Another Archer and #SewingCommunityGives

Grainline Archer

Another day, another Archer.

Grainline Archer

I’ve now made Grainline’s Archer shirt more than any other pattern. What can I say, I love this pattern! A classic button-down shirt with an easy fit and no darts? Sign me up!

Grainline Archer

This pink and blue cotton is from The Cloth Pocket (where these photos were taken and where I’m teaching some classes this month) and these perfect pink buttons are from a defunct local store.

Grainline Archer

For this Archer, I cut pockets, placket, yoke, cuffs, and collar on the bias. This plaid isn’t perfectly square which made it difficult to get the angle of the lines perfect, but I like the result.

Grainline Archer

Instead of pleating the center back under the yoke, I gathered the fabric.

Grainline Archer

Now onto something a little more serious…

Sewing Community Gives

Ya’ll know I don’t often get personal on this blog but today I’m making an exception. A few weeks ago, Erin over at Seamstress Erin messaged some pattern designers, bouncing around this idea to harness the power of the online sewing-sphere to give back to our communities.

I think Erin was expressing a desire that many of us share: a growing need to contribute, to share, to show love and compassion in the wake of an election season that, no matter who you supported, weighed heavily on all of us and capped out a year that for many was filled with struggle and mourning.

This sentiment struck a chord with me as lately, I have been challenging myself to do more. After the election, many probably feel like I do, that I didn’t do “enough.”

Enough of what and how much that means, I’m not exactly sure. But I do know that I can no longer be content with a kind of passive activism, expecting those impacted by bad policy to fight for change while I sit on the sidelines being “supportive” but not doing the work. I can no longer use shyness or anxiety as an excuse for not putting myself out there and making a difference. I can no longer dismiss my own implicit biases but instead must educate myself about other people’s experiences.

I am in a unique position. With no kids or a typical job, I have plenty of more time to devote to causes and because of that, I have a responsibility to do more. For me, 2016 was a tremendous year of personal growth and I feel I can take that energy I’ve accumulated and put it to use in 2017.

So what have I done to get off the couch/facebook and do the work? Well, in just the past few months I was a poll worker for two elections. I’ve joined organizations that share my values, including the League of Women Voters. I’ve donated money and volunteered to lobby for legislation I believe in. I’ve marched. I’ve attended meetings. I’ve called my senators and representatives (and it gets less scary each time I do it). I’ve visited my state legislators’ offices and met my new state rep – twice! I’ve met my city council member and visited one of my US Senator’s office. I’ve read memoirs by Supreme Court Justices, histories of segregation and the Civil War, and biographies of suffragists.

Sewing Community Gives

If you, too, are feeling inspired to do more (or to continue the good work you’ve been doing), join us for #SewingCommunityGives!

With #SewingCommunityGives, Erin is inviting sewists to pledge their time, energy and/or funds to help their local and global community this week January 16-22.

To celebrate, you can fill out this survey to tally everyone’s collective contribution and enter to win one of five fantastic pattern prize packs (including one of my patterns)!

If you’re looking for ideas, here are a few local Austin charities that I’ve volunteered for/supported in the past:

  • GirlStart educates young girls in STEM fields through camps and after school programs.
  • SafePlace is a shelter for victims of domestic violence and also runs Eloise House, one of the only places in Central Texas where sexual assault survivors can get a rape kit done.
  • Casa Marianella is an emergency homeless shelter for recently immigrated families, refugees, and asylum seekers.
  • OutYouth provides programs, services, and counseling to LBGT+ young people.

I can’t wait to see how much we can accomplish together!!

BurdaStyle Book Blouse – Travel Print

Burda Book Blouse - Travel Print
Happy New Year! This shirt was my final make of 2016 and is now my first post of 2017.

This is my third version of the blouse pattern from the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook.

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If you know me, then you know I love me some peplums. It’s not everyone’s favorite style but it’s mine. Now you might be thinking “Geez, Dixie, isn’t the peplum a little too 2011 by now?” and I would say, “You can pry my peplums out of my cold dead fingers!! #PeplumsForever #Blessed”

Burda Book Blouse - Travel Print

My first version of this pattern was made four years ago(!!!) and it’s about time to be retired.

