Monday, April 27, 2015

KCW Day 8: Citronille Suzanne

Kid's Clothes Week Day...uh...8!? This dress was finished with plenty of time to spare, but my little model was getting a bit fatigued with the photographing, so I let this one slide until the very last possible second yesterday to photograph.

For the sake of my self imposed use-the-stash rule for this KCW I cobbled this look together from a few of the most burdensome pieces from my stash. You know those pieces of fabric you love too much to cut into and are happy just to own, or the perfect vintage pattern you are so satisfied with the cover art that you don't need to make anything from it? Well this is the opposite.
I bought this pattern when I was brainstorming for the summer 2014 KCW (you can find the original article I wrote for KCW here). But I never found the "right" fabric, and didn't end up making it. Now, 9 full months later, I was feeling pretty guilty about this pattern.  I came across this version by At Luce Ends, and I decided to give the ol' Citronille Suzanne a try. The fabric, on the other hand, is a very recent acquisition. I'm not even sure it ever made it into the stash cabinet. I bought it for a design I pattern tested a few weeks ago (have a sneaky-peaky over here). When I opened the package, I had a what-was-I-thinking moment. Nothing against the print, or the colors, it just didn't resonate with me, and I knew I would never wear it. Sometimes when you set very specific parameters for yourself magical things happen. But all I can feel for this dress is indifference (though now that I'm looking at the photos, I'm sorta liking it better).
PATTERN: This is the Citronille Suzanne, and my first Citronille pattern. I was drawn to this pattern because it it written for woven fabrics, but it has no fasteners and goes on over the head. Therefore, it is something my kid can get herself into and out of without my help. The front and back are the same so it's impossible for her to put it on backwards. Both the format of the pattern and the instructions are sparse. It is a very straight forward and very fast make.

FABRIC: The chambray is the very last from my first Lou Box Top. The print is Copenhagen Baby Blue Floral Print from Mood. The under skirt is eyelet inherited from my mother in law's stash.

SIZE/FIT: I sewed a size 6, the fit is rather boxy in general, and with the length, I think this dress will fit for quite a while.
ALTERATIONS: I went down a size on the sleeve, because I thought I would like the proportion better. I do, and it is still easy to put on. I did all french seams, and I lined the skirt. The result is a dress that is 95% reversible. If you look closely at the hem, or the underarm seam you can tell they are the wrong side, but in these fabrics I don't think an innocent bystander would notice (sewing friends will spot it first thing).
While I'm feeling pretty underwhelmed with my first attempt, I will give it another try. This design is too kid friendly, and there are too many cute versions of this design out on the inter webs to give up on it entirely.


You can also find this dress on:
Kid's Clothes Week
Straight Grain Sew + Show

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

KCW Day 3 : A girl and a garage door

Kid's Clothes Week day 3 - more stash busting. This is my favorite stashed combo of the week. I got this stripe fabric at Jomar in South Philly a while ago. I made a top for myself with it, that I never blogged. The floral is from Girl Charlee, and the neck band is from a dress I made a while ago. I actually made L a whole dress out of the banding fabric, but it's still too big. 

I think I've made a raglan t-shirt for every Kid's Clothes Week since I started sewing along. This is the Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan. I've made it as a dress once before, and the t-shirt many times, this time I used 3/4 length sleeves. A raglan really lends itself to pattern mixing.  The same thing with a set in sleeve pattern wouldn't look half as nice, but the raglan really draws the sleeve into the whole composition. 

You can also find this dress on:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

KCW Day 2 : Stash Busting

Image from INSTAGRAM
Today I find myself with a significant backlog of finished projects that have not been photographed or blogged. I am both pleased and bewildered that I have produced a significant enough volume of finished garments to even have the option of falling behind. I enjoy the process of documenting almost as much as the sewing and wearing, so today I hope to get out the very tedious camera tripod, brush my hair, dab on some blush, and dig myself out from under some of that backlog. But first... It's Kid's Clothes Week

When the weather turned in Philly a few weeks ago, I made the biannual pilgrimage to Target to pick up some seasonally appropriate clothing for my growing children. I flipped through racks of shoddily made knit dresses, in prints that I don't really care for and I thought, "I have a whole closet FULL of prints that I don't really care for, I can sew my own shoddily made dresses!" With this pile of what-was-I-thinking fabrics, along with a few basics culled from the old stash cabinet I whipped up some spring staples.

