Plans for Summer Sewing (for me!) – Part 1

Lately, I’ve only really been sewing when asked to be a tester for a designer.  While it’s awesome to be asked to test, I’ve realized that this means that I haven’t really been thinking about what holes there are in my wardrobe (and there are a lot!).

Since having kids, my wardrobe has shrunk drastically, merely for the fact that most of my pre-pregnancy clothes no longer fit.  Pregnancy really alters a body!  While I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight, I think I’ve just got to accept  the fact that my hips will never be their pre-pregnancy size again.  This means that most of my pre-pregnancy pants no longer fit.  So, it’s time I start thinking about this new body I have (and accept that I have a lot of clothes to donate…).

Since summer is approaching quickly in Seattle, it’s a good time to think about designing my summer wardrobe.  It’s also a good time to go through all of my patterns and pick out those that have been sitting there, just waiting to be tried!

Here’s what I’m putting on my sewing table for this summer:

Bottoms:

First, I want to make some shorts and pants.  I purchased the Coachella Shorts pattern ages ago, but it remains unprinted and unmade.  I’ve seen tons of versions of these pop up, and I’ve loved them all.  These look like really fun shorts to wear this summer and I am excited about making a pair (or two).

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Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files (photo from pattern listing)

Another pattern I’ve been meaning to try for a long time is the Ginger Jeans.  I’ve made jeans before (with the Jalie jeans pattern and the Style Arc Sandra jeans pattern), but these look a little different and I’m curious about different fly techniques.  And my wardrobe definitely needs more jeans!

Tops:

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Biscayne Blouse from Hey June Patterns (photo from pattern listing)

I am in desperate need of some new tops for work and the Biscayne Blouse seems like the perfect top to wear under a cardigan and over some slacks or a skirt.  I’ve got lots of fabric just waiting to be made into Biscaynes.

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Union St. Tee from Hey June Patterns (photo from pattern listing)

Also, I want some very basic Union St. Tees in my wardrobe.  These would go perfectly over some of those Coachella shorts…

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The Jenna Cardigan from Muse Patterns (photo from pattern listing)

Finally, in terms of tops, I need some good cardigans.  Cardigans are a wardrobe staple of mine, worn pretty much every single day, so I can’t believe I have yet to make one.  I’ve seen some cute versions of the Jenna Cardigan pop up, so I’m hopeful that this will become my go-to cardigan pattern.

I’ve got some other plans for some workout gear and some dresses, but I think this is a good start.  Just listing these patterns out has gotten me excited about getting back into my sewing room (which is currently completely torn up because of a busted water heater which leaked all over the basement…) and getting started on whipping up some new clothes!

 

 

Summer Sewing

We’ve had a span of some really great weather in Seattle lately, so I’ve started thinking about doing some sewing for my summer wardrobe (after having babies, none of my clothes fit!  I’m kind of back to square one with my wardrobe!).

So, it was fortuitous when Adrianna of Hey June Patterns asked if I would test her Santa Fe top pattern, which is the perfect casual summer wardrobe staple.

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It’s a loose drapey top, which looks best with very light knit fabrics.  I made two versions.  This one is view e, with contrasting panels inset on the sides.

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I used some knit fabrics I had in my stash (the stripes were a Girl Charlee KnitFix fabric and the purple is a mystery knit that has been in my stash so long I have no idea where it came from…).

I skipped the hemming so as to leave it as light and flowy at the bottom as possible.

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I also made view a, skipping the center seams so as not to interfere with the floral pattern on the fabric.  This was also fabric from my stash, made with a Girl Charlee KnitFix fabric from ages ago.

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I hemmed this one because it wasn’t as drapey and I didn’t think the hem would interfere with the flow (and it really didn’t – as this fabric wasn’t super flowy to begin with).

While the straps are narrower on view a, Adrianna did a great job of making sure that they were still wide enough to cover bra straps.

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After having tried two different types of fabrics with this pattern, I have to say that I think the lighter, drapier fabric has a better overall fit and looks nicer.  But both tops will definitely get worn a lot this summer.

Of course, now the weather is back to crummy Seattle weather, but I’m sure the sun will come back soon…  and, in the meantime, this weather is perfect for all of the vegetables I planted in my garden over the last couple of weeks…

My new favorite dress pattern (Hey June Charleston)

I was flattered when Adrianna from Hey June Handmade asked me if I would test her upcoming Charleston Dress.  A knit dress with two skirts and seven (7!!!) sleeve options?!  How could I refuse?