That version used the most amazing silk charmeuse print with what I can only describe as an “Asian toile” design. So when I fell in love with this awesome metallic gold-on-navy cityscape I knew I found a replacement for my old favorite shirt.

Burda Book Blouse - Travel Print

I can’t tell if this is a lawn/voile or simply an exceptional quality quilting cotton but I bought it locally at Stitch Lab (which is sadly closing this year).

I made several design changes in an attempt to keep this fantastic print as intact as possible.

Burda Book Blouse - Travel Print

The pattern design features princess seams in front, and center front and back seams. I took the original pattern pieces, sliced off the seam allowance and taped them together them to make one solid back piece and front piece.

Burda Book Blouse - Travel Print

After combining the princess seamlines, I converted the “dart” space leftover into gathers at the shoulder yoke.

I turned the original neckline slit into a short “V” and adjusted the facings accordingly.

I lowered the sleeve cap a little but kept the gathers. Just a personal preference but I think the original sleeve cap is too high, making the gathers stand up awkwardly if you don’t heavily press them down.

Burda Book Blouse - Travel Print

I also lengthened the sleeves a few inches and shortened the cuffs by about an inch total. In the original version the sleeves end oddly right about at the elbow but I wanted more of a true 3/4 length sleeve.

Burda Book Blouse - Travel Print

Finally, I included elastic in the waist rather than ties in the casing.

If you look closely (don’t!) you’ll see that one of the cuffs is upside down but to that I’ll simply refer to my new sewing motto: “How much do I care? Not enough.”

Burda Book Blouse - Travel Print

This fabric is so fun and shiny! It makes me happy just looking at it. There’s London, Paris, Mt. Fuji, Giza, Sydney and more. It comes in a couple more colorways so if you can find it locally or online I definitely recommend picking some up!

Burda Book Blouse - Travel Print

I’ll post a big year-in-review post later but until then I’ll leave you with this great video from Google that really summed up well all my feelings from the past year.

Happy New Year, everyone. And may 2017 be your best year yet!

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

You guys — I looooooooovvvvveeee this jacket! The Lupin Jacket by French pattern company Deer and Doe is a cute cropped, fully lined jacket that is perfect for Texas’ not-quite-winters.

I love the princess seams in front, the epaulettes, the light gathers at the waistline and cuffs, the floppy lapels, everything! Yes, I’m gushing but this is a great jacket for me and my climate right now. 10/10 would sew again!

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

(does anyone else think of Harry Potter when you hear the word Lupin? It’s not a word you hear often in English.)

The shell fabric came from The Cloth Pocket (these photos were also taken at the awesome mural outside their new building!). I’d describe it as medium-lightweight. It’s light enough to make the lapels hang nicely by thick enough to supply some warmth.

What’s great about it is the gold sparkle comes from threads woven into the fabric rather than glitter stuck into the fibers or “glued” on top. That means the metallic can’t be washed out or ironed off (which I have experienced, much to my disappointment).

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

The lining is some plain black cotton voile, the source of which I can’t remember. Metal buttons from Joann.

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

Once I finally got everything cut out and organized, the jacket came together rather quickly.

I appreciate that the lining isn’t simply a copy of the shell, but slightly bigger in places to allow for movement. The assembly was different than what I would have expected but I liked the method they used — similar to the bag-lining technique but you finish by sewing the waistband rather than an interior sleeve lining seam.

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

My only change, I added a button and buttonhole at the waistband. I’ve seen this done on a few other people’s makes but it’s not included in the pattern. I wanted the option of closing the jacket if I needed to. Plus, these buttons came with 3 on a card.

Deer and Doe Lupin Jacket

I topstitched most seams in black thread but it’s only visible up close.

All in all, I’m quite pleased! As you can tell. I’ve sewn two other Deer and Doe patterns (and have one unfinished) but this is my first completed photoshoot. I’ve enjoyed using their patterns. I’m only surprised it took me this long to make them!

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Class Update!

I’m going to be teaching a class next week at the Cloth Pocket in Austin on the Washi Dress! And the week after that is my Sewaholic Pacific Leggings Class. Click the links for more info!

