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:
I’ve had this quilt since I was a kid. This blanket is not my most favorite colors, but its not about the looks, its about the feels. Sitting on the couch with this blanket brings me immense comfort and calm. I love snuggling with it. Unfortunately, over the past few years the edges have become very weak and frayed. A few weeks ago, part of the edging got caught on my foot and ripped away, revealing the batting.
This week I decided to repair it. I chatted with my fastidious quilter friend, Lizzie, who is immensely talented in this area. She thought repairing was do-able and suggested the french-fold binding technique. The original quilt didn’t have any binding, and its state shows why a binding is so key to longevity! Its condition is fine everywhere else, but the edges are torn and frayed all the way around.
I needed a fairly wide strip of fabric to create the binding to make the finished repair look as natural as possible. As I was contemplating what fabric to use, I remembered my sad attempt at a 9″ block linen quilt from years ago. I wondered if I could use the cut-but-not-sewn squares to make the binding. Once I dug them out, it felt like fate. The block colors blend wonderfully with the quilt. I got to work and sewed several blocks together to create a long binding. Then, I pinned it to the quilt and machine-hemmed it, and then folded it over to hand sew it to the wrong side. By the way, these two lovely ladies have a fabulous tutorial with tips to hand-stitch the miters down on both right and wrong sides at once.
Now my favorite quilt has a personal touch! I’ve had it on my lap all day, and its been heavenly! By the way, this was from a department store and I am pretty impressed that its hand-quilted. I don’t think you’d find something like this in department stores today! I’m so happy I am able to give it some more life.
Friday night, I cleared off my makeshift work desk to reveal my sewing machine, because I thought sewing would help me relax and feel like things are temporarily “normal.” I’ve had the Kabuki Tee from Paper Theory on my to-make list for a long time, so I decided to give it a go. I decided to use this extremely soft vintage cotton/poly blend from my stash, so I got to cutting.
This is the most comfortable woven top I’ve ever made. The body has great shaping, but still has a boxy look. The fabric certainly adds to its comfort, but the unique arm drafting makes it so easy to move around in.
So, I couldn’t let it go at that, and immediately decided to cut out another version in some eyelet. I spent some serious time figuring out how to arrange the pattern pieces to make the small amount of leftovers I had work. I didn’t have anything that I thought would look nice underneath the eyelet, so I went with silk organza. I hand-basted the organza to the eyelet and used it as an underlining, and used french seams througout. One exception: I bound the armhole seams with bias tape. I decided to blindstitch the armhole and waist hems to make it feel a little more fancy. The organza helps “diffuse” whats happening underneath, and works very well as a modesty layer.
I had this post queued up last week and never hit publish. Obviously we are in a crazy, unprecedented time rn and things are murky and unclear. I’m trying to power through and focus on making progress on my knitting and sewing. Anyway, here’s this thing I made two weekends ago…
Last weekend I saw a Making Mag post about how to sew up this little bag. I decided to create my own based on the post’s photos. I included the darts at the bottom, and I think it its a nice touch to help the bag stand up on its own.
A quick, cute lil’ scrap guy! The black and white hemp/wool blend is leftover from an old dress, and the lining is Liberty Tana Lawn from Purl Soho. I love this combo, plus the bright orange zipper pull I made from unraveled baker’s twine.
Hey, this wasn’t part of my last post! Ahem… a little something bypassed my sewing queue. What is the point of life if not for unplanned sewing projects? I had a long weekend at home, and the idea for this fabric/dress combo popped into my head. Without any hesitation, I got to work. Sewing with fervor like this, running on fumes of whim and inspiration, is one of my favorite parts of life. For 5 hours straight, I didn’t do anything but work on this dress. I don’t experience that level of focus too often, so it felt great. Luckily, the fabric was ready to use because I pre-washed the fabric ages ago. The bonus to all this is now I have a beautiful Myosotis Dress!
This Blackbird Fabrics viscose has been waiting patiently in my stash for 3 years. The print and dress combo is definitely loud, but I love it. I am not usually on Team Viscose, but I must say it feels delightfully swishy to wear. As you can see, I embraced The Ruffle for this dress. Right now, I’m loving the midi length, but figured if I tire of it I can re-hem to knee length. I don’t have many ruffle-y clothes, we’ll see how they fit in to the rest of my wardrobe.
