Friday, March 24, 2017

Wish Fulfillment: Inari Dresses

Hello, everybody! I am just finishing out spring break, and I did sooooo much sewing this week. Basically I did all my spring plans in 5 days. And today I had a chance to meet with a friend who lives a ways away to take pictures! She's a semi-professional photographer outside of her studies and takes gorgeous photos.
So here are the first things I made: Inari Dresses. These were made to replace the one I loved and shrunk last summer.

Size: Custom shoulders and sleeves, size 2 everywhere else

Materials: Rayon from JoAnn's and what I think is rayon from a flea-market.

Directions/Construction: Easy-peasy. Their instructions are great, not that I used them this time. I did last summer though and they are good!

Alterations: The big floral one has higher slits up the side (by 5cm) and a slightly shortened front hem. Both have bias bound necklines and sleeves, and no cuffs on the sleeves. I used vintage bias tape that I found. I'm sure it was from my grandmother.

Fit: Sooo much better than last summer! The checkered one is kind of sack-like, though, so I plan to wear it with a belt.

The big floral one is totally my style and I really love it. The other is not quite, but it has been in my head as an Inari for a while so I decided to just go with it. It will be really good for work this summer.

Anyway, enjoy some more pictures of the dresses. They will get worn quite a lot this summer when it's warm.

Again, photo credits go to Caleotte Photography.

Have you folk ever sewn the Inari dress or top?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Late Spring Plans--Less Practical, More Fun

Hello everybody! So now that I finished my cold weather spring sewing, it's time to plan some clothing for warmer climes! Also, Named Patterns released their spring collection and if that didn't give me summery vibes, nothing could. So. Here goes.

First up is something totally impractical, but hey, make for making, right? And wearing, if I can invent an occasion.
This will be a fancy yet simple dress. The top looks like a basic slip dress top--thin straps, V-neck in front and back. The bottom will be either a quarter or half circle skirt, with a handkerchief hemline. I will make a sash of the same fabric to go with it.
What fabric am I using, you ask? Well, here it is.

It's a lovely hammered silk charmeuse in the most gorgeous gold/copper color. It's from Gorgeous Fabrics (they still have it in stock!).
Because it's hammered, it's textured, so I think it will be easier to sew than just plain charmeuse. Also, do any of you have hemming tips for a handkerchief hem? I have no clue.

What I will wear this with: high heels and bare shoulders, if I can get away with it. Honestly, more likely high heels and an olive green sweater, or maybe my cocoon cardigan. I think dark green would be a good foil to this gold/copper color. And olive green looks good on me, so.

Next up, I am planning a few more Inari dresses (by Named Patterns). If you were around last summer, you may remember how much I loved mine and then how sad I was when it shrunk. I didn't have enough fabric left over to make an exact copy, but I do have some similar fabrics I want to use. The checkered one came from a flea-market, and the floral from JoAnn's. I know the floral is rayon, and I suspect the other is a cotton/poly/rayon blend of some sort. In either case, you can rest assured I will definitely wash the fabrics and dry them prior to sewing!

In other good news with the Inari, I washed one of my muslins that was too big, and it came out actually fitting in the shoulders now! This is awesome because that was the part I struggled to fit. Now I can just take that muslin apart and use the shoulders for my pattern, blending back out to the usual waist and hips of the dress.

Third up is a new pattern I want to try. Also by Named, these are the Ninni Culottes. They look so comfortable! Named has said that they would be perfectly suitable in a woven, so I want to make light colored denim ones. I found a lovely modal rayon at JoAnn's that I think will work. It's got plenty of drape.

To make these a little less casual, I want to add faux seaming down the front, with topstitching, and cuffs on the bottoms. I will definitely make them shorter, most likely to just below the knee. I also want to add back pockets with decorative stitching. Basically, I want super comfy pants that look like really wide jean capris. Since they have a high, elastic waist, I know they will be super comfy. I have already seen that Novita has made the Ninni culottes up, and I think they look amazing.

So those are my late spring sewing plans. Do you make sewing plans, or do you sew clothes on a whim?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring Basics--Mostly an Outfit Post

Hello everybody! This week has been going well for me. I received high grades on my exams from last week and I haven't had excessive homework, not to mention it has been sunny a lot.

So last weekend I finished my early spring sewing with my last top. It's pretty basic, not anything new really. But I do have a lot of lovely outfit pictures in which the shirt doesn't really show! Ah, the joys of pretending not to freeze while taking blog photos.

(On another note, some of the girls from my floor walked by as I was posing and started cheering for me.)

