Monday, December 18, 2017

Carolyn Pajamas x 2

Hi guys! This fall, I sewed up two pairs of Carolyn Pajamas, one in flannel and one in rayon challis. The pattern is available here, from Closet Case Patterns. 

For the first pair, I used Kaufman Mammoth Flannel in the colorway Plaid Red/Black. It is such nice, thick, cozy fabric! It's easy to cut, easy to sew, and feels really nice to wear. It comes in a ton of different plaid combinations.

click the image above for an affiliate link to this fabric

Because I'm tall (5'10"), I added a couple inches to the shirt front and back, sleeves, and pant legs. But I ended up trimming off some of the pant legs and sleeves, and I could have left off some of the shirt length, too. Next time I will probably only add one inch to each piece.

I had already made pjs for both of my kids and for my husband from Mammoth Flannel, and I'm so happy to join them in wearing such soft, warm pajamas! I might be putting them on a little early in the evenings and staying in them extra late into the mornings, but who's counting?

The second pair is a whole different animal, made of silky, drapey rayon challis. 

This is Cotton + Steel fabric, designed by Rifle Paper Co., Les Fleurs Rayon Challis Birch Floral Enamel. Click the sample above for a direct link to buy (it's an affiliate link). It is really nice fabric. Everything from Cotton + Steel is great quality, and this is no exception. I've used this design in all three colorways! 

It's not too shifty, like some silky fabrics can be. I did have to use a silky trick for sewing the buttonholes, though. My machine was having trouble getting a grip on the fabric with the automatic buttonhole function, so I tore small pieces of tissue paper and placed it under the fabric for the feed dogs to grab. After sewing, I just tore off the tissue paper. That worked perfectly. 

I made both pairs of pajamas at the same time, so I lengthened and then trimmed this set the same amount as the flannel set. For both, I used View A, which is the simpler version, without any piping. Next time, maybe I will try adding the piping, but for sure I will add the cuffs on the sleeves and pant legs. I think that will look great. There is also a summer version with shorts and a short-sleeved shirt that I'd like to make. 

I'm loving having new pjs in fabric that I adore! I often sleep in yoga pants and t-shirts, or else some flannel pjs that I've been wearing for 10 years. These two pairs definitely feel like a step up!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Made: So Faded Sweater

Hi guys, I finished knitting my So Faded Sweater! 

Ta da!

Originally, I only planned to use white, black, and grey yarns, but I found a skein of Electric Rainbow in my stash and knew I had to add it in. I love how it turned out!

I used all Madelinetosh yarn. The colors, from top to bottom, are:
Night Fell
Electric Rainbow
Smokestack Optic (just the grey ribbed hem and cuffs)

I think I'll be wearing this a lot this winter. I have several other knitting projects on the needles and in my queue, but it would be fun to make another one of these someday in a different color scheme. I wonder if either of my kids would wear one. A children's version might knit up pretty quickly!

Here's the So Faded pattern on Ravelry
And here's the children's pattern on Ravelry

I'm using the leftover yarn to make a pair of socks (one down, one to go). I think I might make a habit of using up extra sweater yarn to make matching socks - could I be any knit-nerdier??

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Shirt No. 1 With Lizzy House Lawn

Hey guys, don't you love Sonya Philip's patterns? They're so straightforward, you can make very simple garments or use them as starting points for all kinds of embellishments and variations. The creator herself often layers multiple bright colors and prints to create fun outfits. You can see some of her cheery, creative combinations on her website, or on Instagram.

I bought my Shirt No. 1 pattern a while ago through her Etsy site, here. If I were you, though, I'd join Creative Bug for the free trial and get the pattern and video instruction by Sonya! She even includes a couple of variations to try.

I didn't change or embellish this one at all. I'm just letting the fabric shine, along with the nice, boxy shape of the top. I used this lawn from the Lizzy House Printmaking line. There are so many good prints in this line!

This shirt is the standard length, and it feels a leetle bit cropped on me (I'm 5'10"). Sometimes I add an inch or two to the length of this pattern. 

An interesting and potentially intimidating aspect of this pattern is that she has you determine the neckline for yourself. You are instructed to put the shirt on and then decide how low, how wide, or how scooped to cut the neck. Instead of going purely on your own, you could compare to another shirt or pattern that you like. 

I like this little push to make a design decision for yourself. I think it builds confidence for those of us who always just follow the pattern instructions and don't make many modifications or personalizations. It can be really freeing to be reminded that you are allowed to customize! 

This semi-crisp, lightweight lawn doesn't cling or stick; it was perfect for the heat of the summer. As I'm typing, it's October and it's only 39 degrees Farenhiet tonight. Of course that means that this shirt just became a layering piece. It will look great under any cardigan or hoodie.

