Dotted Chambray Archer

So I made another Grainline Archer, which makes 5 (1/2/3/4). There’s not much to add to what everyone else has already said, but I like the loose relaxed style.

I also don’t think I’m the first to make this fabric/pattern combination. The fabric is this Robert Kaufman chambray fabric that I bought from Grey’s during the Pattern Review Boston meet-up. It really is incredibly soft and comfortable. However, my one big gripe is that since it is loosely woven it catches on things really easily during everyday wear and threads can be pulled and broken. Other than that, it’s great!

DSC_0122So yes, this shirt is pretty bland but it fits well into my everyday lab wardrobe. You can barely see it but I did include the two front pockets on this version. DSC_0125 DSC_0126I had lengthened the pattern 3 inches for my plaid flannel version and wanted to use that length for this top. But I made a stupid mistake in both versions: I lengthened the pattern at the designated lengthen/shorten lines near the waist without grading out at the bottom for my hips. Even though I don’t have particularly wide hips, it’s definitely not big enough and rides up, pooling above my bum as seen below.

I’m angry with myself for not addressing this issue before starting because I spent a lot of time cutting out each piece singly to make sure they were on grain. I might end up shortening the top, we’ll see how much I end up wearing it.

DSC_0128AND I finally bought some nice interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. Wow this stuff is nice! I had my doubts before I used it…could this interfacing really be so much better? Yes, yes it can. I used ProSHEER Elegance Medium.

And I reminded myself why you should always use a press cloth when applying fusible interfacing…because in the off-chance you put the sticky side up it doesn’t stick to your iron plate!! I made this mistake one other time without a press cloth, that wasn’t a happy day. 
DSC_0129But my favorite part of this shirt is the snaps! I bought these Size 18 pearl snaps from Snap Source last year and finally found the right project to use them on. Though I have never tried other snaps, these went on very easily and seem very stable and snap tightly. Dan wasn’t so happy with my pounding which resonating through the house!

My favorite thing about snaps is not having to sew on buttons or buttonholes! I’m looking for more snap applications!

DSC_0130I’ll probably end up wearing the sleeves rolled up most of the time.
DSC_0136DSC_0092 DSC_0096I’ll be entering this top in the Natural Fibers contest on Pattern Review. I didn’t plan it to work out this way, but it fits all the qualifications!

Natural Fibers Contest
And speaking of PatternReview contests, did you see their “British Sewing Bee” inspired contest for November??  It’s open to anyone with a PR account and features some fabulous prizes, including a Bernina serger as the grand prize! I’ve already entered, I hope I have enough time to sew for it!
sewingbeeannouncement

V1411 Pants (Maybe they’re leggings?)

I’ve been so good at sewing items from my sewing queue lately! (Not so good about blogging them…whoops). On my list of fall garments to sew was a pair of ponte/interlock leggings. I decided to try the well-received Sandra Betzina pattern from the fall 2014 Vogue release in View B.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 7.32.25 PMI actually followed the detailed instructions and make a muslin. There is information on how to adjust some fit issues and they provide a single pattern piece for the front of the legging (or pant) so you don’t have to do all those crazy seams just for a muslin.

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Unlike Jess (and I think most people), I like to wear my leggings really high. Or I should say, I like the waistband to fall at my natural waist. I find it to be more comfortable and the pants don’t fall down. Above you can see where the muslin ended and I’m pointing to where I would have liked the top of my leggings to hit.

On a slight sidenote, I haven’t made many pair of pants, but I think the length between my navel and crotch is disproportional (and longer) than the rest of my body. During college, my hockey team teased me because my belly button was ‘too high’ relative to the rest of my torso. Basically it falls in the middle of my torso instead of near the bottom, which is where it is for most people. At the time I just thought this was a weird body phenomenon, but now that I sew I can over-analyze it!

Based on my muslin, I added 1″ to the rise above the crotch and 1″ to the length below the knee. And I think they turned out pretty nice!DSC_0108There is some pooling around the knees which moves from the front to the back depending on whether my knees are bent. It irritates me a little but I suppose these pants are suppose to be tapered and not necessarily skin-tight leggings.

DSC_0109My husband says he likes the way my butt looks in these pants…so I’ll consider that a win!

DSC_0110And most importantly, the waistband is just where I wanted it! I wore these pants today and the waistband elastic rolled at times, so I’ll need to go back and sew it down at the side seams and possible in the front and back to keep it from moving in the future.