Except for the ruffles, I used french seams throughout this garment. I should do this more ofte n because french seams look so nice. For the ruffle seams, I used lace tape to hide the raw edges. I haven’t yet, but I’m planning to hand tack them down with a blind stitch.
Unlike my first Myosotis, this version is unlined. I figured that I can wear a slip / undershirt if I want some more layers. Its funny how sometimes I am adamant about lining, but then here I am, not adding a lining and proud. :shrug:
Ages ago in “internet time,” back when I still used Instagram, #WIDN was a popular hashtag for sewers and knitters. WIDN, or “what I’m doing now” is something I’m going to try out here because I miss sharing my in-progress projects. So…. here’s WIDN.
This beauty is coming along, but slowly because of it’s intricate stitch pattern. I love it and the very special Cormo yarn I’m using, but I’m knitting slowwwwly. I think I am on the cusp of memorizing the repeat…. we’ll see.
I’ve had this sweater in my queue since it came out last year. Once it became available as a standalone pattern, it jumped to the top of my queue. I decided to get some Green Mountain Spinnery yarn at Vogue Knitting Live to make my own. I’m trying out the “sleeve as swatch” technique, but I’m not sure how much I like the color combo I chose. I’m going to block the sleeve after I finish and see if I like it.
Jacob needs a new spring/fall jacket. Since he has very long arms, no RTW jacket ever fits him perfectly, so I’ve decide to make him one. I scoured the internet to find a suitable pattern, but nothing seemed right. I finally came across a blog dedicated to sewing all the patterns from a Japanese book of mens’ coats, and decided to bite the bullet and order the book. Spoiler alert: the book is entirely in Japanese. I think I’m up for the challenge, but we’ll see what happens when I tear into the muslin. Jacob has picked out No. 13. I am planning to start tracing and making a muslin this weekend. I am looking forward to fabric shopping for it!
Struck by inspiration over the holidays, I sewed a summer sundress! I bought the fabric at a yard sale a few years ago for less than $5. It has that lovely handfeel of an aged poly-cotton blend that I love so much. They don’t make ’em like they used to! The odd thing about this panel print is that the gradient goes weft to weft. Most other panel prints I’ve seen that follow the grainline. So, I did the unthinkable and cut the skirt pieces the wrong way. I did cut the bodice pieces on the grainline though, and this inconsistency is not noticeable at all. This made the hem very easy to sew because the selvedge edge eliminated the need to double-turn!
I went into my stash for buttons, and found some grey ones that look pretty perfect. I didn’t buy anything new to make this dress. Sewing from the stash feels good! This was my first time sewing my own buttons since I got my machine fixed, it was nice to be back in action on that front. Instead of using vilene shields, I staystitched the neckline pieces. The self bias tape helps a lightweight fabric look professional.
I have worn this once in the cold, paired with a turtleneck and a sweater, but it will become a staple in the spring. Happy 2020!!
Here’s something a little different: A belt bag (or by its pattern name, the Fennel Fanny Pack). I spotted this pattern at Rhinbeck on my friend Kiyomi. It looked so good on her that she inspired me to make my own version. I used a little bit of the Pendleton wool I bought in Portland (and still have enough to make something else!!), and lined it with some yellow linen scraps. I spent around $20 on notions at Pacific Trimming, since I was picky about the zippers and buckle.
I must say the pattern is pretty steep at $14. I appreciated how the DIY pattern pieces saved paper, but I wish I had a visual reference for how to orient the zippers once the pieces were ready to be sewn together. My front zipper doesn’t close at the same side as the main one. I had to seam rip this more times than I’d like to admit, and by the time I realized the front zipper was backwards I was not willing to do more surgery. The pattern does mention that you have to be mindful of the zipper placement, but I think an illustration would help reinforce this.
Finishing the interior seams with such thick fabric was beastly until I remembered that double-wide bias tape is accurately named—switching to it helped things tremendously. Despite my complaints about its construction, I really like this bag. I’m not quite sure I can pull it off, but I am trying!
