Summer dress muslin

So, I thought to myself, “I got this! I am going to use a pattern block I know fits and just modify it for this dress. No problem!”

Guess what? Problem!

I had to redo the neckline and armholes so many times on this.  The neckline is still too high, though.  Maybe on my next one I will get it right. (IF I do a next one)

I used a stretch woven (leftovers from this outfit) to make the top part of this dress.  This is a really nice stretch woven, and I wanted to make use of the leftover bits.  The knit part is a jersey knit, which has a great drape, but not great stretch to it.  It was a bit of a bear in using it for the bindings.  I need to re-figure how I  do the neckline.  This mess is not working for my sewing perfectionist self, but by the time I got this far, I was basically like f#$% it!

I had scraps left of the jersey after cutting the skirt (I had to cut the skirt in two pieces due to not enough fabric to cut on the fold.  I added some of the extra pieces to give it some more interest, and to just use up the fabric so it wasn’t just sitting there looking forlorn and unused.  I also added some of the extra stretch woven.

I had to redo both.  The jersey wasn’t cut on enough of a curve to drape correctly and the stretch woven looked skewed to one side.  I took that off.

Here is what the final version looks like when worn.  Not a perfect muslin, but it will be worn!

It does make me look a bit top heavy.   I really did know better than having such a light color up there with the rest dark.  Oh well.

We’ll see how much wear I get out of it this summer.  If it doesn’t get worn…into the giveaway pile it will go!

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Summer tops

These are some summer tops that I drafted/hacked from either patterns I made previously, or by using the Sneha by Wardrobe by Me.

I used my style sheet that I put together from tops I found on Pinterest:

Then, I went back and looked at more tops.

Here is the first one.  I modified a swing tank I drafted a few years ago.  This fits pretty well, but needs some more room under the arms, so that is the only thing I would change on it.

It is made from athletic mesh (black), cotton lycra (white bands) and an iron on vinyl design I cut with my Silhouette.

You can find the cut file for this top here.

This next one would have probably worked better with a lighter jersey knit.  I do still really like it, though.  I drafted a dolman sleeve t-shirt from a RTW version that I really like.  The arms a little too tight on this one, too, so that is the only modifications I would make to it.  I cut up the pattern with a 3″ section in upper top that I used a white mesh.

 

This black top is my version of a tank with mesh inserts and different cuts.  I used the Sneha top as a base for this one.  I just traced out the pattern, and cut it up where I thought it would look good.  When I was cutting out the pieces I added the seam allowance.   I was a little concerned with the sturdiness of the lace, but I think the bands will work well like this.

This grey top is my own fabric design, printed on Modern Jersey from Spoonflower.  The pattern is my draped cowl top, only I shaved about an inch from the shoulders.

This red top used another pattern I had drafted previously.  I added some ruffles and a deep cut back to add visual interest to it.

Here are some pictures of the ruffles in process.  The pieces were about 20″ long for the wide, less gathered ruffle, and 40″ long for the very gathered ruffle.  I pinned them well, attached the shoulders together and then put the band on it in two steps.  First I attached it to the front of the tank, then I turned the hem under and stitched it again.  For the back I included clear elastic in it, so it wouldn’t stretch out.  This is a jersey knit, so it doesn’t have great recovery.  Lastly I attached the tubes for the back.

So there are my summer tops so far!  I do have a few more ideas, and luckily…plenty of fabric! 😉

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Summer skort for sittin’ in the bleachers

I won’t lie and say this sporty skort is for exercising.  It is so I can be comfy sitting in the hot sun.  I might try to go for walks before games, since we usually need to arrive an hour before game time.  That would be a good use of my time, actually.

I always have good intentions of taking a walk while my kid is warming up for his/her ballgames, and this summer it is something I really need to do.  We usually have to get there an hour early, and there I sit when I need to exercise a bit.  My pants really don’t fit me well at all right now.  Wine, I tell ya.

In order for me to be comfortable in doing both sitting at the bleachers and taking a walk, I have devised this skort from a RTW inspiration at Lululemon.  It is a running skort that is way shorter than I like and is also pleated in the back.

My version has more of a circle skirt thing going on in the back and is longer.  I added some pockets underneath for a phone and keys. This is what the pattern pieces roughly look like (roughly since I can’t draw very well in Photoshop).

