Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Denim Persephone Pants & Plaid Archer Buttonup

I've been bogged down by life for the past few months. All good things, and all time sensitive over commitments, and unrealistic personal expectations. I see what I get from them in the long run, but don't get much out of them right now. Not sewing, makes me not feel like myself. I start to have an identity crisis, I feel a productivity deficit, I start shopping at Uniqlo. It's a brutal downward spiral of cheap clothing and regret. Luckily, my first finished outfit of 2019 (and actually a late 2018 make) feels exactly like me. Like Kristi Morrow in 100% cotton. A handmade Archer Button Up shirt, and custom fit Persephone Pants to help me regain some focus, or maybe just do all that other crap in style.
The plaid was the genesis of this outfit. If you could review my Etsy search history you'd know that cotton Madras plaid weighs heavily on my mind between the hours of 9:30 and midnight. I saw this beauty last spring in the Indie Sew fabric shop and knew I wanted it for an Archer. The Persephone Pants were on my to sew list so I also picked up that pattern and some 10 ounce denim for a trial run. Then we moved, then went away for the summer, then came back to a dramatically different family routine and a sewing room in shambles and my making focus totally went off the rails.
The top. As mentioned before this is the Archer Button Up from Grainline Studio. I've made it many times before, and I have the pattern tweaked to fit just the way I like it. I love to sew a sure thing, particularly when it take a few days of sewing time to make it happen. This Archer is exactly what I wanted, exactly the way I wanted it.

The pants are the Persephone Pants by Anna Allen. Like everybody else I was skeptical of the fit with no side seam. Usually the side seam is the last one I sew so I can easily tinker with the ease. Uncertainty is part of the reason I didn't sew these sooner. My time is short, I don't want to waste it on something that I won't even be able to wear. All those worries were for nothing, these fit darn good with a minimal amount of fuss. I thought long and hard about hacking my own side seam into them. Glad I didn't, the smooth curve across the tush is what sets this design apart.

I did extend the crotch curve of the back about 1", and I shaved 1/2" off the rise at the front to blend into the back. I also made the darts a bit deeper. This was far less that I thought I would have to do. As far as pants go, those are tiny adjustments for me. The bummer is I sewed on, and top stitched the waistband before giving them a final try one, and I ended up taking it off again to make my adjustments. I sacrificed the pocket topstitching for ease of putting them back together. Not a big deal, but the lining peaks out sometimes. The button is a long treasured vintage textured plastic button from my stash. The main pants fabric is 10oz denim from Indie Sew. It's good stuff, and the dark color and dark top stitching hide any flaws that are a result of these being a wearable muslin.

Pants Pattern: Persephone Pants by Anna Allen from Indie Sew
Pants Fabric: 10 oz. Denim from Indie Sew (sold out, similar*)
Shirt Pattern: Archer Button Up by Grainline Studio
Shirt Fabric: Cotton Plaid Shirting from Indie Sew (sold out, also nice* or similar*)

*fabric.com links are affiliate links.

Just a note to say that blogger isn't allowing me to respond to comments on blog posts at the moment.  I love your input and I'm reading them all. I'll try to get to the bottom of the problem soon!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Girl's Velvet Swing Dress

Every year I make L something for her birthday. This is actually last year's dress, but before it gets jumped in line by this years garment, I'm carving out some space for it here. This is a modified School Bus T-shirt by Oliver + S. These patterns are a sure thing for fit, and a basic t-shirt pattern can be turned into just about anything. I made it a size bigger than she needed to extend the wear. She wore it to the school Christmas party this year and it still fits great. 
I used the long sleeve option and created an A-line dress by lengthening. and widening the body of the shirt from the underarm seam down to the hem. I measured from L's shoulder to determine how long I wanted the dress to be. It's a little trial and error, but a safe bet as far as rogue sewing goes.
Of course, I made one for Maxine too (#madeformaxine). I used scraps of the valor for the dress, cut up an old pair of L's tights to make Maxine a pair, and used felt to make little bowed slip-on shoes and hair bows. I suspect this will be Maxine's last new outfit, L still plays with her, but she is less popular than she's been in the past (still holding out hope that she'll get a second life with another generation ;). I've really loved sewing for this doll, more than I would have expected. Doll sewing seems so fussy, and tiny, but the abstract nature of Waldorf dolls has given both of us the opportunity to be creative with her style. I also love saving a little piece of fabric from each thing I make for L that will never be outgrown. 

Dress Pattern: Modified School Bus T-Shirt by Oliver + S
Dress Fabric: Crushed Velvet
Doll Dress Pattern: Self-drafted
Doll Dress Fabric: Crushed Velvet Scraps

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Cardamom Coffee Hat

I knit half of this Cardamom Coffee hat by Boyland Knitworks at Easter! I finished the other half over Thanksgiving. It's gift giving potential is too high to languish in the WIP bag any longer. All of the yarn is Knit Picks Palette yarn. It's 100% wool and comes in a whole bunch of colors (as the name would suggest :). 

