Turia Dungarees

finished objects, sewing

The Turia Dungarees pattern was released 10 years ago, and this summer I decided make my first two pairs. How did it take me so long to realize how great overall shorts are in summer?

me realizing how great overall shorts are in summer

Because this pattern has been out for so long, many people have made them and have some great suggestions on how to go further to make these even better. I finished the raw edges w regular width bias tape and extended the pockets to tuck into the waist seam and side seams.I can remember when I first started sewing bias tape was so hard for me to get right. This time, I used the regular-width bias tape and I didn’t mess it up at all!

tush shot

For this pair, I used leftover canvas from making my Field bag. I made my first pair from some Sally Fox twill, and immediately afterwards I saw the canvas sticking out of my fabric pile and thought, why not! The canvas is very stiff, so I was very nervous these would be extremely uncomfortable. They are very comfy, believe it or not.

I didn’t have enough fabric to cut 4x straps, so I cut 2 and turned the edges under. I wish I would have used bias tape to finish the raw edges, but by the time I realized this it was way too late. The contrast chest pocket (some leftover hand-woven cloth from Verb) was another consequence of too little fabric, but I love how it turned out.

Star snaps did an excellent job with the rivets, they did a better job than I could have. Great pattern! If you haven’t tried overall shorts, I highly recommend them.

here’s the zip!

Sauvie Sundress

finished objects, sewing

You may be thinking, oh boy, another sundress. When I first saw the Sauvie Sundress pattern I thought the same thing. But I kept thinking about it. I had some linen/rayon stripey fabric from The Fabric Store sitting in my stash, and I knew this fabric wanted to become something summery. I bet you can guess what happened.

This fabric is perfect for this dress. It drapes beautifully, and its very soft. I used muslin from my stash as the lining. I wanted to use a blue fabric for a pop of color at the pockets, but I didn’t want it to show through the slightly sheer fabric.

The midi length is perfect, and the mitered corner finish on the hem is delightful to look at. Sew House Seven considered every detail, I am so happy with how it turned out. I never thought I would describe bust darts as graceful, but they are!

mitered corners on the hem

After wearing this a few times, I added the bra keeper snaps. I love the roominess in the dress, but my bra kept slipping into view. I never made them before, the instructions for these were great.

bra keeper snaps

Great pattern!

Coastal Grandma Olya Shirt

finished objects, sewing

I’m not a tik-tocker but I am hip to the Coastal Grandma fad. After I made this Olya shirt in Vintage Finish linen from the Fabric store, Jacob’s immediate reaction was “that’s a coastal grandma shirt.” So, it is. But its a white linen collared shirt, and I am confident it will become a keeper.

it was not a great hair day, this is me trying to hide that fact

After my epic seam-finishing fail with my Olya dress,* I thought I would not ever make this pattern again. But, time heals all wounds, and I was inspired to give it another try. Without further ado, photos.

the most intriguing part of this shirt is the armscye (more hair day problems)
I even did a pretty good job on the placket!

*I used a really expensive Merchant and Mills striped linen to make my first Olya, but the weave is too loose for a structured shirt dress and the seams disintegrated. Someday I will take it apart to reuse the fabric for something else, but the overwhelming disappointment of that dress is too raw to think about now.

Hysope Top

finished objects, sewing

I was not in the market for another tank top pattern, but I saw Deer and Doe’s new summer collection and inspiration immediately struck to make the Hysope top.

I impulse-purchased this beautiful jacquard fabric while looking in the denim and twill section at Mood last year. Obviously this busy pattern stood out among the solid denims and canvas. I am not sure why they decided to put it there, but I am so glad they did! Before cutting into this fabric, I made a toile first. I used a silk taffeta-esque remnant from PCCR and got sewing. My machine did not like making button holes with this silky fabric, so I went without. Overall the fit was pretty good, but the length was a little bit too short for me. For my jaquard version, I lengthened the pattern by 2″ and I am very happy with this adjustment. One reviewer of this pattern observed that the side buttons really elevate this garment, which I agree with. Mine are horn buttons from Fringe Supply Co (RIP) from my stash.