I drafted this in an evening and was able to sew up the first one right away.  It needed some modifications, so I made those.  It is an easy sew.  You could easily hack this from a pair of leggings that fits.  Then you just need to measure the waistline to get the waist length and go from there.  For the front piece I didn’t make it all the way across and drafted it so the back skirt came into the front by about 2-3″.

The waist piece is around 4″ long, and does double duty as kind of a tummy suck-it-in.  The doubled up fabric helps with that.

The pocket cuts from the middle of the leggings are 4″ wide.  The pocket is 7″ long, which allows for a 1.5″ hem.  Inside the hem I added clear elastic, so the fabric doesn’t stretch out and it holds the shape.

And look!  Jalie is released one that is really close to mine!  They do a great job on their patterns and have a wide range of sizing, so I would recommend them if you are wanting something like mine.  They only have pockets on one side, though, and really, the more pockets the better.  I bet you could hack the pattern to do the same on the opposite side.

Here is version #1.  This was made with a black ponte with good stretch and athletic mesh.  The mesh is on the skirt, and with only one layer…a little bit see through.  It should be nice and cool, though. 😉

Version #2 made with a Nike athletic poly and athletic mesh.  It is kind of a grey-blue color.  This one I added another layer in the back.

Version #3.  This is my fabric design from Spoonflower in their Performance Piqué.  This is a lightweight poly.  The leggings and top piece are made from a ponte.

Version #4.  This is cotton lycra made with fabric I had printed for me.  The leggings are made from a black cotton lycra.

This will see lots of wear this summer.  They are comfy and fun, and I love how they turned out.

I will try to get the post up on the tops tomorrow.  🙂

Spring/summer capsule…DONE!

I love how this all turned out!  I am excited for the weather to get warmer and I can wear this new casual wardrobe this summer.

I made:

  • 4 shirts
  • 4 skorts
  • 1 dress

I do have several RTW and previously sewed items that will work with this, as well.  I will do a few posts showing the different pieces up close.  For now…this is my finished mix and match wardrobe.

More details to come!

The Blixen Blazer

It has been awhile since I made a blazer, and Wardrobe by Me was going into testing for one.  The timing was less than ideal.  I had already committed to doing some sample sewing and another test, and then I had a funeral.  I was soooooo very glad when I got this finished.

It turned out very nice, though, so that was my carrot for the trial of accomplishing this pattern.  It took the majority of one week’s sewing.  There are a lot of pieces to cut out, interface and mark/baste stitch/notch.  Luckily it was drafted well, so everything went together nicely.

Blixen Blazer

I did do a few things that made it more difficult:

  • Leather welts and collar
  • Thin, slippery satin lining
  • Non-stretch interfacing

So…don’t do that.  For the first one you make at least.  There were also testers that had issues using scuba knit, since it really didn’t iron flat.  I would not recommend that type of knit.  This was a pretty sturdy ponte knit, and it ironed very well.  The thin, slippery satin lining was the devil’s handmaiden, though.  It acted like I cut it all on the bias.  It suuuuuuuucked.

This blazer looks and feels expensive, and I am very happy with the outcome.

I made a size 12 with no alternations.

There were some changes after this version.  The back notches for the sleeve were not in the right spot, so I had to really iron out some puckers.  In the final version she had them placed correctly.  Mine was made worse, as I did not use a stretch interfacing.  I didn’t have enough tricot interfacing to do the jacket.  I should have ordered more, but this test came up sooner than I thought it would.

This is the peplum back.  If you want it more full, it would be fairly easy to just slash and spread this piece and the lining piece to get a fuller back.

Lots of nice tailoring in this.  The notched collar and back darts.

The front piece has the dart and welt in a combined piece.  The pieces all went together very well.  Christina does a good job at drafting.

I put my buttonhole in wrong.  It should be a horizontal and not vertical hole.  I should have remembered that, but it was the LAST THING I needed to do.  I honestly was so excited I was just about finished.

I think it would be fairly workable to use zippers in the place of the welts, too.  You would just use the interfacing piece to make the pocket facing and the sew the zippers to that piece or a narrow seam around the opening.  That would look pretty nice and modern.

