I’ve been wearing my first pair of Dawn jeans to death, and they have developed some holes! I’ve patched them but I needed a second pair in my rotation (once it cools down, right now i cannot imagine wearing tight jeans in this heat). Inspiration struck and I decided to sew another pair from my stash using some made-in-the-USA Cone Mills denim from Threadbare fabrics.
I didn’t do anything to this denim before sewing it, they are truly RAW. we’ll see if i regret this. I basted the inseam and the side seams, tried them on, and was shocked by how well they fit. when i finished the waistband and belt loops, i put them on and i couldn’t close them. my last pair started out pretty good but stretched out, so i decided to wear them around the apartment for a few hours. after 1 day of wearing them around the house i went to get the buttons installed and i was able to close the jeans! they are still quite tight and are going to take some more breaking in to be comfortable.
after I finished constructing the jeans, I went to Star Snaps NYC to have rivets and buttons installed. I installed the rivets and buttons myself for my last pair, and doing this without the right equipment or access to space where its okay to make hammering noises was really challenging. They did a fab job and I totally recommend their services.
It appears that it is the Summer of Denim, because I made these shorts right after I made a pair of jeans. I haven’t posted about the jeans yet because its been too damn hot to wear them and get some photos. Instead, here are the shorts.
I used the Grainline Maritime shorts pattern, I have made them a few times and I liked the fit. They aren’t high rise, just a regular old medium rise, and there are no belt loops. They were a very quick sew. After I finished the pockets, I happened to see Debbie’s version with bias-finished pocket linings, so I went back in and applied bias tape I had lying around for a prettier interior finish. I like the print mixing result.
Not too much else to say about these, but I am glad I have a pair of JORTS again.
This is the wide-strap maxi dress from Peppermint Magazine. I had considered making it before, but I wasn’t sold on the silhouette or the elasticized back. However, I came across a really beautiful version and decided to give it a go.
This dress is breezy and on-trend. I used a naturally-dyed Khadi cotton from A Verb for Keeping Warm. I had juuust enough fabric, 3 yards, but the fabric is only 38″ wide. I choose size C based on the finished measurements, rather than going off the size guide.
the swish factor is really great, and the finishes are very professional. The stealthy bust dart is doing a lot to make the dress feel more feminine than boxy. I love the pocket details, they’re so easy to stick my hands into. If I make this again, I will interface the bodice facing and straps, I think they could use a bit more structure. I highly recommend this pattern!
Oh, this dress. What a mess it was to make. I like the idea of the pattern, the Olya Dress by Paper Theory. The main problem I had with the pattern was very small seam allowances for tricky parts of the garment. Had I not paired this pattern with unravel-y linen from Merchant and Mills, it may have turned out better. I still love the style lines, but this linen was a very poor choice for this pattern. The fabric began to fray after I cut it, and it affected the chest, button-band and collar seams pretty badly.
After I finished it two years, ago, it tore at the button band during its first wear. I was so disappointed that I put it away and didn’t consider looking at it for a year. This spring, I dug it out of the “to fix” pile as it had languished for long enough. I ripped apart the button band, reinforce the edging with zigzag, and re-sewed it together. It had some other problems with the collar attachment that I addressed, too.
This dress has serious “battle scars” and I am disappointed with it, but at least its out of the mending pile! I will consider giving this pattern another try with a more densely-woven fabric.
One of the most exciting things in our new apartment is a window seat with a great view. The previous owner of the apartment had a cozy-looking cushion on it, and I knew making one would be a fun, productive project.
I found an online foam supplier with straightforward custom ordering, FoamSource. I went for the high-density, medium foam. When the foam arrived, I held my breath as I tested it on the seat… it fit perfectly! I am not a foam expert, but it feels pretty medium to me when I sit on it.
For the fabric, I wanted a pattern that wasn’t too trendy and is easy to pattern mix. I thought ticking would look nice, but I didn’t want it to look too “country.” I also decided that I wanted to go the extra mile to find a yarn dye vs screenprint ticking. After searching through some options, I settled on a teal version. I mocked up the cushion dimensions with seam allowances in Figma, which helped me figure out how much fabric I needed. When I ordered, I forgot about feet vs. yards and got 7 yards of fabric instead of 7 feet (!!). This ended up being a very fortunate mistake because I was able to make self-piping and matching pillows. I originally envisioned a contrast color piping, but my over-order was serendipitous because I can’t imagine a contrast color now, the bias ticking looks perfect to me.
