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!
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!
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.
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.
I have a tendency to move quickly from one thing to the next but I really wanted to be sure and do a wrap up on my handmade summer wardrobe even though it is late October. Originally, I wanted to jot down reflections so I could have a record of the progress I made toward my goal. But, as I started writing I realized that I am also sorting through some conflicted feelings. I started the handmade summer wardrobe idea with a deliberate plan that involved assessing my fabric stash and finding the gaps in my summer wardrobe so I could make wearable items from what I have. I set out to make three dresses, three tops, two tunics, one romper, two pairs of shorts and a cardigan. I ended up making two rompers, three pairs of shorts, three tops, one tunic, one skirt and a cardigan. Overall, I’m thrilled I could tick off accomplishments and am proud of some strong additions to my handmade wardrobe. Most are things I will wear (the tunic and ikat top being the possible exceptions). It’s so neat and tidy as a little plan, isn’t it?
But, sometimes we create boxes to organize things and then we resent that we are sat in a box, you know? I guess it is the push and pull of creative limits? As it turns out, I hated my self-created limitations and often found I was reluctantly dragging myself back to stick to the plan. (more…)
I know. You didn’t even know that a ‘mountain-scape tunic’ was a thing? Because it is not. And, you know whose closet doesn’t need one? This girl. I got started on this idea after seeing a top in a random catalog I receive called Poetry. Except their top was darker colors and more artsy-looking. (It doesn’t look like it’s even available anymore.) I thought I would recreate it and then my brain piped up with a contribution of its own, “what is better than a top? The answer is always a tunic! Let’s make ours special by making a tunic! Yeah, a tunic!” So, I shopped for a similar fabric and found this mountain-scape fabric on the Mood website. It was brighter and more figurative but was the closest I could find. So, I went for it. My brain is still excited and egging me on. “Yes! A bright and detailed mountain-scape tunic!” Well, as it turns out I don’t need a mountain-scape tunic. Like, I don’t need it at all. (more…)
It took little more than a split-second after making my first pair of Sloan Leggings (for this pattern review on Upcraft Club) to realize that I was going to be making lots of these leggings. Guys, these are the only leggings I will ever wear. Ever. I’m gonna die in a tattered pair of handmade sloan leggings. (more…)
I’ve had this lovely striped sweater knit fabric in my stash for the longest time and figured that my pattern hacking experiment was a good enough time to try it out. (more…)
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…)
This rolled-hem tunic marks the halfway point in my collection of Plantain Tee hacks. Yay! Isn’t this fun? Modifying a pattern is my jam. This tunic-length knit jersey piece of pure comfort is the same length at this one (why mess with a good thing?) but has lengthened sleeves and modified hem and sleeve cuffs.
Oh, don’t be fooled by this simple looking t-shirt. Beneath its coquettish grey-beige color lies a little mystery of the subtle variety. If this plain t-shirt were to shape shift, it would come to life as the quiet, ordinary but enigmatic woman at a cocktail party. The one you are inexplicably drawn to and find yourself talking with all night. That’s right. This is a plain t-shirt with a fancy neckline, and that, my friends, makes it special. (more…)