TESSUTI MANDY BOAT TEES

Well, I am pretty sure that I just found my go to pattern for the fall.  I made up two mandy boat tees from Tessuti Fabric’s pattern line and I am in love.

There are so many things going for this pattern.  It’s a very fast sew – I would guess an hour at the most.  It’s just that perfect on trend silhouette that looks great with skinnies and boots and still hides my muffin top.  And to top it all off it’s free!  I’ve tried Grainline’s hemlock tee and it’s very similar.  I love them both.  If you are looking for something in this drop shoulder tee style you should take a look at both of them and see which one you prefer.

I made this striped one exactly as the pattern suggests with no alterations except shortening it all the way around by about 2 inches and it was pretty close right off the bat.  It’s a one size fits all type of top, which I think would work on most people.  The only caution I would say is that the sleeve width fit me perfectly as is and they are somewhat fitted.  I am a 6/8 ready to wear so if you are much smaller or larger than that then I would suggest sizing the sleeves a bit.  I love it and it’s been on constant rotation since I made it.  The fabric is from Wanderlust fabrics.

I made a few changes on the black one (fabric also from Wanderlust) and I think I have the perfect fit now.  I shortened the front by 2 inches and left the back long creating a dipped hem.  I also shortened the sleeves by a couple of inches.

I have a sweater knit ready to try with this pattern next which I think will be cool.  Hooray for super wearable sewing projects.  Have you guys tried this one?  If not it gets two thumbs up from me.

SEWTIONARY BLOG TOUR

I have been following Tasia from Sewaholic for a few years.  I remember watching her take the brave step towards full time patternmaking.  There were not a lot of indie patternmakers at the time so I am sure that it was pretty scary.  I was in awe.  She has certainly established herself as a talented designer and patternmaker and as a great business woman.  Can you tell that I look up to her?

And now she has gone and done another cool thing, written a book, and it’s called the Sewtionary.  I am always excited to see other sewists succeed and turn their love for sewing into a real business.  The home sewing world has grown so much in the last few years and I think a lot of this can be attributed to those like Tasia who have taken their craft seriously and therefore have reached a wider audience. I for one am so excited to support them as they do so.

The book jacket describes it as :

“From “applique” to “zippers” and everything in between!

Tasia St. Germaine of Sewaholic shares 101 of the most essential sewing terms and techniques. Presented in an easy-to-use format, this alphabetical reference gives more than just definitions: photographed step-by-step tutorials will guide you through each technique, showing you in detail how to apply the technique to your own projects. No matter what stage you’re on in your sewing journey, The Sewtionary is here to help.”

 I would describe it as a book that I will refer to over and over again.  It’s full of tutorials from basic to more advances techniques with colored photographs for each step.  I went through the book and chose one of the tutorials that I wanted to try for the tour.  If you saw Lladybird’s post yesterday you will notice that we had the exact same idea.  Oh well, it was too late to make something new. Apparently we both had the same thing missing from our sewing studio.  (You should check hers out if you havn’t already.  She even includes a step by step tutorial because she is cool and generous like that.)

So yes, in the Sewtionary Tasia teaches us how to make a tailors ham and seam roll.  I honestly can’t believe that I have gone this long without them.  Making them was a lot easier than I ever imagined.  The hardest part was finding the sawdust.  You won’t believe how hard it is to describe why you need a grocery bag full of sawdust to the local mom and pop lumberyard.  And then, just for fun, try to describe what a tailors ham is.  In the end I had my husband bring some back from a trip he was on where he saw my family who is renovating their house.

Tasia recommends cotton for the top and wool for the bottom of your ham and roll.  The wool is from my stash.  I have a few yards of it that I inherited from my mother.  It’s really beautiful I just am still figuring out what to make with it.  The cotton is from April Rhodes Arizona line for Art Gallery fabrics.  I’m pretty stoked about how they turned out.  Much more chic than the average pressing tools in my opinion.  A couple extra tips from me after making them – Use a funnel to get the sawdust into the ham/roll, use a wooden spoon to press the sawdust into the corners, and be ready to make a huge mess.  A lint roller came in very handy to clean up the pressing tools and myself afterwards.

If you want to check out the rest of the fun blogs on the tour and what they have to say about the Sewtionary check out the links below.  And if you want your own copy of the Sewtionary you can buy one here.

 

FLORAL SILK HUDSONS

I checked another one off from my Fall Sewing List today.  This time it’s another pair of Hudson pants using my tutorial for making them up in a woven fabric instead of a knit.  And I must say I am in love with them.

The fabric is silk crepe de chine from Chic in NYC.  It has a beautiful large scale floral print that my have the tendancy to look a little old fashioned, but made up in this modern silhouette really fits the bill.

