Easter Parade {Dress #1}

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For the first time in several years, I made all three Easter dresses for myself and my girls! We are planning a photo shoot with theirs on Saturday, but since I had mine on, having just finished the last touches, Natalie took some pictures for me.

I actually had not intended to make a new dress, I was going to wear another one I made several months ago, but when this fabric and pattern turned up at just the right time, I finished the girls’ on time and decided to start and see how far I could get!

I used New Look 6600 I am in LOVE with this wrap dress!

New Look Pattern 6600

This is the first time I have successfully made a wrapped garment. I only recently started making muslins of everything and it has been soooo good for me to slow down and make alterations to the pattern so that I don’t waste good fabric on things that don’t turn out!

Here is what the bodice front pattern piece looked like after I’d made my alterations.

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This dress would NOT have worked out if I had just cut into my fabric without making a practice dress first and I would have been so sad because I love the fabric so much and wouldn’t have been able to obtain more.

A few changes I made: I took a wedge out of that front line to fix some gaping that was happening. A wrap dress should fit close against the body in that front V area, so that it doesn’t gape open. Then for modesty, I changed the line of the front to be higher and give me more coverage. This is a church dress, after all.

Then, since I had altered the shape, I didn’t want to draft a new facing. I also took a chunk out of the top of the armhole to cut in more on my shoulders, and the pattern includes sleeve facings also. Instead of recreating all those facings, I just lined the bodice, which turned out beautifully. With my French seams on the skirt, all my raw edges are hidden and it just feels luxurious.

Lastly, I included a hand sewn snap in the front where the V comes together. It will never show and it will just hold the bodice where it needs to be so I don’t have to worry about it.

New Look 6600 Wrap Dress

What I did NOT change is the length! I love the length of this dress and that we’re moving past the floor length in fashion these days.

It’s only supposed to be 58 degrees and rainy on Easter, so I’ll wear my recently made linen jacket over it. I’ll be talking about this jacket in an upcoming post, so stay tuned! I expect to get a lot of wear out of this piece.

New Look 6600 dress and New Look jacket

A few more notes. I got this beautiful rayon fabric at Colorado Fabrics. If you’re even in the Denver area, this is a must-go. I got many beautiful rayons that day because I just cannot find them where I live.

Here are some similar floral rayons on Amazon that would be beautiful for this pattern:

Also! If you haven’t seen Easter Parade and you’re into old movies, you should for sure put it on your to-watch list :) It’s one of Natalie’s favorites!

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Rayon Linen Joggers

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

I don’t often have much luck at my local JoAnn store, but I recently hit the jackpot with one fabric on super clearance. It’s a black rayon linen and the drape is SO good. It’s super soft too. It had a clearance sticker, but the price wasn’t clear. Turns out it was 70% off. I bought the rest of the bolt, which got me an additional discount, so I ended up getting over 5 yards for the price of ONE yard!

I’ve made two things from it so far, the first being a pair of jogger style pants. It’s really hard to photograph black pants and have the details show, I’m sorry.

Hudson pants sewing pattern

I used the Hudson Pants Pattern by True Bias, but since it’s a pattern for knits and I’ve only made it out of knits, I made a mock-up with muslin first. I made adjustments to get the fit perfect and am glad I did that! I never used to make muslins, but lately I almost always do. I’m not sure what’s changed, but it’s probably a combination of things: the price of good fabric has gone up, my body is more difficult to fit as I age, I have less time to waste these days (haha).

I rounded up a few rayon linen choices on Amazon for you. Did you know you can shop Fabric.com on Amazon? All the same fabrics and you can use your amazon payment methods, so easy. I haven’t used these specific fabrics, but I chose trusted brands with good reviews! I love the striped one and could use some pink pants in my life too.

As for washing these fabrics, of course the bolt says to hand wash and line dry. I asked my mom, the linen expert, though and she said prewash on hot and dry, and do that a few times and you shouldn’t have a problem. That’s what I did and she was right, I’ve washed these pants several times and they haven’t shrunk any more. Which is good, because I do NOT have time for hand washing.

I hope to show you the classic dress I just made out the same fabric very soon! I have enough fabric to make one more project. Any ideas?

Cheers!

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Frugal sewing: dance skirts

I’ll admit, I lost my blogging mojo for a little while. I was still sewing! But I didn’t feel like sharing. Instead of apologizing and explaining, I’ll just jump back in here as if nothing happened and show you something I recently sewed, sound good?

