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.
A few weeks ago I was texting my friend with a very cute newborn baby, and I wondered if she had a summer sun hat. After hearing “not yet,” I immediately started googling for a kid hat pattern. I stumbled across this GREAT free pattern from Oliver + S. I went for the smallest size, and it used barely any fabric.
After I made the first one, I could not get over how cute it was. Just for kicks I measured my tiny head, and could not believe I fit the measurements for the kids Medium. I went into my stash and pulled out some options. I rediscovered this super weird faces quilting cotton I got at the Center For Creative Reuse forever ago. I decided this would be perfect for a test hat. I paired it with a very neutral Essex linen to balance it out. I used smaller seam allowances (1/4″ instead of 1/2″) to add some extra wiggle room. If you had asked me 2 years ago what I thought of bucket hats, I would have told you they are really ugly, but here we are in 2019 and I am loving my hat! Its perfect for keeping the sun off my face and neck.
I ended up making a 3rd hat for another adorable 1-year old I know… watch out, he’s a heartbreaker already!
If you have a normal, adult-sized head, I bet it would be really easy to add some SA to the pattern and make it a bit bigger. I think I am going to make another soon with a wider brim… a one way ticket to floptown!
I made this Myosotis dress back in May using this beautiful silk panel print that has lingered in my stash. My original plan was to make the ruffle-y version, but sadly, I did not have enough fabric. I purchased 2 panels worth of material, but the fabric was barely 40″ wide.
Somehow it worked out that I was able to match the prints fairly well between the sleeves, bodice and skirt. I added more fullness to the skirt piece to take advantage of the left and right selvedge edges: no need to finish the side seams! I also thought it would be a way to add more fullness without the ruffle. Spoiler alert: I think the added fullness at the waist isn’t the most flattering thing.
Because the silk is very sheer, and I am a sweaty person, I fully lined the dress with Bemberg rayon (THE BEST!). If I am going to be super-technical, I actually underlined the bodice and finished the seams with bias tape. 🙌for sewing 6 darts once, not twice!!
I hand-sewed the collar, sleeves and front facings with silk thread to make it feel special. I love how this detail looks! This print is so unique, and I love how I was able to use the different parts given how little fabric I had. I am especially happy that I found a spare sliver of the purple section to use for the collar.
I LOVE this dress. I am definitely going to make another with the ruffles soon. Based on other people’s reviews, I went down a size and I am happy with that decision. There’s still a lot of positive ease in the bodice and waist so its quite comfortable.
I’ve made quite a few collared shirts for Jacob over the years from different patterns but none of them fit him perfectly, so I ripped apart a RTW shirt that fits him well to make a pattern from it. I was pretty intimidated by the idea of this, but it wasn’t too hard.
To start, we went to the thrift store to find a short-sleeved shirt that fit well. Next I spent an hour or so seam ripping it while watching TV. I found this strangely meditative, and it went very quickly. I dissected almost everything completely, except one side seam and the center front folded stuff, I ripped those just enough to figure out what was going on there.
I noted the seam allowances and where they were trimmed down. I then traced the pieces and added SA where necessary. I harvested the buttons from the shirt to use on my version.
At this point in my sewing life, I have sewed several collared shirts so I didn’t need instructions. It was helpful to have the seam-ripped pieces handy to check things, like where to put the pocket. It was SO EASY to lay the RTW left front over my cut one, and figure out the perfect pocket placement. My buttonholer hasn’t worked since the Jean Jacket Saga of 2018, so I took this shirt to Jonathan Embroidery and they sewed the buttonholes perfectly and quickly.
The verdict? Jacob is really happy with the fit of this shirt, so its going to become his go-to short sleeved shirt pattern! He requested a fun fabric so he could participate in “tiki shirt Fridays” at work this summer, and I am in the process of sewing a second one in a more subdued check.