They’re a little shorter than I’d like so I haven’t hemmed them yet. Not sure if I’m going to either. DSC_0112The fabric I used is a really nice smooth and soft Ralph Lauren interlock from Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA. I bought it with the intention of using the opposite side than shown here, which is a deep navy. But when I pulled out the fabric to make these pants I realized that this fabric had two right sides and the heathered side might be perfect and replicate a denim look. So I ran with it and used taupe topstitching to continue the denim-look…although the topstitching color is barely noticeable. This pattern only uses 1 yard of fabric, so I’m happy I still have a bunch leftover!

In terms of construction, I didn’t follow the instructions. I serged all seams and used my coverstitch to do the topstitching.DSC_0114 DSC_0115 DSC_0117 DSC_0120 DSC_0121

So I really like these pants. They’re comfortable and fit well, but I don’t know how to wear them. One thing which Jess and I DO agree on is that leggings are not pants. But I’m inclined to think these are more pant-like than legging-ish. I’ll typically wear leggings under a tunic-length top with boots, but it’s such a shame to wear boots over all those seam lines, not to mention distracting. But I also don’t feel comfortable wearing these pants like I would wear a pair of jeans with just any top.  Although they are worn as pants in the envelope photo (although we all know to take those pictures with a grain of salt :)

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This is how I wore them today, which kinda maybe works. I think I need some more loose long drapey blouses to wear over these pants. In the meantime, I’ll continue to wear them around the house and on weekend errand runs.

What do you think? Are these leggings or pants? What can I wear them with?DSC_0113

Wedding DIY: Simple Handmade Veil

 0673-2214Credit for all Wedding Photos to Studio306

I didn’t have a strong opinion on wedding veils until I tried one on when I picked out my wedding dress in the bridal salon. I totally fell for the look and romantic bridal ‘feel’ of wearing a long chapel length veil, but I didn’t fall in love with the price tag. Almost everything associated with weddings are incredibly overpriced since people pay will pay extra for the emotion attached to the item. I’m no exception to this rule, but given my ability to sew, I did a little research online to determine what it would actually cost to make a veil. As it turns out, the basic supplies to make a veil are not expensive and unless you want embellishment or a lace edge (which I didn’t), they are very easy to construct.

I’d estimate that my veil cost ~$25 and 30 minutes to make, while comparable veils you can purchase are around ~$125 and up (options 1 and 2).

I highly recommend the Craftsy class “Vintage-Inspired Veils for the Modern Bride” if you’re nervous about making a veil or if you are planning to add more embellishment to your veil/fascinator/birdcage/etc. The teacher, Dorene Vandermeer, talks slowly and is extremely calm while she describes bridal veils and their construction, which made me confident that I could easily make my own veil. Even though I didn’t follow any of her instructions specifically, it was a great introduction to the different types of bridal head pieces and she makes it look so easy!

Because I couldn’t find a ton of information online about making your own veil, I included the supplies I used and a very brief outline of how a simple, cut-edge veil is made.

Supplies:

  • Illusion Netting* (purchased here)
  • Hair comb (purchased here)
  • Fabric Glue (Fabri-Tac)
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Invisible thread
  • 1/4″ Twill tape
  • Veil pattern** (B4487)

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*A Note about Choosing Veil Fabric: I purchased some of both the matte and sparkle illusion veiling and made a practice veil with the sparkle fabric first. I tried on the veil with my dress at my final dress fitting and took some pictures. I ended up discarding that veil and making a second with the matte fabric because the sparkle, though pretty in person, was too obvious and distracting in photos, especially in photos taken with a flash (the sparkle reflected a lot of the light).

**A pattern really isn’t necessary, given a veil is just a gathered piece of fabric attached to a hair comb. However, I wanted a slight ‘waterfall’ effect in the front and didn’t trust my ability to make a pattern :)

Construction:

My veil was a chapel length, which is ~90 inches in length so cutting it out was the biggest challenge. Luckily, veiling material is easy to work with and didn’t take long to lay flat on the floor. I bought the widest veil material available (108″) so it was 54 inches across when folded. Because I wanted my veil wide, I added ~12″ between the folded fabric edge and the edge of the pattern, which you can see in the photo below.

It’s really important to cut out the veil using a rotary cutter to get a smooth even edge, especially if you’re planning to leave the edge unfinished. I cut out the fabric directly on the floor after checking that the rotary cutter didn’t ruin the floor.

DSC_0672After cutting, the actual construction is extremely easy. Twill tape made it much easier to adhere the gathered fabric to the hair comb.
Making my Veil 1

Mark edge of gathers//Cut Twill Tape to Match Comb//Gather Veil to Match Twill Tape//Pin Gathered Veil to Tape

Making a Veil 2Sew Veil to Tape using Zip-Zag Stitch//Trim Extra Material//Glue onto the Concave Side of Comb and Tack with Invisible Thread

It’s important to pay special attention when attaching the veil to the comb. It may be counterintuitive but you want to glue the fabric on the inside of the rounded edge (the comb will be flipped when you put it on).

