The Swirls and Stripes Dress

The basting! The endless, endless basting!

Striped 2

This is McCall’s 6754 in a cotton/lycra knit from Girl Charlee.

In order to match up all these stripes in all the crazy ways, I had to baste, check, rip, baste, check, rip, baste, check, rip, etc. And, because it’s me, some of the stripes only sort of match up.

Striped Front

Plus, the pattern has a LOT of ease. I should have made a size smaller than my measurements indicated. As it is, I had to sew the CF, CB, raglan, and princess seams at something like 3/4″ and the side seams at 1″.

Striped Back

I am really surprised at how much I love this dress! It’s a little overwhelming with all the stripes, but it’s so fun! And the skirt–so full and lovely.

IMG_2343

Kitty snorgles test: PASS

One thing I would change were I to make this pattern again would be to bind the neckline rather than turn it under. Also, I would raise it about 1/2″. It’s not too terribly low, but I’d like to play it a little safer if I’m going to wear it to work.

Striped Dress 1

Twirl test: PASS

If you’re not matching stripes and if you get the sizing right, sewing this up would be very easy. However, if you’ve never sewn with knits before, I would not recommend this be your first pattern to try. I’m not a fan of the directions; I did my own thing. For instance, rather than do an elastic casing at the waist, I simply sewed clear elastic to the bottom edge of the bodice front and back. It works beautifully and was very simple.

However, I do have some sad news. I wore this dress once with a white cardi and belt and when I got home discovered that the blue had bled into the white stripes and onto my cardi particularly at the underarms (was I super sweaty that day? I don’t remember being very warm. . . ). I had prewashed the fabric and I have since washed the dress and cardi twice with no luck (I didn’t put them in the dryer–that would be madness!). I have one last trick I’m going to try. On the dress, it’s not super noticeable, but I’m afraid the cardi will need to be retired ūüė¶

IMG_2348

Lounging on the floor test: PASS

Besides the Lady Skater (which we all know I already love), do you know of a great pattern for a knit dress? I’m always in the market!

The “Suck It, Fashionistas!” Peplum Top

We actually had snow here in Atlanta a couple weeks ago–so crazy! (And, as I’m writing this, we may be having some more this week.)

Winter Greens

I am very thankful to have made it home safely–lots of people were stranded. But still, it was refreshing to wake up that Wednesday morning to a free day at home and a fresh blanket of snow. So, I dashed out to take pictures in this rare phenomenon. Unfortunately, they’re all very hard to see.

To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the peplum. They look nice enough on other people, but I have always felt pretty strongly that a peplum would look ridiculous on me.

And maybe they do. But I really like this top.

LS Peplum Front

Somewhere behind the scarf and the frigidness is a black peplum top.

I used leftovers from my color blocked skirt. Some pieces are cut on the cross grain which is why they fit tighter than they should and why the peplum flares more than it ought to.

Modifying the Lady Skater was very simple. All I had to do was shorten the skirt to peplum length.

LS Peplum Side

Because the peplum isn’t as weighty as a skirt (and because of the grain issues I mentioned before), I should have lengthened the waist just a bit. It’s not terrible, though. It would have been much worse if it had been too long.

LS Peplum Back

This top works with denim, of course. And the surprise is that I also like it with my red Moss. I’ve never really liked black and red together, but this works for me. I did try it with my color blocked skirt, and . . . no. Just no.

LS Peplum Red Skirt

Couldn’t handle the cold in a skirt.

Even though I really love dresses, I always find myself needing more separates, simple separates that aren’t hard to pair but aren’t too “plain Jane.”¬†This one fits the bill exactly.

What’s your favorite separates pattern right now?

Making a Plan: Part Two

Can you believe it? I actually finished a sewing plan! I’ve made plans many a time, and they have never been completed.

Planning is my favorite part, so I started collecting patterns and picking out fabric for a new round long before I finished my first sewing plan. I’m still sticking with my palette (for the most part) and still trying to make items that are mix-and-matchable. However, this round is very dress-heavy. I’ve determined that separates are great, but you simply can’t beat the ease of tossing on a dress. Also, I’m relaxing my rules for dresses. I’m not great at creative layering, so in my world, a dress is a dress. If I can wear more than one pair of shoes and maybe a couple different cardis, I’m calling that a win.

