Monday, May 23, 2016

Art Gallery Denim Alder Shirtdress

I had so much planned for this little space this month, and now I'm just not sure where the weeks have gone. There was a whole lot of packing and unpacking of car and suitcase, so I guess I will blame my silence on travel. Such is May.

This is the Alder Shirtdress View B from Grainline Studio. I've made this pattern a few times before (View A, View B, modification), and I think we all know it intimately by now. If you're new to shirtmaking, this is a great place to start as it has a collar and button front but no cuffs, giving you practice with the important bits of the button up before you go the whole way. As a bonus you get a complete outfit when you're finished, as opposed to a shirt, where you may find you still need some pants.
The main fabric is Art Gallery Denim Infused Hydrangea from Fabric Worm. Based on the name I thought this fabric would be be more purple (don't ask me why). It's not. It's a perfectly washed blue. The hand and drape are fantastic for a fabric whose durability and price point justify their use for everyday. I may make something in every color (or at least all of the blues) before the summer is through. In the past I have been a devotee of the Joann Fabrics light weight denim, but this is better. Mainly because of the drape, and far better color choices, making it worth the advanced planning ordering online requires. Or in my case the panic at the last minute when you realize you needed it yesterday, and can't find anyone able to ship it quickly. Mine is from Fabric Worm. They went above and beyond to get it to me fast. Or at least made it seem that way which is almost just as good.

The accent fabric is Liberty London from a long out grown kid's project. With any luck I will not out grow this little piece of it. The roses were pilfered from my community garden (No one said I couldn't pick them. No one said I could.) before I even realized their parallels to the garment.
Size/Fit: I made my standard size 6 at the bust graded to an 8 at the waist based on my measurements. I could easily have made a straight 6, but I ascribe to the better safe than sorry school of sewing. I am only capable of isolating one variable at a time, two if I really put my mind to it, and my bust/waist/hip couldn't be further from a linear equasion.

Alterations: Raised the armhole 3/4". Raised waist 3/4", lengthened the skirt 3/4" to compensate for change and maintain length. Raised bust dart 1" as usual. The biggest modification is the addition of pockets! All that volume and no place to put your phone? Unpardonable! Phone is safely by my side in my very generous pockets.

Fabric: Art Gallery Light Weight Denim in Infused Hydrangea from Fabric Worm


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Scout Tee Gathered Skirt Dress

This dress represents the nexus between Pinterest as an innocent diversion, and Pinterest that makes you straight up crazy. I saw this (follow link) little piece of chambray perfection from Samuji long enough ago that it isn't on their website anymore. But it is still stuck in my head. Sometimes pinning a picture of something I want is enough like possessing it that I can get over my wantiness for it. Virtual possession was not nearly enough for this dress. So, of course, 3 hours before spring break began, when I was supposed to be packing up kids and cat for a week at the farm to celebrate Easter with my family (and plant peas), I decided to try to squeeze a copy of that dress out of 1.5 yards of linen chambray earmarked for something else. No big deal. Right?!
I suspect my inspiration had a closure of some sort up the back. I wanted this to be pull on, so it's a bit less fitted. I used the Scout Tee as my jumping off point for the bodice. I've made it a bunch of times (hereherehere) so I know the fit at the shoulders is spot on, and have played around enough with the sleeves and neckline to know that I could get the effect I wanted in the end. The skirt was the wild card. It seems simple enough, two gathered rectangles with pockets, but the proportion of a garment this simple is crucial. I took the skirt off a few times to get the height just right.
Here are the insides. A fabric like this frays easily, and I don't want it to fall apart from careless washing (which is the only kind I do). I french seamed every seam so this garment would stand the test of time. The Sew Mama Sew tutorial for making french seams with in-seam pockets makes the whole mind bending right side/wrongsides thing pretty simple. I'm hoping the simple styling of this dress will keep it in regular rotation for a long time to come. 

The fabric is Robert Kaufman New Castle Denim from Fabric.com. It is a chambray lover's dream come true. I might never buy another fabric. Everything can an erithral yarn dyed blue right? The accents at the binding are Libery of London. The big print is a scrap of Basics Tank, and the small floral is a lovely gift from my Secret Valentine. 
All in all I'm pretty happy with my reproduction. I do wish my skirt were a little fuller and more flared. Normally I'm over zealous when skirt gathering. This time I was a bit too conservative in the cutting, and a bit too short on fabric to do the skirt gathers justice. I'm considering buying more fabric and taking another stab at it just for the learning experience. Afterall, experimentation if half the reason to make your own clothes.

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Fabric: Robert Kaufman New Castle Denim from Fabric.com
Pattern: Modified Scout Tee from Grainline Studio

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Who is playing along with Me-Made-May? I'm hoping to wear a me-made everyday in May, I'll be posting a few times a week on instagram. I'd also like to make a couple of more involved projects that have been on my list since last spring. We'll see, I already feel myself getting distracted by another Alder Shirtdress, and some delicious AG Denim!


