Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes and M6754

Edit: I forgot my TL:DR review for the Winslow Culottes. D’oh. Added at the bottom now.

Another edit: After a request, here is the Full Butt Adjustment I follow for pants (at the time I followed a different tutorial, but I find this one is better). I didn’t lengthen the waist area for the Winslow Culottes as they didn’t need that, but followed the rest.

I started my Winslow Culottes in July of last year. I’ve been having issues since last year with finishing things. I have several things cut out and in various states of completion. Some are just sitting there based on motivation. Some are sitting there because there were fit issues. My Winslow Culottes were victims of fit issues. I graded up the pattern by two sizes. I also made the back crotch a bit longer. I’m glad I did that adjustment, because it fits quite well back there and hangs nicely. The fit issue was simply bringing the waistband in a bit.

But of course, the culottes got tossed in my UFO pile and left for several months. Sad times. Especially sad, because I really loved the colour and material I made them with and they could have become a wardrobe staple several months ago. The material is a poly rayon in a plum colour.

The Winslow Culottes are super comfortable to wear. I think they are made for flowy, drapey fabric like linen, rayon, silk, soft chambrays, voiles, lawns, double gauzes, etc. Lush and lovely fabric perfect for summer. I’m kind of glad that I am finishing them up in time to wear and duplicate for the summer months. Our spring has been cold and rainy here so I am prepping like crazy for that time I can actually wear these outside without tights.

There aren’t a lot of fit worries with a pattern like this. Make sure that the crotch length is correct. You don’t need to make as make adjustments as other pants patterns due to the volume of fabric, but there is a certain amount needed to make sure that you get the right drape in the front and the back. I read somewhere that 4 inches of ease between your crotch and the culottes crotch will work out well and that is what I made my adjustments based on using my Misty Jeans pattern as if it were a sloper. Make sure the waistband is sitting in the right place and is short enough to keep it in the right place. I could go a couple inches shorter with this waistband, but I was not going to rip it back another time. I made the back pleats a bit deeper to make the change for this adjustment and left a little length in the waistband for a hook and eye closure.

I love the pleats and the in-seam pockets. I am a big fan of this pattern and can see several future versions using my new fabric obsession linen. Bonus for those who are interested is that the Winslow Culottes are on sale this week! Woohoo!

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I also got another item cleared out of my UFO baskets. I made a M6754 using the peplum view C with raglan sleeves and princess seams. Like the other version I made, I needed to size way down and even with the XL needed to size down again. BMV’s ease never seems to be negative for knits so you have to size way down. I will never understand why they do that.

Winslow Culottes and M6754

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I think I shaved off an inch from every seam and then I reattached the peplum. I will also do a sway back adjustment for any future versions.

Winslow Culottes and M6754

I love the top, but it was kind of a ridiculous amount of work for a knit top. But I will likely make it again. I’m having trouble justifying buying fabric at the moment since I have so much in my little space so I probably won’t revisit this pattern for a while unless it really fits a gap in my wardrobe. At the moment, I have enough knit dresses and tops to make me happy for a while.

So far, if Me Made May has taught me anything, I need to focus on making a couple of basic cardigans, blazers, bras, underwear, and more dressy tops and dresses. I have enough basic/casual “cake” for my wardrobe but RTW is still the icing in my wardrobe and most of it doesn’t fit quite right anymore. Once I get through the UFO piles, I’ll be making a list of things I want to make. The bra project should finally get underway (underwear…har har) for me to have bras that don’t kill my shoulders and fingers to get them on. I also feel like my objective for sewing is a bit different. I crave slower projects right now.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes
  • Pros: Simple design. Super easy to grade up and make. Pockets! ❤
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for having to grade up a couple of sizes. Otherwise a 5 star pattern.
  • Make again?: Definitely. It’s a great pattern and I see lots of these in the future in different lengths.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md4.5/5 stars
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Hello Kitty Hoodie

Not all things I sew are going to be a grand old time. In fact, some will be fraught with issues. This garment was one. I made M6614 in View D, the hoodie in XXXL. Admittedly, I should have cut out the XXL. I meant to cut out the XXL. I think I might have been watching Gilmore Girls and that’s what made me cut the XXXL instead. Even if I had cut out the XXL, I still would have taken the hoodie in several inches. The finished measurements were listed as 58 across chest/hips (it’s all straight), but it was definitely bigger than that. Good old McCall’s built in ridiculous ease. Size down people…size down. I took in about 4 inches from the sides of the garment (that means 4 inches from the front and back on each side… 16 inches left and it’s still big on me, dudes!). I shaped for my hips. I decided to leave the width at the hips for wearing ease, because it’s a long hoodie on me.

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On the one hand, the hoodie was a great make for scrapbusting. I used bits from several projects (ribbing from my pink/gold Jenna cardi & white textured double knit from my cranberry/white Jenna cardi; both blogged here) and a small amount of mint sweatshirt fleece I got at the thrift store for the arms/pockets. Great use of 1 yard or less pieces.

