Lemon Dress Part II (Sewaholic Lonsdale)

Lemon Dress Part II (Sewaholic Lonsdale)

The sun was in my eyes for all of these, so weird faces are imminent.

Every year at the beginning of spring, I break out my summer dresses and wonder why I haven’t made more from each pattern. Such was the case when I wore my Octopus dress a few weeks ago. The pattern is Sewaholic Lonsdale and my oh my is it amazing. My previous version was in an AMAZING lawn from Cotton & Steel, I’m obsessed with it. The fabric is so soft and feels wonderful, the pattern is super flattering and comfortable. I forgo the strapless bra about half the time with this one, ladies you KNOW that’s an achievement.

Legit almost fell down right after this photo.

So obviously I knew I wanted more of these in my closet. This year I’m all about light, easy summer dresses, see Instagram for further evidence of this growing problem! The problem with wanting an army of lovely summer dresses is that you have to find lovely summer dress fabric. I’ve currently put a halt on my fabric buying, my stash is out of control, so I had to rely on what I have. Thanking my past self, I found this lovely lemon fabric deep in the hoard. It’s the last bit of yardage that remained at my local Joann’s, sadly it’s discontinued. Trust me when I say sadly, I legitamately mourned this fabric. It’s a lovely sateen, much lighter than other sateens. I sewed up a strapless dress in it last summer, and it’s still one of my favorite makes.

Shadow face

The pattern is fairly simple to construct, the instructions are clear and well written. There is a sew along that comes in handy during the trickier parts, like the upper front bodice sections. Tasia, wherever you are, you are brilliant. I always find her patterns so easy to follow and sew alongs so helpful! Anyway, I digress…

Tied the back too tight, loops look weird. Oops.

For this pattern, I cut a size 10. Though Sewaholic patterns are drafted for a pear shape and I’m an hourglass, this dress isn’t fitted through the hips so I didn’t fuss with alterations there. I do find the skirt to be much too long for me, so I did a very lazy alteration there. I cut the skirt length to the smallest size, and did a 1 1/2 inch hem. Also, this pattern is a serious fabric hog, calling for 4 1/2 yards. I didn’t have that, so I cut on a single layer to save fabric. I still came up a little short on fabric though, so the straps are a few inches shorter than drafted.

Those shoes though

I am so stoked to have another Lonsdale in my closet! I hated to use up the last of my beloved lemon fabric, but I think it was worth it. What about you, are you in summer sewing mode yet?

Knit Mania Continues (Jennifer Lauren Handmade-Gable Dress)

Knit Mania Continues (Jennifer Lauren Handmade-Gable Dress)

My new favorite thing is looking to the side for no reason

Do you remember a few years back, when Girl Charlee had a huge Black Friday sale? Well, I bought a ton of shit. Most of which I still have, because I don’t typically sew knits. Why I bought so many, I’ll never be able to rationalize. ANYWAY. One of those fabrics was this Red Glasgow print that you see above.

Many furry photobombs are included in this post.

More recently, the lovely Jen of Jennifer Lauren Handmade sent me the Gable Dress expansion pack. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because I’ve made the Gable Top before, which you can see here and here. I must admit I was pretty stoked about it, I loved making the top and it is SO fast.

No face for you.

The Gable Dress sews up just as quickly. It does feature an edited bodice, so you will want to buy the expansion pack, and not just add a skirt. It’s only $3.50, honestly it’s worth it. As per the usual, I kind of disregarded the instructions again. Having sewn the top before, and fresh of my first clear elastic gathering on the Moneta, I wasn’t too worried.

I HATE THIS VIEW SO MUCH

Despite the pattern being super easy, I really put this one off. That’s partly because life is hectic, but mostly because of this fabric. I was nervous about a plaid for something with a gathered skirt, knowing it wouldn’t line up. Such a bummer! Also my machine just really hated this fabric. No amount of fiddling with the stitches fixed that. Eventually, I just gave up and accepted it for what it was.

See the wavy, wonky stitching?