Let the glue dry and you’re done!

Ceremony:

Here are some photos of my veil during our wedding ceremony. We had a very very short aisle so there wasn’t much time to get a photo of the entire train. But it served its purpose for 30 minutes and I saved a lot of money, in addition to adding something handmade to my attire!

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Other Wedding DIY projects:

Completed: Vogue 1351

I’ve got another dress to share with you that I finished back in July. The reason I KNOW it was July is because I wore it to the PR Boston Meet-up!

Sadly, this is my last garment to share with pictures from the beach during our honeymoon. After looking through all the pictures, I realized taking garment pictures at the beach is NOT as easy as Lizzy makes it look. I still look like the same doofus but with a slightly more enjoyable background :)

This here dress is Vogue 1351, a DKNY designer pattern. And I want it in every color.

DSC_0852Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.26.26 PMThe front bodice and skirt are cut on the bias while the back is cut on the straight grain. Lately I’ve been hesitant to start more complicated garments because they take so much more time and thought than a simple knit top. But this summer I had a burst of motivation and said “What the hell, let’s make this thing!”  So I chose this beautiful blue and white silk crepe de chine from my stash (purchased from the silk cuts table at the local Sewfisticated in Cambridge) and just started cutting!

Normally I’d be really proud of this sewing impulse, but this was my first bias cut garment and I really should have taken my time. Luckily, this fabric is busy and doesn’t show all my errors, but believe me…they are there.

DSC_0832My biggest issue came in the form of skirt seam ripples after sewing the front and back pieces together. I posted this picture before, but you can more clearly see that the seam is not falling as it should. So I went back and read up on how to sew fabric on the bias and how to relieve these seam issues (yes, I know, I should have done this BEFORE I started).

I unpicked the side seams and let them hang for a few days to allow the bias to stretch out. I found that while the back piece stretched a good 2 inches, the front only gained a mere 1/2 inch. Odd I thought. So I looked more closely at the fabric edges and deduced that the front skirt piece was cut slightly off the bias. Now, I’m not any sort of bias expert, but I think this issue contributed to a lot of my issues.

DSC_0670So after letting the skirt hang, I went back and sewed the side seam from bottom up after a suggestion that I got. But given the difference in how much the front and back stretched, and the fact that I didn’t mark the seam line (another fact I learned AFTER cutting), I don’t think this seam was ever going to recover. Normally, I might get frustrated and throw the dress to the corner, but I REALLY loved how it was looking so I persevered and decided that I was the only person who would notice the seams through the busy pattern and kept going.

You might have noticed that the skirt is a little too short. I tried to be really fancy to level the hem so I set up our laser level (used to paint stripes on the bathroom walls) and shone it towards the dress which I had on my dress form. I then very carefully cut along the laser edge while twisting the dressform. It was suppose to work out perfectly except for one minor issue I didn’t account for: My dressform leans forward!! This meant that the front ended up much shorter than the back! I was so angry at the time! But again, I pushed through, leveled the hem and executed a pretty darn good rolled hem.

DSC_0833The rest of the pattern was really straightforward and I found the instructions easy to follow. As others have noted, this pattern is wonderful partially because of the bodice lining which is a scoop-neck and keeps the cowl looking perfect and unable to flop out. I meant to take pictures of it, but it’s been three months since I finished the dress and the pictures haven’t been taken so I gave up on that.

I sewed a straight Size 12, my normal Big 4 size and the fit is pretty awesome I think.

DSC_0855Lately I’ve been trying to be very thoughtful about picking dress patterns. I noticed after going to 4 weddings this summer that although I’ve made a lot of dresses, I either don’t like to wear them because they’re not my style or they’re just not wearable in many situations (I’m looking at you shiny gold cocktail dress). I found myself reaching for this dress for each wedding (only wore it to one) so I started to think about why I like it so much.

  1. It’s super comfortable without being tight, yet is still body hugging
  2. I like the floaty A-line skirt
  3. The cowl adds just enough to make this dress special but not too elaborate
  4. This dress can be worn comfortably to all different types of event
  5. I feel pretty in it!

DSC_0857 I apologize that it is hard to see the details in these photos…below you can kind of see the side view of the lovely draped cowl.
DSC_0854Here fishy fishy fishy!
DSC_0838DSC_0837Eek! I’m falling in!! DSC_0865And that’s the last post from the beautiful St. Lucia!  Wedding dress post coming soon :)DSC_0831