Busy Busy January

I’ve been neglecting the blog in favor of Instagram this month. I haven’t finished many projects but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been sewing. So so much sewing… and drafting and cleaning and planning, etc. As a little re-cap, here are just a few of the things I’ve been working on lately…

Blank Slate Sewing Team

Blank Slate Denver Hack

Earlier this month as part of the Blank Slate Sewing Team I shared my Denver Sweatshirt hack over at MellySews.com. I loved this gold painted knit that I used for my shirt, it’s the perfect mix of sparkly and subdued.

Cleaning Up My Sewing Room

I am the worst when it comes to cleaning my sewing room but it had reached a breaking point. I spent a good day throwing out trash, organizing fabric, and returning long lost pattern pieces to their envelopes.

Then I brought to one of my sewing group meetings several boxes full of patterns, fabric, and old me-made clothes to give away.

All the fabrics were leftovers from previous projects. You know how it goes, the pattern calls for three and a half yards but you manage to squeeze the pieces into two and a quarter. As for the remainder, well, there are only so many Scout Tees a person can make.

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Sometimes a project doesn’t turn out the way you’d have liked. Other times you find yourself never wearing a garment you made for whatever reason. The worst is when your body changes but your clothes aren’t suited to alterations.

Giving away clothes that I’ve made is always difficult, especially when I don’t know if the people at Goodwill will put my clothes on the rack or send them directly to the cotton recyclers.

I didn’t want that fate to befall some of my beloved dresses so I let my friends have first dibs. Luckily most of my clothes were adopted into loving new homes including the above four dresses. The rest will take their chances at the thrift store.

Vintage Patterns for Sale

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In my effort to organize I’ve come to the conclusion that having a full dresser drawer of vintage patterns isn’t doing me any good, especially if I can’t use them all.

So I’ve reserved some of my favorites and I’m slowly adding patterns to my Etsy shop for sale. They’re mostly 60s and 70s. I have a bunch of 80s patterns that I’ll probably sell as one big lot seeing as most people don’t get that excited over 80s designs.

Making Bias Tape from Scraps

biastapesAmong my leftover fabric were several scraps under half a yard that seemed unusable. But then I got an idea – bias tape!

Most of the fabrics were so cut up that I couldn’t get a good size square or rectangle to do continuous bias tape so I had to do it the old fashioned way – cutting long strips and sewing the short ends together.

I wrapped three yard lengths around pieces of cut up gift boxes and now they’re for sale at Me & Ewe. I made 20+ bundles and still have tons more fabric I could use.

Historical Costuming – Late 1880s Bustle Dress

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But this is the big project that’s taken up so much of my time.

If when I complete it, this will be my fastest costume make to date. A full outfit from the ground up in less than a month (well, I’m cheating, I already had the chemise and corset) including a gigantic bustle, petticoat, underskirt, overskirt, fully lined bodice and trimmed hat!

I’m already off to a good start. One day I made my lobster tail bustle. The next I made the petticoat to go over it. The third day I tested the fit of my bodice then redrafted the pieces into a new design.

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At this point I’ve cut all the pieces that I can from the fabric I have and I am now waiting on my velvet to arrive for the trim.

Oh, and did I mention that I still have to make a hat!??!?

I keep reminding myself, “It will be finished. It will be beautiful. It will be finished. It will…”

Sewing Indie Month with True Bias: Summer Concert Tank

I have followed and loved Dixie for years now so I was super excited to be paired up with her to create a tutorial for her blog as part of Sewing Indie Month. I already loved the Summer Concert Tee by Dixie. I made it up a couple of years ago in some hand dyed shibori fabric and that top is still in regular rotation in my wardrobe. I’ve always wanted to make a tank top version of this swingy top, so I figured this was the perfect occasion.

To start off you just need to assemble your pattern pieces and cut them out as usual. You will not, however, need the cuff piece.

Starting on the front pattern piece, mark the width that you want for the shoulder of your tank. I decided on 2 inches, knowing that I could make it thinner later on. You will also need to add 1/4″ seam allowance to each side. So I made a mark 2 1/2″ total from the neckline.

Now move down to the underarm and draw a line out from the armpit that is perpindicular to center front for about 5 inches.

Draw another line up from the flat part of the side seam (right before it curves back out for the sleeve) and continue that line up for about 5 inches. The place where the two lines connect will be the new top of your side seam.

Either by freehanding it like I did, or by comparing it to a tank from your wardrobe, curve the underarm point to meet your new shoulder point. Repeat these steps for the back pattern piece.

Here is what your two pattern pieces should look like. Don’t worry too much about it being perfect. Knits are super forgiving.

Sew up your shoulder seams and side seams and try it on. You may choose to thin out the straps or take a bit more out of the side seam at the armpit. Make those changes now.

Finish your neckline and hem according to the instructions.

You are going to finish the armholes in the same manner as the neckline. Measure your front and back armholes and subtract 2-3″ from the length for your binding. Cut out two pieces of binding that are the same width as the neckhole binding but the length that you just calculated. Sew them to your armholes.

That’s it! A fun, swingy tank that is ready for a summer concert or day at the park.

