Friday, June 9, 2017

Much Needed Maritime Shorts


Just a short post here to share these Grainline Maritime shorts that are so useful.  I have needed a new pair of denim shorts for a long time and I finally was able to make these up.  

Pattern:

Although I don't relish showing the back of these shorts to the internets I think its really helpful for others who are making this pattern to see all angles of the final garment.  The Grainline Maritime is a short shorts pattern, just be forewarned (Hanni, I guess I forgot to mention this to you back when?).  I have always added about 1 1/2 inches of length since first making a muslin a few years back.  I am not what I would call tall, 5'5" and my legs are on the shorter side so take all that into account if you are unsure about the length of these shorts.  
The rest of the fit is really well.  I love the comfort of these shorts and they look so put together.  For next time I will definitely scoop out the back crotch more. 

The directions for this pattern are not great, just sayin'.  I have been able to navigate them but a new sewist will more than likely have some issues.  The fly instructions are not the best, I usually pull out an old pair of maritime shorts to see how I put them together in the past.  

 Fabric:

I sewed them up in a short length bought at Hancocks quite some time ago.  The denim has a lot of stretch and is on the lighter side as far as weight goes.  This pattern uses so little fabric that I could probably squeeze them out of a yard of fabric using alternate insides.  

I have plans for making another pair in an adorable ikat sateen bought years ago at Fabric Mart.  They are on my cutting table but are behind a few other things that I am currently working on. 


This is how I wear these shorts, chasing after people who climb on climbing rocks and ropes.  Lifting, bending, squatting etc.  So they fit well into my casual wardrobe and match almost any top in my closet. 

I am coming up short on creative things to say about these shorts, they are a great basic and its pieces like this that go with ALL THE TOPS in my wardrobe- so less time wondering what to match up and more time chasing the cute small ones in my life! 



I hope your summer is off to a great start and thanks for reading!
Elizabeth

Monday, May 29, 2017

Six Skirts for Summer






When Julie at Fabric Mart shared that Fabric Mart would host a skirt challenge month in May I knew I wanted to participate but an honest evaluation of my closet revealed a gaping hole- and it wasn't skirts.  

I have PLENTY of skirts, and most of them handmade!  What I was lacking were suitable tops that looked great with my skirts.    

This is where I turned to the Closet Case Nettie, a full bodysuit.  I blogged mostly about the Nettie pattern on the Fabric Mart blog and promised that I would speak to all the skirts I paired with it on this blog.  So here ya go.



Skirt #1

This skirt was a Christmas present from my Mom some years ago.  It is an awesome wrap skirt that ties at the back, the skirt portion is all one printed piece.  I love this skirt, so comfortable and the design is so fun.  I have tried to find a similar pattern and the closest I have come is in the book Shape Shape 2. Its a pattern for a seamless wrap skirt that has a waistband and ties.  

Its possible to get a similar look from McCall's 7129 but it looks a little more full to my eye than the skirt I am wearing.   



Just a side note, aren't these huge whimsical flowers awesome!  I happened to notice them when I went to sign up for a quilting class and convinced my husband to snap a few pictures with them.  




Skirt #2

I made this skirt a couple of years ago for work purposes.  It is sooo hot here in the summers and I though this rayon challis maxi would be great for summer work days.  Its McCall's 7096 and I just never got around to blogging it.  I remember being so proud of my stripe matching when I made it, especially at the back since I had to piece the fabric together to get enough length.  Those stripes match all the way around!



This skirt is a good pattern, I made it in a gorgeous blue and you can that one here.  The fabric is a rayon challis from Hancock Fabrics, I still miss you Hancocks!  It has a good weight to it, a little more substantial than some rayon challis. 



Skirt #3

I posted this skirt last August and wrote about it here.  It is a really luxurious skirt, charmeuse feels so good and knowing that my Mom and Grandmother both wore this pattern elevates everything about it to me.  I loved the way it paired so perfectly with this bodysuit.  Since charmeuse can show every little lump and bump the bodysuit worked great to smooth things out in the caboose area. Just sayin. 




The pattern is a paneled, gathered wrap skirt.  McCall's 5430 might achieve something similar, plus it has a ruffle option and I am seeing ruffles everywhere these days!   


If you are new to working with charmeuse, I will say it again, get yourself some Sullivans fabric stabilizer and stabilize that shifty fabric.  It can be real pain to sew charmeuse without some form of stabilizer.  



Skirt #4

I made this Hollyburn skirt by Sewaholic about two years ago and rarely wear it. I don't think I was really very happy with the tops I paired it with and the top in the original blog post is long gone, a mishap with a jumping dog and his untrimmed claws.  Now with a great top to pair it with it will see more outings!  Yippee!   



