Archive of ‘textile’ category

Everyday Elegance :: A Sweater Knit Tee

Everyday Elegance : A Sweater Knit Tee || sewn by a happy stitch

There are many, many things I love about sewing my own clothes but at the top of the list is the surprising way it sometimes provides an unexpected glimpse into the world of store-bought fashion.  In the spirit of a peek behind the screen ala Wizard of Oz, sewing something for myself can unintentionally reveal the small shifts at play in the conventional clothing market and suddenly, it demystifies the whole process. In this case, my Wizard of Oz moment came courtesy of this lovely silver sweater knit tee. Made using my good-old standby, the Plantain Tee I was able to transform a basic top into something a little more fancy/casual.  I mean, truly. I have made this tee SO. MANY. TIMES. It is probably the pattern I have used more than any other. But, suddenly by making it in a sweater knit I introduce my wardrobe to a scrumptious and luxurious fancy sweater knit tee shirt of the sort I drool over in this catalog.  It captures what I am so often going for…everyday elegance.  The craziest part is it was easier and cheaper to make than it would be in a standard jersey knit fabric!  See, how that worked.  I didn’t even try but there it was; the same pattern, same construction just in different fabric and I’ve got the everyday elegance of a sweater knit tee. Boom!

Everyday Elegance : A Sweater Knit Tee || sewn by a happy stitch

It’s slightly sheer but drapes beautifully.  It’s dressy but in a casual way (does that makes sense?) and I even left the bottom and sleeves un-hemmed so it took minutes to make.  Yet, I feel all fancy wearing it. Serious score!

Everyday Elegance : A Sweater Knit Tee || sewn by a happy stitch

Handmade does not get better than this formula.  Easy + Beautiful+ Inexpensive = Looks Expensive + Simply Elegant. I’m certain I will be wearing this all summer long.

Everyday Elegance : A Sweater Knit Tee || sewn by a happy stitch

Everyday Elegance : A Sweater Knit Tee || sewn by a happy stitch

I got the fabric from Rachael at Imagine Gnats and it looks like she still has some in stock.  Sweater knit is an interesting fabric, it’s essentially a thin, tightly woven sweater-like fabric that makes for glorious, lightweight clothing perfect for spring or chilly summer moments.  I have used it a few times but my favorite is this cardigan for my mom.  If you’ve never worked with sweater knit before you might find this blog post useful.  It’s not tricky or anything but a few simple tricks can help it from becoming a frustrating fabric to stitch with.  And, of course, once you learn how to sew with it you can crack the code on the fashion world…or something like that.

Everyday Elegance : A Sweater Knit Tee || sewn by a happy stitch

 

When Sewing Goes Meh. A Denim Sanibel Dress

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

Every once in a while, my vision of what something will look like when it is sewn up just doesn’t match to the resulting reality.  Sometimes, fabulous fabric combined with a perfect pattern plus hours and hours of no-mishap sewing still adds up to MEH. It’s the kind of occurrence that makes me scream, weep a little, and throw up my arms.  I’m speaking, of course, about this Sanibel dress in patterned denim.  I know that my tribe of beautiful people will say very nice things about this dress and there are nice things to say but I’m telling you…on me, this dress is meh.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

Actually, let’s get very specific. The cinched waistband on this dress is just not a shape that works well for my body. I already don’t have enough of a defined waist and adding bulk to that area only highlights the lack of curves. I knew this. I know this! This is why I never wear peplum styles. I still proceeded to make myself a finely-detailed box.  It happens.

The pattern is the Sanibel Dress and Romper from Hey June Handmade with some modifications in a Robert Kaufman denim I bought from Hawthorne Threads with a super fun, quirky pattern.  I actually think the combination of these two is pretty great for a casual dress.  It’s just not working for my shape.

There are many things I like about this dress, though, so let’s start there.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

First of all, I really love the shirt portion of this dress. Love it! I have always shied away from cap sleeves but they are growing on me and I like the button flap detail on the shoulders.  I also wanted a more open look to the top, so I added in some elastic to draw it open (I got the idea from my everyday blouse, which did that at the shoulders).  I love the placket and it fits well.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

I wanted that love to extend to the whole dress but I just don’t feel the shape is flattering. I tried to adjust it with another modification: I removed an inch of the bottom on the top and added it to the skirt. I was hoping for less volume at the waist. It was only a partial success.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

