9.05.2016

Finished: Modified Simplicity 1690 in Silk Crepe de Chine


Otherwise known as the "fancy" tee :)

You know, I just realized as much as I favor silk, and despite this not being the first silk item I've made (even this year!), this is the first one to make it onto the blog. Okay, save for that bias red dress I made back in the Sew Weekly days - ah, my former fearless self haha

I had somewhat different plans for this shirt when I started. I was hoping to be able to finally conquer drafting a set of slopers and draft from them my dream v-neck woven tee. But, sometimes time gets away from you and the next thing you know, you've spent a week working on the first half and a deadline starts to loom overhead. So, I'll definitely get back to the slopers (side note: loving Suzy Furrer's Craftsy classes!), but in the meantime I decided it would be faster to alter a pattern I've already worked with.

I first made Simplicity 1690 two or so years ago, straight from the packet in a turquoise rayon challis (unblogged, save for Me Made May). I really like it and it was a quick gratification make, but I knew with a few tweaks, it could be even better. For starters, the shirt as designed is too short, particularly if I want to be able to tuck it in, which in this case, I certainly did. It also had significantly more ease at the waist than the hips, which seemed to emphasize rather than flatter my "pear" shape. It was also a bit small in the bust and the shoulders. But, it had potential, so here are the changes I made.

To start:
  • graded pattern to a size 12 at neckline, shoulder, and bust, 14 at sleeve, and 18 at hem
  • lengthened by 7/8" to hit 1 1/4" above low hip line (in other words, 7 3/4" below waist)
  • altered neckline to a slightly curved v-neck with the center dropped by 5"
  • made 1/2" broad shoulder adjustment
  • made 1' full bust adjustment (which created a steep bust dart, but I liked it and left it)
After initial muslin:
  • lowered apex by 1"
  • removed 1 1/2" length at CF, tapering to nothing a sides
  • added 1" ease to hip
  • added 1/4" length to sleeve
  • added 1/4" circumference to sleeve front
It may seem picky, but I really wanted that breezy silhouette that can be so hard to achieve when your waist is so much smaller than your bottom half.  To be honest, I'm not entirely sure I fully succeeded, but I'm reasonably happy with the results.

Once I was comfortable with the alterations, the actual construction was easy! There are only two pattern pieces after all. Both front and back are cut on a fold. I used French seams since I expect to treat the top more as a t-shirt, meaning it will get washed (as opposed to dry cleaning), and often, and I didn't want it to fray. Side note: is there a trick to French seaming a cut-on sleeve? Doing so was easy, but then I had to clip it at the pivot point for the sleeve to move freely. For the neckline, I used self-fabric bias, folded in half. But, something tells me this wasn't my best option for a v-neck. Despite very careful handling, and a bit of stay-stitching, I'm convinced the neckline stretched out a little.  It sits much wider than expected, and being a slippery silk, I'll actually need to add bra carriers to keep if from shifting off my shoulders. But I'm sure you could all see that from the photos :P I used more of the binding for the sleeves, in their case, hand-sewing it down, rather than using machined top-stitching. For the hem, I sewed a line of straight stitches at 1/4" from the raw edge and used that as a pressing guide to turn it under. Next, instead of trimming that turned-under bit, as you would for a baby hem, I simply folded under again and pressed.  This gave me a hem of just over 1/4" deep, which allowed me to use my 1/4" guide presser foot to evenly stitch the hem, just catching the folded edge underneath.  Obviously, it's a bit of a cheat, and nothing that hasn't been done before, but I was really pleased with the finish, and a shirt like this didn't need the babiest of baby hems anyway. :)

By the way, does anyone have any tips for eliminating that little flick the sleeve hem does at the end of the shoulder seam? I assume it means something is wrong, but I'm not sure what. I was very careful while hand-stitching the hem, so I'm confident it isn't stretched out. Maybe a fit issue?

Minor oopses aside, I'm calling this one a win. It's insanely comfortable, is obviously a staple color, or rather absence of color, and will dress up or down rather nicely :D I'm sure there will be more of these in my future. Who doesn't love an easy win!?

