LBD and a Designer Stitch Willow Kimono

I don’t wear a lot of black anymore but I used to wear black in my early teen years. I like sporting black tops and a million “Goth” necklaces. It didn’t last long before I thought that the black made me look super pale and I started having allergic reactions to the bad metals in the cheap necklaces. A rash on my chest plus a super pale face just looks like I am suffering from a terrible disease. Turns out it was a terrible disease!! (EDS joke!) …But not an infectious one. I eventually settled in to a more grunge style with men’s jeans or super baggy overalls and a large amount of vintage t-shirts with men’s button up shirts or a plaid flannel shirt over top.

Ever since, I haven’t really cared for black anything. I wear black pieces but never a full black outfit anymore. A little black dress is a piece women are often told they must have in their wardrobe. I’m not really one for being told what to do, but since I wanted to make more party dresses last year, I thought I would make one. And yes, this project was started last year.

I used the Cashmerette Upton bodice and the Tenterhook Patterns Snapdragon skirt with a curved wrap front. Sadly, Tenterhook Patterns is completely out of business, but there are other woven pencil skirt patterns you could use to recreate this look.

I put it together the first time with the zipper and was underwhelmed. It wasn’t as cinched in at the waist as I wanted it. So I unpicked the zipper and side seams and unpicked the waistband to the waist darts and then left it in a basket for…. several…. months….ahem a year…

And then, as with every time I plan a bunch of stuff, I started thinking… Oh I should maybe finish that thing first…. So I picked it up.

Instead of doing fisheye darts like I was originally going to do, I wanted to maintain the waistband without interruption. So I unpicked the bodice and skirt from the waistband and I put an additional dart in the bodice at the waist. Shortened the waistband by about 2 inches and put a dart in each side of the skirt at the waist and then tried it on and was much happier.

My plan with the dress originally was to make it accessible so that if I was having trouble with my shoulders, I could easily get in and out of the dress. I put ties in at the shoulders and an extra long zipper at the side. There is about 4 inches of side seam at the bottom of the dress on the right side only because I forgot that I didn’t get a separating zipper for it. Originally, I was going to use a separating zipper and then have slits on both sides. I still have slits on both sides but not a completely open side seam for the zipper. In retrospect, that makes it a bit easier for me, especially when getting into the dress.

I’ve tested it a few times and I can get the dress off without any effort. I can also slip it on over my head without any effort. It’s really remarkable!

I bought the fabric years ago. One of the first bits that I added to my stash. It’s a black cotton embroidered with leaves. It’s like an eyelet but without any holes. It’s actually really challenging to sew and my old machine had a lot of trouble sewing it. The embroidered sections are difficult to sew over and are really thick with thread. My new machine went over it without issue, of course. Yeay for the Singer 4452.

I added pockets when I redid the dress. I love having them in the dress. If I ever make another in this style, though, I will use a slash pocket that is anchored by the waistband. Because the pockets aren’t anchored, they fall open a bit. It’s not a huge issue, but doesn’t look as great as I want it to look. There is also a strange pucker on the left bust dart and a bit of gaping at the armsyce. I am guessing that is due to my left shoulder being more dropped that my right shoulder. I likely need to make sure that side is tied a bit tighter.

I’m really glad I made this dress. I think it will be great for at least one of the weddings I am attending this year.

And because I don’t really wear solid black anymore… It also happens to look fabulous with my outrageous Designer Stitch Willow Kimono.

Last year, I got a bunch of fabric from Minerva Crafts as an Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month prize. I also got a voucher for Designer Stitch as well during that month and got the Willow Kimono. Among the fabric was this orange animal print satin. It’s definitely a bright and outrageous print, but I fell in love with it. I sent some fabric to family in the Dominican Republic for a fellow sewist who lost a lot in the hurricane last year. I almost sent this fabric but then pulled it out of the pile because I had the brilliant idea of making a shorter Willow Kimono with red fringe. Don’t worry, I pulled something else out of my stash that was fabulous to replace it for the gift. I had a meter of this satin and basically decided to cut the length to whatever I could fit on to the piece of fabric. It is cut about 4 inches under the curve of the sleeve.

