The Nani Iro Sew-off Challenge

nani IRO en garden challengeI 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!

nano iro shorts final (1 of 7)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 🙂 .

nano iro shorts final (4 of 7)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!

nano iro shorts final (3 of 7)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!

nano iro shorts final (2 of 7)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.

nano iro shorts final (7 of 7)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!


Double Cloth Archer Shirtdress

shirtdress (6 of 8)

I’ve had the vision for this dress for a long time! I’ve been obsessed with finding myself some form of shirtdress/tunic that I could wear with leggings and boots. I just love seeing that look on other people and wanted to replicate it. Unfortunately I have not been able to find one that fit me quite right at any store. Fortunately for me I know how to sew ;). Once I successfully made the Archer shirt (blogged here), I knew that I wanted to try to modify it to be a shirtdress. Jen did actually just come out with a sleeveless shirtdress pattern- the Alder, but I’m trying not to buy more patterns right now, and I wanted a long sleeve version so I could wear it all winter.

shirtdress (5 of 8)

I searched and searched the internets for examples of other people modifying the Archer into a dress and just could not find anything! Which I thought was strange because it seems like something that has been done already. But maybe it’s just that me who’s been obsessing about this style, and no one else cares about it. Lol.

shirtdress (1 of 8)I decided to be a good sew-er (really, what am I supposed to call myself? I never can come up with a word that sounds right) this time around and actually make a muslin- I know, don’t die from the shock of it! I’m just too lazy to make muslins normally but I wanted this dress to be perfect. I used some quilting cotton and cut out the main bodice and sleeves. I added 9″ to the original shirt hem to make it more dress/tunic length. Since my last shirt was a little big, I cut out a smaller size this time- a 6- to begin. I basted everything together and tried it on for size. It fit ok but looked a little paper bag-ish. I decided to take in the waist a little and let out the bottom a bit to give the dress more of a figure. I kept the top at the size 6, marked a 4 on the pattern line at the waist, a 10 at the bottom of the dress and then drew a straight line connecting each of these marks. I included a picture of my muslin here for example (I just figured out how to annotate my pictures- happy dance!). This little change ended up making the dress fit perfectly.shirtdress muslin (1 of 2)

The fabric is this amazing double cloth plaid from imagine gnats. I had been coveting it since she posted it on her IG account, and then when she decided to have a 20% off sale over the weekend, I was lost. Had to get myself some of it! Similar to the double gauze from my last archer, double cloth is not the easiest fabric to sew with. Because it’s actually two fabrics tacked together, you have to be really careful cutting it out and sewing it together- the layers tend to be shifty. This one especially takes lots of patience, but is totally worth the effort. My tips for smoother and stress-free sewing: use your walking foot, lengthen your stitch, and sew slowly.

shirtdress (2 of 8)

I realize this is a little fuzzy- it’s the only decent shot I got of the full dress with the belt.

I cut the back yoke and pockets on the bias- for effect and so I didn’t have to worry about lining up any plaids on the back. ;). I used Jen’s alternate pocket tutorial with two changes- I cut 1/2″ off the bottom hem for a smaller pocket and folded the seams over to the right side to show off the brown side of the fabric.shirtdress (8 of 8)

I’m not that great at lining up plaids- seems like the more I try, the worse I do! I’m super happy that I at least managed to line them up across the button placket. I also added some sleeve tabs. I am a perpetual sleeve-roller-upper, and I thought these would add a fun touch. I used one of Ian’s shirts as an example of how to make them since I had never made them before. They ended up a wee bit too far forward but not enough to make me want to redo them!shirtdress (7 of 8) I also rolled up the hem the wrong way to give a little contrast of the brown at the bottom. In the middle of making this, I got worried that all this plaid would be too much but I think the little brown accents are the perfect touch to tone it down. The belt is just the double cloth folded over on itself and sewn up on all sides. I like the dress both with and without the belt and think I will switch it up based on my mood. I’ve already worn this dress several times in the week since I’ve finished it and I think it’s going to be the perfect fall piece. In fact, I already have a chambray version planned out in my head! It’s going to be the season of the archers and archer variations this fall!