I went in with pretty high expectations, thinking that the dress sounded pretty awesome.  And it did not disappoint!

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I made view a, sleeveless, in a size large.  I used a 1.5 inch hem, just because I’m short and I wanted a shorter skirt.

The fabric I used was a ponte from Pacific Fabrics. I need opinions on this fabric – I bought it thinking it was an animal print, but my husband thinks it’s camo.  Thoughts?

The directions, as per the usual with Adrianna’s patterns, made this an extremely easy to put together dress.  And quick!  I made this in one evening, taking my time and going very slowly to ensure that everything fit perfectly as I went.

Even the zipper was easy and quick!  And, while I don’t actually need the zipper, I love the design element – it makes for a more interesting back, which is fun.  Some of the other testers put in a colorful zipper and I love the way it pops!

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I will admit, I was pretty nervous putting a zipper in a knit dress.  I tried to put a zipper in a knit cardigan once, years ago, when I had less experience sewing with knits, and it was disastrous.  I hadn’t tried since, fearing that my fabric would get all stretched out and look terrible.  But it didn’t!

It helped that, this time, I used a more stable knit and a walking foot (love my built-in IDT on my Pfaff!), but there was no wonkiness at all.  The fit was great without any modifications, and I feel like it covers up my post-twins-baby-belly really well.  Overall, I’m really pleased with this dress.

I have my next version planned – a view b in a stretch lace that I’ve had for a couple of years, just waiting for the right project.  I think this is it!

Catherine Coat

Another pattern I recently tested, by the same designer as my last make – Grammies Dolls, was the Catherine Coat.

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It’s a fully-lined coat with a princess-seamed bodice and skirt with box pleats.  I haven’t made much outerwear (just a couple of coats), so this was a really fun pattern to test.  I made the coat entirely out of fabrics I had in my stash, so it was essentially free!

The pattern is designed to have button closures and an optional sash, but I left both off because I liked how it looked open.  I think I’ll have to go back and add in some sort of closure, though, to ward off the wind!

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The designer also added in a detachable hood (though I didn’t get a chance to test that).  I think I may have to add that to this coat as well to make the coat even more useful.

I’ve worn this coat a number of times since I made it, and I feel so chic in it!

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I especially like the fullness of the skirt – it’s fun and flippy. (And a very different silhouette than my normal silhouette.)

This coat was easy to fit – because it has a full lining, I just put that together, adjusted it to make it fit just right (had to take in the bodice a bit to fit me), and then made those same adjustments to the fabric pieces.  The only changes I made, aside from fitting the bodice a bit, were shortening the skirt a little and top stitching around the entire coat (my fabric frayed really badly, plus it was really thick so it didn’t press well – the top stitching served the double purpose of securing the seams a bit more and making them lie flat).  I left off the optional cuffs.

This pattern convinced me that I need to make more outerwear pieces!

Penelope Pencil Skirt

I’ve been doing a lot of pattern testing lately, which has been a lot of fun (albeit a little stressful to keep up with these deadlines plus work deadlines…).  It’s so nice to get to see patterns as they go through the final revisions and get ready to be listed for sale.   One pattern designer I’ve been fortunate enough to test for recently is Grammies Dolls, which is a new-to-me designer.  She has primarily designed clothing patterns for little girls, but is branching out into designs for women (and I believe she plans on making some designs for boys in the future, too).

Her first pattern to be released for women is the Penelope Pencil Skirt, which is a fully-lined, knee-length pencil skirt with kick pleat.

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I would say this is an intermediate-level pattern, as it requires installation of a zipper plus the kick pleat.  I had never done a kick pleat before, but the new instructions for that make that technique pretty doable, I think.  I made a medium (size 8-10) based on waist measurements.  I had to take in the hips a bit, though, as my hips are a size smaller (the pattern has since been adjusted, though, so keep that in mind).

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I love the finished product.  It will be perfect for work.

But I have a confession : this is now a lining-less skirt.  I have a rather ridiculous fabric stash at the moment, so I’m trying to just use fabrics I have without buying anything new.  I had this linen blend for the outer fabric, which has some silver sparkle to it (though you can’t really see that from the pictures) and thought it would be perfect for the skirt.  For the lining, though, I used this golden colored lining material which I bought about a million years ago (when I had very little knowledge about what the heck I was doing with a sewing machine).  And I hated it.  The lining was just awful.  Not the pattern – that was just fine.  It was the quality of the material.  Yuck.  So, instead of having an item where I would hate the lining, I simply removed it.  It’s now a lining-less skirt, which I think works perfectly over leggings, or a slip, if need be.  Now you know – this skirt can be made without a lining if you prefer!