This is a nice fair isle knitting project. It's detailed, but the repeats are short and easy to remember so you can maybe binge watch cooking shows while you knit. I love the Boyland Knitworks sweater designs, but the lead time on this tiny project would suggest I'm not up for that sort of focused knitting...yet. 

The pompom is a shade lighter than the accent color (see notes below). I also steamed the pompom. My pompoms always look straggly, and sad. The steam gave a nice puff to the skinny fingerling yarn. 

Hat Pattern: Cardamom Coffee Hat by Boyland Knitworks
Main: Knit Picks Palette Yarn in Navy
Background: Knit Picks Palette Yarn in Mist
Accent: Knit Picks Palette Yarn in Autumn Heather
Pompom: Knit Picks Palette Yarn in Brindle Heather
Needles: 3 US

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Simplicity 8723 Harry Potter Halloween Costume

Harry Potter. This costume feels inevitable. I think we have been reading HP continuously since 2015. We're reading book 7 at bedtime now, so each of us will have read the entire series individually and together. J is not a big fan of dress up (unlike his sister), and usually asks for a completely impossible costume like a black hole, or dark matter (made it, but never posted the full costume). This year I tried to steer him toward a classic like a ghost or Dracula, but Harry Potter was the only idea that resinated. The second he put on the robe and had the wand in his hand he caught the Halloween spirit enough to forget that half his costume was his catholic school uniform. :)

The robe pattern is Simplicity 8723, it's got the entire size range, and I suspect I will be sewing this pattern again in the future. I used stash buttons, and a hair tie to make the closure, and the Gryffindor patch is from Amazon. I altered the pattern to make full underlining pieces for the front and a deeper facing for the back. I know my HP would want to rush off in search of horcruxes or candy and I didn't want the 4 inch front facing giving him away as a fraud. I hand stitched the lining and the facing. If I had planned ahead I could have done more on the machine but it was late and I was flying by the seat of my pants. Next time I would deepen the arm opening. It's pretty snug for something you're supposed to wear a sweater and button-down under. I also deepened the right pocket to accommodate his 11" hand whittled wand. His is ancient and mysterious lilac from the backyard at the farm. He also peeled the bark with his pocket knife (they're not as dangerous as you might think).

The exterior fabric is gabardine suiting in solid black from Fabric.com*. I had black Kona cotton in my cart, but changed my mind at the last minute. I hate how polyester it is, but I love the weight and drape. It really feels like real clothing feel of the finished robe. I'm telling myself the polyester is authentic school uniform material. The lining is Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in Crimson* from Fabric.com*. I bought and used a full 2 yards for the hood and lining. I think the color is the perfect Gryffindor shade of burgundy. 

Robe Pattern: Simplicity 8723
Robe Fabric: Gaberdine Suiting in Solid Black from Fabric.com*
Robe Lining: Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in Crimson from Fabric.com*
Gryffindor Patch: Amazon

*Fabric.com links are affiliate links.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Handmade Classic Witch Halloween Costume

Halloween is the best worst holiday. Parents making themselves crazy over an outfit their kid will wear once. It's stupid, and I love it. I remember my mom at the sewing machine late into the night before trick-or-treat sewing 5 handmade fantasies. In 7th grade she made me the most amazing Captain Hook costume, it had a red 3/4 jacket, and a hook made with a coat hanger, duct tape, and the bottom of a 2 liter bottle of soda (remember those?). All pure mom imagination without the benefit of craft blogs or pinterest. I tend to go overboard on Halloween, but I just don't care. Childhood is fleeting, the image of L at 8:30 this morning walking through Target in this costume as if she were the queen of South Philadelphia will sustain me well into old age. I hope she thinks of it when she is panic buying Halloween supplies for her own kids. 
This costume is a lot of pieces. I like to make costumes that can easily adapt to another fantasy and become dress up clothes the other 364 days of the year. The top is the Janie Dress from Mouse House Creations that I converted to a hi/lo peplum and added bells sleeves. It's sewn with stretch crushed velvet from Fabric.com. L could wear the top with leggings or a more sane skirt as a slightly fabulous regular outfit too.

The skirt is an improvised tutu. I bought 15 yards of black matte tulle at Joann, divided it into 5 layers, so each layer was 3 yards around. I gathered that into a 36" waistband, then used elastic to gather it down to L's waist size. The daisy tulle is a vintage fabric from my MIL's stash that followed L home the last time she visited. It's a nice bit of detail in the sea of black.

