Early Autumn Chambray


More favorite denim dresses...

Although everywhere I've gone recently smells like artificial cinnamon-scented pinecones, it is still pretty warm here in the South(ern United States). But I'm so ready for fall! Chambray is such a wonderful transitional fabric--cool enough for late summer highs in the 80s, but equally appropriate layered with boots and a sweater.

This particular fabric is really a super-lightweight denim with a distinct right and wrong side, so I wanted to use a pattern that would highlight that. I took my inspiration from this Shabby Apple dress I keep seeing all over my pinterest board and added some simple cuffs to Butterick 6318, a retro pattern with a boat neck and kimono sleeves. I also has adorable waist ties, which I thought would show off the denim's wrong side nicely, but I didn't end up liking them! I cut them off and replaced them with a simple bow sash instead. I think the fabric takes this "retro" dress and makes it really modern and wearable--denim goes with everything, right?

I'm pretty pleased with the fit of this dress straight out of the envelope, but there are a few changes I'd make before it would qualify as a go-to pattern. The bodice is a bit long; I think it could come up at least half an inch, maybe a whole inch. You can really see this in the picture of the bow--gosh, it's lumpy in the back isn't it? (Simplicity 4475 is a bit long in the bodice as well--I'm beginning to wonder if I'm long-legged and short waisted as I'm 5'7" so certainly not petite!) The bust darts are a bit long, as well, and could be dropped down some. It's not super noticeable (especially if you're used to rtw) but they are definitely too high. The bodice is a bit loose overall--I'm unused to Butterick's sizing, so I chose the larger of two possible size choices to be safe--but I think it suits the casual, modern style, and I'd rather have a bit of wiggle room with kimono sleeves. I can cinch the waist in with the belt and I don't think it's unflatteringly oversized, just not quite as fitted as my usual style of dress.

Are you squeezing in any last summer dresses or are you fully in winter mode, neck deep in wools and flannels?

xoxo,
allie

ps: eagle-eyed east coast readers may notice this isn't actually in north carolina--i wore this to my husband's best friend's wedding rehearsal in norfolk, va. technically fall but it was 80 degrees and sunny, and a lovely weekend all around. best wishes to andrew and jason!

allie J.

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Two Leopard Looks for Fall (with Style Maker Fabrics)

Look one: Simplicity 6820 (1966), fabric c/o Style Maker Fabrics


Y'all, I love leopard. I know that some people wear leopard print year round, but for some reason I just think it deserves that perfectly autumnal combination of glamour and coziness. Spring can have its preppy florals, and summer can have its nautical stripes, but fall means leopard! (That leaves winter with, um, three months of solid black.)

As part of the Style Maker Fabrics fall style blog tour, Michelle generously allowed us to pick a couple of fabrics to showcase our fall style, and probably thought I was totally crazy when I picked two leopard prints--but how could I choose when they were both so perfect! The first is this gorgeous sweater knit--it's 100% poly but it is so soft and snuggly. The second is a beautiful drapey rayon.

@_amandajbrown_ on instagram mentioned during "print or solid" day for #sewphotohop that her general rule is "Sew a print to let the fabric shine, sew a solid and let the pattern shine" which I think is a great way to think about it (although she also said that rules are made to be broken!). I decided to let the great leopard prints shine here and picked a couple of simple patterns, one vintage and one new! In addition to showcasing the great Style Maker Fabrics, it also showcases how versatile leopard print can be. Right? Right??

The dress is Simplicity 6820, a "Jiffy" pattern from 1966. I'm thrilled with how this pattern showcases the fabric and I expect this will be a tried and true pattern for me--I love it! I cut a bit off the bottom and shortened the sleeves, but otherwise, this is unchanged. You can see it is quite voluminous without something to cinch the waist, but looks equally cute with the self-fabric sash or a coordinating belt. I love this look for work or play and since the soft, swishy rayon is the perfect pair to this pattern, I immediately went to check out the rest of the Style Maker Fabrics rayon selection.

The top is the Seamwork Elmira, a sweet ballerina-style wrap sweater. I was a bit reluctant to use a Seamwork pattern as I'm frankly unimpressed with many of their samples, but the example they had for this one was really nice. Luckily it turned out wonderfully! This one in sweater knit is lovely and cozy, perfect for wrapping up in with a book and a cup of cocoa. I've been wearing mine with a black tank and my Sewaholic leggings (seen here) or my black cigarette pants, but it would also look great over a full skirted dress in a coordinating solid. I'm thinking I need a black version of Simplicity 4475 which I just made in navy... (That would be version #4... another tried and true pattern!)

Thank you to Style Maker Fabrics for providing the fabric for this post. Be sure to check out all the other fall looks--there's a great line up of participants. Next up, Erica!

xoxo,
allie

ps: my husband asked if i would be wearing them together, or maybe with my leopard print coat? and the answer is no.  

allie J.

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Extra-Twirly Circle Skirt (+ tutorial!)




Thank you to Fabric Wholesale Direct for sponsoring this post.

