Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Wedding Dress Series: #1

I am getting married May 27 of next year! We have the band, the food, the photographer, the photobooth, the save-the-dates are out, and everyone is offering their help wherever they can. Of course that all pales in comparison to the dress. Now if you know me personally or are coming to the wedding, you have just signed an NDA, please don't share.

Photo from Vogue Pinterest 

I've looked at a lot of dresses. If you sew, you can imagine how many dresses I've looked at. I tried a bunch of dresses on and definitely decided that I wanted something big and modern, no rhinestone embelishments and such. I prefer a modern, clean style with nothing that implies lingerie. There have been short flirtations with other dresses, but those crushes passed and I've always come back to this dress from Jason Wu's Spring 2012 line. Those ruffles just get to me. I few months back I decided to stop looking at all the pictures and acknowledge that this was my dress, I just have to make it reality.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sewing For My Man

Is it just me or are men's clothes of medium quality and very expensive or terrible quality and kind of expensive? I was sick of Pete's clothes falling apart or pilling so bad they were translucent that I decided to make him a new sweater. He liked Thread Theory Newcastle Cardigan and I am a loyal fan of The Fabric Store's merino wool.

My handsome man! He says the sleeves are too long besides me having him try it on to confirm so I'll have to take the cuffs off and recut sometime. 

Pattern was fine, I do really like the way they put together their patterns. I'm not the biggest fan of Thread Theory's armscye drafts, they always seem to be puffy, almost feminine, which can be seen even in some of their samples so I fought to keep this one looking good. I think I did ok.

Required booty shot. There's a tiny bit of pilling where his backpack rests, but that's expected.

To jazz things up a bit I quilted the front and back yokes in a light-shade and weight merino. I quilted the yoke pieces then sewed them to the body, rather than quilting everything together, which turned out really well. Even the undercollar is quilted because I'm fancy like that.

I made him put on his sweater inside out in an airport to the confusion of a couple watching us

The insides of this garment are gorgeous if I do say myself. The shoulders are stabilized with twill tape and I am so proud of them! I've made Pete take it off to show people the shoulders. My machine couldn't make it through the layers of the button placket for buttonholes so I took it to a tailor in the city. It was $10 a buttonhole! I was ticked it was so expensive, but the sweater had languished closure-less in the closet for two months so I went ahead and paid. The buttons are lovely things from Stone Mountain and Daughter.

Little tack to keep the facing from flapping around and ticking off the wearer who gets ticked off at clothes easily

The weight of this is absolutely perfect for the Bay Area's constant chilliness. Pete overheats really easily and merino wool is perfect for regulating temperature. I want to make him another one, but the Newcastle is a fairly specific garment so we'll see what else I can do with the pattern.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Pants of Many Mistakes

I love these pants, but let's just start with: I made so many mistakes on these that I'm lucky I ended up with a waist and two leg holes. I've been wanting some of those trendy, fancy sweatpants for a while and what's more ridiculous than merino wool sweatpants.

I went with Named patterns Alexandria Peg Trousers and my favorite merino wool from The Fabric Store, previously seen here and here. That was the first mistake. The Alexandrias have front pleats and are really better suited for a thin fabric with all those layers that build up. The pattern says if you're going with a knit, use sweatshirt jersey, whatever that is, but from the sample it looks significantly thinner than what I used. So there, that was mistake #1.

Mistake #2 was a doozy and it all started out right with me making a muslin. I'm not about to cut into my favorite fabric in the whole world without knowing the pattern works on me. As printed, the Alexandria is really really high on my body, like very low crop top-high-waisted. Knowing that I shortened the waist, cut into my precious merino, and started sewing along merrily. Apparently I lost my mind because I did not redraft the crotch curve or the pockets into my altered pattern.  I was happily sewing along and went to put the pockets in and was terribly confused as to why the pocket curves were so small. Do you see where this is going yet? So the crotch on these pants are actually the shortened pocket curves. I figured it was close enough in shape after comparing them. Then I recut my pockets from my shortened crotch curves. And finally I had to true up the waist because that was all sorts of screwed up, what was supposed to be the middle of the pants was now the sides. Dude, I almost gave up sewing altogether.



Mistake #3 was small, but still silly. When I sewed by muslin, I used a thin jersey so the pleats were compact little things and I didn't think anything of it. With my merino these were like 9 layers and my machine hated sewing through them. Turns out when I actually sat down and studied the directions, I was folding the pleats wrong, it was only like 4 or 5 layers. Still, use a thin fabric!

One fun thing I did was I actually dyed the black pieces as I wanted some contrast, but I'm too cheap (and I hate waste) to buy 1/2 yard (minimum cut) and only use a fraction. The dye took fantastically and hasn't faded a bit. I recut the waistband so could insert the contrast piece and I added some cuffs.



Anyways, I love these pants. I wear then ALL THE TIME, so much so that the crotch is actually significantly pilled, damnit, so I don't really wear them to last minute grocery store runs anymore. The fit is a bit wonky, but that's 100% my fault as the crotch are pockets and the sides are the middle. I'd love to make another pair in a suitable fabric, silk twill maybe, without totally screwing everything up.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ms. Morris and the Quilted Sleeve

So I moved to the San Francisco area back in November and no lie, the temperature has changed by at most 10 degrees that entire time. My body still thinks its sometime in February. My wardrobe made for Boston and then Los Angeles weather, either hot or really, really cold is just not cutting it. I need a max 75 degrees and windy as f--- wardrobe.



Enter my new Morris from my pattern soulmate Grainline. Ms. Morris is perfect, I can throw her over my large collection of sleeveless blouses and wear them to work and through the wind tunnel that is San Francisco. The fabric is an amazing merino wool, nylon, lycra blend from my fabric store soulmate, The Fabric Store. This fabric is probably stretchier than what Jen recommends, but the nylon and lycra content give the fabric an amazing recovery and there has been absolutely no bagging whatsoever. I interfaced the facings, but not any of the body.

The pattern went together beautifully, minus some changes that were completely my fault. I did a combination FBA and general lengthening and even though I thought I transferred all changes to the facing, I did not and didn't have enough fabric to recut them. I then removed the added length from the front, so the general shape of the hem is not as angular as the original pattern.


My favorite part of this blazer is the double layered and quilted sleeves! I love them! (they are also the reason I didn't have enough fabric to recut the facings) The wrong side of the fabric is kind of nubby so it needed to be lined in some way and quilting them like this was by far the most badass. I used quilting adhesive to keep the sleeves together and my walking foot so that everything would be nice and smooth. Love that walking foot. The only problem is that the sleeves are now a bit too heavy for the jacket so I used some black twill tape on the shoulders to keep the sleeves from pulling them down.


If I could change something about this blazer, I would probably line the fronts instead of facing them. When the SF winds blow my jacket open and then catch the facings, this literally turns into a parachute. Also the added weight of a lining would hold the sleeves up better.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Blue, Drapey Blouse: Lilith and Eve 101

I really liked this shirt before I took these pictures. Great way to start a post right?

Jeez, look how happy I am.

This pattern is the Drapey Blouse L101 from Lilith and Eve, which I completely and totally fell in love with when it was released. Isn't the long sleeve version great? That's what I wanted to make, but when I got it, I realized there was no collar stand and I didn't want to mess around making my own, so I went sleeveless, no collar. I got the PDF pattern, everything went together great with perfectly fine instructions. There's a bit of gaping at the neck and underarms, but I'm sure this fits someone else perfectly. I really wish that since the drapey part pretty much requires a sheer fabric, this came with a pieces drafted for lining that was fitted so the shirt wouldn't always require wearing a second layer.

The fabrics are from Mood and are the result of experimental pattern mis-matching, which I still really like. The shibori is a favorite, though it is fairly loosely woven and I was worried about it would stand up over time, but with gently handling when washing, its perfectly fine. This combination was a blast to pick out, especially since the Mood employees had zero faith in the outcome.


The problems are when this pattern, my body type, and the fabric all come together and everything is just a little bit off. The shibori fabric just a tiny bit too stiff to hang right, but I think anything other than the most diaphanous chiffon would work here. My man was making me crack up while we took pictures of this saying it looked like a giant vagina was on my back. Personally, I think it looks like a gaping mouth. Still, neither are body parts I will to be recreated in fabric on my back. Secondly this shirt has a lot of drape and the front just falls off me. Will someone please remind me that fitted is best for my body type? Seriously, tweet it to me. Everyday. Anyways, I look bigger than I am in these pictures and I don't like that so much.

ROAR!!!!!
I still think this is a super cute pattern, just maybe not for me.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics: Store Review

All the wool!!! That green is hard to photograph!

