PJ Shorts

finished objects, sewing

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My favorite sleepwear is a t-shirt and PJ shorts. I can’t do sleep pants, they always bag up around my knee which drives me nuts, so I stick with shorts. I found the City Gym Shorts pattern from Purl Soho awhile back and made a pair from some scraps (previously unblogged), with great success. This weekend, I wanted a quick sew and I had been meaning to make another pair. I had a fabulous 80s silk remnant from the Center for Creative Reuse in my stash, and happened to have coordinating purple bias tape (also from PCCR!!), so I thought why not!! These came together so quickly, in less than 2 hours. On this new pair, I made the side hem split significant bigger, but otherwise followed the pattern exactly. I was surprised by how much better I have gotten at applying bias tape to fiddly fabrics. Practice really does make “perfect” (btw these are not perfect by any means).

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Super comfy, and very luxurious in silk!

Making Mag!

publications, sewing

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A little bit late to the party…. I am honored to be a part of Making’s No. 4 issue, Lines. My contribution is a Bento Bag “recipe” designed to use up scraps. These bags make lovely lunch carriers, knitting WIP bags, or extra-special homemade gift wrap. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have a pattern in print!!! It is so cool! When I received the issue in the mail, I was blown away by the exquisite creativity of every single project. I was so enamored with Jenny Gordy‘s Kimono Jacket, I decided I had to make one immediately! I got some sienna washed linen from fabric.com, as well as some beautiful Liberty Tresco for the lining (treat yo self!). The result is a lovely oversized jacket that is the perfect layer for fall, and oh so soft both inside and out. Its heavy and drapy and comforting, just like Jenny intended.

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This jacket does use a lot of fabric, so be aware of that. If I make another one, I will cut the neck cuff pieces a little bit longer so I have more wiggle room at the bottom hem. I had to fudge the seam allowances to make them line up with the hem. Why does this always happen to me? I cut the size S, and I am glad I didn’t go M.

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See all the wonderful projects for yourself. Order a copy of the newest Making mag (or pick up one from a local stockist)!

Tiki Uniforms!

sewing

I took on an exciting project last year to make uniforms for Hidden Harbor, a super awesome tiki bar in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. A friend who works there hooked me up with this job– apparently they had been looking for fitted ladies’ shirts for a long time but kept coming up short with ways to make it happen. Over the past year or so, I’ve made several shirts and skirts for the ladies of Hidden Harbor, as well as shirts for the men.

The fabric is all custom printed Spoonflower basic cotton ultra, some available publicly, but some is custom-designed especially for Hidden Harbor.

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I made wrap skirts and short-sleeved shirts for the ladies, and short sleeve shirts for the men. Overall, it was a great learning experience, and I am so glad I did it!

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Their drinks, by the way, are absolutely delicious. Go try them!!!

Lois Dress

finished objects, sewing

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I whipped up the new Lois Dress from Tessuti. We have a couple of weddings coming up, and I wanted to make a new dress to wear to one of them. Overall, it was fun to sew, especially the neckline seam! I french seamed everything, except for the waistband. I zigged that seam as well as the dart seam allowance, as specified. I cut a 8-6-10, and was very nervous that the seams wouldn’t line up right with all that grading between sizes, but overall I am very happy with it. I had to extend the side darts A LOT, they stuck out exactly where my hips are widest and it looked really bad. So bad that I didn’t think I would ever wear it. But I stopped over to consult with my sewing teacher and she quickly pinned out the darts to extend several more inches down the side, and now its MUCH better. I also had to redo a little bit of the side zip to take in a little bit more of the dart.

One important note: the skirt pieces require 55″ wide fabric. I neglected to realize this until I had cut out the pattern and laid out all the pieces to cut out, and saw the front skirt was extending past the fabric. I slashed the pattern and brought in the a-line to accommodate my 43″ fabric. By the way, this is silk CDC from Mood that I got awhile back. I bought 2 yards, and it was JUST enough. I had barely any scraps left after I cut everything out.

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The neckline is very risqué, but I like it! I tried on several bras with it, but none of them are low enough to not show when wearing the dress. If I make this again, I will underline the front bodice to provide a little bit more… coverage?

