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.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The New Ali Sweatshirt Sewing Pattern From Sew DIY

The new Ali Sweatshirt from Sew DIY is making all my loungewear dreams come true. I'm going through a sewing for comfort phase (or have I always been in one?!), elastic waist paints, loose fitting tees, and now cozy sweatshirts. It was 95 degrees with drenching humidity the day I took these photos (which explains the drastic departure in hair styling), but even in the summer an easy wearing sweatshirt comes in handy. This is a little something to throw into the tote bag for the fireworks, or use as a beach coverup. The sand won't be an issue in a easy washing french terry knit. 

The Ali Sweatshirt construction is a nice little twist on your basic pullover. There is a two piece back yoke that pushes the shoulder seam a bit to the front. Those seam lines along with a two piece sleeve, and drop shoulder add a bit of subtle (my favorite kind) detail to the lines of the top. 
I made this as a pattern tester and I know Beth has tweaked the length since then so I won't get into how I altered mine. I love the exaggerated width and cropped length. I wore the Ali with my self-drafted shorts and Adventure Tanks all through an unusually chilly week in August when I was at my family's farm. Having a simple sweatshirt that I could wear over just about anything made it easy to pack light. 

For the sizing I sewed a medium graded to a large at the hips. Next time I think I could get away with a straight medium since I cropped the length to above my hip (i.e. largest measurement). There is also plenty of ease built into this design. 

The fabric is Telio Splendid french terry* in dark gray, and it is as splendid as its name would have you believe. It's a loose, soft weave, and has a nice bit of drape. I pre-washed it once, but next time I would do it twice. I've worn and washed it a lot and it's shrunk a little more. 

I've probably said it before but I love the layout of SewDIY patterns. There is such a clear hierarchy of information with sizes, labels, and notes each given their proper priority that there's no doubt where or what you're cutting. I hate it when you tape up a pattern and everything reads the same. They are the opposite of those Japanese pattern books where all the patterns are printed on top of each other giving me a headsplosion!

Pattern: Ali Sweatshirt from Sew DIY
Fabric: Telio Splendid French Terry in Dark Gray from Fabric.com*
Shorts: Self-Drafted

*Fabric.com links are affiliate links. The opinions are my own. 
I received this pattern for free as a tester for Sew DIY. The opinions are my own. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Sewing White T-Shirts

Here is another installment of what I did last summer (actually the summer before that, even). I made 3 white t-shirts using two different sewing patterns. White t-shirts are often overlooked for more complicated projects but I think summer is the perfect time for easy, breezy, fast sewing projects.  
I made this white t-shirt during #simplesummersewing that I hosted a few years ago with Petit a Petit + Family basics like this took center stage. A simple t-shirt is perfect for hot weather, quick to sew, and gets lots of wear.
I’m wearing a short sleeve v-neck Lark Tee by Grainline Studio. The kids are wearing School Bus Tees from Oliver + S. J is wearing view A, and L is wearing the more feminine view B sleeve options. I came across some really high quality jersey knit at my local fabric shop in Philadelphia. Fabric this good had to be made into t-shirts immediately! They are the simplest of summer sewing. If you're in the market for a new white tee my new favorite jersey is the Telio Organic Cotton jersey*. It's a bit lighter than this fabric, and has a really nice drape and recovery. 
Adult T-Shirt Pattern: Lark Tee from Grainline Studio
Boy's T-Shirt Pattern: School Bus Tee from Oliver + S
Girl's T-Shirt Pattern: School Bus Tee from Oliver + S
Fabric: Telio Organic Cotton Jersey (substitution) from Fabric.com*

*Fabric.com links are affiliate links. Opinions are my own. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Denim Basics Dress

During the last few lazy days of summer, when no new sewing is likely to happen over here, I'm bringing a few past sewing projects back to SweetKM that I posted on other sites. I love this Basics Dress from Cali Faye Collection and it's time I post it here. I made this dress as part of Simple Summer Sewing I hosted with Petit a Petit and Family a few years ago. I made this dress at our summer cottage in the middle of the night. It's a quick sew and easy fit perfect for days when the kids would rather be at the pool than at home watching you sew. A tank dress is a summer wardrobe staple that can stand up to the most persistent heat wave. I like this design for its easy wearing drawstring waist, narrow shoulder straps, and scoop back. 