Oh! And if you're curious about my [new favorite] skirt, yep, I made that too! It's a silk/wool bouclé and I'm in love. It was a project for Cali&Co, so keep an eye out for a post on it soon!

Top: Simplicity 1690, silk from FineFabricsUSA  /  Skirt: Simplicity 2154, bouclé from Cali Fabrics*  /  Sunglasses: Ray-Ban  /  Camera bag: Isaac Mizrahi  /  Shoes: Corso Como  /  Earrings: Swarovski
Photo location: City Hall, Roswell GA and SCAD FASH, Atlanta GA

Happy sewing! x

*Disclosure: I used my Cali&Co blogger allowance toward the purchase of the bouclé skirt fabric.  As usual, none of the links are affiliate links and all opinions are entirely my own.
8.01.2016

[Long since] Finished: Patternless Half-circle Skirt in Floral Cotton Sateen


Otherwise known as my most complimented garment ever :D

I mentioned previously my temporary addiction to half-circle skirts.  They're just so easy to sew and so swishy and fun to wear!  This one may just be my favorite of the lot.

It's a floral (obviously) cotton sateen that I picked up from Jo-Ann four or so years ago.  It's not every day I find a pure cotton with a nice hand and drape at one of our big chain craft stores, so I remember snagging this one immediately.  At the time (about two years before I made the skirt), I wasn't quite sure what to do with it.  I'm frequently drawn to prints, but I was steadily realizing that I can feel a little odd wearing them (much like my love for full-circles).  After carefully considering my wardrobe, and paying close attention to the garments I liked most from my favorite brands, I realized that limiting the print to half of my outfit was the way to go.  This idea has worked out really well!

Well, I say that, but this skirt actually finds itself as a bit of an exception, as the shirt I most commonly pair it with is another print! haha But hey, who can argue with so many IG friends and random strangers telling me they love the pairing!?  If it works, it works, right?  And, it's still not all-over floral. Gingham is a neutral right? HA

Anyway, the skirt.  So it's a light/medium-weight cotton sateen (bare in mind when choosing fabrics that the weight and drape of your fabric will greatly alter how this skirt 'cones' on you), fully lined with Bemberg Ambiance.  I was concerned about the thinness and sheerness of the sateen, so a lining was a must for this one.  For a more structured waistband, I used a med/heavy-weight fusible interfacing and instead of folding over a single band, I cut an inner and an outer band, and joined them at the top, under-stitching the inner band. I finished the band with a back tab and button, which is essential for zipping into a skirt this slippery :P Since I'd had lining peeking issues on my first one, I cut 1.5" off the hem of the lining before construction, and then leveled it with the skirt.  Let me tell you, leveling this lining under the main fabric is, by far, the task most hated by poor Brandon.  He could not have been more relieved when I told him the two linen ones would be unlined!  That's ok though, I had my fair share of frustration and boredom with this skirt too - Remember how I previously said I made up three of these half-circle's two years ago before a vacation to New Orleans? I actually went with him on a business trip before our vacation and spent the three days he had to work sitting in the hotel, watching HGTV, catch-stitching both of these and two other hems.  Not my idea of fun, but it was worth it to be able to sneak away to New Orleans after :D  And this skirt gets worn regularly, and brought on every spring/summer vacation, so the boredom is all but forgotten.

Phew, it's been nice to catch up a bit!  I have one more of these half-circles to show, but I think I may spare you since there's nothing new to say about it.  Or maybe an OOTD post?  After all, a project isn't done until it's blogged, right? ;)

What do you do about backlogged projects/blog posts?

Please excuse the wear wrinkles :P

By the way, does anyone recognize the little town we were in? Hint over my right shoulder ;)


Sunglasses: Ray-Ban  /  Shirt: J.Crew (old)  /  Skirt: Handmade  /  Camera bag: Issac Mizrahi  /  Shoes: Hush Puppies
Photo location:  Covington, GA 

7.11.2016

Finished: True Bias Southport in Patriotic Ikat Linen


Otherwise known as MORE secret PJs!