I must confess, I wish the bodice and sleeves were a bit more snug. I’m not saying that’s a fault with the pattern, just that I like tight fitting clothing. Other than that, I really don’t have any complaints. It’s a great, simple dress that is just perfect for work. Going completely against everything I am, I like the high neckline. Eventually, I will get my chest done and have to cover that up during the day. Between this and the Moneta, my work wardrobe is becoming more knit dress than pencil skirts. Photo dump below, happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

Moneta Party Moneta (Colette Moneta, duh)

Moneta Party Moneta (Colette Moneta, duh)

The dreaded nose profile

For someone who’s not very good at using it, I am obsessed with Instagram. I am constantly stalking Doctor Who pages and envying the sewing skills of other sewcialists. During my cyber stalking, I’ve come across many a Moneta, each of them adorable, but I am not much of a knit sewist. Then Elle of Sew Positvitiy posted about the Moneta Party she helped start, and suddenly, I needed a Moneta.

I tried to cover my giant leg bruise, clearly that didn’t work

I have a very hard time finding knits locally. I basically have Joann’s, and their knit selection always leaves me wanting. There are a few small local boutique-type fabric stores, but quite a few are exclusively quilting, or the hours are just impossible for me. So to the interwebs I went. I ended up on the Craftsy site, where they were having a fantastic clearance sale. I picked out this fun bird print that I used for my Moneta, plus two other knits, all at a steal.

Swish

Colette offered a 20% discount, and I used a random black swim fabric from the stash for the bodice lining and collar. I probably have $30 invested in this dress, including the reusable pattern. Making things even better, I probably only have three hours of work in this dress. I pieced it together in little bursts of sewing activity, max of an hour, most 30 minutes or so. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Honesty time: I actually did take back photos, but I hate the way my arms look.

Moneta really is as easy as everyone says. My main frustrations were all fabric related. Cutting this slippery, drapey fabric on my glass kitchen table was no picnic. Also this fabric presses like shit, and by that I mean it pretty much doesn’t. When it came to stitching the bodice and lining together at the armholes, I ended up using wonder clips instead of relying on pressing. Just clipped it together, then flipped it, adjusted the clips, and stitched. I know that doesn’t make sense if you don’t have the pattern, but hopefully if you do, you can picture it.

If you’d stalked me on Instagram, you would have already seen this one

The only thing I didn’t really love about the pattern was attaching the collar. The neckline seams aren’t really all tucked inside, just hidden under the collar. I have no idea how I expected it to be done, really, so it’s not much of a gripe. I also loathe sewing with clear elastic, but you can’t deny the benefits of it, so I’ll keep that to myself. I realize I didn’t get any decent photos of the collar, my bad. I really REALLY need to take a photography class or something. Overall, though, this was a fun sew and a really comfortable, flattering garment. Big thanks to the lovely Triple Stitchers for the motivation, and for giving me a new hashtag to stalk! Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

The Purple Rain Dress (By Hand London Flora Dress)

The Purple Rain Dress (By Hand London Flora Dress)

The aesthetic of these photos is a lot more “goth-ish hipster in a basement” than I intended.

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? My apologies for that, January is not my favorite month. Now that we’re through with apologies, the dress. The pattern is the Flora Dress from By Hand London. I’ve made it before, and you can see some pretty terrible photos of that dress here. We all know I have a love affair with this pattern company, and also cleavage, so it was only a matter of time before I made this again.

Cameo by the camera battery charger.

For this version, I opted to use this stretch velvet I found at Joann. Velvet seems very on trend lately (have I ever been on trend?), and I’ve recently started a love affair with stretch wovens. Since making my Christmas party dress in stretch satin, I feel like I’ve entered a whole new world. No zippers!! Satin and velvet are both difficult fabrics (MORE ON THAT SHIT LATER), so I jumped on the chance to avoid trying to install a zipper.

Look ma! No zip

The Flora dress has a lined bodice, and I really debated on what to use. I didn’t want to use the velvet because boob sweat is a thing, but I still needed something with stretch. In the end, I opted for the previously mentioned stretch black satin. Folks, that was a fucking stupid choice. Imagine, if you will, sewing shifty velvet to slippery satin. I shouted. I drank wine. All to no avail. In the end, I had to concede that my sewing skills were just not really up to the task, and accepted some garment flaws. I REALLY wanted to finish this garment, you guys, so I refused to be defeated. Now, you may be thinking to yourself “But Ashley, it’s not finished! You haven’t even hemmed it!” You’d be right. I was a good sewist and let it hang over night, with every intention to hem it the next day after work. But…I just wasn’t up to it. You see, velvet needs to be hemmed by hand, and we all know hand sewing isn’t my favorite. I will mostly likely even out and hem Flora this weekend, I swear.

Wiiiinnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeee

For construction, I just did everything from memory, I didn’t look at the instructions at all. I assembled the bodice and lining, except for the side seams, and then attached them along the neckline and armholes. I then pulled the fabric through and stitched the side seams in one long seam. Easy peasy. I cut a US 10, which is my usual size in BHL. Normally I shorten the straps, but here I didn’t, I think they’re ok. When it came to basting the front bodice pieces together, I totally ignored the pattern markings. I slipped the bodice on, and just went with what I was comfortable with. Kind of just overlapped them and pinned it in place.

I somehow took no side view photos of this, my bad.

For the skirt, I sewed the pleats and attached the pieces as normal, except for the zipper situation. When it came time to attach the skirt to the bodice, I broke my walking foot 😭 I’ve gotta stop buying cheap shitty ones off Amazon. As a consequence, the side seams and pleats don’t really line up. WHATEVER MAN. I also struggled with finishing the waist seam, because velvet+lining+darts+pleats=mega bulky seams. I tried to trim the bulk as well as I could and hand turned the wheel through the rough bits.

In addition to no side views, I also set my tripod WAY too low. Well done, self.

Speaking of bulk, I think all those folded and wrapped layers make the waist area look bulkier than it should. If I was a smart girl, I would have slashed the darts open and trimmed the bulk then. I did not do that, because derp. I’m super self conscious about my waist size anyway, so this added bulk was really bumming me out. To combat that, I put a corset on underneath my dress. Not only did it help my waistline, it also made my boobs look extra fantastic. Overall, I don’t hate the results. It’s not the best made garment, but for something to get my out of my sewing funk, it’s not so bad. It’s good to have my sewjo back!! Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

Sequin Party Dress (By Hand London Charlie Dress)

Sequin Party Dress (By Hand London Charlie Dress)

Will I ever learn to smile? Probably not.
Will I ever learn to smile? Probably not.

Sometimes, I wonder what life is like for people who don’t do every single thing at the absolute last minute. For about three weeks, I knew I wanted to make a sequin and satin dress for my work Christmas party. Naturally, I started it two days before the party, even though I have no experience sewing sequins. Super smart, right? It’s truly a miracle that this dress is even mostly finished.

Cold, dead eyes.
Cold, dead eyes.

I wanted to use a fairly simple pattern for this, I really wanted the fabrics to be the focus. The lovely ladies at By Hand London were kind enough to gift me with their Charlie dress pattern, and it just seemed perfect. I opted to make variation 2, with the 3/4 circle skirt. I also left the bodice band off, I can never get those to lay right on me. Since I was using satin, I decided to line the bodice for some structure. I shortened the straps a bit (which I normally do), and hacked about three inches of the skirt length. Easy peasy!

blargh.
blargh.

Now, the fabric. For the main fabric I used this stretch satin, and I am SO glad I did. Why? Because it had just enough stretch that I didn’t have to put the side zip in!! Really, really wasn’t looking forward to sewing a zipper into that sequined skirt. Very stoked. For the sequined fabric and the straps, I’m afraid I have no fabric links for you. Both were gifted to me by my dear friend Danielle, and I have no idea when or where she got them. Sorry!! I can tell you I’m wearing this petticoat here, and it’s fantastic. Just the right amount of body.

img_1014

For the most part, I followed the pattern instructions. Charlie is a very straight forward pattern, I can’t imagine how to muck it up. For the straps, I assembled them as directed, and then tacked the rose trim down every two roses. I have no idea if this is the correct way, folks. I also realize I have no decent pictures of them, my bad! To attach them to the bodice, I just sandwiched them between lining and bodice, right sides together, stitched and pressed. For the skirt overlay, I basted the sequin fabric to the satin, wrong side to right side. Then I just sewed them as one. Hopefully at least some of that made sense? That’s really all I have to say on it, it’s truly very simple. I have a few more photos below, happy sewing!

img_1016

img_1018

img_1022

The Dog Hair Coat (Sewaholic Minoru)

The Dog Hair Coat (Sewaholic Minoru)

Pondering hoods.
Pondering hoods.

