I just realized I never shared the evergreen jacket I made for my September contributor post over at Imagine Gnats. This purple french terry from Rachael is so amazingly awesome and my husband got some pretty great pictures of me on his bike so make sure to go check it out if you haven’t yet! I won’t typically wear it zipped up like this, but I kinda love this picture so I had to share it with you. :) Purple lovers unite!
Last month I got an email from Art Gallery Fabrics asking if I would like to sew up something as a part of their September celebration of National Sewing Month. Um, yeah, didn’t have to think twice about that one. The thing that took me forever was deciding what to sew and what fabrics to use! I’ve been dying to sew up some pajamas ever since Kelli at True Bias made these Lion pjs and after much thought I decided this would be the perfect chance to sew with some fun fabrics and make my pajamas.
The fabric I chose was Block Party from the Happy Home collection. I don’t normally sew clothes for me with quilting cotton but the Art Gallery fabrics are a lighter weight than normal quilting cotton and work out pretty perfectly for pajamas. I also enjoyed using a fun print that I wouldn’t normally get to use! Not having any little girls, I don’t get to use all the fun prints out there very often so this was a treat for me.
I used the Carolyn Pajama pattern– view C from Closet Case files. I’m usually a tank top and shorts pj person but I thought it would be nice to have some dressier pjs for when we have company or I just feel like wearing them all day. ;). Based on my measurements, I sewed up a size 8 and that’s pretty spot on. I like how it’s a comfy fit but not so boxy that it’s unflattering.
This pattern is labeled as intermediate and I would definitely concur with that label. I actually found these a bit more complicated than I had assumed they would be. Mostly due to the amount of piping involved. I used some piping cord and Art Gallery pure elements in snow to make my own piping. I have never tried the continuous bias tape method but Heather’s tutorial was great and my bias tape turned out awesome! It is time consuming though- not going to lie about that…took way more time than I really had available. I had to rush thru the sewing part to get these finished on time. I also want to say that I am lucky enough to have a piping foot for my machine and while I don’t use it often, in cases like this, I am so thankful for it! I really aids the sewing process.
There were a few times that I had to really use my brain to figure out the instructions. Nothing too horrible but I think a beginner sewist would struggle through the shirt construction. Once I got it all sewn up though, I’m super happy with how well the shirt fits and how comfy it is!
My one beef with this pattern is the shorts’ inseam. My cuff fits kinda funky- it rides up on the inseam and hangs lower on the outseam. And not in a cute way- it looks a little awkward. I even checked the pattern pieces to make sure I hadn’t sewn them backwards but I did sew them correctly. I must have made some sort of mistake though because I’ve searched other bloggers who made these shorts and none have mentioned this problem. I’m also really sensistive when it comes to seams touching my skin and I feel like the inseam is a little bulky and bothers me. I’ve had this problem when I’ve made the maritime shorts in a heavier fabric so it must just be me. The fit across the bum and hips is pretty perfect though so next time I make them, I think I just need to grade more of the seam allowance out of the inseam and stitch it down to keep it from bothering me. I’m trying to decide if I need to lengthen the crotch just a bit too. I will also raise the waistband just a teeny bit as I like my shorts to sit just a bit higher on my waist- after two babies, I’m not such a fan of low riders. lol.
But considering I didn’t make a muslin, this is a pretty successful finish. Just a few tweaks to make next time and I’ll have perfectly fitting pajamas. And these will still get plenty of wear. In fact, I’m still wearing them today. :) Who wants to change into real clothes when you have cute pajamas?
Disclaimer: Art Gallery Fabrics provided the fabric for this post as part of their September AGF Sewing Month but I purchased the pattern and all opinions are, as always, my own. :)
I’ve made a few tiny pocket tanks (this chambray+art gallery one from last year is one of my faves) and wanted to make another one for this summer. I picked up this cotton+steel double gauze for a steal at pink castle fabrics (looks like they’re sold out of this one now, sorry) when they were running a 40% off apparel fabrics sale earlier this year. I knew this would be the perfect fabric for a summer tank as it breathes so nicely!
I made the tank (pattern- tiny pocket tank) in a size 8 but angled the back pattern piece over the fold about 1/2″ at the top- gradually angled down to nothing mid-way down the back- because I remembered that I’ve had shoulder gaping with this pattern in the past. I ended up taking out too much width as it’s a bit tight across my shoulders, but still wearable- especially after I wore it a few times and stretched out the double gauze a bit.
