Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cozy Sweatshirt and Leggings

Do your kids have a favorite shirt they wear constantly? M has a gray knit tshirt with a tulle bow (she is currently wearing it while napping so no photo!). It's getting small and so I thought I would sew her something similar.
I knew I had a thrifted women's top, a pretty thick knit fabric, in my stash. I love to refashion because I can save a few steps by using the existing hem! The Skipper Top by Sew Much Ado was the perfect pattern to start with. I wanted a cozy, oversize tip so I sewed a size 6, used the existing hem of the top and drafted some long sleeves. I have so much vintage lace so I was excited to finally use some. I tied a bow then just sewed it down on all sides. 
I love the loose, oversize look and she loves it to!
I finally sewed a pair of Go To Leggings, using a 4-way stretch fabric I've had for almost a year. Such a simple pattern and these were completed in less than 30 minutes! I loved the so much that I even sewed another pair for a friend.
M put them in and didn't want to take them off. The fit is perfect and they are so cute!

It's the perfect outfit for the rainy forecast for this weekend! And yes, I wish I had one just like it. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jamie Jeans, a Kimono and a Plantain Tee

I set a few goals for myself at the beginning of this year. I wanted to improve my sewing skills, sew more for myself and my husband, use the vintage patterns that I own and sew some pants. Well, I am happy to say that I sewed jeans (Jamie Jeans by Named)! And I love them. But more on that later.

I'm sewing along with Project Sewn this week. The theme is "If the shoe fits". Pick a pair of shoes and create a look around them. I chose a pair that I don't wear too often but I love. Dark blue with tiny pink polka dot pumps. I created an outfit that is casual but also a bit dressy.
I picked up this floral mystery fabric last year at the Michael Levine Loft in DTLA. All I know is that it is beautiful, very lightweight, silky, perfect for a kimono and if you don't finish your seams, it sheds and leaves little wisps of thin fabric all over your clothes!

I used this tutorial and it turned out great. I did end up shortening it a bit, as it was even longer in the back at first. It will be the perfect thing to wear when the weather gets warmer.
Plantain Tee:
This is my fourth Plantain Tee (Deer and Doe). This time I went for the short sleeve and I had just enough fabric! Love when that happens. I wear gray quite a lot so I was excited to make a simple tee that I know will be worn quite a lot.
Jamie Jeans:
I've seen the Jamie Jeans Pattern, by Named, around for awhile. But I heard that the instructions had no illustrations and you had to buy certain sizes instead of the whole range. So I decided to wait a little. I am a visual person and after more research I found that a wonderful person named Jennifer had taken pictures of the process and posted them to Flickr. Thank you Jennifer! And then Alida made a gorgeous pair. I had to try. I bought them and I was so happy to find out that they now come with written and illustrated instructions and you buy all the sizes! With the conversion it ended up being around $21USD. I had a lot of stretch denim and twill in my stash and I was so excited to get started. I honestly think that if I hadn't sewn these skinny jeans for H, I would have been way too intimidated to try these for myself.

I cut out a size 40 (US size 8) and used a very thin stretch denim. These were my test pair (muslin) but I still wanted them to look good in case they fit. I used a dark blue top stitching thread because I wanted a slightly more dressy jean. I cut everything out during the kids nap time then started sewing. They came together easily thanks to the illustrations and also referencing the photos on Flickr. All was going well until the waistband. I don't know what it is with me an waistbands but I always make a mistake. This time it was with the length. I should have used my knit interfacing since my fabric had stretch but I didn't think about it and just used my medium weight interfacing. Well, I couldn't stretch the waistband to fit so they ended up being a little short. So now I have some gaping and unevenness with the fly. Oh well, now I know for next time! I omitted the belt loops since I can never seem to find belts that aren't bulky and a big belt wouldn't look good with this fabric.

The fit: I'm going to give it another day or two before deciding what I need to change for the next pair. I'm not sure how much they will stretch out with wear. Here are the problems that I notice so far:
They are a little tight in the hips and pull a bit near the center front seam but that could be due to the pocket. It may be a little bulky for this thin fabric.
Pull a bit near the fly.
Tight in the knees when I sit down. How is that possible? Maybe I need to add some width to the calf area?
They do fall down a bit and I have to pull them up. I'm used to this on most of my RTW jeans. Anyone know what I should change to fix that?
I honestly have no idea how to change the things that don't feel perfect to make them perfect! I guess I'll need to start doing some research. 

I will say that I love this pattern. They are so comfortable, flattering and my new favorite jeans!

If you haven't already, hop over to check out what the designers created and cast your vote! They are seriously amazing!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Vintage Style // Garden Party Dress

Guys. I am so excited about this dress! Its my first dress, made for myself, that is lined (and underlined), has darts, a full zipper, cute pleats. And it fits! I've had the Garden Party Dress Pattern by Honig Design on my "to sew" list for awhile. I just assumed it would be complicated but after reading the instructions I knew that I could sew it. Oh, and its free! How great it that?
I was inspired to sew this dress when I saw the week 1 challenge on Project Sewn. There are so many great women sewing this time around and I'm excited to see what they make and to sew along! The first challenge is to sew a look inspired by your favorite fashion icon. I love vintage style as well as vintage patterns so I immediately thought of Grace Kelly. She had such a classic look and wore some really beautiful dresses. After doing some research, I came across a few floral dresses she wore and knew that's where I wanted to start.

This is the dress that I loved. She wore it in the movie Rear Window and the simple lines and the bold floral and just wonderful. Awhile back I purchased quite a few vintage sheet sets from an estate sale. After lots of soaking, time in the wash and sun they were ready to use. I chose this gray, orange and brown floral print (I also made a top for Miette using this fabric) because it has a few of my favorite colors and it was reminiscent of the above dress. One bonus of using vintage sheets is that I used the existing hem so I saved a step. And it's so nice and straight!
Before sewing the dress I actually did a muslin of the bodice out of the lining fabric (just in case it no adjustments were necessary half my work would be done!) and it fit perfect. Not a bad start! The instructions are just text, no illustrations, and that can be tough for a visual person like me. But luckily the techniques are pretty standard so I could visualize the steps easily. It went together smoothly and I was crossing my fingers when I tried it on and zipped it up. Perfect fit.  I'm so happy with how it turned out and I can't wait until we are all well again (both kids are sick, again) so I can wear it to church!
I had a few options for sweaters, shoes, accessories so I thought I would try them all. I'm not sure which is my favorite but I like having choices. Also, does anyone else feel silly not smiling? Its normal for me to smile in pictures so any picture where I'm not, I just laugh at how silly I look!
I'm also sewing along with Shades of Me. While this isn't an entire monochromatic look, it has shades of orange to brown. I realize that I tend to wear lots of solids in monochromatic shades but when buying fabric I'm drawn to prints. I think I need to invest in some great solids to sew some basics. And the next project on my list...cigarette pants! Those may take a lot of trial and error but I'm excited to try!

Shades of Me Sew Along


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