I try to make a coat every year, but this year, I was really stumped as to which one to make. Originally, I’d planned to make the Quart coat from Pauline Alice, but I procrastinated buying wool until it was far too late. One of my least favorite thing about living in Cincinnati is the severe lack of fabric shops. We have Joann’s, quite a few quilting stores, and a few small fabric stores that sell apparel fabric (looking at you, Fiberge), but ZERO big, quality fabric stores. As far as I know, there’s not a single place to buy wool coating in the area! I mean what the fuck, Cincinnati.

Hidden pockets!
Hidden pockets!

So with fabric needs in mind, I settled on the Sewaholic Minoru. My dear friend Amy of That’s Sew Amy made one awhile back, andย it’s awesome. ย I love that it’s really a good daily wear coat, unlike my houndstooth coat. It also doesn’t hurt that Tasia posted a killer step by step sewalong. While my coat is far from perfect, it’s the most professional looking garment I’ve ever made, and that’s 100% thanks to the sewalong.

I accidentally bought a double zip and felt like you needed to see it.
I accidentally bought a double zip and felt like you needed to see it in action.

I knew I wanted my Minoru to be more of a coat than a jacket, so to make it warmer, I interlined it with snuggle flannel from my stash. I hate snuggle flannel, but it’s warm, so hiding it in inside my coat seemed perfect. I followed Tasia’s recommendation and basted it to my lining fabric. Snuggle flannel is printed on one side and white on the back, so I basted them wrong side to wrong side, as I was afraid the flannel print would show through. If you’d like to see progress shots of that kind of thing, I tend to post it on Instagram. For my main fabric, I used a black twill, with no stretch. All of these fabrics came from Joann, and I can’t find a single one on their website. Sorry! I can tell you the lining is part of their “silky prints” collection, and I swear I’ve seen it there recently.

Meet Tonks!
Meet Tonks!

I made very few changes to the pattern, other than the interlining. I opted to do pearl snaps instead of velcro on the inner pockets, because that’s what I had on hand. Like many others, I also added side seam pockets, because a coat without outer pockets is just silly. I also sized down quite a bit. According to the size chart, I should have cut a size 12, but I went with an 8 instead. ย I tried on Amy’s jacket in a size 4, it’s zipped but was a bit too snug, so I took a gamble and cut a straight 8. ย Everyone knows I love close fitting garments. ย You guys…I didn’t have to add ANY length to the arms. That is unheard of! I think the fit is really good, though I wish I’d shortened the waist a bit. The waist elastic is just a little too low. As mentioned above, I also added a double zip. Totally unintentional, that’s just what I accidentally bought so of course I used it.

Back view.
Back view.

Overall, I’m really stoked on this coat. That said…the twill attracts dog hair like nothing else. While it doesn’t wrinkle nearly as badly as I expected, it does look wrinkled in these photos. I’d worn it a few times since finishing it, and it could really do with a good pressing. Whatever, it’s a great coat, I’m even wearing it right now. I’m running out of things to say, but I still have more photos for you guys, so prepare for a boat load of photos below. I do realize Tonks is much much prettier than me or my coat, so feel free to be distracted by her! Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

Hood details.
Hood details.
Collar tucked into the hood pocket here, looking super bitchy again.
Collar tucked into the hood pocket here, looking super bitchy again.

img_0995 img_1009 img_1007 img_0999 img_0965 img_0952
img_0951

A Palette Cleanser (Jennifer Lauren Handmade Gable Top)

A Palette Cleanser (Jennifer Lauren Handmade Gable Top)

Trying to yell at dogs with my eyes.
Trying to yell at dogs with my eyes.

After a difficult project, I always find myself craving an easy project. My denim jacket took forever, so I definitely wanted an easy success! I decided on the the Gable Top from Jennifer Lauren Handmade, as I’ve made it before, I know it to be quick and easy pattern.