I have two daughters who dance and since my other hobby is photography, we really love taking dance photos together. It’s sort of carried us through these ridiculously long winter months. They were wanting some flowy skirts to take photos in, but I didn’t really want to spend the money on yardage, so I dug through my drawer instead and found the costume I wore in a recital in Hawaii when I took an adult ballet class. I don’t have a before photo of it, but the skirt portion had both a lace overlay and a lining. I cut both layers off the bodice and made them into skirts!

Here are a couple shots we took:

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These are very easy to make and a very frugal way to turn dresses into skirts! I bought a package of wide black elastic and zig-zagged the raw edge onto it. If you’re unsure how to do this, here’s how:

  1. Cut the elastic to fit the waist

  2. Lap the ends of the elastic and zig-zig it together so it’s a circle.

  3. Mark the elastic in fourths and do the same with the skirt waist opening

  4. The skirt opening will be larger than your elastic. Pin the skirt to your elastic, matching your marks.

  5. Using a zig zag stitch, sew the skirt onto the elastic, about a half an inch from the bottom of the elastic (see photo below), stretching the elastic to fit. This edge will be on the inside. The outside will look nice and clean.

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This technique is also useful if you have girls whose dresses get too small or too short. Simply cut off the skirt and attach elastic and give it new life as a skirt!

I also went to the thrift store that same day to look for some frugal dance skirts and found this amazing Free People (ahem, expensive) skirt! I paid $5. I also thrifted this purple King size sheet to use as a backdrop. This is probably my favorite shot of the day.

dance photography

I’ve sewn some pretty great pieces lately for myself. Hopefully I can take some photos of those soon and show you!

Cheers :)

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Weekday Sewing & Why I Love Jalie Patterns!

I've been parenting solo for about three weeks and have about the same left to go. My mother-in-law visited us this past week, which was an awesome break up of the time Casey's gone. It was nice to have some adult company and we even took a break from school and homeschool co op while she was here, which was also nice. My sewing machine was happy to see me back yesterday, though! 

I was being a little short on patience with my kids and knew I was craving time alone in my own head and that it would help to put my ear buds in and sew and nicely ask them to not ask any questions of me unless someone was dying, for at least two hours. It worked, I felt a ton better after that and have this AWESOME shirt to show for it! 

Jalie hooded tee

Jalie hooded tee

I had the girls snap some pics for me during Kelby's golf lesson today. Sorry to my winter friends who hate me for my palm trees. 

The pattern is the Jalie hooded tunics and tees. As usual with Jalie patterns, I absolutely love this and will get a ton of use out of it! I bought the pdf and taped. I don't mind the taping process, I think it's kinda fun. The fabric is an amazing French terry from Girl Charlee. After making a dress and a skirt from French Terry recently (which I just realized I haven't blogged about!), I had to get my hands on some more French terry and I really loved this print. It's actually darker gray than it looks in these photos, more on the charcoal side.

Jalie hooded tee

Jalie hooded tee

Jalie hooded tee

Jalie hooded tee

This is my second completed project that is on my  2017 Make Nine to-sew list! I do like having that list made, because when I'm looking at what to sew next, it's a good reminder that there are things I really need in my wardrobe and patterns I've been wanting to try. 

Let me just rave about Jalie's sizing real quick! You cannot beat the accuracy, my measurements fell right into one size AND it's the size that corresponds to my ready to wear size according to their chart! And this top fits me absolutely perfectly. ALSO, their pattern include the sizing for children up to adult, so I can use the same pattern to make my girls some tops without having to purchase another pattern in their size. Awesome. 

I have plans for another version of this, but long sleeved. Maybe out of this sweatshirt fleece? I also think the tunic length will be cool in colder climates after we move, with leggings!

Can't wait! Before I go, Layla snapped this photo of a cardinal at golf today! So pretty. 

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Archer Shirt and thoughts on Indie Patterns

I don't buy indie sewing patterns very often, not on principle, but mostly because I tend towards getting more for my money and the Big 4 pattern companies are so, so cheap. However, my wardrobe has become quite small, as I gravitate towards items that are lasting, timeless and that I will wear over and over. Something has shifted in my style and my closet and I have less these days, but wear what I have more often. And I love it ALL. I don't keep things I don't love (I let the kids cut them up, ha!) 