I used my Hudson pant pattern to sew these along with my woven variation tutorial.  The only difference is that I went up 3 sizes this time instead of 2.  I still think that 2 would have been fine, but I’ve gained a bit of weight lately and was scared of them being too tight.

I have to admit that there is something about this outfit that gives me some nostalgia to my grandma.  I’m pretty sure she has an outfit very similar to this.  Good thing she is a very hip grandma :)

SENNA TOTE

One of the things on my “to sew” list for fall was a large bag / tote.  I have had this fabric for over two years now, hoarding it for the perfect project, and finally decided it was time.  I have fallen in love with the look of the Nena and Co. bags and wanted to make something that had a similar feel.  My bag really doesn’t look anything like theirs, but it was a good jumping off point.

The main fabric is a linen from Graylines Linen in the NYC garment district.  It isn’t super sturdy so I had to fuse it to interfacing.  I lined it with some left over red twill from my stash.  The leather came from on Peggy Sue Also on etsy.  I’ve bought scraps from them before to make leather moccs for my kids, but this was my first time to ever buy a hide.  The quality was great, and so was the service.  I always get my leather within a couple of days.  The only downside I can say is that the leather is dyed in a way that you don’t see the imperfections of the leather.  I’m hoping that it will break in a bit and get better with age, but for now the leather almost looks faux.

The pattern is the Senna Tote as part of the Willow and Co. pattern collective.  I thought the pattern was great.  Any problems that I had were due to the fact that I made a ton of “design” changes which made my life harder than it had to be.  The instructions and diagrams were really professional and easy to follow.  I do recommend making sure that you have a really thick needle because you do sew through a lot of layers at once.  I could see some less sturdy machines having a hard time handling it.

I obviously made a lot of changes.  The main bag pieces and lining are made according to the pattern instructions.  For the outside of the bag I changed the pocket so that it does not extend all of the way to the side seams.  I also created the large v notch just for a visual effect.  For the base, instead of having the leather wrap around the corners I just had it wrap around the middle of the bag and tuck inside of the pocket.  The reason for this is that I wanted to avoid having to create a seam with the leather.  Without an industrial machine I find it really hard to made a corner look professional with leather.

In the end I am just OK with the way this turned out.  I like it and I plan on using it a lot.  I just think it looks a little homemade and I am frustrated after using some of my favorite fabric and buying a hide which was not cheap.  I should mention again that this is not because of the pattern, but because I had a hard time sewing the leather.  In the end maybe I should have just bought a Nena and Co. bag.  Oh well, the process is half the fun.

FALL PLANS

I’ve been busy working on my next pattern which should be out by the end of September. More on that soon. Now that I am making patterns I have found that it is easy to get wrapped up in it and neglect my blog.  I am trying really hard not to do that.  I love making things for myself and trying new patterns and I love my blog.  So, to keep myself on track I decided to put together a little list of the things that I want to make this fall.

black ponte dress | chunky necklace | large print pencil skirt | large bag | woven pants

 

1 – Large Print Pencil Skirt – Pencil skirts have always been one of my favorite silhouettes.  I think that they are flattering on pretty much every body type.  I am on the lookout for the perfect print though.  I want fabric that is large scale and bold.  Considering the Charlotte or Jenny pattern.

 

2 – Woven Hudson Pants – I love my other pair so much that I want to make up another pair in a nicer fabric.  Maybe even silk.  They really are the perfect fall pant and are easy to dress up with a wedge or clog or down with sandals.  I just need more of these in my life.

 

3 – Large Bag – I have found that I really could use another bag in my life.  I fell in love with these Nena and Co. bags and I have this tribal linen fabric that I have been hoarding forever that should fit the bill.  I am thinking about pairing it with either some leather or waxed canvas (anyone have some favorite sources).  I want something a little less purse and a little more tote bag so that I can strap it to the back of my stroller when we go to the park.  Still deciding on the pattern to use, but thinking about the poolside tote, or the senna tote although I am open to suggestions.

 

4 – Black Ponte Dress – Somehow I have lasted this long without having a LBD in my wardrobe.  I’ve been hanging onto this Cynthia Rowley pattern for awhile meaning to make it and I think it’s finally time.  Nothing more flattering and I know that it will get tons of wear.

 

5 – Large Bead Necklace – OK, not sewing, but DIY for sure.  Every time I see Sophie of Ada Spragg wearing her chunky bead necklaces I want one of my own.  I have found a few tutorials to make them myself and I am crossing my fingers that they work out.

 

How about you guys.  Thinking about fall sewing yet?  Any must sew items?

RED LINEN DRESS FOR MY TODDLER

I’ve expressed my love for linen before.  I’m not sure what I like the best – the fact that it is natural fibers against the skin, washes well, is socially acceptable to wear when it’s wrinkled?  All of these are big thumbs up in my book especially when I am sewing for my kids.  So when fabric-store.com contacted me to try out some of their linen fabric I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to sew up a dress that I’ve been envisioning for my daughter.