On the other hand, there were major issues with the pattern. Other than being drafted far bigger than is necessary (I guess the unisex qualities mean that the hoodie fits super large), the pattern envelope erroneously lists a 24 inch zipper for all sizes of the hoodie, which would be great if the hoodie’s length didn’t increase in length the bigger it goes. I found a wonderful separating mint green zip on etsy at Zipper Stop. When the zip arrived, I cut out the pattern and started constructing the garment to find that the zip was off by several inches. I had already put the ribbing at the bottom and was not in the mood to cut it off and shorten the whole hoodie. After some instagram advice, I decided to cut down the neckline, because the hood wasn’t installed yet and deal with it that way. I’m very upset at the zip. It’s very simple to see that the zip should be longer for the larger sizes since they all increase in length. It’s not that difficult to print that on the envelope and say: 24″ to 26″ or longer. I just feel like McCall’s should know better… Or have been checks for those things. I shouldn’t have such a large issue as the wrong size zipper. It’d be great if I had a bunch lying around, but I ordered it off etsy because it was a special colour. And another thing: if this is meant to be unisex, why are the bleeping pockets so bleeping small?! Every other hoodie on the bleeping market has bleeping huge pockets and this one has bleeping tiny ones and if I had enough leftover mint material I would have bleeping made them bleeping bigger, but I bleeping didn’t! BLEEEEEEEEP!

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You can see how the zipper doesn’t reach the neckline and how tiny the pockets are in comparison to the sleeves…. hrrmph.

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Anyway….*counts to ten and calms down* /end rant. I dealt with it. I moved on. I’m fine. Calm blue ocean.

Sometimes when a garment is this frustrating to make, I never wear it and then throw it into a charity pile, but I didn’t want to do that to hoodie! So, how do you get over a frustrating garment? You make it your own and be proud about it in spite of all the annoyances as you made it.

In other words, if you are Andie, you embroider Hello Kitty on it.

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I’m happy again! Yeay!

I used white embroidery floss and followed a template. I reinforced the back with thick sewn-in interfacing and then put thin iron-on interfacing on top of that. I ran it through the washing machine over the weekend and it came out perfectly. I am going to get a ton of wear from this hoodie and the embroidery will definitely hold up for that. I love hoodies for all weather and often wear them to work or pop them on for the cold AC/poor heating of my office or any other place.

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For readers who are not aware, which may be most of you, I love Hello Kitty. I have since I was young and will continue to do so until I am granny clutching my Hello Kitty pens and writing Happy Birthday on a Hello Kitty card to my great great step-grandchildren. I have two Hello Kitty tattoos, plans for more tattoos, and tons of Hello Kitty stuff. Now, I’m not as laden as some (not even close actually), but I do restrain myself quite often. I could probably just put Hello Kitty on everything. Also, I want every single Liberty Hello Kitty fabric print out there. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I will never buy them all….of course….I restrain myself. I actually don’t own any at the moment. I will also not justify buying it for my wedding dress. I have promised not to have a Hello Kitty wedding theme…. (I might make a Hello Kitty garter belt, though……hehhe).

Back to the hoodie, I put a Hello Kitty on it, because I was determined to not feel bitter about it and to love it and want to wear it all the time, because that’s me and hoodies. I freeaaaaking love hoodies and comfy knit jackets.

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Left: my mood before putting HK on it. Right: my mood after!

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I love the hoodie! I am pleased with the shape of it and the style of it. I have to say…I really considered adding little kitty ears to it, but restrained myself. So. Much. Restraint.

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: M6614 View D
  • Pros: Unisex pattern with several options. Raglan sleeves. Good basic hoodie shape and nice pullover tops for the other views.
  • Cons: Based on the pattern, the zipper was too short by several inches. There was too much ease in the pattern beyond what the envelope stated as the finished measurements. Pockets are far too small for anyone and should be a lot bigger.
  • Make again?: For me, with tons of alterations in the smaller size with hip shaping into the pattern; I do want more hoodies. For others, I would, but with bigger zipper for the larger sizes. It’s a strange thing to give a pattern 1 star review and say I would make it again, though, but I would, because I do love hoodies and I’d rather make a pattern I own than buy a new one that will be very similar.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md white-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md1/5 stars (I’m very upset about the zipper issues)

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Seasonally Inappropriate Nautical Shirt Dress

Since Mary extended the last day of Fall of 1000 Shirt dresses, I managed to finish this M6696 in time. When I bought the pattern, I had some lovely polka dot cotton fabric (hello, January Sewcialist theme!!!) in mind for a nautical version of the dress. I picked up some red and white striped cotton for the contrast. Although, sadly didn’t pick up enough and didn’t get my dream of having the striped for the button band and waistband. Instead, I used white cotton from my stash.

Of course, the dress is incredibly seasonally inappropriate.

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Look at how thin that fabric is! I likely won’t be wearing this outside until the weather really warms up in May.

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Here she is inside out, right-side out, and styled with a red tie (not sure how I feel about it, but it was in my closet….so….). I did my usual french seams on the dress and hand-stitched the button bands, collar facing, and waistband on.

