The 33rd Birthday Dress (Vogue 9253)

The 33rd Birthday Dress (Vogue 9253)

So awkward

I’m getting old, folks. This year for my birthday, I did a low key dinner with some friends. I was in bed at a semi-reasonable time, semi-sober. I went to 0 bars. I love bars, you guys. What’s happening to me!??! I suppose it’s fine, though, because I did get to wear a kick ass dress. Silver linings.

Biiiiiiiiiiiitch

The pattern is the ever popular Vogue 9253. I’m generally not such a big fan of the big 4 patterns, but they really seem to be nailing it this season. The deep V on this one was just screaming my name. It appears I’m not alone in that, either, as she seems to be the pattern of the summer. 9253 is a fairly easy and figure flattering pattern, it’s easy to see why she’s so loved. For the most part I followed the pattern instruction with this one. I did omit the zipper as I can get it on easily without one. I bias bound the entire neckline, it was just easier for me. I found the V to be a little too deep on me, shockingly. In the end I stitched the point up about an inch to prevent a wardrobe malfunction. I made no other edits to this pattern.

This is blurry thing is best back photo I managed ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I used two bargain precuts from Fabric Mart for this dress, which I can’t seem to find at the moment. It’s a very light weight and breathable rayon challis. I’m obsessed with rayon, it’s the perfect warm weather fabric to me. This yardage sewed up nicely and was easy to work with. It is a bit sheer if the light is shining right through, but I didn’t have any problems with that. I got loads of compliments on this! I think the floral goes really well with the 70’s vibe of the pattern. I think a cotton lawn would be lovely for this also, if you’re looking for something with a bit more structure. It really is quite lovely, I highly suggest it. Happy sewing 🙂

That lazy eye though
The Conservative Dress (BHL Eloise

The Conservative Dress (BHL Eloise

Do you guys ever get sick of this giant shrub thing?

I love pattern testing. Sometimes I think without pattern testing I’d just keep making the same patterns over and over again. This particular pattern, the Eloise from By Hand London is not something I would usually opt for, but she’s a welcome surprise nonetheless.

Or my endlessly rampant bitch face?

Eloise is a beautifully simple, well drafted pattern. If you’re a beginner sewist this would be a great pattern for you! The only fastner is a single button in the back with a small loop for fastening. The fit is loose, so fitting is not such an extreme issue. I opted for the sleeveless knee length version, because I’m all for maximum skin. The sewing was fairly simple though I did shorten the frill a bit because I’m short.   Also the hem is just serged not actually hemmed.  Just because I’m real fucking lazy.  My Eloise has a waist tie belt but you could do side seam tie backs. She is so comfortable! The only words of caution I have: that frill takes up a lot of fabric, so be careful with your fabric layout. You’ve been warned. ALSO. I realize there are no back photos here. I hate them.

Or this hair tie?

The fabric I used was originally intended for another dress. It’s black rayon challis, which I just kind of reordered to go with some leftover yardage I already had. It did not match my existing fabric soooo that plan was scrapped. I always want more black dresses, though, so it all works out. This challis is a bit coarse for my liking, no one else seems to have noticed it though. It’s also a bit see through, so I did opt to bias bind the neckline and armscye. I always have this bias tape on hand, it’s not the highest quality but it’s light and (I think) less stiff. For the button, I used a random one, probably from some discarded RTW dress. I think Eloise came together in an afternoon, just a really quick sew. In the solid conservative black fabric, I think all get a lot of wear out of her, at work. Give her a try, if you like! Happy sewing 🙂

The Delayed Dress (Seamwork Kimmy)

The Delayed Dress (Seamwork Kimmy)

Biiiiiiiiitch

Holy shit, it’s been awhile. I could tell you how busy life gets and make some excuses, but let’s be real, I’m kinda lazy and I hate photos of myself lately. Marie at A Stitching Odyssey recently posted about body issues and how it effects sewing, and oh man, I seriously relate. It’s hard to want to sew for a body you don’t like. I kind of had to force myself to start something, but finding a pattern wasn’t easy until…

The Seamwork Kimmy. I really wanted to switch from my usual super tight stuff to something I could feel comfortable in. Kimmy is a loose fitting frock with dolman sleeves and and an elastic waist. Seriously loved it from the moment I saw it. As it had been awhile since I’d made something, I really took my time with this one. All the seams (except the waist) are finished with single fold satin bias tape. I posted progress photos on my Instagram, I even seam ripped things I normally would let slide. I got back to really enjoying the sewing, folks. She’s still not perfect, but I had fun with it.

