I present to you…yet another knit top! [Vogue 8790]

Yes – that’s right. I made another knit top! Yahoo! I think I’m finally ready to get back to making more involved garments, ones that involve fitting and pretty woven fabrics (I need to sew all the silk crepe de chine in my stash). Until then, I have some more fast, quick, easy projects to share.

This is my second version of Vogue 8790, which is now sadly out of print. (See first version here). My first version was made with a drapey rayon/lycra knit and ended up sagging out quite a bit at the end of a day’s wear – which is one of my biggest pet peeves.

DSC_0099This fabric is from Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA. I don’t know the content but I wish I did, because I really like it! It’s mid-weight, only slightly stretchy and has a certain fuzziness to it. It’s wonderful! Plus, great colors for fall!

This here is a size 10, one size down from my typically Big 4 size (12). I went down a size based on reviews…and also because that is what I made last time and so my pattern was already cut :)   This time I shortened the bodice by 5/8″ since last time the side gathers hit me at a odd unflattering point.

And apparently I needed a swayback adjustment as well.
DSC_0105Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 7.32.05 PM This top is fast and easy to sew. The instructions call for you to set in the sleeves which is just silly. I changed the order of construction to sew the sleeves in flat and then gather and attach the side seams. Much easier. DSC_0104My biggest complaint is how the side seams pull and don’t stay vertical. Part of it is probably due to sewing a small size because I wanted this top tight. And thus the front has more tension from two overlapping layers pulling on the back. I sewed clear elastic into the seam to support it but that barely helped. I’m not sure there’s much to do at this point, it just annoys me. I’m constantly trying to readjust the sides! 
Xover topI didn’t mean to cut the sleeves out symmetrically BTW. The orange flower on each arm look like eyes to me! And once you notice it, it’s hard to miss. But I wore it today and no one noticed. So that’s a good thing! DSC_0108Overall, I really like this top. I’ve always been cold (average temperature of ~97.3 F) and in the winter I love love love cowl necks, scarfs, and turtlenecks (they’re so warm and cozy!). So I’m sure I’ll be reaching for this top a lot in the next few months as the seasons change.

We have the last of three weddings to attend this weekend. I originally had plans to make new dresses for each wedding…but I really have no desire to sew more dresses! I rarely wear them in real life except for weddings. Once I catch up on functional sewing I’m sure I’ll be pulled back to pretty party dresses :)

Herringbone Vogue 9006

Finally took pictures of this blouse I made back in June that was pictured very briefly in my June review in pictures. I figured it was time to do a more comprehensive review.

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The pattern is Vogue 9006 and I made View A in my typical Big 4 size (12).

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 11.06.59 AMPattern has princess seams, back shoulder darts, and a cowl built into the center front panel. The directions call to cut the cowl on grain, and I followed these directions because my fabric had directionality, but you could cut easily cut the front on the bias for better drape in the cowl.

Unfortunately, my fabric didn’t photograph very well…the busy pattern makes it hard to see the cowl neck and any of the seam lines. Whoops. It looks better IRL. I think. I hope! The fabric, BTW, is a J.Crew poly crepe from FabricMart.

I’ve had ease issues (re: WAY TOO BIG) in the last few woven blouses I’ve made from Big 4 patterns, so naturally I was nervous with this one. But I was pleasantly surprised with the fit! It’s just the right amount of ease!DSC_0092 DSC_0095I replaced the armhole facings with self-made bias tape. But one thing to mention, because I know it irks many of us, is that the armholes, as drafted, are HUGE.
DSC_0097Back fit is pretty darn good too! Unfortunately my pictures don’t show the hemline which is curved in the front and back. I quite like it actually – great for wearing over jeans as I run/jump/skip around lab.
DSC_0100What I love most about this pattern is how well it works as a shell for under cardigans. I love the way it fits and how the cowl frames the neck and face. 
DSC_0104Sorry these last few posts are so short…I made these garments so long ago that I don’t remember my thoughts about them. Nor do I remember to write them down during the sewing process.  But I think these boring, easy makes are just as helpful to share as are the pretty, flowery dresses. When I pick up a new (often times boring) blouse pattern I hope to find just as many reviews as I find for a pretty party dress!

On a separate note, I’ve been trying to open up about myself more on my blog since my favorite bloggers so easily weave information about themselves into their writing. Though no one has ever described me as quiet or hard to get to know, I have a really hard time expressing myself in writing. For instance, it’s take me ~10 minutes to write the previous two sentences. [WHAT?!??!] That’s absolutely absurd and I know it! haha! Plus, I always assume that no one cares about the nonsense that happens in my daily life since, really, this is a sewing blog. I suppose you all know by now that I got married….and that I have two dogs. So let’s just agree that I’ll start putting a little more ‘me’ in my posts.

We’re suppose to get our wedding pictures back later this week/early next week. SO EXCITED! I’ll leave you with a teaser until then :)PB367This photo was taken in the Photo Booth during the reception. And no, I did not wear the cat ears during the wedding :)

Wedding DIY: Out of Town Bags & Drink Stirrers

This is my first post about some of the DIY we did for the wedding. Don’t worry, there won’t be too many more wedding posts :)

Out of Towner Bags

Because the wedding was in Minnesota but none of my husbands family lives there, it was of great importance to make their stay in Minnesota as comfortable and inviting as possible. This meant arranging all events either close to the hotels or providing bus transportation.

