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SEWING TUTORIALS

LODO DRESS SEWALONG DAY 1

April 24, 2017

Welcome to the first day of the Lodo Dress Sewalong. The Lodo is a very fast and easy dress to sew up so this sewalong will be much simpler than my others. That being said, I hope that the extra pictures and tips will still help those of you who need a little extra hand holding so that everyone can get the best results possible when sewing a version of their own.

Today I will simply be sharing the schedule for the sewalong (below), talking about the best fabrics for this pattern (including some links), and giving a few tips. Expect to spend less than an hour each day this week and you will have a finished Lodo dress of your own by Friday.

 

Schedule:

Here is the schedule for the sewalong. We are really only sewing 3 of the 5 days. As I have mentioned, this is a beginner friendly pattern so I hope the tips and photos that I share this week will make the dress accessible to sewists of all levels.

Day 1 / Monday April 24th – Fabrics and Prep

Day 2 / Tuesday April 25th – Back, Slit, and Shoulders

Day 3 / Wednesday April 26th – Neckline

Day 4 / Thursday April 27th – Armholes and Hem

Day 5 / Friday April 28th – Finished Dress Photos

 

Fabrics :

I really think that the key to success sewing up the Lodo Dress is mostly in the fabrics that you choose. You will need two separate fabrics –  A stable knit for the main part of the dress, and a small amount of woven fabric for the facings.

The main knit fabric should be medium weight and stable. This means avoid slinky knits with tons of stretch. You want the amount of stretch to be approximately 20%. Check the amount of stretch of your fabric on the stretch chart on page 2 of the instructions. You can still use knits with a bit more or a bit less stretch than recommended, but be aware that it may affect the fit of your final garment or make it more difficult to sew. The types of fabrics that seem to work best include ponte, cotton interlock, double knit and lightweight scuba. These fabrics have enough structure in them to hold the slight cocoon shape of the design while still being very comfortable and casual enough for daywear.

 

 

 

Here are a few examples of fabrics that I think would work great:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

The woven facings can be made in any non stretch fabric the is easy to work with and presses well. I would avoid anything lightweight or slippery (avoid polyester) and instead pick up a scrap of fabric from your stash such as quilting cotton or linen. Be aware that you may see little glimpses of the facing when wearing it, so make sure that the fabric coordinates with your main dress fabric. I think that this is a great way to not only use up the scraps of leftover fabrics in your stash, but also to introduce a bit of print or pop of color for some added interest.

Here are the fabrics that I am using for the sewalong. I am sewing up two dresses. For View A (midcalf) I am using a black and white striped ponte knit for the main dress and a fun jungle print quilting cotton for the facings.

For View B (short version) I am using a burgundy cotton interlock in a medium weight for the main dress and a fun scribble print cotton for the facings.

 

Tips: 

-I realize that woven facings are uncommon on knit garments, but because the neckline and armholes do not require any stretching for wear or changing, they not only add some stability and crispness to those areas, but they also make it a bit easier to sew and get good results. You will want to test sewing some of your knit and woven fabrics together to see how your particular machine handles it. You may want to play a bit with the tension or use a walking foot if it gives you any issues. As long as your knit fabric is stable and not too stretchy you shouldn’t have an issues.

-It is always a good idea to use a ballpoint or stretch needle on your sewing machine when using knit fabrics. This will prevent you from possibly damaging your fabric and creating holes.

-View A of the Lodo Dress hits around mid calf, while View B hits above the knee. If neither of those lengths work for you, feel free to find something in the middle, or add even more length to the bottom. I do think that a maxi version would be pretty great.

-Sergers are so wonderful for sewing knitwear, but this pattern does require you to use your regular sewing machine for much of the construction. The instructions will have you switching between a regular stitch and a stretch stitch depending on the step. Most sewing machines include a stretch stitch option, although you may also use an elongated zigzag for the same results. Practice on some scraps of your knit fabric to see what you like the best.

-The dress is drafted for a model who is 5’5″ tall. There are lengthen shorten lines on the front and back pattern pieces if you need to adjust for your own height difference.