Another mod I always make to this pattern is to raise the neckline by about 1.5″ so that I don’t have to wear a tank under it. Otherwise, it ends up too low for me. I didn’t do a super good job hemming it as you can see in some of these pics, it flips up pretty badly. But if I give it a good ironing, it will stay down better. Ha, who am I kidding that I’m ever going to iron this, though? ;)
I actually made this tank at the beginning of the summer and just now got around to taking pics of it. I do so love how cool and breezy it is. I’m never 100% sure that these types of flowy shirts are flattering on me because I feel like the billowing around the waist makes me look bigger than I am, but I still like to wear them because they are so comfy. I did end up taking the sides in about 3/8″ starting right below the bust to the hem to take a bit of the width off. Basically I have an 8 in the top and grade it down to between a 4/6 in the hips. I just can’t get enough of all the cotton+steel lines and I love that they are producing fabrics in so many different substrates. Makes it so fun to try more and more garment sewing.
Quick weekend post to show you one of the simplest articles of clothing I have made to date and yet one of the ones I am the most proud of- a white tee shirt! I don’t know about y’all but I have a really hard time finding tees that I like. I have needed a basic white tee for ages and finally just decided to make myself one. And so this doesn’t go the way of many of my other handmades that never get photographed and blogged, I had my husband snap some quick pics on my iPhone while we were downtown this morning.
The pattern I used is the Union St. Tee from Hey June. I made the v-neck version of the tee in a size M and it fits perfectly. The v-neck takes some time to construct if you want to do it properly but the end result is very professional. I don’t think anyone can tell it’s not store-bought. Also it feels like a check off the sewing techniques list to learn how to make a proper v-neck binding. Now that I know the pattern fits me well, I have plans to make several more in some fun fabrics!
The fabric is Robert Kaufman Laguna jersey knit in white/pdf from Imagine Gnats. You can find the fabric here. I have sung the praises of this laguna jersey before and I say it again, I love to keep this on hand for basic knit needs. The fabric is a great weight and has really good recovery. Also one of the best things about this pattern is it can be made with just 1 yard of fabric- making this tee very economical! I doubt I could find a nice white tee for less than $10 at the store.
FYI notice, I’m wearing my double gauze shorts (blogged here). So happy to finally have a basic tee to wear with the shorts when I don’t feel like being all dressy with my fancy shirt that matches them. I was pretty pumped to be out in a completely handmade outfit today! Woot, woot!
I’m over at Imagine Gnats today with this awesome Southport dress….Head over here to see more pics and read all about my new-found love of rayon challis- after overcoming a complete fear of it. Yep, I’m still a scaredy cat sometimes when it comes to sewing with new substrates. And I wouldn’t normally choose a print quite this bright and bold but I’m actually loving it in this dress.
So this is probably the most I’ve ever hacked a pattern for one garment! This shirt kind of evolved along the way to end up where it did, but I enjoyed the process. It took me several weeks to finish because I didn’t hurry through any of the decisions but it was nice to not have a deadline and really take my time to get something just perfect.
I started out with the Archer button-down, size 6. I knew I wanted a sleeveless shirt for summer so I used Jen’s tutorial here to take out some width from the shoulders- I think I ended up taking about 1.5″ off each shoulder and then a 3/8″ wedge from the back piece at the yoke seam line. I did have to take a little more off the sides due to armhole gaping so next time I would probably increase my wedge to 5/8″.
At first I thought I wanted to do the v-neck mandarin collar variation of the shirt so I followed Andrea’s tutorial here for that. Super duper easy to do if you follow her instructions! I love how easy the plackets were to draft! Unfortunately, once I was finished with this part of the shirt, I decided that I didn’t like the mandarin collar. Because you take some width out of the collar, it ends up being really close around your neck and with this summer we are having, I knew I would never wear it because it was sooo hot!
I did an after-the-fact hack and used Jen’s v-neck alder variation as an example to help guide me. Basically I seam-ripped the collar stand, cut 3/4″ off the shirt back neckline, and then angled it down in the front to make a V- this cut out most of the v-neck that I had created with the placket so I kind of did this work twice, but oh well. It was a learning experience. Once I had the angle right on the shirt, I used bias binding to finish off the neck seam. I held my breath a bit during this part because I was so afraid that i wouldn’t be happy with the collar-less result but I am so happy to report that I love it! It’s so perfect for a summer top- so light and airy along the neck.