No one is going to heap accolades onto these dresses, but they serve the dual purposes of making room in my stash cabinet, and covering my kid's nakedness. I will try very hard not to point out further flaws in these humble garments and allow you to discover them for yourselves. Now may I present the first two outfits of spring time.
PATTERN: Both of these dresses are made with the Oliver + S School Bus Tee  with the View B sleeve option. The body is cut off 1 1/2" below the underarm seam. I attached a gathered rectangular skirt that is 1 1/2 times the width of the resulting bottom edge. The legging are the Oliver + S Playtime Leggings. Both are excellent patterns and I feel like I've gotten my money's worth with this post alone. These will definitely be wardrobe staples as my kids grow.

FABRIC: The fabric for the dress above is a knit blend purchased at Joann last spring. Based on the frustrated cursing I did while hemming, I would say there is some rayon in the blend. The dress below was made with a vintage knit fabric from my MIL's stash. Both sets of leggings are jersey knits of forgotten origin.
I have two more stash fabric projects planned for KCW. What are you sewing?


You can find these outfits on:
Kid's Clothes Week

Monday, March 30, 2015

Vintage Print Linden Sweatshirt

This Linden Sweatshirt is positively autumnal, not exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to see when I'm pretty sure the snow is about to melt. I bought this fabric months ago and I've been meaning to make a Linden with it, but I am easily distracted by pattern testing, and instagram sew alongs. Then my printer got jammed big time, started to crack apart when I tried to fix it, and smashed into a million pieces when I threw it off the roof of a three story rowhouse. Okay, that's not actually how it happened, but it's mildly therapeutic to imagine that it is.
You may be thinking that this print in highly uncharacteristic of me. I've made a mental rule that I will post one not blue thing between each blue thing I make... or at least one not blue thing for each blue thing that I make... or one printed not blue thing for each solid blue thing I make. Let's be real, that's probably not going to happen cause I've gotta wear this stuff, and I like blue.

I really love the underlying neutral palette of this print. It has tiny flecks of orange, brown, and black on a cream background. I'm not a huge fan of orange clothing, but in these small amounts I love it for the way it compliments all the blue I normally wear. I wanted the finished top to be more dressed up than a true sweatshirt, but I also didn't want to be overwhelmed by the print. My solution was to tone down the print with charcoal gray arms and accents.  I ordered a deliciously cozy charcoal gray sweatshirt fleece, but it was not nearly charcoal enough to suit my grand vision. The vintage knit is thinner than a sweatshirt fleece so I also ordered a few yards of charcoal gray jersey knit thinking I would line the vintage knit with it, to even out the thicknesses. The jersey was just the exact right color, but of course the wrong thickness. In the end, my heart was firmly set on having a new top by lunchtime, so I doubled everything. Double jersey for the arms, jersey and vintage together for the body. Its not a terrible solution, I like that it maintains sweater feel of the shirt, but the proof will be in the first laundry cycle.
PATTERN: The Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio is a basic raglan pattern that can be made with banded long sleeves and waist for a sweatshirt look, or as a short sleeve t-shirt without waist band. To be honest, I didn't even look at the instructions. I've made enough raglan t-shirts that I know how to put one together. Based on the #lindensweatshirt pool, I suspect there is top stitching involved, I don't think this looses anything without it, particularly in the not so sporty sweater knit. I'll read the instruction next time, promise.

FABRIC:The 60's sweater knit print is from After Glow. The charcoal gray jersey is from Raspberry Creek Fabric. As mentioned above, I doubled the fabric at the body and arms to replicate the sweatshirt thickness.