 

OK, that’s it for now. If you want to purchase the pattern you can do so here. I am not going to walk you through printing your pattern or cutting out your pattern pieces, but if you could use a little help with that you can check out one of my former sewalongs here. Come tomorrow with your dress cut out, marked, and ready to start sewing.

SEWING TUTORIALS

RUFFLE SLEEVE PEPLUM BLOUSES

April 4, 2017

I love that this year is all about the sleeve. So fun to play around with something new and experiment with more volume in the sleeve – something I’ve never really done much with. I love the romantic trend right now of loose, flowing ruffles and wanted to give this boho blouse a try for myself.

As far as a pattern goes, I was leaning towards the Marthe blouse since it already has a loose structure and peplum, but then I remembered that raglan sleeves arn’t my fav on my frame so I went another direction. In the end I landed on Simplicity 1366 which is a Cynthia Rowley pattern that is very popular in the sewing community. I had already sewn this blouse up multiple times so I knew that I liked the fit and I also knew that the drop sleeve was what I was going for.

Of coarse I made a lot of changes. First of all I lowered the neckline a bit for my liking into more of a scoop. The pattern calls for a bias finished neckline, but instead I faced them for a more upscale finish. For the ivory version I actually just drafted a little facing, but for the pink version I actually fully lined the top portion of both the front and back so that became my facing.

The blouse was trimmed to about my belly button and then I added a ten inch ruffle to the bottom. The width of the ruffle was 1.5 x the measurement of the bottom of the blouse. I did the same thing for the sleeves – shortening them a bit, and then adding a 6 inch ruffle. Everything was finished with a narrow 1/4″ hem.

As for fabric I was lucky enough to try out some pretty items from The Fabric Store in LA. The ivory colored fabric is a rayon crepe and I am obsessed with (I might have it in a couple of other colors as well). It has a really pretty texture to it, is not see through, and has enough weight that it hangs really nicely without getting puffy despite all of the gathering. If anyone is looking for a good fabric for a Southport Dress I can’t recommend it enough. The weight and flow of it make the most dramatic maxi version when you walk. Initially this was kinda my trial version and the pink one was going to be the star, but I actually prefer the way that the ivory one looks on me so I think it will get more wear.

The pink version is made up in the palest perfection of blush and I just adore this color. It feels so romantic and feminine. It’s a silk crepe de chine (my favorite fabric to sew with) and was dreamy to use. Because it’s a bit on the see through side I did line the bodice sections of both the front and back.

I love how these blouses turned out. Yes, they are trendy and probably will only be current for a couple seasons, but they are so fun to wear. I like the idea of how dressy they feel even with jeans. Perfect for a date night when I don’t want to wear a dress.

SEWING FOR KIDS TUTORIALS

MINI ODGEN DRESS HACK

March 21, 2017

The Ogden Cami is a great template for hacks, and I am especially loving the idea of dress hacks right now for summer. I did a babydoll hack last year that you can find here. Today I am going to show you how to create a super simple elastic waist dress using the Mini Ogden cami. You can of coarse use basically the same steps to create a version in the women’s size as well. I ended up making two of these dresses in order to get the steps right. The top one is made from a thrifted table cloth and the bottom one is some really pretty cotton that I ordered from My Fabric Designs (I didn’t design it though). I love the handpainted design so much. Both dresses are lined with some cheap light pink gingham from JoAnns.

For this project you are going to need your main dress fabric, lining fabric, and extra elastic (in addition to the elastic for the back of the cami) for the waistline.

First print off your pattern and assemble pattern pieces 1 (front cami), 2 (back cami), 4 (strap), and the elastic cutting guide. You will not be needing the pattern piece for the front lining as the entire dress will be lined instead.

For for the front and back cami we need to add length for the bottom of the dress. Take your front pattern piece and tape the bottom along a large piece of paper. Your center front fold line should line up with the left edge of the paper as shown below. Determine how long you want your dress to be. After comparing to other dresses, I decided that I wanted it to be about 24″ along the center front line. This allows for a couple of inches of wiggle room in case I need to adjust the hem at the end. To get the desired length I figured out that I would need to add about 10.5 inches to the bottom of the cami.