It has taken me, like, almost 10 years of sewing (off and on) to make a circle skirt. Isn't that so weird? I've made lots and lots of full skirts, but my go to is always pleats or gathers! For my first circle skirt, I went super simple and used an elastic waistband an a lovely thick Ponte de Roma from Fabric Wholesale Direct. I used the circle skirt calculator from By Hand London, but I made the waist measurement a bit larger than my true waist so that the fabric is gathered a little bit into the elastic for extra twirl! You can see my whole tutorial over on the Fabric Wholesale Direct Blog.

I've paired my blush pink skirt with one of my favorite tops, a leopard-print Tippi sweater in a light merino from J. Crew (maybe 3-4 years ago). I absolutely love leopard print, but I never feel quite right wearing it in summer. Now that fall is here (at least on all the style blogs I read, haha) it's time to get it back out! Also, I may have some cheeky leopard fabrics in my stash/in the mail/in my shopping cart so expect to see a good amount of animal print here in the next few months... :)

It only took me an afternoon to sew this whole thing, and now I'm wondering why I don't have a million of these skirts in my closet! Have you made a million circle skirts? Do you prefer elastic or a rigid, interfaced waistband?

xoxo,
allie

ps: that's a peak of my blush ogden cami under my sweater... such a perfect layering piece!

allie J.

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Sew Concious Box: First Impressions

This is not a sponsored post, but I did receive my Sew Conscious box for free as part of their grand opening pre-sale giveaway.

I started hearing about Sew Conscious a couple months ago when they seemed to pop up out of nowhere trying to collect email addresses for a forthcoming... something. Despite a strong social media presence, their website was annoyingly blank, with basically no description of what "sew conscious" was going to be. A blog? A pattern company? No idea. I signed up for their list, thinking "why not?"

Anyway, they finally launched whatever it was they were launching and I got an email saying I had won! Won what?

Sew Conscious is a monthly subscription service that sends you everything you need to make a new hand-made garment--I won a free subscription! In each box, you get a sewing pattern and all the notions and fabric you'll need to make it. They have two size ranges (I chose XS-XL but they also offer a XXL-6X box) and three styles (The Classic Chic, The Minimalist, The Spirited One) to choose from. The website is pretty sparse, with very little information about the projects I would be receiving, and you only get two example garments for each style, so I chose Classic Chic because it seemed the safest: it says "Professional Wardrobe with Classic Style and Tailored Looks!" Minimalist seems like it will be popular; the example garments are a boxy top (love!) and some pleated flowy peg pants (NO.), so two looks that are pretty trendy among sewing bloggers. The "Spirited One" I can't quite pin down: the example garments are a pleated skirt in a wild print and a so-not-my-style dress in another wild print, so maybe it's boho? Maybe it's just "wild prints"?

So, what came in my first box? I'm most exited about the Sewaholic Cambie pattern, a pattern I've always thought about getting, but which never quiiite made it into my shopping cart for one reason or another. I also got three yards of navy suiting fabric with a slight stretch, along with lining and interfacing and all the notions: zipper, thread, and even a pack of needles!! I think the pairing of the Cambie with the navy suiting is a great idea. I would not have thought to put the two together, but I think they would make a really stellar work dress, although a bit too formal for my (very casual) office. I haven't quite decided if I'll use the two together yet... Sara got the minimalist box and she got the Sewaholic Pendrell (another one on my list--so maybe I should just go buy one of each Sewaholic pattern, huh?) and a black and white print fabric, so it's possible I inadvertently picked the "workwear" box--after all, it does say "professional" in the description. Maybe I'll switch around and get one of each? It would be nice if you could go onto the website and pick one of three projects each month, like Blue Apron, almost.

The box is pretty expensive--$65 plus shipping for the month-by-month subscription. For me, $6 shipping & handling is totally worth the price of a zipper, some thread, and a fun unboxing experience, but you will have to decide if you want to spend $70+ on a project that will come as a complete surprise! I also wish there were more information about the brands they are working with on their website; they mention working "with popular brands and independent pattern designers" but that's basically all the information you get. So, will I get a Sewaholic pattern? Simplicity? True Bias? Will my box have Cotton + Steel fabric in it? I guess it just depends on the box!

I think these boxes would make a good entry point for someone new to sewing who is still testing the waters of their own personal style. I would not recommend the Sew Conscious box for someone who is very fussy about their projects or working on a capsule wardrobe or Wardrobe Architect--since you never know what you are going to get, it would be hard to work it in to a very specific style. As you probably noticed, I mostly wear and sew shades of pink and coral, light blue, and navy (and I'm working on adding in more neutrals) so if I get a chartreuse blouse project, I would probably be disappointed and not make or wear it. On the other hand, maybe receiving a chartreuse project is just the thing to make me realize I love chartreuse--the equivalent of trying on a new silhouette and being surprised that you love it.