It’s a really weird garment even for me who loves wacky fabrics! But I really really love it. It was quick to make. The thing that took the most time was trimming the fringe so it was all relatively even.

I think it looks great paired with my LBD. It also looks great with my white upton dress with tie sleeves underneath. Both dresses make it the focal point and don’t overwhelm the eye too much.

What is the most outrageous thing you have made?

 

 

 

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Me-Made-May 2018 Round up

Phew. I’ve been a busy bee and haven’t had the time to post my #MMMay18 round up until now. Yikes!

Me-Made-May was a success this year! I pledged to wear at least 3 me-made garments every day. I managed to take outfit posts every day even if a couple are of hanging garments. My undergarments are always me-made so I they are counted on top of the garments listed for each day and I live in my Belmont leggings these days so I didn’t always list them in the garments. Leggings for LIFE!

I’d love to have an “instagram-worthy space” (not that I get what that means) to easily take pictures for these but I don’t have that. My mirror is in my closet and my closet is packed full of stuff since it doubles as a linen closet and also has a bunch of bags ready to go to the charity shop for donations so you either get a view of that or my room which was likely in disarray…  I’ve learned to let the concept of displaying perfection go. I think the world would do better to not expect it at all because perfection is impossible.

Imperfection can be beautiful in its own right. If you see my ironing board in the background, you know I was sewing and that means self-care for me and happy happy Andie! If you see a pile of stuff, you know I let that go in order to recover from a migraine or rest myself from pain. A laundry basket in the background means that my husband did the laundry and it’s just waiting to be put away and that shows how our relationship is all about balance and love and making sure one person isn’t taking on all the household tasks. Let’s put it this way, if I spent the time and energy on making a space that is IG-worthy and has that “perfect” look, I wouldn’t have the time or energy to sew and that would be tragic. I also wouldn’t be as real as I try to be so that people know that I’m not perfect. I am me and I really can’t be anything but honest about that. So there ya go. Maybe if we ever move, I will set up a spot that looks a bit better for mirror selfies but maybe not.

Me Made May

Day 1: Simplicity 1459 and Muse Patterns Jenna Cardi

Day 2: Decades Everyday T.L.C. Caftan

Day 3: Burda Blazer, Cashmerette Concord top, and Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers

Day 4: M7094

Day 5: Nautical M6696 and Muse Jenna Cardi

Day 6: Hello Kitty Concord Tee and Prefontaine shorts

Day 7: M7094 and Cake Pavlova skirt

Day 8: Modified Cashmerette Springfield top and Cake Pavlova skirt

Day 9: Concord Tee and patternless dirndl skirt

Day 10: Cashmerette Cedar Dolman and Belmont Leggings

Day 11: Colette Moneta, Belmont Leggings and Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan

Day 12: Concord tee, Belmont Leggings, and Cake Pavlova skirt

Day 13: Modified Cedar Dolman dress, M6614 hoodie

Day 14: Simplicity 8084 and Belmont Leggings

Day 15: Swoon Scarf Neck cardigan, Belmont leggings, M6887

Day 16: Concord tank top and Parisian Nights pj shorts

Day 17: Burda blazer, modified Springfield top, and Cake Pavlova skirt

Day 18: Concord tee, Upton skirt, and Belmont leggings

Day 19: M6614 hoodie, Concord Tee, and pj pants

Day 20: Concord Tank top and Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Day 21: Cashmerette Upton dress

Day 22: B6210

Day 23: Burda cowl neck top and patternless dirndl skirt

Day 24: M6696 and Swoon Scarf Neck cardigan

Day 25: Modified Concord tee and Cake Pavlova skirt

Day 26: Decades of Style TLC Caftan that I got popsicle over lol!

Day 27: Colette Myrtle dress and Jenna Cardi

Day 28: Colette Myrtle dress and Swoon scarf neck cardi

Day 29: Concord tank top and Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers

Day 30: Concord Tee and a Cake Pavlova skirt that I had just finished fixing earlier that week

Day 31: Simplicity 8084 dress and Belmont Leggings

Some Loosey Goosey Summer Sewing plans

I have a weird relationship with planning sewing. I love planning stuff out, but I hate being confined to the plans. So I am calling these “loosey goosey” plans because I don’t want to feel confined to them. I want them to inspire me but not restrict me.