B5794 Tie

I’ve had this pattern for quite a while now. I’m pretty excited to finally use it. But, having been spoiled by the attention to detail and sensible directions of indie designers, I worry a little bit about attempting to do a “Big 4” knit pattern. I’m convinced that the amount of ease is going to be ridiculous. So, my plan is to use my Lady Skater to compare. I had actually thought about just modifying the LS to match the details on the Butterick, but it seemed like so much work to add a yoke and gathers and modify the neckline, and I’m simply feeling too lazy. I may regret it later.

And, in case you’re wondering, teal is not really on my Color Palette. I reserve the right to cheat whenever I want. Plus, a color palette is more of a suggestion or guideline, not a rule.

B5794 Cowl

This time I’m doing view C. I think the fluid nature of a cowl is going to be lovely in the watercolor print. This knit is very lightweight, so it’s probably not the best choice for winter wear, but this is Atlanta. And there are tights. So, I think I’ll be okay. What I can’t figure out, though, is why the back of the skirt needs a seam. I’ll probably just eliminate the SA and cut it on the fold. Because I’m a sensible person.

S1776

What’s this? An actual woven fabric? With¬†sleeves?¬†Yes. It’s time to face my fears. . .

I originally bought this fabric to make my McCall’s 6706 skirt. But when it arrived, it was too lightweight for what I wanted. Also, it feels like¬†magic;¬†using it for a skirt seemed like a waste. I only had 1 1/2 yards, so I started wracking my brain for what else I could use it for. After lots of thoughts that were wrong, I finally noticed the unassuming S1776 waiting patiently for me to do something with it.

At first, I was unsure. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this could be something amazing. My plan is to make the version with the sleeves. Probably not the pockets. As it turns out, I’m not a patch pocket fan.

This pattern will either be glorious. . . or frumptastic.

S1776 knit

Oh. Man. As soon as I saw this print, I was like, “That is happening.” Right now, I’m not 100% sure what I plan to do. It needs to be something versatile enough for all sorts of Atlanta weather. I’m leaning towards some type of shift. I don’t really want it to be fitted. And I think I want 3/4 length sleeves. And a scoop neck. Like a modified Simplicity 1776 maybe? We’ll see.

Lady Skater Dress (Red)First of all, I know that drawing is not a Lady Skater. The problem is that there is no black and white line drawing of a Lady Skater, or even a skater dress in general, anywhere on the interwebs. If you know better, please inform me! I really like putting together these graphics to illustrate my plans, and I know there will be more Lady Skaters happening in my life.

And secondly, I know this is not your typical winter sort of dress. I’m making it anyway. I want more red in my wardrobe, and I think this will be lovely layered under a sweater. Because it’s such a summery print, I’m using the short sleeves.

M6754

I originally bought this knit to make a simple shift or t-shirt dress. However, when I saw this pattern in my stash and noticed the interesting, chevron-y madness of one of the samples, I changed my mind. Again, I think it would be a good idea to compare the sizing with my Lady Skater–tricky because of the princess seams and raglan sleeves, but still doable, I think. It is going to be a challenge trying to match up all the stripes and weird angles, but I am super excited about this dress.

S2451

Based on what I’ve read and researched over the past (almost) two years, this is quite possibly one of the most-beloved skirt patterns out there. Even people who regularly eschew “Big 4” patterns admit that this one is well-worth making. I’ve been curious to try it but haven’t been quite sure what direction to take it in until now.

I already have a denim skirt, but the fit is hardly spot-on. The waist is too big while the hips are too tight (very, very unusual for me), so it really only works with loose, long tops. I like the waist yoke on 2451 and the pockets. I’m not totally sold on the pleats, but I could probably make them work. I plan on making something between versions C and D. And I’m toying with the idea of an exposed zipper in the back.

Are people over exposed zippers yet? I hope not, since I haven’t had the chance to try one yet. Eh–whatever. I do what I want!