Awkward

I wanted to keep this fairly lightweight, something good for this beast of a summer. I didn’t feel like waiting for shipping, so I ended up with this floral from Joann’s. It’s not the great quality but it definitely fit the need. It’s a bit of a pain to sew poly satin binding to rayon, but it’s worth it I think. That said, the fabric had a defect (a hole) that I didn’t notice until I’d already finished the dress, so be wary.

 

The pattern itself was pretty easy to sew up, though there were a few things that kind of irked me.  The waist calls for braided elastic, but the pattern doesn’t give any insight on what size.   I just used what I had on hand.  It also calls for drawstring cording for the sleeves, but again, no size is specified.  I was going to make some just from my fabric, but I got lazy and didn’t.  I’m sure that’s not surprising.  While I did was a loose fitting garment, looking at the finished garment measurements, I didn’t want it to be quite that loose.  According to the size chart, I should have made a 10, but I opted for an 8.  For Seamwork members, there is a bonus wrap bodice option, which I really dig and will probably make next time.  I also think it would nice in a sheer fabric, as a swimsuit cover up.  I am planning to make more, and it’s great to be sewing again!  What do you do when you’re in a sewing funk?  Tips?  Tricks?

Whatever Pajamas (Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas)

Whatever Pajamas (Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas)

I started this project last year and then lost interest. It started to warm up here and flannel pjs were just not a priority. I’ve moved since then, and in that move I managed to lose the pattern and instructions. When I picked this back up a few Sundays back, I was straight up just winging it. Because historically, I’ve been sooo good at that. Right…

I think it’s pretty obvious why started this pattern. There’s no fucking way Harry Potter flannel was going to exist without me making pjs out of it. HOWEVER, I think snuggle flannel sucks balls. It’s crappy fabric that doesn’t hold up. Also it shrinks like crazy. Also I have an embargo on buying fabric from Joann. WHATEVER MAN.

For cozy pajamas, there could really only be one pattern, the Carolyn Pajamas. This pattern always seems so lux to me. Usually, I sleep in old tshirts and clearance section bottoms. To make a full on set of pajamas just seemed foreign to me. Which is exactly why I needed them. Piping, on something you sleep in! Wild, I tell ya.

PAJAMA POCKETS

Having never worked with piping before and not having any idea what size to use, of course I decided to make my own, like some kind of piping guru. This shit is HUGE, so big that it’s a pain in the ass to bend. I’ve gotta stop acting smarter than I am. So yeah, the piping looks like shit. Being honest, that’s where I lost steam here, really. I got sick of fighting with that, once I got to the top, and just wanted the project to be done. Seriously not my favorite. Grrr.

Brought in canine photo reinforcements.

I also think the bottoms are a bit too big, they sag and could just generally be better fitted. These are pajamas though, folks. For sleeping, when I don’t ever look cute anyway. WHATEVER. By the time it came to sewing buttonholes, I was not into it. Just wasn’t going to happen. There are buttons on this, but they are 100% fake. I stitched the button placket down and sewed the buttons on for show, this just slips over my head. Typing that, I realize you can’t even see the buttons in photos. Figures. You can, however, see the weird flippy outy thing the top does at the bottom. Enh, they’re for sleeping.

One last Albus photo for the day.

I know I should talk about pattern sizing, but truly I can’t remember what size I cut. Probably I could have sized down. From what I remember, the pattern instructions were easy to understand, I always find her patterns to be well drafted. Have you made pjs? Do you fuss with them or do you just take it easy? Happy sewing 🙂

Moneta Two (Colette Moneta)

Moneta Two (Colette Moneta)

I really have to get over my knit hatred. Lately I’ve been feeling like a moron for not realizing how easy and comfortable this shit is. Also I missed out on the Moneta for waaaaaaaaaay too long. Until I made this one in February of this year, in fact. THIS YEAR PEOPLE! I could have had comfortable work clothing for YEARS. Being a stubborn ass doesn’t always pay, folks.