Anyway, I committed to the 2017 Make Nine challenge and purposefully chose nine indie patterns that are basics and hopefully that I can sew over and over again. I started with the Grainline Archer. Before I launch into my thoughts on the pattern (I had issues!), here is my end result, which I really do love. 

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I've had this great plaid fabric for over a year, knowing I wanted to make a long sleeved button down, but not really needing one here in Hawaii. Now that we're moving back to the mainland soon, I thought it was a perfect time to make it happen. I also love that I can use this here in place of a cardigan or sweater (because, you know humid states and their air conditioning). 

You can read my entire review of this on pattern review, but let me just tell you that I had some issues. First, the sizing chart is not accurate. My measurements fell right into the size 10, but I ended up taking a full inch out of the shoulders AND a full inch out of both side/sleeve seams! It was huge. Also, the instructions on this pattern are severely lacking. I had to look up the sewalong on the Grainline blog to figure out the placket application, only to find out it's the same application I've always used with other button down patterns, just horribly explained. The instructions have very few pictures and the wording is just confusing. I have made many button down shirts, but if I hadn't, or if I were a beginner, these instructions would have been seriously frustrating. I didn't even use the instructions after that, I just did it how I know to do it and it looks great. But somehow I doubt they got better. I'm not sure why no one is talking about these poorly written instructions. 

So, my question for you is: Do you think we give indie designers more of a pass because they have faces and are real people who might see what we have to say and be hurt? What are you thoughts on this? I feel bad even asking this and posting these semi-negative points, so I think I've answered my own question. 

That said, in the end, now that I have the fit right, I will make more.  I already have another one planned. But first, I have eight other patterns I'm committed to making this year! Here is my Make Nine list:

  1. The Kelly Anorak Jacket. Moving to Utah will mean I really need to beef up my outerwear collection and I really love this pattern! I intend to hunt for the perfect fabric soon. 
  2. Style Arc Rae Tunic. Looking at this again, I think it might get replaced. Haha. Not sure what I was thinking that day.
  3. Style Arc Josie Hoodie. I'm seeing this in a French Terry! 
  4. Wonder Unders. I need some good slips in my life and this pattern is versatile so I think I'll get a lot of mileage out of it. Looking for a good silk and a silk jersey for slips! 
  5. Archer Shirt. Check! 
  6. Morris Blazer
  7. Knotmaste yoga set. Love those pants! 
  8. Jalie Hooded Tunic. I've had great luck with Jalie Patterns. I'd do this in a French Terry.
  9. Sew Over It Heather Dress. This dress will fit my lifestyle nicely, I think. I enjoy her Youtube channel and I'm eager to try one of her patterns. 

You can find many, many other lists like this by searching the #2017MakeNine hashtag on Instagram! It's fun to take on a challenge like this. I don't usually plan my sewing, but now that sewing is also my business in many ways, I'm finding it's neccessary to schedule in my personal projects, which are really what I love sewing the most! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

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A Christmas Day Dress for Me! Butterick 5706

For at least four years in a row, I have worn the same black lace top to Christmas service, so since I had the time this year, I decided to make myself a new dress! I pulled out a pretty black lace that my mom gave me and a pretty lining color that another friend gave me (thank you, Megan!) and got busy making Butterick 5706

Butterick 5706

Butterick 5706

I spent extra time on the fit and I tried a hand picked zipper for the first time. I am the worst at zipper application! I do better with invisible zippers, but this dress had too much bulk for that and since there were stripes involved in the lace, I hand picked it and it turned out great. My best zipper ever! Here is a good tutorial for the hand picked zipper. 

Butterick 5706

Butterick 5706

I think I achieved a nice fit and I felt great in at church on Christmas Day! I'm not sure how much I'll be able to wear it because things are so casual here, even at church, but I'm still glad I took the time to make something nice and it's good to have something sophisticated like this in my wardrobe. One of my Instagram friends suggested that this will work great in colder weather with tights and boots and a cardigan when we move from Hawaii, which happens to be in six months, when the Army life will be taking us to the Salt Lake City area! Any tips from Utah dwellers on the area? 

Do you find it worthwhile to take the time to sew nice things that you may not get a lot of chances to wear? 