I made L a witch hat years ago, and I share the pattern HERE. This is more or less the same process but I sized up for a big kid sized head. The whole thing is sewn from acrylic felt with black ric rac around the brim. The pointed crown is a single layer of felt that I reinforced with fusible interfacing, the brim is two layers with a circle of thick reinforcing sewn in between to keep the brim from flopping. We used left over tulle from the skirt to decorate the hat with some spiders are the spoils of past Halloweens and a vintage button from L's collection.
Lydia took charge of the accessories. She made the broom herself months ago. She cut down a little black walnut tree, scrapped most of the bark off of it with her pocket knife, and wrote "fire bolt" on the end with a sharpie. For the bristles she used the spine of the walnut leaves that she tied on with yarn. She also made the choker from a scrap of the shirt fabric. 

Top Fabric: Stretch Panne Velvet Velour in Black from Fabric.com*

Dress Pattern: Improvised
Dress Top Fabric: Vintage 
Dress Under Fabric: Black Matte Tulle from Joann Fabric

Hat Pattern: Improvised
Hat Fabric: Acrylic Felt from Joann Fabrics

*Fabric.com links are affiliate links.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Handmade Baby Gift

When my newest niece was born I hustled off to the yarn store to treat myself to try something new (to me). I bought the fingerling weight Loft from Brooklyn Tweed in Camper. It's got little fleck of other colors in it knitting into a really dynamic fabric. So I did a little math and converted my Simple Ribbed Pixie Bonnet pattern to the light weight yarn. Thing is, one little hat doesn't look like a very satisfying gift. I went shopping for something else to add to the present and I saw this sweet fleece vest. It didn't come in baby sizes, the lining was the wrong color, and I don't feel good about giving cheap stuff to tiny babies, so I made one with fabrics from my stash.

A hand knit pixie bonnet and a home sewn vest make a great baby gift, all tucked into a bento bag that Mama can use to stash a spare diaper and wipes later on. All fabric & pattern details below.

Hat Pattern: Simple Ribbed Pixie Bonnet by SweetKM
Hat Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Camper from Loop Yarn in Philadelphia
Hat Button: Vintage

Bag Pattern: Wholecloth Bento Bag by SweetKM
Bag Fabric: Robert Kaufman Essex Linen Blend from Fabric.com*

Vest Pattern: Improvised
Vest Fabric: Michael Miller Organic Sherpa Fleece from Fabric.com*
Vest Lining: Long Stashed Cotton Print (similar)
Vest Binding: Robert Kaufman Essex Linen Blend from Fabric.com*

*Fabric.com links are affiliate links.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ladder Stripe Lou Box Top & Wide Leg Pants

Since moving early last summer, I have collected quite a stash of uncut yardage purchased with big plans and the best intentions, but no actual time to sew. (There's no better way to quantify a fabric hoarding problem than to move!) This fall I'm determined to work through that guilty pile with a little something to refresh my fall wardrobe. These are my go-to self-drafted pants, and my very favorite pattern to hack, the Lou Box Top from Sew DIY.
The pants are my standard wide leg pants pattern that I drafted a few years ago. I am so heavily invested in this style (current count - 6), can we all please agree that they will never go out of style?! I used the medium weight Tencel Twill II from Blackbird Fabrics for this version. This Camel color is sold out, but I'm also loving Penny. I wanted something a bit more substantial for fall than my linen versions, but with a drape that doesn't stifle the width. This fabric is so swishy and soft I'm tempted to make a pair in every color!
I saw a top similar to this one somewhere on the internet, and I've had it tucked into a dusty little corner of my brain ever since. The Lou Box Top is basically two pieces, a front and a back. I cut each piece parallel to the center line about 2 inches from the neck opening. Then added a seam allowance to each side of the cut. I cut the outer piece parallel to the grain of the fabric, and the center piece perpendicular to the grain to create this ladder stripe pattern. To make the button back I added 2" to the center back. I used a 1" strip of fusible interfacing 1/2" from the raw edge of the center back pieces for the button placket. Then turned a 1/2" fold, then a 1" fold one each side of the back. Then stitched as close to the fold as I could to sew down the placket. I was torn as to weather I should match the buttons/holes to the stripe pattern but in the end decided that made the buttons either awkwardly close, or awkwardly far apart so I just spaced them 3". You'll find a few images for how-to make the hack at the end of this post. 

The fabric is a yarn dyed cotton linen stripe from Fabric.com*. It's the perfect weight for an unstructured top, but it is a tad see through on the white stripes. I was careful to position a thick blue stripe across my bust line. 

click for larger image


Shirt Pattern: Lou Box Top from Sew DIY
Shirt Fabric: Cotton/Linen Stripe from Fabric.com*
Pants Pattern: Self-drafted Wide Leg Pants
Pants Fabric: Tencel Twill II in Camel from Blackbird Fabrics

*Fabric.com links are affiliate links.