Instead of pleating the skirt, I gathered it. I used self-made bias tape for the armholes and made button tabs for the shoulders. This picture is before I put on gold buttons (same buttons from my gold/pink Jenna Cardi):

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All of the red and white striped fabric is cut on the bias, except for the details in the collar.

I did a small FBA (1″) on the bodice and graded the waistband up a size (extra 2″). I still think the top needs a bit more in the FBA department and I might go up another inch to reduce the pulling in the button band completely.

Not much else to say about the dress. I adore this pattern. I might make it once more before Spring, because I have some lovely purple flowery cotton and purple/white gingham for contrast that is calling out to me… “Andie, make me into a shirt dressssssssss…..ignore the piles of dishes and the floor that needs to be vacuuuuuumed…..Aaaaaaaandieeeeeeeeeeee.” Man, that fabric is persistent. 😉

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Since it’s super cold here, I did this photoshoot last night in my sewing room and created a disaster zone there. I am still working on indoor lighting, but I am pleased with the result, especially with the lighting in the top two photos. That is much closer to the lighting I want.

Of course, this seasonally inappropriate dress got me dreaming about tropical paradises and suddenly….

 

 

 

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Yes, those are sequined and feathered pineapples. Yes, I had this lying around my house (lying in our costume bin….yes…we have a costume bin).

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In other news…….

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Jane Eyre now has a Rochester!!!

My wonderful fiance who is wonderful and does wonderful things for me wonderfully researched sergers for sale on kijiji and came across a wonderful Janome MyLock 204D! And it’s mine now! I need to seriously clean it out and oil it, but it’s mine! The woman who sold it also gave me a bunch of thread, too:

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You can’t really see very well, but other than white and black, she gave me forest green, blue, and purple. 29 cones in total, including the ones in the machine already. And she gave me the machine threaded so I can just do the trick Brooke taught me and tie the ends to the other ends for the cone.

I’m so very happy. Thank you to my wonderful fiance! He’s wonderful! I think I’ll marrrrrry him.

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Winter Sewing Plans

Lately, I am sewing a ton, but barely have time to take pictures for the blog. I have to this week as the deadline for Fall of 1000 Shirt Dresses is looming and I have another M6696 to share. It’s seasonally inappropriate, but very cute. Tomorrow I will take a bunch of pictures for a slew of posts.

Today, let’s talk winter sewing plans. I am a little late on this as winter officially started on the 21st of December and it’s now mid-January, but I figure better late than never, right? These are my plans until spring starts on March 20th. I like planning posts, because they tend to keep me on track in terms of focus. While I don’t always keep to the goals, it definitely keeps me somewhat on course. These plans are also meant to keep my eye on the stash  (patterns and fabric) and make sure I sew from that (except for wedding dress purposes and gifts) until after the wedding in July or until I run out of my stash (wouldn’t that be crazy?!). I have to curb my spending and toss my poor credit card in the freezer.

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I’m going to cover categories and talk about what patterns I intend to sewing in each. I’m also looking forward to Spring with some of these and sewing a bit for that. Although, it’s still cold here in Toronto so I am not sure how much sewing I will get done for the next season before it’s suddenly here! You’ll notice that the wedding dress is missing from these plans. I have a separate post planned for that when I talk about the muslin process.

1. Under where? Under there! Oh! Underwear: 

I love lame jokes. Sorry not sorry. I need new lingerie: bras, panties, a leather corset. Er…..I don’t need that last one…until the wedding night! Hahaha! Kidding, kidding.

Bras:

Now that I have made my first bra, I am excited to get the fit right for the second and other versions. The pattern will be the Classic Full Band Bra by Pin up Girl patterns, like my first one. I have some fitting changes from the first bra and I plan on changing the wires out from what the first bra had. I have to make a visit to Bra Maker’s Supply in Hamilton for this and exchanging the underwires, as well as getting more fitting tips from Beverly Johnson. I will also be picking up fabric for the undergarments for the wedding and some additional bra making supplies. I have set a budget for this and intend to only purchase within the budget.

Emerald Erin has an awesome bra a week challenge for this goal. While I don’t plan on participating every week, I will get a few bras done and send pictures to her. I have far too many things I want to sew to make tons of bras, but I will happily be sewing a few of them this season.

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After another boring white bra, I will be using these lovely fabrics:

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Underwear: 

I bought a lot of fold-over elastic and stretch lace for these purposes:

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The knit remnants in my stash will be perfect for this, too, as underwear doesn’t require a lot of fabric and several of the knits I have in my remnants will work very well for underwear. Nothing like using up the scraps for projects.

I have made a pattern for this using my best fitting underwear:

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We’ll see how the first pair goes. I will likely need to make adjustments for it and then I should have a perfect pattern.

2. Outerwear: 

Raincoat M6517:

For about a year now, I’ve had hot pink nylon fabric and clear vinyl with a pink swirl pattern on it:

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I searched for the perfect pattern for a vinyl coat and came across M6517. I ordered a teflon foot for my sewing machine after the horror of sewing the pleather for my coat. Plans are to cut the nylon into bias strips and use it to bind the seams as I sew for a perfect finish. I hope it goes well… I’ve always wanted a raincoat like this. I’m a little upset that the view they show for the clear vinyl doesn’t have a hood. I may have to add one since the pattern includes a hood. I have to look more closely at the pattern and decide whether it is a simple tweak or I will need to create a muslin. The coat is a loose fit so I wasn’t planning on a muslin for it.