I’m going to talk categories, because Me-Made-May always makes me think about the areas I really need to replenish my wardrobe or the areas I am lacking.

PJs

It’s been true for a while now that I need to make more PJs/loungewear for around the house. My current flannel pj pants and lounging shorts are getting threadbare and ratty looking after so many washes. Also, many lack pockets and that’s ridiculous to me now. I need a place to stash my phone or my tissue (sinus problems and being an empath mean I need tissues constantly…).

Since these are summer sewing plans, I have two summer pj plans.

Blank Slate Patterns Barton shorts

I know how weird it must seem to pick flannel for the summer to a lot of people. But I love flannel all year round. It’s really difficult for me to regulate my temperature so I often need sweaters all year round. Also, flannel is incredibly soft and there is nothing worse to me than having a lounge/sleepwear in a stupid scratchy fabric. I mean why choose stupid scratchy fabric for anything ever?

The flannel pictured is one of many flannels I have. I hoard that stuff. I will probably make a couple of these in different fabrics. The nice thing is this also helps me achieve a #2018MakeNine fabric objective of using my flannel. Go me!

I’ve made the Blank Slate Barton shorts many times and love them. They are super comfortable.

Hot Patterns Cupid Cami and Tap pants

This pattern is available for free on fabric.com. I have this black and white floral satin that would be great for some warm weather pjs. If these work out well, I might use some other satin I have for another pair. The only issue is that there are no side seams for pockets. I think I will probably add a patch pocket to the top. I also have the Designer Stitch Ella Cami set so I might switch the pattern out to that since it has pockets. Or not. Loosey goosey, after all.

DIYB Club Gabriela PJs

Welcome to the over the top crazy plan. I got this pattern for free since DIBY contacted the CSC editors asking us to review a few of their patterns. I immediately jumped on the Gabriela. I’ve been wanting to make a onesie for pjs for a really long time. Until this past year, there weren’t any in my size. There are now two patterns that I know of in my size and above! Gabriela is one and the other is Rad Patterns Cosplay suit. There might be more out there, but I am good with just having one for now. The Gabriela pjs are like old one piece thermal pjs and have a functional butt flap. Amazing! LOL. Perfect for pjs.

I got some Disney Princess cotton lycra from Funky Monkey Fabrics for this pattern. It’s a super indulgent and frivolous purchase for sure! I want to use a solid accent colour for the butt flap, cuffs, and pockets, but I haven’t picked that out yet since I was waiting to see the true colours in the fabric. I think I will likely make the shorts version of this pattern with no hoodie meaning that I might have enough fabric leftover for a tank top. YES!

Tops

The Peplum top is a free pattern from In the Folds is available through Peppermint Magazine. I have two linens (white and turquoise) that I want to make into Peplum tops.

I snapped this Designer Stitch Synthia ruffle top pattern as soon as it was released. Recently, I got this digital print rayon from a local store. The wrong side is a greyscale version of the print and I think that will look really neat with the pattern since the wrong side shows on the ruffles in some places.

Yes, yes, I know. I am the queen of Cashmerette Cedar Dolman hacks. I am the hack queen. ROFL. The idea of this hack is to use the leftover rayon from my M7624. I plan on using the coral to colour block the shoulders/neckline and then the tropical print for the main body.

The Style Arc Blair cropped shirt looks great for summer. I have a bit of this tropical print voile from my first Willow Kimono. I hope I can get it cut out of this fabric. If I can’t amke it work, I will pick up a solid colour and do the bottom half and the button band in the solid.

I bought this cotton lycra on a whim lately and went looking through my stash for a good pattern. Version B of Simplicity 8342 is the one I chose. I also kind of want to make the cropped pants but I would need fabric for that.

