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.
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!
Confession: I totally forgot about Me Made May until May 3. Back in April it was on my mind, but it fell away. So, I recreated my outfits from May 1st and 2nd as laydowns. Because it makes more sense for the scrollback, I’m going to go in total reverse order, so May 1 will be at the end of this post, and May 7 at the top.
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.