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Knit Jackets:

I am currently finishing up a hoodie using M6614. It’s a very basic hoodie pattern.

M6614

I’ll leave the previews to my Instagram account. There were some issues in the construction that will mean some pointing/blaming fingers at McCall’s. If you have this pattern and are thinking of making it up in the larger sizes, you may need to order a longer zipper unless you want to make alterations to the length or the neckline. Also, size way way down. WAY DOWN. The hoodie is maaaaaaasssssive.

My other plan is to make Golden Rippy’s Omega Angel Jacket.

omega angel

I’m going to do a slight FBA on the princess seams, because my black contrast sweatshirt fleece has very little stretch. These are the fabrics I am using:

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I picked up the blue sweatshirt fleece from a thrift store and the black sweatshirt fleece and ribbing is from Joann’s.

I love all the seam details in this pattern and am excited to try it out. This and the other hoodie are perfect for transition weather in the early spring. I will probably wear them well into the summer, too.

3. Skirts: 

Dirndl Skirts:

I plan on self-drafting a pattern, but if you want a pattern that goes up to many sizes, check out the Margo skirt from Style Arc:

margo skirt

You can make a dirndl skirt easily using two rectangles of fabric for the front and back, and one smaller rectangle for the waistband. I am adding pockets as well and I have a self-drafted pocket that I use. You base the size of the waistband rectangle on the width of where you want the skirt to sit (plus seam allowance and any overlap for a button or hook) and then your front/back is much wider than that. The amount of width is based on how gathered and full you want your skirt to look. Gertie has a tutorial that adds 25 more inches to the skirt pieces than the waist pieces for a total of 50 inches of extra material around. This will likely be a good amount of gathers around. Of course, you can add more or less depending on how full your skirt is… or you can get the Margo skirt and not have to think about it at all!

I have a bunch of floral fabric planned for these skirts and one plaid:

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Sewaholic Hollyburn:

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I have been wanting to make this skirt for a really long time, but putting it off due to having to create a muslin, as well as grading up the pattern several sizes. I have two fabrics planned for this skirt:

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The one on the right is dark navy blue, but looks black in this photo.

Bluegingerdoll Betsy:

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I am continuing my quest for a pencil skirt and am excited to try this pattern. I might need to make some adjustments to this pattern and will definitely be creating a muslin.

Tenterhook Patterns’ Snapdragon:

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Another pencil skirt pattern. I really love the two faux wrap styles and am excited to see how it works out in the muslin process.

For Besty and Snapdragon, I have some potential fabrics, but no firm plans and they all depend on which skirt pattern I like the most:

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One of the three skirts will be the skirt I make using this magenta jean fabric for the Monthly Stitches’ jeans challenge with the bonus pink challenge achieved:

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4. Men’s clothes: I am so selfish in my sewing and very prone to promising stuff for my fiance and not delivering on it. I have stash fabric already purchased and need to sew him some button up shirts for work in the next few weeks or else!

Shirts:

I have three potential pattern for a nice button down shirt for him:

Simplicity 1544:

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I’m not super thrilled with this one, but I do like the cuffs on it best out of the three. I do like the Western-styled version of the shirt, but I don’t think my fiance will love it.

Simplicity 2741:

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Bonus of this pattern, is the included boxer shorts and vest pattern. I doubt I will make the vest, but the boxer shorts will definitely get made. I may not share the finished version on here, though. I can show my underwear, but my fiance’s is a whole other thing.

The shirt pattern itself had some nice pleats on the back, but isn’t much different from the other Simplicity pattern.

McCall’s 6932:

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This one is probably better for more casual shirts than work shirts. I do like the pleat on the back, but am not thrilled that there isn’t a separate button band and the collar is different.

I figure I will create a muslin of all three and let my fiance decide, since he is the one wearing them.

Right now, I just have two black fabrics picked out for him. I’ll spare you a boring black fabric picture. I hope to get some nice cotton shirting from local stores.

5. Dresses:

I’m actually not really in the mood to make dresses lately, but have two planned out.

Bluegingerdoll Violet:

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I have two fabrics for this and plan on creating this for Jungle January:

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The red is the remainder from my Wonder Woman outfit and the snake print jersey is a thrift find.

BurdaStyle Printed Tunic (01/2013 #133A):

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Tanya made a gorgeous version of this as a dress and I’ve wanted to make it ever since. This will be lengthened into a dress and made in a light blue fabric that I picked up in a thrifting adventure:

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6. Tops

With skirts, there must be tops and I have a couple planned.

