Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bruyère, mon amour!


I fell in love with the Bruyère Shirt pattern the instant I saw it. The pleats, the tunic length, the flat collar, the waistband... *sigh*. I knew I had to have it!

And just as I suspected, I love it! It's the perfect garment for fall. Somehow this pattern manages to be feminine, casual, chic, tailored, and comfortable all at once!

I graded from size 34 at the bust to 36 at the waist, and back to 34 at the hips. This is the same size I used for my Belladone, which fit me really well. I think this pattern has a little more ease built in though, because the waist is a bit loose. On my next version I'll just do a straight 34. I also think I'll do a small SBA and shorten the sleeves a bit.

Where to start with this fabric? Well, I love wearing it, but it sure was a pain in the ass to sew. I bought it during Form & Fabric's going-out-of-business sale and the tag said "Italian cotton shirting". What I didn't realize until I got home was that it was actually a double gauze (score!). And when I pre-washed it it got super soft, but also very, very fiddly. This stuff shifted around like crazy - it was like I'd cut it on the bias. And the fraying, oh the fraying. Ugh. But the happy ending is that I have a super cute shirt that's so cozy I feel like I'm wearing a blanket! So all fabric woes are forgiven and forgotten.




One night when I was moaning about how long it was taking me to finish this shirt my husband made a good point - it's kind of like taking the trickiest parts of a button-up shirt and a dress and combining them. Which is true. Not only do you have to sew the collar, cuffs, placket, yokes, and buttonholes of a shirt, but you also have the darts, pleats, facing, and waistband of a dress. No wonder Deer & Doe rated this pattern as "advanced". No one thing is particularly difficult, there's just a lot going on.

If you've used a D&D pattern before you'll know their instructions aren't very detailed. The one bit I got confused about was where the collar, placket, and facing all meet. It was a new method to me, so I looked up the Bruyère sew-along to make sure I was doing it right. The sew-along's in French, but there are tons of pictures, so it's not too hard to follow along. The method is actually really clever, and I love how neatly the placket and collar ended up joining together!






The pattern recommends using French seams for an "impeccable finish". I did French seam the sleeves so they would look nice when rolled up, but I just serged all the others. I also ignored the button placement guide. Instead I tried the shirt on and placed a pin where I wanted the top button to go. Then I placed another pin in the center of the waistband and spaced out evenly from there. So I ended up using 7 buttons instead of 10.

The pattern didn't call for any interfacing in the button placket. Next time I'll definitely add some, because my placket wants to stretch out around the buttonholes. I'm sure it's exaggerated by my floppy fabric, and it probably wouldn't be a problem in something sturdier, but I think it's a good idea to add it anyway.

I also had a lot of trouble getting the cuff plackets to look nice due to misbehaving fabric and a different kind of placket than I'm used to. But I think I'll usually wear it with the sleeves rolled up anyway, so I'm not too worried about it.




I also made the leggings a while ago using Sewloft's free pattern. I had some issues with the fit, so I ended up drafting my own pattern (including slanted knee panels!) for my next pair - I'm planning on releasing it as a free pattern soon! For this pair I used a "jegging knit" from JoAnn that's quite thick and really comfortable. It is starting to pill a bit though.

I definitely want to make another Bruyère or two this winter! Maybe in chambray, or flannel? Or should I use the printed silk I won in the Anima contest? What do you think?

<3 Lindsay


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Coat-along!

A few days ago I got the overwhelming urge to sew a Gerard coat. I posted about it on Instagram and Bella mentioned she'd been wanting to sew one too. So plans were hatched and e-mails exchanged, and today we present to you the Coat-along!

Have you been wanting to sew a coat but you're afraid of taking the plunge? Or maybe you need a challenge and a deadline to get your sew-jo going? Bella and I have set ourselves a six week deadline to finish our coats with an end date of December 4th . Neither of us have made a coat before and we felt like we could use some moral support from each other to get to the finish line of such an involved project.  And if you're interested we'd love for you to join in!

You're welcome to sew whatever coat pattern you like! I'll be using the Gerard pattern from Republique Du Chiffon and Bella will either be making Gerard or this Burda bubble coat (without the ruffles). I think the slouchy, boyfriend style of Gerard will be great for my first coat pattern, as there's not a lot of tailoring involved. If you're interested in sewing Gerard too be sure to check out Kelly's great detail post (on fabric, interfacing, buttonholes, etc.) about her (totally amazing) Gerard Coat. I've also collected some Gerard Coat inspiration on Pinterest here.

And a couple days ago I ordered my fabric and lining from Mood:

Blue/Black Herringbone Wool Coating (sold out)

Terracotta rayon bemberg lining

I've also rounded up a preliminary list of coat-making tutorials from around the web. If there are any you think I should add please let me know in the comments!