Bonus: here’s a cute lil’ gif of me unzipping the fanny pack:
Up until last week, I had only dreamed of having high-waisted rigid denim jeans. So, after dreaming long enough, I decided to get to work. Some very special vintage Japanese selvedge and a hardware kit from Blackbird Fabrics was patiently waiting in my stash, begging to be made into said dream jeans. So really, no excuses besides my fear of failure.
When I decided I was going to make these, I almost went for the Ginger jeans again, but 1. I wanted a higher rise, and 2. Ginger is designed for stretch denim. Much like Jasika’s commentary on the Dawn Jeans, I was very skeptical when that pattern came out. But after seeing how amazing Jaskia’s and Lauren’s versions turned out, I decided to go for it.
I measured the straight leg pattern pieces against my favorite pair of RTW jeans I own (that are too tight in the thighs but are perfect everywhere else). As I cut out a muslin, I sharpied the original inner thigh cut line and added ample ease so I could easily add room after I sewed the inseam and side seams if needed (and I did need it). I also tapered the straight leg in a bit to match the RTWs, and I like where I ended up.
I only muslined the front and back legs and back yoke. In order to get pants that were try-onable I extended the front pockets to the side seams.
I wanted to extend the pockets to become stays, as I hate re-stuffing my pocket bags every time I put on jeans. I copied the Ginger Jeans stay by extending the pocket of the Dawns to sew in the center front seam, but because the directions have you start with the zip fly and I forgot to baste them in prior to constructing said fly, I had to redo it. I also wasn’t paying enough attention when I cut out the pocket bags and cut both on the same side, so I have one pocket that’s right-side in, and one right-side out. I ended up taking out most of the extra room I added to the crotch seam, but I am glad I had extra and was able to take it in (rather than not having enough). Lastly, I had to re cut the waistband with a much more pronounced curve (using THIS very awesome tutorial). The fit is MUCH better now, but they still could come in a little tiny bit more. When I ripped out the first waistband, I also took a small wedge out of the back yoke, since I already was in there ripping out stitches.
I used regular thread throughout this project, as my machine HATES topstitching thread. I found the bar tacks were super easy to just do a very small length zig zag and go back and forth a few times. I am quite happy with how they turned out.
The rivets, man, the rivets. I don’t have a tailor’s awl, so I used a nail to poke holes in the jeans, but the rivet posts were a little bit wider than the nail, so it took some serious wiggling around to get them to poke through. Super worth it, though, I think it makes them look so much more legit.
I am SO HAPPY with how these turned out, I cannot wait for them to develop their unique wear lines. I am gonna try to maximize wear and minimize washing…. we’ll see how I do. They stretched out a bit from wearing them on my trip to Portland, but I think once I give them their first wash, they’ll tighten up a bit. They do fit very snugly when I sit down, so I can’t imagine them being much more fitted when I am standing. The toils of rigid denim I guess!
I was not in the market for more fabric (…groan), but curiosity gets me every time and I always check Blackbird Fabrics’ emails to see whats new. Recently they had some “leopard print” deadstock silk, and I pounced on it.
I’ve had the Sadie Slip Dress on my “to make” list for quite awhile, and this fabric seemed perfect for it. As soon as the fabric arrived I got to work on cutting and sewing up this bad boy. I cut a straight S, but ended up taking in the waist a bit after I sewed the first seam of the french seams. It was a little tricky to cut the pieces on the 45″ wide fabric, I ended up having to shave off an inch or two of the total length.
The bias cut is SO swoony, but the neckline facing was very tricky to get right. I completely ripped out and re-understitched twice, thinking I wasn’t careful enough, but every time I tried it on, it wanted to flip out to the front of the neckline. I was unable to get past this flaw, and I decided to blind stitch the facing to the dress. That solved the flipping-out problem beautifully, but now it messes with the bias drape. I might undo some of the hand-stitching and do it yet again… we’ll see how annoyed I get with it. I suppose I could edgestitch the neckline, but I love the look of it without it.
versus stitched-down facing:
Definitely some trade offs with both options.
Still assessing how to best handle this scenario, but in the meantime, I am wearing it and loving the swish of bias silk on the recent hot summer days.