Archer

I know, I know, I know. How am I not sick of sewing Archers? At this point, I’ve made four. But, the three challis versions I’ve made are so fantastic, so exactly what I’ve hoped and dreamed of, that I simply need another one. Plus, I have a crazy-pants idea to thrift myself some white jeans which I shall skinny-ify to wear with my loverly navy Archer and probably some gold jewelry and the whole thing will be amazing. So there.

Lady Skater Peplum

Hey, look–it’s not navy! Did anyone else notice how navy-heavy my plans are? What can I say–I love navy. It’s my favorite neutral.

I’m using fabric left over from my color blocked skirt¬†to whip up a peplum top based on the ever-fabulous Lady Skater pattern. I plan to make the peplum a wee bit longer in the back. Or if I’m feeling frisky, I’ll try something resembling the picture.

And, if you’ve been following along, you know that I plan for two months at a time, about one project per week. So, I really should only have eight projects planned. But, I’m cheating a bit because 1. some of these are super easy to whip up and 2. some of these are already made.

I think after this round of sewing, I will lay low for a while and make an army of t-shirts and lounge pants and camis. And I probably won’t be done with all this sewing until at least March. If I get done before that, I’m going to be remarkably impressed with myself.

So, what are your plans for February? Anything you’re really excited about?

Redundant Recapitulation

I hesitated to write this post because I felt that it might be a little repetitive. I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that I posted about most of these. However, I wanted to look at my plans and their incarnations side by side. Super gratifying! Plus, it’s a good idea for me to pause, evaluate, and soak up the lessons I should apply to future plans.

T-shirts

Red and white tees collage

Both the red and the white tees fulfilled their purpose and were regularly worn while the weather was warm (in spite of the fact that they are clearly too tight across the bust). However, I won’t be using this pattern again. I intend to modify the Lady Skater bodice into a tee or possibly purchase the Renfrew.

Grainline Archer

Archer collage

Were these a success? An absolute, resounding “YES!” Even the chambray, which turned out a little mannish for me, gets worn at home, and I’m happy to have something to wear other than a white hoodie (I have an addiction).

A-line skirt

Birdie4

Another win. I love this skirt for warm weather. I want a million more in all the colors.

Dirndl skirt

Skirt Close

I don’t wear this skirt very often at all. It’s kind of a statement piece, and most days I just want to be a little more quiet. However, I like the idea, and were I ever to do another color blocked skirt, I know exactly what I would do differently. So, as a learning experience, it absolutely wins. As a wearable garment. . . not so much.

Maxi Skirts

Maxi LS collage

I learned from this that I’m not a maxi skirt girl. So, I opted for a Lady Skater over another maxi. Best. Decision. Ever.

Grainline Moss

Moss1Yup–spot on. Love this skirt.

McCall's 6706

Front 2

Ha! Not even close to the original. And I’m calling this one a muslin.

Lady Skater

Different day, different look.

Can I lavish any more praise on the Lady Skater without sounding obsessive? Probably not. I will always hold it as the simplest, most sensible knit dress pattern out there.

I hope this wasn’t too boring for my lovely readers! But, I have to say that looking back over my plans and how they turned out was intensely gratifying for me. I made a plan, and I finished it! I’ve never done that before. But, based on how I’m doing on my second sewing plan (which you’ll hear about next week, I think. I’ve been writing posts way ahead of time–which is weird for me. So, I’m never quite sure what’s posting when!), I may be finishing up another one pretty soon! Go me!

Anybody else out there attempting to sew according to a plan? How’s it going?

The Skirt That Wouldn’t

I would like to thank McCall’s 6706 for teaching me a very valuable life lesson. I suppose I could also thank my color-blocked skirt, as well, since it really got me noticing the problem.

What was the problem? Skirt gathers. And now pleats.

If you read about my color-blocked skirt, you know that I originally gathered the skirt and was horrified when I tried it on. So, I pleated it instead and was fairly satisfied. However, that skirt is really hard for me to wear. I have to wear it with fitted, tucked-in shirts. It’s the only way. Guess how many of those I have. Not many.

So, when I decided to make a navy skirt to wear with tucked-in blouses, I figured pleats would be a safe alternative to gathers. I’d already chosen McCall’s 6706 and a lovely stretch cotton sateen, so I felt confident.

I shouldn’t have.

I’m so sorry that I didn’t pause long enough to take pictures after I finished the first incarnation of this skirt. I tried it on just before hemming and it was so voluminous right at my waist (which, you know, is very short) I felt ridiculous in it. My first thought was, “I’ll just shorten it!” So, I cut off two inches and hemmed it. It was now a few inches above my knee and still sooooo full, of course.

I was very frustrated. I knew I would never wear this skirt. So, I hung it in my closet and went to bed to mull over my options. While in bed, I got a brilliant-beyond-brilliant idea: I would make a Moss. If I had enough fabric, I could do the version fitted at the waist and it would be adorable!

Long process of trying to fit many pattern pieces on small squares of fabric later, I gave up on that idea. It just wouldn’t work. I mean–I even considered giving up the pockets. The pockets, people! It was madness.

So, it was back to the drawing board/ thinking bed. And I got it–an A-line skirt! I had already drafted one successful version; perhaps I could draft another. I couldn’t use my original because it was drafted to fit just under my waist and I needed this skirt to fit at my waist.

It was very easy to draft. I had to do a lot of adjusting to get the pattern piece to fit on the skirt while mentally cursing myself for cutting off those two inches (if I hadn’t, the pattern I drafted would have fit perfectly. I was so mad).

To make the waist fit, I added a couple of tiny pleats in the front and back. The pleats in the front were fine. In the back they were hideous, so I changed them to darts, which were also hideous. So, I ended up removing the excess from the back at the side seams.

I used bias tape to finish the waist. It also stabilizes the waist which is very necessary with this stretch sateen. I used hem tape in order to preserve as much length as possible. Did I mention that I want to wear this skirt to work?

Innards

When I finished, I noticed a couple of things that were disturbing. One, the skirt, in spite of removing and removing excess, was too big around my waist. I don’t understand how I can start with my actual waist measurement, and end up with something so huge. Granted, I did add an inch for ease–perhaps I shouldn’t have since the sateen had a decent amount of stretch. It’s not that the skirt is falling off or anything, but it has a tendency to twist around–especially if I’m wearing tights, which is the only decent way to wear this super short skirt.

Front

Two, the hem causes the skirt to flare ridiculously. It’s¬†extremely annoying. I thought the hem tape I was using was rayon (since the seam binding that came from an identical package was rayon), but it turned out to be polyester. Stiff, terrible polyester. I don’t know if the flare is due entirely to the polyester or if the thickness of the fabric is also to blame. I feel that if I had done a rolled hem, I would have had the same result. Thoughts on this?

Back

I think we’re going to have to call this one a muslin. So, what did we learn? 1. Use a fabric without stretch. 2. It needs a little more length. 3. I think a lighter weight fabric, such as a chambray, would be better. 4. If I’m going to wear the skirt with tights, I definitely want to line it.

Side

Okay, maybe the flare isn’t due entirely to the hem tape. . .

I wonder if I should have added a small waistband.

I have considered taking the whole thing apart and making a much less flared A-line, but I don’t think I’ll be able to keep it fitted at my waist. I think that I have the wrong fabric for the job.

Front 2

In spite of all this disappointment, here’s the happy revelation: A-line skirts, guys! They work with my short waist sooooooo much better than pleated or gathered skirts! Perhaps this is something that everyone already knows. I did not know. But seriously–from now on, my skirts shall have no gathers. Pleats. . . eh, I’m still a bit on the fence. I think they can still work in the right situation. A cotton sateen skirt, clearly, is¬†not.

So, I still need a skirt to wear with tucked-in blouses. 1. I’m going to make a Moss fitted at my waist with some gray stretch twill (if I can find exactly what I want) and 2. I’ll try again with the flared A-line with some non-stretch indigo chambray. I may add a waist band this time. And I will be certain not to cut that one too short.

I am loathe to call this project a “fail” because I learned such positive and concrete lessons from it. So, I want to know: what was your most serendipitous sewing fail?

Practicing My Archery

Apparently December was Archer Appreciation Month. How like me to finish mine in January (But can I just say that I started planning and working on them back in October? Because I did).

Unless you’re very new to Sewing Blogland, you know all about the Archer and how fantastic everyone says it is. Well, I’m here to tell you. . . they’re all correct. The Archer is so right in so many ways.

