Monday, October 17, 2016

Santa Fe Tie-Dye Dress and Striped Tee

Helllooooo friends! Finally blogging my last two summer sewing projects, made from the same pattern:

Hey June Handmade's Santa Fe Top

First up, a knit midi dress in this groovy blue tie-dye print.  You may have seen it it on Instagram here or here! (technically also here, but in it's starting state ;)

This dress is so comfy and swingy it makes me want to dance! This blue/teal rayon spandex knit from Joann's is a little outside my normal style, but when I saw it I knew I wanted a tank dress out of it!
I also knew I wanted to wear it to school and therefore it should have a modest neckline (surprisingly hard to find on tank sewing patterns) and that is what led me to the Santa Fe Top pattern by Hey June Handmade.

To create the dress, I simply added a gathered skirt with an elastic waist casing to the sleeveless top - View A - which I cut on the fold instead of having a center seam. Originally it was maxi length, but I felt overwhelmed by the print so I cut it off to make a midi-length (oooh...trendy ;) *More visible in the instagram photos

My second project with this pattern was a striped tee in a bold black and ivory stripe rayon knit. This is view C of the pattern, without the center seam (cut on the fold). It is also very comfortable to wear, although the flowy silhouette is not as flattering from the side when you are more than a B cup ;)

My absolute favorite thing about this pattern is that it introduced me to knit neck bindings, as opposed to neck bands. The difference is that a neck binding folds over the entire neckline from underneath, completely encasing the seam allowance and helping the neckline to lay flat. It is a super clean finish inside and out. After making these two garments this way, I may never go back to bands again!

The only disappointment with this top is the fabric - after two wears it is already pilling like crazy. I am pretty sure I got it at Joann's, but I can't find a link. Are there any good tells of fabric quality (other than the price tag) before buying a knit like this??? Have any of your favorite sewing projects ever been ruined by bad fabric? Commiserate with me in the comments below! Lol - and thanks for reading!

❤ Sally

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sewing Friends, Marriage, and Flamingos

This is Ashley, blogger of Craft Sanctuary, and me, at the rehearsal dinner for her wedding this past July :) We like to tell people we met online. Which is true - thanks to the online sewing/blogosphere. When she moved to Chicago in February of 2014, we met up in person and have been super sewing friends ever since! Who would have guessed that two years later I would be attending her gorgeous wedding :)

Okay, anyways, back to the flamingo dress! I whipped this thing out in an HOUR - of course, the day of the rehearsal dinner. As you do. I had a dress already for the big day, but wanted to sew something to wear for my sewing friend's wedding festivities, and last minute, I had this flamingo epiphany!

This flamingo poly-crepe from Blackbird Fabrics had been sitting in my stash for awhile - it was sheer enough that it needed lined. My epiphany was that this dress pattern - McCall's 7405 - would be a snap to line, and the unstructured shape would be perfect for the drape of the fabric! And I could definitely sew it in an hour... right?

After cutting out the pieces, I stitched the lining to the main fabric along the armholes, which gave a nice finish. I then stitched the side seams and hemmed the lining and main fabric separately, serged the necklines together, folded over to make the casing for the neck-tie, topstitched, and pulled the neck-tie through. One hour. Done.

Pattern: McCall's 7405 -  Misses' Gathered-Neckline Dresses with Ties

Fabric: Flamingo print poly-crepe from Blackbird Fabrics (no longer available)

Sizing: Size 12 - fit is adjustable thanks to the ties, but I could probably have made a 10. I feel like McCall's patterns run large in the shoulders/arms.

The dress pattern comes with a pattern for your own tie belt, but I already had this awesome flamingo pink belt in my closet. The dress is also quite cute without a belt, especially in the hot summer, but I will almost always belt it as I like a defined waist.

So there you have it! The saga of the flamingo dress I made in an hour to wear to Ashley's rehearsal dinner. That crazed hour of sewing (and Josh saying "seriously... you're going to finish this before we have to leave?) was all made worth it when, at the rehearsal dinner, Ashley's Grandma came up to me and said "You must be Ashley's sewing friend - that fabric is so her!" :) :) :)

❤ Sally

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Gray Bow Chambray Southport

Hello there! Today I have a Southport dress (pattern by True Bias) made up in a gray chambray with white bows and dots (Gertie fabric at Joann's). This dress has been my summer uniform - as I'm sure it is for many other seamstresses - especially in a cool cotton fabric.

This dress is the second in my backlog of summer sewing projects, officially sewn around 4th of July - finished instagram photo here. Originally I was going to use this fabric for my sleeveless Sureau dress (evidence on IG) but the idea of the gray chambray as a casual Southport quickly took over :)

Pattern: Southport dress by True Bias

Fabric: Gray Bow Chambray by Gertie from Joanns (no longer available online - may be in the red tag clearance section in store)

Sizing: Size 6 bodice, with 1.5" FBA and 2" added length - For skirt, I cut the largest size at hips and graded to size 6 at waist

Overall this was a fairly simple dress to make. Look twice at the directions for the bias tape at the neckline - it was not my typical method so I had to do some unpicking, but I really like the finish. Oh! And my buttons are sewn straight through both button plackets - no button holes necessary - as this dress easily pulls on and I was feeling lazy ;)

When was a time you took a "seamstress only knows" shortcut in sewing a garment? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

❤ Sally

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sleeveless Sureau Dress

Hello friends! Welcome to my back-log of summer sewing projects :) I decided to take some quick photos and try to post these garments before the "official" end of the summer (Sept 21st). Sorry in advance for clogging up your blog reader! (Not sorry, actually - I'm so proud of myself ;) At the end I will do a quick post on how I took all the photos for these posts in a 60 minute session with just me, my point-and-shoot camera and tripod, and a sunny sewing room!