The simple lines of a basic dress make for easy customization and modification. One pattern can become many different garments with the right alterations. I have sewn this pattern before exactly as written, so I was already familiar with the fit and construction. For this version I planned ahead and made a few modifications to fit my own personal style. I added pockets, straightened the shirt tail hem, and used a bias finish on the neck and arm openings rather than the full lining. 
The fabic is Art Gallery Denim, light weight denim in indigo. It’s a classic color, and light weight enough to gather nicely, but heavy enough that it is completely opaque. It’s great for skirts, tops and dresses. 

This pattern calls for a full lining, resulting in an exceptionally clean construction. I didn’t need a lining with this fabric, but I tried to make an equally nice interior even without one. Simple projects are a great place to focus on truly polished seam finishes. I used bias binding at the neck and arm openings, and French seams at the side and shoulder seams. The edges of the added pockets are bound with a few scraps of Liberty London from my stash. The channel for the drawstring is a strip of fabric sewn in with the waist seam, then folded over and stitched to the bodice completely encapsulating any raw edges at the waist. The drawstring is a piece of grosgrain ribbon. I cut the ribbon in half and sewed 4" of elastic into the middle so the waist tie wasn't rigid.

Fast sewing projects, unlike fast fashion, don’t have to be disposable. I’ve been wearing this silhouette for years. With the extra care taken in finishing this dress, I’m confident it is a piece that will survive many wearings, and be a core part of my summer wardrobe. 

Pattern: Basics Dress by Cali Faye Collection 
Fabric: Art Gallery Fabrics Smooth Denim in Indigo 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Summer of Basics

How basic is too basic? I would say too basic isn't even a thing, but sometimes (like right now) I sew something (in this case things), and wonder if they are just too simple to justify photographs, or your attention. I like to document my making, but what is there to say about garments this simple? 

I'm not one to fuss with a fitted bodice, I haven't installed a zipper in years, and rarely even sew a dart. I made my last party dress in a year with 2 zeros. My outfits are plain, but I think my wardrobe taken as a whole has something (all be it very simple) to say. These humble garments won't stop traffic, their true value is in their usefulness as a group that reflects my lifestyle and aesthetic.

So far my Summer of Basics line up includes: 1 Adventure Tank from Fancy Tiger Crafts, and 2 self-drafted shorts. I say so far because I've got a summer sweater on the needles that is perfect for the green shorts, but I've also got a pretty full schedule and I'm going to cut myself some slack. We'll call the brown shorts a #summerofbasics alternate if I make my sweater deadline. 
Let's talk about shorts for a minute. I hate shorts. Hate them. I very rarely wear them, and only in the confines of my own yard and garden. I hate how they pull at the hips and gap at the waist. I hate the way they ride up when I walk. I hate all the tugging and adjusting shorts require. Thing is, I don't really hate shorts. I hate ill fitting, ready to wear shorts designed for a totem pole, not a real person with any differentiation of silhouette. I know ill fitting, ready to wear shorts fit some body, but they don't fit my body. So, I avoid them at all costs. Like shift dresses, it took me a while to remember that the shorts are not the problem, the fit is. I can sew. I can make anything fit. 

Both brown and green shorts are from the same self-drafted pattern. This design started as my signature wide leg pants that I love (some days) even more than my own children. I cropped and widened the pants design at the leg opening to make shorts that fit like a glove. 
Summer is a tricky season for making time to sew. Confronted with one family fun deadline after another I stretch the making day the only way I can - well into the night. One night just before a family trip to my parents' farm (where we spend most of the summer), I allowed my self a rare cup of afternoon coffee and made a solemn vow not to sleep until I had crossed three things off of my must-sew list. It was a bit extreme (even for me), as I was up until 4am, but the ease with which I've been packing for summer trips makes the late night worth it. Basic garments are my very favorite kind to sew, and these shorts blend perfectly with long past makes like this Dress No. 1 cropped into a top, and the Adventure Tank that is fresh off the ball point needle. 
The Adventure Tank from Fancy Tiger Crafts is my new favorite summer tee. I knew it would be when it first came out, but I dithered before buying it because I thought I should try to draft my own. I could, it's simple, but it's simpler to just buy a well drafted pattern and eliminate all the variables.

