PATTERNMAKING SEWING

INTRODUCING THE EMERSON AND OGDEN PATTERNS

July 26, 2016

I am doing something a little different this time around and releasing two patterns at the same time as a sort of outfit. There is the Emerson Crop Pant / Shorts pattern and the Ogden Cami pattern. I love both of them so much and am already wearing them all of the time. I hope you love them too.

First up the Emerson is a pull on pair of pants or shorts with a flattering front waistband and elasticized back waistband for ease and comfort. They both have pleats along the front and pockets. View A is the crop pant which I am pretty obsessed with at the moment. Not only is the most comfortable thing in my wardrobe, but it’s also is super on trend at the moment and fun to wear. Some may argue that it isn’t flattering, but I beg to differ. I look at it like I did the middie skirt became so popular a couple of years ago. I think that wearing a heel or a more fitted shirt really give good balance. If my 5’3″ frame can rock it, so can you.

View B is a short with an approximate 4 inch inseam. I have been wearing these non stop. I love to throw on a tank top or V neck tshirt for everyday wear. The pleats give it lots of room for ease and comfort while still adding some interest. Both View A and View B were sewn up in linen The shorts fabric is from Fancy Tiger Crafts and the pant fabric is from Jo-Anns. But really, any light to medium weight woven fabric works great. I love it in a rayon for a more flowy short or a chambray for everyday shorts.

I am also releasing the Ogden Cami pattern today. This is a simple little blouse that is great on it’s own (especially with the Emersons) or really good to have in your closet for layering under a blazer or open buttonup shirt. It has spaghetti straps, a soft V at both front and back necklines, and a partial facing for a professional finish. It’s a fast make and super comfy. I love wearing mine with some jeans and jewelry for a simple date night outfit that makes me feel modern, but not too done up.

The Ogden Cami is great made up in any lightweight woven fabric. All of my samples are sewn up in silk crepes from Colorado Fabrics. I love sewing with silk crepe and the Ogden is a perfect pattern for silk because it only takes a little yardage. But, if silk isn’t your thing, rayon challis, lightweight linen, or even cotton voile would work really well.

If you would like to buy the Emerson or Ogden patterns you can find them here. Use the code LAUNCHWEEK20 to get 20% off the patterns from now through this Sunday at midnight EST.

DIY SEWING

SHIBORI DYED KIMONO ROBE

July 22, 2016

Allie of Indiesew hosted a little shibori dying get together and I decided to take the opportunity to dye some fabric for a bathrobe that has been on my list forever. I’ve done quite a bit of dying over the years, but always use whatever RIT dye or whatever is found at the local craft store. This was my first time to use actual shibori and it was pretty fun. I loved that I didn’t have to boil it as that is always such a mess. Allie said she just bought this shibori kit from Amazon and it worked great for us.

For fabric I just ordered a bunch of this white linen. I love sewing with linen and wearing it in the summer. It’s breezy and natural and I embrace the wrinkles.  And as far as a bathrobe goes, even better.

I used two techniques when dying the fabric. For the main part of the kimono I knew that I wanted it to be mostly blue so it wouldn’t be see through at all, even when wet. So I used a simple clothespin technique that I found on pinterest. Pretty much I folded it into an accordian and then put clothespins every few inches. Here is a pic on instagram that shows what it looked like prior to dying. I’m pretty obsessed with how it turned out. It kinda reminds me of some African mudcloth that I have. I love that it is geometric and repetitive, but still not perfect.

For the accent pieces I went with a pole wrapping technique like this one although instead of putting it on a pvc pipe I used an old fabric tube from Allie’s basement. I think if I went with a thicker tube (mine was probably only 3 inches in diameter) then there would be less white. I love how this fabric contrasts with the darker and more geometric main fabric. This one resembles waves to me and ended up being ombre because the inner fabric got a lot less dye to it.

For the pattern I used vintage Simplicity 0017 from 1985 that I picked up at the thrift store for 25 cents. It’s perfect. I wanted something that was a true, boxy kimono style like this one. A lot of the robe patterns that I have seen have thinner sleeves resembling more of an oversized mens shirt instead. If you are looking for a similar style, Erin of Sewbon has a free kimono pattern on her site that looks almost identical.