I made a few more little tweaks to the shirt along the way just for fun. Instead of pleating the back, I gathered it between the pleat lines. The pockets were giving me some fits at the very end. I was going to leave them off completely, but my husband thought the shirt needed small pockets so I tried them out. Two pockets just wasn’t doing it for me- looked a little too symmetrical if you know what I mean? After polling the IG world, I took the majority’s advice and just did one pocket which I altered it into a v-shaped bottom to mirror the neckline. I’ve still wavered about leaving that one on, but I think I like it. Adds a little contrast to the front. One final tweak I made to the pattern was to try out a split hem at the side seams. That was a really easy tweak, and while it’s not super noticeable it’s still a fun added feature.
I bias bound the armholes to finish them off. Like I mentioned above, I had just a bit of armhole gaping once I was all done so I took the side seam in another 1/4″ at the armholes and angled that down to nothing to fix that problem. This fabric is one of the three fabrics I bought in London- such self control I showed there!! It doesn’t have any information on it but it feels like a light-weight shirting. I had plans to use it for the boys but it was just calling out to be made into this shirt and I’m glad I gave in to its siren call. ;) I really love how this turned out and I think it will get a ton of wear during the rest of this HOT summer. Also, it’s another entry on my #GrainlineBingo card. ;). Yep, thanks to my friend, Kristin, that’s totally a thing now. hehe.
I am so lucky to get to be one of the bloggers who contribute to Imagine Gnats. Several months ago some fellow contributors and I challenged each other to a sew-off of one of the Nani Iro fabrics Rachael was ordering. The idea was too fun to pass up so the contest was on! Ajaire and April are my competitors so be sure to head over to their blogs today and judge for yourself who, indeed, sewed it better. :)
The contest: Rachael sent each of us 1.5 yards of the fabric (Nani Iro- En Garden double gauze– the green is on order but she’s got the pink color way in stock) and we could do whatever we wanted with it. No rules! I just sat and admired the yummy fabric for a week before I cut into it. It really is so exquisite!
I took a long while debating on my project. A top or dress were the first things that came to mind but I wanted to do something different for this challenge. So I landed upon shorts. I mean, double gauze shorts, what could be better, right? I didn’t want these to end up looking like pajama shorts though, so I needed a legitimate shorts pattern. I have made two pairs of Grainline Studio’s Maritime Shorts in the past but neither one has fit quite right. Third time’s the charm though so it just seemed fitting to end up with that pattern. Not to mention I’m a Grainline junkie :) .
My last pair were a 6, and while they fit, they cut into my waist too much for comfort. I have a very wide waist compared to the rest of my body so it makes buying pants/shorts difficult unless they have a stretchy waistband. This time I cut out the 8 in the waist and graded it down to a 2 in the legs. I also added 1.5″ to the length as the pattern is just a little short for my comfort level. You will notice that I added a button instead of the hook and loop closure. As much as I dislike buttonholes, I dislike hook closures more, so a buttonhole it was!
I used the sew along on Jen’s blog to help me through the zipper fly, but everything else was fairly simple since I’ve made quite a few pairs of shorts (for the boys) recently. The pocket and waistband facings are artisan cotton (in this beautiful purple!- also from Rachael’s shop). Double gauze is kind of delicate, and I thought using the artisan cotton would give the waistband more structure and help it keep its shape. I so wish I had a picture of the inside of the shorts because they are so pretty with all the purple but alas I forgot to take one!
I modified the pockets a bit because I thought the shorts needed a more delicate pocket to go with this fabric. I cut off the sides and bottom of the original pattern piece by .5″ and chopped of the top angled portion so it just went straight across. Then I folded the top under twice, top-stitched, and continued with the pocket as normal.
I adore these shorts! I wore them all day yesterday and they feel like a dream. The fabric is so soft and comfortable but also breathable for these hot summer days. Just a little note- we realized after taking the pics that there was some dust on the lens creating a weird echo effect on some of the pics and making them look fuzzy. Editing helped some but it’s not perfect. And no time for another shoot before the deadline so here ya go. :) Just keeping it real, folks. Thanks so much to Rachael for sponsoring us in this little contest. It was loads of fun!