What up double chin
What up double chin

I opted to use a discontinued cameo print thermal knit from Girl Charlee. I bought the fabric last year during their huge holiday sale, and have been unsure about what to do with it ever since. The fabric doesn’t have the stretch I need for the pattern, so I sized up from a 12 to a 14. That’s the only alteration I made! I honestly don’t have much to say about this make, I believe I said almost everything in my last post.

Always fiddling with shit.
Always fiddling with shit.

I made the long sleeve version this time, because duh, thermal. The instructions tell you to do the sleeve a bit differently, but I treated it just like the short sleeved version. Next time, I’ll add about 2″ to the sleeves, they are way too short for my long arms!! I think I would also taper them in a bit at the end, just for personal preference. I like a fitted sleeve. Other than that, the fit seems actually pretty good for me. I’m standing weird in the back view photo below, I don’t think it typically gathers as much in the back. I really, REALLY hate back view photos, you guys. I keep trying to stand different ways to look less weird and nothing works. Blargh. Photo dump below, happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

img_0920

img_0925

img_0918

img_0921

The Jacket that Didn’t Want to Be (Butterick 6390)

The Jacket that Didn’t Want to Be (Butterick 6390)

Mega bitch face
Mega bitch face

I have always wanted a jean jacket, one that actually fit my spaghetti arms. This pattern, Butterick 6390 was the perfect candidate for me, cropped and feminine, but with all the details I love so much. Gertie’s version have her signature vintage flair, but I opted for something a little more traditional.

I know I know, wrinkly dress.
I know I know, wrinkly dress.

The main fabric is a denim from Joann’s, unfortunately I’m not sure which one! I do know it has 2% stretch, though. Originally, I’d purchased the yardage to make a test pair of Ginger jeans, but you know…new patterns are fun. Plus jeans are scary as shit! For the lining, I opted to use this mammoth flannel from Robert Kaufman. The patterns calls for a lighter weight, silkier fabrics, but I wanted this to be warm and cozy!

I woke up early to take these and it shows. So cranky.
I woke up early to take these and it shows. So cranky.

I’m going to be honest, this fucking jacket fought me every step of the way. In the beginning, my machine struggled with top stitching thread. I used a good quality Gutermann, thankfully I adjusted the tension (to 7) and got past that. Then, as per the usual, I struggled with the sleeve opening and cuff. I’ve never done a cuffed sleeve without a placket, my brain just couldn’t comprehend it. I had to walk away. Fast forward to attaching the waistband…my walking foot broke. You should know that I sew everything with the walking foot, I can’t remember the last time I used the “j” foot. Believe me when I tell you, I was distraught. I cried, I cursed, I threw things. I finished the waistband kind of shittily with unevenly fed layers. OH WELL MAN.

Still pissy about that walking foot.
Still pissy about that walking foot.

You just have to persevere, right? Now, I must admit, my machine made a mockery of the buttonholes, and I didn’t even care. They exist, they serve their purpose, that’s about all I’m asking for right now. I wanted to wear this thing to Thanksgiving, show off my sweet patches. Which are the Browncoats symbol from Firefly, the Doctor Who logo circa 9, and the Deathly Hallows symbol from Harry Potter, btw. I have a Torchwood patch somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. Bummer, I know.

Check out those seams, yo.
Check out those seams, yo.

Despite all this bitching and all the issues, I’m happy with end result. All the seams are flat felled seams, which always makes me happy. The pattern calls for top stitching on both sides of the seams, but I only did the one. I also used a coordinating thread color, because I was afraid my top stitching would be shit. I almost wish I hadn’t, though, because my stitching is actually pretty good! Other than dual top stitching, I also changed up the pattern by using jean buttons instead of regular buttons. I like hammering things, plus I like the look they give the jacket. I need to add them to the pockets, but I ran out. Beyond that, the only change I made was to size up to a straight 16. Based on measurements, I should have sewn a 12, but I wanted room to wear a hoodie or sweater underneath. I hope I didn’t scare you off, it really is a pattern worth sewing! Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

Alix Dress Pattern Tester (By Hand London Alix Dress)

Alix Dress Pattern Tester (By Hand London Alix Dress)

Prancin' around
Prancin’ around

Sewing time has been very limited for me as of late, but I always make time to test for my favorite pattern companies. When By Hand London, sent over their Alix Dress, I was super stoked to cut into it! Alix comes in three lengths (tunic top, minidress, and maxi), I opted for the maxi length. Generally, I do believe shorter is better, but a can wear a maxi length dress to work without have to put on tights! For me, that’s just fucking fantastic.