This is the “bane of my existence” lining.  A pretty satin.

Taking photos for this was a challenge due to the angle of the sun.  I also did some cloning on the ground where our mulch needs to get raked back up a bit.  Looks like the kids have some yard work to do! 😉

I love the details with the leather collar and welt pockets, but they do make it more of a challenge.  I used wondertape to hold it in place and also clips instead of pins.  I am actually using my clips a lot more than pins these days.  Makes it a bit faster and I can’t try to sew over them!

If you don’t have shoulder pads on hand, just use some quilt batting.  That is what I usually do now.  It gives it some form, but it still forms well to your body.

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Details on the pattern release sale:

Blixen Blazer on sale for one week for $12 (reg. $15)

 

Oh, and I made my shirt, too, but I will post about that later.  It is hard to get pictures of white shirts.  It actually has an interesting detail on it that really doesn’t show up in these photos.

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Summer top turned into summer dress

With the approach of summer, I decided to try my hand at converting a top I drafted last year (or was it the year before?) into an easy summer dress.  I like this top, since it is loose around the waist, but not too loose.   This is aided by the gathers just being along a 2-3″ span in the middle, and having some shaping on the side.

I lengthened this draft to an A-line dress that hits above my knees.  The length on this dress is 36″ hemmed, so it only takes a little over a yard to make it.

The fabric I used is a knit jersey with lycra.  It is super comfortable and lightweight.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add the HTV design to it, or not.  After asking for opinions about it, I got a lot of “Keep it off and accessorize with a big necklace!”  Normally, I am all about accessories, but this is for hot summer days, and I will likely be keeping them to a minimum.  So…HTV it was!

I bought a pair of red Ariat sandals from Zulily to go with my red stuff in my wardrobe capsule.  I need to step back from the online shopping now.  I have a big problem with hitting the credit card lately.

As that worked out so well, I decided to make a maxi dress with side slits.  With fabric like this, you don’t want to go extra long on the cutting.  You actually want to cut it short, since the weight pulls the hemline down.  I had to re-hem a maxi dress I made out of this type of lycra jersey last summer.  Several times.

I added side slits to this dress, and made them at about 18″ from the unhemmed bottom.  To do this, I first serged the edges, then sewed up the side seams up to the 18″ marking.  Then I just turned the edge and top-stitched.  I knew if I tried to just serge the side seams, turning under the slits would have been harder.

I also added a lace applique that I had purchased at SR Harris.  I have a bunch of appliques I purchased, just because I like them.  This worked great for the yoke.  I just zig-zag stitched it on, with a matching thread.

Just needs to look good on the outside, am I right??

Still photos of this dress look a bit mumu-ish.  It is actually much better worn with movement.  It is also super comfy.

I will be wearing this to the office quite a bit this summer, me thinks.

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Team colors…gooooooooo team!

Luckily my kids’ school colors are some of my favorites.  Red and Black.  It seems to be pretty popular, since that is the school colors for A LOT of other teams in this area!

I do like to wear the colors when going to cheer them on, so I decided to make a new outfit.  It needed to be comfortable, though, since we can spend over half the day at a pool play, or tournament play.  Even when baseball and softball start up, it is still cold out.  We don’t get the heat until June.

These leggings are made from a thick ponte with lycra in it.  I used my own pattern, and added the strips down the side out of lambskin leather.  I just cut it at the side, and added a 3″ strip.  I had to use my sewing machine with this, since the serger doesn’t exactly cut through leather.  After sewing the seam, I also topstitched each side down with a long straight-stitch.  The seams are pretty solid that way.

The leather is soft with a lot of stretch to it.  I haven’t throw these in the dryer, but I am able to wash them fine.  I didn’t really subtract any from the sides, so they are not tight on me.  I think that is fine, though.  I was expecting less stretch in it, but it works.

Sorry this is blurry!  I did a shaped waistline on it, but I still added some clear elastic at the waist in case the fabric was prone to stretching out.  I could have taken a few inches off the waist, too.  It is not overly tight, so I am glad I added the elastic.

The top is my Sneha tunic hack that I first showed here.


Right now I am working on a blazer test pattern for Wardrobe by Me, which will hopefully be released next week.  I am a bit behind on that test, so I need to crank through it tonight and tomorrow night.  It is going to be a nice classic black blazer with a little leather on it, because why not??