FIT/SIZE: In true SweetKM fashion I cut all the sizes. Size 6 at the bust, size 8 at the waist, size 10 at the hip. I like the 6 to 8 fit, and would probably dispense with the 10 next time. I would also take 1" out of each arm length, and (if I'm going for a more cropped fit, which I was this time and did not achieve) 2" out of the length.

Pertinent Info:
Pattern: Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio
Printed Fabric: Vintage Sweater Knit from After Glow
Solid Fabric: Charcoal Lycra Knit from Raspberry Creek Fabrics

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cali Faye Basics

Let's pretend for a minute that it's summer. I just cranked up the A/C to prevent the sweat from beading, and it's hot as hell outside. Let's forget about the winter that just won't end, and the snow we've recently been shoveling. Imagine we're so far into summer that you've got tan lines, and have already lost one pair of sunglasses. Okay, now this outfit makes a little more sense. This little number is part of the Cali Faye Collection that I pattern tested the last week in February. This is exactly the sort of thing I like to wear, so I jumped at the chance to test, even though I couldn't actually imagine putting on a tank top (unless it was way under something else) at the time.
PATTERN: Basic Pocket Skirt and Basic Tank from the Cali Faye Collection. The Tank is a very basic A-line sleeveless top without darts and a scooped hemline. It is very similar to other tanks I've made, but I think I'm going to go ahead and say this one is my favorite. The narrow shoulder and swoopy neck makes me feel thin and pretty. The Pocket Skirt is a basic gathered skirt with generous patch pockets,  an elastic waist back, and a hidden side zipper that keeps the bunchiness to a minimum.

FABRIC: For the tank I used a light weight cotton voile from my stash. The drape is pretty perfect for this tank, but it is kind of see through (next time I'll do better!). The skirt fabric is linen from Joann. Joann can be a tricky place to come up a winner, but I like the linen selection (granted in mid-February it can lack diversity).  This is the Sew Classic Slub Linen in Black Papyrus.

SIZE/FIT: Fit was true to measurements, and that's all I'm going to say until I sew the final version of the pattern.
I'm not going to do the full pattern review because this garment was sewn from the test pattern. But I will say, this is one of the most impressively formatted pattern layouts I've seen lately. There is a 1" grid over the whole print out, giving you plenty of points to align the pieces with certainty. The hierarchy of line weights makes the cut lines for various sizes very clear, while secondary information is clearly marked but of a secondary size and weight. All of the pertinent information for cutting (i.e. size chart, fabric layout, symbol key) is printed right on the pattern pieces so you don't have to do any cross checking with information in a different computer file. The whole pattern fit nicely on my kitchen table when completely assembled. These may seem like odd criteria to judge a pattern against, but we all know there are plenty of beautiful designs in less than user friendly formats. A thoughtful layout makes cutting, and tracing convenient and fast.
I guess the whole point of separates is that they go with more than one thing, and these babies certainly do. The barest summer look is a long way off for me, but I suspect far-right will be seasonally appropriate in a few short weeks.
I was going to ask you all to weigh in but I've already vetoed these shoes. Ten years ago I would have loved them to the point of proposing marriage. Now, I'm just wishing they were navy.


Pertinent Info:
Top Pattern: Basic Tank from Cali Faye Collection
Skirt Pattern: Basic Pocket Skirt from Cali Faye Collection
Top Fabric: Cotton Voile from India Beautiful Art
Skirt Fabric: Sew Classic Slub Linen in Black Papyrus from Joann

Psst...there's a discount code, go find Cali Faye on your social media of choice for more info.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dress No. 1

Every so often I get a feeling that I've read the entire internet. Like everything is one more blog blitz of the t-shirt du jour barely distinguishable from yesterday's t-shirt du jour and I'm just incredibly bored by the whole thing (though very grateful for the wide selection of t-shirts). Just in the nick of time along comes the Have Company sew along using the 100 Acts of Sewing Dress No. 1 by Sonya Philip. Two weeks ago I didn't know what any of those thing were. Like a breath of virtual fresh air sweeping across my interweb browser Have Company brought the lovely 100 Acts of Sewing pattern line into my life. 100 Acts of Sewing patterns are only available in print. It's been 100 years since I've sewn with a real physical pattern. The hand of the maker is so clearly visible in the simply improvised packaging, and concise format of the pattern and instructions. If sewing alone in a spare bedroom can ever be a communal experience, this was.
 I really thought I was going to look like a sorry sack of potatoes in this dress.  Where are all the bells and whistles? How could something so simple possibly turn out well? I'm a less is more kind of girl, but I know that less usually costs a whole lot more because it's more work to make something with so few elements look good. This dress has no where to hide. As I was sewing I was schemeing about belts and tie strings and a strategically placed hand-on-hip to photograph a dress that I would never wear.

