Archive of ‘clothing’ category

summer sewing project :: up-cycled

oh dear. it has been a long time since I have visited this little space. sometimes I get consumed by a sewing project and need a little space from the blog but that, sadly, isn’t the case this time.  it’s just the regular spring craziness around here.  in the last six weeks everyone in the house, except me, has celebrated a birthday…throw in mother’s day; a sprained ankle; and a stomach flu and you have full-scale chaos.  there is something to be said for just getting it all out of the way, however.  I’m more than ready to come back into the fold! bring it!

with that said, I’ve got some ‘new’ clothes.  they are actually my cheaters for the summer sewing project.  I found these pieces in a lovely consignment store and each one was fantastic but needed a little adjusting.  so, I figured it counted as ‘made by me’ with just a twist of cheating.

  

both of these dresses and the striped tunic below needed shorter straps and the black dress needed the sides taken in as well.    I was a bit intimidated by messing with the knit fabric on the black dress but I’m amazed by how well a simple stretch needle works! I also had to serger the sides to keep it together.  shortening the straps is so easy especially when it’s straightforward to pick apart the seams.

I must have an unusually short distance across the top of my shoulders because I always want to shorten straps.  perhaps, it’s an issue related to my, ahem, chest.

[this picture makes the bodice look really tight, which it doesn’t feel like it is when I’m wearing it.  hmm. mental note to check on that.]

these two skirts are probably my favorites. the mustard one was a tunic that just looked sloppy on me no matter how I tried to dress it up.  so, I cut off the bodice (which hit at an empire waist).  then I sewed some elastic around the waist.  so easy! it had a tie that I kept just for the look, it serves no real purpose.

the grey skirt is probably the one I’ve worn the most and it was, by far, the easiest to make. in fact, I just cut it. no sewing involved at all.  it was what I call a ‘twofer’ but I have no idea if that is actually what they are called.  when the top half of a dress is one color and style and the bottom half is different so it kind of looks like a shirt and skirt but it’s a dress? yeah, a twofer. all I did was cut off the top part and it already has a piece of knit jersey to create a waistband.  um, that’s it.  I was done!

I’m feeling like a real-life molly ringwald.

well, after all of this I’m feeling nearly done with my summer clothes sewing.  I want to try one dress and a pair of capri-length pants just because I’ve never made either one and want to give it a try. but, my enthusiasm for sewing clothes is waning and I’m eager to sew some things for the home with the lovely wool I got from grandma.  we will see which way the wind blows.

 

summer sewing project :: linen bib shirt

oh yes, I am still chugging along with the summer sewing project (to sew my summer wardrobe).  I have actually cheated a little bit but more on that in a future post.

for now, I’m proud to present *the linen bib shirt*.  I drafted the pattern for this top myself…based mostly off an existing top in my closet.  I’d love to say that was a seamless process but it wasn’t.  there may have been even a small amount of swearing when my first pattern draft needed a good deal of tweaking.  such is as it is. but, overall I am pleased with how the top turned out. I’m especially fond of how the linen fabric accentuates the gathering in the front.

it is made from a lovely charcoal linen I got at (gasp) Joann.  I was surprised to find such a nice linen there but I guess that is a good reminder to stay open to surprises. the arm straps are thin double fold bias tape. I made the side seams french seams to both enclose the seams as well as use the side seams to give the stop a bit of weight and definition.

here is the back of the shirt, it has a bit of ‘bib’ as well. (sigh. nothing screams ‘get on top of that arm workout’ more than this shot. ugh.)

also, this top is going to join in the fun happening over at made by rae  for her spring top sewalong. it’s an inspiring group of sewists making some amazing tops…definitely worth checking out. heck, there is even one more week left…enter something!

 

summer sewing project :: the dresses

there has been some making and there has been some smocking. this first dress is made with the shards fabric from Cloud 9 fabrics…it’s a part of their affordable organic line.  I have been so impressed with the beautiful fabric coming out of this small fabric company and all of it is organic.

the pattern for this dress is my own using an adaptation of the dress pattern in the Cal Patch book “Design Your Own Clothes”.     I started with a muslin following her instructions.  she uses a side zipper and my muslin came out too loose and maternity-looking. so, when I made the ‘real’ dress I adapted the back of the dress by using elastic thread to add smocking.  it actually made construction easier and the fit better. yay!!

  

this is a close up of the smocked section.  the elastic thread (in the bobbin only) makes smocking so easy and it looks so good and professional. as excited as I am about the smocking and my clever adaptations, I’ll admit I’m not wild about this dress.  it just isn’t very exciting and the neckline came out a bit conservative.

so I moved onto a the next one! this dress is so simple to construct!  to make the pattern I mixed things I learned from Cal Patch and a pattern in the Heather Ross book Weekend Sewing.  the back and front pieces are the same pattern and then it’s just straps…that is it for cutting.  the top of the dress is smocked, again with elastic thread in the bobbin. then topstitch the top, adding in the straps and then just hem! and done!

  

here is a close up of the smocking.  yes, I voluntarily took a close up photo of my chest. the sewing has obviously gone to my head.

want to know one of the best things about this dress? the fabric is vintage and was in the collection I got from my grandma! isn’t that awesome! it’s got these fantastic peacocks dancing all over it. I can’t wait to wear it this summer and give it new life.

summer sewing project :: the halter top

          

I finished the halter top, another item off my list for my summer sewing project (a make-not-buy summer wardrobe).  this pattern is really straightforward, clear, and easy.  the top easily came together.  I used anna maria hornet’s voile, which is beautiful and soft and  lightweight.  it drapes well and feels scrumptious….but it also makes the top look a bit like a nighty.  harumph.  you had better believe that I will still be wearing this to cover up at the beach (I made it myself, after all) but I don’t know if I would actually wear anywhere else.  we will see.  here is a shot of the voile used for the halter tie…it’s so pretty.

I did make a muslin for this (in ikea, child-themed cotton) and I must admit I like the stiffness of standard cotton. I do not like the hint of a grouchy face in this photo? sheesh! but the shirt looks good with a little more body, no?  I might have to make this again in a stiffer fabric.

I was really hoping to lengthen the top to make it an easy, breezy summer dress but I might have to keep hunting for the right summer dress.  the elastic in the back kind of pulls a bit make it unsuitable for anything much longer.  I’m considering something like this one.

in other news, I’ve joined a handmade wardrobe group run by the super stylish grainline studio.  so, if you are feeling a handmade clothing bug, click on the button below and you can scan all the amazing creations pulled together on flickr!

BWS tips button

the year 2012 and some sewing goals

yes, I realize that it is mid-February and a little late to be talking about 2012 as if it were still on the horizon.  nope, it’s here and fully happening already but I’ve always been a little slow when it comes to these kind of things.  I am hoping that is part of what you love about me. right?

so, here it goes…deep, deep thoughts about 2012.  first, I’m so excited to be teaching so many amazing classes (by the way 2 spots still remain in the beginner–super tote class!).  it really has been a fantastic, inspiring adventure already.  I love the way that different people bring different and creative ideas to everything.  I find that it helps to fuel my creativity too.  so, I’m looking forward to lots more of that in 2012.  second, I’ve got some great commissions underway that are making me really happy.  I mean really, really happy. I’m like a humming, buzzing bee around my studio these days.  I can’t wait to share the details about these but later because I have too much other stuff to share today.  last, 2012 really feels like it holds so much incredible potential especially after how incredible 2011 has been.  feels like I’m starting on this incredible platform and ready to launch into a smoother-running sewing-teaching machine!

and, as a smoother-running sewing-teaching machine I have a plan.  this little plan started out as what felt like an ambitious idea and then it just grew until it started to take over my brain and became ESSENTIAL and something that I MUST DO.

the plan is to sew all my summer clothes this year! here is my justification: summer clothes can be simpler and so can be finished a bit more quickly than other season’s clothing; summer clothes are full of fun prints and so allow for use of fun fabrics; summer clothes include things like ‘beach dresses’ which can be loose and flowy rather than perfectly fitted; summer is a time for whimsy and fun clothes so I get to play, play, play; and most importantly, summer is months away so I have some time, right? RIGHT!

here is my list of things I want to make am going to make:

wow.  that is looking like a lot.  my rules are that I can only purchase summer shoes and no clothes.  if I want it, I have to make it.  we will see how it works out. I will certainly be blogging about it as I go.  but, I hope it turns out to be a splashy summer, my friends.  there is always the risk that I will just become that crazy patterned lady, too.  interested in joining me? we could do it together and keep each other updated?! let me know and I create a little blog button.  I’d love company.

alright, I do have a confession.  the truth is that I have already made the two skirts on my list.  they are the same as the skirt we make in my a-line skirt class.

this one is made from a japanese cotton-linen blend that I bought nearly a year ago and only just recently cut into.  I love the pop of colors on the soft gray background.  this skirt has just the right amount of structure to it that it is comfortable but still looks clean with smooth lines. I added a little red piping to the area near the waist hem and finished it with a blind hem stitch. I happen to be a big fan of the blind hem stitch, I like the way it looks professional and clean and not so becky home-ec-y.

  

this one I made a while ago…so I’m cheating just a little bit. it’s made from a table cloth that I got at a yard sale.  I cut it on the bias to combat how stiff the fabric and I like the way it drapes and the way it looks like a vine is wrapping around me.  it also really effectively hid some stains!

a-line skirt I’m a big fan of this pattern from wendy mullin’s sew u book.  it seems to fit everyone really well and even though it is a standard skirt, the a line shape is maintained better than other skirt patterns I’ve used.  that said, there is one gaping problem with this pattern and that is the sizing.  it runs so unbelievably small that the smallest size seems better suited for children, to be honest.  it really could benefit from some bigger sizes.  to teach it in my class, I’ve had to create my own size up, which is crazy.  that said, that’s my only gripe. the instructions are clear and include a great, foolproof technique for inserting a zipper.

ok, wow.  that is a long post. but, I’m very excited and very amped on caffeine.  I had better go direct that caffeinated energy on a few other important things…like tonight’s class!

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