Simply mark your desired length around the entire hem so that your new hem mimicks the shape of the bottom of the cami. For the side seam of the dress, draw a straight line extending down from the last few inches of the cami. The side seam and hem need to meet up at a 90 degree angle at the CF and side seam. Repeat these steps for the back as well, adding the exact same amount to the bottom of the back cami as you did for the front.

Line up the notches on the side of your front and back pattern pieces. Trim off the extra height on the back piece (since we are assembling the dress a bit differently than the cami we don’t need the extra height).

 

Cut out a front, back, and straps from your main fabric. Cut out a front and back from your lining. The lining pieces should be identical to your main pieces, except trim 1/2″ off of the bottom of both of your lining pieces. Having your lining pieces slightly shorter will assure that it does not peek out once the dress is finished.

Go ahead and assemble according to steps 1-3 of the Mini Ogden instructions.

Sew up the side seams of the main dress and also the dress lining. Finish the seam allowances in your desired manner (I serged them) and press them either open or to one side depending on the finish you choose. Pin the lining to the main dress along the entire neckline, with right sides touching. Stitch together, trim and snip the seam allowance.

Flip the lining to the inside of the dress so that the wrong side of the dress is now touching the wrong side of the lining. Press along the neckline with the straps extending upwards in the front.

To create the casing for the elastic in the back, make a line of stitching through both the dress and lining 1/2″ below the top edge from one side seam to another, backstitching on both ends.

Take your elastic, cut to the specified length, attach one end to a safety pin and insert it into the casing you just created between the lining and dress.

With a bit of elastic extending past each side seam, stitch through all layers (including the elastic) to secure.

Attach the back end of the shoulder straps as described in the instructions in steps 13-14.

Figure out where you want the waistband to hit. The easiest way to do this is to try the dress on recipient, and wrap the elastic around the the child’s waist where it seems most comfortable. Using a disappearing marker or chalk, mark the top edge of where you want to have the elastic on all sides.

Make a row of stitching around the entire dress through both the dress and lining where you marked it.

Make another row of stitching 1/2″ below the first row, leaving a 2 inch gap at center back to insert the waistband elastic.

Cut your elastic to the appropriate length plus a bit extra for seam allowance. You will need to figure out the appropriate length by measuring it on the child you are making it for.

Attach one end to a safety pin and insert the elastic in between the lining and dress thru the opening at center back and around the entire waistband casing you created. Sew the elastic ends together and sew up the opening you left at center back.

Hem the dress like instructed to in Step 15. Hem the lining in the same way.

Give the dress a final press and you are done!

I love how this turned out so much, that I want to do the same hack on a summer Ogden dress for myself. I am thinking black for something that I will wear all of the time. I hope I can find the time to do it.

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

PATTERNMAKING SEWING TUTORIALS

CAMP PJ PARTY

October 1, 2016

It’s Camp PJ Party Day. If you don’t know what I am talking about check out all of the details over at Camp Workroom Social. Pretty much anyone who wants to can make a pair of PJs, post them on instagram today, and get an adorable PJ patch of their own from Camp Workroom Social. Super fun right?

For my PJs I made a pair of pocketless Hudson Pants and a Penny Raglan Tee for a super comfy loungy set of PJs that I never want to take off. The fabric is a rayon spandex from Indiesew. It’s the perfect medium weight knit that is not see through at all, but still drapey and soft. The cuffs, waistband, and neckline were done in a coordinating ribbing from JoAnns.

I wanted to make pocketless Hudsons for the bottoms to take a bit of the bulk out for comfort. I’ve been seeing a lot of this style in ready to wear stores lately. It’s a bit more of a long john style that is perfect for sleepwear. Altering your pattern for pocketless is super simple. All you do is take the main pocket piece and line up the side and top notches with the front piece. Take it together and that becomes your new front piece. You won’t need the inner pocket pattern piece or the pocket detail. Then you just sew it up like normal, eliminating the steps for the pocket. It’s an even faster sew after that.