First up, a sleeveless Sureau dress. The fabric is a lightweight cotton with tiny stripes from Joann's, purchased a couple years ago - YAY sewing from the STASH! :) It is very lightweight and cool - perfect for summer! But also wrinkle happy - ah well. I love the details of this dress, especially the gathers and buttons on the bodice.

Pattern: Deer and Doe Sureau dress, sleeveless variation (*using old pattern - see below for adjustments)

Sizing: 40 at bust/waist - cut larger skirt to fit hips :)


- Pinched out a 3/8" wedge from neckline on each side to prevent gaping
- Took in 5/8" at side seam under arms, grading back to size 40 at waistline
- Took 1" off armscye at shoulder
- Lengthened the bodice by 1" - could still add more length
- Lapped zipper at side seam
- Interfaced button band
- Finished arm-holes with bias tape
- Added slash pockets, using Belladone pattern pieces - I love pockets but didn't think it through that the lapped zipper seam would make one pocket smaller than the other.

Yes, there were a lot of alterations to get it to fit just right, but it turned out to be a much more wearable version than my first attempt :) And I think the Sureau re-release has fixed some of the fit issues as well, and added a variation drafted to be sleeveless!

I have the bodice of a Centaurée sewn up in this fabric as well! I want to make a peplum top, but I can't decide what to use for the straps? A solid color or the same stripey fabric? What are your thoughts?

From my Instagram... two years ago :( Lol
Stay tuned for more summer sewing! And thanks for reading :)

❤ Sally

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Black Bow Bruyère

Still in the Deer & Doe groove, this time with a sleeveless version of their button-down Bruyère shirt.

While I don't have the new updated version of the pattern with the sleeveless option, it was pretty easy to figure out! I adjusted the armscye slightly, as advised by this tutorial, and used bias binding to finish the armhole. I also shortened and straightened the hem due to lack of fabric.

Size wise, I took my own advice from two years ago and made a size 38 shoulders, 39? bust (graded out a bit), and 40 waist. It fits really well and thanks to the sturdiness of the fabric, there is no gaping between buttons. Perhaps my slapdash grading at the bust helped a little with that as well ;)

Fabric: Cotton - Bows On Black The fabric is actually a quilting cotton from Joann's but I loved the print so much I decided to get it. I don't like how much it wrinkles and shows fuzz, but the bows match my hair, so there's that :) I also used this fabric as my pocket bags for my recently sewn Safran pants!

Love this co-ordinating necklace! BOWS 4-EVAH!
I finished this top just in time for picture day at my new school! Which makes TWO school pictures in Bruyères! (Last time it was this one :)

In other news, old habits die hard. It is difficult to blog easy breezy! It's been easier for me to ease up on the writing part, but the photos - ugh. I just want my garment to look good without putting a lot of effort in! Any tips for this sewing perfectionist trying not to be a blogging perfectionist so she has more time to sew? Lol - thanks for reading!

❤ Sally

Have coffee.... Will teach music :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My First Pants - SAFRAN by Deer & Doe

I. Made. Pants.

 Pants, yo. Pants.

This is the most proud moment of my entire sewing career thus far.

These are not only stylish and comfortable, but they are an absolute essential in my daily wardrobe. I cannot think of another garment I have made that will get as much wear as these. In the black fabric they are a little dressier, which means I can wear them for school. Teacher life WIN!

I had never given a second thought to making my own pants, satisfied with a drawer full of Loft's tall curvy fit jeans. However, when Deer & Doe offered me the opportunity to review and blog about their new pattern, I had to say yes. I loved the sleek front pockets and curvy high rise shape. And I love the fit of everything else they have ever drafted, so I had a lot of confidence that these would work out. And they did! The directions and illustrations were easy to follow, even that tricky fly. The finished garment looks professional inside and out.

Pattern: Deer & Doe Safran pants, view A

Size: 46, graded to 42 at waist
- Added 3/8" seam allowance at inseams and side-seams - after fitting, removed side seam extra
- Added 1.5" length at hem

Sizing Tips *My full/low hip measurement put me off the sizing chart, but with the stretch denim and a little extra room added at the seams, I had no problem fitting into the top size :) The design favors pear-shaped bodies, so if you are pear-shaped like me try choosing a size based on your high hip measurement instead.

This is a good post on how to take waist / high hip / low hip measurements:

One more consideration - my height (6') means that my high hip falls where an average height person's full hip would, which definitely affects the sizing as well. The standard measurement for waist to hip is 9" long, but mine is 13" - this moves where I need to add wiggle room

Fabric: Designer Black 8oz Stretch Denim from Cali Fabrics (I got the last two yards - sorry!)
Cotton/lycra with 20% 2-way stretch

Now, I know in the last post I committed to an easier, breezier blog style and this post may not seem to follow that ideal. However, these pants deserved a little extra special attention ;) As a compromise, I decided to post lots of pics, but not worry about editing them or scrutinizing the text too much. Baby steps :)

I plan on making another pair of Safrans very soon, with this cute star-print denim.

So, have you ever made pants? If yes, what do you think? If no, what's holding you back? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. and thanks for reading!

❤ Sally

P.S. Remember that one time I made my own pants? :D