Sewaholic Pacific Leggings, McCall’s 7446 Leggings, Simplicity 1463 Top

Sewaholic Pacific Leggings

Another day, another activewear sewing project. What can I say? I’m obsessed. This time it’s a triple threat!

First up: the Sewaholic Pacific Leggings.

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I made view C, the cropped leggings, with one big alteration: I slashed the back legs and added mesh panels behind the knees which echo the style lines in view B.

Sewaholic Pacific Leggings

One small alteration: I nixed the crotch gusset (the feature that made me excited to try this pattern) because, well, it was giving me some major foot-of-a-desert-pack-animal going on in front. Disappointing, but an easy fix as the legs can be sewn without the gusset with no need to alter the pattern pieces.

Sewaholic Pacific Leggings

I liked the method of sewing the elastic into the waist yoke – makes for a clean finish with no visible stitching. And the curved seam lines are cool. They’re more visible in person. Next time I’ll try some contrast top stitching to highlight them.

Sewaholic Pacific Leggings

I didn’t make the back zippered pocket because I didn’t have a zip on hand and wanted to sew up these leggings immediately.

Both the main heather gray/black fabric and the mesh came from Joann. Who knew they carry a whole activewear collection now? The black yoke fabric was scrap from Rockywoods.com.

Overall, this is a great pattern and I can’t wait to make more versions. Oh, and this…

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Hey Austinites! I’m teaching a class on the Pacific Leggings at The Cloth Pocket on December 13th and 15th. Sign up here!

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Simplicity 1463 and McCall's 7446

Using the same heathered fabric and mesh I made an altered version of View A of Simplicity 1463.

simplicity-tops-vests-pattern-1463-envelope-front

I altered the pattern to add the mesh shoulder panels by slicing off the top of the front and back pieces by 1.5″+seam allowance. Then I cut 3″+seam allowance-wide mesh strips to insert between the front and back pieces at the shoulder seam.

Simplicity 1463

I topstitched the seam allowance along the mesh panel to keep everything nice and flat. The mesh adds a fun sporty touch.

Simplicity 1463 and McCall's 7446

Ok, so here’s my problem with this pattern: the sleeve cuffs end right at the elbow. Not above or below so I feel like I constantly have to adjust the sleeves but pushing them up or down. If I pull them down below the elbow, it pulls at the neckline. If I push them up, the fabric above the cuff bunches up, but this is my preferred way to wear the top.

Simplicity 1463

If I were to use this pattern again, I’d shorten the cuff and the length of the sleeve portion of the top so that they ends above the elbow instead of some kind of bendy no-man’s land.

I can wear this top to a dance class or for Krav Maga and maybe as a popover for running on cooler mornings.

Simplicity 1463 and McCall's 7446

Lastly, using more fabric found at Joann, I made a pair of McCall’s 7446 leggings. This fabric features a metallic gold swirl pattern on black that I loved but it doesn’t show the seam lines of this pattern well.

mccalls7446

The curved seam reminded me a lot of Papercut Pattern’s Ohh La Leggings which I have made before. There are some things about this pattern that I like more than Papercut and vice versa.

McCall's 7446

I liked the McCall’s pattern’s side pocket along the leg. I haven’t make a pair of leggings with that style pocket before but it works great for holding keys or your phone.

The curve along the bum reaches higher in the McCall’s than the OLL, which I prefer. I can feel the curve on the OLLs when I sit down and I prefer the look of the higher curve.

McCall's 7446

The OLLs use a folded over elastic waist while the McCall’s uses and un-supported waistband. The band is a little too thick so it likes to bend over on itself and doesn’t want to stay flat. I prefer the OLL waist method.

If you don’t count the waistband, both patterns have the same number of pieces but the OLLs don’t have side seams on the legs (which is silly, those McCall’s side seams don’t give any shape to the legs. The front and back side pieces should have just been combined into one piece, unless you’re going for extreme color blocking). I think the OLL are easier to cut out and quicker to sew.

In the end, I like my sparkly gold leggings even if the construction could have been simplified. If I want another pair in this style I think I’ll alter the OLLs and add a pocket if needed.