This top comes together very quickly, this took less than 3 hours to sew. I see more Hysopes in my future!

Richmond Coat

finished objects, sewing

Here’s a Big Project for ya. This thing started because I didn’t have a winter coat that easily fit over bulky sweaters. I considered purchasing a coat, but I couldn’t find what I wanted. I was boppin’ through the Tessuti pattern catalog and found the Richmond Coat and thought, wow this is perfect. Many, many hours later, here it is.

Materials

I bought some salt and pepper wool coating from Blackbird Fabrics over a year ago, intending to make Jacob a coat (sorry, Jacob… you’ll get a coat soon). It has a super-cool 80s-looking vibe, and as soon as I saw the Richmond coat pattern I knew it was a perfect match. I envisioned a vermillion lining, but this rust color is the closest thing I could find at Mood. I used too-heavy interfacing and the collar is a bit crunchy. I hope it breaks in.

awkward pose so you can see the lining

Construction

Johnathan Embroidery did a stellar and super-quick job on the buttonholes, and the kind staff at Pacific Trimmings helped me pick out buttons. I sewed the buttons with “backer buttons” on the facing side, I don’t know what they are actually called. They look pretty professional!

After deliberating, I made the second size. My hip measurements suggested I should make the third size, but I didn’t want this oversized coat to be TOO big. It fits perfectly.

finally starting to look a bit like a coat

The most overwhelming part of making this coat was cutting out the pattern pieces and then manipulating such an unwieldy garment as it came together. The welt pockets were a beast– the first one took me more than 2 hours. I admit they look pretty good, though.

before I bagged the lining

Modifications

Instead of cutting the back pattern piece on the fold, I added seam allowance and cut it as a pair. As drafted, the back was such a huge piece of fabric, so I thought it could use a little extra structure.

I also added a hanging loop, but I would much prefer to use a hanger as the coat looks particularly upset when it hangs by the loop.

I planned on adding an interior breast pocket, but I couldn’t bear to do another welt pocket, and a patch pocket would have ruined the nice lines of the jacket interior. So this jacket only has 2 handwarmer pockets *shrug*.

Dawn Jeans II

finished objects, sewing

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.

obligatory butt shot. i sewed on a patch I got in Indonesia!

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.

can you tell these are a wee bit tight??
I’ll leave you with one more tush shot.

Denim Maritime Shorts

finished objects, sewing

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.

the back view of a pair of jean 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.

the interior of a pair of jean shorts.
a woman poses, wearing a half-tucked button down and homemade jean shorts.

Not too much else to say about these, but I am glad I have a pair of JORTS again.

a closeup of a pair of homemade denim shorts.

Maxi Dress

finished objects, sewing
a woman looks down, wearing a brown and white striped dress with a red pocket.

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.

the back view of a brown and white striped dress.

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.

a detail view of the side slit on a brown and white striped dress.

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!

a woman makes a silly face. Her husband told her she had a "bat in the cave" to get her to smile!

Olya Dress

sewing

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.

a woman wearing a striped dress, standing in the trees. The pattern is the Olya dress from Paper theory.

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.

a woman wearing a striped dress, standing on a path in the trees. The pattern is the Olya dress from Paper theory.

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.

a woman wearing a striped dress, standing in the trees. The pattern is the Olya dress from Paper theory.
a woman wearing a striped dress, spinning around in the trees. The pattern is the Olya dress from Paper theory.

Window Seat Cushion

finished objects, sewing, upholstry

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.

a ticking-stripe window seat with a city view.

Supplies

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.

a blue ticking-stripe pillow and seat cushion.
I had enough fabric for a bonus THIRD pillow cover. its propped in front of the repurposed bed pillow.

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.

Construction Notes

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.

a closeup of a blue ticking-stripe window seat with matching pillows.

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.

an in-progress photo of twine turning into piping.
piping-in-progress.

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.