Saturday, April 19, 2014

Madewell-inspired Striped Knit Dress

After the success of my Lady Skater peplum I decided to make an actual dress from the pattern. From doing the Wardrobe Architect exercises I knew that I had a need in my wardrobe for a neutral-colored, short-sleeved knit dress. I still wanted it to have some visual interest, so I decided to go with stripes. However, I realized that because of the shape of the skater skirt the stripes would slope downwards at the sides instead of going straight across, which wasn't the look I was going for. So I ended up not using the skater skirt after all. Oh well, I'll get to it one day!

I did a search for dresses similar to the one I was thinking of and found this one by Madewell, one of my favorite clothing brands:

 In order to recreate the look I used the bodice from the Lady Skater dress and made a simple box-pleat skirt out of two rectangles of fabric for the bottom.

The fabric is a black and cream 1/2" stripe knit from Girl Charlee (sold out, but similar fabrics here).

I made the side panels by putting on my Lady Skater peplum inside-out and marking a rough outline of where the panels should be. Then I transferred those marks to the pattern and smoothed out the line using a French curve. After that I simply cut along the line and added seam allowance to create the new pattern pieces, and I taped the old one back together.

I really love the look of the side panels. They create a great hourglass effect.

The original version of this dress was $118. My copycat version: $13. You can't beat a deal like that.

<3 Lindsay

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dotted Chambray Shirt

The Archer's back for it's second (of what's sure to be many) appearances! I made this version short-sleeved (because Texas, summer) and I left off the pockets. Otherwise my last version was pretty perfect fit-wise, so the only change I made to this shirt was to shorten it by about an inch.

The fabric is Robert Kaufman dot chambray in indigo from Hawthorne Threads. I'd had my eye on this fabric for months and I'm so glad I finally bought it. It's soft, lightweight, high-quality, and looks even better in person.

Looking around for inspiration, I realized I wasn't the first person to make an Archer from this material. Laney from Katy & Laney and Emily from Seymour both made versions last summer! Great minds think alike, right?

I love the collar on this pattern - it's the perfect size! And Jen's video tutorial on attaching the collar stand correctly was so helpful. I've always struggled with that with that step because I didn't know about the weird little trick you had to do. I'm still not exactly sure what happens, but it definitely works!

Is it bad that I'm already planning my next Archer? There's this pinstripe shirting at Jo-Ann's that I  know would just be perfect...

<3 Lindsay

Monday, March 31, 2014

Summer Chambray

This is the fifth men's shirt I've made from my tried-and-true BurdaStyle pattern from Sewing Vintage Modern. Numbers 1 - 4 can be seen here, here, here, and here. On this version I left off the collar to make it more of a mandarin-style shirt. I also omitted pockets and made it short sleeved so it can be worn in the (fast-approaching) summer.

I bought this green-gray chambray at a new fabric store called The Cloth Pocket during the Austin Fabric Shop Hop last month. They stock this chambray fabric in an array of colors, and it was such a nice weight and so easy to work with that I may have to go back and get some more.

The best thing about making clothes for my husband is that I get to take the project pictures! I'd much rather be behind the lens. And he's such a natural model anyway!

Maybe I can get him to start modeling my clothes as well... ;)

<3 Lindsay

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lady Skater Peplum Top

I'd been wanting to try out the Lady Skater dress pattern by Kitschy Coo for a while, so I was excited to see it was included in the first Perfect Pattern Parcel released a couple weeks ago.

I plan to sew up a dress version as well, but for this make I re-drafted the skirt piece into a peplum using this tutorial, For some reason my peplum came to really long points at the sides, but it was easy enough to fix - I just used my rotary cutter to adjust the curve, taking off about three inches at each side.

I bought this really lovely, lightweight jersey at The Common Thread during the Austin Fabric Shop Hop a few weeks ago. The Shop Hop was a lot of fun, and I found out about some fabric stores that I didn't even know existed! My husband went along with me too, and chose a couple fabrics for shirts that you'll be seeing soon.

I'm still totally in love with my serger. So quick, so easy, so professional-looking. This shirt only took a few hours to make, even including drafting the peplum piece.