Without further ado, my basic long-sleeve floral tee.

Pattern: A personal pattern. The Lark Tee by Grainline and Concord Tee by Cashmerette are similar though.
I've used and hacked this pattern SO MANY TIMES by now.

Fabric: Cotton/spandex knit from the Sage collection by Art Gallery Fabrics, purchased through It's really soft. I highly recommend their knits.

Construction: I used 1 inch hems again and I really like the finish.

Comments: The pattern is really busy, and as I've previously noted with Gillian (down in the comments section), busy prints tend to make me look block-like and squarular. To counteract this, I tried to keep the top very fitted and the sleeves tight too. I also scooped out the neckline. I think it worked! I definitely don't feel overwhelmed in this the way I do in my crazy turtleneck. Of course, the scale of the print may be a factor too. This print is pretty small.

All right, enjoy the rest of my outfit photos, courtesy of KJ!

What are some of your Tried'N'True patterns?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Flipflops in February?? AKA a New Floral Tunic

Hello all! How have you been? I do believe I am getting better, or at least my outlook on life is better, and isn't one's outlook what matters anyway?

Anyway, here I am with a new tunic, in unreasonably warm weather. I'm not sure how I feel about the top but I have been wearing it, so.

Pattern: My go-to pattern this year, S0945, a Simplicity raglan swing dress (with shoulder darts). Here it is shortened into a tunic but all the flare is present. This is the first time I didn't straighten it out.

Size: 8, like always. It's kind of big this time, but that's due to fabric choice.

Materials Used: Telio lightweight sweater knit from It's a poly-rayon blend and is pretty loosely knitted. It has lots of drape and likes to stretch side to side--stabilizing shoulder seams would be a good idea with this fabric. Strangely enough, this fabric keeps me warm when it's above freezing and I'm inside, when normal jerseys wouldn't. It's thin, so I don't know why, but it does.

Construction: This is a basic swing tunic, pretty easy to sew. Like the mustard cardigan, it has lots of straight lines of stitching.
I used 1-inch deep hems on the sleeves and hem, and .5 inch on the neckline, all done with a decorative stitch. It doesn't look like a deco stitch, though, because the fabric stretched out while sewing, and when it relaxed back it decided to look like a basic zig-zag.

Alterations: I decided I didn't want a zipper or button in this tunic, so I widened the back by a tad and cut it on the fold to facilitate pulling it over my head. This was probably unnecessary with the stretchiness of my fabric, but with firmer fabrics it would be very useful.

I originally shortened this by 4 inches, and it had a dress-like length to it--the end was past my finger tips and everything. Then when I was sewing, I messed up a side seam and had to shorten it. Now it is a little too short for my liking but is still long enough to wear with leggings.

I also chose to leave off a neckband of any kind and just turned under the raw edge to stitch it. This makes the neckline more open.

As usual, I had to narrow the sleeves.

Fit: It's a bit too big, I'll be honest. The armholes stretch too low, but I didn't feel like fixing it. The fit right now can best be described as 'secret pyjamas' --which seamstress coined that term? I can't remember. I feel especially pyjama-like when I wear this with leggings. Then I'm basically encapsulated by cozy knits. But it is a tad bit too big for me.

KJ told me to be Marilyn Monroe standing on the grate with the wind blowing. I don't think it worked.
Future Alterations: I can't see myself making another one of these for a good long while, but if I did I would try to keep it a little longer.

Comments: I'm not sure how I feel about this. I've never really been a 'tunic person', and I don't think that's changed. But I like the print and it's turning out to be rather versatile.

Photo credits go to KJ, who takes pictures when I'm not ready and therefore captures some truly 'stunning' expressions.

So that's that. How do you feel about tunics? Love them, hate them, never tried them?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fit to a Tee, Well, Kind of.

Here I am again, with older pictures, but a project I didn't share last time. This is a basic kimono sleeve tee, but it feels trendier than that.

To be honest, I started this top last summer, and didn't like the fit. I then changed the pattern, did a Full Bust Adjustment, and started another version of it. I hadn't finished that one either.
Just a few weeks ago, I was going through my unfinished objects and found this. I tried it on and discovered that now I really like it! So I took it back with me to finish and here it is.

Pattern: The Riff Tee by Cake Patterns, available for free on Craftsy. To access it you do need a Craftsy account, but that is also free. It is a basic tee with kimono sleeves and hem bands.

Size: Cake Patterns uses a grid sizing method that can be a little confusing but turned out okayish for me. I honestly don't remember what size I used. My bust is 32", but my shoulders tend to be narrow so I probably went on the smaller side? I'm not sure.

Materials Used: Rayon/spandex jersey from JoAnn's last spring. I used the wrong side for the bands. Elastic for stabilizing the shoulder seams.

Directions/Construction: I don't remember what the directions were like, and other than figuring out how to make the size, I probably didn't use them... It's a tee with sleeve-hem and neck bands. Pretty easy.
There is elastic in the shoulder seams to make sewing them easier and to stabilize the top when worn.

Alterations: So, I do remember that the arm holes were huge when I first tried the top on. I definitely raised them to make them smaller. This may be because I am skinny.
Also, this top is supposed to have a lower hem band, but when I tried it on again recently, I liked the cropped length and so kept it.
I can't remember if I raised the neckline or it came like this? Oh well.

Fit: It's pretty tight through the chest, and the shoulder seams don't really sit on my shoulders, but that's not atypical for me.

Future Alterations: Honestly, the experience of making this was not good at the time. It was kind of a hassle to figure out my size and then the sleeves were huge, and it just didn't fit the way I wanted, so I doubt I will ever make this pattern again. I'm not saying it's a bad pattern, just that it didn't agree with me.

Comments: I do like the vibes this top has. It has kind of a ringer tee feel to it, even though it has kimono sleeves. And I enjoy the cropped length.

Again, thanks to KJ for the photos.

Have you ever changed your mind about the fit of a garment or had a pattern that seemed more trouble than it was worth?

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Perfect Wardrobe Addition: Long Mustard Cardigan

Hello, all ! How are your lives going? Mine has been pretty stressful, but it's getting better. I do love my inorganic chem class, and calculus isn't even that bad. My family still needs prayers, but we are getting through.
Anyway, so last time I posted, it was about sewing plans. And guess what ?! I did one of the projects, and I LURVE IT SO MUCH. *insert heart eye emojis here* It's fabulous. Here it is: The Most Perfect Long Cardigan in the Color of Mustard.

Pattern: Traced off an Old Navy cardigan from years ago and modified to be looser and longer. If you don't want to trace one off, the Esme cardigan by Named or the Driftless cardigan by Grainline are similar, albeit different lengths. But that could be changed.

Materials Used: Telio rib knit from It's a poly/rayon/spandex blend, but it's not very stretchy at all. The right side looks nice but the wrong side looks very polyester-ish. I think it will pill easily but I can't bring myself to really care.

Trying to twirl.
Construction: Long cardigans involve a LOT of stitching in straight lines. Good for beginners but kind of boring for me.
I did deep hems on the sleeves and hem--1 and 2 inches respectively-and I love how professional it looks. I used a stretchy decorative stitch on the all hems.
I finished the neckline with a band, cut a little bit shorter than the actual length so it wouldn't stretch out. I topstitched this so it looks more professional.

Alterations: Sometime, years ago, I had traced out this pattern. Also years ago, I modified it to be looser. When I cut it out, I added a net ten inches to the length (added 12 then cut off 2) and a few inches to the sleeves, and widened the sleeves a bit.
I did end up lowering the "neckline", or where the front pieces meet, because it really looked like a dress and that is not what I was going for.

Fit: It's kind of tight through the shoulders and sleeves. It fits but it's kind of hard to get a long sleeve shirt underneath. I have done that, but it's hard.

Yeah, I can't twirl.
Future Alterations: I still need to add patch pockets and buttons. I'm picturing cognac colored fake wood (or real wood) ones. I saw some at JoAnn's that will work.

Why it's a Perfect Wardrobe Addition: I love it, first of all.

Maybe I can twirl?
Also, the color matches almost everything I own. It looks great with greens, rusts, reds, denims, neutrals, you name it, yet it still is a vibrant shade all its own. Basically, it acts like a neutral without looking like one, and to me that rocks. I get bored in neutrals but this is so lovely.

The style works for all seasons. As demonstrated by my hat and scarf picture, it is great for winter. Never mind the fact that we don't have winter weather currently. It also looks great with my red Keds, not pictured, for spring. I can imagine this with dusty pink shorts and sandals in summer, and I love it with cuffed jeans. Also, mustard is totally an autumn color! This is so versatile for the seasons.

I can dress this up a bit, if I wear it with a dress and heels (heels are pictured) or it can serve as a surrogate bathrobe if need be. The style really suits whatever it needs to suit.