More Jennifer Lauren Vintage Bronte’s:

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Since I loved the top I made for my Wonder Woman outfit so much and have worn it a bunch since, I have three others planned in these fabrics:

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Sewaholic Oakridge Blouse:

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I really liked the Granville shirt, but the Oakridge blouse made me squeal in glee! I had been looking for a top with a bow detail for a while. I’m patiently waiting for it to come in the mail and then I will decide on fabric. I may need to purchase some drapey fabric for this. So I probably won’t be sewing this until around March.

M6649:

The main reason I didn’t get the Granville shirt pattern is because I already have a couple of nice shirt patterns with cup size variations. M6649 is one of them:

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I want to make view B or D. I’m not sure I would have as many ruffles as are in the pattern. I may only do half the amount or decide that ruffles on boobs my size are ridiculous. No fabric planned for this and, if I have to buy some, we’re looking at March for this.

M7094:

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More drapey fabrics. I love all the pleats at the shoulder and the gathers at the back. I might need to buy fabric for this, which will not make me happy, but we’ll see what is in my stash. This is definitely a couple months away from being made. I’m hoping I will have my stash depleted enough to justify the purchase of drapey fabrics.

Those are my non-wedding dress plans from now until the end of March. Do you have an sewing plans?

Wonder Woman!!!

I had the theme song in my head the entire time I made my outfit. In actuality, I never watched the show. I was born in 1980 and didn’t even get to see it in reruns. I saw the original Batman series with Adam West in reruns, though, and grew up on other DC Comics. It wasn’t until recently that I started getting heavily into Wonder Woman through image sets on tumblr. I follow a lot of comic book feeds along with my various other interests/fandoms.

My first DC Comics love will always be Harley Quinn, but I already made cosplay for her back in 2011:

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I’ve only started reading Wonder Woman comics and only what I’ve been able to get my hands on so far. I won’t pretend to be the biggest Wonder Woman expert, but I really adore her.

Few super heros would blind themselves to kill Medusa (warning: image is graphic):

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She’s cool. She’s tough. When Monthly Stitch announced their December challenge as g33k out, I knew this was my girl. I’ve been wanting to make casual cosplay for various fandoms for a while. Outfits that I could wear to cons and not feel all dressed up. I love costumes, but there is something to be said about not wearing a huge costume to conventions and just chilling with other fans.

Enter my casual cosplay of Wonder Woman.

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Merciful Minerva! I know, technically, I am posting this in January, but I do have evidence on Instagram that I finished the shirt and skirt in December. 😛 I feel like Wonder Woman wouldn’t be super upset about the slight delay in the post.

The top is a Jennifer Lauren Vintage Bronte top. I graded up to a size 24 (the top only goes to size 20) and it fits perfectly. I may have been okay to leave it at a size 20, but I didn’t want to chance it. You can always alter things to be smaller, but making them bigger is a little tougher. The top is made from red jersey ordered from Joann fabrics. The star buttons on the top are from Kraftysian on etsy.

Suffering Sappho, the Bronte top was incredibly easy to make. I think I sewed it up in slightly over an hour and I find the style to be very flattering and the details in the neckline make me giddy. I already have three more of these tops planned out (white, black, and blue). I’ve been needing new tops for a while, especially since I’ve been going nuts for skirts lately.

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The skirt is very similar to the Cressida skirt from Jennifer Lauren Vintage. Unfortunately, I didn’t use that one. I feel kind of bad for choosing one that is very similar but not it, especially when paired with the Bronte top. Does anyone else get weirdly guilty for strange reasons?

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I used the skirt from McCall’s 6696, the popular shirt dress pattern this season. It’s the skirt from view A, but the pockets from view D. I am definitely making this skirt again, because I am in love with it. I will probably make a tutorial on this hack in the future. I want a million of these skirts. The skirt is made from  blue bottomweight canvas from Joann’s and the star details on the pockets are iron on applique from Joann’s as well. All purchased during the Cyber Monday sales. I really went nuts this year with them.

The only slight crisis I had in making the skirt was cutting the button bands too short. Unfortunately, the button bands aren’t quite on the grain because the portion of fabric I had left to recut them was off the grain. It doesn’t really change the skirt, because the bands are interfaced and are given extra support that was, but I will be interested to see if there is any issue with the shape after a few wears.

There are french seams throughout the skirt and I kicked butt on the pleats. They are so pretty, I can’t even.

I made a few accessories for this outfit:

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I bought a necklace from ebay. I used a printout of the Wonder Woman logo to embroider the headband onto felt and made the rope belt out of braiding jersey. I wasn’t happy with the quality of the jersey. Originally, I was going to make a belt that was a little more interesting, but this belt does work out as a lasso of truth as well.

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Careful, bad guys!

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Great Hera, I adore this outfit! 🙂 (Check out the matching nail colour)

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Kitty Chronicle

When Erin announced the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge over at Miss Crayola Creepy, I was pretty jazzed about it. I starting looking up cat prints and scouring the interwebs for ideas. I found this lovely print, which I had lusted after in the past:

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The Kitty Chronicle print was available on etsy through Custom Creations, which is located here in Ontario. I messaged the owner for a cut of three yards knowing that I would be using black fabric from my stash for the collar, yoke, button bands, and waistband. The almost simultaneous announcement of the fall of 1000 Shirtdresses by Mary over Idle Fancy cemented the pattern I would use for the challenge: McCall’s 6696. The pattern is making its round in the sewing blogverse right now and I figured I would try out this apparently amazing pattern. This is also part of my FESA 2014 fabulous frocks.