I love making tops that are as easy to wear as t-shirts, but that look a whole lot nicer. If I had a longer attention span, I'd churn out a dozen of these!

*Some of the links above are affiliate links. If you click through and buy something, I might make a small commission. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Willamette Shirt in Cotton Voile

So... several months ago I said on Instagram that I would complete the Summer of Basics challenge: to sew or knit or make three self-defined "basic" garments during June, July, and August. I only made two of the pieces I had intended to make, and here's the first one:

This is my first Willamette shirt, designed by Hey June Patterns. I used kind of a wild print for something considered a "basic", but I think it could go with almost any neutral pants, shorts, or skirt. It could be super casual, with a Hawaiian shirt vibe, or even business casual, tucked into the right skirt or pants. It can cover a lot of bases, so I consider it a basic.

The fabric is an organic cotton voile from Cloud 9 fabrics. The design is called Yucca Paloverde. It's a little sheer, so I didn't wear this without a tank top underneath. In the summer, I don't like to have to layer multiple shirts, so I didn't wear this as much as I thought I would. But now that the temps have cooled off, I don't mind wearing layers. 

See how it bows out a bit in the lower back? What causes that, and what modification would I make to prevent that?

I made two mistakes when sewing this shirt, and I want to record them so I don't repeat them when I make the next one. 

1. I used interfacing that was too heavy. I debated between the lightweight and the slightly heavier, and I chose the sturdier one, thinking I wanted the collar to have a bit more structure. That would be fine for the collar, but the whole placket is interfaced and when I sit down, it wants to stay standing up. It isn't a huge problem, but it would be better if the placket were softer and more flexible. 

*Note to self: always match the interfacing weight to the fabric weight.*

2. I forgot to lengthen the placket pattern piece! I added 2 inches to the length of the shirt, but forgot to change the facing. I just sewed on extra fabric to the bottoms of the facing pieces, which no one can see since they're on the inside of the shirt. But there are two extra seams in there.

Even though my expression says, "Stop telling lame jokes," I really like this shirt. I'll show you my second completed basic item next time (and tell you what I failed to make for the third garment). 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Satiny Black Ogden Cami

Hi guys! Here is my second Ogden cami (pattern from True Bias). I used a black silky satin charmeuse fabric with nice drape and no clinginess, found on here (that's an affiliate link).

I made this one around the same time as my blue Lizzy House one, and I didn't make any modifications. 

Next time, I will make a couple of modifications that I mentioned in my last post: raising the front neckline by an inch and widening the straps. I will keep the back as-is, though. I like how deep the v-neck is, without showing a regular bra band.  

I wore this Ogden tank out to dinner when we were in Las Vegas this summer, and I didn't feel at all like a frumpy mom. SUCCESS!

This past week, it was cooler outside, so I wore it under a cardigan (to go to a meeting at school). I can see myself reaching for this top (and its upcoming sisters) year-round, and for a variety of outfits. It's great as a standalone tank top and as a layering piece.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Lizzie House Ogden Cami

Hi guys! I guess I inadvertently took the summer off from blogging, but I didn't take the summer off from making things. Here's a good one to start with: the ubiquitous Ogden Cami from True Bias. I see so many of these on my Instagram feed!

I used this cotton lawn designed by Lizzy House, and it is gorgeous. It's very lightweight and is great for summer tops.  

Lizzy House Printmaking Lawn Nosara Blue (affiliate link)

I will probably make more of these camis, but I may make a few changes to the pattern. I'd like to widen the straps a bit, to cover up bra straps. In the photo below, I can see my bra straps on both sides! I don't mind them showing a little, but wider straps would be a nice variation to try next time. 

I also might raise the front neckline by an inch, since I'm often leaning over to take care of my kids, or picking up my 4-year old. I'd rather have more coverage at this stage of life. 

This pattern sews up quickly! It's a great, satisfying half-day make. I've made two Ogden camis so far and I can envision making a few more in other fabrics, if I don't get distracted by other projects.  

Have you made any Ogden camis? Did you sew a lot this summer, or do you sew more when it's cold outside?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My First Kalle Dress

Hiya! I'm calling this post "My First Kalle Dress" because I'm already planning to make a couple more. There are a few variations included in the pattern, so it will be easy to make multiple Kalles without feeling like you are boring.

I made version 3, the shirt dress with high-low hem and button placket. I used off-white linen and vintage mother of pearl buttons. 

It's plenty long enough in the back, but a bit too short for me on the sides. I don't think I'd be comfortable wearing it out and about without leggings or something underneath. I actually think it would look better over skinny jeans than these black leggings, and I'll probably wear them next time. I may just think of this one as a tunic. 