I’ve made four versions now: one in chambray and three in rayon challis (best idea I ever had). The Archer has a very loose fit–very broad shoulders and pretty straight through the torso. The chambray version I made mostly gets worn around the house because it fits me like a man shirt, which makes me feel pretty sloppy. But, the challis versions have this lovely drape to them. I wear them often with my skinny jeans; they balance each other very well.

White6

Because challis is a bear to cut–this stuff just moves all the time–I experimented with stabilizing the fabric with a gelatin bath. I used no gelatin with the fuchsia version; I cut the white out and then gelatinized the pieces; the turquoise got the full bath treatment before cutting. I just wanted to see how much of an effect the gelatin really has.

Teal 1

The verdict? Yes. It helps. More with the cutting than with the sewing. I didn’t really have a problem sewing the fuchsia version (well, no problems caused by the fabric itself), but pieces cut without the gelatin were significantly distorted and off-grain. Of course, I didn’t bother to take pictures during the process because there never was good enough light for it. Just take my word for it, won’t you?

Fuchsia3

Let’s take a moment to talk about¬†a revolutionary¬†change I’ve made to my typical sewing procedures. I’ve always been a shears girl. I had a rotary cutter and a medium-sized mat (along with a couple of smaller ones) but when I tried to cut out patterns free hand with the rotary cutter, the results were rather disastrous. A few months ago, about the time that I started all this wardrobe sewing business, I decided to give it another try. I realized two things: 1. The blade I had been using was very small; 2. The handle was difficult for me to use. So, I bought a larger rotary cutter with a simpler, more easy-to-use handle. By grouping my cutting mats together, I was able to cut out full pattern pieces with ease!

Using a rotary cutter was invaluable for the Archer cutting process. In fact, I use it almost exclusively to cut out all my patterns. Cleaner edges make for more accurate stitching lines which make for more accurate fit.

White4

If you plan to make your own Archer, I very much suggest following Andrea’s tutorial for attaching the collar stand.

Jen’s instructions are very easy to follow–especially if you read up on the sew-along she hosted a while back. So many great tips! In spite of that, however, my versions are all far from perfect. The topstitching is quite wonky on my chambray version (I was still getting used to my new machine at the time).

My pockets never would turn out correctly. The fuchsia version’s are just a mess, the white version’s I like the best because the pockets are smaller (they’re smaller because they were cut ridiculously off grain), the teal version’s look fine on their own, but they’re not quite even–in spite of lots of measuring and double-checking. And all of them are droopy. That, I think, is just what you get with challis. It doesn’t bother me. Not terribly.

Teal 2

Patch pockets, man. They are NOT my favorite. But, I like having them on the shirt, so there you go.

My other problem area was the cuffs. The sleeves are really quite huge on me, so I had to overlap my cuffs quite a bit to make them fit decently. I don’t think I ever got the button/buttonhole placement quite right.

I should have done French seams.¬†I knew I should. I just didn’t.

White3

My button placement on my fuchsia version is a little off, the result being that I occasionally have to deal with unfortunate gappage. I also did the button placket on the wrong side.

Fuchsia1

Another tiny little adjustment I had to make was to cut the front of the shirt a little shorter than the pattern indicated. I didn’t realize that the fabric layer on the bottom was shorter than the layer on top. So, when I discovered that one of the shirt front pieces was significantly shorter than the other, I had to trim both pieces to match each other. I actually like the look, though. Apparently I have thing for mullet hems of all sorts.

Fuchsia2

This really is a fantastic pattern–people haven’t been raving about it for nothing. I think, though, that if I were to make any changes to it, I would make the sleeves and arm holes smaller. In the challis, it doesn’t bother me. But, if I were to try again with chambray, I would definitely want to streamline the upper torso.

Teal 3

I’ve worn this outfit three times already. Not super flattering, but soooo comfy.

Now that I’ve made four Archers, am I ready to retire the pattern from rotation? Heck, no! I already have another challis version planned, and I’ve been dreaming of a plaid flannel tunic to wear with leggings for lounging purposes (I am not a leggings in public sort of girl. You’re welcome, society).