You know those moments where you have no fucking clue what to sew? That’s how this dress was born. Looking around my sewing room at my fabric/pattern stash, I decided on another Moneta. I mean, it took me like 4 hours to lazily sew it, how could you not like that? The fabric is a sold out print from Craftsy that I bought on clearance back in January. To be honest, I don’t love it. When it stretches that white underside shows way too much and drives me nuts. So if you’re sad about not being able to purchase it now, don’t be, it kinda sucks a little.

Awkward back view

I made this pretty much as drafted, except I lined the bodice. The fabric is floppy and I like a more solid feeling bodice, for work wear. Looking at this version and my previous version, it becomes clear to me that I need to shorten the bodice. Obviously it’s going beyond my natural waist! Yuck. This is where it doesn’t help to avoid your own body, folks.

Derps

There’s really not much to say on this that hasn’t already been said 109384029834 times. This pattern is so popular, I’d be surprised to meet a sewist who hasn’t made it! I can say, though, I will be making several more. I’m going to be focusing on work wear more over the next month or so, with the exception of one cute dress for a wedding. Hope I don’t bore you guys! Happy sewing 🙂

The Velvet Muslin (Charm Patterns Rita Blouse)

The Velvet Muslin (Charm Patterns Rita Blouse)

I’m a super stubborn person. I get ideas in my giant head and I just can’t let them go. I’m always going to attempt it, even if these efforts are directly at odds with my insanely short temper. I may end up throwing a pin cushion, but damn it, I’m gonna make wearable muslin for a woven pattern in cheap stretch velvet? WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG!?

Constant RBF

Turns out, not that much really. The pattern is the Rita Blouse from Charm Patterns, which I received in return for my Kickstarter donation. The instructions were easy to follow and beautifully illustrated, I found no difficulty there. The pattern sews up pretty easily and quickly, I didn’t add a zipper (because of the stretch fabric) so I can’t really speak to that bit. I also added my elastic to the neckline differently, I personally just hate feeding elastic. To accommodate for the fabric difference, I did size down one size, though I kinda wish I’d done two. I also thing I might go back and add some elastic under the bust. I think using such a weird fabric causes the seam not to hug the body as much as I’d like.

And untucked!

The fabric is a black stretch velvet from Joann’s, which is a thing I swore off. I’m trying to use better fabrics, and this isn’t it, to be honest. But it’s fun and I only needed about a yard, so I’m not complaining. The thing I’ve found with velvet, though, is that you don’t really want to cut on the fold. It can be a bit shifty. Cut slow and cut in one layer and you’ll be fine. As for the sewing, I really didn’t have any problems sewing with this fabric. It feeds through my machine easily and smoothly, though it doesn’t leave lint EVERYWHERE. Be prepared to clean out your machine afterward!

For some reason, these pictures didn’t upload well? I swear they weren’t so grainy originally. My tech skills are lacking here. Also, if you’re wondering about the skirts, those are both me-mades as well! You can check out the Audrey Hepburn skirt here and the pencil skirt here. Nothing like an entirely me made outfit, is there? Nevertheless two! Have you guys checked out Charm Patterns? I’d love to see what everyone did with them! Happy sewing 🙂

The Last Wrap Dress (Vogue 8181)

The Last Wrap Dress (Vogue 8181)

The last wrap dress of the season, anyway. It’s starting to feel like fall here, which means it’s time to put away the sundresses and start working on jeans and coats. Blah real sewing! Before that happens, though, I wanted to get one last wrap dress in. I have really been living in these this year, the year of comfort. All of them have been easy, almost like secret pajamas but this one takes the cake…

Because it’s DBP. By DBP I of course mean double brushed poly, this one from LA Finch Fabrics. Hands done the softest fabric I have ever worn. I’ve heard people talk about how nice it is, but I didn’t really believe it until I used it. Take my word for it, it’s awesome. However, it is a fabric that “grows”. It also has a good bit of stretch, so factor that in. The pattern I used called for wovens or knits, so I definitely ended making some adjustments along the way.

