gnome Pants Dress (Seamwork Adelaide)

Gnome Pants Dress (Seamwork Adelaide)

It's weird to actually button something all the way up.
It’s weird to actually button something all the way up.

It’s been a few weeks since I started this Adelaide dress from Seamwork Magazine, so I was really excited to get back into it. After the sudden loss of my beloved sewing machine, Rose, I was forced to find a new machine. A machine I would love, and that was in my budget. Keeping in mind that budget was about half a nickel ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I settled on a Brother SE400, which I am calling Donna Noble. It’s not the Pfaff I wanted, but so far she’s been great! Hopefully embroidery will be coming soon.

Photo bomb by Danner the wiener dog, who's totally available for adoption, FYI
Photo bomb by Danner the wiener dog, who’s totally available for adoption, FYI

When I actually got a chance to work on Adelaide, she came together surprisingly quickly. The back features double pointed darts, which are my absolute favorite, and the front features simple bust darts. The neckline and arm scythe are finished with packaged bias tape, and the hem is just a rolled hem. Instead of buttons, the pattern calls for snaps, which I find MUCH more satisfying. Hammer out those frustrations, you know?

She needs a good pressing.
She needs a good pressing.

I know I just said this pattern was easy, but it does have belt loops. Fuck belt loops, man. Using a loop turner is just beyond my grasp, my clumsy man hands will just not do it. Instead, I stitched some bias tape closed, lengthwise, and used that. It saved so much time! The pattern also features a belt, which is much easier to make. Speaking of the belt, I think I cinched mine way too tight in these pictures, it looks a bit weird, right? Oh and pockets, I added pockets.

My body is not lopsided, I just stand weird always.
My body is not lopsided, I just stand weird always.

I used a lovely but hard to find Cotton + Steel fabric for this, adorably called gnome pants. It’s a cotton lawn, which is about the most perfect fabric of all time. It sews beautifully, is lightweight and breathable, yet has some body. I would make my entire wardrobe out of cotton lawn if I could. That said, I don’t think this dress is the most flattering thing I’ve ever worn. I’m an hourglass shape, but I think it gives me a pear shape. I also think the arm sycthe lays weird, not sure what alteration I’d make to fit that? In these photos, I’m wearing a black cami underneath the dress, and which could be rolling up and adding weird bulk to the bottom. We’ll see upon further wearings.

See what I mean about the pear shaping?
See what I mean about the pear shaping?

All that aside, I did wear this dress all day, and it was super comfortable. I’m possibly just being too picky and weird about it. Anyway, it’s great to be back in front of a machine!! Happy sewing 🙂

Me-Made-May Wrap Up

Me-Made-May Wrap Up

mmmay16final

We made it!! We took selfies, evaluated our me-made wardrobes, found inspiration in other sewist’s posts. Since week five was so short, I decided to just add it to week four, and throw in some final thoughts, of course. So without further ado, here are the selfies:

Even in heels, I'm still the shortest.
Even in heels, I’m still the shortest.

Day one was my baby brother’s high school graduation, which seems just impossible. I wanted to wear something fun and celebratory, so of course I thought lemon dress. I threw my Gertie wrap top over it to make it less distracting. You’re gonna see that top many more times in this post.

Always coffee.
Always coffee.

You know the drill by now. Day two was a Monday, I drank a lot off coffee and was generally sleepy. I wore my Colette Crepe, because it’s super comfortable and easy.

Mega bitch face.
Mega bitch face.

Day three I wore what was probably my favorite outfit of the week. It was my frankenpattern dress, with the wrap top over it to make it workplace appropriate. I love it so much, I’m adding it to my weekly rotation.

It's a headless week.
It’s a headless week.

On the fourth day I wanted something simple and basic. My comfort zone revolves around black tanks and tees, so I threw on a black tank and the Nita wrap skirt. Minimal effort, totally in my comfort zone.

I. Love. This. Print.
I. Love. This. Print.

On day five, we had a cookout at work. I wanted to wear something festive, so I threw on my favorite wrap dress. Very flattering. Very festive.

I kept doing weird stuff with my face, so I had to chop it off.
I kept doing weird stuff with my face, so I had to chop it off.

At this point, we started to descend into the lesser worn, back of the closet me-made garments. This one is my Christmas party dress. I need to do minor alterations on this one to get some real wear out of it.

Grainy and overly filtered.
Grainy and overly filtered.

Over the weekend, we had a major heat wave in Ohio, which was kind enough coincide with moving day. Blarg. To try to stay cool, I drank beer and wore an ublogged Simplicity 1426 crop top. I fucking hate moving.

Man I miss long hair.
Man, I miss long hair.

Day one of the last week, I was exhausted from moving, not to mention sweaty as balls. As such, I forgot to take pictures of the tank I wore. So enjoy some old photography, and my missing long hair 🙁

Coffee and giant shades to hide the lack of makeup
Coffee and giant shades to hide the lack of makeup

Thankfully, I was off work for day two, so I spent the day unpacking and hanging out with the pups, while wearing this loose and flowy dress.

Sick of this wrap top yet?
Sick of this wrap top yet?

For the last day of Me-Made-May, I decided to wear the first dress I ever made, in my adult life. It’s an unblogged Sweetheart dress, from Gertie’s first book. Again with the wrap top, for work. And we made it!!

I was honestly impressed with how easy this was. I suppose I never realized just how many things I’ve made!! That said, I clearly need more coverups, and it wouldn’t hurt to have some comfortable casual garments. What did you guys think? I’m already looking forward to next year! Happy sewing 🙂

Me-Made-May Week 3

Me-Made-May Week 3

mmmay16final

You know the deal by now. It’s selfie time!

This is my Opa, talk any shit about him and I will hunt you down.
This is my Opa, talk any shit about him and I will hunt you down.

Unfortunately, on day one I attended a funeral. I have no witty or funny commentary about this, wore my Simplicity peplum top.

I look like my mother's clone here.
I look like my mother’s clone here.

Day two and Monday is back. I know it’s cliché to complain about Monday’s, but honestly, they are such a fucking bummer. I wore my first By Hand London Kim dress, because it was actually not freezing that day. Ohio is not doing me any favors, weather wise.

Mutt wants nothing to do with my selfie nonsense.
Mutt wants nothing to do with my selfie nonsense.

On day three I wore a Sewaholic Saltspring dress because it’s seriously comfortable and seriously spring-y. Also looked 12 years old, apparently. Angles are weird.

Not pictured:  terrible fucking hair day.
Not pictured: terrible fucking hair day.

For day four I wore one of my favorite makes, McCall’s 6696. It’s got it’s problems (the back is too poofy, that button placket drives me bonkers), but it’s well sewn. It’s also my first attempt at stripe matching and I don’t think I did too horribly.

Really clashing with the sweet office carpet.
Really clashing with the sweet office carpet.

Day five and I wore a comfy knit anchor print dress. I don’t wear a ton of knits, but I love this dress. That fabric is the best knit fabric I’ve ever used. Maybe it’s too much red with the cardigan and the lipstick, but I just don’t care.

I swear that waist band isn't actually crooked.
I swear that waist band isn’t actually crooked.

Day six was a bit of a sneak peek. I wore an unblogged Gertie pencil skirt, which I swear I’ll post about soon. I have two more waiting to bed worn!

I should not need a flannel in late May.
I should not need a flannel in late May.

It was fucking freezing on day seven. I had planned to wear a tank, but Ohio wasn’t having it. So I wore another Sewaholic Granville out to drinks. This weather is bullshit.

How are you doing with Me-Made-May? I’m starting to realize I’ve made way more items than I thought!