If I make another cushion for this seat, I will use a zipper closure. With this project, I used a 2-yard length of velcro from Pacific Trimming. It works just fine but I think a zipper would look and close better, believe it or not. One thing I’m really glad about is the entire back of the cushion opens up because this long piece of foam is very unwieldy.
The base pillows are unused bed pillows. They were the Wirecutter best pillow recommendation, but after sleeping on them for 1 night, we realized they were not for us. they were sitting in the closet and i decided to try ’em out.
I searched to see at how other people created their cushions, and settled on following this tutorial with piping and a velcro closure. One key part of this technique is that it was, ahem… SEWN. I wanted to create a durable cushion, and at first I found a tutorial that instructs you to secure the fabric to the foam with SAFETY PINS. Uhh, that’s gonna look good for about 5 minutes and then turn into a big mess.
The cushion dimensions are 82″x17″, so I had to make a LOT of piping for this project. Surprisingly, this was easy and meditative to do in batches as I needed it. This video was pretty helpful to learn a fast way to do it. I cut 2″ wide bias strips and folded it around a length of cotton twine from my stash, and as I came to the end of a strip, I added a new one that I folded under. It was very easy to create the piping as I needed it with each pillow and the cushion, and just left it in a half-finished state until I picked it back up to create more as needed.
For the pillows, I created simple piped envelope covers. I have made so many of these that I didn’t use a tutorial, but this is a good one if you haven’t done it before. Note, this tutorial does not show you how to add piping.
I made a second Farrow dress. It surprised me that I chose this pattern again because I was so disappointed in my first one. For that one, I underlined the bodice and used hot pink bias tape to finish the seams, so it felt really wacky to wear even though no one else could see it. For my latest version. I used a much more subdued petal pink for the facings which makes it much more cohesive and professional-looking.
This pattern is labeled easy, but I think matching the diagonal seams on the front and back is rather challenging, ESPECIALLY if you use a plaid. This flannel is an unusual fabric match for this dress. Its a strange mix of Puritan fabric and modern style lines. BUT, its very cozy and I’ve worn it nonstop since I finished it.
The pattern specifies faced sleeve hems, which inspired me to add a facing to the dress hem. I also extended the neckline facing to the shoulders so it wouldn’t flop around (pet peeve). I spent a long time lining up the plaids on the four front and four back pieces, and it took forever. Once I got to the sleeves, I lost pattern-matching steam and didn’t do as nice of a job. I have a tiny head so I didn’t need to do the back neck slit, although, to be honest I forgot about that design element until after I sewed on the neck facing. I realized what I had done right after I topstitched, then quickly tried it on over my head to check whether I had some serious unpicking to do.
Nothing like perfectly placed pockets, I notice I am constantly resting my hands in them. The joys we find in 2020.
Here’s what I made with the Pendleton fabric I bought in Portland last year. This pricey wool was intimidating to cut into. After mulling it over for a year, I went for it with the Tessuti Tokyo Jacket. I did not have a lot of wiggle room with yardage, so I had to be picky about where I pattern-matched.
I added some length to the jacket so I could add a more generous hem (2″), and omitted the pockets. I hand-sewed the hem and the inner neckband. Because the fabric is so thick and dense, it was easy to hide the stitches on the right side–I can’t see them at all!
I used a bit of this fabric to make my belt bag last year. While sewing it, I noticed this material is prone to unraveling. To ensure the integrity of these jacket seams, I used a combination of french seams and Hong Kong seams. When I sewed this patternin the past, it was very challenging to sew the french underarm seam’s sharp curve. Knowing this fabric is much thicker than silk, I used Hong Kong seams instead. I thought it would be a fun color pop to use the same finish on the center back seam. I went Bold with the bias tape, because 1. that’s what I had and 2. I think the unexpected pop of sea foam green brightens up the dark print.
Important note: This past April, Elizabeth Suzann decided to close her clothing business. Afterwards, Liz shared some of her most popular patterns in their original form. The internet fulfilled a crowdfunding campaign to convert these patterns to copy-shop PDFs for public download. Here’s a blog post from Yay Stitch that tells the full story and gives credit to the humans who made this happen. Unfortunately, as of last week, the patterns have been taken down and aren’t available right now. I downloaded the files last month while they were still available.
In exchange for downloading these patterns, the organizers ask that if you are able, make a donation to a Black-led organization. I made a donation and encourage you to do the same if you accessed these patterns.
5/6/2021 update: Elizabeth Suzann has relaunched as Elizabeth Suzann Studio, and she has released some sewing patterns for sale. As of now, the Clyde Jumpsuit is not for sale yet.
