Monthly Archives: June 2018

Bring on summer

This sundress was supposed to be done a LONG time ago—it was supposed to be the one project I kept out while everything else got packed up for the basement reno. That was back at the beginning of April when it was basically still winter. Unfortunately, packed up it did get, so things got delayed.

Anyway, the dress, (Butterick B6349) which felt very unseasonable when I started it, feels perfectly timely now!

However, I also thought it would be a quick, simple make. Surely that cute handkerchief hem indicated few and simple pattern pieces. It would be refreshingly quick to whip up in my soft, tie-dye-with-faint-woven-stripes cotton and delicious cotton-silk lining.

Well, geometrically they were simple. However, the main pattern pieces are all cut on the bias, and everything has to fit together with a quilt-like precision.

I didn’t help myself by deciding that my fine fabrics deserved the special treatment of French seams.

And I decided to change the hem border construction to double-layered to add heft and swish. Not a bad idea in my fabric of choice—but the way I went about constructing it was very far from the easiest it could’ve been, especially considering how soft and easily distorted the fabric was. I ended up topstitching with an embroidery stitch to make sure I caught all the backside of my double layer to hold it closed. A cute detail in the end but very far from the quick and simple I was going for.

Then there was the bit about the lining showing. See it in the photo above? Well, in the pattern instructions there was a mysterious band of outer fabric facing the outside of the lining hem. How odd, I thought. What a strange feature. I want things simple so I’ll skip that. Well, little did I realize that the lining actually SHOWS quite prominently at the sides. The handkerchief upper layer is knee-length in places but quite scandalously short at the sides. After some thinking I concluded that I actually love the depth and complexity the double-layer gives the design—but it definitely needs that hem band. So I had to back and add that in after the fact.

Considering how frustrating the actual make was, I’m pretty charmed by the dress. It’s another foray into tent-shapes, which I realize everyone else has figured out but I’m still a bit hesitant about. I did try taming it with a belt:

But I actually think it’s mainly at its best flowing free. In particular it’s relaxed enough that while I’m happy to wear it to the office, I think I’ll be equally happy to toss it on for a Sunday at home, which isn’t the case for much of my wardrobe.

So yeah. It’s fun. Cute. Easy to fit. (I made a straight size small). Just, not actually quick and simple. You’ve been warned

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May was me-made

Well, I did it. Also documented, although the quality of the pics, as you can see, was not high.

My challenge this year was to wear things I made as Fabricland projects—a way to commemorate my time working there before my store closes this summer, and remind myself that as unhappy with the chain as I might be at the moment, it has also given me a lot. Also a way to contemplate the dangers of free fabric.

Other than some of my days off, I did wear at least one work project item a day.

What it also did was drive home HOW MUCH I have made over the last few years. I have a lot of clothes now—I know that. Way more than I had when I was shopping for my clothes. I was able to do the entire month without repeats—aside from some weekend loungewear, anyway—and it wasn’t even that much of a stretch.

I did manage to wear a few things I haven’t worn out before. This mostly served to remind me of why I hadn’t worn them. I had also been feeling a little bit out of love with my fit ‘n flare dresses, and this month somewhat rekindled that. I love wearing them. I feel cute and girly.

So what did I learn, other than that I have way too many clothes?

The only store bought stuff in regular rotation now are my socks and bras. I will tackle bra-making more seriously at some point, when I have a bit more money and attention to throw at it. Part of the problem is that I like firm, foam-cupped bras—most of which I’ve acquired dirt cheap at the thrift store. The bras I’ve tried making have all been soft-cup—widely considered the best fitting, but not something I’ve voluntarily worn since I stopped breastfeeding. Which, my youngest kid is in high school. It’s been a bit. I might take another stab at bralettes, though. I’m starting to feel an urge for something soft to wear for lounging around the house when I don’t want a tight band and underwires. We’ll blame that on my late thirties, but that doesn’t change the fact.

Probably the only area I could use a few more clothes in is casual loungewear. I have two pairs of Jalie yoga pants, neither of which should go out in polite company. A handful of Tropo and other camisoles which are mostly fairly new additions. I don’t have any shorts, and the capris I’ve made in the past no longer fit.

Really, though, I don’t need clothes. What I should be focusing on is slower and less selfish sewing. Stuff for the house, and the people in it—and there are several projects for family and dear friends that have been on the back burner for literally years.

So–slowing down, taking care, picking my projects.

there were a few things I pulled out I’d been afraid to try, thinking they were too small. Mostly, thankfully, I found they still worked, though it was a bit traumatic to retire the last of my first generation of me-made jeans. (Except the very very first pair, because although they’re in tatters the SUPER stretchy denim still fits)

Now that the month is done, it feels weird not to take my daily selfie. There’s a little caption in my head that I have nowhere to write. I don’t think I really want to start a separate Instagram or anything to document my outfits—it’s pretty boring to anyone who isn’t me—but I can see the urge.

So thank you, Fabricland, for the fabric and the patterns and another venue to show off my creations—but most importantly, thank you to all the wonderful people I’ve worked with there, staff and also customers. It has been my first real-life group of sewists, and I’m so happy to have met each and every one of you.

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(A)rum-ination

I didn’t really think the Deer and Doe Arum dress would be my first stab at a D&D pattern. I’ve been in love with their Fumeterre skirt since it first came out, among others, but I hadn’t really noticed Arum.

Until last winter when I went looking for a basic dress to teach a beginner garment-making type class at Periwinkle Quilting, the local shop where I’ve been getting to do some teaching this past year. I loved the slender silhouette and the simplicity seemed perfect for a one-day class.

And, having made it up, I think I was right, on that front at least.

I’m a little less at ease with my choice of fabric. It’s a muted greeny blue that I LOVE but combined with the simple cut it reads dangerously close to hospital gown, which is not helped by the fact that the fabric (a cotton-linen blend) really has a bit too much body for the design. But I’m a sucker for linen.

I added some lace motifs at the neck to hopefully distract from this.

I blended from a 38 in the upper body to a 40 at the hips, and did a swayback adjustment, which I think helps but it’s a bit hard to assess given the loose shape.

I have mixed feelings about the dolman sleeves. On the plus side they’re super simple and quick—on the minus I think they’re a bit low under the arm (duh, that’s how sleeves like this work). I might try playing around with raising them and adding a gusset in the future, but I didn’t want to go too far off the grid with a class sample.

Also did I mention it is SHORT? Ok, again in the pattern’s defense I did a one inch hem instead of 3/4″, so it might be slightly shorter than intended, and I am technically taller than most patterns are drafted for… but I rarely have to add length to skirts. It’s technically mini length, but because of the style of sleeves it comes up quite a lot when you raise your arms.

Maybe some lace around the bottom to add a wee bit of extra length… things I will think on later, after the class is done.

In the meantime I might have to try another. It was seriously quick and fun to put together.

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