I found that attaching the collar band while the shirt was still flat (as per directions) was a lot easier than adding it after both the shoulder seams were sewn, which is the way I'd always done it before. Same thing with the sleeves and sleeve bands. Sewing in flat always seems to work better for me.

I'm planning on lengthening the bodice into a t-shirt and sewing up a few more of these for summer! I can definitely understand why this pattern's so popular now.

How many Lady Skater's have you sewn? Leave me a link to them in the comments - I'd love to see what you all have come up with!

<3 Lindsay

Friday, March 21, 2014

Denim Maritime Shorts

Shorts! That fit! With a functioning fly zip and everything! I'm sooo happy with this pattern. After the Archer shirt pattern from Grainline Studio sewed up so beautifully, I decided to try the Maritime Shorts. Great decision. These are seriously the best fitting shorts I've ever owned.

The fabric is a 100% cotton denim from Jo-Ann, which softened up really nicely after washing. I was too lazy to make a muslin, but luckily these fit really well straight from the pattern and just needed a couple minor changes. I tried them on before I attached the waistband and ended up taking in one inch from the center back seam and center back waistband seam. I also shortened the inseam to 3 inches.

When I sewed the pockets I realized that you couldn't see the interesting shape of the top because my thread matched the fabric so well. So I decided to sew them on with the wrong side facing out instead to add some visual interest.

It took two tries, but I'm really happy with how the zip fly turned out! I've had a lot of trouble with them in the past. Thanks to Mokosha and Lauren for recommending some really helpful tutorials after my last shorts post! Jen's tutorial is also really good.

For the pocket lining I used some scraps from my Otago Archer shirt. I also decided to add a buttonhole and button instead of using a hook and eye closure.

I'm definitely sewing up a couple more of these this summer! This winter's been unusually long and cold for Texas, but I'm sure the heat will be here before long...

<3 Lindsay

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Children's Room Decor

Recently my mom opened a little booth selling children's books and toys at The Plaid Peacock in Roanoke, TX. I contributed a few things to the shop, including these pillows made from Birch Organic's Fort Firefly fabric line.

I also made a couple of box cushions from foam and organic fabric inspired by Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. They'll be perfect for the story time sessions my mom will be holding at the shop!

I used this tutorial to make the envelope pillow cases and consulted this tutorial for the cushions (which I had used before to make piped window seat cushions).

I also made these cute stuffed giraffes using this pattern available on Etsy as a PDF download. They're the first stuffed toys I've ever made, but I think they turned out pretty well! For the fabric I just used scraps from my stash. I'm currently making some more out of a super-soft giraffe print minky fabric.

It's been fun sewing with bright colors and patterns for a change! And getting the fit right on a cushion is a lot easier than getting the fit right on a person...

<3 Lindsay

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wardrobe Architect: My Core Style

Over the last couple months Sarai of Colette Patterns has been writing a series of blog posts called the Wardrobe Architect, about defining your core style. I think many people, when they first learn to sew, make a lot of garments they won't actually wear on a day-to-day basis. It's easy to become enticed by beautiful patterns and vibrant fabrics and suddenly end up with a wardrobe full of garments that are too elegant or too quirky to fit into your everyday life.
I've only been sewing for about a year and I already have a handful of pieces that fit and that I really like, but that have only been worn once because they're just not "my style".

So in the interest of defining my style, I've created the following styleboards based on what I would consider my style to be: classic, minimalist, comfortable, effortless, and chic.

I also defined my color palette:
As you can see, it comprises mainly neutrals and near-neutrals, with the occasional pop of color. The colors are mostly on the cool side, no yellows/oranges etc. A simple black and white color combo is one of my favorites.
And my favorite patterns:

I'd say patterned clothing makes up about 20% of my wardrobe. I tend to go for very subtle patterns: needle stripes, tiny swiss dots, plaids in neutral colors. Occasionally I'll wear a bolder pattern, usually as a dress (like this one or this one) so I don't have to worry about matching it to other garments. I like interesting geometric patterns and occasionally a floral, though not often. I think florals have a tendency to go very young or very old.
I never wear novelty prints or anything overly girly or childish.

Up next week: my favorite silhouettes, identifying gaps in my wardrobe, and my sewing goals for this spring/summer

<3 Lindsay