All this combines to make a Perfect Wardrobe Addition, and I am overly pleased with it. It's really professional-looking and I just adore it.
This weekend I have more sewing from plans lined up--my tunic is next.
Photography is thanks to my lovely friend KJ, and this has probably been the most photo fun I've ever had. Twirling was so much fun and so was everything else.

What have been some of you all's Perfect Wardrobe Additions, me-made or not?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Letting Go of Fantasy Spring

Hello all, I hope you have all had reasonably nice weeks...
Anyway, so it's February. Spring clothing lines are coming out, even swimsuits. (Really? Swimsuits in February?) And spring colors are coming in style too... All together I am tired of winter, but as one of the girls on my dorm floor said, "Cropped jeans don't look good with frostbite."

I had to come to the realization that spring where I am doesn't happen until, like, May. Late May. As much as I want it to be warm and not slushy, it's not going to happen.
This is kind of like when Caroline of Un-Fancy had to come to terms with what she calls "fantasy fall". She lives much farther south than I do and knew that as much as she wanted to dress in stereotypical autumn garments, it's not practical.
I'm like that with spring. Here, we don't have much of a warm spring. So, even though I'm craving spring colors and styles, winter ones are still in effect.


Make clothes using spring colors but still in winter silhouettes. That means long sleeves, cardigans, tall socks, but happy tall socks. Pink tall socks. Pretty colors.

Knowing this, I went to look at jersey knits on It's an easy place to see lots of options all at one time, and their design wall feature means you can play around with pairing fabrics for a palette, perhaps. Which is what I did.

I originally chose about 8 fabrics. Sorry, I didn't keep the snap of them all. Then I went through them, judging them on similarity to others, whether the color was nuanced or straight out of a crayon box, and their ability to match my closet already. Then I went through and tried to come up with a pattern for each fabric. If I couldn't easily think of something compatible, it was ditched.
I was left with these four fabrics:

All except for the top right are Telio knits. The top right is from Art Gallery.
The only problem I had is that while I really liked the pink rib knit, I didn't have explicitly clear plans for it. I wasn't even sure if I liked the color in more than just theory. I know that my mom doesn't care for that color with my skin-tone, and I've had several garments in a similar color that have been rotated out of my wardrobe. Also, I figured that there are dusky shades of a darker rose color that I know do look good on me.
In the end, I did not order the pink, but I'm still kind of questioning my decision.

Anyway, notice the colors: They're all kind of muted or saturated colors, but would look good with some brights thrown in. I like how the mustard ties this set to colors I wear in other seasons, meaning I get more wear from things that coordinate with it.
The dominate colors in this are mustard, teal, pink/coral and cream. Greens and slight blues appear as accents. (Can't have too much blue, though, because I Don't Wear Blue.)

These colors coordinate well with most of my clothes already. Right now, my wardrobe has plenty of crimsons, burnt oranges, olive greens, black, and teals. They're all pretty much muted or saturated colors. The new additions will add in brilliantly.

Note: Since the past summer I've found myself drawn to more saturated or muted colors than brights, and I'm not sure why. In any case, I think they look better on me. My hair, skin, and eyes are all kind of medium tones (dark blonde hair, hazel/brown eyes, fair but not ghastly pale skin). These colors are also kind of medium tones but they add contrast, if that makes sense? They don't throw off the balance, in any case. I have found that wearing some type of non-bright lip color (like a dark coral or reddish orange) can add even more contrast and I really like that, hence my growing collection of lip products.

So on to my plans. What am I going to make with these?

Immediately I wanted the mustard to become a longer-length cardigan. It will be something cozy for low temps and still be stylish. I will be able to wear leggings with it.
Two possible patterns: Driftless Cardigan by Grainline, but lengthen it, or Esme Cardigan by Named Patterns, but shorten it.
What I will probably do: Draft my own mid-thigh-length cardigan, based on my T-shirt block and clothes I already have.

The Art Gallery print will become a tight long-sleeved shirt. A classic, in a fun print.
Possible patterns: The Lark tee by Grainline has lots of options. If you're curvy, the Concord tee by Cashmerette would be great.
What I will do: Draft some long sleeves for my personal T-shirt block and use that.

The other floral print will become a long-sleeve, flowy tunic with raglan sleeves. Long enough to wear with leggings, short enough to wear with jeans.
Possible patterns: Ebony Tee by Closet Case Files, or New Look S0945.
What I will do: use the New Look one, as I already have the pattern and I know it fits.

So there are my plans for my spring wardrobe refresh, while keeping it winter weather appropriate. How do you plan for spring weather?