The inspiration for this dress comes from this adorable dress.  I love the simple lines and bright fabric.  It feels modern while still being very kid appropriate.  And as you know my daughter will only wear dresses right now so this was an easy choice.

The fabric is fabric-store.com’s light weight IL020 Tomato Puree.  It’s a really pretty primary red with maybe a hint of blue undertone.  I don’t see the color still in stock, but they have some really beautiful colors and a few prints.  I’ve got my eye on this, this and this.  My daughter decided last week that red is her new favorite color because it looks like pink.  I know, that doesn’t make sense to me either, but I will take it.  Red it is.  I really like the feel of this fabric.  It breaths well and washed beautifully.  When it first arrived it felt starched so I was a little worried, but after one wash it was soft and fluid.  As expected it’s a smidge see through so I lined the main part of the dress with some brown cotton lawn from my stash.

For the base of the dress I used burda 6/2010 #147.  This served as the bodice shape and then I extended it into an A line dress that hit a bit above the knee.  Instead of buttons I left a 6 inch opening in the back with a small loop and button at the very top.  I thought that it fit the style of this dress a bit more than a row of buttons.

The ruffle is about 7 inches long in the front and about 9 in the back so that it cascades a bit.  I think that it ended up much prettier in the back actually because that is where most of the extra fabric falls too.  If I were to make it again I would draft the ruffle differently so that there would be more volume to the ruffle in the front.  Oh well.  Live and learn.

 * The fabric for this project was provided to me for free from fabric-store.com.  But, as always, the opinions in this post are mine alone.

FOUR TODDLER KNIT DRESSES

My daughter finally reached that stage a few months back where she wants control of her wardrobe.  For her that means only dresses.  No pants, shorts, rompers or even skirts if she has anything to do with it.  Only dresses.  I am trying to be cool about it all. But pretty much that means that she won’t wear anything that I have ever made for her.  So in a stash busting escapade I made her up four quick knit dresses inspired by thief and bandit.

I can’t remember where I got the first fabric, but it’s a 4 way stretch knit that seems to have to some rayon in it.  It’s probably my favorite of the 4 just because it’s more classic.  The second one is made up in some fabric from Art Gallery’s Arizona line by April Rhodes.  I really liked working with this knit.  It is sturdier and has better recovery than the others.

I love that these dresses took about an hour to make, were mostly made up on my serger, and are comfy enough that she can wear them to the park.  She has pretty much just been rotating these dresses every four days.

The top two were both sewn up in some cheap knits from fabric.com.  The fabric is not the nicest and is already pilling, but the pattern is busy enough that it’s hard to notice.  The left one has some pretty unfortunate pattern placement on the bodice that I still need to remedy with a pocket on one side or something.  Oops.

For the pattern I just used an h & m dress that we had, but I think that the soleil dress from selvage designs is a pretty perfect match if you wanted to make your own.  To keep it simple and quick I didn’t bind the edges or anything, I just turned them under a 1/4″ and topstitched with my double needle.  Since I knew these would mostly be park dresses I didn’t worry about making them perfect.  I also doubled the fabric for the front bodice pieces for each dress for a little extra coverage since some of the fabric was pretty thin.

So that’s it.  Sometimes it’s nice to sew up some easy and practical clothes that I know will get tons of wear.

TODDLER SPAGHETTI STRAP DRESS

I’ve been in major stash busting mode this week (more of that to come) and so I decided to finally make up this sweet little dress for my daughter using Burdastyle 6/2010 #147.  This was kinda a trial run for a different dress that I am making for my daughter, but I think it turned out well all in all.

It’s a really simple pattern.  The printout is actually only the bodice and then you cut out rectangles for the skirt and straps.  The instructions, as usual,  were pretty worthless, so I just did my own thing.  It was simple enough to figure out on my own.

The fit isn’t perfect.  I took out about a half inch of width from both the front and back bodice pieces and I think that I could have taken out a bit more.  Or at least moved in where the straps meet the bodice.  I also wish that I had shortened the bodice by about an inch.  It seems to hit a bit long for my taste.  I think that little girl dresses look best when they hit at the belly button or above, but that is just my personal preference.

The fabric is Joel Dewberry and I chose it because it reminded me loosely of Liberty of London.  The whole dress is lined with some brown cotton lawn from my stash.

I am a bit worried about the tension on the spaghetti straps due to the weight of the dress.  Any tips on how to reinforce the seam where those attach?

HUDSON PANT SEWALONG WINNERS!

