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!

 

 

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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…

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.

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!

Grainline Archer

Guys, I’m pretty proud of this one.

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I’ve (finally) made myself an Archer from Grainline Studio.  I bought this pattern back in February of 2014, after seeing amazing button-up shirts pop up all over the internet.  I immediately traced out the pattern, cut out my fabric, and got to work.  Then, I got pregnant and this pattern got put on hold until I could actually wear it again (for some reason, button ups don’t go well with growing bellies…).  About a week ago, I decided it was about time I finish up my shirt.

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When I left off last year, I had only had the collar, cuffs, hemming and buttons/buttonholes left to do, so this was a pretty quick project when I picked it up again.

And now I have a new button-up shirt!  The fabric is an Italian shirting from Pacific Fabrics.  I made a straight size 10.  I think I’ll make a few adjustments to my next Archer (and oh yes, there will be a next one – I’m already trying to decide what type of fabric I should use.  I was thinking plaid, but now I kind of want a lace one after seeing this one).

 

For the next one, I plan to take in the sides a little bit for a more fitted fit and shorten the sleeves. I could probably go down at least one size, but I have fairly broad shoulders and I don’t want the shirt to be too tight when I move my arms.

Just a tad too long...

I’ll have to wear this one with the sleeves rolled up since the sleeves are so long, but it’s not too bad for a pattern with no alterations.  I learned tons of things making this shirt (flat felling seems, buttonholes, plackets…). I just hope I can remember how to do those things when I make my next one.  My husband is now requesting I make him some shirts, so I have a feeling I will be making a lot of button-up shirts in the future.  Now I just need to find a good guys’ shirt pattern…

Style Arc’s Judy Knit Top

Last week was rough.  I’m pretty sure the boys were trying to help me feel a little less sad about having to go back to work this week.  But it didn’t work – I’m still missing them like crazy.  Yet I somehow survived my first week back.  To celebrate, tonight I’m going to finish up a top I’ve been working on.  I’m pretty excited about it and can’t wait to share it when it’s done.  For now, though, I’ve got some other projects to share now that I’ve gotten into a routine with the boys and have been able to make some time to sew some evenings after the boys are in bed.

First up, I made the Style Arc Judy Knit Top.  It’s a pretty basic top and, with the help of my serger (Pfaff Coverlock 4852), it went together very quickly.  For the yoke, I used a fabric I purchased somewhere in the L.A. Fashion District in 2012.  For the body, I used a knit I purchased from Joann’s Fabric a while back.  So the top was free!  Well, not really, but it was made from stash fabrics I purchased so long ago that it makes it seem like it was free… (With the reduced amount of time I have for fabric shopping these days, I have a feeling a lot of stash busting is going to be going on.)

I originally made the top with the slits on the sides, per the pattern.  However, I didn’t like that look on me.  So, I cut off the bottom of the shirt at the top of the slits, thinking that would be a nice length.  But then the shirt was too short.  Whoops.  So, I added the band of purple at the hem to lengthen it again.

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I’m not entirely convinced that this shirt is a good look for me, but I think that may have to do more with the fabric choice than the pattern itself.  I may have to try this again with different fabrics.  I tried to be careful with the pattern placement so that I didn’t have any awkward spots highlighted, and I think that worked out fine (thankfully), but I’m still not sure I love the pattern.  Maybe it’ll grow on me.

Even if I don’t end up wearing this shirt much, I did learn a new skill in the making of this shirt – how to use a twin needle.  I don’t know why, but the thought of using a twin needle has always been a little frightening, so I’ve just avoided it up until now.  But I’ve always struggled with hemming knits (since I refuse to rethread my serger into a coverstitch every time I want to hem something and I haven’t yet decided to buy a devoted coverstitch machine, though I’ve certainly thought about it).  This time, I bit the bullet, read the manual, and gave it a go.  It was surprisingly easy to thread, but it took a few attempts to make it look decent (I stretched out one armhole with my first failed attempt).  Once I lessened the tension for the thread and the presser foot, though, it turned out quite nice!  I didn’t end up needing to hem this since I used the purple band at the bottom, but I did use the twin needle to go around the neck band and to finish the armholes.  I still need a bit more practice, but I will definitely be using the twin needle more in the future.  Maybe I don’t need to go out and buy another machine just yet after all (my husband will be thrilled!).