Friday, September 11, 2015

Summer Sewing Round-Up

The temperatures have started dropping, so I've decided to complete a couple of projects left from the summer and then move on to cold-weather sewing! I've shared snapshots of completed projects on Instagram, but for review purposes, I'll go ahead and share them here.

First up, the Sallie Jumpsuit by Closet Case Patterns. I was a tester for this pattern and chose to use some ITY Jersey Aztec knit from (It's still in stock!) The drape and feel of this fabric is dreamy. It's so slinky and comfortable. At less than $6 a yard, the quality is nicer than I'd expect, too. It's been washed and worn lots and has held up very well.

For this gargantuan post, I'll just dump all the photos for each piece, have a little review, then put one more photo after the review. Does that sound okay?

Modifications: I lengthened the waist as per my usual.
  • This pattern really does feel like pajamas, especially if sewn with a comfortable knit.
  • It's easy to get on and off.
  • The tie-back is a nice detail.
  • Pockets!
  • There are dress options.
  • All Closet Case patterns are stellar. I'm a fangirl. 

My husband didn't like it. I KNOW! It's probably the first thing I've made that he didn't like. I was flabbergasted because I feel hawt in it!
  • It wasn't hemmed in these photos, and when I went to hem it, I cut it too short! The good news is it's knit, so I just left the hem raw.
  • Heather enlarged the armholes after our test, which is a good thing.
  • This style is comfortable, but not everyone is comfortable wearing it. I get that.

I live in tank tops in the summer. But I wanted a quality one - not cheap cotton but a nice ribbed fabric that would be soft and durable.

(These photos are likely out of focus. I dropped my camera off the tripod and the lens is not working properly. Waaaah!)

Pattern: Self-drafted based on a RTW tank.
Fabric: a rayon/cotton blend from Let's Sew in Evansville. I'd buy this fabric in EVERY SINGLE COLOR, but unfortunately, this is the only color they carry.

  • I made the armholes a little too high so there's some wrinkling, but I didn't want to have to layer it or risk showing my bra, so it'll do.
  • Undergarments matter. That's why I'll be making my own soon.
  • The double needle is my nemesis. Originally I hemmed this with the double needle, but the hem came out, so I went back and used a zig-zag. Around the armhole and neckband I stuck with a zig zag, and I think it's a-okay. (And secure!!)
These are the biggies for this summer. I made two test versions, and this is the second one. (I'll explain why the back waistband looks funny in a sec.)

Fabric: denim with 2% spandex from
Size: somewhere between a 0-2-4. My measurements are 32-26-34, and I fooled with just about every area of fitting these jeans.
Modifications: Oh my. Well, for the record, they are the closest to great-fitting jeans I can imagine straight out of the "envelope." I used an old pair of my Seven for All Mankind jeans as a reference. I cut apart those jeans, compared them to the pattern pieces, and made changes based on that. Some of the changes:
lengthened the torso, pockets, etc.
widened the waist band
took in the waist
Changed the back pocket size and shape
added a little boot cut to the leg bottom
  • The Ginger sew along is comprehensive and excellent.
  • I've been wearing these for a couple of weeks and just can't decide if I'm ready to cut into the Cone Mills denim I got in my Ginger Jeans kit. The fit is pretty spot on, but they sag down after a bit of wear. I've always had that experience with RTW jeans before my 7s, so I'm assuming it's because this fabric is cheap and the higher quality Cone denim will remedy that.
  • The waist was still a couple of inches too big, so I cut a slit in the waist band and added elastic to cinch things up. It's not noticeable under a shirt and makes them wearable.
  • DO NOT use cheap denim buttons! Oh my. Please don't. Learn from my mistake. Luckily I was able to rectify it.
  • I tried to distress these with sandpaper. It sort of worked.
  • Do I really like skinny jeans? I dunno. I'm more of a boot-cut kind of girl, and I like my thighs to breathe.

I've been admiring this top on the Interwebs since forever. 

This version and this version were the ones I wanted to steal, so I tried to make my own copy instead.

Fabric: The bodice and sleeves are from a blouse my sister gave me. The white gauze is from JoAnn Fabrics.
Size: xxs. The Internets said to size down and THEY WERE RIGHT. I've got broad shoulders and almost always need an adjustment there, but I like that my sleeves don't stick out that much. So xxs it is.
Modifications: none. at all. yayyayyay.
While I'm not sure whether this is flattering, I simply don't care. I like it that much, and so I've got fabric selected for 5 more. 
The armholes are kind of a pain. You sew the sleeves together as a loop and then put them into the armhole openings. There's no easing, so you'd best have gotten your SAs exact. Which I never do. So, next time I'll sew the armhole bands together in the loop AND THEN measure them against the armhole opening AND THEN sew the sides together according to that measurement.

