Archive of ‘clothing’ category

Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline

Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch

Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch

After sharing lots of skirts (this one and these) I am back with a simple breezy summer-y button-up tank, which I’m sure will get lots of wear this August. This top is one of the many simple garment patterns in Caroline Hulse’s debut sewing book Sew Caroline Weekend Style. The folks at Fons and Porter asked if I would review the book and I knew right away that I wanted to make the button-up tank.  The whole book is full of colorful, easy-going patterns from shorts to flip flops and pool totes.  The bright, playful style of the book is classic CarolineTops like this one are really the sweet spot of sewing.  They are easy to pull together and uncomplicated to wear. As for this button-up tank, It fits true to size and is the perfect casual top for a trip to the park. A total win. The neck opening is a little wider than I am used to but I like how it gives it a semi-boatneck scoop.

I’m especially proud of this little button-up tank because I made it entirely out of repurposed fabric.  This lovely cotton-rayon mix used to be hanging, all lonely-like, in the Goodwill and I was able to rescue it and eek out this top after deconstructing it.  New life born out of the old! Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch

Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitchBreezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch But enough about the top, let’s dive into the book.  There is a lot to love about this one.

Things you will love about this book:

+ Great for Beginners: The sentiments, easy and uncomplicated, make up the ethos of this sweet sewing book and I love that.  It makes the book accessible for beginners.  Given my passion for garment sewing I will always have a soft spot for beginner garment patterns.  It opens the world of garment sewing to newbies and this book definitely accomplishes that. None of the patterns have complicated closures, darts or zippers so anyone can pick up and enjoy making something.  At the same time, all the projects are actually things you would wear.

+ Easy to Follow: Instructions in the book are straightforward and clear and are accompanied by descriptive pictures. All in all, it makes it easy to follow along. Also, the book is beautiful, which is always inspiring.

+ Awesome Sewing Information:  The book introduction includes lots of vital information on sewing basics…yet another reason this is great for beginners.

+Variety! Every project in the book is wearable and useable but it runs the gamut from a headband, a pool tote, a tank dress to flip-flops! There is something for everyone.

Things You Might Not Love:

+ PDF Patterns: The patterns in this book are pdf patterns on a CD.  I know everyone has an opinion on this one and some people love having a PDF they can print over and over again. Personally, when I buy a book I usually expect it to come with paper patterns so I can skip all the printing and taping (in addition to the added cost of printer ink!). It’s not that I don’t sew with pdfs, I do all the time actually, it’s just my expectation is different when I purchase a book. This one may or may not bother you.

+ Little Stuff: There are a few nit-picky things I found as I worked through the book.  First, I had a hard time finding the seam allowance for the patterns, it is 1/2″ for the record, but the information wasn’t immediately clear.  It’s a small thing (possibly a little nit-picky?) but I like when the seam allowance is repeated on each project so it’s easy to uncover without having to dig through the book.


Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch

Also, while making the button-up tank I realized the pattern didn’t have the buttonhole marking displayed on the pattern. I reached out to the publisher and Caroline emailed me in response. As it turns out, this was overlooked by the publisher and they have since corrected it on the cd.  So, in all, no big deal.

It was an interesting experience, actually. Fons and Porter were happy to hear from me and Caroline was quick to respond and work with the publisher to be sure the pattern was corrected on the cd. The process of making a craft book is so complicated, there are just so many moving parts.  Just as happens in my real life, stuff slips through the cracks and a beautiful book needs some after-the-fact tweaking. I was happy to see they were laid back about the whole thing.

Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch Breezy Button-Up Tank :: Weekend Style Sewing with Sew Caroline | a happy stitch

Overall, it’s a beautiful, inspiring book for someone interested in diving into garment sewing.  Of course, it goes without saying that it would qualify as a great gift for a beginning sewing, possibly paired with 2 or three yards of fabric!

Note: I was given a free copy of this book for review from the publisher Fons and Porter but all opinions are my own. I received no financial compensation.

Summer Showcase :: The Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae

I am over-the-moon excited to be a part of the Cleo Skirt Summer Showcase today. This simple skirt pattern from Made by Rae is certainly worthy of its own horn-tooting parade.  So much so, I had to make two skirts.Summer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy Stitch

The first is a swishy, fire-engine red floral rayon from the Rifle Paper and Cotton + Steel collaboration in view b. The second version is in a Loominious woven print from Anna Maria Horner in view a.   Both are pretty fabulous but with such different personalities.  It’s a bit of a study in fabric behavior.

Cleo Summer Showcase

Listen, I want to talk about my Cleo skirts. I do.  But before I get into that, I have to wave some kermit arms of enthusiasm. See, I’m the type of person who is only vaguely aware of celebrities.  Don’t get me wrong, I watch TV and love (albeit mostly indy) movies but when I pick up a People magazine at the doctor’s office I usually think to myself “who are these people? Is that a Kardashian?”.  When I see a celebrity on the street, as happens on the occasional trip into NYC, I usually just stare and try to remember where I know them from. High school? No. Did I take a Mommy and Me class with them? Hmm..who knows?