Overall, I love it, especially the midi length. I wore it to dinner for our anniversary last night, and am planning to wear it to a wedding this weekend!!! Update: Here is a shot from the wedding:

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Rigel Bomber Jacket!

finished objects, sewing

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I finally joined the Rigel Bomber Jacket club! I bought the supplies to make this in the fall, but other projects took priority, so this sat in my sewing room, cut out and ready to sew, for several months. The gray wool is from the Center For Creative Reuse, the Liberty lining is from The Fabric Store in LA, ribbing is from Mood, and the zipper is from Pacific Trimmings. Wowza!

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I followed Ginger Make’s tutorial to line the jacket, and it was overall pretty easy and definitely worth the effort. I got tripped up with sewing the little tabs at the bottom of the zipper, I ended up slip-stitching that part shut. I am super happy with this jacket, overall, and I can’t wait for it to get chilly so I can take it out for a spin. I am a little worried that its too plain, but I can jazz it up with some enamel pins and a scarf.

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Archer For a Friend.

finished objects, sewing

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I made a sleeveless Archer a few years ago using Grainline’s awesome tutorial, and I wear it all the time, even though its a white-with-bright-stripes 90s-looking seersucker. My friend Chrissy saw me wearing it one day and commented on how much she loved it, so I decided to make her one for her birthday.

I had some leftover all-white seersucker, but it was barely enough to cut out the shirt. I had to get a little creative with the pattern piece placement: I cut the button band and pockets the wrong way. I didn’t even have enough left to cut the inside yoke, so I used some light micro-floral cotton. I also used it on the under-collar as a subtle way to introduce some color to an otherwise stark white shirt. It took me a long time to settle on a fabric that wouldn’t show through the seersucker too much. I really struggled with buttons, I spent forever comparing at the fabric store before settling on these taupey gray ones. This is the first time I used a teeny button for the collar stand, and I like how it turned out. I also recently got a buttonhole cutter and some fray check, and WOW they improve the finish to look much more professional!

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I am so happy with this shirt, especially because I look at it and see such great strides in craftsmanship since the last time I made one.

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Summer of Basics #2 and #3.

finished objects, sewing

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Continuing on with my second item for #SummerofBasics, I made a self-drafted linen gauze tank, heavily inspired by Karen Templer’s version. I made a patch pocket pattern piece and fully intended to use it, but I forgot to sew them on before joining the front + back, and decided to wait until the top came together to see if it felt right to add them. I think the side slits are too “extreme” to logically accommodate pockets, so I left them off.

I traced a woven tank top I liked to create this pattern. I made a quick muslin to make sure I traced accurately, and then I cut into the little bit of linen gauze I had left from my Tessuti visit last year. This material is pretty sheer, but when its 90 degrees outside with almost 100% humidity, such concerns retreat away through the heavy haze of summer.

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I cut the back along the selvedge in two pieces so I could remember how pretty it is, with its chambray-esque blue and a stripe of green. I used white single-fold bias tape for the neckline and armholes, and french seamed the shoulder and side seams. I made a mistake and double-folded the side slits to the right side (instead of the wrong side) of the garment, but I actually like it as a design feature, so I left it as-is.

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For my #SummerofBasics Number Three, I made a Moss skirt from more of that leftover Essex linen I had in my stash. I thought red would be an unusual color for a skirt, but it turns out that I love it and it doesn’t look unusual at all! I am not sure the essex linen is the best fabric for garments, as it unravels very quickly, but I bound all the seams with bias tape, so hopefully that helps with the skirt’s longevity. I had some berry colored piping and added it to the pockets and I think it adds SO much to the look of the skirt. I used the teeny bit of striped Italian shirting I had left for the waistband and pockets, and I LOVE it so much. Overall, really happy with how this turned out. I do notice that when I wear it, I have to constantly pull at it to make it sit correctly on my hips. I think I made the right size, but I am not sure why this is happening. I might get some true bottom-weight fabric and give it another shot.

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An Eyelet Ruby Dress

finished objects, sewing

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I made my 3rd Ruby dress from Tessuti. I LOVE this pattern so much. It is so fast to make and is easy to wear. I had been dreaming this up for a few months, but just didn’t have time to make it until now.

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I bought the eyelet from Mood fabrics last year, and when I was checking out, the eyelet bolt happened to lay on top of someone else’s bright mauve (what? just trust me it was a bright mauve) fabric and I loved the pop of color, but regrettably I did not buy it. The idea of eyelet with a bright pop color underneath stuck with me, though.

I ended up using some almost-neon-yellow super soft voile from Firecracker Fabrics and used that to underline this dress. I took a lot of inspiration from the Ruby hack that Tessuti posted awhile ago, especially the back, but instead of binding the armholes, I made a front and back facing using this tutorial. I liked the look of the binding so I kept it for the neckline. I bound the seams (except the center back..) with bias tape, which really helped to neaten the inside of the garment. I had aspirations of hiding the back bodice within the facing, but it would have stuck out of the dress, so I hand-stitched the bodice lining to the center back instead. I had the crochet-covered button in my stash and I think it fits the look of the dress perfectly.

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A Whimsical Collared Shirt

finished objects, sewing

Although I thought I was sick of making collared shirts, last year Bellbird posted (only on instagram I think) an offbeat collared shirt, Blaire by Style Arc, that I thought was so lovely, I had to give it a try. I bought this “wrong way” striped Italian shirting last year, and I thought this would be the perfect candidate. I saw the fabric at Loom, and after leaving the store without buying it, went back the next day because I kept thinking about it. Unfortunately, they only had 1 yard left!

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I set out to make the dress version, but I thought it looked too “hospital gown-y,” so I opted to rip out the bottom half (and the topstitched pockets…) and recut it into the shirt version. I think this is a better use of the stripes since I cut the under panels the wrong way.

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This was overall medium-hard to sew. The directions had a lot of typos that made it very confusing, but I muddled through. The hardest part was hemming the curves on the shirt. I don’t think I did the best job… oh well. I think I have finally learned my lesson about matching the thread to the project, I am sad about how bad the white thread sticks out, especially on the dark Liberty-print inner collar stand. This fabric was not forgiving with ripping out stitches, so I left it, but in the future I pledge to always match each bobbin’s thread to the corresponding fabric!

style_arc_blaire_frontOne other note– the pattern specifies 3/8″ seam allowances, but I used french seams throughout. Since this is such a boxy fit, I thought it would work out fine to have a little extra seam allowance in there. The only thing I didn’t account for was sewing the sleeve cuffs with the extra allowance, too, so they lined up with the sleeves.

Overall, loving it!

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Acton Dress

finished objects

I made an Acton dress! I’ve been eyeing this pattern up for a long time, and finally decided to go for it… with some lovely gray “luxe” linen and some super-fun Liberty I bought during our LA trip at The Fabric Store.

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I rode my bike to the Phipps since it was so nice out (!!), but I think it made the dress extra rumpled for these photos, especially in the bust and waist.

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I was pretty meticulous about lining up seams and making sure everything looked perfect, but was in a rush to finish sewing the straps, so I neglected to realize I did not line them up correctly. The top back also didn’t line up! Wow what a miss. It was surprisingly easy to perform surgery through the lining to fix it this morning, though.

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… see? All better now.

The instructions for this pattern were GREAT!!! I loved the technique of sewing the lining to the center back seam, it was so easy and looks really professional. I usually hand-sew the lining at the zipper, but this looks better and is more sturdy. Speaking of the zipper…. my local fabric store didn’t have a grey zipper, so I went purple, and I really like it. It peeks out a tiny bit when I am wearing it, but its so fun! Overall, this is a great pattern… it is a tiny bit unflattering in the waist area, but I think I made it a skosh too tight. I made a bodice muslin in a straight size D, and then ended up taking in the side seams by 1″ on the final fabric’s side front and side back bodice (and as a result,I had to take in the skirt side seam 1″ in at the waist and grade out to the size D). Next time, I think I will take it in 1/2″ or so instead, so there’s more wiggle room.

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Thanks to Claire and Kelsey for taking some impromptu photos at the Phipps yesterday!