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Double Gauze Archer

So I’ve had a bit of a sewing slump since returning from our big trip. Just had so much re-adjustment to regular life that I didn’t have any extra creative energy to work on things. Didn’t help that I had some sewing commitments to catch up on and had that nagging over my head until they were done! But selfish sewing week last week was the push I needed to check something off my list. I’ve had the Archer pattern since Thanksgiving (P.S.A.- pattern makers have black friday sales too!) and just haven’t gotten around to it yet. So glad I finally got one made and let me assure you, it’s the first of many!

double gauze (1 of 5)

Like I mentioned this is the Archer button down pattern from Grainline Studios. I made the size 8 based on my bust measurements. Continue reading

Maritime Shorts: Blast from the Past

Note: Happy fourth of July to all my American friends! I’ve been trying to get this post published for several days but just now finally was able to finish it up. Sorry that it’s not super festive for this holiday weekend. I did actually manage to pull together some matching patriotic tanks for the boys (finished this morning-lol) but you’ll have to wait until next week to see those!maritime shorts- new pics (1 of 2)


So this pair of shorts is actually from last summer and never got blogged…because they just now fit! I made this pair of maritime shorts as my wearable muslin version, and I think I was dreaming about the reality of my after-baby body and they ended up being way too small. Yeah, oops. Well anyway I am happy to report that they do, indeed (mostly) fit me now as long as I haven’t eaten too much ice cream the day before. 😉

Continue reading

Summer Sewing, Grainline Studios Edition

I have seen several other bloggers (Sew Caroline, for one) do a little collage of sorts to detail their seasonal sewing plans and thought I would follow suit. I have been slowly collecting apparel fabrics and patterns to beef up my handmade wardrobe the last few months and have actually have purchased all of the fabric/patterns that I show you. Meaning there should be nothing keeping me from actually making this clothing; except for that little thing called time and the two little people wanting some attention at my house 🙂 . It’s all about balance, folks…always a work in progress. I’m hoping that actually posting these collage ideas online will keep me a little better organized and motivate me to actually get them done! Kind of an online to-do list of sorts. Here’s the first one…note: the top is not necessarily meant to be worn with the shorts.

PicMonkey Summer2 Collage

Maritime Shorts Pattern by Grainline Studios, Fabric: It’s a Plus Canvas in Gray- purchased at Pink Castle Fabrics but sold out now, Robert Kaufman Interweave Chambray in Sorbet– purchased at

Tiny Pocket Tank Pattern by Grainline Studios, Fabric: Geos in Deep Marina purchased at Pink Castle Fabrics

Hmm, this unintentionally turned into a Grainline studios sewing list. I highly recommend her patterns for those who are looking for good women’s patterns. Also, I enjoy expanding my indie pattern designers list and would love to get some more ideas! Do you have a summer sewing list? Care to share?

Maritime Shorts Version 2

I have so enjoyed the “selfish sewing”  streak that I have been on recently! These shorts are probably my favorite thing I’ve sewed to date. You may be wondering why I am calling these version 2 when you haven’t even seen version 1… well version 1 has yet to be photographed so in this case you get 2 before 1. 🙂

maritime shorts

In version 1 (which was my wearable muslin), I made a size 6. They ended up being too small in the waist for my after-baby body. I did a rough guess of how much more I needed in the waistband and decided I would try to combine several different sizes for this second pair of shorts. I began with a size 8 at the bottom of the shorts and graded up to a 12 in the waist. They ended up a perfect fit! I am now in love with sewing shorts for myself because I really struggle with finding clothes to fit my lower body- in order to fit my waist, most things end up being way too big in the legs. I know this problem will go away as the baby weight comes off but it’s nice to have cute things to wear now.

maritime shorts

Pattern: Grainline Studios Maritime Shorts. I am falling in love with Grainline Studios! Her patterns are easy to follow and result in super cute garments. (Another pattern review coming soon for her tiny pocket tank.) Also for most of her patterns she has a step-by-step picture tutorial that is very helpful. Not sure I could have inserted the fly zipper without this. Did you catch that? I inserted a real fly!! I love conquering new sewing techniques!

maritime shorts

check out my cute photo bomber 🙂


Fabric: Duck cloth found at Hobby Lobby. It was so cute that I couldn’t pass it up. This fabric is a great weight for shorts but is a bit rough on the inside for my super sensitive skin so if I use it for another pair, I will try lining them.

Final comments: The pictures were taken after wearing the shorts all day (and part of a previous one 🙂 ), so they are a bit stretched out looking in the back. The leg is a bit wide with the size 8 so I may take it in a tad if I make another pair, although maybe not because I kinda like the look it gives them. Also these pictures were taken during our recent family vacation to Hilton Head Island, which if you follow me on Instagram you got an overdose of this weekend…highly recommend this beach to anyone in need of a relaxing place to take your children!