Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Jumping into Fall Trends: Style Maker Fabrics Tour

Happy fall!

I'm back on this blog. It's been quite a while since I last posted my makes. Almost 2 years to be exact. I blame Instagram for it. Although I find IG more convenient, I keep regretting not documenting my me-mades especially my hacks.

When Michelle invited me to be a part of Style Maker Fabrics Fall Blog Tour, I saw it as an incentive to revive this blog and jumpstart my sewing mojo which has been dormant this summer because of my 2 months long trip to Europe and Africa.

Style Makers Fall fabrics fall 2019 selection is fabulous. I had the hardest time making up my mind on what to pick and Michelle was gracious enough to send me pics of various fabric pairings to help me in my decision process.
Make sure you check out Lindsey's (Inside the Hem) swatch review video. You get an insider look at the fabrics, she shows you how to pair them and what pattern will work for these fabrics. Love it!

Here in NorCal, our fall and winters are extremely mild, and right now it doesn't seem like the temperatures will drop anytime soon. In the meantime, I've been already thinking about sewing a fall wardrobe and incorporating some of the 2019 fall trend key elements to it.

Corduroy and plaid which are making a big comeback this fall and I couldn't be happier. I chose a  stretch pinwale corduroy solid olive and a giant gingham check flannel shirting navy white. At first, I wanted to make a jumpsuit but then stumble upon this Anthropologie skirt and gingham top and knew they'd be really cool together.

I love the result!

Now for the pattern deets.

Fiona Sundress Pattern // Button-up midi length summer dress pattern // Closet Case Patterns

For the skirt, I simply hacked the Closet Case Fiona dress.
I used the midi skirt portion, cut it in half and extended the bottom half to make a ruffle. The ruffle ratio is 1.5:1 for the two front pieces and 2:1 for the back. For the waistband, I used the pattern piece for the Jenny Overalls also from Closet Case.

My only complaint is that it's nearly impossible to make buttonholes on corduroy fabric. If you have any tips on sewing buttonholes on corduroy, please do share.

Grainline Studio Scout Tee Pattern

For the top, I hacked the Grainline Studio Scout Tee pattern. I raised the neckline by about 1 inch, reduced the bodice front and back length by 1 inch, changed the back neckline to a V-neck. Last but not least, I redrafted the original sleeve pattern to get a puffed sleeve, because puff sleeves are here to stay and I can't enough of them. I used a 1 inch wide elastic to gather up the sleeves hem.

The gingham flannel is a dream to work with and sew. I have a little bit of fabric leftover and so I think I can squeeze a cropped shirt or an Ogden Cami out of it.

Can you tell I had a lot of fun playing with the Scout Tee sleeve? 

Image result for burda 07/2014 bomber jacketNext and totally unplanned is the Burdastyle Puffed Sleeve bomber jacket. Because my original plan was a jumpsuit, I got 3 yards of the stretch corduroy. The skirt used up about half of the total yardage and thus the bomber idea came about. And I'm in love with it.

Image result for burda 07/2014 bomber jacket

The sleeves are the same as the Burdastyle top sleeves I added to my winterized True Bias Lodo dress below.


1.5 yards wasn't enough to properly cut every required pattern pieces so I used up every single scrap of the fabric to the point where I forgot that corduroy had a nap and placed my pattern pieces in different directions. Fortunately, it's not too obvious but I definitely learned my lesson. Corduroy is a napped fabric so it looks different and reflects the light differently. You'll need extra yardage in order to follow the nap layout. Make sure all your pattern pieces lay in the same direction.

A nifty little thing I used to avoid crushing the nap or pile of the corduroy is the Velvaboard. You can find it for a reasonable price on Ebay. There's also something called needle board but it's way pricier than the Velvaboard.

I always struggle to wear regular sleeve jackets over my puffed sleeve tops as they always get stuck midway in the sleeves. I couldn't have dreamed of a more perfect topper for my puffed sleeves tops.
 As far as closures, I opted for sew-on snaps rather than a zipper since I wasn't able to find a matching zipper anyway.

On the above picture, you can tell there's a difference in color. Oh well! We live to learn!

Thank you Michelle for these awesome fabrics and letting me be a part of the Style Maker Fabrics 2019 blog tour. It was a fun ride! The stretch corduroy fabric comes in 2 other colors and I'm definitely going to get the rust color to make that jumpsuit. 

The sweet and talented Tori The Doing Things Blog is up tomorrow for Day 4 of the tour. I'm excited to see what she made.

Until very soon!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Pattern Review: Ribbons and Stripes Coco dress Hack

Are you ready for another Anthropologie knock off? It is no wonder that Anthropologie is so successful! They have positioned themselves as an avant-gardist of eclectic and original fashion. 

I draw a lot of my inspiration from their store and particularly love their selection of striped clothing. 
I discovered this beautiful striped dress by designer Maeve a few months ago! It was love at first sight!

This dress had two of my favorite features: stripes and grommets! I've been infatuated with grommets and eyelets lately.

I knew I could to make my own for a fraction of the Anthropologie version's cost ($168). I already had a black and white St-James ponte knit fabric in my stash and all I needed to purchase was some ribbon and large grommets, all of which cost me about $30 at Joann's.

