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.

 

SEWING

BENTO SWEATER

February 28, 2017

I’ve been really trying to up my everyday wardrobe these days. If I am really honest with myself, the things that I wear the most are boxy oversized tops and anything black. When I first saw the Bento top sewn up as a sweater, I knew that it would easily fit into my wardrobe. It’s boxy and oversized, but more grown up that a slouchy tee.

The fabric is this really nice black merino sweatshirting from the online shop of The Fabric Store. I like that it has the comfort of the sweatshirt looped back but then looks like a nicer wool knit on its right side. It’s the perfect medium weight knit that holds it structure and is comfy without being too rigid or bulky.

I did make quite a few changes for my personal preferences. I lengthened the bodice section by about an inch so that the pockets hit a bit lower. I also lengthened the bottom section by about 2 inches in the front and 3 in the back for a split hem. I decided to split the side seam just below the pocket level for more moveability. Lastly, I lowered the neckline by about and inch in the front and then finished with a facing instead of the neckband.

I wore this today and loved it. It feels like a grownup sweatshirt. If you want to make one too, you can find the fabric here and the pattern here.

 

SEWING

LONG COLD WEATHER ROBE

February 8, 2017

 

Ever since making my shirbori robe this summer (which I wear non stop in the warm months) I’ve been dying to make a full length version to wear in the winter. I know that not everyone is a robe person, but I certainly am. Whether straight out of the shower, or just as an extra layer in the evenings, my robe gets a ton of wear. I have had a really ugly fleece one for about 10 years that is gray and stained and my husband absolutely hates it, so yeah, it was time to upgrade.

I used the same pattern as I did for my last one –  vintage Simplicity 0017 from 1985 – that I had picked up for 25 cents at a thrift store. The thing that I loved about this robe in particular was the wide kimono style sleeves. That being said, if you can’t get your hands on this pattern, I think that most bathrobe patterns are pretty similar. I am sure there are at least ten available right now through the the big 4 pattern companies.

Because I was using a knit instead of a woven, I went down to the smallest size -labeled petite – which worked out well. I used the size small last time when I made the linen shibori version and that was perfect for that fabric. I have had my eye out for the perfect fabric for this project for a little while, so when Organic Cotton Plus offered to send me some yardage to sample, I was pretty excited. I went with this charcoal and off white striped knit. It’s 10oz which I have found to be a really great weight for clothing. It’s not see through at all. I liked the idea of organic fabrics as a bath robe and because it only contains the natural fibers of cotton – no rayon or polyester at all – it has such a beautiful spongey and soft quality to it instead of slinky like a lot of knits can be.

 

As for pattern alterations, I lengthened the sleeves so that they would go to my wrists and of coarse lengthened the whole robe by about a foot and a half. I just lengthened it straight down, which I am actually questioning. It does feel a little narrow below the knees and tends to pull apart at center front, especially when I walk. I think if I make it again, I will add a bit of width gradually from the hip down on the center back piece. I think that might do the trick.

I played around a bit with the stripe direction for some added interest. Honestly I didn’t really have a choice. I had three yards of the fabric which I thought would be plenty, but I could have used 4. Next time! I think that a really nice robe is such a great idea of gifts. Also, I kinda want to make another one in black or heathered gray. Just don’t know how many robes I can justify in my life.

SEWING

ESME MAXI CARDI IN MERINO JERSEY

November 21, 2016

I’ve been loving the trench look that has been trending this fall. As so many other trends that I like, it’s secret pjs that you wear out of the house. Who doesn’t like that? I have to admit that my husband asked me if this was my new bathrobe when I was sewing it up (which had me laughing), so I think you have to be careful how you style it. But I think I am pulling it off for everyday wear. You be the judge.

The Fabric Store asked me if I would like to try out some of their online fabric. I had the hardest time choosing (they have some gorgeous liberty prints guys). But I have a closet full of exciting prints that I just don’t wear because they are not me. I have been trying to focus on making wearable basics so I went with some quality solids that I knew would get worn instead. Merino jersey was an easy pick after that.

I decided on two different colors. This gorgeous burnt orange (such a great color) and this really pretty forest green (which is my go to color in the colder months). They are medium weight knits that I can vouch for as they wash up really well and sew up so nicely. This was my first time sewing with merino jersey and I am such a convert. They are stable knits that are still thin and hang nicely. Not too stretchy and slinky to cause headaches while sewing. I can’t wait to sew with them again some time.

Now for the pattern, it’s the Esme Maxi Caridigan from Named Patterns. It was my first time sewing a Named pattern for some crazy reason. They have so many really cool patterns that now I am eyeing a ton of them (this one especially). One thing that was different than what I am used to, was that the pattern pieces on the pdf are layered on top of one another. So even though it’s a pdf, you still have to trace the pattern pieces. I’m not sure if that is true of their paper patterns as well. Some people prefer this (less taping), some don’t. But something to be aware of.

As for sizing I cut a size 8/10 US which is standard for me. I could have gone down a couple of sizes I think. It is supposed to be oversized and it is supposed to be sewn up in a much thicker knit than I used which is probably why it fit so big on me. I ended up taking a couple of inches of width out of the sleeves, shortening the sleeves by 2 inches and taking about 6 inches off of the length (I am 5’3″). On the green version, I also took and inch out of the top portion so that the pockets hit at a better place for me.

I really like this pattern. So comfy, such an easy sew, and something that will get a lot of wear in my winter wardrobe. I am on the lookout for a really thick sweater knit to do a chunky version more like the pattern intends. Let me know if you have spotted any such fabric.