Then, I need to get my summer stuff done!  By the end of April, we will be constantly running the kids at night, so my sewing time is going to slow to a crawl.  The girl also needs some summer outfits.  I need to have a more organized sewing plan, so I will be working on getting that done.  I seem to have crafting ADD too much, and then I can’t focus on what to make!

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Sea monsters and an old map

I love this print by Zenith & Quasar Fabric.  Seriously…LOVE.

The main print is a print of an old map, and the lighter color print has snippets of the sea monsters in the map.  Very cool.

Unfortunately, the map print is out of stock right now, and I was lucky enough to snag some for the brief time it was in stock.

The owner of Zenith & Quasar fabric invited me to join in her group for sewing samples, so when I saw she was printing the sea monsters I happily volunteered to sew that one up.  I knew they would work so great together.

Pre-order Sea Monsters

And they do!

The skirt on this dress needed to be shorter, just to be able to get the skirt parts out of this directional print.  I had to fussy cut a bit, which makes me sad due to wasting fabric.  I am hoping I can still get a tank top out of the other bits left of the fabric.

This dress is made from the Wardrobe by Me Sneha tunic (shocker, I know).

Modifications:

  • Cut the bodice piece 1″ longer
  • Cut two skirt pieces
  • Cut the bottom skirt 3″ longer than the tunic length
  • The inside skirt I cut 1″ narrower on the fold from the waist down
  • I used the deep scoop for the neckline (not a modification on that one)
  • Added a channel and ties to the side of the top skirt

The ties on the side are a piece of the green knit sewn on the backside of the skirt, with a channel for the tie.  I cut the tie 1.5″ wide and sewed it into a tube with the serger.  I used this to turn it, and that worked really well.  First time using it, and it was a great Christmas gift!

This dress is so very, very comfy with the brushed poly and jersey knit.  I think it will be getting a lot of wear this summer.  For right now, though…layers!

 

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Feeling elvish

Nothing like a long-awaited fabric delivery to de-rail your sewing plans! I’m a big fan of The Lord of the Rings (even read that massive tome…and The Hobbit, too), so when a pre-order came up for different LOTR fabrics I pounced on it.

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After waiting the required several months for the order to close and then get delivered it finally arrived last weekend.  It had been a long few days away from the family, in setting up and putting on the charity benefit for Deb, so it was a fun sight to be greeted by that box when I got back home.  Into the washer the fabric went!

Of course, I didn’t have the right color coordinates, so I had to make a stop at the fabric store.  I hadn’t been there since before Christmas, so OF COURSE I bought way more than I intended.  I am all ready for sewing up some LOTR, and some summer stuff now.

I started easy with the fabric, and made a Bram Raglan from Wardrobe by Me for my son.  Seriously, this was the main reason I pulled the trigger on this fabric.  Fits him perfectly.

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I just wish these fabric designers would make extra fabric that matches the panel.  I hate having to find matching fabric.  I used a solid chocolate colored cotton-lycra for the back, and a jersey/lycra for the arms.

Onward to what I wanted to make for me!

This was the initial drawing for it:

2017-02-14 12.29.11

I’m using my Sneha hack for this, with the front overlay.  Yes, again.

The front fat-half panel ended up at about 33″, so it shrunk 3″ in the wash. 🙁  This meant I wasn’t able to cut it out at the length I wanted, so I ended up doing a high-low hemline.  I kept the hem to a minimum, too.

The back was an overlay that I matched to the front overlay on the side seams.  I wanted it to have some extra volume in it, almost like a short cape, so I pulled it out from the fold line about 6″ and went down to mid-back for the curve.  I decided I wanted a downward curve after the initial draft I drew.

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The hood is a shortened version of the hood pattern I shared here.  I just took about 6″ off the bottom, and added a band to the edge that was a little bit narrower than the opening. I also lined the hood with the rib knit, since it was white on the backside of the green fabric.

Ribbing tends to stretch a bit more than most, so I wish I would have decreased the length on ALL the bands I used.  .

The hood is a little tight on the neck, so if I make another one, I will increase the width of the hood and scoop out the neckband a bit more.  So if you make your own version, take note.