Shorts

Cake Patterns was briefly out of commission for a bit and then they were bought out so their patterns are available again. WOO! I am a big fan of the Pavlova skirt. I have so many different versions. I’ve wanted to make the Endeavour shorts for a while. I have a bunch of smaller cuts of fabric that would be perfect for it. Some with a bit of stretch for comfort. 😉

Top Layers

I made a Designer Stitch Willow Kimono for our vacation this winter. I got this idea in my head to make a super weird version using this really bright orange leopard print satin with a ridiculous red fringe trim on the hems. Um yeah, so I am making that happen. This is also a #2018MakeNine fabric!

While it might be summer, I often toss on a light jacket for cooler nights. There are a few jean jacket patterns out there but few in my size so Seamwork Audrey it is. My dream is to make a jean jacket and then put a bunch of patches on it. I want a basic jean jacket and then a ridiculous

Dresses

I need a dress that would work for a wedding and I think this rayon polkadot fabric plus the Seamwork Arden would be lovely. However, I want to swap out the sleeves for some short flutter sleeves. Another #2018MakeNine fabric.

This Burda Keyhole dress has been on my to-make list for a while. I think this polkadot chambray will look awesome with it. Another #2018MakeNine fabric.

You may remember this Designer Stitch Pippa dress and pink polkadot fabric pairing from my Miss Bossy vote! I shall make it happen since it got so many votes.

Helllooooooo mint floral eyelet! You would look lovely as Simplicity 8096 view C. Yes, yes, you would. Another #2018MakeNine fabric.

Etc.

I need to get a move on a new batch of bras. I also need underwear. And some bike shorts for under dresses and skirts would also be good.

Final thoughts

It’s a lot of plans. I definitely won’t get them all done since I have costume making to do as well this summer. But a woman can dream!

Dressing like my Grandma in Simplicity 8084

Dress like your Grandma is a sewing challenge run by my friend and fellow CSC editor, Tanya. The basic premise is to get a vintage picture and copy the outfit. It could be of your grandma or just a vintage photo. I also think if people wanted to dress like their Grandpa, that wouldn’t be an issue at all. This is the second year it has been running and my first time participating. I really really wanted to participate last year but couldn’t get a picture of my maternal Grandmother or my paternal Nana. This year, I managed to come across this picture of my maternal Grandmother with my Grandfather on my Dad’s facebook page and I knew I wanted to use that picture.

My Grandma is wearing a shirt waist dress with a simple A-line skirt. My grandparents appear to be going to a wedding or church or something else formal and the date on the picture is December 1958. My grandparents were farmers in rural Southern Ontario so this would have been a special occasion for them. My mom told me that my Grandma would often wear dresses like this. She sewed her own clothes. I wouldn’t be surprised if she sewed this dress.

I knew the overall style would be easy to duplicate. I wanted to modernize it a bit, though, since I don’t often make things that I will only wear once. Most of the costumes I make are also worn multiple times for cons and our shows so I try to make everything wearable.

I chose Simplicity 8084 for this dress. It has a lot of the elements of the inspiration, but a more open neckline, a banded collar, a loose fit, and a comfortable drawstring waist.

This is my first Mimi G pattern. It went together well. The fabric I used is a telio rayon voile from fabric.com. It’s very lightweight and almost see-through, but luckily not. I hate wearing slips! Actually, I’ve never made one so why start now.

The fabric does stretch a lot. Rayon is prone to this and everytime I work with it I take extra care to staystitch and sometimes use interfacing, especially for the neckline. I really regret not following that practice for this, because the neckline, in spite of staystitching, got super stretched out and I had to lengthen the neckline piece. This causes the neckline to not sit nicely at all. I’ll take extra care should I make this again in the future.

The only other error made was to sew on my sleeves and sew up the side seam and then realize I needed the sleeve tabs. D’OH! They should be up higher, but this was as high as I could manage without ripping out my side seam.

Like the other Simplicity shirtdress I made recently, this one also has extremely wide sleeves at the hem. It doesn’t get smaller closer at the hem and is as wide as the widest part of the bicep. I decided to keep them wide this time. I also widened the sleeves and made the gathered. We all know my preference for puffed sleeves.