Funny... last week's garment was linen, blue, Ikat print, and not recent.  This week's garment is linen, blue, Ikat print, and also not recent.  (I swear, I'm still sewing. New things will be coming soon!)  I finished this one last September, right before a trip home and failed to get any photos of it.  And then the weather started to turn and I packed it away... blah blah.  Anyway, here we are.  It's unpacked and back in rotation, and, obviously, I couldn't not wear it for the 4th of July!  Subtle red, white, and blue attire for the win ;)

This Southport is actually the second of three made last year.  You may recall my gushing over the pattern when I posted my first one in October.  Obviously, I was still thrilled when making this linen version. I almost never repeat patterns and I started this one immediately after the chambray version.  Based on how that one wore though, I did make a few more changes:

  • I tapered to size 2 below bust on bodice and waistband (from size 4)
  • Reduced the waistband and skirt by 1 size, so graded to a size 8 in the front and a size 10 in the back (at hips)
  • I also should have added an additional 1/2" length to the bodice (for a total of 1" added), but I was in such a hurry I completely forgot on this one.
  • I also should have taken out a little at cb waist for a sway back adjustment.
  • This is roughly the pattern's drafted length.  I normally add 3" to dress hems, but I think this one is a suitable length, even on someone with longer legs.
One thing to note, if you're concerned about how flattering the drawn waistband will be, you might stick to thinner or softer fabrics.  I'm sure the fit difference is not noticeable in pictures, but because this linen has a fair amount of body, it doesn't cinch quite as well as the light chambray.  On the other hand, that extra body means nice air flow, so it's great for the hottest of days here.  It's really just a matter of preference.  It's a pretty flexible pattern :)



Sunglasses: RayBan  /  Dress: Handmade  /  Necklace:  Handmade  /  Flag:  Target  /  Sandals:  DV by Dolce Vita (old)
Photo location:  Barrington Hall, Roswell GA

Happy Sewing! x
7.04.2016

[Long since] Finished: Patternless Half-Circle Skirt in Navy/White Linen


Otherwise known as the essential Southern [US] skirt.

I would say I'm pulling this one from the depths of my closet, as I made it a little over two years ago, but the truth is, it has been in constant rotation each summer!  I'm sure the reasons are obvious: 1. it's linen and this is Georgia, and 2. navy and white are two of my favorite neutrals (yes, navy is a neutral in my world ;) )

This was the second in a line of half-circle skirts (the first of which was posted here).  With a hit or miss sewjo, their simplicity was just far too tempting.  Well that, and the fact that I decided about a week before a vacation that I needed as many new garments as possible! haha  By simplicity, in this case, I mean a relative lack of fitting (if the waistband fits, it works! Whether it's flattering, is a different story altogether) and the fact that it is unlined!  Long-time readers may remember how rare that is for me.  But, it's hard to argue with the impracticality of an additional layer when bracing for scorching heat and sticky humidity.

Side note: Have you ever looked back over old sewing notes?  It's a bit like reading an old diary.  Apparently, while I considered the Ikat print to be out of my comfort zone, it came home with me the same day I first saw it.  After stopping at it three times.  The navy and white made this a suitable gateway print ;)

If you've never made a half-circle skirt before, I highly recommend it for a quick project!  It's just one main piece of fabric, sewn with a center-back zip, and attached to a waistband.  The downside to this skirt, however, is how much fabric it "requires".  The width of the hem means you need at least 2 yards.  You open the fabric and fold it lengthwise, cut-edge to cut-edge.  The upside is, the scraps may be large enough for a pair of shorts or a pencil skirt - I plan to make shorts with the remnants from this one.  

  • Note:  Despite the speed with which this project can be sewn (it took me four hours total), don't save it for any last-minute plans.  The hem should ideally drop for 48 hours.  At least 24, depending on how heavy or drapey your fabric is.

For the icing on the cake (read: to far surpass RTW), level the hem after dropping by having a friend measure up from the floor while wearing the skirt.  This will account for your curves, making the skirt look like a perfect fit :)

I have two more of these to share with you soon. I'd say four is a good place to stop for now, but you never know!

How many is too many of one type of skirt?



