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?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Now on BlogLovin !

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hey folks, this is just a quick announcement to say you can follow my blog on BlogLovin' now ! The name and everything is the same; it's just an easier way to follow lots of things at once.

(This is the end of my self-promo.)

Have a great week, month, year !

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Martha Amelie: Simplicity 8228

Hello ! How is your week going ? Mine has been a mixed bag. My class took a field trip skiing the other day, and that was interesting. Anyway, this weekend I made a new set, and I am super pleased with it.

I think this bralette may become my go-to from now on. It does take a bit more time to sew as it has shaping and seams, but it's really lovely. I know this post is long, but I have lots of important information. The headings are in bold so you can skip if you don't care for a certain section.

I named the bralette Martha Amelie: The name Martha just popped into my head and I knew it was going to stick for the style, and Amelie for the color. I know it doesn't mean red, but oh well.

Pattern: Simplicity 8228, a collaboration with Madalynne. The sizes run from 32A to 40DD.

Size: 32D, my normal size. I did take a look at the instructions for choosing size, and they seem to be fine.

Materials Used: Burgundy stretch galloon lace, rosy nude power mesh, and 1/8" pale pink elastic all from Tailor Made Shop on Etsy, along with a bit of pink 3/8" picot elastic from ArteCraft, also on Etsy. The gusset of the unders is lined in a cotton scrap.

Directions: I did look at the diagrams for putting it together. It was common sense mostly. I liked the zig-zag topstitching they told you to do.

Instead of using the lining and lace as one piece, I decided to make a proper lining, so constructed the two bodies separately then attached them with the topstitching. I didn't line the straps or the racerback, only the body. I used my thin elastic to try to seal in the edges, if you will.

Alterations: I had zilch. I really like the fit. I know a lot of people have had to lengthen the straps, but I didn't. In fact, I may have accidently shortened them a tad and they fit great.
I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to make the rib cage pieces (underbust?) narrower. I guess it's amazing what band AND cup sizes can do, rather than just a regular size and A/B and C/D options. I'm really pleased with it.
I was worried I might have to add elastic in under the cups for support, but the seam there and all the layers seems to be doing the job very well, and it doesn't ride up at all ! Even when I wear it for hours!

Hackability: Excellent ! If you just look at the pattern pieces, all you have is a very versatile long line bra with straps and racerback that aren't designed into the body. This means you could sub them out for regular straps, make lace straps that criss-cross, do any number of things. You could make a really cute swim top or sports bra if you chose good fabrics. Very versatile. I love it.

A Couple of Bones to Pick: The materials list is wrong. You don't need a hook and eye fastener for view B, nor do you need a yard of bra lining. Seriously, a yard?? I used a portion of half a yard.

It says you need 2 5/8 yards of 8" lace. That's about 94.5 inches. I rounded up to the nearest yard and bought 3 yards, which is 108 inches.
When I finished the bra, just the bra, I had over 63 inches left over. I know this because I dangled it to the ground and it was taller than me.
This means I only used 45 inches of lace, or about 1 1/4 yards--about half of what I "needed".
Granted, I realize that as a 32D, I wear the smallest band size and the cups aren't very large either. The yardage needed for a 40DD, the largest size drafted, would be drastically different. But for someone on a budget, buying excess lace could be frustrating. I think the pattern should include yardages for each band size. It would be more accurate.
I could also use narrower lace, but that again is due to my size.

More Comments on Fit: This bralette is super supportive, part of which is due to the power mesh lining, I think. It's a little hard to wrestle on, but is soooo comfortable once on. Without the power mesh, it would have a bit more relaxed fit. I think it's great--I know that I could wear this to dance in and feel supported and contained (TMI? Oh well.) It does work mostly off compression with the mesh, so it gives a bit of a monoboob, but I really don't mind. As an underwire-avoider, I will sacrifice lots of things for support. The fact that this doesn't completely flatten me out completely outweighs the monoboob.

The Unders: These are a hack of a personal pattern, so that I could used the straight-edged lace. If anyone wants, I can post a tutorial. They are unlined except for the gusset, which is lined with a cotton scrap I had. The leg holes have no elastic, to prevent lines from showing. They are very comfy.

Overall I'm really happy with this set.

In other news, my family is going through some trials right now, so if you pray, prayers would be appreciated. Thank you.

Have you made anything lacy recently, or tried this pattern?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sweetest Dream

Hello! This January has been beautiful. It's kind of warm, I have a new job, and life is good. Somehow my mind/heart has transitioned into spring, and for me, that means pink. My newest bralette reflects that in the whimsical print and gorgeous pink elastic.
Pattern: This was once based on the Mallori Lane pattern by Madalynne, but it has undergone so many changes. The only thing left from the original is the underbust curves. Is it wrong for me to say that I created most of this pattern? I certainly didn't draft it myself originally but now most of it has been designed and adjusted by me.

Also, Madalynne has probably been my biggest inspiration for this bra. At least the pattern/structure.

Materials: Nightfall in Spark knit by Art Gallery Fabrics, rayon spandex knit from Nicole Miller for JoAnn's (from last spring), white stretch lace (yardage, not galloon lace), elastics and rings+sliders from ArteCrafts on Etsy. I really love this light pink/blush elastic. It's so elegant and pretty without being juvenile.
The waistband elastic on the unders came free in an order from the Fabric Fairy.

Details of the bra:
#1. The front. This is a high-necked bra, very on trend. The front is lined with rayon spandex knit, making it super soft against the skin. The two pieces were sewn right sides together at the sides, then turned so they showed.

#2. Wrap around lace. Instead of only having a lace back, this lace wraps around front and angles in towards the center of the rib cage. Personally I find this very flattering as well as fashionable. Plus it means I get to see more lace, always a good thing. In the front, the lace is simply lightning stitched (stem stitched ?) to the front of the bra, both layers, as well as being stitched at the edge of the front piece.

#3. Ruching in the front. This is actually the least professional looking part of the bra. After I tried it on the first time, I noticed that it felt a little loose. To remedy that a tad, I added some ruching to the lower center front. All I did was stretch some cotton elastic a ton while zig-zag stitching. Easy. The ends stick out since I hadn't planned this, but I don't care. I'm really enamoured with this bra.

#4. Halter neck strap. I tried something a little different with the strap; normally I don't care for halter straps. But I liked the idea of an open back. I also sewed it in under the elastic for a cleaner finish, and I misplaced the straps somewhat. Again, this doesn't bother me as I love the bra.

#5. Aren't my materials adorable ?!?! I love the fabric, and I love that I managed to get the rabbits on the bra, even though they are tipped sideways :P .It's so cute and also very soft, and the more you wash the cotton the softer it gets.
The pink elastic !! So cute !

Also I made matching unders from the scraps I had.

I absolutely adore this set!

Have you ever made anything that just made you ridiculously happy?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Make for Making

Hello! I am cramming one last blog post in before I head back to college and real life. This post is kind of rambling and might not make sense: You are warned.

So earlier, in my Top 5 Goals post I had listed my goals: exactly none. And that still holds true. I feel no need to make goals. I don't need the stress that comes with goals.

I've also noticed that I made a fancy thing, a cream and gold skirt that I adore.

I remember Rae's holiday lace dress post, and some of the comments on that, both myself and others talking about how often fancy things are worn and sewing wearable things, or sewing fancy things because sewing them is fun.

There is a lot of talk in the past few years about capsule wardrobes and sewing things that you will wear, and I hit right into these topics when I started sewing. Colette's Wardrobe Architect was influential, as was the capsules of Caroline, author of Unfancy. I did a major haul of my clothes, and while I tried a capsule wardrobe the "smallness" of it just felt limiting to me. I ended up with a small, refined wardrobe and I was happy with that.

I still am. However, my wardrobe is growing as I explore different things. Like adding in different colors, or prints. Also, the weather calls for me to have lots of layers. All this adds up to me slowly moving away from a small wardrobe.

I mean, obviously it's still small, since I have limited clothes storage. Dorm rooms aren't walk-in closets.

But I made something this Christmas break that I knew wouldn't be worn in day to day life when I made my cream and gold skirt. And I have quite a bit of not so practical fabric around--like gold-copper-ish silk that I got for Christmas, and pale pink lace I picked up when Hancock Fabrics went out of business. And rust silk-like fabric (probably poly) that came from a relative's estate sale.

I find that I am enjoying a bit of freedom when I sew something just because. Planning impractical but fun makes is exciting.

All this to say that I am choosing not to remain completely practical and capsule wardrobe-like. I want to make fun things. And then I want to wear them. I want to find places to wear them.

Maybe this is just a yearning for adventure, I don't know. But I am embracing it. So. For however long as I feel like it, I will sew whatever I want. I will probably sew some practical things. I will probably sew some fanciful, inspired designs as well. I will sew what I want. :) There.

I will also be tagging all my impractical but enjoyable makes with the tag "Make for Making", meaning that I chose the project because it sounded exciting, a little different, or just a little crazy.

Do you ever sew things just because, or do all your makes fill a need?