Friday, April 29, 2016

True Bias Mini Colfax Dress

This adorable little ray of sunshine (camouflaged as a parking bollard) is my tester version of the Mini Colfax Dress a great summer dress patter just released by True Bias. Just like the (not Mini) Colfax Dress this design features a slit yoke at the neck, visible arm and neck binding, and a faced hem. I made View A, View B also includes some very clever patch pockets. The Mini Colfax is a satisfyingly quick sew, a refreshingly small PDF, and I imagine the color blocking potential will make this a popular style for the junior set. 
The fabric is from a vintage piece gifted to my stash from my mother-in-law's stash.  I imagine it was purchased for Great Great Grandmom's kitchen curtains, but I think it works well as a dress. Its light weight cotton with a two tone flower pattern that is almost embossed into the fabric (is that possible?). Yellow is not a common color in our wardrobe, so I decided to really own it with a yellow cotton lawn that is not vintage but also from my stash. 
This dress is as effortless to wear as it is to make. I've got plans for a few more, so we always have one to throw on this summer. Kelli's got two beautifully boho blue versions on her blog today, and a discount code!

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Pattern: Mini Colfax Dress by True Bias
Fabric: Vintage Stash

Monday, April 25, 2016

DIY Bead Necklace Tutorial

Today on Petit a Petit + Family I'm sharing a quick and simple tutorial to make your own bead statement necklace. It's a great project to do with kids, but I confess I made this one for myself. Looks like I'll have to make another. You can make your own with a few simple supplies from the craft store. Get the full tutorial HERE.

L is also wearing a Beachcomber Sweater I made a few years ago. The Beachcomber is an easy wearing pullover sweater, that's more like a t-shirt than a proper sweater. It's designed to be knit with Billow ( this one in Comfrey) from Knit Picks. This bulky yarn is a quick knit, and very reasonably priced. It's also 100% cotton making it perfect for summer wear. The pattern is on sale in the SweetKM Etsy Shop from now until Friday! Get your copy HERE.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Featherweight Cardigan and Wide Leg Pants


There's a lot of chatter on the internet lately about knitters who sew, and sewers who knit. Makers everywhere are dusting off a forgotten hobby, or learning a new skill. I'm encouraged that the lines between the two are quickly blurring. I've always incorporated a little sewing into my knits, and this is not the first mixed media outfit I have made. Not sure if I was ahead of my time, or just didn't know any better. Either way, I have persevered to the point of completing my very own interdisciplinary outfit, which has been on my mind for a long time. First, a hand knit sweater in a color I adore. Second, a sewn tank top from one of my very favorite patterns. Third, linen trousers that are self-drafted. 
Let's start at the top with this snug little cardi. This is the Featherweight Cardigan from Hannah Fettig. I bought Hannah's book Home & Away last fall, and I've been meaning to make a Georgetown Cardigan. The Georgetown is a fairly substantial cardigan, and spring is coming, so I thought I'd make a Featherweight Cardigan as a warm up. I was beginning to feel like the last knitter on the planet not to have made one of these, and now I see why. It's so versatile. The top down construction allows you to customize the fit as you go. I used a ready to wear sweater as a guide for the widths and lengths. More details of the sweater alterations are in my Ravelry notes. I kept track of weekly progress on instagram (#sweetkmWIP) to keep myself motivated in the midst of all that stockinette. 

The yarn is Quince & Co. Finch in Gingerbread. I love the color, and thought it would go well with all the chambray in my closet. But based on these photos it goes with a whole lot more. I think this yarn is a little squishy in the gauge specified. I'd like to make a black one with the same yarn, and will probably tinker with the pattern for a tighter knit. 
The top is the Basics Tank from Cali Faye Collection. I love the elliptical neckline, and the curve of the hem on this design. It is the most flattering tank I've come across, so I'm just gonna keep on making it. I raised the neckline 1" and added an 1/8" to the sides for I could french the seams. 

The fabric is Nani Iro from Miss Matatabi. If you've been following along on instagram you already know that I thought this was double gauze when I bought it, and it turned out to be brushed cotton. I was so busy falling in love with the gorgeous forrest and blush colorway that I didn't read the description! Believe me, the fabric type was clearly stated in the description but it was telling me things I didn't want to hear. After my initial disappointment the fabric is growing on me. It's a bit stiff for this design, but a beautiful texture and quality. I would have bought it anyway for the flawless color palette and watercolor print. 
The pants are self-drafted (a previous version). This is a little labor of love I've been working on for a few months off and on. I really want to sew pants, but I don't feel like fussing with the fit of a pattern that doesn't like my hip to waist ratio. I thought I might as well fuss with my own design from the start. I followed the instructions in the textbook from my pattern making class, then nipped and tucked my way to what you see here. These pants are high waist, pull on, wide leg trousers with a faux fly, and the always indispensable pockets. I'm hoping they will evolve into a more structured zip fly and waistband trouser.
With this rather large swath scratched out of my to-do list, here I am wondering what to do next...

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Sweater Pattern: Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig
Yarn: Finch in Gingerbread from Quince & Co.