The real celebrities in my life are fabric and pattern designers. No doubt. My celebrities are the people in the sewing world that have been around since the beginning and have been rocking it ever since. I stumble over my words in front of Christine Haynes and Amy Butler , (both of whom I have met and both were lovely and gracious about my awkwardness).  Rae falls solidly in my celebrity category.  She designs gorgeous fabric, makes fantastic patterns; is funny and quirky and immensely talented.  Swoon!  So, when she messaged me I did a double take, looked for a fainting couch and then out came the kermit arms.  Wahoo!!Summer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy StitchOf course, the Cleo Skirt is fantastic and is infused with all that awesome Rae-ness.  My red rayon version is fabulous and eye-stopping.  It has side seam pockets and I shortened it to just above the knee. Summer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy Stitch

Summer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy Stitch

The number one thing I love about Made by Rae patterns is they are designed with good fit in mind.  The Washi dress, which I consider a garment sewing standard, has an elasticized back bodice so the front fits perfectly tight without being uncomfortable or needing a zipper.  Genius!  The Cleo skirt is designed with the same ideas in mind. It’s adorable and fits well because the back waistband is elastic.  It means it’s cute, comfortable and fits well on a variety of bodies. Boom!

Summer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy StitchI don’t often wear skirts with a lot of volume at the waist nor do I usually tuck in my shirts, which is why I tried this skirt in rayon.  I was curious if the weight of the fabric and the heavy drape would give it a slimmer look. I would call it a success. On top of that, I love how it moves.

Summer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy Stitch
Summer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy StitchSummer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy StitchFor my second skirt, in Loominous, I made it in view A with a contrasting band at the hem.  View A also has open pockets at the waistband, which are easier to access and better for mom wear in my opinion.  There is a bit more volume to this skirt and I’m surprised at just how much I like that.  It’s spring-y and cute but not fussy. Summer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy StitchSummer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy StitchI had one hell of a time matching stripes on this one! But, I really like how it looks with the stripes turned horizontal. I’ve been hanging onto this fabric for such a long time and I’m so glad I used it on this skirt. It’s so lovely and inventive and I love that it is yarn-dyed.  I think this version is the perfect farmer’s market skirt. Don’t you agree?Summer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy StitchSummer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy StitchSummer Showcase :: the Cleo Skirt from Made by Rae || Sewn by A Happy StitchBe sure to check out the whole tour!There are loads of amazing Cleo skirts on parade for this summer showcase, like these and this one. Be sure to catch them all. I love catching a glimpse of how different sewists pull together totally different looks with the same pattern.

july 31
vicky / @sewvee /
erin / @hungiegungie /
natalie / @sewhungryhippie / hungryhippie sews
teri / @teridodds1 / fa sew la

august 1
tori / @thedoingthingsblog /
lindsay / @lindsayinstitches
meredith / @thefooshe /
kate / @kate.english

august 2
melissa / @ahappystitch /
julie / @nursebean82 /
lauren / @laurenddesign /

august 3
fleurine / @mariefleurine /
bettina / @stahlarbeit /
allie / @indie_sew /
darci / @darcialexis /
emily / @mycraftylittleself /

august 4
whitney / @whitneydeal /
sienna  /@notaprimarycolor
amy nicole / @amynicolestudio /
kim / @pitykitty
kten / @jinxandgunner /

Sandbridge Skirt

Sandbridge Skirt - another great pattern from Hey June Handmade :: Sewn by a happy stitch

When it comes to sewing clothes in the summer I am totally seduced by simple tops and easy tunics and all other things that can be sewn in a hour (MAYBE two if I’m feeling a teeny bit ambitious). I have honestly made eight different pillows already this month.

Pillows. So easy. So many places to rest my head.

It’s part laziness but also the nature of summer.  I’m busy driving kids back and forth to camp and battling the Fight Club-like atmosphere that emerges from the deep bowels of summer boredom that my remaining energy is spent looking for the quick, easy high that comes from finishing something!  Anyone else in this boat? So, when Adrianna from Hey June Handmade asked me if I was interested in pattern testing her latest skirt, the Sandbridge, my internal dialogue went some like this “Oh man, a complicated skirt! That looks like work.(insert winy voice)” and then “But, this skirt looks awesome and you actually need a skirt.(insert responsible voice)” followed by, “But work! (winy voice)” and finally, “Dude! You have so much to learn from making this. Her patterns always fit you. Buck up and do it! (angry responsible voice)”  I responded to Adrianna with an “I’d love to!”  See, I have official grown up status. (more…)

Ogden Cami in Tomato Red

Ogden Cami in Tomato Red :: Perfect Summer Top || A Happy StitchThere is something crazy good happening at our house these days. The kids are LOVING their mornings at camp and they are coming home at lunchtime to QUIETLY play legos in their rooms while listening to the (incessant and terrible) NOW 61 album on repeat. Later in the afternoon we head outside on some activity or pool time. You hear what I am saying? Are you picking up what I am laying down? The people are not fighting and have, in fact, gone all mellow! The sweet summer breeze is blowing into this house and settling all those school-day nerves into some kind of summery stillness.  It has been 3 days of this, all of them in a row! It deserves to be documented that I’m talking about 3 days of the kind of summer reserved for scenes in happy family Hallmark channel movies.  Whether it lasts or not, this moment is happening.

Also deserving of documentation is my newly made Ogden Cami. It carries the same ease of movement and elegant joy that this summer is promising right now. (more…)

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! (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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…)

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