For the tank I used a nice quality Kaufman Laguna Jersey Knit from Fabric.com*. It's great for this design, and any basic tee. The brown shorts are my go-to Slub Linen from Joann Fabrics in Tobacco Potting. It's light weight, easy to sew, washes well, and I can pick it up on a whim. At this point I have a dress, pants, and shorts in this fabric all in heavy rotation. The green shorts are washed linen from Fabric.com. This is a medium weight 100% linen. I love the weight and quality of this fabric, it's completely opaque and easy to sew. Next time I would make the inside of the waistband with a lighter weight fabric to reduce bulk around the elastic. This fabric would be great for Persephone Pants or Lander Pants. I bought the Persephone pattern when it came out. Time to stop planning and start sewing.
Top Pattern: Adventure Tank from Fancy Tiger Crafts purchased on Creative Bug
Top Fabric: RK Laguna Jersey Knit in Onyx from Fabric.com*
Shorts Pattern: My own based on self-drafted pants
Shorts Fabric: European 100% Washed Linen in Fig from Fabric.com*
Shorts Fabric: Slub Linen in Tobacco Potting from Joann Fabrics

* As usual, Fabric.com links are affiliate links all fabrics were purchased, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Coram Midi Dress

It's Coram Week over at Indie Sew to celebrate the release of the print version of the Coram Top/Dress sewing pattern by Allie Olson. Be sure to check out Allie's tips for sewing a Coram on the Indie Sew blog!

I've been wanting to make a dress inspired by the layered up tribal prints of Ace & Jig for the last little while. The simple silhouette, and collar and cuff accent pieces make the Coram Dress the perfect foil for my idea.
Once the pattern was determined the fabric was the big hurtle. After a few weeks of Me Made May selfies, I've determined my handmade wardrobe is heavy on staples, but light on statements. A girl can make a statement every now and again, everything doesn't have to be denim. I don't wear much print, and it's tough to shop for them online where the actual scale is hard to discern. I hit on Ikat as a good fabric because of it's loose weave and sketchy patterning. Stone Mountain & Daughter has a robust selection of coordinating color ways. I'm still torn as to whether I should have gone with blue and white because it's more in my wheelhouse, but I have plenty of basics, my wardrobe could use something memorable.
The Coram Top/Dress sewing pattern is a raglan style top designed for woven fabrics. I sewed an 8 bust graded to a 10 hip, with the 12 width for the skirt because it's longer than the designed dress version.  I added 12" to the dress option for a midi length. The side seams are sewn to 1" below the original slit marking. I shortened the sleeves by about 1" and raised the darts a bit (common alteration for me). I drafted my own tie belt (al a Ace & Jig) that is about 2" wide, and long enough to tie in a bow wrapped once or knot wrapped twice.

I used the Checker Board Ikat in Black (similar) for the body of the dress, and the Flame Stitch Black/Multi for the collar, cuffs and belt. Both are from Stone Mountain & Daughter. The fabric is a little more structured that recommended for the Coram (which likes something with a lot of drape), but I think the extra length softens the fabric a bit, and love the way it wears.

This post is sponsored by Indie Sew. The opinions are my own. 

Pattern: Coram Top/Dress from Indie Sew by Allie Olson
Main Fabric: Black Checker Board Ikat (sold out, link to similar) from Stone Mountain & Daughter
Accent Fabric: Black Flame Stitch Ikat from Stone Mountain & Daughter

This post is sponsored by Indie Sew. The opinions are my own.