I finally got around to making a Fumeterre skirt from Deer and Doe. I have almost made it so many times, but whenever I felt the urge, I didn’t want to wait for the pattern to ship from France. So a couple of weeks ago, when I got their email newsletter announcing this skirt among their newly available PDF patterns, I jumped on it!
I got this VERY fancy wool-bamboo houndstooth from B&J Fabrics. Its my second most expensive fabric I’ve ever purchased, EEEP. I used faux-leather piping for the pockets, and I am particularly happy with my zipper fly. The back elastic seemed superfluous when I was adding it in, but it really helps to keep up the skirt without digging in to my waist too much. I did hong kong seams and wow did they take forever. It looks really nice, though!
I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern, I am 5′6″ and its floor length in flats. I wore it to work for a party last week, and I had to hoist it up as I walked since it dragged on the ground a bit. The fabric is so dreamy and drapey, and it’s very fun to wear. I will definitely make this again in a warm-weather fabric this spring.
I finally made some jeans, and I am pretty happy with them! The motivation to make these came from the sad day when the zipper broke on my favorite pair of black jeans. I really felt their absence from my wardrobe, so I decided I would take the plunge and use my Cone Mills black denim and try out the Ginger Jeans (View B).
Overall I am extremely happy with these jeans and have incorporated them into my everyday wardrobe, so thats a huge positive!!! I am also very happy with the zipper fly, the way the pattern has you do it is very easy. I did a raw hem, so I cut 3.5″ off the bottom of the jeans, and did a straight stitch a 1/2″ up from the bottom to prevent extreme fraying.
Next time I will place the pockets higher on the butt, and take in the waist a little more, they are a little bit baggy in the front crotch area. I also think I’ll raise the hem a couple of inches, as these could really have a higher rise.
Hey there! I just got back from my epic trip to Spain, and I wanted to share what handmade clothes I wore while traveling. Two standout pieces, my grey linen Brumby skirt, and my Red cotton/linen Moss skirt, were workhorses. I wore them almost every day!! I was looking forward to getting some wear from my jean jacket, but it was so hot in Spain, I only wore it once. What a beautiful country!
Before I made my bag, I considered the pros of the New Yorker tote: great size, perfect handle drop; as well as the cons: no interior pockets, not waterproof. So I capitalized on the pros and improved the cons. I measured the dimensions of the New Yorker tote, jotted them down, and made some quick sketches for how I would construct it, and what sort of a pocket to add. I wanted a place to easily stash my phone and wallet, and a place to keep a pen just in case something comes up (like you know it always does..). I also wanted a key loop so I don’t have to fish around for them in the tote. I had seen tote bags have flap backs for interior pockets, perhaps it makes the pocket more sturdy? I interfaced and used bias tape for the edges, I really like how it turned out, and there appears to be no straining when I use the pocket.
I added quite a long facing at the top of the bag, I thought I’d like the look of it (I do!) and it would add some stability (it does!). I also created a double-sided, interfaced rectangle to lay across the bottom of the bag. Overall, the only SNAFU I ran into was hammering the rivets… my downstairs neighbor was not pleased with my banging. It was only 6:30pm, but I think it must have been quite loud, so I finished riveting outside on the sidewalk.
I went whole hog and waxed this bag with OtterWax. I think I was a little bit overzealous with the top part, its on there pretty thick. Its also been excruciatingly hot, so I am not sure its properly cured yet. The internet has a lot of opinions on how to apply and cure this product, but I followed the package and just rubbed it on and then let it dry. A few days in, its still a bit tacky.
Oh, I also made the Inari Dress I’m wearing, a really quick sew, and I love it! I’ve made 2 tops from this pattern, but just hadn’t gotten around to a dress version until now. I found this amazing fabric the last time I went back to Pgh and went to the Center for Creative Reuse (my favvvvvv <3) and was struck with inspiration to make it into an Inari. I really wanted to create the neckband, but this fabric is not stretchy at all, so I went for the neck facing. I think I might sew it down all around, facings in general just drive me nuts!