Props to my photographer Layla and our furry assistant. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing :) 

 

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Hidden Gem, McCall's 7472

I know I'm not the only seamstress out there who feels like it's Christmas every time new patterns are released as the seasons change, right? I remember last year I hardly bought any from the Fall lines, just because I live in Hawaii and didn't see much that would work for my weather, but this year, I bought several when they went on sale! 

A hidden gem in the new McCall's line was 7472, which I would have just glanced right over and probably did several times, until I noticed view B! 

I got so excited about a short sleeved button down with raglan sleeves! I've seen a few around in ready to wear and have been hoping to find a pattern similar. Here is my first version:

I'm really liking this top a lot, I've already worn it a couple of times. It's fitted, but loose, if that's even possible, and the lightweight cotton voile makes it that much more dreamy in my tropical climate.

The only adjustment I made was to sew the side slits closed about another inch. Didn't want to show any stretch marks, I mean skin, ha! I think next time I'll take the sides in a little too and possibly shorten by one inch. But I'm gonna leave this one alone, it's just so cool! It's been hot and muggy here, can you tell by how often I'm mentioning the coolness of this shirt? 

Incidentally, I made this skirt too, it's a favorite, I've gotten lots of wear out of it. 

I've already planned another version of this pattern out of a dark gray rayon with yellow lace pockets! Can't wait. 

Cheers :)

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I entered the Pattern Review Sewing Bee!

Patternreview.com is having their own version of the Great British Sewing Bee again this year (if you haven't heard of the Great British Sewing Bee, run, don't walk, to YouTube and binge watch, you will love it!) I didn't enter last year because I didn't feel like I had time to participate, but this year when the first challenge (shorts or capris with a closure) was announced, I knew I could fit that in. It doesn't hurt that I can always use more shorts living here AND that I wanted the chance to perfect a shorts pattern. 

Here is what I entered into round one:

I used the Chi-Town Chinos pattern by Alina Design Co. I love supporting a fellow military spouse and that is made super easy when she produces such a stellar pattern! For reals, I love this pattern. 

I don't have a lot of fabric options at my local store here, but I went in hopeful that I'd find something. I didn't want to use denim for this pair, but I wasn't liking any of the cotton twill colors. I settled on this linen. In the store, I thought it was black. In the car, I decided it was more of a charcoal. Once I made the shorts, I realized it's brown. But when I went outside to photograph them, it looks almost purple/brown. Ha! It's magical. 

Alina's instructions for the zipper fly are on point! I found this vintage button in my big button bin and it's perfect. 

Pattern Review will announce who gets to move on to the next round on the 13th. Fingers crossed! But, even if I don't make it, I have a great pair of shorts! 

Cheers and happy sewing :)

Sewing Bee 2016 - Round 1
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McCall's 7441

Every now and then I break out of my style mold and try a new shape. This was one of those experiments and I'm not positive I love it. 

From the front I like it. I like the pockets and I used the best, softest, prettiest color of fabric. I wish the front were longer, but it'll do. 

It's the crazy drape I'm not sure I'm behind, though! 

In this photo it's fine. The problem is that the part the makes the drape actually forms a point. And the point isn't anchored to anything so when I stand up, or have been moving around a lot, I find myself reaching inside the back of the sweater and pulling that point back in where it belongs so it's not sticking out and looking weird, lol! 

See, I think in this next photo, it's starting to look more awkward:

The good news is, I think I can alter it to work. It's a very oddly shaped pattern piece, but that sorta makes it easy to fix this by simply making that point smaller. I'm gonna try it and see what happens. 

I was chatting with my friend the other day after salvaging a shirt I was making that old Nikki would have tossed rather than rip the collar out of to start over, and I realized how much living where fabric is not so accessible and not so cheap has really challenged me to make things work and alter them and take my time on them until I love them. 

Which brings me to something I AM loving! I had made a dress over a year ago, but I hadn't perfected my technique of using a top pattern and extending it into a dress. This resulted in a dress that wasn't very comfortable to sit down in, ha! But the fabric was so great, I loved it, and the fit was perfect on the top! So I kept it in my stash thinking I'd cut it up someday. I pulled it out and cut it into a top with a shirt tail hem (my favorite) and it's getting so much wear now, I just love it. 

Successful salvaging of projects gives me hope for the crazy-drape cardigan. Any suggestions would be quite helpful! 