Thanks so much Dixie for having me!

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Big thanks to Kelli from True Bias for this tutorial! I love how Kelli seems to be able to take the simplest garment and make it look effortlessly chic. I’m always inspired by her personal style.

Follow along with Sewing Indie Month 2015 and check out more tutorials like this neat button loop hack of the True Bias Southport Dress from Lisa of Paprika Patterns.

Blank Slate Patterns Oceanside Shorts and Juniper Jersey

Blank Slate Oceanside Shorts

Hey readers! I’ve been slowly working on transferring my blog from Blogger to WordPress and I’ve been facing some struggles along the way, but I’m slowly getting there. Thanks to friends who’ve been sharing tips and tricks with me.

But today I want to show off some projects I’ve been doing for the Blank Slate Sewing Team. The team is a collective of bloggers making and sharing Blank Slate Patterns‘ designs. Blank Slate is made by Melissa of MellySews.com, a friend and fellow Austin-ite, who designs easy to sew womens and kids patterns.

So far I’ve sewn the Oceanside Shorts and the Juniper Jersey (click to see my original posts at Mellysews.com with more pics!).

Let’s start with…

The Pattern: My most recent make are my Oceanside Shorts. This pattern has the option to make pants or shorts. They were quick to sew – no side seams, no zipper, patch pockets. I serged all my seam allowances and tied knots at the ends of my drawstrings.

Blank Slate Oceanside Shorts

The Fabric: The pattern calls for drapey bottom weight material but I took a risk and used a striped cotton shirting which I got for free from a fabric swap. It works pretty well with this design although the thinner fabric does get pretty wrinkly. But the fabric looks like linen and these are a casual style or shorts so I think it works okay.

I used two metal shank buttons from my stash.

Blank Slate Oceanside Shorts

The Changes: My only real change was rolling up the legs about two inches to make cuffs. The pic above is the length of the shorts without rolling.

I didn’t have to do any fitting to these pants which surprised me. They’re pretty well fitted right out of the box. Obviously every body is different but I think the style is loose and casual enough to be forgiving.

The Results: I’m diggin’ these shorts, like, I highly recommend this pattern. I like that the drawstring isn’t just one long length of fabric. It’s two fabric tubes attached to a piece of elastic hidden in the middle. You only see the fabric drawstrings in the front but the elastic makes the waistband more snug in the back. I just wish I had used a better quality elastic. I can tell that it doesn’t have good recovery and it stretches out too much.

If only it was warmer so I could wear my shorts outside! These are going to be in heavy rotation this summer.

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Lace yoke on Juniper Jersey pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Dixie DIY

The Pattern: My first project was the Juniper Jersey. I liked that I could squeeze out the pieces with scraps and I could mix and match fabrics. I cut a size small which fit well.

The Fabric: My scrap yellow fabric is a double-knit? It might be a ponte… at this point I don’t remember.

The white lacy top fabric is some sort of franken-fiber stretchy stuff I bought on a fabric shopping trip to Dallas. I loved the lace effect but I was concerned it wouldn’t hold the weight of the yellow knit. Turns out the lace has a good recovery and it works just fine.

I serged all the seams which was good considering the negative space in the lace would have made it difficult to sew just on a regular machine.

The Changes: In the end I left the sleeve hems raw. At first I tried turning the raw edge under twice and hemming but it the lace created a lumpy mess so I just chopped it off rather than try to unpick my stitches. The fabric doesn’t fray which is convenient.

Back view - Juniper Jersey pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Dixie DIY

The Results: I’ve worn this shirt a bunch of times since making it. If you’ve never sewn a V-neck before then this is a good way to start. With the shoulder yoke it’s like a “cheater” v-neck, super easy to make.

True Bais Hudson Pants #2

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Hey all of you lovelies! Thanks so much for all the comments on my dress. I was on vacation last week so I wasn’t able to keep up with comments as much without phone service.

Speaking of vacation I wore my first pair of Hudsons nearly the entire trip. Comfy *and* warm!

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I made this second pair the day before I left but only wore them a couple times (no cool nature pics with these pants, sorry).

The Goal: I needed more pants for my trip! And since I liked my first pair so much I decided to make a more “fancy” pair.

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The Pattern: True Bias’ Hudson Pant. I cut one size smaller than last time. The fabric I used was about as stretchy as my original version but I wanted a slimmer fit.

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The Fabric: This is a weird waffle-like textured knit from Joann Fabrics. It’s strange because it has a thin, mesh layer on the inside where the waffle indention points are attached. I think the outer layer is cotton and that mesh is poly. I haven’t seen anything like it before but I liked the damask look to the fabric.

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The Changes: I shaved off a little from the inner back thigh pieces. These are more like thick leggings than the “lounge” pants my first version was.
Also, no drawstring and no top stitching on the waist band. I was in a hurry to finish and didn’t bother.
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The Results: Honestly, I don’t often wear printed pants. Justin’s first response was “whoa” but he said he liked them. The lady at the hotel desk said she liked them, too, so I think they’re a win. I really like the fit. I think it makes the fancy style of them look even more sleek. As sleek as you can for knit pants.