And now, just one project left in Part One–although, to be very honest, I’ve already started Part Two. And to be very, very honest, I’ve actually done a leeeetle bit of Part Three as well. Oh well, it’s all getting done, I promise!

Here’s what I want to know: Have you sewn the Archer? And if so, did you find the arms rather large? I’m wondering if I need to size down.

Also, have you worn your Archer while practicing actual archery??? That would be super impressive!

A Merry Not-So-Mini Moss

I have mixed feelings about this skirt. I love it the way it is; I also want to change it. 

Moss1

First of all, this pattern is fantastic; I wouldn’t change a thing.

My skirt is so, so comfortable; if I had more pieces to wear with it, I would probably break it out at least once a week. However, it is red. A very, very deeply committed red. Which I love. But, it doesn’t play nicely with everything in my closet. It plays nicely with very few things in my closet.

So, the color is the first issue. The comfort is actually the second.

Because the skirt fits so far below my actual waist, it looks really horrible when I try to tuck shirts in. The fabric is a stretch twill, so it probably sits lower than it should.

I chose my size based on my hip measurement. Rather than make a muslin, I basted the skirt together at the side and center back seams to check the fit. I ended up having to take it in two inches at the waist. The stretch in the fabric makes it an overly forgiving skirt.

Moss2

If I were going to make a skirt like this again, I would make the waist smaller so that it would sit at my natural waist. That way, I could wear little blouses tucked in. I’ve experimented with pinning this skirt, and it really does look very cute sitting at my natural waist line. I’ve even thought about taking it apart and making the adjustment, but it just seems like so much work. I don’t know–I just might do it someday.

Moss3

The tee I’m wearing is another Sewing with Knits t-shirt. It has been worn several times and is already becoming dingy. That doesn’t bother me so much because there are a few problems with this shirt that need to be remedied the next time around.

White tee2

First, I hate the hems. Hate, hate, hate. My method, at the time, for hemming was to use 1/2″ Steam to Seam Lite (which I still use for hemming) to iron a temporary hem in. Then I would stitch over that with a tricot stitch (or a 3-step zig zag as it is also called, I believe). This stitch didn’t bother me the first few times I used it. But now, I hate it. I want it to die. It just looks bad. And it doesn’t keep my hem from rolling up as it was intended to do.

Interestingly, the hem I sewed for the red version of this tee (the one with the curved hem) doesn’t have this problem at all. And I just used a single line of stretch stitches. I suppose the curved hem keeps it from flipping. (I haven’t experimented with a twin needle on my new machine yet. In the past, I’ve consistently had trouble with the bobbin thread pulling out no matter how high I crank the tension. I hope that my Janome knows how to behave itself with a twin needle.)

White tee1

Also, as I mentioned with the red tee, the armholes are too big in the back. They ripple around my shoulders.

And finally, the neck band refuses to lie down nicely. The first time I sewed this type of neck band, it turned out perfectly. Ever since then, I’ve had no luck with this pattern. I was very surprised the first time I sewed up a Lady Skater that the neckband was just fine.

In spite of its issues, the white tee is very comfortable. I imagine that once I make a decent replacement or two, this tee will join the ranks of my lounge wear.

Moss4

I think very high on my priority list for future sewing plans is some more tops for this skirt. As it turns out, I don’t really like many of the ones that I already have. And it’s really hard to make outfits with a red skirt. Do this: go to Pinterest, search for “red skirt”, and then look at all the results. 95% of the time, the red skirts will be paired with black and white. Sometimes grey. Maybe some aqua. But mostly black and white. And I sort of get that. Black and white over a red skirt is a pretty killer combo–very bold and punchy. So, I think when I get started on tops for this unapologetically red skirt, I’ll probably stick with black and white prints.

Can I just say that I really love being able to build off of things I’ve already made? Things I actually like?? Man–sewing a wardrobe is the¬†best EVER.¬†

A Short Post About a Long Skirt

At first, I was super excited about the maxi skirts. And then I made one.

Here’s the problem. It was too big. So, I made it much smaller.

Maxi1

And then it was still too big. And to shrink it again would mean losing some of the length that I so wanted.

So, when I wear it, there’s always the slight danger of it slipping down much farther than it really ought to.

Maxi3

But it is super comfortable.