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And look!  My photo is the cover photo of the pattern!  How exciting.  That’s definitely a first for me.  🙂

The pattern is available here, and, until Monday at midnight, you can get it 20% off by using the code “newlisting” (without the quotation marks).

I can’t wait until you see the next pattern being released by Grammies Dolls (which I also tested).  It’s already become a staple in my closet!

Chambray Cheyenne

I have been sewing, despite my lack of posting.  Eventually (maybe) I’ll get caught up…  but, to be honest, I have found that hanging out with these guys is a bit more fun that hanging out on the computer in the evening… so maybe not.

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Regardless, I do have a new make to show today.  I made this back in November, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

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It’s the Cheyenne Tunic by Hey June.  (Full disclosure, I tested this pattern before it was released – the only change made from this version to the final was to widen the hips 2 inches as the top was a bit too tight on most of the testers).

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I made View A in the tunic length.  I widened the hips a little on my version by making the seam allowances smaller, but that has already been changed with the pattern itself, as mentioned above.

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The other changes I made were very small – I used floral accent fabric on the button band, collarstand facing, and sleeve tabs, and I used pearl snaps instead of buttons (so much easier and quicker!).

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The fabric used was a chambray for the main fabric and a floral cotton shirting from Pacific Fabrics.  I love the look of the fabric, but the chambray wrinkles like crazy!  This shirt would be worn a lot except for that.  I’m going to make another version of this top with a less wrinkly fabric.  I also have a vision of this as a shirtdress and can’t wait to have that item hanging in my closet!

If you’re worried about making a button up top, Adrianna recently did a sewalong on the Hey June blog to walk you through all of the steps on how to make this top.  So check it out here.

Cow says “Moo,” Sheep says “Baa”.

The boys have been so much fun lately.  They are now 11 months old, which is now my favorite age ever (as has been every month so far…).

And they’ve now experienced their first Halloween!  I’ve never been a huge fan of dressing up for Halloween, but I couldn’t wait to dress up my boys.  And for their first Halloween, I wanted them to have special, handmade costumes.

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So enter the farm animals!  After much deliberation, I decided to make them a cow and a sheep.  What’s cuter than miniature farm animals?

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I made the costumes using all patterns from  Max & Meena Patterns.  For the cow costume, I used the All Ears Hoodie and the Maxaloones.  I made the 18 month size for the hoodie and size 1 for the pants.  All of the fabric for the cow costume came from Joann Fabrics.

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Originally, I made the Rompaloones (in black, with a white bum circle) to go under the sheep hoodie, but decided I wanted white legs instead of black, so replaced them with the white Maxaloones.

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For the cow costume, I used the Rompaloones, in the 18 month size, with the hood taken from the All Ears Hoodie pattern.  I modified the pattern slightly to add in the tail and to create a wider neck opening since I didn’t use a stretch fabric.  (I also modified both the hoodie and the Rompaloones to create a cow and a sheep, since the pattern doesn’t come with those variations).

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I bought the cow fleece fabric from Amazon – it’s available here.  The rest of the fabric came from Joann Fabrics.

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My little farm animals didn’t seem to mind the costumes at all (though they weren’t very willing to sit still long enough to have their pictures taken).  It was so much fun to watch them crawl around in their outfits.

It was a wonderful first Halloween as a mom.

Brindille & Twig Raglan Tee (x2)

I’ve been doing a fair amount of sewing lately, so I’ve got a backlog of projects about which to blog!  First up, baby clothes!

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In my August Knitfix from Girl Charlee, I received some striped blue and white cotton jersey knit fabric, which didn’t really speak to me.  But I really wanted to embrace all of the surprise fabrics I received, so, after thinking about the fabric for a while, I realized it may not be something I would wear, but it is perfect for some baby boy clothes!

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Fortunately, I had just purchased the perfect pattern – the Brindille & Twig Raglan Tee.  It comes in sizes OM to 6T.  For my 9 month olds, I made the 12 month size.

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It was an extremely quick and satisfying make – no fitting challenges with a knit top for a baby, and it comes together very quickly when made with a serger and a cover stitch machine.  I made the pattern exactly as written.

This is my second time making a Brindille & Twig pattern, and I have loved both patterns.  In fact, I enjoyed making this top so much, I made another one the very next day with a fabric in my stash from my May Knitfix, another striped cotton jersey knit – this one in blue and green.