Speaking of the pattern, I used Very Easy Very Vogue 8181, circa 1971. It’s a seriously fantastic pattern, I definitely intend to make more next summer. Vintage patterns can be hard to find, but I usually get mine (including this one) on Etsy. For me, it’s the easiest place. I’m far from an expert on the subject, so go with whatever you’re comfortable with, just try vintage patterns. I’m telling you, they’re fantastic.

Speaking of the pattern, I did make a few alterations. For starters, I moved the waistband opening, where the tie pulls through. I didn’t particularly care for the amount of coverage I was getting, so I moved to opening toward the front a bit. I also shortened the tie straps, with the stretch of the fabric they were just sooooooo long. If I was a smarter lady, I would have interfaced the bodice pieces as well. I don’t care for the stretch there, I wouldn’t mind a bit of support. I also totally, lazily, didn’t hem the skirt at all. It’s knit! Fuck it.

Other than these things, it’s pretty much just the pattern as is. The world’s most comfortable wrap dress. How’s your summer sewing going? Are you still at it or are you transitioning into fall wear? I’ve really enjoyed the ease and comfort of summer, but I am looking forward to challenge of more structured garments. Speaking of that: wool coating. Where do you guys buy it? Help a girl out!

The 32nd Birthday Dress (Simplicity 7484)

The 32nd Birthday Dress (Simplicity 7484)

I’ve been a terrible blogger lately, I know! I promised you guys a maxi sewalong wrap up post, and I SWEAR I’ll write that this week. Swear it. I’ve been struggling with how to display all the fabulous makes vs. my limited technical skills. It’s a problem. Additionally, work has been nuts. Excuses I know, but I don’t want anyone to think I forgot about them! Until I can get that post up, I wanted to share at least something. This dress is equally as old, my birthday was the 27th, but I wanted to post it nevertheless. The pattern may look familiar and it’s yet another lemon dress, but I think it’s worth talking about anyway. Here we go…

The pattern is vintage, Simplicity 7484, which you may recognize as last year’s maxi pattern. I wear the shit out of that dress, so I knew I wanted to make another this year. I’m all about rayon lately, so for the the fabric, I went with this amazing navy lemon fabric from Etsy. It comes in both white and navy, and it is just a dream. It has a very lovely “wobble” and is just the right weight for summer.

Even though I love the fabric weight, I knew I would need to line the bodice cups. I prefer not to announce the temperature, if you know what I mean. I also had a bit of a problem with the bodice front gaping on my previous version, so I added a little clear elastic along the edge this time. This was all brilliant in theory, but for the life of me, I couldn’t get the fucking notches on the bodice to match up on the waistband. In end, I said fuck it, gathered it a bit, and moved on. Being honest, I don’t really love the gathered look. I might eventually unpick the seam and redo it. But…I think we all know I’m pretty lazy, so don’t count on it! Other than these changes, it’s basically the same as my previous version, I won’t bore you with repetitive pattern details.

I also didn’t properly hem this. Its’ on my list of things to do, I swear. Of course I finished this dress last minute, quite literally. I finished it actual minutes before I had to run out the door to meet friends for dinner. It was hectic. I kinda wish I had made the maxi version, but I’m not smart and just didn’t order enough fabric. I’m a hot mess, that’s what I’m trying to say in this post.

Despite the shenanigans, I have worn this dress, unhemmed 😨, since then. Don’t even care. It’s so easy to wear and fits in with my summer of no bras initiative. No zippers or buttons to fuss with, just slip on, tie a knot, and go about your day. Comfort is king around here lately, which is a big change from the corsets and boning of years past. I suppose the older you get, the less fucks you give? Or is that just me? I hope your summer sewing is going well, stay tuned for a maxi wrap up (I promise) and one more halter dress. Happy sewing 🙂

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Maxi Sewalong-My Dress (By Hand London-Orsola Dress)

Maxi Sewalong-My Dress (By Hand London-Orsola Dress)

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but #maxisewalong2017 wraps up tomorrow!!! Get your makes in by noon Eastern time for a chance to win a pattern from By Hand London or a $50 gift card from LA Finch Fabrics. Speaking of those lovely folks, let’s talk about my dress…

I took these early in the morning, pardon the puffy face.