Knucklehead! This dress is awesome.

The Dress No. 1 pattern is a single piece, plus a pocket. The front and back are the same piece, and there are instructions that show how to make the neck shape whatever you want. I shaved about 1/4" off of mine, and added a tiny scrap of Liberty to the back neck in lieu of a tag. The side shaping is fitted at the bust, straight-ish to the waist and full on flared to the hem. The simple construction makes this a really quick sew. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn french seams, and I'm glad I did. You can hide half baked seam finishing with ruffles and puffs. I wanted this to look as perfect inside as out. Again with the simplicity thing.
I wore my beloved linen Alder a ton last fall, but I worry that the ghost of Emily Post might stop me in the street and give me a stern reprimand for a seasonal fabric faux pas. This is my go-to light weight denim from Joann in the darkest wash. It's the right price, always available locally, and has a sturdy drape perfect for this dress. There is just enough room for a t-shirt layer under No. 1, so I can wear it with as many layers of tights and boots as I can stand in the winter, and gradually peel off the layers as the weather warms. The depth of the arm hole doesn't allow a speck of bra to show, so I'll wear it in the summer too. I didn't want to distract from the elemental form of this dress so I centered the pockets on the side seam rather than putting them on the front. 
Pertinent info:
Pattern: Dress No. 1 by 100 Acts of Sewing
Fabric: Light Weight Denim from Joann Fabric
For more sewing inspiration: #hcdressalong #100actsofsewing on instagram

Finally, a little something for Selfish Sewing Week. Are you sewing along? Kollabora entry here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pretty, Pretty Birds

When I am sewing something that isn't clothing chances are good the pattern came from Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake Patterns. She is one of the few sewists that I know in real life, and she got me hooked on Etsy when Etsy was still a good and pure place for makers. I've sewn her Love Your Lunch Box, and Lola the Owl twice (here, and here). Her projects can be characterized as user friendly, adorable, and relatively fast. The last Archer I made took me a week. I made these little pretties from Virginia's new book Pretty Birds in an afternoon (coincidently, from scraps of that Archer).

I am a bit of a backyard bird watcher, I had my little heart set on sewing a pair of cardinals. We have a pair that nests in the lot next door, and perches on our patio fence from time to time. Every single project in Pretty Birds can be made with the scraps of whatever garment you've sewn lately. Unfortunately, I rarely wear red, so I rarely sew with red, so I don't have any scraps of red hanging around.  I do have a ton of blue...plan changed to a pair of robins. These guys are doing their natural cousins one better with Liberty of London Tana Lawn breasts. I don't think I've ever thrown away anything but the tiniest shred of Liberty. Hoarding comes in handy (and is completely justified) at times like these. These little robins only took a few square inches of left over chambray, and light wash denim for the bodies, and the tiniest patch of print for the breast.
Pertinent Info:
Robin Pattern: Pretty Birds by Virginia Lindsay
Light Blue Body Fabric: Robert Kaufman Denim in Washed Bleach Indigo
Dark Body Fabric: Indigo Chambray (similar)
Light Blue Bird Print: Liberty London Betsy in Light Blue
Dark Blue Bird Print: Liberty London Thrope in Blue
Beaks: Wool Felt
Now, run along and enter the giveaway where 5 winners will receive a FREE copy of Virginia's beautiful new book Pretty Birds and a bird sewing kit!  If you sew a lot of red, I expect cardinals.

Stop by the sites below for even more projects from Pretty Birds.