As for the pattern, I used the popular Coco dress by Tilly and the Buttons. I've had that pattern for ages and probably am the last person on earth who hasn't sewn it. Well, it's never too late to jump on the bandwagon! Besides, it was the perfect choice for the Anthro dress with the A-line shape and the boat neckline.

The dress itself would take no more than a few hours to sew from start to finish but mine took a bit longer to complete because of the special design features I was adding. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the construction steps in my stories. 

I haven't really been able to go to the store and check how they constructed the sleeves opening for the grommets placement but I was able to come up with my own idea of construction.

 Sleeve pattern cut in half lengthwise with 1.5-inch seam allowance. Determine the length of your placket.

Apply interfacing to the seam allowances and sew the middle seam up the top of the placket and trim. The interfacing stabilizes the grommets placket to avoid fabric distortion.

 Press the seam allowances open.

Fold the placket facing backward over a piece of ribbon the length of your placket and stitch. 

Trim and turn to the right side.

Pin ribbon to the right side of the placket. 

And carefully topstitch.

Make holes to set grommets in and proceed with the rest of the steps for the Coco dress. In retrospect, I should have hemmed the sleeves before setting the grommets in. It was a real pain to coverstitch once the grommets were in. Lesson learned!

Now, the sleeves are ready to be sewn in.

Another step I did differently from the pattern instructions was to draft a facing for the boat neckline and topstitch it down. I also drafted the back facing a bit longer than the front one just like the inspiration dress. I saw this method in the Japanese sewing book: She Wears the Pants, and decided to give it a try. I will definitely use it more in the future.

I noticed some pooling where the sleeves are attached to the bodice after the pictures were taken. I wonder why I didn't notice it when I tried it on after the dress was done. Blame it on the excitement for completing another knock off! I think I will need to take the armholes in a bit more to eliminate the pooling. Hopefully, that's an easy fix!

I really love this dress! It's an interesting take on sleeves. And it fits right into the Year of the Sleeve that's been celebrated on Instagram!
The Coco dress pattern is also a winner! I will definitely make it again!

Until next time! 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Pattern Hack: The Bowline Sweater Dress

This month is Indie Pattern Month over at The Monthly Stitch with its weekly sewing challenges. It's always been hard for me to maintain my own blog and even though I wanted to participate in their monthly challenges, I could never find the time to do so. Enter this week's challenge called Hack it. 

And you know how much I love to hack existing patterns! I decided not to pass this one up. And to kill a bird with two stones, I will also enter this dress into another challenge organized by a fellow French blogger

As the title stated, I used the Bowline sweater pattern by Papercut Patterns and turned it into a sleeveless dress! When this pattern came out, I loved its originality and saw some cute versions on the blogosphere. 

Then last Christmas, I wanted to make a dress out of a gorgeous dark red animal print knit I've been hoarding for the longest. I started roaming through my PDF patterns and had a lightbulb moment. What if I took the sleeves out and added a skirt, it would make a cool dress with an equally cool neckline.

I read the instructions over and over again to understand the sort of burrito method they used for the shoulder drape. And since when it comes to knits, I can be quite fearless, I cut a medium size skipping a muslin, pinned it all together (ouch, I need to stop doing that!), tried it on and I was sold!

Since it was drafted to be a sweater, the armholes were really low but that was an easy fix.  I ended up not sewing the dress because I had promised my youngest one that I would make her a Christmas dress. 

Fast forward July, and the Indie Pattern Month challenge. I initially wanted to do yet another hack of the Lodo dress but figured I should take a break from that pattern after making 5 of them. Looking through my stash, I came across this cute tie-dye rayon knit fabric bought in May from Califabrics.

 I went through my PDF patterns again and decided to make the sleeveless Bowline. I dug out that UFO from Christmas and studied it carefully along with the instructions because I had completely forgotten how I put it together the first time.

 It wasn't too hard to figure it out. Below are pics (I apologize for the crappiness of the phone pics!) of the construction.

I proceeded as per instructions omitting only the sleeves

In order to sew the straps down, you have to hem or coverstitch the armholes beforehand. The next 2 steps are in the instructions but I'm adding the pics anyway. 

The pattern instructions are very well done! No surprises here.

Below is the burrito that makes the cool drape happen.

And voila! C'est fait! I did take a wedge out the side seams about 1 1/2 inches off at the armholes tapering to nothing at the waist. Otherwise, it would have been indecently low.

The skirt is pretty straightforward. I drafted 2 rectangles the same width as the bottom of the bodice and added pockets and an elastic at the waist. Threads magazine offered a inseam pockets template in one of their recent email newsletter, so I used that. 

Love, love, love this neckline. Topstitching knit straps is not for the faint of heart!

The back view.

There you have it. It took a day to sew this up. Okay maybe under pressure! But honestly, it's truly easy!

My photographer (aka my 13 years old) was reluctant to take these pictures. She's been begging me to do a blog post about the speech tournaments dresses and skirt I made for her. You'll be seeing those soon and many more. I've been very productive since summer started and was very diligent to get some sewing done before homeschool and speech season kicks off in August.

A bientot!