As I mentioned last week, I opted to use the Orsola dress pattern (lengthened) and some very lovely rayon from LA Finch Fabrics. I toyed with the idea of changing up the skirt portion, to kind of of give it a similar shape to last year’s maxi, but opted to keep the original shape. I’ve been sewing a lot of 70’s style wrap dresses recently (you’ll see those soon), so I kinda wanted to switch it up with a more modern look.

To get a maxi length, I added 23″ inches to the skirt portion. There are no guidelines for where to lengthen the Orsola, so use your best judgement. Anywhere between the notches and where the skirt curves should be fine I’d think? It was a bit difficult to measure myself for this, admittedly the skirt is a bit too long. I have on heels in these photos but it still needs to taken in a bit. I also opted to skip the skirt facing, purely out of laziness. Let me tell you, BHL put a skirt facing in this pattern for a reason. Getting this hem to lay flat was a BITCH, and in some places, it really doesn’t even do it. Whatever dude. I also opted to skip the stay stitching on the bodice, à la Elisalex, to give the back a bit more drape and flow. Thanks for the inspiration, lady!

My favorite part

I used two different rayons for this, a solid black rayon challis and a lovely rayon voile. I love love love these! The challis has a bit more structure and it isn’t quite as drapey or silky. While the voile has more drape and feels heavenly, it frays like crazy. The challis also presses a bit better than the voile. Both are lovely, luckily I have enough left over to make tops from each!

I really enjoyed this make, and of course, this sewalong. I really hope you’re all enjoying it too! Check out Instagram tomorrow around 3:00pm Eastern time, I’ll be doing a live drawing for winners. As a last reminder, submissions are due tomorrow, July 27th, at noon Eastern time. You can submit your makes by using the tag #maxisewalong2017 on IG, posting in the Facebook group, or e-mailing me directly. As a note, if I haven’t liked or commented on your maxi posts on social media, I haven’t seen it! Please make sure your account is public, and feel free to tag me, sewnbyashley. Happy sewing 🙂

Maxi Sewalong-My Picks

Maxi Sewalong-My Picks

 

We’re just 8 days away from the end of our sewalong!  I’m blown away by the submissions so far, you guys have some serious skills.  Last week we went over somefabric ideas, and the week before, pattern ideas. This week, I felt like it was time to finally talk about what I’m making, along with some options that were so nearly chosen. First off, pattern…

Surprise surprise, it’s from By Hand London. It may seem bias because they are fabulously sponsoring us, but if you follow my posts at all, you’ll notice the bias is nothing new. Orsola fits in so beautifully with my summer wrap dress obsession, it was really a no brainer. That said, Orsola does not come drafted as a maxi length dress. I will be lengthening the skirt, and maybe altering the shape a bit à la last year’s maxi. But then again, maybe not. I do think Orsola has a beautiful skirt shape, there’s something more “grown up” about it to me. What do you guys think? I have 8 yards of fabric, so definitely enough to do whatever! Speaking of fabric…

I opted to use two fabrics from LA Finch Fabrics, another fantastic sponsor. I had a really hard to choosing fabrics and resisting my natural urge to wear all black. As a compromise, I decided to do the bodice in a very nice black rayon challis and the skirt in the lovely rayon viole pictured above, which appears to be unavailable at the moment. Blargh! When I told you guys I was obsessed with rayon, I wasn’t lying!\.

Originally, I’d planned to do the Anna dress in the black rayon challis I mentioned above, with some neckline embroidery. Being totally honest, I decided against Anna because I was afraid of embroidering rayon. I’ve not done much of it, and I just don’t quite have the balls yet. I also toyed with the idea of doing Anna in a print, such as…

This blue rayon challis. I love the print and the geometric design, but in the end, blue + geometric was just too far out of my comfort zone. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit!

To see everyone’s makes so far, check out our Facebook group or Instagram, I’ll be sharing your makes all through out the sew along. #maxisewalong2017 wraps up July 27th 12:00pm eastern time, so get your submission in before then for a chance to win a prize from Finch Fabrics or By Hand London!! Stay tuned for the live prize drawing next week! Happy sewing 🙂