As far as the Hollyburn skirt pattern goes, I remember it being a really enjoyable sew and I don't know why I haven't tried my hand at one of the longer versions, need to do that.  The pockets are great and I love the fullness of the skirt, its just enough not to be too vintage looking.  Not that there's anything wrong with vintage its just not my strong preference.


Skirt #5

I can't recall that I ever blogged this skirt.  It is from the Built By Wendy Sewing book.  I really love that little book, I bought it at the beginning of my sewing journey and its a great little introduction to sewing and making your projects your own.  The denim used here was thrifted and has no stretch.  I drafted the pockets and added the belt loops.  Its a great skirt. It does have the tendency to cling to this bodysuit, not sure why but, meh, it doesn't keep me from wearing them together.  




I love a good A-line skirt pattern and have used this one several times.  I looked over a few sewing pattern company's offerings and I didn't spot a simple A-line off the bat.  I am sure there has to be one out there, but if you like the idea of a denim skirt with similar styling to mine I suggest McCall's 7475.  It has some of the features that I added to mine, pockets, belt loops and a yoke (which I didn't add).  Do note that its a little fuller than mine.    





Skirt # 6

I love so many things about this Simplicity pattern Cynthia Rowley skirt (2215).  It is so sad that its out of print (oop) because it has so many cute features that I haven't seen elsewhere.  The pleats are not uniform, which makes them fun to sew and the side pockets are so well explained and placed.  The invisible zipper is magically incorporated in the side pocket and the included instructions were wonderful.  



I blogged about this skirt along with a lot of other spring separates in this post. As you can see its a pretty full skirt but the style is so fun to wear that I can overlook the excessive fluff. 

I used a cotton eyelet from Fabric Mart and jimmied my own lining out of yellow linen. 


There you have it, six skirts for summer...and the Nettie bodysuit works so well with all of them.  I have to hand it to my husband for taking all these pictures, there were a lot of wardrobe changes but I was so excited to see how well the bodysuit paired with my skirts that I kept saying "just one more, let me see how it looks!"  

I hope you feel inspired to try your hand at either a bodysuit or a summer skirt and make your significant other take lots of pictures of you too! :)


Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
Elizabeth

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Me Made May Week 2 (for me)

I continued (as best I could!) with documenting the handmade garments I wore each day this week.  I have a couple of days that just didn't work out but here are the ones that did!

 Sunday:
This is a dress that I LOVE, its Butterick 6446 made in a cotton/linen gauze from Fabric Mart.  I wore it to church and its a great pattern, highly recommend.  Of course I changed into something more comfortable and casual after church but can't remember what that was.  My girlies (below) were also in Me Made dresses.  These were their Easter dresses (unblogged) and they look sooooo cute, I'm not biased! Promise!





Monday:
Now this picture was taken for my May Fabric Mart post, not on Monday but since I wore this Monday and knew I already had a photo of it, I DID NOT bother to re-take a picture of the outfit. The top is a modified McCalls OOP pattern and the shorts are Megan Nielsen's Flint shorts which I pattern tested in the fall.  This was the first time I wore the shorts all day and they were sooo comfy.  I will definitely need another pair of these, so breezy in our Georgia heat.


Tuesday:
Its obvious that I love these Grainline Maritime shorts (fabric from Hancocks).  They work so well for me.  The perfect length, great pockets, sit closely to the small of back- which is a minor miracle. The only thing that I will adjust next time is the back crotch curve.  I just need a little more of a scooped out curve back there.
This was a Grainline day because the top in an unblogged Lark tee in a Fabric Mart Precut knit.  So soft!


Wednesday:
This is a Grainline Alder made some time back in a quilting cotton.  Its a cheery dress and good for casual days.

Thursday:
No picture on Thursday because I was elbows deep in scrubbing bathroom floors, walls and toilets, changing soiled bedsheets, cleaning carpets, washing a child twice, changing garbage can liners, fetching apple juice, changing DVDs etc, can any of you Moms out there guess what was going on?!! My child had an upper and lower GI virus, ugh, not pretty that day.  I almost didn't get out of my pajamas on Thursday.

Friday:
A little fancier today since I went into work for a short time, so in contrast to Thursday I got to feel like a human being and get dressed!  This is the infamous McCalls 6886 and it really is a great little pattern.  I get compliments on this dress often and its such an easy make.