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Weekend Sewing Report: Jalie Raglan Dress

I made a dress over the weekend and I am so excited about how it turned out! I bought these two fabrics, one a woven rayon and one a soft stretch knit at two different places, but when I realized they made such a great match, I wanted to find a dress pattern for wovens with raglan sleeves. Is that so much to ask?? Apparently so, because I could not find what I was looking for. 

It hit me that I had this amazing Jalie pattern (Jalie 3245) that I've made several times and love and I knew that I could hack it into the dress I was wanting. It turned out amazing! 

Because this pattern was made for knits and my fabric is woven, I made some adjustments when cutting to account for the lack of stretch and also to create more of a swing style. My method isn't super sophisticated, but it works. Basically, I pivot the pieces out from the fold so it gradually widens the dress all the way down. That's it. 

I wore this dress yesterday to church and to teach a sewing class and felt pretty darn fab all day! It's so comfortable and I'm very proud of how my neckline turned out, I think it looks pretty great if I may say so myself. This Jalie pattern is actually how I landed on my favorite method of applying knit neckbands a few years ago and it's the only method I ever use now. 

And these pockets! These are part of the pattern and I went ahead and cut them out, thinking I probably wouldn't use them. But I pinned them on and asked Natalie her opinion and we both decided they sort of make the dress! 

It's pretty unusual for me to make or wear anything with sleeves these days, but as we only have about nine months left in Hawaii, and chances are we'll move somewhere with some degree of weather variation next, I'm starting to think ahead to that just a little bit. Although, when I'm stuck in traffic or have to turn around and go home because I can't find a parking spot some place, I start thinking ahead more than just a little bit. Ha! 

The back fits nicely too. We tried to take outside pictures, but the wind (and my hair) was not cooperating. Casey is so patient to take photos for me. Last time I had my nine-year-old do it, the grass behind me was in perfect focus while I was a blur in every photo. 

Aw :) 

I have enough of this beautiful lace left to make some other small things or parts of things. I love the color and am glad I snatched it up even before I had plans for it! 

Cheers :) 

Nikki

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Weekend Sewing Report: Vogue 9109

I have made a top from this pattern and love it and wear it all the time. What I love most about it is the fit of the neckline and arms, so I knew I wanted to try to modify it into a dress someday. That day was yesterday! 

Vogue 9109

Vogue 9109

I slashed and spread the pattern pieces at the waist in order to create more of a tent dress shape on the bottom and then added length. Thankfully this worked beautifully, because I don't often take the time for muslins, ha! 

Vogue 9109

Vogue 9109

When I got to the hemming stage, I wanted to do something a little different and thought the slight high-lo would look cute. I feel like, with a semi-shapeless dress, making it too long just overwhelms me and looks frumpy. So I wanted it short enough not to do that, but also I wanted length enough in the back not to have to be sooo careful when I bend down. I think I covered my bases and it looks great! 

This is a keeper pattern for me, even though it's in several pieces now, haha. 

Vogue 9109

Vogue 9109

I hope to finish a few more projects this week before my next round of sewing camps starts. Until then, Happy Independence Day, America! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing :)

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Weekend Sewing: Kwik Sew 4169

Even though I spent all week teaching kiddos to sew, somehow I still wanted to sew for fun on my "off time" (ha, off time, as if). My wardrobe is pretty pared down these days. I really only keep things I truly love and wear. Plus, style is pretty casual where I live. I noticed when getting ready for church last week that a few new dresses were needed, but I want dresses that are casual enough to work for the everyday.

Kwik Sew 4169 paired with a perfect-weight knit I got from Fabric.com recently resulted in my perfect dress! I love it! 

Kwik Sew 4169

Kwik Sew 4169

When you sew for yourself, you can learn to fix all the little fitting quirks that irritate you about ready to wear. For example, I make a swayback adjustment on everything, a short waist adjustment on many things and often take front armhole darts too. I do these simple things so often that they don't even take me any extra time! I think this is one of the best fitting things I've ever made and it's so comfortable! 

Kwik Sew 4169

Kwik Sew 4169

Kwik Sew 4169

Kwik Sew 4169

Thanks to my 9 year old for taking my photos for me, she did a good job. 

I also worked on a chambray sleeveless button down shirt this week! I just need to buy buttons for it. It turned out great and I think it will be super versatile! 

But for now, we're on to the next sewing camp!! Can't wait!

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

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