Why yes, yes I am holding a rubber baby mermaid in this photo

I didn't sew this shirt. I'm slipping this in because it's my new favorite t-shirt.

I found a GSP silhouette online, traced it onto freezer paper, cut out the design with an exacto knife, cut a big oval out of a large piece of freezer paper, and then ironed the oval and GSP onto the t-shirt.

Then I put a layer of freezer paper between the front and back of the t-shirt and sprayed bleach into the oval.

And that's a wrap! I'll spare you my two pairs of Carolyn Pajama shorts because this post is so ridiculous even I'm bored. Ha.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Not Just a Sunsuit Tour - the Silky Negligee Version

It's my turn for the Not Just a Sunsuit Tour! The Paneled Sunsuit pattern by Call Ajaire came out this summer, and it has so many possibilities and variations it'll make your eyes pop.

For my version, I made Eliza a negligee.

The girl loves to wear her grandmother's hand-me-down negligees. We tied up the shoulder straps, and she wore them every day for months last year. This year I (reluctantly) encouraged her to keep the nighties at home -- figuring it was about time to teach about covering nethers and all that.

So when I bought this silky floral fabric (via JoAnn) and later hated it, I knew it was destined to be a publicly appropriate negligee for Eliza.

First, lots of sewists on the tour have mentioned it, but I want to reiterate how MUCH INFORMATION is included in this pattern. There are countless possible variations, finished measurements, a list to print just the pages you need based on the view you choose, comprehensive instructions -- she's thought of everything. Once I chose which view I was making, I kind of blocked out the other stuff I didn't need and focused just on my view.

The maxi dress version includes pockets (don't be confused by the photo), but I didn't want them because of the lightweight fabric, so I cut two skirt backs and used one as the front.

Also, I didn't do separate pieces on the front bodice top or use piping. Instead I just cut four lining pieces and used them for both the lining and main bodice.

I started with the 18-month size in the chest and graded out to a 3T at the hip. If I had it to do over, I'd have cut the waist bigger so I'd have more gathers there. As it is , it was impossible to get the casing to lay right for photos. She said it was comfortable though.

She loved this dress so much it was tough to get her to take it off after fittings. She slept in it the night after these photos were taken. She got her wearable negligee.

To transition the maxi to late summer/early fall, I made a little shrug to match. It's corduroy, lined with the same fabric as the dress. I used her little fur shrug she wore in my sister's wedding as a template and drafted my own pattern. 

The only thing Eliza loves more than a silky dress is a little shrug with silky lining. It only took four years, but I think I'm learning how to sew what she wants to wear!

You can win a copy of the pattern for yourself in the  Rafflecopter giveaway!

Or you can use the discount Ajaire's offering to snap up a pattern right away. She's offering a 15% discount on her patterns! You can use the code SUNSUIT15 both at Upcraft Club and Etsy through the 7th of September.  

Don't forget to check out the other ladies on the tour!

Monday August 24th:  Max California | Filles à Maman | Hey June | House of Estrela
Tuesday August 25th: Skirt Fixation | Gracious Threads | Kimmie Sew Crazy | Shaffer Sisters
Wednesday August 26th: Kid Approved | Pinkel | Falafel and the Bee | Once Upon a Sewing Machine
Thursday August 27th: Buzzmills | Pattern Revolution | Sprouting JubeJube | Handmade Martini
Friday August 28th: That's Sew Kari | Lulu & Celeste | Paisley Roots | Modern Handmade

Monday August 31st: Sew Cool for the Tween Scene | Kadiddlehopper | Imagine Gnats | Nap Time Creations
Tuesday September 1st: My Sweet Sunshine | Straight Stitch Designs | Handmade Boy | That's What She Crafted
Wednesday September 2nd: Climbing the Willow | Rebel & Malice | GYCT Designs | Two-Many
Thursday September 3rd: The Crazy Tailor | sewVery | Just Add Fabric | Delia Creates
Friday September 4th: A Jennuine Life | Conversas de Hermanas | Made by Sara | Not Sew Fast

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Summer and Why I Stopped Blogging

Next week I'm part of a blog tour for a pattern released this summer, and I don't want to spend a whole bunch of time in that post talking about What We've Done This Summer and Why I Stopped Blogging and all that.

So here's What We've Done This Summer.

We did what y'all did, I imagine. We went to the pool, played in the neighborhood with friends, spent time with family and buddies, went camping, and generally stayed up too late, watched too much TV, and veered completely off of regular schedules and routines.

That leads nicely into Why I Stopped Blogging.