I am so excited to share the winners of the Hudson Pant Sewalong contest with you guys today.  We had lots of amazing entries so I was glad that I didn’t have to decide.  The amazing Angie of Wanderlust fabric was the judge and here are here are the winners that she chose:

 

3rd place – Winner of a $20 gift certificate to Wanderlust Fabrics goes to Megan of Thread Fox Studio.  I love her bold orange version.  She has great style and is yet another fun Portland, Oregon sewist that makes me want to go for a visit.  I swear that city is filled with cool people that I want to hang out with.

 

2nd place – Winner of a $40 gift certificate to Wanderlust Fabrics goes to Emerald Jean of Alluring Emerald Jean.  Not only did she pick some super fun and amazing fabric, but I love how she fearlessly pairs them with those awesome blue wedge sneakers.

 

1st place – Winner of a $60 gift certificate to Wanderlust Fabrics goes to Heather of Where Heather Grows.  I love the blue and brown combo with the unexpected pop of neon cording.  I think that Heather has made 4 or 5 pairs of Hudson pants to date so if you are looking for tips check out her awesome blog.

 

Congrats ladies!  Send me an email so that I can get you your gift certificates.  And if you want to see some more versions of the Hudson Pants sewn up by others then check out these hashtags #hudsonsewalong, #hudsonpant.

TESTER ROUNDUP (HUDSON PANT)

With the last day to enter the sewalong contest being today, I thought that it would be fun to share some of the versions made up by my pattern testers.  Along with each photo, each tester provided a little suggestion or tip for sewing up the Hudson Pants.  For those of you still trying to finish a pair of pants for the contest, maybe this will give you the motivation for the final stretch.  I love my pattern testers and am extremely indebted to them for all of their hard work.  They have made some seriously amazing versions of the Hudson Pant.

Teresa of Dandelion Drift

“These pants are perfect to lounge around the house in, but also can easily be worn out and about!  So far, my chambray button down has been my go to top I’ve paired with my Hudson Pant.”

 

Krista of Lazy Saturdays

“I was thrilled when Kelli asked me to test our her Hudson pattern! I had just found out I was expecting and thought they would be great for maternity wear. I was right! The low cut and thick elastic waistband fit so comfortably below my belly. I love the cut of the legs and feel equally comfortable and cute in them, which I think both are important during pregnancy. While choosing a size to make, I only used my hip measurement and went up one size so I’d have room to grow. This made the perfect maternity pant for me! This is my second pregnancy and I’m growing out of my clothes much more quickly this time, but my Hudson pants remain Perfect! I wear them all the time and plan on making many more in a variety of prints. I think they will be amazing postpartum as well!”

 

Kelly from Cut Cut Sew

“I have been wearing this casual version around the house constantly, and I can’t wait to try a dressier version for wearing out and about- maybe with some stretch lace, or a cool woven version like Kelli made”

 

Carly of Away We Sew 

 

Caroline – Instagram / Sewaholic Contributor

“The Hudson Pants are a great combination of cool and comfortable. The pants were fun to sew from start to finish, and I love the way the waistband comes out looking professional and sturdy. I am already planning my next pair – a black french terry version with leather pocket details. Can’t wait!”

 

Kat

“I went with a neutral blue for my pants so I can wear them with just about anything, but I plan to make some more in a cute print soon.  I’m loving my Hudson pants and my favorite combo so far is pairing them with my knit scout tee.”

 

Erin of Sew Bon

“I love lounging around in my casual version of the Hudson Pant and I can’t wait to make a dressier version too. I’m currently obsessing over the idea of a pair of Hudson’s in a drapey woven like silk!”

 

Kristin of Skirt as Top

“I don’t always wear sweatpants in public, but when I do, I prefer Hudson Pants.”

 

Katie of What Katie Sews

“Find a double-sided fabric for an easy way to add a contrast to the waistband, pocket edges, yokes or cuffs. Tonal shades of the same colour add a bit of detail without being overstated.”

 

Meg of Cookin and Craftin

“Looking for a more streamlined pocket?  Don’t cut out the outer pocket piece, and instead use the pocket detail to bind just the front pant pocket edge. Topstitch the inner pocket piece directly to the inside of the front pant leg. Use a contrasting color thread for fun!”

 

Meghan of Made by Meg

“I love my drawstring to a bit of give to it for comfort, so here’s a tip I picked up in an old Vogue pattern : add a small strip of elastic to your drawstring at center back!”

 

Rachel from Boo Dogg and Me

“Make these in a patterned fabric to set them apart from ‘normal’ tracky pants. Team them with a pair of Converse sneakers and a t-shirt and away you go! I wear mine almost every day and wear them everywhere. I love them.”

 

I can’t wait to see everyone’s entries.  Don’t forget to enter your Hudson Pants by either tagging your photo #hudsonsewalong on Instagram or sending me a picture via email with the title hudson sewalong.  Gift certificates will be given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places by the amazing Wanderlust Fabrics.  The winners will be announced on Thursday.