I will probably wear it some but not as often as I was dreaming I would when I conceived of the dress. Perhaps if I wash it a few times the rigidness at the waist where the button plackets meets the waistband will soften a bit? I dunno. Considering I have made nearly every pattern Adrianna at Hey June has created I can safely say that the pattern isn’t the problem. I honestly should have known better than to use a stiff cotton fabric on this dress. If I was going to venture into waistbands at all, I should really have used a rayon or something with more drape.  I learned my lesson. If I were of a more scientific disposition I would probably try the dress in rayon to experiment.  As it is, I’m wrecked over the work I put into a perfect shirt that I proceeded to pair with an imperfect dress skirt and I’m going to steer clear of elastic waistbands for a long time.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

Doesn’t it look like a dress that could be so great!? Harumph.  I leave you to admire, once again, the beautiful top.

Denim Print Sanibel Dress || Sewn by a happy stitch

By the way, I hope you are following along with my Instagram. I’m really following through on Me Made May this year and posting my me-mades nearly every day.  I’m really enjoying seeing which of my handmade clothes I pull out of the closet.

Jacquard Thurlow Shorts

It has been a crazy busy time around here! If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that our family went on an amazing tour of the Southwest, visiting the Grand Canyon and Zion national parks among other things.  Then after a week at home I jetted off to California for the Craftcation conference. Every second of all of it was wonderful and worth it but I feel like I’m just screwing my head back on.  This homebody needs a little home time, you know?  I did snap a few photos of handmade clothing while we were basking in the stunning landscapes of the Southwest including these jacquard Thurlow shorts. I mean, how could I resist!? It is otherworldly out there. These photos were taken while on an overlook hike in Zion national park.

Utah, by the way, is mind-blowingly beautiful. I am smitten.

Also, the shorts have been officially hike-tested! These jacquard Thurlow shorts can handle a mile uphill hike in the desert. That’s like a full-on shorts certification process if you ask me.

Of course, I already knew that I loved Thurlow shorts because I have made these before, it’s just that my earlier versions were very much in the ‘basics’ category.  That is to say they are a little bit boring, which is wonderful for the purposes of a useful and wearable handmade wardrobe but the “finish” moment is not so exciting.  Like a salmon and broccoli dinner that leaves you craving ice cream.  My friends, these shorts are my ice cream! How great is this cool jacquard fabric?! I bought it from this beautiful shop on Etsy, Lost Property. I also made my cape in the same fabric but I promise not to wear them together. Unless something special comes up that requires a cape and shorts. No promises then.

P.S. we totally had salmon and broccoli last night and then after the kids went to bed I ate ice cream and watched Catastrophe. So good.

The thing that is so great about the Thurlow shorts pattern from Sewaholic is they are designed for people, like me, with substantial hips.  I’m always tempted by the look of the Maritime Shorts from Grainline but the reviews on the Thurlow shorts always come back to the fact that they are designed for wider hips. And, it’s true.  Added to that, the construction of these shorts assumes and accounts for last minute fitting so you can really get these suckers to fit well.  This is a big deal when it comes to shorts and is surely a big part of the reason they are comfortable on a hike.

In short, wearable and adorable.

 

I feel very accomplished about having made these shorts.  With a functioning zipper fly, back welt pockets, front inset pockets, a fitted waistband and a clean fit! You know I was thrilled!  Also, look at how well the pattern lined up. Ooh, feels so good.

I did tweak the pattern a little bit. I added a button closure on the front, replacing the hook and eye the pattern called for. I also didn’t cuff the shorts.  I included all flat-felled seams so I can wash them without worrying about fraying fabric.  For the most part, I almost always do French seams or flat-felled seams these days.  It’s so stinky to make something nice and then never wear it because you fear washing it. It’s worth the extra effort.

Speaking of accomplishments, I have been trying to play along with Project Sew It this year and challenge for the month of March was “bottoms”. I’m a bit behind but I am counting this as qualifying for March. Yay me!