The robe was a breeze to sew up. I think the only change I made was to shorten the sleeves a bit. I’ve already worn it a ton and it will probably end up being one of my most worn sewn items ever. That being said, I want to make another one already. This one ended up a bit heavier than I was planning. The linen is more medium weight than lightweight like I was expecting. Now I want to make one in a bamboo knit for serious comfort and maybe even a silk one to wear in the evenings. I’m a little bit addicted.

I also want to copy Sewbon and Indiesew and dye a set of cotton napkins. Wouldn’t that be such a great holiday gift? Or even a set for yourself for summer bbqs. Hmmm. I think I need to do that soon.

PATTERNMAKING SEWING

SUNDRESSING BOOK TOUR + GIVEAWAY

June 17, 2016

Melissa Mora of Melly Sews just released a book all about sewing up easy sundresses for hotter weather and it’s called Sundressing. The idea for the book is that once you have a well fitting bodice (the book includes basic slopers to work with), you can make subtle changes to create many different dresses from that one simple pattern. You can find more out about her book through her blog here.

There are many tutorials to choose from, for both women and girls, but I immediately knew that I was going to sew up the Sutton Dress (a fun off the shoulder dress) as a trendy outfit for an upcoming beach vacation.

The directions were easy to follow and I was able to cut out my pattern in about 20 minutes. It really is such a forgiving style with all of the ease in the ruffles that I wasn’t worried and didn’t do a muslin, although the fit came out pretty perfect anyway.

I did make a couple of changes. First of all I lengthened the ruffle by a couple of inches. Just a personal preference. I also wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the length. The dress is supposed to be mid calf, but at first I lengthened it to maxi to see what it looked like. It totally overwhelmed me. So I decided to hem it in a nice wide 4″ hem right above the knee. With all of the gathering it just seemed to look a bit better on me to have a bit less fabric.

The fabric is the perfectly lightweight tencil chambray that I bought from Colorado Fabrics recently. Because of the abundance of ruffles and gathering, I was afraid it would end up too sweet looking on me in a print, if that makes sense. I was tempted to make it in black gauze (because I like everything in black) but I think this is a good compromise. The chambray dresses it down a bit so I can wear it with flats and not feel too dressed up for daywear. I have a beach trip coming up and you better believe this is getting worn. If I were going to make any changes to it next time, I might just raise the back of the bodice by an inch or so. As is, the bodice cuts straight across the back at the underarm. It still covers my strapless bra so it’s fine as is, but I think it would be nice to have it a bit higher where the ruffle attaches in the back so it doesn’t pull down at all. Otherwise, the fit and style are spot on for me.

I’ve said it once and I will say it again, this is such a great look for those of us who want to cover up some areas, but still want to be on trend. It’s romantic and sexy and still flatterning on a range of body types. I think everyone needs one of these in their wardrobe this summer, even if it’s just a beach coverup.

I have one copy of the Sundressing book by Melissa Mora to giveaway to one of you. To enter, simply leave a comment below. Commenting will close on Sunday, June 26th and then I will contact the winner. (US entries only, sorry.)

Congrats Melissa on your new book! I’m so excited for you.

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SEWING FOR KIDS

CHARLIE DRESS AND NEW LABELS

June 9, 2016

I recently sewed up a new Charlie Dress for my daughter as the last one is getting short. It’s such a cute pattern with it’s drop waisted simple silhouette and great twirling potential. Such a favorite little girls pattern in my house. Not to mention a very fast sew.

For fabric I used some of Leah Duncan’s new voile fabric for Cloud 9. Her whole collection is so beautiful. I want to buy it all. I love using dark colored voile when sewing up clothing for my children because it has the benefit of being light and airy, but because of it’s darker color it’s still opaque enough that I don’t need to line it.

Just as a heads up, I think that this pattern runs a bit wide in the chest area. It matches with the measurement chart, but if you are one that usually just goes with your child’s normal ready to wear size you might want to rethink that for this dress and compare your measurements to her chart. I think I cut a size 4 in the chest and size 6 in length for my daughter which worked out great.

