SEWING

ELLSWORTH COAT

November 10, 2016

The Ellsworth Coat sewing pattern was recently released by Christine Haynes. I was lucky enough to assist Christine in her coatmaking class at Camp Workroom social where we sewed this pattern up. It was really fun to see all of the different variations of this coat. There were linen, brocade and twill versions – all of which resulted in completely different coats.

After seeing one of the students, Vanessa, make a gorgeous version in a beautiful black twill, I knew that I must have one like it. I was able to stop by Mood fabrics the next day and get some fabric to make it up. The outside is a thick black twill with some stretch to it. For the lining I chose some china silk in copper. I love copper and black together right now. The buttons are some nice brass ones that I also picked up at Mood.

I did make a few changes. After trying a lot of sizes on, I decided to go down a size for a closer fit. Just my personal preference. I am also short (5’3″) so I shortened the sleeves by about 2 inches, and raised the pockets by about 1/2″. In retrospect, I would have left the pockets where the pattern had them placed. They feel a bit high now.

The thing that I love most about this coat is that the style is so versatile. The coat has a 1950s retro vibe, but with a modern cut to it. I feel like it won’t go out of style and will go with a lot of different things. I see it being a staple in my wardrobe this fall. For those of you who are intimidated by the thought of sewing a coat, I have to say that this one is very approachable. It is fully lined, but Christine figure out a way to do it all on the machine (no handstitching) which is always a huge plus in my book.

DIY SEWING SEWING FOR KIDS

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

October 31, 2016

I used to be reluctant to spend time and money on halloween costumes for my kids. I knew that I could always buy one at the store cheaper than I could make it. But then a couple of years ago we were the wizard of oz for halloween. After we wore the costumes they went into our dress up bin. My kids and their friends wore those dressups ragged. I only wished that I had used better fabric (the cheap costume fabric I used tore at all of the seams over time) and took the time on some better construction. So now I’ve changed my tune. My kids can choose to be whatever they want for halloween and I will do my best to make it happen. It’s the one time of year that what I do for a living really benefits them. They feel special because their costumes are different than everyone elses. I try to use quality fabric like quilting cotton that will hold up to small and impatient hands and will wash and dry well. Even if it costs a bit more money. I know they will be worn over and over again as part of imaginative play which I love. Worth all of the time and money.

This year my kids wanted to be a kitty kat, and a New Orleans masquerade ball girl (inspired by our family vacation this year to New Orleans). I was pretty excited that there were no super heros or princesses involved so I didn’t complain. First of all the kitty. We went to the fabric store and I let my 3 yr old choose the fabric. He went with this leopard print fur because it was amazingly soft. I also got some tan felt for the tummy and inside ears.

I used Simplicity 2855 for the pattern. It’s a great, really versatile pattern, although I ended up taking an extra 3 inches off of the length in the end. Nothing too hard to sew at all. I did end up transferring the zipper from the front to back, just because my fabric was so thick that it looked wonky and I didn’t want it to be at center front. I also ommitted the shoe covers and mittens because I think those both just make it hard to trick or treat.

The only negative working on this costume was the fur. Never again! Such a beast to work with. It was my first time and I was not prepared. I broke 2 needles trying to sew through thick layers and I have fur everywhere. The end result was pretty great, but in the future I would try and find some fleece or something else thinner and easier to work with. Also, I won’t be about to wash this which is a huge negative.

Now for the masquerade dress. I used Simplicity 3725 for this one. Its a really great princess or period dress pattern that you could use for lots of projects. My 6 yr old daughter measured at a size 4 in the chest and waist for this pattern. I was scared that it would be too short so I went with the size 5 overall and just lengthened the skirt. This worked fine except that I took out about an inch on both sides at center back before inserting the zipper. Next time I would also take a bit out at center front so it was a bit narrower through the shoulders.

For fabric, the main black damask is this weird fabric that I found at JoAnns. I think it was marked as scuba knit but it’s much thinner than that and the print is felt. The nice thing is that I didn’t have to hem this fabric. I just cut it where I wanted it to end and called it good. The green lace is just something I had in my stash for lingerie sewing.

I did make a quick petticoat to help the dress stand out. To do this I just gathered about 5 yards of tuelle onto an elastic band. Not pretty but it works. I think if your fabric was lighter weight – closer to a quilting cotton, then it would be much fuller which would be nice.

That’s it. I hope you all have a really happy Halloween. It’s such a great holiday for sewists! Now I just need to figure out something for myself to wear.

SEWING SEWING FOR KIDS

BABY GIFTS

October 19, 2016

I am always looking for new baby gifts to make up for friends and family. I’ve recently had a bunch of friends have babies so I decided to batch sew up a bunch at the same time to send out. I’m dying over how cute these turned out and am now on the lookout of for cute, organic knits to have on hand for this very purpose. You can find the fabrics that I used here, here, and here.

I made up two different quick little knit patterns that are great stash busters. I think that the two together is a perfect baby gift that is modern, thoughtful, and easily gender neutral. I made the harem romper by Brindille and Twig. It’s such a cute and easy little pattern. I sewed it up just as instructed except that I took a small wedge out of the center front neckline because I noticed that it set a little wide in a lot of the photos that I saw. But that is just a personal preference. I made the whole thing on my serger and each one took maybe 20 minutes.

The most difficult part was adding the snaps, but luckily I finally got around the buying the snap setter and a bunch of size 16 snaps. It’s so much easier than the nightmare snap tool I had bought and chucked years ago.

I also made up the rabbit ear teethers which is a free pattern from See Kate Sew. It’s a really simple sew and pretty darn cute. The fabric was all scraps from the romper and I bought the wooden rings through etsy here.

That’s it. Love how these turned out and can’t wait to see all of the little babies in them.

SEWING

CHECKERED BLAIR SHIRT

October 5, 2016

I’ve been wanting more casual items in my wardrobe that are not tshirts and cutoffs, so when I saw the Blair shirt released by Style Arc I wanted to make it right away. It reminded me of a shirt that I had been eyeing at Madewell. A wide, somewhat cropped shirt with small cuffs as sleeves. The Blair shirt is really similar so I decided to give it a go.

The fabric is just some 1/4″ black and white gingham that was inexpensive. I figured this would be a sort of wearable muslin before I cut into some precious silk that I have been eyeing, so this was the perfect inexpensive option.

I made a few little changes to the pattern so that it looked more like the top that was my inspiration. First of all, instead of adding the bottom panels I just extended the top portion so that it would all be one piece on both the front and back. I also made a simple rectangle for the cuffs instead of the bias cut, teardrop shaped ones of the pattern.

I absolutely love how this top turned out and have already worn it to a picnic over the weekend. This is my first ever Style Arc pattern to sew, but I have a been eyeing a couple more. Just be warned that the instructions are minimal, so you may want to look at the instructions for another buttonup pattern to compare it to.

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.