Bohemian Trevi Top :: contrast yoke and tassels

Bohemian Trevi Top :: With a contrast yoke and bright yellow tassels || sewn by a happy stitch

Most of the time as I am working with a pattern, I think up a million ways to hack it. “It’s a tunic!” “Oooh, a twofer dress!” “AND, even a romper!!!”  But by the time I finish with the intended garment I discard all of my pattern hack ideas and quietly move on. I leave my little pattern hack ideas behind to languish and die. Well, I am happy to report I listened to the “please hack me” voice this time with my Trevi Top and the voice was right!  My trevi top DID want to become a bohemian Trevi Top with a contrast yoke and bright yellow tassels! It really did! Guys, I managed to create my favorite shirt ever with this hack. Hello happy, hippy, bohemian Trevi Top!  You are here just in time for summer. (more…)

Men’s Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern + Juxaposey llama Fabric]

Hi all! We are all back from our spring break, feeling fresh and revived.  It’s the perfect time for me to release my first free pattern. Eek! This whole thing started because I felt I was neglecting my husband, sewing-wise. Here is the deal, sewing for men can be difficult. It’s certainly harder than choosing what I want for myself or even my kids.  Plus, unless you are sewing for one of those Florida dudes in need of an endless supply of breezy, patterned shirts it’s also a little dull.  But…you know what isn’t dull? Boxer Shorts! Full of fun patterns and colors and easy to construct, men’s boxer shorts are basically the wild and crazy guy of a dude’s chest of drawers. So guys! Guess what? It’s time to bust out some awesome fabric and get cranking out boxer shorts!  I picked llamas and a fun print from Betz White’s new Juxtaposey line. In fact, Betz really is the inspiration for this whole project.  When she asked me to make something in her new line I knew it had to be boxer’s short for my dude.

Remember a long time ago when I made these boxer’s shorts for him? I was so amped up about them and was promising a free pattern for men’s boxer shorts.  Well, you know what? Making a digital pattern was harder than I expected and I kept putting it off.  And putting it off.  And tinkering a little bit and then putting it off again.  Oof. Finally, when Betz White asked me if I would make something in her next line of fabric, Juxtaposey, I knew it was time to get serious. I mean, the first bunch of boxers where made in her Dutch Treat fabric line. If she can release an entire new line of fabrics, surely I can create one pattern! So, I’m so proud to present this free pattern for Men’s Boxer Shorts in Juxtaposey fabric.  (*whisper voice* proud but also a little timid and scared..so be gentle with me.  I hope everything works like it is supposed to. I certainly worked on perfecting the pattern for a long time but still it’s kinda freaky to put this out into the world. know what I mean?)

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

So much dude-age in boxer shorts!  Before we start enthusiastically taping, cutting and stitching I should lay out some disclaimers. First, I made these to fit my husband. The pattern is one size and I would guess it is close to a medium or average? I really don’t know. His boxers were in a pathetic state so his measurements are the basis for this design.  You can always make the waist smaller or looser by varying the elastic length but there will certainly be men for whom this pattern doesn’t fit. Sorry about that. Maybe by the time Betz comes out with her next line of fabric I will have figured out size grading! We can hope.

The second disclaimer is this is my first time making a pattern in a digital form so be gentle with any mistakes. Oh, did I already say that?

Ok, let’s start making some men’s boxer shorts!

You will need :

+ Free Pattern, available here.

+ 1 ¼ yard of cotton fabric

+ 1 yard of 3/4” wide elastic

+ Spool of matching thread

+ Standard sewing supplies, of course

Instructions: 

  • Print out the free pattern, available here. Be sure to print it sized 100% and not to scale. If you aren’t sure if it printed correctly, measure the 2” box on page 1.
  • Tape together the pattern as show below and cut out the two patterns piece, one front and one back.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • True up the fabric and place each pattern piece on your fabric and cut out 2 front pieces and 2 back pieces. Be sure to draw the indicated markings. Hint: If you fold your fabric so that the right sides face each other you will better prepare yourself to start sewing.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Begin by placing the two front pieces rights sides together. Draw, with a marking tool, a line from the top notch to the dot marked at the bottom of the faux fly.
  • Stitch the crotch seam by sewing along the line you drew with a basting stitch and at the dot mark switch to a standard stitch length and sew the rest of the curve with a 4/8” seam allowance.
  • Clip along the curve of the seam allowance and then iron the seam allowance toward the wearer’s left side.
  • Beginning at the dot marking, sew along the curve of the crotch 1/4” to the side of the seam allowance to secure it in place. You will be sewing through the seam allowance fabric and and the boxer short fabric. This is a visible stitch.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • While facing the right side of the front of the boxer shorts, sew a stitch 4/8” in from the edge of the faux fly. Mirror that stitch with another one 3/8” to the left. If you want to, you can sew a strong zigzag at about 1/2” before and up to the seam. This will hold the faux fly in place and create a classic boxers look.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Repeat with the back crotch seam without worrying about the faux fly, (sew a 4/8” seam allowance with right-sides together. Clip curves, press seam allowance to the wearer’s left side and stitch a visible stitch 1/4” to the side of the seam.)