Saturday:
I can't report on my outfit for Saturday since it is for an upcoming post for Fabric Mart for their Skirt Sew along month!  I am very excited to share it though, and if you are so inclined Fabric Mart has some fantastic 50.00 gift certificates they are giving away each Monday this month during the sew along.  All you have to do is post a picture of a you-made skirt and include their hashtag and your name goes into the drawing!  Go on over to their blog HERE to see all the details.  I would totally enter every day if I were you! :)

So that's my summary of the second week of Me Made May.  
I hope you are having a great week,
and Happy Sewing!
Elizabeth

Saturday, May 20, 2017

McCalls 6844, A Very Useful Sweater



I am perpetually chilly in air conditioned settings and love a good lightweight knit sweater for the summer.  I began to have cute sweater envy when I saw the Blackwood Cardigan from Helen's Closet and I have always admired Grainline's Driftless cardigan, however I could not justify buying either pattern when I already had a cardigan pattern in my stash, unused but graded for my sizing and cut out and ready to go!

I realized what I liked about the two independent pattern designs were their pockets, cute details and simplicity.  So...I added a few of those things to my McCalls pattern and am super happy with the result.


You can see I added pockets that are simply rectangles and belt carriers which are long tubes of fabric.  I free handed all of these details as well as the tie belt.  Its just a long tube too!


Construction:
The entire sweater was basted on my machine and then serged together with the exception of the pockets and other details.  I stabilized the shoulder seam with twill tape and although the pattern instructed you to ease the shoulder seams together I didn't bother with that detail.

Fabric:
This was a length sent to me in a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart Fabrics.  I believe its a linen knit and probably has no lycra or very little.  Its very breathable and super comfortable.


I find that sometimes the simplest designs with a few added details make me the happiest.  I also find that when I use what's in my stash, practice contentment and get to work I can generate the feeling that I am a good steward of my resources (enter smug self satisfied feelings)- and give myself an excuse to fill the now empty hole in my fabric stash :) !! Ha ha!

Happy Sewing and thanks for reading!
Elizabeth

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Me Made May

I have never ventured into the challenge of documenting my handmade outfits for Me-Made-May before but in a moment of inspiration last weekend I decided to give it a whirl this week.  If you are unfamiliar with Me Made May you can read this blog post: Click here!

Sunday 
Dress is a New Look mock wrap, Fabric is FabricMart ITY
Sweater is a McCalls(6844) pattern in a mystery knit from FabricMart
and I made some modifications to the pattern, added belt carriers, a tie belt and pockets.

As I understand it, Me Made May is the practice of intentionally wearing your handmades during the month of May and mulling over what you wear, why you wear and what you might like to add to your handmade wardrobe.

I wear at least one handmade garment a day on most days and this shouldn't be a huge stretch for me. I have not taken a pledge of any sort, I don't really do pledges anyway (no New Years Pledges either) but I do better with an overarching goal.  So since I wear at least one handmade garment a day anyway I figured I would document each day with a picture this year.  I am a little slow to start and missed the first week but here is my second week!

Monday
 Grainline Alder in a thrifted cotton

Tuesday
 McCalls (7348) T shirt dress in a Modal/lycra from FabricMart
and the sweater tied around my waist is a McCalls (7484) sweater in FabricMart rayon/lycra.

Wednesday
 Butterick (5526) Top in Cotton Voile from Hancocks
Grainline Maritime shorts in a stretch cotton sateen from Hancocks
This is my second favorite outfit of the week, its just about perfect to me, the shorts fit comfortably and I love a button down when I know that I can roll the sleeves down the air conditioned indoors. 

Thursday
 Hey June Raglan made from salvaged(a project that went awry) black rayon lycra and the white ribbed knit is from a 4X white tank bought at Walmart.  

Friday
Picture credit goes to my 4 year old :)
 Simplicity (1167) Tank made from a FabricMart rayon/lycra.

Saturday
 This has to be my favorite outfit of the week.  
The jeans are comfortable and I love this McCalls (7387) top, its very loose and breezy for summer heat but still feels put together. 

Saturday
 That is my first week of Me Made May, I think I will try to keep going and documenting each days outfit including at least one handmade garment.

I can already see that I need at least one more pair of shorts and since I love wearing the McCalls top, I should make another one of those as well.

Well that's it for this week!  
Happy sewing and thanks for reading!
Elizabeth

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Great Basic Knit Dress

So many people have made McCall's 6886, including me.  You can see my version HERE and there is a lot of love on the internet for this pattern which you can find with a quick Google search.  There's good reason why so many love 6886... it has just a few pattern pieces, the fit is forgiving, and it can be made up in a variety of knits.  All good reasons to sew it up.

But I think I have found a new favorite knit dress and I will tell you why!  But first here is the dress in action...




McCall's 6355 is such an unassuming little pattern.  Looking at the cover may potentially be off-putting since it is slightly dated from all the other pattern covers.  Another reason you might pick it up and then discard it is the back line art.
Side note: I always examine the line art of a pattern because it gives you a clean slate (no busy fabric patterns to distract you) to study.