This summer I started two new part-time jobs, and they are taking up a lot of my former "free" time -- you know those few hours squeezed in before Ryan leaves for work or after the kids are in bed. I'm still running six days a week and sewing at least a couple of those days, but the photographing for and writing of the blog. . . yeah, not so much. I can't figure how to keep my floors mopped and toilets clean, much less wax eloquent about the joys (and pitfalls) of parenting and sewing.

Man, I miss it. (The clean toilets and the eloquent waxing.)

We've found ourselves in a spectacular season of parenting. It's the sweet spot. The first six years were full of. . . Well, I'm not really sure because I don't remember much.

I'm so grateful for blogkeeping during that time because otherwise I'd look at these kids who live here and wonder where they came from and who's they are. Some days I don't even remember birthing them. Blogging is proof that I was there and an active participant.

Things are nice. There's not much angst. We laugh.

Unfortunately, all that laughing and niceness can't sew a French seam. There ain't been many finished garments around these parts. I've been enjoying the process of sewing, which means I take my time with things. It also means I'm sewing things we'll actually wear.

not much extra time + not much angst about which to write + not many finished projects = DEFUNCT BLOG

That's the wordiest post EVER about not having time to WRITE WORDS.

Next week you'll see Eliza again. Thanks for sticking around. She likes an audience.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Project Redecorate: Master Bedroom

Our master bedroom is finally complete! We started this room last summer, and it was definitely worth the wait and work.

The Paint
It started with paint and caulk: Benjamin Moore White Chocolate for the walls and Valspar Ultra White for the trim and doors. (We buy paint from Home Depot, Lowe's, and our local Ace Hardware, depending on who's having a sale.)

The color is a creamy vanilla for the walls. It went on beautifully over the original taupe and took about a gallon and a half. The trim, on the other hand, took three or four coats - even with a primer. 

I also painted the doors. They turned out more matte than I thought a semi-gloss would, especially after I'd primed them, but painting doors is something I'll need to experiment with more. And considering there are about a dozen or two left to paint, I'll have lots of opportunity to try again.
We left the door hardware as is. It's just not feasible for us to change them all right now.

The Bedding
The headboard was first. Once I'd bought all the fabric (it's Waverly from Joann's), mom and I made a headboard using this tutorial. We decided to turn the fabric sideways to mimic the shape of the headboard and to keep from having to seam the fabric.

I stitched up the red pillow shams from a standard bed sheet, the floral shams from Waverly fabric, the green accent pillow from a placemat, and the bolster pillow from more Waverly. The orange pillow is store-bought (TJ Maxx).

The bedspread, which I LOVE, is a Cynthia Rowley bedspread from Marshall's. The bedskirt is a simple white box skirt from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
All of the the nightstand accessories were things we already had or bought at Kirkland's and Michael's. (Did I mention that we didn't buy any furniture? Just accessories and fabric.)

My in-laws gave us the water color painting of Black Mountain when we moved there in 2010. I bought a ready-made frame and had it custom matted and mounting hardware installed at Hobby Lobby during a big sale. (I highly recommend that route if you can't afford custom framing. All told it cost $60 and looks fabulous.)
See the "Black Mountain" on the train depot sign? Love that place so much. Sigh.
The black wicker chair was on the back porch, and I just sewed up a couple of pillows for it in the Waverly and added one ready-made pillow -- a hand-me-down from Grandma Jean.

My nightstand has the angel painting my in-laws gave me when my grandmother died and Ryan's tin box, together with a Kirkland's lamp and a few accessories.
I'll take this opportunity to say my mother did every single bit of this arranging last weekend when they visited. While I was shopping for all this stuff over the past year, she helped advise and guide me via FaceTime and texting, but I had no idea what to do with the things once I got them home.

The reading nook beside my nightstand has our old glider we've rocked all three babies in. It's become one of my favorite spots in the house arranged like this.

Mom pulled things I'd gathered and things from other rooms to do this. I mean, I could write something, but really there's nothing I can say here.

The woman's a genius. And we're glad to have her. And if she lived closer, life would be even better.

The curtains are lined. They're hung with quilt binding I've sewn to the back. Once I actually made them, they went pretty quickly. This much fabric is cumbersome.

But I love the way they turned out, and they're fully functional, so that's good.

This painting came from Kirkland's, and it's so perfect I bought two -- one for the den, too. I pulled the orange out and painted our lamps.

That made it sound so easy, didn't it? It wasn't. I tried using a sprayer, but that failed. In the end I just used a paintbrush and 549 coats. High gloss.

Sometimes I just sit and look at them because they make me happy.

this is what they looked like before

That's it! We've really enjoyed this space. It makes us happy to wake up in brightness, and it's the most cheerful spot in the house.

Next up is Eliza's room! We're hoping to finish it and the boys' room this summer and fall.
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