My last jumpsuit adventure, Roberts Collection, was a bust–it was so bad I didn’t blog about it. I concluded that jumpsuits aren’t for me. Well, when I downloaded these ES patterns in July, the Clyde jumpsuit called to me. I decided to wait a few weeks to see if I still wanted to make it.
So, as you can see, I ended up making the jumpsuit. This weekend, I took a pandemic walk to Mood and found some taupe, drape-y linen. Mood got new carpeting, BTW! I was so pumped to get started that I washed, air-dried and sewed it up in one day.
The Clyde jumpsuit was very straightforward to make. I referenced Not A Primary Color’s tutorial, which was enough for me to get going. I began sewing around 2pm, and finished at 7pm. I immediately put it on, and wore it the rest of the evening. I noticed that it pulled in the crotch when I was sitting on the couch, so I decided to try it on “backwards.” I must admit it fits MUCH better that way. 🤷
For the 2 front and 2 back “center” seams, I used a mock flat felled seam. I finished the raw edges with zig-zag then topstitched them at 3/8″. I considered doing a real flat felled seam, but I had flashbacks to the challenges from my jean jacket and decided against it. If I make this again, I would use french seams and topstitch.
For the crotch and inseam, I used french seams and didn’t topstitch. For the arm and neck binding, I sewed the final seam at 1/2″. For the hem, I turned up 1/2″ then 5/8″. I made a skinny belt out of some scraps, a la What Katie Sews.
We escaped upstate for a long weekend. And, me being me, I made sure we had a few moments to squeeze in a photoshoot of this new skirt/top combo. After quarantining in the city for 3 months, it was amazing to be somewhere else. We went on 2 fire tower hikes and spotted some small snakes (eep!). Upstate New York is glorious in June.
Anyway, here’s the story of these garments. I had some Merchant and Mills linen in my stash since last summer. I wanted to make something special with it, and earmarked it for a dress. Then, I thought of making a summery Fumeterre skirt instead. I hesitated because the thought of matching those stripes seemed overwheliming. After deliberating, I decided to give it a try. I re-created the fabric pattern in Figma, since this fabric has one-way stripes. I decided to focus on matching the angled mitres. I labeled 8 pieces of washi tape with each panel name (left front, left side front, right front, right side front, etc). I worked in groups of two so I could ensure the stripes matched at each mitre. I cut out 1 piece, then took its matching pattern piece, flipped it over, and matched the already cut stripes to it. I stuck the labels on each panel and sewed the angled seam. This labeling and batching system helped me keep everything straight.
The skirt buttons are from Haulin’ Hoof Farm Store. I bought them at Vogue Knitting Live this year (crazy to think about going to an event like that with SO MANY PEOPLE). I was dumb and skipped the interfacing for the placket, and you can tell. I added an “inside button” between the first and second buttons below the waistband to help with gaping. I shortened the skirt by several inches because the length of my first Fumeterre makes it very hard to walk. I am very fond of the midi skirt length.
For the waistband and skirt hem facing, I used some leftover Spectrum Cotton from Purl Soho. I had so little fabric that I pieced the facing, but I can’t tell. I love how the facing and the waistband lining contrast with the linen stripes. The spectrum cotton is pricey but its so nice and soft. I will definitely use it again.
I had very few scraps after cutting the skirt. But, I did have enough to eek this modified Wiksten tank out of the leftovers. I had so little left that I had to cut 2 pieces for the bodice front.
I cropped the tank by several inches and removed almost all the A-line shaping and hem curve. I also added a hand-stitched deep hem facing. There’s something about the armholes/strap drafting of this tank that I don’t love. The back gapes at the neck and the arms don’t lay nicely. The linen stripes are carrying this top, for sure. Overall, though, its a great summer top!
A friend sent me some awesome woven fabric she found at an estate sale. She asked if I wanted it, describing it as “Emily fabric.” Spoiler alert: I said yes, and when it arrived last week, I immediately got to work. I thought it would look great as a shirtdress, so I gave the Blaire pattern from Style Arc another go. The first time around I made the shirt version, so this time I wanted to make the dress.
To compliment the elaborate woven fabric, I used some bright blue scraps for the pockets. I think they go together pretty nicely. I drafted a hem facing instead of hemming as the pattern suggests. When I made the shirt version of this pattern, the hem was a nightmare because of the X-TREME curves, so I wanted to come up with an alternate solution. I googled “blaire style arc hem facing” and found a particularly helpful post from someone who accomplished this quite nicely, so with my initial instinct validated, I went for it.
I feel too strange to go outside for pictures right now, so instead here are some COVID-style glamor shots of the details: