Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Secret Rainbow Shorts

Let me introduce the Secret Rainbow Shorts, made with the Grainline Maritime shorts pattern. I've been wearing these shorts for a while now, and they're amazing! p.s. Also wearing my Black Rainbow Tank made back in 2012!

Fabric Notes- I really needed a pair of plain, black shorts in my wardrobe. My old pair got worn to death and no longer fits. Luckily, I had this black/gray denim from Fabric.com in my stash. Although I am drawn to bright colors and crazy prints, I want to make more items like this that will get a ton of wear. The best part of sewing your own clothes? Even though these are plain shorts, I can customize the inside with rainbow colored fabric! I love, love, LOVE this lining fabric. It's a black cotton with rainbow bits! I found this fabric at our local Goodwill. There was only a little bit, but I truly wish I could buy up a whole lot of it!

Love the lining fabric in these shorts!
Sewing and Pattern Notes- I have to give a lot of credit to Lauren from Lladybird for making these shorts happen! I took her advice in three areas:

1) To insert the fly, I used Lauren's fly front tutorial, which is based on instructions from Sewaholic's Thurlow trousers sewalong. This tutorial worked well for me and made more sense than the instructions. The only issue is that the tutorial shows how to make a fly front that opens on the left, and I wanted these shorts to open on the right. So I had to flip everything in my head to mirror image them.

Here you can see the back extension and how much I took the center back in.
2) I used Lauren's waist band with back extension tutorial, also from the Thurlow sewalong. This gives you better options to adjust your shorts, if needed.

3) Also like Lauren, the back gaped a LOT on me! I ended up taking out 1.75" from the pattern piece. Beware of this, baste, and do a fitting!

Let's talk about the pockets. You know I love pockets, so this is a very important feature to get right.

Back Pockets: These are nice and roomy with a cute design! I added a zipper to the top of the back right pocket. This is one of my favorite additions to back pockets. Perfect way to carry your ID and cash without having to worry about it falling out. 

Front pockets: I really like the look of the pockets as drafted, but unfortunately, I found them a bit too small for my hands to comfortably fit. I was surprised by this because the pockets from Grainline's Moss Mini skirt are perfect. I'm working on drafting up a Moss-Maritime hybrid pocket to try out in my next pair. That's right, I am planning to make a second pair!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Moss moss moss mini mini mini

Friends, I am in love with the Moss Mini Skirt by Grainline Studio. This year, I took a good hard look at my closet and thought about what I actually need and wear. Slim skirts have got to be near the top of that list for me. I love to wear skirts, and I prefer a comfortable skirt with a fly front and pockets. The Moss Skirt fits that perfectly. I started with the metallic silver one, continued with the red/pink/tan Navajo-inspired print, kept on going with the electric blue, and I imagine they'll be quite a few more of these before I'm done.

Sewing Notes- I found this pattern very easy to work with. All three came together beautifully even though this was my first attempt at a fly front. I'm happy with all three of these fly fronts, and I followed the instructions that came with the pattern. I've since been experimenting with some alternate methods. More notes on that after I've thoroughly tested out another fly-front option. Two things I'd like to note about this pattern: 1) It's simple! That means that it can work as a plain basic that you'll wear again and again, OR it is the perfect piece for some statement fabric. 2) It doesn't take much fabric! If you embrace the "mini" length (like I did with the Navajo-inspired print), you can easily squeeze this out of a yard of fabric or less. That particular piece was a remnant that was about .8 of a yard (and I had enough left over to add back pockets). On the other versions, I lengthened by 2-4".

Let's Talk Fabric- Silver Metallic-I bought this beauty from JoAnn at least a year ago. It was my intention to use it for a skirt, but I didn't know what pattern to use until now! This fabric is a stunner and it gets a lot of compliments! The only drawback, it's scratchy. And I didn't notice it until I tried on the almost-completed skirt. I ended up going back and binding all of the seams with soft, hot pink cotton voile. Navajo-inspired print- This was from the remnant bin at JoAnn. It's not my normal colorway, but I loved the look of the print. It's a thicker fabric--like a thick denim or even maybe home-decor weight cotton. I think it works great as a mini skirt! Electric Blue- This is a cotton/poly twill blend bottom weight, also from JoAnn (man, I swear they're not paying me!). I picked a poly blend with the hopes that it won't wrinkle. So far, so good!

Both the outside and the inside are beautiful! The pattern gives you the opportunity to pull out some fun, contrast fabric to use on the inside of the pockets and as facings. I certainly had fun picking out some nice, soft cottons to add as lining on the inside. I'll leave you with some pretty pictures of the skirts laid out flat.
Pretty lining fabric and lilac hem tape


Back- left has back pockets, right does not

This is a great pattern to pull out contrast fabric for the innards.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ursa Major

Does the design on my shirt look familiar? As familiar as the night sky? This design was inspired by the constellation Ursa Major, which also encompasses the Big Dipper. Although it's inspired by Ursa Major, I like how it could also reference a monkey, or a skeleton, or something else entirely. It's fun how to let your mind wonder---just as our ancestors did when they made up the constellations. 


Sewing Notes- I made this shirt using my simple self-drafted tee pattern, but before sewing it up, I made the design on the front. I used a bleach pen to draw the stars and lines. You could draw it out on the shirt first with chalk, but I just free-handed it making dots for the stars and lines to connect them. I do recommend testing out the bleach on a scrap of fabric first. I did this with about five test swatches of different fabrics. Some took the bleach well, others did not. It was interesting to see the different colors made on different fabrics. I'll have more examples to show you later!

As a bonus, I'm modeling the top with this rather fabulous jacket I found at Goodwill. It was HUGE and quite crazy--I wish I took a before/after photo. I took in the sides, removed the collar, got rid of back poofiness, and took off some unnecessary embellishments. Now, it will make a great summer jacket. 

Have you ever tried bleaching designs on fabric? Any special tips?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Little Mermaid Dress

Look at this dress. Isn't it neat? Wouldn't you think my collection's complete? Wouldn't you think I'm the girl, the girl who has... everything?

Speaking of having a weakness for novelty fabric... Your eyes do not deceive you, I have made a Little Mermaid dress! This dress was made for a dear, dear friend of mine who bravely volunteered to go out with me in fabulous cartoon dresses. Remember this, my Carebear dress?

She loves The Little Mermaid (who doesn't?!?), so when I found this Ariel bed sheet, I knew it would be perfect.

Sewing Notes- The fabric here is the star! I also bought some teal/aqua chevron fabric to use as accents---it reminds me of waves. I wanted a simple pattern to let the fabric shine. The pattern is a modified New Look 6557. The bodice is view D, and the midriff is basically half as wide. I made a simple gathered skirt, and it's double layered so that the wave fabric peeks out at the bottom. 

I also took a lot of care to cut the fabric strategically. Check out Ariel on the front, King Triton on the back, and the castle on the midriff. Pretty sweet!

Sewing for someone else who's a different size is pretty nerve wracking. Luckily, my friend likes it! Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of her wearing it, but if we ever work up the courage to wear them out somewhere special, I'll definitely share. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ice Cream Cone Jammie Set

Just popping in to say hello! I am a sucker for a novelty print, which is how I came to own ice cream cone fabric and teal hearts fabric. Both are from Girl Charlee. Both prints are adorable, but not exactly the most sophisticated. No worries, I used them to whip up a set of spring jammies! Love wearing these when it is starting to get warm, but there's still a chill in the air. The sleeves provide just enough warmth, and the cute ice cream cones have me excited for summer!

Sewing notes- The top was an experiment. I modified my basic long-sleeved tee pattern to raglan sleeves. I just winged it and made up the sleeve pattern... Worked pretty well for my first attempt at this. The shorts are my basic jammie shorts pattern. I love these shorts so much! I've been wearing them like crazy!

How about you--do you find yourself buying crazy, novelty fabrics? Or can you restrain yourself? Looking in my sewing closet there is fox fabric, cartoon flower fabric, and galaxy fabric, to name a few. I've already made up items in zebra fabric, panda fabric, heart fabric, and unicorn fabric... Eep!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Ladylike Way to Show Some Skin

When is it appropriate to wear a crop top? This is a question that may be on a lot of women's minds this summer. I've seen many, many crop tops and two-piece dresses shown all over the place. I'm not going to lie--I like the look! In high school, I would have eagerly jumped on any trend that sanctioned a cute crop top. Today, I feel a little differently...which is how this outfit came into play.

I wanted to make a high-waisted jean skirt with a crop top, but I didn't want to be too exposed. The solution was to make a lace top to wear over the cropped one. This full, flouncy denim skirt will go with everything this summer. And I think the lace shirt will get it's fair share of wear too--both over a crop top and over a regular tank top.

Sewing Notes- Skirt: The skirt is made from a light-medium weight stretch denim that I had in my stash from Fabric.com. It's a lovely weight for summer wear and easy to work with. The pattern I used is Butterick 5756. This pattern features deep pleats to give shape to the skirt. Honestly, they were a pain in the neck to make. I checked the finished measurements and cut a size to fit at my natural waist, but I guess I didn't account for some stretching that happened along the way, and I ended up having to take it in by about 1.5". Not fun with all of those pleats. Other special features include big, roomy pockets that I sewed up in heart fabric!

Sewing Notes- Top: The lace top is made from a blue-violet stretch lace that I picked up from a local store that sells mill ends. I modified my self-drafted kimono top to make it more form-fitting. Binding the edges of lace can get a bit fiddly, but other than that it was a quick make.

So far, I wore the outfit as-is out with friends, but I also wore it with a regular tank top underneath to a family function. It worked fabulously for both! Ladylike, but still sassy!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Panda Sweatshirt

It's official. I can't resist animal-print fabric. Slap a cute, cuddly animal on some fabric, and I NEEEED it! I have to have it! Of course, when I saw this panda sweatshirt fleece from Girl Charlee (no longer available), I was helpless. Had to buy it!
Sewing Notes- I once again started with my self-drafted long-sleeve shirt pattern. This time, I lengthened it significantly so that it would work as a long tunic over leggings. I also drafted up a kangaroo pocket--super easy to do, just look at a sweatshirt you already have and use your front pattern piece to mimic the shape of the pocket so it will fit your front pattern piece. This pocket is BIG because it extends all the way to the bottom of the sweatshirt. I did my best to match up the pandas on the pocket so it blends in. I also used plain gray ribbing fabric to make bands for the hem, sleeves, neckline, and pocket edges.

Sometimes, you just need a big, slouchy sweatshirt to cuddle up in, and on those days, pandas work.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Unicorns for Women


Unicorns! Magical, majestic, wild stallion unicorns! Folks, I am in love with this top. I was absolutely elated when I found this unicorn fabric from Girl Charlee (sadly no longer available). It's a black thermal knit with the unicorns printed on in white. I love, it but I didn't want a shirt made entirely of unicorn fabric--that may be too much of a good thing. Luckily, I had a small piece of black glittery fabric that I'd purchased from the remnant bin at JoAnn. It was less than a yard, but just enough to squeeze out the front of this top. As a result, this shirt is a party in the front AND a party in the back!

Sewing Notes- I modified my basic T-shirt pattern to make this. This time, I made a high-low hem and kept the silhouette loose, but still slim. I also added a unicorn pocket on the front because UNICORNS!

This shirt is super-soft, and I want to wear it everyday. Wearing unicorns could be tricky and look a bit juvenile, but the fact that it's mostly black actually makes this work. Noted. Although I love bright crazy colors, neutrals actually allow you to wear something crazier and over-the-top without looking crazy.

I actually have a dress made from this fabric.
Case and point: a few years ago, I made a beautiful fully-lined work dress out of jungle-print fabric. I never wear this dress. I think about it, but it never makes it out of the house. Why? It's a rainbow of colors filled in with leopards, elephants, tigers, and more. In other words, it's too much. But a black top with tasteful unicorns? Just right, my friends! Just right.