Sunglasses: Ray-Ban  /  Sweater: J.Crew  /  Skirt: Handmade  /  Shoes: DV by Dolce Vita (old)

Happy sewing! And Happy Independence Day to my American friends! x
6.15.2016

Finished: S1808 Shorts in Anchor-Print Chambray


Otherwise known as crazy comfy dog-walking shorts that are conveniently on trend

Hey guys! Long time no see!

I have a rather large back-log of projects to share, some more complex than others, but it seems I'm starting with a simple, but oh-so needed one. 

The trouble is getting the photographs, isn't it? But Friday morning when I threw this on for a long walk with Brandon and CoCo, I thought to grab the camera and we just paused along the way. Side note: while the sunglasses and hat are likely to continue popping up here - I'm taking sun care very seriously these days - today, they're shielding you from the fact that I don't wear eye makeup on our morning walks haha.

I've been trying to make more of an effort to be more active lately and I've started taking CoCo for an extra, long walk in the mornings. Well, between the increasing summer heat, and the fact that holding her means I can't guard as well against sudden gusts of wind, I realized I really need to start wearing shorts again. I noticed through a few other bloggers that elasticated-waist shorts and track shorts are actually on trend right now. So, what better time to make some myself? 

Conveniently, the day before I came to take decision, I had just happened to pop into Hobby Lobby (a rather rare occurance) for another pattern and saw this cute anchor-print chambray.  Cotton + blue + anchors = 1.5 yards immediately purchased! Granted, I originally planned on making it into sleep shorts, but when I saw similar styles being considered acceptable day wear, I shifted gears slightly and whipped these up using a very slightly modified S1808 (the only elasticated, non-pajama pattern I owned!).

You could call these a bit of a palette cleanser. Some of you know, I have quite an addiction to sewing new things using the full "couture" process: thread-traced muslins, underlining, hand-sewn linings... By contrast, this was a very easy process and a very easy pattern. I actually read through the instructions and found them to be quite clear. To my recollection, there were even notes about understitching! High-five, Simplicity! The shorts really came together in about a day, which, for me, is absolutely unheard of. Faster sewists could likely sew these up in an hour or two. Of course, I did add time by adding top-stitching and a pocket, but the goal was to make them look as "real" as possible, since it's just such a casual style.


Details:


  • I cut a size 14, one size smaller than recommended. (In part because I expect to slim back down a bit, and in part because I didn't want quite that much ease.  With an elastic waist, I think there's a fine line between casual and sloppy, particularly when dressing your "problem areas" and I didn't want to be on the wrong side of it.) NOTE: if you are pear shaped, be very careful when selecting your size.  My choice worked out okay for me, but, to be honest, they were a bit tough to get over my hips at first. Oops!
  • I added a 7/16" full-bum adjustment, because well, that's where my weight is.
  • I left the length as-is, which I think works well as my "short-shorts" length. The finished inseam is ~5" and my inseam is ~36".
  • I edge-stitched the pleats and top-stitched and bar-tacked the pockets.
  • I used 1 1/4" 4-channel sports elastic, applied to the right-side of the inner waistband, rather than the recommended 1/4" elastic and casing.
  • I applied the elastic only between side seams, rather than wrapping around from pocket edge to pocket edge - a happy accident. 
  • I omitted the front ties to limit bulk over my stomach and so I can easily leave my shirts untucked when preferred. 
  • I added a right-back pocket to make the shorts look a bit more like day wear, and to break up the back view a bit (which then didn't happen because, of course, I chose that to be the only area I pattern matched, haha!), top-stitching the pocket before attaching and edge-stitching it to the garment ~2" below the waistband.
I made a few additional tweaks to the pattern after wearing these for a bit, which I'll share when I post pair #2, but overall, I'm rather happy with these. They were quick, easy, and are comfortable for long walks, just as I was hoping. I actually think I'll sneak a couple more on the machine, in between more complex garments.

What do you think of this more casual trend?



Hat: JCrew  / Sunglasses: Ray-Ban / Polo: Vineyard Vines (old) / Shorts: S1808 / Shoes: Coach


Happy sewing! x