I also got to use my brand new labels from The Dutch Label Company on this dress and I love them. I already have a ton of labels with my logo on them, so when they offered to let me try out some of their labels I wanted to do something different and more personal. My daughter loves to tell anyone who compliments her clothing that I made it, so I decided to simply write “My Mom Made This” on them.

(You can also see that I used gold bias tape for the inside of this dress because it’s what I had on hand. As pretty as it is, it was a beast to sew with. Frays easily and doesn’t wrap around the curves like regular tape. Seems to me that it’s even more synthetic than the regular.)

I made a set with a heart on them and a set without depending on how sweet the item I sewed is. I also made up some labels for each of my children that said “propery of , their name,  and my number” to put on items such as lunch bags and jackets for school. Already coming in handy. I’m not going to show you these though because they have personal info on them 🙂

I can’t say enough great things about working with Dutch Label Company. Their site is super slick, making it easy to see exactly what you are ordering. Also, you can do small runs instead of the 300 I had to order from a different company. If you are like me and your logo changed about 10 times in the first 3 years of your company, it’s nice to not commit to so many at once. I also appreciated the fast turn around. Because they are made in the US you will have your labels in hand within a week or two.

For any of you who want to give them a try, they are giving my readers 15% off for the next 30 days with the code “truebias” at checkout. Enjoy!

DIY TUTORIALS

SHIBORI TUTORIAL

May 6, 2016

I am so obsessed with shibori right now. Just another layer of being creative and making my own clothing. I recently tried a new technique for the Mini Colfax Dress above and photographed along the way so that I could show you.

As for materials, I used a linen rayon blend from JoAnn fabrics. It’s on the lighter weight side, and would be slightly see through in white, but the added dye makes it perfect for everyday wear.

For dye I just used RIT dye in navy. I also recently bought some black to try and I am also intrigued by the cobalt. The navy tends to lean a little purple in the lighter areas so be warned but I like how dark it gets.

I did two different shibori techniques, since the Mini Colfax view B calls for contrasting fabrics. For this first one you are going to need a marking tool (such as chalk or a disappearing marker), a ruler, thick string such as embroidery thread or yarn, and a bunch of little round objects. I used beads that I found in my daughters art bin, but you could also use pennies or marbles or anything else that will hold it’s shape in the water.

First, lay your fabric out and mark a repeating pattern for every place you want to tie up a bead. How close they are is completely up to you, but I just did a 4 x 4 inch grid to keep it simple. Use your marker to mark every spot.

Now you are going to take a bead (or whatever you are using) and place it on a dot.

Now take a piece of string (about 8 inches long) and wrap it tightly around the end of the bead. Tye in a tight knot so it doesn’t come undone.

Repeat for every dot. This is going to take longer than you think, so plan on doing the part when you are watching a movie at night. It’s not hard, just time consuming.

Now it’s ready to dye. Let me show you the other technique.

This one is super simple and will create a boho stripe look. You are just going to need your fabric and a bunch of rubberbands.

First you need to fold your fabric. You are going to do this accordian style. So take one end and fold it at about 1 inch and then fold back the other way at another inch. Just like the fans you would make out of paper as a kid.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, just do your best. If you have a ton of fabric it might be easier to rip your fabric into pieces and do it in chunks. I was doing about a yard here which was fine. Continue until the whole thing is folded.

Once it’s folded, use some weights or something to keep it from coming undone. At one end, wrap the whole thing with a rubberband several times so that it’s pretty tight at about 1 inch in. Continue to do this every inch. You can of coarse do whatever distance you want. Each rubberband will create a wobbly white stripe once dyed.

Continue for the entire length of fabric.

Once all of the rubberbands are on you are ready to dye both of your fabrics. There are lots of different methods for dying and these will be included on your dye packaging so I won’t go into the details, but I like the stove method as you can see in the pic below.

Once everything is done make sure to clip the string and and rubberbands. Be super careful when doing so to make sure that you don’t clip your fabric as well and create a hole. Rinse the fabric thoroughly and wash it separately from your other clothing the first few times to prevent any bleeding.

I have to admit that I am obsessed with the way that these turned out. Really quite simple to do too. I have plans to do some more for me and some pillowcovers shortly.

If you want to see some other shibori tutorials that I have done in the past, check them out here and here.