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I chose View D for my cat lady dress.

My muslin went really well:

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I didn’t bother making the button band, but knew it would fit well. It was my first woven dress in a really long time and I wanted to make it perfect. I did french seams and handsewed the waistband rather than use my usual method of topstitching on the right side and hoping it works. I may have reverted back to that method for the button bands and the collar, but my future version of M6696 will all have handsewn collar facings and button band facings, because it just makes for a much neater and stronger finish.

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Look at those sexy sexy insides. 🙂 This is before I sewed the buttons on.

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My buttons are from another etsy seller, Krafty Sian. My favourite thing about my cat is her adorable paws that look like jelly beans. I got pink little paws to sew on the dress:

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So adorable, right?! 🙂

Okay, so by now, you probably want to see this wicked dress, right?

Well, heeeeeere it is! *drum roll*

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Psyche! It’s me and the cat. Trinity is NOT an outdoor cat and was pretty upset at being wrangled into my arms and then dragged outside into the outdoors that she calls “the netherworld” (I assume she calls it that). She spent the entire time clawing at me to get away and back inside to her scratch pad, which she sleeps on and doesn’t use to scratch (duh, she has two couches for that!).

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Much happier.

Okay, here is the dress sans kitty cat.

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I sewed up view D. I usually sew fuller skirts and future versions will definitely be the fuller skirt version. The width of the fabric and the weight (quilting cotton) meant it would never look quite right as a full skirt and really the concept wouldn’t show off the print. Considering I am still trying to sew a perfect pencil skirt, I figured a figure hugging skirt for a shirtdress would look very cool with this print. And I love it.

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I love this dress. Although, confession time: In a race to get pictures taken before the sun set (which it does now at unreasonably early times), I basically just pinned the buttons in place and then took the pictures. I still have to sew them on. The magic of the camera. Also, I am not barefoot. There are just tons of leaves that I should sweep on our back deck. Fall is in full swing here and I’m about to make a 1000 shirtdresses for it.

Other technical parts: I sewed up a size 24 in a D-cup. I made a large bicep alteration to the sleeve and didn’t add the cuff to the sleeve, because I did not like the look after I pinned it on. I also graded up to a size 26 in the butt, because I got junk in my trunk.

For future versions of the pattern, I will be making the fuller skirt. I do love this view and it definitely works best for a heavier weight fabric. I can see it in a lightweight floral denim with contrasting bands and collar again. Hmm….. Maybe….. I feel great in it, but I know I would be more comfortable in the fuller skirt version. More me.

I would also make more button holes than this (I totally ignored the pattern…listen to the pattern, people! I was just in a rush to finish the button holes). I find that I always need a few more buttons to keep the girls inside my shirtdresses. I’ll follow the pattern next time. 😉 I didn’t even look at it. :-S

I see there is some pulling in the bodice buttons which would likely be solved by doing a small FBA in the d-cup pattern. I think I just need about an inch more room to make it a perfect fit.

All in all, I loved making this dress.

A final note, I haven’t posted in a while here. October was insane for me. I plan on making a ton and blogging a ton in November with my bra-making class on the 28th (my birthday!!)/29th at Bra Maker’s Supply. There will be tons to talk about including the round-up of Bimble and Pimple’s sewvember photo challenge. Check me out on Instagram if you miss my posts. I am a frequent poster there and you can often get previews of my makes and adorable shots of my cat and food (mmm, food). Also, the Instagram sewing peeps rock my world.

Fall Sewing Plans

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I originally started this post in draft over the weekend and in the meantime I found The Creative Perfectionist from browsing around other people’s blogs and their favourites on bloglovin’ (yes, I am a stalker). I follow a ton of blogs on there and apparently never have enough to read.

I love the categories that Sarah put together for this and my original post really conformed to it. I have other sewing plans that are outside of FESA 2014 categories, but I figure why not join the group? I started this blog to join a community of sewists and to share creative endeavours. If my own plans can join in with a group, I might as well do it.

There are seven categories and I have plans in all except for Those Cozy Nights, which focuses on sleepwear. I have no plans to make any more pajamas.

Here are my plans in the six other categories:

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather

Leggings

I’ve had Cake’s espresso leggings pattern for almost a year now and I have yet to touch it. Must make all the leggings, because I am always cold and hate winter so much, but refuse to not wear dresses. Pants suck, gals! I need dresses!

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Espresso leggings are one of Cake’s RiFF patterns, which means they are customized based on your measurements. Once you create a wearable muslin, you can basically make them with very little fabric and make them up super quick from the many blogs I’ve read talking about them.

Check out these blog entries on their espresso leggings reviews: Dreamstress, Dixie DIY, happilycaffienated, and Blinky Sews (Blinky’s post was the one that first made me buy the pattern).

Basically fall/winter are all about layers and I need tons, because I am ALWAYS cold in the fall/winter. I am the person you hate in the summer who runs about in 40 degree Celsius weather and gets angry when it dips below 25 Celsius. In the fall/winter, I am always in way more layers than everyone else. I even have a work blanket that I use ALL YEAR ROUND.

Fabric/notions needed: stretch material in different colours, 3/4 inch elastic.

Pencil skirts.

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I recently went WAY outside my fashion box by trying on a pencil skirt at Old Navy and an orange one at that. I love orange, but the colour has never been in my wardrobe, because my skin often doesn’t like yellowy hues and I end up looking like an extra from Walking Dead. I’ve only been wearing red in the past couple of years and discovered how much I adore it. I used to be 100% the pink girl. I wore pink, pink, and more pink. I feel like my readers are always expecting me to sew with pink and I swear I will! I’ve just been trying different colours a lot more lately.

I’ve decided to make a few pencil skirts as a result of the above pics. I didn’t buy that skirt, because the material was stretchy and had poor recovery (yeay for learning about that! Thanks, Colette Patterns!). My versions will be made of stretchy suit material from my stash and I am excited. I am starting off with a free Lekala pattern #5088:

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It’s a super basic pencil skirt. I have four fabrics in my stash for pencil skirts (yeay stashbusting!):

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Top: plaid stretch suiting, red stretch suiting Bottom: stretch corduroy, thick cotton blend (no stretch)

Depending on how I feel about the Lekala pattern, they may all be the same pattern, but I may keep my eye out for some other ones or try drafting my own. I really like the idea of drafting a vintage style high-waisted pencil skirt, but I dunno if I would really like that look on me… We’ll see. Gotta live outside the box!

Fabric/notions needed: Zippers.

Chic Chemises for Cool Climates

Cardigans.

With the Parisian top into a cardigan pattern hack, I’ve realized what I want in a cardigan: cute features for different colours and prints of fabric, versatility, and one that hits me at my natural waist.

Enter the Jenna Cardi from Muse patterns. Kat over at Modern Vintage Cupcakes recently launched her first pattern with her new label Muse Patterns and I am jazzed. More than jazzed. What is more than jazzed? Whatever that is, I am that.

Yes, I do love everything about this pattern. Yes, I do. Look at the versatility, the size range  (up to 48″ bust size!), the fun details in variation B and the simplicity in variation A.

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It only needs about two yards of fabric depending on your size and the version. I will be doing variation B at waist length with long sleeves to start and then likely trying every variation and the variations within the variations with variations. Verily!

Fabric/notions needed: Stable light-medium weight jersey/knit fabrics (such as merino wool, wool or acrylic blends, cotton knit, cotton blends, or even stretch lace), and buttons.

Fabulous Frocks

Wrapalong

The Curvy Sewing Collective is doing a Wrap Dress Sew Along and they posted a link on their facebook page to a plus size Burda collection that included the most awesome Wrap Tunic Dress that would go perfectly with a new pair of Espresso leggings. I wasn’t going to join the Wrapalong, because with the exception of a woven wrap dress from yesteryears made into a circle skirt recently, I am not a big fan of wrap dresses. I love a nice wrap cardigan, but wrap dresses never quite fit the girls. I am in love with the style on this one though and the draping in the finished version they have is making me go nuts:

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Fabric/Notions needed: Stretch jersey, 1/4 elastic.

Fall of 1000 Shirt Dresses

Following Mary at Idle Fancy‘s lead, I’m declaring it the Fall of 1000 shirt dresses. She may end up making this a sewing challenge and I am in full support of that!

Combined with this is also the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge with Erin at Miss Crayola Creepy.

I recently acquired this awesome fabric:

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I plan on making McCall’s 6696 in view D:

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I will be using black cotton fabric for the waistband, button bands, collar, and the cuffs. I will be the coolest cat around (heheh, so punny again!).

Of course, I will be making a wearable muslin to prep for the October challenge and that means: MORE SHIRT DRESSES! ALL THE SHIRT DRESSES! I mean… I guesssss I will make shirt dresses….. (dances)

Lots of these Fall of 1000 Shirt Dresses fabrics will come from my stash (Yeay stashbusting!):

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Mostly cottons, except for the black at the top, a polyester blend.

Other fall dresses include:

Lekala #4115 (with one of the above stash fabrics):

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Colette Moneta

I’m going to try to find merino wool or ponte knit and make a few of these in a heavier knit with long sleeves. The Moneta is so easy for me cut and to sew up.

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Fabric/notions needed: Merino wool, ponte knit, heavier stretch fabrics, buttons for shirt dresses, zipper for Lekala 4115, elastic for Moneta.

Tender Tootsies

I also have an idea of making Espresso tights.

Handmade by Carolyn has a great tutorial for drafting your own tights that would be useful combined with the custom fit of the Espresso leggings. Basically just using her tutorial for making the feet for the tights.

Along with this, I have a few pairs of knit tights that don’t quite fit me anymore in the butt, but I am planning on hacking into slouchy knee high socks.

Fabric/notions needed: Elastic.