I'm 5'10", so I should have known enough to lengthen it by a few inches, but when I held up the pattern pieces, it seemed like it would be fine as-is. It's probably not too short for most people as-is, but pay attention to the length on the sides!

I think it is super cute, and I already have two pieces of chambray waiting to be made into more Kalles. I think both of those will be opaque enough to be worn without a slip, which is my dream for summertime! It seems so hard to find lightweight dresses and tops that breathe and that aren't see-through. I don't want to wear two shirts or two dresses when it's hot out! 

I love the high-low hem and the loose fit. 

I was tired by the time I got to the sleeve cuffs, and I couldn't make sense of the instructions. I'm not sure I sewed them on according to the pattern. I think they're supposed to turn up, and mine don't. I like how mine turned out, even if they're an unintended modification. I'll try to follow the pattern instructions next time and I wouldn't be surprised if they are clear when I'm not super tired. 

My other problem with this dress was my choice of marking tools. I used a pink Clover chalk marker, and the pink chalk was really difficult to wash out of this fabric! I also used a mechanical pencil to mark my button holes, and I'm not sure those lines will ever be gone. 

I found some tips on a couple of quilting websites, so I washed the dress with a lot of white vinegar, which lightened the marks a bit. Then I applied vinegar and baking soda and gently scrubbed with a laundry brush (I was trying to clean right around the button holes and I didn't want to make them fray). Then I washed it again with extra vinegar and decided it was good enough.

Now the marks are much lighter. I don't think anyone will notice, unless they are inspecting my button holes. So, just my fellow sewists or maybe button hole weirdos (who I just made up, but about whom I'm now imagining a whole novel).

Next time I will use blue chambray that I think will be opaque, add on-seam pockets, lengthen the pattern, and test my fabric marker before drawing all over my fabric. I'm also planning a tunic version in red chambray and for that, I'll probably try the popover version. I think all three Kalles should get a lot of wear this summer.

P.S. my lipstick is a dupe of the color worn by the actress who plays Queen Elizabeth in the Netflix show The Crown. Did you watch it? I had to suffer through the first episode, feeling quite bored and mistrustful of all the people who had recommended it, but then it got really good and I binge watched the rest of the season. Even my husband was watching with me by the end, and he has no interest in royals or period dramas. (And when the heck did I start loving all these shows about queens?? Victoria sucked me in because it stars Clara (Jenna Coleman) from Doctor Who, but I stayed because it was excellent and had such beautiful sets and costumes. Now I love The White Princess, starring the kidnapped girl from Thirteen, Jodie Comer.)

Back to my original ramble, Claire Foy as Elizabeth is always wearing a certain shade of lipstick, and if you watch the whole season quickly, you may find yourself needing to wear the same color. Mine is pretty close, and it's e.l.f. Ravishing Rose. It's very affordable and widely available, so check it out if you want to feel like the Queen of England.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hemlock Shirt, Me Made May + Stuff

Hey guys! How's it going?

So, I first used this Robert Kaufman speckle jersey knit fabric to make a Toaster Sweater.

I love it and was super happy that I had enough left over to make a Hemlock tee.

The Hemlock is a free pattern from Grainline Studio. It doesn't take up much fabric and is super wearable. And it sews up really quickly, so you can wear it pretty soon after you start think of making it. 

How is your May going? I'm loving Me Made May and seeing everyone's outfits! Though I'm having trouble getting my kids to take good photos of me. They are always dying to take photos, except when I really want them to. I may have to use the tripod more often. 

1. Scout tee and Driftless cardigan, both from Grainline Studio

2. Scout tee and Oceanside pants (Blank Slate Patterns)

3. Linden sweatshirt, lengthened (Grainline Studio)

5. Toaster sweater (Sew House Seven)

5 again, after the day warmed up: Scout tee (Grainline Studio)

6. Reeta midi shirtdress from Named Patterns

7. Addison tank with no collar, from Seamwork Magazine

8. Another Scout tee (yes, there are still more to come)

On Saturday my friend and neighbor was the victim of a surprise birthday party. We brought chips and salsa and the best green chile dip, and Lemonade Sangria. It was so pretty! I bookmarked a few different recipes and combined bits and pieces to make this refreshing, yummy drink:

Sangria Lemonade
1 bottle of Chardonnay
1/2 gallon of Lemonade
2/3 cup of Bacardi Limon
1 green apple, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 cup of strawberries, sliced

Combine above ingredients and refrigerate for at least one hour. 

Add 1 cup of seltzer water and serve. 

FIY, the kids I know always want to drink sangria. If you're feeling generous, make some lemonade with fruit floating in it for the kids.

See you soon!