Choosing Easy-to-Sew Coating Fabrics - Sewaholic
Choosing Easy Coat Sewing Patterns - Sewaholic
How to Pre-shrink Wool in the Dryer - Off the Cuff
How to Bag a Jacket Lining - Grainline Studio
Making a Back Stay - Sewaholic
Bound Buttonhole Tutorial - Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing
Hemming a Wool Coat - Did you make that?
Pad Stitching Tutorial - Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing

So if you're interested leave me a comment letting me know you're in! We'll be using the hashtag #coatalong on Instagram to share our progress and to solicit help and advice from fellow coat-sewers! I'll be posting updates on here too. And I'll put together a round-up of everyone's coats in December.

Let's make some coats!

<3 Lindsay

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bronte Top & Julia Cardigan (+ Perfect Pattern Parcel #6)!


Pattern Parcel #6 is here! As I'm sure you're going to hear many, many times over the next couple weeks (sorry). But it's for a good cause - so far over $12,000 has been raised for classrooms in need! Plus your purchase supports indie pattern designers AND you get six fantastic patterns at an amazing price!

Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

Parcel #6 includes: 

Syrah Skirt by Lauren Dahl (exclusive release!)
Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren
Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations
Hudson Pant by True Bias
Zsalya Dress by Kate and Rose
BONUS PATTERN: Odette Dress by Bluegingerdoll


I chose to make the Julia Cardigan and Bronte Top - both great, quick-to-sew, knit basics.


I didn't really realize until I started making the Julia cardigan that I have practically no cardigans in my closet. I used to wear them a lot, but they've been weeded out over the years and never really replaced. So this was the perfect pattern to add to my ever-growing library!

I chose the view with long sleeves and a doubled-over hem/collar. The doubled-over version used more fabric, but I think it's worth it so that you don't have to hem around the giant circle that is the hem/collar piece. It also keeps the wrong side of the fabric from showing around the neckline.

I sewed a size XS and the only change I made was to take about an inch of width out of the cuffs. Otherwise the fit is perfect! I love the deep purple color of the fabric, and I can already tell I'm going to be wearing this cardigan a lot this fall.



The Bronte Top's been on my radar for a few months, so I was happy for the opportunity to try it out! I love the 40s-inspired neckline detail, but since I'm not really a vintage/retro girl I tried to steer it in a more contemporary direction. I think the heathered charcoal gray complements the bold jewel-tone orange rather well, and almost gives it a dressy sportswear look, if that makes any sense.

I made a straight size 6 with no changes. My neckline seems to be a bit higher than the one on the pattern cover, but that may just be because of how I tacked down the shoulder details to the neckline. I looked up pictures of other Brontes and it seemed as though other people had varying neckline depths too. So you may want to pay extra attention to that step if you're sewing one up for yourself.




All three fabrics I used are lovely, drapey rayon knits from my stash. The purple is from Jo-Ann and is the same fabric I used for my Nettie dress. The orange and gray are both from Girl Charlee and have already been used for two t-shirts and a bodysuit. Yay, stash-busting!

Julia and Bronte are both fantastic patterns that I'll definitely make again! This was 'cake' sewing to be sure, but I'm certainly going to get a lot of use out of these pieces. If you'd like to scoop up these patterns for yourself be sure to check out the Perfect Pattern Parcel website - Parcel #6 is available through Oct. 31!

Happy Sewing!

<3 Lindsay


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Marbella Dress

 

I recently had the opportunity to do some pattern testing for one of my Pattern Workshop classmates. The pattern is the Marbella Dress by Itch to Stitch Designs, a brand new indie pattern company. And the result is this lovely little black dress!

At first I wasn't sure if the silhouette would work for me - generally I prefer fitted skirts with looser tops - but I thought it would be worth a try. Turns out I love it! The tulip skirt is balanced perfectly by the boat neckline.






The Marbella Dress comes in a wide range of sizes from 00 to 20 AND four different cup sizes! I loooved not having to do an SBA! So convenient. I'm also a huge fan of princess seams and deep pleats, so obviously this dress was right up my alley in that regard. The yoke is really nifty because it both finishes the neckline edge and provides a great opportunity for color-blocking.


Since I was testing, I decided to go with a plain black cotton twill for my dress. Also because up until now I didn't own a little black dress. I know, right. I sewed a straight 00 with an A cup. Looking back at the size chart, I should have technically graded to a 0 at the hip, but I'm happy with the fit as-is. The only modification I made was to shorten the skirt by two inches (I'm 5'4").

The only fit issues I experienced were some gaping at the back neckline and fabric pooling at the low back. Easily fixable on my next version by doing sway-back and rounded-back adjustments. I added some back neckline darts after I was already finished with this dress, but they would obviously look a lot nicer and less bulky if I'd done the adjustment beforehand.



The PDF pattern has a great feature where you can turn on and off layers to print only the size (or sizes) you want. The instructions are fantastic and super detailed, and there are options to make lined or unlined versions. I opted for unlined and finished the armholes with bias tape.

Nice, roomy in-seam pockets are also included! I lined mine with rayon bemberg scraps from my Rigel Bomber, and they feel so luxurious.



I highly recommend the Marbella Dress! I think Kennis did a wonderful job with both the drafting and the instructions. It looks fantastic on a variety of shapes and sizes - you can see more tester photos here.