Let’s discuss fit. Unlike other Simplicity patterns, the shoulders on this one are fairly wide. I checked the pattern piece just in case the shoulder had also stretched out, but they are wide. I usually have to make shoulders smaller in every single pattern, but that alteration is maybe 2 inches. This one would likely need 3 or maybe more.

The fit on the dress is meant to be a loose fit so I think elsewhere it fits correctly. I will add more to the back skirt, though, since when I sit down it isn’t as loose as I would like. Not tight by any means, but not as loose as I like.

I didn’t go for the curved hem on this dress as per the length. I decided to go with a straight hem to mix it up. I also didn’t go for the hidden button placket since I wanted to use pearlesque buttons like my inspiration picture. In spite of the fit issue and sewing issues, I really like this dress. I think once the fit is perfected I will probably want to make a bunch more.

My mom has told me that I am a lot like her mother both in looks and in personality. I seem to have inherited her height and her overall body structure, including the flat feet. My mom and I have speculated whether my Grandma had EDS since she had joint issues but we’ll never know for sure. Grandma died when I was a toddler. I never knew her except in pictures and stories from my mother.

I wish I had known her from the way my mom talks about her. I loved this challenge for making me feel a bit more connected to her. I really wanted to get the challenge completed for Mother’s Day for my mom, but was sewing away still on Mother’s day. Mom will have to accept the fact that her daughter is always late with gifts. 😉

I am looking forward to next year. Hopefully the challenge will continue, because I am going to my parent’s place this summer and I am going to find a bunch more pictures for inspiration!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8084
  • Pros: Great size range. Easy to follow instructions. Comfortable dress to wear.
  • Cons: Why does the sleeve hem need to be so wide? Shoulders are also unnecessarily wide…
  • Make again?: After a few modifications and with care that the neckline doesn’t stretch out.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Cashmerette Cedar Dolman: Pattern Hacks

Today I am sharing two garments I made back in March… One of the items was waiting on a repair before I could take pictures. I’ll talk about that a bit later.

Both garments are made using the Cashemerette Cedar Dolman as the starting pattern. I really love this pattern for its versatility. It’s a great pattern to “hack.”

First up is a dress version. For this version, I actually used the Cedar Dolman I made as a pattern tester. I added a neckband and sleeve bands. Knowing that I was going for a loose fit, I didn’t want to cut the length of the Dolman too much. In the tester version, I made the tie version so I cut the tester off just above the tie. It’s probably about 4 inches off the bottom. For the skirt, I just added two panels that were the width of the back and the front.

I added pockets to the side seams and sewed the tops of them into the skirt waist. The skirt waist is sewn to the bodice and then about an inch and a quarter below that, you sew again. Then you press that extra up and sew a line of stitching to secure it and then feed the elastic in through that. It’s the same method used for the Colette Myrtle waistband in this tutorial.

This is the kind of dress that you just throw on after work or on the weekend. It’s comfortable and easy to make as well! I made it using a bamboo jersey in mauve that I got from a friend. I really really love this fabric. It wears well and is durable.

Up next is the garment I had to repair.

This Cedar Dolman hack is exactly like my striped one, but this time with ruffles on the sleeves! I simply cut two strips of fabric, folded them in half lengthwise and then gathered them and sewed them into the seams while I sewed up the side seams. I made sure to have the ruffles fall down towards the sleeve hem.

I wore this once and then washed it and a few holes appeared in the fabric. Luckily, they aren’t super noticeable after I sewed them up; they are on the front but closer to my armpit. It’s a rayon spandex from Water Tower Textiles. After two washes (pre-wash and then washed once after it was constructed), the holes appeared. I’m really disappointed. The cut was from the end of the roll and I am hoping it was just a fluke since they were transparent about a flaw on a different part of the pieces. I’m probably not going to contact them since they told me there were flaws on the end piece and I got extra fabric as a result of that. I thought I had cut around them all, but didn’t catch these small holes that then became bigger in a wash. It’s sad but not the end of the world.