Really showing off my Dumbledore nose here.
Really showing off my Dumbledore nose here.

Alix is definitely a style departure for me. She has a definite 70’s feel, with billowy sleeves and a flowing skirt. The sleeves and flowing skirt are so comfortable, though. The bodice is lowcut, but not too lowcut, just enough. There are no zippers or buttons here, the wast ties give it shape. It still feels so elegant though! We’re talking next level secret pajamas here.

One strand of uncurled hair, as per the usual
One strand of uncurled hair, as per the usual

I followed the pattern almost exactly, cutting a US size 10 (UK 14), and adding my standard 2″ to the sleeves. Oh and pockets, of course I added inseam pockets. I used black poly peachskin from Joann’s, which is not exactly the ideal fabric for this. Head to toe poly? Yikes! But it was the only black swishy fabric I could find in the appropriate width (maxi length requires a wider fabric), so I made due. It’s actually not bad for fall, though in the spring and summer, I’d prefer a rayon, perhaps.

Always fiddling with m skirt
Always fiddling with m skirt

I almost wish there was a bit more room in the bust, I will probably add that for my tunic version. Other than that, I have no problems with Alix! The directions were easy to follow and as detailed as always. It’s super comfortable to wear, yet still elegant. I wore mine out last night for a witch-themed charity event, and got so many compliments. Are you planning to sew up an Alix dress? Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

Even more Kim Dresses (By Hand London Kim Dress, duh)

Even more Kim Dresses (By Hand London Kim Dress, duh)

My bangs need to be upgraded.  Get it?  Because Cybermen
My bangs need to be upgraded. Get it? Because Cybermen

Anytime I don’t know what to do with a fabric, I immediately think of the Kim Dress. The princess seams suit prints better than darts, in my mind, at least. I’ve made this pattern a few times, and BHL dresses tend to fit me pretty well without a lot of fuss, which is great for someone without a lot of free time. Now, that said, they are tight. I like tight, if you don’t, size up. Whatever floats your boat!

Nothing says "this series really isn't for children" like a mini dress, right?
Nothing says “this series really isn’t for children” like a mini dress, right?

Both the Harry Potter fabricand the Doctor Who fabric are quilting cotton, and the Kim Dress really lends itself to such fabrics. You don’t need any stretch, and it comes together so so easily. FYI, you will never convince me there’s a better way to sew a fully lined bodice than the way Kim is done. Seriously, it’s the best. We’re talking burrito method levels of magic! That said, I opted not to line the Harry Potter version you see here, entirely because I just wanted to see how I’d like it bias finished. Spoiler: It’s not as good, just line the damn thing.

Serious question:  do you guys ever just wish I'd take the damn hair tie off my wrist??
Serious question: do you guys ever just wish I’d take the damn hair tie off my wrist??

As I said, I’ve made this pattern before, this one being one of my most complimented makes. In all honesty, I haven’t used the skirt portion of the pattern for any of these. Not because they aren’t lovely, because they certainly are. Only because I’m lazy and I didn’t want to pin and cut the pattern piece. Each of these have been made just using a rectangle of fabric. For today’s versions, the rectangle was a good deal smaller, because that’s how much fabric I had. Previously, I did large pleats. This time, I just did a few simple gathers. No biggie.

Back isn't broken, just awkward.
Back isn’t broken, just awkward.

The only alteration I made was to take off half an inch at the shoulder seams. I have short shoulders, so this is fairly common for me. Other than that…I don’t really have a lot to add, sorry. If you’re making one for the first time, you could always construct the lining as your muslin. Princess seams and side seams are super easy to adjust! As I mentioned before, the pattern doesn’t have a lot of ease, so if you’re in doubt, size up! Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