I was indecisive about the arms.  Initially, I was thinking of adding the faux lacing on the arms like I did for my daughter’s dress.  I was having issues putting eyelets into the knit, since my eyelet setter was broke and the kittens ran off with the parts. >:(

I decided to add pieces that looked like the Elvish leaves vambraces.

vambraces

Just in knit.  I didn’t want them to overlap the whole way, since it would add a lot of bulk.  I just overlapped the seams and called it good.  I hand-stitched them on, so it had a more authentic look.

Here are the pattern pieces if you want to use them.  There is about a 1″ overlap.

I used the Ninja leggings pattern from 5 out of 4 Patterns for the leggings.  I cut up the pattern, and added seam allowances when I cut the pieces.  I serged and top stitched one piece wrong, so they are a little wonky.  Oh well.  I fixed it well enough, and they are a bit patchwork so it is hard to tell.

Retail will be up on Wednesday this week, I believe.  Site: Moonbeam Textiles


I couldn’t resist, and had to a Shire composite (New Zealand).

Background came from Trey Ratcliff.  He had this on his Flickr account under Creative Commons usage (non-commercial).  He does some impressive photography.

Summer wardrobe capsule plan…sittin’ at the ball fields

Summertime around these parts consists of many hours watching ball games – both softball and baseball.

This means I sit in the hot sun sweating and getting odd tan lines for hours at a time. I wanted to make a mix and match wardrobe capsule that would keep me cool, look awesome and be easy to change up the pieces.

This also matches some other pieces already in my wardrobe, so it should work well.

Here are two sodoku capsules that I made up. This is all subject to change on my frivolous whims.

summer soduko 1

summer soduko 2

I am going to make a pattern for a skort (’cause wind…) with a straight-front, flounce back with pockets on the legs underneath. Something like this:

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We’ll see if it actually turns out that way. Whims…I tell ya.

The tops are going to be tank tops to try to minimize the farmers tan. Not that there is anything wrong with a farmer’s tan…had them aplenty growing up.

These are my tank top inspirations. I like the thought of putting stretch lace in there, so I think I will use that idea to try to keep cool.

tank top inspiration

Lots of fun things going on with those tops. The only issue, is the bra issue. I have yet to find a comfortable strapless bra, so I am thinking of making some fun straps with some existing bras.

Fabrics are next. I bought a few different types of athletic mesh in black and gray, some gray Nike sport fabric, and then I have some different cotton/lycra and poly/lycra knits. I also have some lace and should be getting a sample stretch mesh fabric soon that will fit in nicely.

The sodoku would not be complete without some accessories, amiright?? I have a lot of silver jewelry that I can pull out for these outfits, since I am a jewelry hoarder.

This is just the silver stuff…

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I need new black sandals, since I threw away my pair that I have worn the last 5 years or so. The soles were breaking down. I bought these two new pairs of sandals. I might need one more black pair, more of a walking sandal, but I will see how these fit when I get them from Zulily. I also got a new pair of shades.

What glorious purse do I carry?

I thought you would never ask! It is this Zip-top Utility Tote by 31 Bags. Could I make this? Yes. Do I want to when this is only $35? No, no I do not. If you want one I can hook you up with my friend that is a consultant.

zip top organizing utility

This has 7 side pockets, yo. It fits all my crap that I bring with me, which includes this non-exhaustive list:

  • water bottle
  • purse stuff (phone, wallet, etc.)
  • kleenex (allergy season)
  • first aid kit (yes, I am that Mom)
  • Sunglasses for large and small people
  • Sunscreen
  • Visor
  • Bug spray
  • Camera and several lenses
  • Snacks
  • Art supplies and/or sewing to keep me busy
  • Hand warmers, and I can throw my blanket on top for early in the season

It is heavy, but holds all my crap.


I am going to be joining in on a contest on the Wardrobe Capsule Facebook group, but I really will be sewing it whenever I get the time. That gets more rare as the summer gets closer, so I need to work on it as soon as I can. Tryouts are next month!


Oh, just in case you are a fellow sports parent sewist person…RP Custom Fabric will be having a sport prints pre-order round on cotton-lycra in March. She will have all FOUR of my kids’ sports. I’m gonna be so poor.

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