I Made a Bag.

Oh, hello- long time no see!! I have been having a hard time finding time to blog lately, busy having fun I guess :)  DSC_0038 I made a bag!  This is the Bohemian Carpet Bag from Sew Liberated patterns, and the fabric is a Nani Iro canvas called Water Window, from Miss Matatabi.  The accents are waxed canvas that I ordered from this shop (their bags are amazing…I am saving up for one!).  I interfaced the main fabric with a medium weight fusible from Fashion Sewing Supply.  DSC_0041 I liked this pattern except for the fact that the main pattern piece was asymmetrical, I am assuming a mistake was made in the printing?  Because I can’t imagine someone would intentionally design a crooked bag.  I ended up cutting the main pattern piece in half and then cut my fabric on the fold- I can’t hang with a lopsided bag.  But if you didn’t notice before you cut your fabric, that would be a bummer.DSC_0067 It has feet!

This is a BIG bag…and I actually shortened it by an inch or so, in order to fit it on my fabric.  I was wanting a multi-use bag that I could use for packing for a short trip, or as a camera bag.  So far I have used it for both and it has worked great!DSC_0080 It closes with this tubular frame, which is different than any other bag pattern I’ve used.  I like it- although it tends to gape open just a bit if the bag is loaded on the heavier side.DSC_0085The straps gave me some trouble when I was sewing them, you can see they kind of shrunk up and got some little ripples in them.  I think it may have been the thread I was using?  It was a heavier topstitching thread.  It doesn’t really bother me though, and since I have been using it they have flattened out a bit.DSC_0087 DSC_0092 DSC_0102 DSC_0109 I added all of these interior pockets- the original design has a zippered outside pocket but none on the inside.  There are two elasticized pockets than can hold water bottles or camera lenses, and a few flat pockets on the sides.  DSC_0367 I had some scraps left over (I got all of this out of one yard of fabric!) so I made a matching Japanese knot bag.  I have made TONS of these, from this free pattern.  It is a quick and easy sew, and a fun little gift to give.  I made a bunch to use as gift wrapping one year for Christmas :)DSC_0372DSC_0382 DSC_0383I like to take a step back from garment sewing every now and then, and bags are fun to make for me because I always get a lot of use out of them.  Usually I have them until they wear out!  I have some of the waxed canvas left, and now I am plotting a smaller everyday bag…I am thinking about some wool with waxed canvas accents…maybe…

Also, a while back I answered some interview questions from Kim and Elizabeth of Snapdragon Studios.  They have recently come out with a line of women’s sewing patterns!  You can read my interview on their blog here :)

Make it Perfect- Coastal Breeze Maxi Dress + Giveaway! [[CLOSED]]

Make It Perfect Patterns is having a parade!  You may have seen some of her patterns popping up in blog land this month, and I am up today with the Coastal Breeze Dress :)DSC_0139

The pattern description says “Meet the dress that feels like a t-shirt”, and that is so true!  Super comfy made up in a knit fabric with a relaxed fit and no closures to mess with.  I lengthened mine to maxi length, because I had lots of this fabric and I thought it would look good with this bird/vine print (put a bird on it, right Sonja?!)DSC_0162I’ve had this fabric for a couple of years, it was a random Etsy purchase…I loved the print but I’ve never been sure what to do with it.  It is a cotton jersey with pretty much no stretch, and fairly sheer.  I am wearing a slip under it here- you can probably see where it ends a bit above the knee.  I will probably wear this as a swimsuit cover up so I didn’t mind it being a little sheer.  And I don’t mind it with the slip either, so there ya go.DSC_0226

Look at those birds!!

As far a sewing the dress- this is such a simple pattern!   No sleeves to set in, and it all comes together nicely.  I opted to add a seam allowance to the neckline and just serge, fold it over and hem rather than the neckline binding the pattern called for.  I also raised the neckline by an inch or so, it looked a little gapey in some of the pics I saw, and I am glad I did because I like where it ended up.

DSC_0134 DSC_0148 For a really cool example of the shorter version check out the dress Sanae made!  Isn’t it cool?  I love the fabric she chose.DSC_0146Toni from Make It Perfect has offered up a PDF pattern for one of my lucky readers!  There are lots of great patterns for kids and women (I want to make the Shearwater Kaftan in double gauze like Kristin did!)  Just leave a comment on this post letting me know which pattern you would choose, and I will pick a winner randomly on Thursday (July 24th) at 9pm Pacifc Time.  Good luck!