The top is the Penny Raglan from Grainline Studio. I love the oversized, off the shoulder feel to this top. I made up another one as an oversized tee to wear with workout pants and a sports bra and I love it too. The only change I made to this top is to lengthen it a bit. Not sure if I needed to, but I thought better safe than sorry.

The end result is my new fav PJs. They are SO comfy. I can’t wait to wear them at Camp Workroom Social in just a couple of weeks.

PATTERNMAKING SEWING TUTORIALS

OGDEN CAMI DRESS HACK

September 13, 2016

I am so excited about all of the Ogden hacks that I have seen popping up over the past few weeks. I guess that is the beauty of a simple pattern isn’t it? So many possibilites. Here are a few of my fav hacks that I have seen so far –  here, here and here.

I put together a very simple Ogden hack for today where essentially you add a large gathered rectangle to a baby doll type silhouette. It’s very easy and it completely transforms the pattern.

The first thing we are going to do is shorten the cami front and back. I am assuming that if you are making this hack then you already have made this original pattern. If so, try it on and decide where you want the end of the bodice to be and the skirt portion to begin. When I tried mine on, I decided on about 10 inches down from the center V. Then I added 1/2″ to both the neckline and bottom for seam allowance so the total drop at center front was 11 inches. Now mimic the basic shape of the original hem for this new hem at the shortened length.

Line the side seams up of the front and back cami to make sure that they are the same length and make a new cutting line for the back cami just like you did for the front. Note that the back is going to be straighter than the front. The front needs the more curved hemline to accomodate the fullness of your chest.

Now cut along the lines you made.

Cut out two front camis and two back camis on the fold, and your straps. You will not be using the lining pattern pieces from the original cami pattern. This dress will have a fully lined bodice so one of the fronts and one backs will be your lining.

You also need to cut out your skirt pieces. You are going to cut out two identical rectangles. Decide how long you want the skirt and add 1/2″ for the top seam allowance and 1″ for the hem. Cut it according to your preference. I wanted a 26″ skirt so with the seam allowance and hem mine was 27 1/2″ long.

For the width it also depends on how full you want yours (and how wide your fabric is). For reference mine is 43″ wide so I cut it at 44″ wide because of the 1/2″ seam allowance on both sides. So in the end, I cut two rectangles that were 27 1/2″ tall and 44″ wide.

Once everything is cut out you can start sewing. You are going to sew the top portion of the cami up exactly like the instructions except do not hem the outer cami or the lining. It should look like this.

Next, sew the two rectangles together (right sides together) along the side seams at 1/2″ seam allowance and finish in your desired manner. I serged it to keep it simple, but french seams would be a great choice if you want the whole inside of the dress to be perfectly finished.

Now you are going to run two parallel gathering stitches along the top of the skirt. It’s easiest to do two on the front and two on the back, stopping and starting right before and after the side seams.

Gather up the stitches so that the gathering is evenly distributed and the top of the skirt is the same width as the bottom of the cami. With right sides touching, pin the skirt to the main cami (keep the lining up and out of the way). Stitch at 1/2″ seam allowance and press all seam allowances up towards the cami.

Separate your lining and press the bottom up (wrong sides touching) by 3/8″.

Bring the lining down towards the skirt and pin the folded edge over the seam where the skirt and main cami meet. You will be completely covering the seam allowance. Pin generously.

On the right side of the dress, stitch in the ditch at the seam where the cami and skirt meet, catching the lining underneath.

Try the dress on the make sure that you like the length and adjust as necessary. Fold the bottom up by 1/4″ and again at 3/4″. Press and Pin and stitch the hem in place.  That’s it.

Here is my version. I decided to make this one middie length although I really want to make another one that is above the knee. I wore this dress this weekend to the farmers market with flats and a jean jacket and it was perfect. I love everything about it.

 

Here it is without a belt. As you can see it is kinda a baby doll shape. I love it this way as well, and I think when I make a shorter one I will wear it without the belt more often.

 

That’s it. If you still need the Ogden cami pattern you can purchase it here. Let me know if you have any questions.