Since leaving Los Angeles and my go-to mecca, The Fabric Store, my mission has been finding a suitable Bay Area replacement. So in the search for a new textile haven, this weekend I dropped the man off at Cal and headed over to Stonemountain & Daughter just down the road.

The store is fairly small, but that's Berkeley. The front part is mainly quilting, some shirting, and a few novelties. Its also fairly packed with notions, but because the store is so small the notion area has a little bit of a lot of stuff. For example, the Aurafil stand has super picked over and was replenished with some non-Aurafil threads. For a store dedicating a large portion of its space to quilting, I didn't see much cotton thread. The second part of the store is fashion fabrics, cottons, rayons, wools, silks, linens, and a significant amount of polys (yup, I'm a textile snob, even high quality polys that I have used sew and wear disappointingly). There's a good mix of knits and wovens as well. Each shelf is well labeled and the fabrics are easy access, no bolts on top of other bolts, no digging!

The service was, I'd say, average. There were some really nice women working there and some prickly types. One of the nicer ladies cut out my fabric for me and we chatted about sewing and what I was going to make. She was very patient with me when my phone wouldn't refresh and I couldn't access the yardages I needed. Earlier she was working with another customer and answering the customer's every question, she was super knowledgeable! Prices were high compared to The Fabric Store, but the quality of the fabrics I was going for were good and the bay area ain't cheap.

And just because I care about how easy it is to get to places, the parking situation isn't great. Everything out front was full, but I was able to find parking relatively closely in a residential area. The store is towards the end of a Berkeley main road.

I'll go back because I prefer shopping for fabrics in person and not online, but I still want to try out Britex. For quilting though, Stonemountain & Daughters has some beautifully curated stuff. My haul this time was all wool, a merino and nylon blend jersey for a dress and a wool crepe for a sleeveless blazer. I also got a Thread Theory pattern and some lovely buttons. Now, excuse me while I convert my entire wardrobe to merino.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Lark Tee: #1


I've been gone for a while to dedicate myself to finding a new job and great news, I got one! They say looking for a job is like having a full-time job itself and that sentiment is totally true. I worked all day, applied all night, and had no time to do fun things, like sew or knit or stay sane. Now that I'm happily settled into my new job, I'm back to regularly sewing and I want to steadily get back to blogging and participating in our community. Keep me honest, people!

My most recent project was the Lark Tee by the glorious Jen at Grainline. I love Grainline. The Lark was my first paper Grainline pattern and they are lovely with a cute little pattern book, even though I pretty much exclusively use the sew-alongs. I love that each of the options for the Lark has its own pattern piece, as in there are separate patterns for the cap, short, 3/4, and long sleeves. Sure, it takes up more paper, but its just more elegant, easier to cut, trace, whatever method you use. The neckline variations are also like that!

Check out those gloriously matching seams, even some points at the sleeves! Thank you walking foot!

I chose to make the 3/4 length sleeves (I live in San Francisco now, its chilly!) with a V-neck. V-necks generally look better with my larger bust, breaking up that expanse of fabric I need to cover everything. I used a rayon ponte (I think) that I got from my Mood shopping spree a few months back. It was originally meant to be a Named Pattern shirt, but in the end I realized Lark was more versatile and, of course, the V-neck. Its super stretchy, very stable, and has great recovery.

I sewed the pattern as drafted at first (sorry, no pics!) and the V hit way too high on me and actually made my boobs look really droopy (sad there's no pics now, aren't you?). I ended up lowering the neckline by about 1 1/4", but keeping the angle of the V. I also thought the neckline binding was too narrow, just my personal perception of proportions and cut a binding with an extra inch in width, resulting in a 1/2" wider folded binding. The shirt is also drafted to be fairly long and I ended up cutting off 2.5" with a wide hem. I also have to say, that neckline is sewed perfectly, go me!

Future changes will include widening the neckline which will also flatter my wider shoulders as well as lowering the back neckline which has too much fabric and is folding over the binding at the back of my neck. The fabric that I used is super stretchy, anything with less stretch and I would cut a much longer binding piece as this one (oh yeah, I cut a slightly longer binding to make up for cutting a lower neckline) even seems to be gathering a bit. I currently have two fabrics in my stash for Larks and am washing and cutting tomorrow!

Gathering at the back neckline.
In other news, I'm going to be an Auntie in a couple months now! I have tons of baby-sized scraps left over from a bunch of my clothes, are Auntie-and-me clothes totally gauche? Not that I care cause its happening! I'm thinking little onesie overalls for this fabric.