The top will be an at home top because of the holes. It’s super comfortable and I love those ruffles. They do weigh the sleeves down, though, and make the ruffles under the elbow instead of above. I think I would just use one layer of fabric next time and serge or baby hem the edge to reduce the weight and the bulk since it was also difficult to serge over all those layers. I have some lightweight hunter green jersey that might become another one of these soon because I really love it.

I plan on trying the top out in a woven next possibly with some colour blocking fun.

Burda Magazine Jersey Blazer 08/2016 #134

The Curvy Year of Sewing Jackets and Blazers theme was the perfect opportunity to finally make this Burda blazer. I keep talking about making a million blazers and then never doing the thing. I think starting here is a great gateway into maybe finally making the Vogue Claudia Shaeffer blazer of my dreams.

The Burda Jersey Blazer #134 from August 2016 issue is a lined jersey blazer with a shawl collar and patch pockets. I’m not sure if you know, but I am a fan of Burda. I can always rely on their drafting for getting a good fit with some adjustments. Mostly, I love the classic styles they have. I don’t love their lack of instructions, however, and they certainly are famous for sparse instructions in their magazines. Burda plus sizes range from size 44 (39.25 inch/100 cm bust) to size 52 (48 inch/122 cm bust). Admittedly, not the greatest size range, but it works for me with minor adjustments.

My measurements are: 51/52 bust, 46 waist, and 54/56 hip (depending on my swelling that day due to my chronic illness). I made a size 52 with a 2 inch FBA (adding 4 inches overall) and a 2 inch full bicep adjustment. I added 4 extra inches to the bust to allow for a button closure. The original pattern is meant to sit open, but I often want to pull blazers closed and quite frankly I think the look works well with the Cashmerette Rivermont, which was my planned pairing for this blazer.

Let’s talk fit issues. The blazer is long on me. I am a shorter person at 5’3″ and I have short arms. I prefer longer sleeves that cover my hands since they get cold easily. The back could use a sway back adjustment as well as a bit more room in the hips, which would help the pulling at the front button. I think the bust looks good. I do wish I had but in 2 buttons and may be adding that later, but we’ll see if I ever get around to that. For future versions, I will shorten the length overall, as well as do a swayback and full hip adjustment.

I love the blazer in spite of that and for most non-sewists those issues are minor.

My favourite details of this blazer are the purple piping along the lapel and the small purple buttons on the sleeve vents. Speaking of the sleeve vents, the instructions weren’t very good to help me do my first sleeve vent. I actually used this tutorial from Patterns Scissors Cloth. It was fantastic in holding my hand throughout the process.

I used a medium weight poly blend jersey in a dark grey. The piping is Wrights pre-made piping from Funky Monkey Fabrics. Buttons are sourced locally. I didn’t line the blazer. I don’t think it needs the lining at all. I used my serger for the most of the construction so the insides are nice anyway. I made shoulder pads for the blazer using the grey jersey and some poly padding I had leftover from a previous project. Easier than buying shoulder pads and they match my blazer.

Construction, except for the sleeve vents, went together really easily. With the tutorial, the sleeve vents were a breeze. The instructions were no help there. My one issue with the pattern is that the back facing seemed unnecessary. The lapel is cut on and then facing is sew on. The front facing pieces attach at the back and then get sewn into the seams below the pockets. The back facing is supposed to be attached to a cut out part on the front facing and then sewn into the seams on the shoulders and back neckline. It is likely my error with adding in the seam allowances (since I eyeball them when cutting out the pattern) and not using a lining, but the piece wasn’t necessary to me and could have been incorporated into the front facing piece which has a seam at the back anyway. I was able to sew the front facings to the back neckline and the shoulders without the back facing piece. Likely my error, but also possible not. I will see the result with a more stable knit since I plan to use a tan knit next time with blue piping.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Burda Jersey Blazer #134 from August 2016 issue
  • Pros: Great size range. Jersey means comfort! Opportunity for customization. Love those princess seams.
  • Cons: A little long. Burda does tend to think that plus sized equals tall so I often have to shorten things. Unnecessary back facing piece possibly. Easy to draft out, though. Terrible instructions.
  • Make again?: YESYESYES
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars