You guys. I have to start by saying I am so touched and encouraged by everyone’s kind reactions to my last post about why I stopped buying new clothes! I loved hearing how many of you are doing the same and I loved all the detailed questions. It just means so much to me. Truly. I was feeling pretty vulnerable about writing that post and I feel like you all responded with a hearty “Go For It!” Thank you, thank you, thank you! I will be sure to write more as the year progresses now that I know people are interested.
Meanwhile, I have been chipping away at my ‘make’ list and have started with t-shirts because it is first on the list for Project Sew It. Welcome to the story of the plantain tee in white, ocean and cat. Yup. Cat! (more…)
Among the t-shirts and jeans and shorts and other standards in a closet is another, more exciting wardrobe basic…the dressy but not too dressy top. It’s the top that does all the work for you; not requiring any extra effort from other items of clothing. Know what I mean? You can throw it over jeans for effortless styling while running errands or put it on for a low-key date night or kid’s performance at school. It’s the “I have an everyday thing I’m going to that’s a little bit more than a mundane thing but not an exciting, over the top thing”. It’s always been a bit of a closet unicorn for me. Easy to imagine but hard to find.
It seems, however, that my moment has come. I have found my unicorn in this navy and coral Datura Top. This top is going to work-it-work-it for me.
In addition to the rolled hem tunic, the tee tunic and the fancy neckline tee, I also hacked my Plantain Tee to turn it into a simple layering tank. This tank top isn’t exactly a show-stopper but I gotta make some clothing staples. The Nothing New Project is no joke and means not everything I make can be exciting. Besides, I’ve been looking for the kind of tank top that I can wear under some of my patterned woven tops. Just a good solid layered look. (more…)
I kinda went on a Plantain Tee hack rampage. I made six different versions of Plantain tees with six different variations. It was obsessive and all-consuming and fantastic. When I wasn’t teaching or on email, I was either dreaming about or making a Plantain Tee hack. I even had a moment when I thought to myself….”all I might ever need to wear can be made out of a Plantain Tee!” then I remembered about bras and underwear and sweaters and jeans. But still, if you discount undergarments and think only about warm weather clothing, I might still be onto something.
The Plantain Tee is a free pdf pattern from the French designer Deer and Doe and it’s got a great scoop neck, easy construction and gosh-darn-it, it fits me well! I got the idea for a million different variations while I was teaching my Plantain Tee class at Rock Paper Scissors (btw, local friends, they are having a big birthday bash this Saturday complete with 25% off sale!) . My students and I were talking about all the things we could do with the pattern and one student lengthened hers and I got excited to play around and make a whole bunch. I got excited to try out all the ideas. Not just dream but do! Also, with the hot weather we’ve been having I knew that I would wear a tee and paying careful attention to making things I will actually wear helps me stick to my Nothing New Project goals. (Thanks to so many of you, by the way, for your thoughtful comments here, by email and in person even about the project. I’m excited!) (more…)
Remember back when I used to be apologetic about always making clothes for myself? Ha! That ship has sailed. There is just no end to the things I want to make for myself and I’m not even resisting it anymore. (Although I am hoping to participate in the upcoming Kid’s Clothes Week and get in a few things for the boys). I’ve been stitching up lots of tops for myself these days and this sweet fawn fabric from Girl Charlee was calling my name so I modified a Plantain tee pattern (free!) from deer and doe to make this simple top.
My modifications were minor and less effective than I would have liked them to be. I attempted to add a bit of poof to the shoulders by spreading out the sleeve pattern a little but I just didn’t go far enough and the effect isn’t exactly spectacular. I also added a sleeve cuff. I also removed some of the flair in the stomach to waist area. Nothing big. This pattern is a great fit for me so I don’t need to do much.
It’s a sweet little top and I’ve worn it many times. I’ll be honest with you, much as I love this top I was a bit disappointed in the fabric. It doesn’t have much stretch and has a stiff hand. The amount of stretch was clearly stated on the website, to be fair, I should have realized it. At the same time, I still expected more softness. I feel like the top pulls and puckers in places it shouldn’t because it’s got so little stretch and is stiff. I am beginning to think that knit fabrics are one of those things I should really purchase only when I can feel them for myself. The quality varies so much. I still love this top, I just wanted to love it more. Ya know?
I took one of those Buzzfeed quizzes they other day. It told me I was Bjork and I balked. I’m not quite that quirky! No offense to Bjork but, seriously, her & me…just not that similar. And then I remembered that I was making a swan dress and I had to laugh at myself. So I suppose this is technically my Bjork moment because check out my swan dress!
The fabric is from Michael Miller, it’s called swan dive, and similar to the coral dot fabric of this dress, it’s ‘hi-density’ which gives it just a little more drape and makes it more amenable to garment sewing than standard quilting cotton.
I’ll be honest, I was really nervous that I might end up hating this dress. I’m not normally into using a novelty print for my clothes. My friend Kait at Michael Miller (otherwise known as “the fabric dealer keeping this junkie hooked”) assured me it was going to be great when I hesitantly told her, “I might be nuts but I just really want to make a swan dress!”.
Kait was right. It is great. I love my swan dress! The pattern repeat is small enough that it works. (Perhaps I need more novelty print dresses? Not sure. Anybody else use novelty prints in your own clothing? What’s your philosophy on that one? )
The pattern is from the amazing deer & doe pattern company. They are out of France and I’m in love with everything they are putting out these days. The patterns are simple and clear. This dress has a fake front button placket and a side zipper.
As happens with many fitted dresses, I had to scale out from the bust to the waist and hips to different sizes because my body is different sizes at those places. It was a fairly straightforward adjustment. Next time, I need to further adjust the bust area and take in a bit of the hip. Otherwise, the fit is great and it’s cute and comfortable. I’m also eager to try out a few different collars. Wouldn’t this be cute with a peter pan collar? Or a tie-front collar? I’m searching for a soft, simple chambray for the next one…more of an everyday wear kind of dress.
Are you starting to feel spring coming on? Is it influencing what you want to sew? I can’t stop making summer clothing despite steady rain and nippy weather. Get here already spring! I’ve got a swan dress to flaunt.
disclosure: I was given the opportunity to choose this fabric from Michael Miller without any additional compensation or stipulation. My opinions about it are my own.