But it is also hard to put together outfits with. Most tops make me look extra frumpy rather than sleek and stylish like all the girls on Pinterest. So, that’s something to work on.

Maxi2

But, it is super comfortable. It’s what I wear when I Just. Don’t. Even. . .

So, we have a bit of a complicated relationship. But it’s fine. We’re working on it.

Twinkle, Twinkle Lady Skater

Bask, my friends, in the soft, twinkly glow.

Gray LS3

I may have perfected the fit of the Lady Skater. The back waist is still a bit low, but it’s not as tragic a flaw in the back as it could be in the front. Other than that, it is exactly as it should be.

Gray LS2

This fabric is a cotton/lycra knit, so it’s super stretchy with good recovery. The silver pin dots are not woven into the fabric; rather, they are like little dots of glue. They have the consistency of dried hot glue–though I suspect they are a bit more permanent! They do make it a bit tricky to sew and iron.

Gray LS1

Wherever possible, I only pressed the wrong side of the fabric. If I had to press on the right side (such as when turning the hem), I used a press cloth. When sewing, I simply had to be very cautious since the little dots occasionally got stuck in the throat plate and had to be freed without pulling the fabric out of place. It was not fun.

Gray LS4

In the end, I am more than pleased with this dress and so glad I opted for a Lady Skater rather than a maxi which I wouldn’t have worn nearly as often.

Springtime Birds in Winter Weather

Well. . . Atlanta winter weather. Which means who knows what the crap the weather will be like.

Finally–some pictures! Today, I rushed home from work because it was not raining, a short break in a long, long line of wet, icky days. Knowing that this would be my only opportunity for the foreseeable future (seriously–you should see our weather forecast. Nothing but rain), I did a ridiculously fast series of photo shoots for every outfit I had left to take pictures of. So, you’ll be seeing the same scenery for the next few weeks of posts.

Birdie2

I bought this Joel Dewberry fabric last fall intending to make a Sassy Librarian Blouse. I discovered after purchasing that I didn’t have quite enough fabric and also wasn’t in love with the idea of a blouse made of quilting cotton. So, I shelved the fabric and waited for inspiration.

After taking “Design and Sew an A-line Skirt” from Craftsy, I began to toy with the idea of using the fabric for a skirt. And in the end, that’s exactly what I did.

Birdie 1

The process was very simple. Take a few measurements, draw out a simple pattern, make a muslin (a step I totally skipped), pin in some darts, sew the whole thing up–done. If I remember correctly, I worked through the whole process in an afternoon. I would really love to find an over-sized plaid wool for a winter version.Birdie4

Because I’m really focussing on making outfits rather than individual pieces, I also bought some red cotton/lycra knit (I love the cotton/lycra stuff) to make a simple t-shirt. I used the pattern from Craftsy’s “Sewing with Knits” class with Meg McElwee (who I thought was adorable, but apparently a bunch of reviewers didn’t like at all). I’ve used this t-shirt pattern four times now, and I’m realizing that it’s not a great pattern for me. There’s something off with the sleeves in the back. I thought at first that I was stretching the arm hole too much and needed to spread the armscye ease out more–does that make any sense at all?–but now I’m realizing that the back arm hole is too big. But, if I fix the arm hole, that means I have to fix the sleeve as well and I just don’t wanna. . .

So, I think from now on, I will be following a reader suggestion to use the ever-fabulous Lady Skater for a t-shirt block because it does not have the shoulder/arm fitting issues like the Sewing with Knits t-shirt.

Birdie3

I did play around with the hem a bit. I used a French curve to draw a curved hem (is there a name for this type of hem?). Because the side seams are split open at the bottom, I have more room for my hip area (the Sewing with Knits tee is a bit straight and gets too tight if I give it longer hem). I had a problem with this when I made my white t-shirt (with the same pattern) so I just cut that one shorter and now I really don’t like it. (I also hate the zig-zag stitch I used on the hem.) But, we can talk about that later.

Gratuitous selfie!

Gratuitous selfie

Conclusion: I love this outfit. I will not, however, be wearing it again until the spring. I tried it with boots and it just doesn’t work. Oh well–I have a jump start on my spring wardrobe!