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Of course, with twins, I sort of feel obligated to make two of each item so both boys can have new clothes.  🙂  Both boys seemed delighted with their new tops!

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I’m sure I’ll be making lots more of these tops in the future.  I’m glad this pattern goes up to size 6T.  While I didn’t love either of these fabrics when I originally received them, I’m totally in love with these shirts.  I’m glad I took the challenge this month of embracing all of the fabrics I received!

Elephants on Parade (McCalls 6992)

Wow.  It’s been a while.  Life has been flying by recently.  Between work (crazy busy), the boys (super entertaining, terrible sleepers) and adding working out into my schedule (tough, but will be worth it when/if I saw start seeing results…), I have had little time to sew.  But I have managed to complete a few projects, so I need to get caught up on the posting.

Today’s project is one of those rare pieces in which everything went exactly as it should and the fit was great straight out of the envelope.  I’ve seen a number of gorgeous raglan tops on sewing blogs lately, and I love the look.  Simple, yet easily dressed up with the right embellishments.  In particular, I’ve seen many gorgeous Hey June Lane Raglans.  I can’t wait to check out that pattern (I have the pattern, but pdf patterns take too much of my precious sewing time right now!).

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While I didn’t want to tackle piecing together a pdf pattern right now, I still wanted to make a raglan top.  So, McCalls 6992 fit the bill perfectly.

I had this navy on grey elephant fabric from another Girl Charlee knit fix (I swear I do have fabric from other places, too…  I’m just on a roll with the Girl Charlee fabrics!).  It’s a cotton jersey blend, with an excellent drape.  It’s so soft and comfortable.

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I paired it with a Donna Karan Navy Cotton Jersey from Mood Fabrics for the sleeves and bindings.  I had ordered this fabric a few months ago and it matched very well with the elephants.

I made a straight size 14 and I love the fit (I like raglans to fit a little looser).  The only thing odd about this pattern was the order of construction – the pattern has you set in the sleeves in the round (after you’ve stitched up the sides of the shirt and after you’ve sewn the sleeves together).  I ignored that instruction as I’ve always set in sleeves flat on a raglan (prior to stitching up the sides of the top).  Once I saw that order of construction, I ignored all of the instructions and proceeded as I would with any raglan top.

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This will be perfect as the weather gets cooler (eventually, I’m sure the rainy days will return, though it sure hasn’t felt like it lately!)!

I have a bunch of ideas for more raglans to make, including some with lace.  This pattern seems like it will be so adaptable – can’t wait to make more as we get closer to fall.

The Mommy in Me

I had great ambitions this month.  Then, work happened.  It’s been nuts lately.  One week I had three hearings in three different counties.  One of those was even my first oral argument in front of the Court of Appeals!  It was super stressful (I only found out on Friday I was handling the oral arguments on Wednesday…) but I loved it.  It was one of those things that reminds me of exactly what I had envisioned being an attorney could be. SilasGavin28 Speaking of being an attorney… This month’s Sew the Show selection was Parenthood.  Somehow I had missed this show when it was on tv, so I did some research (via Netflix) so I could participate in this month’s challenge.  While I will admit that I’m now sucked into the show (I’m on the second season now), I have a bit of a gripe.  Why do shows always seem to show female attorneys as failures as moms?  The character of Julia bugs me – she’s a successful attorney so she constantly messes up when it comes to her daughter and, in fact, her daughter prefers her dad to her mom?  Maybe it only bugs me because I’m just starting this mom/attorney dual role and I’m worried I’ll mess it all up.  I don’t know.  But, for once, I’d love a show depicting a female attorney who also has kids who adore her. Anyway, on to the sewing!  I picked the character of Kristina, the quintessential mom. SilasGavin29 So it’s only fitting I show shots of myself with the kiddos. SilasGavin02 She often wears tank tops and cardigans, so I decided to recreate that look.  I made my tank top – a Greenwood Tank by Straight Stitch Designs with a cotton spandex knit from Girl Charlee’s May Knitfix. SilasGavin34   And I made my pants – Jalie 2908 Stretch Jeans with a corduroy from Pacific Fabrics. I had intended to whip up a cardigan, too, but that just didn’t happen this month (not that I have a shortage of cardigans in my closet, but it’d be nice to have some I have made myself).  Maybe next month!  I’ll provide a detailed description of the top and pants soon (including how I intend to modify those pants!), but I wanted to make sure I got this posted in June!