For the side seams and inseam, we will be sewing a flat-felled seam.  You are going to love this technique. It not only hides all raw edges of fabric but it keeps the fabric laying flat reducing bulk and it’s a super durable stitch.  Plus, it’s a very professional seam so you will feel like a champ. As an aside: I looked at a lot of my husband’s boxers and they all had flat-felled seams, it’s interesting that such a basic (and cheap) garment has such quality construction. Who knew? .

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitchFollowing the numbers in the picture:

1. Begin by stitching the front and back side seam of the boxer’s WRONG sides together with a 5/8″ seam allowance.

2. Cut ONLY ONE of the seam allowances down to half the size of the other.

3. Press the seam allowances with an iron such that the full-size seam allowance covers the half-sized seam allowance. Fold the full-size seam allowance in half over the half-sized one to meet the original stitching line and press it flat against the fabric.

4. Stitch along the edge of the fold.  Admire your beautiful stitch! You are such a pro!

+ Complete the inseam at the bottom that connects the crotch to each leg in the same manner.

+ To make the elastic waistband you will first need to measure your wearer’s waist and cut the correct length of elastic. Be sure to measure at the point on their waist that they are most comfortable having the waistband sit on their body. Subtract 6” from this measurement and that is how long you cut the elastic. If you don’t have your wearer nearby, you can wing it and cut about 32” of elastic. Set the elastic aside.  Note: Most 3/4″ has a good deal of stretch but if yours doesn’t, for some reason, you might not want to reduce the length by 6″ or it will be too tight.

+ Make a casing for the elastic: Fold down and press the whole waistband by 1” and then repeat another 1”. Stitch along the bottom fold, leaving a 5-6” opening at the back.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and use it to wind through the casing making sure it doesn’t twist.
  • Overlap both ends of the elastic by 1” and stitch a small box with a diagonal line to secure the ends together. Place closed loop fully inside casing and work with your hands to evenly spread the waistband gathers.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitchMen's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitchMen's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Stitch the remaining opening in the casing closed.
  • To ensure that elastic doesn’t roll inside of the casing, we are going to sew three or four straight stitches through the elastic and the fabric. We want to do this carefully, however, to be sure we don’t lose any elasticity. To do this, pull on the waistband until the fabric is fully flat while you sew the stitches.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Once you have sewn through the waistband, you can use a seam ripper to unpick the basting stitch of the faux fly.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Hem each of the shorts legs by folding 1/2” and then another 1/2” and sew at 3/8” along the fold.

You are Done! And looking sharp if I do say so myself!

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

I truly had a hard time choosing which prints to use from this collection. They really are all really fun and would make a great pair of boxers!

Juxtaposey fabric collection from Betz WhiteJuxtaposey fabric collection from Betz White

I really hope you like the pattern and find it useful and fun, friends. I think boxers can be a witty, quirky way to sew in funky fabric for men. I can imagine a luxuriant version in Liberty on Valentine’s day! Happy sewing all. Please share with me if you do make any, I will be over the moon!  Tag me on IG so I can see them!

Elephants, Kitties and Narwhals!!! a.k.a. The Perfect Baby Layette in Organic Knit

Polka Dot Trevi Top in Double Gauze

Little Polka Dot Trevi Top || a happy stitch

I pretty much know, at this point, that any pattern made by Adrianna from Hey June Handmade is going to fit me and look amazing on first try.  Check out my Cheyenne blouse, Sanibel rompers, Lane Raglan hoodie, and  leggings for proof. So, I was jubilant when she asked me to pattern test her latest creation, the Trevi Top and Dress. I went with a double gauze fabric from my stash to make this polka dot Trevi top.  I am thrilled with the results, as expected. (more…)

An Olive and Pink Everyday Blouse

An Olive and Pink Everyday Blouse || sewn by a happy stitch

I made myself an olive and pink everyday blouse, y’all.  And, it’s ticking all the happy boxes.

Tremendously wearable but not at all boring. Check!  Comfortable but not frumpy. Check! Full of elegant but not-at-all fussy details. Check! Fulfills my commitment to make a blouse for Project Sew It.  Check!    Awesome addition to my handmade closet. Check! Check! check!

I’ve been crushing on this pattern since it came out. The Everyday Blouse was released through UpCraft Club and designed by Rachel, the Brazilian designer and endlessly talented sewist behind House of Pinhiero. (more…)

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