OOT Bag Collage

Initially I didn’t think we’d do Out of Town (OOT) Bags as I imagined they’d be too much work and money without much added effect. However, I was pretty easily convinced by my wedding planner (the wonderful Sarah of Lasting Impressions) that OOT Bags were worth the time and effort.

It all started with ordering the Bag Tags to match the rest of the stationary, beautifully designed by PaperRockScissorOOT BAG TAG CollageI’ve left out the personalized interior of the Bag Tag, but here is one small excerpt for the treats we included in the bags. We didn’t assemble or buy any of the materials until the Wednesday before the wedding, but because we listed some of the items in the message, we HAD to have them! Luckily, it didn’t end up being an issue. Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 9.25.01 AMIn addition to the ‘special treats’, we included bottles of water, a granola bar, and a salty snack (ex: Cheez-its). Here is a photo of all the snacks included. We hand-bagged the gummy bears and Kettle corn and put the handmade caramels into cute plastic boxes with a little ribbon.

DSC_0718I ordered these paper bags from Amazon. They were a perfect size and weight, easily holding two bottles of water without fear of tearing. However, they come in a pack of 250…and we only made 30 bags. Just a few too many!

I designed the water bottle labels myself in Powerpoint. We had them printed at Staples and used their paper cutter to precisely cut along the edges. We removed the labels from the bottles then used double-sided tape to attach the new labels! Quick and easy!DSC_0715We filled the bags in an assembly line, added tissue paper, then attached the tags with ribbon! Easy Peasy!DSC_0710 DSC_0719Then all we had to do was drop them off at the hotels! We made the bags in one day, which included buying most of the treats, printing/cutting/attaching water bottle labels, bagging the gummy bears/kettle corn, boxing the caramels, and the entire bag assembly. All told, I’d estimate it took 4-5 hours. Really not too bad!

I couldn’t have done it without the help of my mom and aunt…they’re crafting and ribbon tying extraordinaires!
DSC_0723DIY Drink Stirrers

Our second project in the days leading up to the wedding was making drink stirrers. This turned out to be another very quick and easy project. We followed this tutorial from Em for Marvelous, which was very descriptive and easy to follow.

The only changes we made was to use a shorter piece of ribbon (she suggests 8-9 inches and we used ~4-5 inches) and use a tiny dot of superglue to hold the ribbons onto the skewers. We used leftover ribbon from various projects so they were cute with an assortment of ribbon designs!DSC_0729

I think this is my only no-sew wedding DIY post – the next two are for the bridesmaids robes and my veil. Just waiting on the professional pictures!

StyleArc Issy in St. Lucia

As with all garments I’ll be posting in the near future, I made this a while ago, probably mid-July. It’s the StyleArc Issy Top which has been pretty popular around the blogosphere since it’s release.

DSC_0076 Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 11.37.09 AMI made this top with a very drape-y and stretchy rayon knit in a lovely taupe. As with my StyleArc Rosie top, as drafted, this top was too large for me. I ordered these patterns before StyleArc started offering simple patterns for free to determine your size, such as the ruched Ann top. So I followed the size chart and ordered a 10 for all top/blouse patterns and an 8 for pants patterns. Unfortunately, it seems that I should have ordered an 8 for all patterns.

Nevertheless, I like how this top ended up! I had to take in quite a lot on the side seams to make it fit – otherwise the ruching just looked sad and added weight to my torso. I also shorted and squared off the bottom – I’m not a fan of uneven kit hems, I just end up fidgeting with them. I think I’ll try this pattern again with a thicker more stable knit and see if that helps the fit issues.
DSC_0072 Yay for pretty sunset pictures! All the tutorials are right….photos at sunset turn out wonderfully!

Especially when on a beach :)DSC_0074[The hem is actually straight despite what this picture may indicate!]

Here I’m wearing the top with my Grainline Moss Mini. Unfortunately, this skirt was out of commission for most of the summer. After the first wash some of the stitches along the waistband came undone due to grading the seams too short and in the chaos of wedding planning, I didn’t take care of it until before the honeymoon :(
DSC_0073 The instructions are typical for StyleArc: Minimal. After cutting out the front piece, I made sure to keep out the pattern piece. This was essential for matching up the various notches.

I found the top went together quite easily actually. I was most confused when it said to ‘finish the neckline”. I didn’t know whether it would end up being visible in the finished product and whether I could leave it unfinished or needed to serge/coverstitch it. I ended up leaving it unfinished until after I assembled the top, only to find it was indeed visible and then I coverstitched it as best I could. Just an FYI to anyone planning to make the top!DSC_0077The arms look a little loose in these pictures but I don’t remember thinking that…will have to check next time I wear it.

Now some more beach pictures…because why not right?!
DSC_0080 During our sunset cruise, they brought us to Marigot Bay for these beautiful picturesque views. Sigh. I want to go back!DSC_0029More update posts to come!