Tank Pattern: Basics Tank by Cali Faye Collection
Tank Fabric: Nani Iro Brushed Cotton from Miss Matatabi

Pants Pattern: Self-drafted
Pants Fabric: Slub Linen in Tobacco Potting from Joann Fabric





Sunday, April 3, 2016

Must-Have Spring Sewing Patterns

The spring pattern releases are pouring onto the internet at a dizzying pace. My sewist emotions are swinging between gotta have it all, and forget it I can't keep up. While trying to sort out all the information and pretty pictures I was struck by the very different approaches indie pattern designers take when releasing new patterns. Some focus on just one pattern, other's on an entire collection. It's a lot of information to process so I've sifted through the pile of new designs and picked a few that I think are the most exciting for spring sewing. (FYI you can click on the image to go to the web page for each pattern)

Mega Release
First, let's sift through the mega releases from two substantial spring collections.  Named Clothing released a highly stylized look book inspired by Royal women with 8 (EIGHT!) new patterns beautifully displayed in glossy magazine fashion. Paper Cut Patterns also released 10 new patterns styled in a nautical theme. Collections take me a while to absorb. I love the cohesive presentation and the pretty pictures, but it takes some processing to evaluate which of these patterns I'm actually interested in. Of these two mega releases I'm drawn to the styles above. We all know I heart wide leg pants, and I'm intrigued by the wrap construction of the Astrid Wrap Pants from Named. I also love the idea that the lowly turtleneck is going to be a fashion statement, but I'm not sure I need a completely new pattern to make one. I love the loose fit and the subtle peplum of the Papercut Moana. It seems like an easy wearing summer staple.

Medium Release
image credit: seamwork / deer & doe / seamwork 
Deer and Doe released a much more manageable group of three new spring patterns with a total of 5 variations. I wasn't so hot for this collection until I saw Katie's Meliot and realized I must have it.   Along the same lines as the medium release is Colette releasing two simple patterns in each month's Seamwork magazine. I love the styling of this month's issue, and honestly I've been wondering when the bolo tie was going to make a comeback for a while now (not kidding).

Single Release


Within the same week True Bias released the Colfax Dress and Sew DIY the Nita Wrap Skirt. I've already made the Colfax, and will definitely make another. The Nita would be an enticing addition to my shameful lack of me made bottoms. I'm tempted to whip a few up before Me Made May catches me in nothing but RTW jeans.  Tessuti's Demi Pants are so beautifully styled, they'll be hard for me to resist making. They're pull on which means easy sewing, and easy wearing. I also like the looks of the new Driftless Cardigan from Grainline studio, but again, I think it's something I could cobble together on my own. Granted, I buy everything Jen makes, so I might as well quit playing coy and just give her my debit card number now.

I like the focused attention of the single pattern release. I revel in inspiration posts, sew alongs, and styling ideas that a thoughtful individual release garners. It's pure sewist entertainment even if I don't buy the pattern. A single patterns release with lots of tester projects completely eliminates any uncertainty as to whether a new pattern is for me. I will be revisiting the Named lookbook, but probably won't drain my paypal account just yet.

I am only scraping the surface with my spring pick. To keep my head from totally spinning off of my shoulders I'm using a pinterest board to organize my must makes, and DIY wardrobe inspiration. Sara (of Made By Sara) is compiling an impressively comprehensive list of women's indie sewing patterns on Pinterest. It's definitely worth browsing (better get another cup of coffee!).

How about you? Which new spring designs are on your must-sew list?







Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Lengthened Colfax Dress

It was 30 degrees when I sewed this dress, it was 45 degrees when I took pictures of this dress, but everything about this dress screams summer. It's effortless, and slightly bohemian. I guess here is where I should mention that this is the brand new Colfax Dress from True Bias

Even the construction of the Colfax is effortless, the neck and arm binding also serves as decoration, the hem is faced so it doesn't require the fussy ironing of 1/4" folds, there are no fasteners or closures just a slit so you can pull it over your head. It's perfect for summer vacations or the beach (or consoling yourself when you are stuck in the hot summer city with everybody's window A/C units blowing hot air in your face).
As this is my tester version I'm not going to go over the pattern in too much detail. Suffice it to say it's a quick and satisfying sew. I did add 7" to the length. It's a rather naughty thing to do when pattern testing, but I got the vision you see above in my mind, and I just couldn't help myself. I didn't use the lengthen shorten line, because I was afraid it would be too narrow for a full stride. I extended the side seam line to get more width, then bumped down the hem line. I had to then extend the width of the hem facing.

I used Light Weight Denim from Joann. I'm not sure if that's a cop out or a sweetkm classic as I've used it so many times before (here, here, here and that's not including kids clothes!). In my defense, it comes in reasonable colors, has a decent drape, and is readily available at my local store.  I think it would be fun to make a short one as a beach cover up with sheer body fabric and opaque accents. Check out Kelli's introduction to the Colfax to see how you can use different fabrics to articulate the dress details with the different views. Lots of great tester versions are rolling to #colfaxdress if you need a little more inspiration. 
Here I am all ready for summer, if only it were 20 degrees warmer.

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There is a smoking hot coupon code and contest going on for the Colfax Dress from now until April 28th. Hustle on over to the True Bias blog for the details!

Pattern: Colfax Dress from True Bias
Fabric: Light Weight Denim from Joann Fabric