By Hand London Anna

The Anna Dress, from By Hand London was one of those patterns that I thought I would make eventually, but hadn’t had the right fabric/pattern inspiration yet.  What comes first for you?  For me, I usually have a bunch of patterns floating around in my head that I am waiting for inspiration to make…I see a certain fabric and bam!  Inspiration strikes.  Or sometimes I see something in RTW on Pinterest or whatever, and I see immediately a pattern that will work, and then go on a mad fabric search.  It can be hard when I have something very specific in mind.  Usually I move on to something else until I can find a good match.  I very rarely start with the fabric first- but that is what happened here.DSC_0014 I was contacted by a company called Organic Cotton Plus, asking if I would like to try some of their fabric.  I had a look at their website and there was so much to choose from I said yes (free fabric- are you kidding?  Of course I said yes!)  I immediately gravitated towards the organic cotton sateen- there were lots of great prints and solids but I was drawn to these pretty flowers.  It is super soft and drapey, and I decided it had to be an Anna Dress.  I sat down to order the pattern and discovered it was sold out.  Everywhere.  After much Googling and scouring the interwebs I put out a plea on Instagram and heard back from Grey’s Fabric that she had a few copies in stock, yay!  DSC_0073I made a quick muslin of the bodice because I haven’t sewn a By Hand London pattern before, and to my shock it fit perfect.  I didn’t change a thing for this version!  I didn’t even have the problem with the back gaping, as a lot of others have…I guess they made this one just for me ;)DSC_0040This dress uses A LOT of fabric, I had two yards of this 110″ wide fabric and it was plenty, but not enough to try any real pattern matching.  I think that would have been a headache I wouldn’t be willing to endure even if I had more fabric, honestly.

So, I don’t sew a whole lot of dresses, and haven’t sewn an invisible zipper in a looooong time.  I looked up some tutorials and ended up following the one at Lladybird for the most part.  It wasn’t too bad actually!  I hand basted the part where the waistline meets up and it all matched up pretty easily.DSC_0024I went with a not-quite thigh high split…it’s sort of hard to see when standing still but looks cool when I am walking, I think.  I wasn’t going to- but ended up hand stitching the split and the sleeve hems…and machine stitched the bottom hem because I was very much over the hand stitching by then. ;)  I sewed the hem with a little 1/4″ beige ribbon, and think it looks really clean and pretty.DSC_0027I cut 7″ off the hem, and then quickly realized that was probably a bit too much.  Yikes.  It was saved for the most part by the little 1/4″ hem, but next time I will probably add another inch or two back to the length.  I think on a long dress like this you definitely need someone to help with figuring out the length for the hem!DSC_0089 Here’s the hand finished split and the ribbon hem.  I finished all of the seams by serging the edges and pressing flat.DSC_0094The inside of the bodice- nothing fancy here, just serged the edges but I think it actually looks pretty clean.

DSC_0015I am very happy with this project!  The fabric is dreamy, if you are looking for nice quality organic fabric there is much goodness to be found over at Organic Cotton Plus.  I would definitely order from them in the future.  And, after this experience with By Hand London I will most definitely be sewing up more of their patterns!  I have the Flora dress pattern and the Victoria Blazer- I especially want to make that one!

True Bias Hudson Pants + Another Scout Tee

When I saw the first previews of this pattern I knew I would be making these pants.  These are the Hudson Pants- the first pattern from Kelli of True Bias.  I was so excited to see that she was making a pattern;  I’ve always admired her style.  When she asked me to test the pattern I was thrilled because I knew I would be buying it anyway :)DSC_0347 This is my first version, from the test pattern.  I used some sweatshirt knit from my stash for the main fabric, and some french terry scraps I had leftover for the waistband and accents.  I usually use less expensive fabric when pattern testing, because I know the pattern may not have all the kinks worked out yet.  The only change I made was to add 1″ to the length because I have long legs.  I thought the fit was great!  DSC_0335For the final version of the pattern Kelli added a bit extra room to the calves/ankle cuff- not so much that you would notice a difference in pictures, but they will feel more comfortable.    She also changed the way the pocket detail is attached so it will lay flatter against your hip.  Small changes that made a great pattern even better!

DSC_0388 This pair is definitely more of an around the house or gym pair of pants, I am not really one to wear sweatpants out and about.  But depending on the fabric you choose I think they could be dressed up enough to wear more.  I like that I can wear them at home and be comfortable but not be in pajamas, so I can run to the mailbox or whatever and not feel like my neighbors are wondering why I am in my jimjams in the afternoon ;)  Fabric with a bit of lycra/spandex will hold it’s shape best- this pair can get a little stretched out after wearing them all day.DSC_0336 I also whipped up this little Grainline Scout Tee…the fabric is a cotton jersey with this cool city print on it.  It is a cheap jersey, and I generally try to avoid cheap knits because they are either super thin, or pill up (the worst!!) This stuff is OK, it’s pretty thin and curls like crazy but doesn’t seem like it will pill.  I ended up taking out the hem after these pics and just letting the bottom roll, since it was rolling anyway even with the hem.  The neckline and sleeves are just turned under and finished with my coverstitch machine.   DSC_0361So, back to the pants!  The pattern is out now, if you have been wanting to try out the world of pants sewing I think these are a great place to start!  Definitely suitable for a motivated beginner, I think.  And I saw on Instagram that Kelli is going to be doing a sew along in a couple of weeks, so if you feel like you need a bit more help that will be great I’m sure.  Although the instructions and diagrams in the pattern are stellar.  I am gushing a bit about this pattern, but it’s just because I love it!  I have fabric for two more pairs but I want to get some other sewing done first for a most awesome road trip that I have coming up :)DSC_0344

Wiksten Eucalypt Tank

A while back I ordered some cotton/silk fabric from the Wiksten Spoonflower shop.  I made a Grainline Scout tee (see here).   I’ve worn it a lot and had a bit of the fabric left over, so I thought I would try to eke out a tank for summer.  I had to add a center seam to the back, but I had just enough!DSC_0597I used the Megan Nielsen Eucalypt tank/dress pattern, which has become a staple for me.  I made the dress version with one of her kits, and sewed up a few as summer night gowns also.  This was my first tank version and I love it!  I have a few more pieces of fabric set aside for more of these, as I think they will be great for summer and even early fall with a jacket or cardigan.DSC_0543This fabric has zero stretch or even give to it, so I did have some trouble with the curve in the front neckline, and also the hem.  Since I’ve made this pattern so many times before I know it was just the fabric…I did manage to wrestle it into submission with clipping and lots of steam :) Victory Patterns has a great tutorial on finishing curved edges (here).DSC_0604The pattern has a nice curved high/low hem- on my next one I may take a little off the back hem for a more subtle dip (and easier to work with curve!)  This pattern is super simple- no darts, which works well with my smaller than average chest…but may not be so great with those that are more well endowed, not sure.  I made the XS and took a bit of width from the side seam (about 3/4″ each side).  The neckline and armholes are bound with bias strips- I have some cream colored voile that I have been using for ages and it works really well, it is soft and flexible and the color matches a wide range of fabrics.DSC_0602DSC_0613I am pleased with this top, and am excited to crank out some more.  I think there are quite a few good simple tank patterns but this is the only one I’ve tried so far.  I’ve seen lots of Tiny Pocket Tanks and Wiksten tanks out there, and I am going to try out the Foxglove tank also, I like that the racer back gives it a bit different look than the others.  What’s your go-to tank pattern if you have one?

Julia Cardigan: Two Views

Inspired by the always awesome Lisa G, I decided to try out the Julia Cardigan pattern by Mouse House Creations.  DSC_0257Worn here with my favorite Miz Mozelle Maxi dress 

I made the long sleeve version first, and pretty much wore it every day after it was finished so I made a short sleeve version as well…DSC_0429Worn with my Sewaholic Saltspring dress- I have been wearing this so much since the weather warmed up- I need to make another one!

I love cardigans and have been wearing both of these constantly!  It’s a quick to sew pattern, and I will probably make another- with both of these I made the doubled up hem version…so there is absolutely no hemming involved if you aren’t crazy about hemming knits ;)  The only change I made to the pattern was to reduce the width of the sleeve at the bottom on the long sleeved version.  I used my trusty Lane Raglan pattern because I knew I liked the width of the sleeves and just traced the last portion of the sleeves, and used the sleeve cuff pattern piece from the Lane pattern as well.  Worked great.DSC_0269The fabric I used for both is Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey, which I have used before and found holds up really well over time with repeated washing/drying and whatnot.  It’s a cotton/spandex knit and works great for fitted t-shirts and dresses, and anytime you need a knit that has good stretch and recovery (like the Nettie bodysuit!).  There are lots of solid colors and prints available and the price is very reasonable at around $7 a yard.  (Available lots of places if you Google “Laguna Jersey fabric”.)DSC_0275DSC_0502 DSC_0442So if you’re looking for a quick cardigan fix I think this is a great pattern!  I also want to try this Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan, it looks pretty cool too.  Do you have any good cardigan patterns that you would recommend?  I feel like there aren’t a whole lot out there in the indie pattern world…

*also…just so there are no misunderstandings- I am in no way sponsored/compensated by any of the products/people/companies mentioned in this post…I recommend them because I like them and have had success with them and think that you might like them too :)  Also, I purchased and paid for the patterns and fabric just like anybody else.  Anytime I am given a product for free I will make sure to disclose that in my post; however, my opinions here will always be my own and completely honest. 

Me Made May Is Over

Ha….that title pretty much says it all!  I love participating in Me Made May, but boy am I glad to be done with taking pictures every day.  And so is my 6 year old, who took almost every picture you see here!  I pledged to wear all me made clothing for the entire month, and I did it!  I think what I learned was pretty common- I need more pants.  I like to wear separates.  If I wear a dress I prefer it to be a maxi.  I want to make a jean jacket.  I pose with my hand on my hip too much ;)  Me Made May 2014I’m not going to list everything I’m wearing but if you have a question about what pattern something came from or whatever just ask in the comments.

I’m pretty happy to have an almost entirely me made closet.  I have no desire to shop in stores anymore.  That may change someday, and that’s OK.  But for now I love making my own clothes and saving my shopping for fabric and patterns ;)  Thanks for all of the support and inspiration all month long!  That is my favorite thing about MMM- seeing everyone else with their awesome creations.

Lane Raglan Sweatshirt, Take Three

Do you get the impression that I like this pattern?  I do.  I’m probably done with sweatshirts until fall but I may use it for some t-shirts this summer :)  Here’s my latest Lane Raglan sweatshirt, same as the others (here & here) but with a bit of lace…DSC_0051 The main fabric is a soy/organic cotton/lycra french terry.  I love this stuff, it feels great to wear.DSC_0074 DSC_0089 DSC_0134I have so many finished projects to share, most haven’t been photographed yet, but I am hoping to get caught up soon.  If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen some Julia cardigans, some Nettie bodysuits, and I just started on a pile of tank tops for Back 2 Basics week with Katie at The Creative Counselor.  I am also planning to play along with Sew Busy Lizzy for Jeans in June & July!  I really need some more jeans.  And I have a new bag in the works, and a Rigel Bomber ready to be cut out, a BHL Anna pattern arriving in the mail that I just washed the fabric for…does anyone else have a list like this??  And I have less time than I used to because I decided to start enforcing a bed time for myself…it has done wonders for my mood and energy, but giving up those extra hours every night is so hard.  Oh well…definitely first world problems, right? ;)

Vintage Me…uh, I Mean Vintage May!

Have you been following along with Vintage May?  Hosted by Skirt As Top and Craftiness Is Not Optional, this is their third year of celebrating all things vintage.  When Kristin asked me if I wanted to participate this year I immediately said yes!!  I would probably say yes to any project she asked me to do :)  I just love her blog and have had the pleasure to hang out with her in person, and she is every bit as cool and nice as you would expect her to be. The first thing that came to mind when I heard “vintage” was 50s-60s, Mad Men era type clothes…but when I thought about what really inspired me I kept coming back to the 70s, the decade I was born into.Vintage May2As with any time period, there were some truly awful fashions in the 70s…but there was also all of this awesomeness too!!  As I began to dig deeper, the one thing that I kept coming back to was the iconic wrap dress from Diane Von Furstenberg- introduced in the year I was born, 1974.  This classic dress and I are both celebrating a milestone birthday this year ;)Vintage May3From a CNN article about the 40th anniversary of the DVF wrap dress:

“Rarely have we seen such a democratic design. The DVF wrap dress embraces diversity like no other before it or since. It can be worn well by women aged 20 to 70 and sizes 0 to 20. It comes in classic solids and a plethora of prints, can be layered with everything from denim jackets to floor-length furs. Piles of jewels can fill the open front V-neckline or an elegant collarbone can be the sole accessory.

The DVF wrap is the American dream dress.”

So I set out to recreate this iconic dress…I managed to find a vintage pattern from 1976- Diane Von Furstenberg for Vogue patterns.  And it was my size! DSC_0143 (1)Check out a young Renee Russo modeling on the cover :)

I made some minor changes but for the most part it fit great as is.  I did draft a totally different skirt, as the pattern is a circle skirt and I wanted something a bit more modern and fitted.  Here it is!DSC_0415I bought these vintage 70s heels on Etsy, they are fabulous but I totally cannot walk in them!

The fabric I used is a Josi Severson organic cotton jersey.  I love the print so much!!  I have had it in my stash for a couple of years, so it was nice to use it.  I think ideally though, for this dress I would use something that has a bit more stretch and recovery.  Next time :)

DSC_0477DSC_0483I hand stitched the hem and all of the facings….I HATE hand stitching, but didn’t want any topstitching on this dress.  I am happy I took the time to do it, I think it looks so much better!! DSC_0513 DSC_0505 DSC_0544I feel like a sassy lady from the 70s in this dress, and I can’t wait to make more versions of my own DVF wrap dress!  Make sure you follow along with all of the vintage awesomeness over at Skirt As Top and Craftiness Is Not Optional!

                        vintage may 2014