The back line art on this pattern really short changes the pattern because it doesn't include the optional bodice darts built into the pattern for additional fitting adjustments (you can see the bust darts but not the other four darts included).



If you read the pattern description on the back it does mention the darts but if you are like me, very visual, you might look at the drawing and completely miss this important detail.  Another awesome feature of this pattern is that it is made for wovens and knits.
Disclaimer: I have not made it up in wovens so I can't speak to exactly how it behaves with wovens but is a great idea and very intriguing to me.

Another feature of this pattern are the neckline and armscye finishing.  There are specific pattern pieces for those finishes and I always appreciate their inclusion in a pattern since it means I don't have to fiddle with figuring it out myself.  BTW I always shorten those pieces for a closer fit around the neck an arm on all big four patterns.

But wait!! There's more!  One more thing about this pattern that I love is that it is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern.  Palmer/Pletsch patterns always include extra fitting lines/adjustments already drawn on the pattern.  I love this detail since I almost always have to make a small sway back adjustment and its already on the pattern, I just fold it out!

For those of you who are curious about the comparison between 6886 and the above 6355, here is the line art for the 6886 (below) and you can see there are no darts on this pattern, that's part of the reason why it is great for beginner knit sewists.  Also the lack of darts on 6886 makes it great for knits with patterns that you don't want broken up with darts (the dress I made here is a perfect example since bodice dart would interrupt the cute aztec print).



So if you are pattern shopping soon maybe you will give 6355 a second glance, its a great alternative to 6886 and IMHO there's just more bang for your buck, or your buck plus .99, depending on the sale.

The fabric I used for mine is a Fabric Mart jacquard double knit and worked perfectly.  The consistency of the fabric masks any lumps or bumps and is very comfortable to wear.  The scattered print also works great since it masks the darts.  I love the fit of this dress, it is figure flattering in that it doesn't cling but still is shaped closely enough to look good.

Ok that's my infomercial for this pattern, hope it was helpful or gave you some ideas for your own projects!  If you are interested I wrote up an entire post on the Fabric Mart Fabricista's blog with a variety of Spring separates. You can read that HERE.

Happy Stitching!
Elizabeth


Friday, April 14, 2017

J. Crew Knock Off Easter Dress


Pattern Review has a great contest running right now called Barganista Fashionista.  Its a knock off contest where you are required to make your own bargain based version of a pricier garment.  Now I realize that there are far more expensive dresses I could have attempted to knock off and that you could probably buy something cheaper than my version at a big mall sale but for me, sewing is that opportunity to craft something with your own two hands using higher quality fabric than can be bought at the mall and most importantly it is the embodiment of creative expression that comes as a result of planning, cutting, stitching, imagining.


The inspiration for this dress came when I saw this J. Crew dress in a magazine last summer I loved the design, it had several elements I love in a dress.  The mock wrap front, pleated skirt, pockets, and waist tie.  I have learned that although I could probably have bought this dress at some point online and on sale, I could guarantee that the store bought version would never fit me like my me-made version.  Sooo when Butterick released pattern 6446 I knew it would be a great Easter dress!!  Yippee!


The printed fabric is from Fabric Mart last spring.  It was deeply discounted if I remember correctly.  Its a cotton/linen gauze and is super sheer.  Its also so well behaved, it pressed beautifully and was not slippery or unruly when handling like a silk or chiffon, so it was a pleasure to work with as far as sheer fabrics go. I underlined the entire garment with cotton poplin from Hobby Lobby.  I don't often, if hardly ever, buy apparel fabrics from Hobby Lobby but this poplin worked beautifully.  It gives the skirt an element of fullness that it needs and the structure necessary to support the gauze.



A few notes on the pattern.  I had to fiddle with the armscye a bit and used the tissue fitting method to get a good idea of the changes necessary for a good fit.  Now normally I don't have to fiddle with the armscye drafting in big four patterns but I don't know, this one needed to be lowered a bit and shaved off a bit more than my normal for narrow shoulders.  Looking at the back picture I think that back arm area could use some more shaving off and shaping too, just looks too wide back there for my taste.  

Other minor pattern changes included a small dart at the back neckline, sway back dart, grading that I always have to do for my sizing, 8 shoulders (smaller in this case), 10 bust, 12 waist, 14 hips.   


I am soooo glad I finished this in time to coordinate with the girlies this Easter!  I finished their dresses earlier and was really hoping to finish mine so we can be all matchy matchy :)  Can't wait to take pictures with them in their dresses too especially since the 4 year old LOVES her dress soooo much and asks to wear it every day :) makes my Momma heart smile.

Ok well that sums it all up for me time to go enjoy some sunshine!
Happy sewing!
And thanks for reading!
Elizabeth