Underneath It All

I have a lot of remnants of stretch material and a lot of plans with more jersey knits and other things that I can fashion into: Underwear!

I plan on taking the Bra-Making Workshop in Hamilton at the Bra Maker’s Supply in November over my birthday weekend. Bras are hella expensive and I want a better fit. They say if you can set a sleeve you can make a bra! Sign up if you are in the area and meet me!

Baby It’s Cold Outside

My First Coat!

In the beginning of the summer before I was put on a fabric-buying hold as part of the Summer Stashbust, which I failed in sew many ways (ha, punny!), I bought this wool from a thrift store.

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I have yet to determine how much of it I have (I keep forgetting), but I have plans to combine it with other wool fabric, if I need more. I think there is enough for the main parts of the coat, but accents like straps and the collar might be made of a contrasting solid wool rather than the main.

I love the smell of this wool. I can’t get over how wonderful it smells. I’m not normally a fan of wool fabric, but this one… I dunno just smells so wonderful. It had original tags on it that said it was 50 bucks. Maybe it’s just higher quality than I’ve been used to.

Possible patterns for this include:

Lekala #5835 acquired with my Monthly Stitch dresses win of five patterns.

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I have to lay out the pattern pieces on my wool to see if I have enough fabric minus the smaller straps and the top collar.

If that doesn’t work, I also own these two patterns:

Butterick #5685:

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I would shorten this and have to use the D-cup pattern pieces. Actually, this may be moving up my list to top choice, because I really like the pattern…and that the bust variations are there.

McCall’s #6657:

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I might also have to shorten this one, but I don’t need to alter the pattern based on finished garment measurements.

All three make me super happy. I’ll definitely be doing a muslin, though, because the fabric is too gorgeous to make a coat that I won’t show off like crazy and be absolutely in love with in every single way.

I also want to line it with this fabric, if I have enough:

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Even if I have enough for just the main pieces minus the sleeves, I have black liner fabric I can use for the sleeves. I just adore this fabric. I got it in a swap a million years ago when I was doing burlesque in St. John’s Newfoundland and I’ve been hoarding it since. It’s lovely. It’s cotton, I think?

Aside: learn more about fabric types.

I have brilliant dreams of combining brown leather with coat pattern 1 and 3, but my wallet might get pissed at me. Although, really, a coat for the 10 bucks the wool cost me at the thrift store and buttons and some leather…. still a cheap coat…

Fabric/notions needed: Contrasting accent fabrics in wool or leather, if needed, buttons.

Colour/pattern Palette:

fall colour palette

I’m all about the plaid this fall so I want to hopefully find some plaids in stretchy materials to take home and be mine for a Jenna cardi or Espresso leggings. And yes, pink is on my list of colours. I’ve been trying to find more pink, but I keep getting distracted by other colours… I am going to try to find a nice one for my wrapalong dress.

Oranges and yellows are on my list for the first time ever! I am going to break it up with having them as accents on black or brown or possibly grey cardis or making my Moneta with the skirt in one colour and top in another.

Lots of options there.

Complete shopping list:

  • Burdastyle wrap tunic dress: 4 yards light weight drapey jersey/knit fabrics, 2 yards 1/4 inch elastic
  • Espresso Leggings & tights: 2 yards of medium weight jersey/knit fabrics, 4 yards 3/4 inch elastic
  • McCall’s shirt dress: 11 1/2 inch Buttons (hopefully cat related)
  • Jenna Cardigan: 2 yards stable light-medium weight jersey/knit fabrics, 6 1/2 inch buttons
  • Moneta: 3.5 yards merino wool, ponte knit, heavier stretch fabrics, 2 yards clear elastic
  • Lekala pencil skirts: 4 7 inch zippers
  • Lekala 4115: 6 1/2 inch buttons (zipper in my stash)
  • Coat: Wool for contrasting accent fabrics for coat or leather (this one is more in the air as I haven’t settled on a pattern yet, but I likely won’t be sewing this until November)

Not too long of a shopping list. Only 13.5 yards of fabric to get over a couple of months. Some of those items can certainly get out of hand, but I’m not allowed to go to the Toronto Fashion District and buy a year’s worth of fabric like I did last year at this time. I am only allowed to get enough for one of each of the above patterns and definitely not at once. The moment I buy more means that I start hoarding them all!

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Finding Balance and Realizing Limits:

I am in love with how all of these challenges overlap so that I can take part in a few with one garment. However, given my up and down health, I am not going to stress if I don’t get it all done. I also have a lot of non-selfish stuff in the works for Halloween and those plans may overtake my selfish sewing. I definitely want to get three things done, though: Espresso leggings, Burda wrap tunic, and McCall’s cat print shirt dress. I know I will get at least one pencil skirt done as well, but I also know the Halloween stuff will be taking over soon! I’ll tell you about it eventually, but no planning posts on that. Secrets! You’ll have to wait until after Halloween to see what I accomplished. It’s also possible that most of this list will be sewn in November outside of the three top things. I can always push some of these into my winter sewing plans…..I do have another stashcation planned for Christmas holidays….