The Marbella Dress pattern is currently 20% off. There's also a giveaway for a free pattern going on through Oct. 24th! This is such a versatile dress, and I can't wait to see more versions popping up around the blogosphere!

<3 Lindsay


Monday, October 13, 2014

Wedding Outfits


Today marks mine and my husband's seven year anniversary (from the time we started dating) and our one year wedding anniversary! Since I didn't have a blog this time last year, I thought today would be a good time to show the outfits I made for our wedding.

Neither of us are much for tradition or ceremony, so our wedding was as low-key as possible. Actually, we eloped and just held a small reception at our house a few weeks later. Our "wedding pictures" were taken with a tripod and remote on our deck. I don't regret not having a wedding ceremony at all. The time and money I would have spent planning it instead went towards our honeymoon in New Zealand! Definitely the right decision.



For my wedding dress I couldn't stand the thought of pouring a lot of time and money into something I would only wear for a few hours. I wanted it to be 1) wearable for other occasions and 2) not white. I decided to go with the Belladone dress pattern by Deer & Doe for a classic and simple silhouette.

I did, however, want to use something special for the fabric and I eventually decided on this Oscar de la Renta silk mikado from Mood. It was (and still is) the most expensive fabric I ever bought, but I think it was perfect for my dress. The texture of it is unlike any fabric I've felt before. It's a silk/wool blend and has a lovely smooth feel, but also a crisp drape. Purple and green are two of my favorite colors and I think the watercolor-esque flower pattern is gorgeous.

Looking at these pictures has reminded me that I really need to make another Belladone in a more everyday fabric! It's a great pattern.



I also made my husband's suit. It wasn't a fun experience. I'd only been sewing for a year at this point and making that suit was tough. I think I've mostly blocked it out from my memory. The pattern was something from McCall that I can't be bothered to look up, and the fabric is some kind of mystery fabric I got for super cheap from the Golden D'Or in Dallas. The suit really ended up being more of a wearable muslin, but it served its purpose I suppose!





I can't believe we've already been married for a year! Time flies. And looking back on these garments I can really see how much my sewing has improved in the last year (especially with the suit, although I would do a couple things differently with the dress too).

So would you (or have you) sewn your own wedding dress? Would you go all-out and make a ballgown with layer upon layer of tulle? Or keep it simple and non-traditional? I think the great thing about sewing your own wedding dress is that you can make something that truly reflects your personality!

<3 Lindsay


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Birthday Shirt!


Last week was my husband's birthday and this was my present to him: button-up shirt #7! Including a few shirts made for others, this actually marks my tenth time making this pattern, so I'm a pretty dab hand at it by now. It's the Frank shirt from BurdaStyle: Sewing Vintage Modern and it was actually one of the first few patterns I ever sewed, back before I knew that you weren't supposed to learn sewing by making button-up shirts. Although I think having my first few projects be really difficult helped me out in the long run. I never had time to develop a fear of button-holes, invisible zips, linings, etc. because I'd already naively slogged through doing them. Too bad I didn't make a fly zip at that stage because I've still never been able to insert one correctly...





The fabric is a navy/white pinstripe cotton shirting from JoAnn that I LOVE. It's the same fabric I used for my sleeveless Archer (which I wore about a 100 times this summer). When my husband saw it he decided he wanted a shirt from it too, unfortunately it was already sold out in store. I found it online, but then JoAnn cancelled my order about a week later saying they didn't actually have any in stock. So imagine my surprise when about a month after that I saw the fabric in the "recommended for you" section of their e-mail newsletter. Err, thanks for letting me know it's back in stock JoAnn? So I ordered it again and actually received it this time, although it came it two 1.3 yard pieces rather than one 2 yard piece. Err, thanks JoAnn??

At least I have enough extra to make a third garment now. This fabric is seriously so nice to sew and wear. Soft, lightweight, great quality... Questionable customer service aside, I think JoAnn's apparel fabric selection has really been improving lately. They're definitely making an effort to keep up with fashion trends, and I've been noticing more natural fiber fabrics as well.




Construction-wise I don't have much to add that I haven't said before. The collar is self-drafted because the one that comes with the pattern is huge. I slimmed down the collar stand as well. The button plackets are folded to the inside rather than the outside. The pocket is also self-drafted - just two simple rectangles. The top rectangle is folded in half with both raw edges sewn to the bottom rectangle. You may have noticed (or not) that the pocket is on the right side rather than the left. I did that intentionally because my husband is left-handed, so a pocket on the right would be easier to use. I never really thought about the sided-ness of pockets, but I guess that makes sense?

I enjoyed playing with the direction of the stripes to create some subtle interest. I think the wood buttons are a nice touch as well. (Thanks to Zoe for the idea to order wood buttons in bulk! Definitely a great addition to my stash.)

And with this shirt I've finally perfected the placement of the buttons. It's always hard to get the top button and the collar stand button exactly right so there's no pulling.





My husband loves this shirt, and I'm really pleased with the construction as well. I took my time on this one, and I think it shows. Next up is another button-up (for me!) - the Bruyere tunic. I'm planning on sewing up a muslin today.

What's on your sewing table?

<3 Lindsay