Overall, I enjoyed my first Sew Conscious box. I think the idea is very cute and the fun of getting a mystery box in the mail is totally worth my $6, whether I like the project or not, and I do feel like I will end up using the components from my kits regardless of if I make the assigned project. What do you think? Would you sign up for a subscription service that sends you totally unknown sewing projects?? Or would you rather pick your own projects, thankyouverymuch? I'm very curious about y'all's interest levels...

xoxo,
allie

ps: i also got a nice copy of threads... i never buy threads but this one has a few really great articles, especially one on chanel jackets!

allie J.

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A Navy Midi Dress




Here's a dress from a pattern you may recognize--after all, it is Tried and True month here--or perhaps you will not! This 60s vintage pattern, Simplicity 4475, is the same pattern I used twice in July to make my seersucker dress and this eyelet dress for vintage pledge month!  I'm always amazed by the difference fabric can have when making and remaking a favorite pattern. This time, I used a drapey and lightweight wool blend; it says 12% wool, 88% "CV" and I have no clue what CV is. Any ideas? All I could come up with was cotton voile... I love navy for a nice transitional late summer/early fall dress. Navy is a year-round color for me but I think it is especially appropriate at this time of year.

I went with a below-the-knee silhouette and I think it's nice with the drapey skirt. I do think that it can look a bit long with flats on, though, hence the wedges. I also feel like it just looks like my dress is too big! I generally like a knee-length skirt best... and maybe it's just that I follow a lot of vintage ladies on instagram but it seems like most people agree: for the #sewphotohop day "mini or maxi" my whole feed seemed to be saying "in between!"

A full skirt is so lovely to swish around in, and I'm so happy to have found a pattern that I can grab whenever I have 3 or 4 yards of something nice just begging to be sewn up. At this point in my sewing, I'm feeling good about my tried and true patterns; I have my faithful no-pattern-needed dirndl skirt, this easy to make raglan-sleeve bodice, a nice a-line shift, simple skinny pants, and a few more go-tos that haven't quite hit the blog yet... Soon though! How are you feeling about your collection of tried and true patterns? Is your whole closet full of duplicates? Still searching for repeat patterns? Or do you buy a new pattern for every project? I'm so curious!

xoxo,
allie

ps: i am so far behind on the photo hop... i've been so busy sewing that i haven't been instagramming! if you want to see me frantically trying to catch up, you can follow me here :)

allie J.

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Inspiration: the Tried and True Social Sew

Hello! This "inspo" post is a bit tricky... this month's Social Sew theme is Tried and True, and your tried and trues will be different than mine! I do hope I'll manage to give you some ideas, though. 

Remember, my main goal is designing the Social Sew link-up was to make the theme narrow enough that someone unsure of what to make next could find some guidance, but broad enough that someone with sewing plans could find a way to make their pieces fit. If you're a bit stumped on what to make for this month's theme let me suggest...



Another version of that one dress you reach for every occasion: Whether it be a little black dress, a mod mini, or a slinky maxi, if you have a dress you wear over and over, why not give it a rest and whip up something similar, but slightly different.


A new pattern that could be your next tried and true love: As soon as I saw the Ogden Cami, I knew it was going to get tons of use in my closet--if it fit! If there's a pattern (new or new-to-you) that seems like it could be the pattern, try it out or perfect the fit for future t'n't usage. (Spoiler alert: the Ogden? It fits and I'm in love.)



A silhouette you love in a new fabric: Love the Archer but already have a closet full of flannels? I have seen some lovely chiffon versions! How about a woven wrap dress? A sheer teeshirt?

This is a Social Sew month where I don't know what I'm making--usually I have some sort of idea since I use this as a personal sewing challenge, as well as a way to encourage social sewing! I have a few things I'm thinking about, but it's so hard to choose when you're choosing from a bunch of things you love! I think I'll be drawing my inspiration from you, this time!

xoxo,
allie

ps: i also have a fall inspo post coming up as well... if i can ever figure out how to use photoshop! 

allie J.

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Social Sew #6: Tried and True

September! Back to School season is here, fall is around the corner (please, please let this be true), and it's time to sink into those comforting school-year routines... and pull out those tried and true patterns, silhouettes, techniques, and fabrics that you just know will work.

September's theme is Tried and True!

I haven't quite decided on what I'd like to post--that's the beauty of tried and true, isn't it! You might be seeing a new dress in my favorite full-skirted silhouette, or possibly an as-yet-unblogged but totally TnT worthy pattern (sneak peek on my instagram!), or maybe both! What will you make for this month?

The link up will be open from the 1st of the month (at about 8 am est) and will close the last day of the month. 


Some rules: 
1. This is for adult apparel sewing, so no kids clothes or home decorating (unless specified otherwise in the theme).
2. Newly blogged garments, please: the things you add to the link up should be made in the month the link up is for. Remember, the theme and the link up are there to inspire you to create something new! 
3.  Please click on the logo above to download it, and put it either in the post you are linking up, or in your sidebar. I'd also appreciate you linking to the Social Sew--the more people who discover it, the more participation we'll have, the more inspiration! Thanks, y'all.


Upcoming themes:
September (this month):Tried and True
October: Try Something New
November: Cozy Layers
December: Glamour


xoxo,
allie

ps: last month you knocked it out of the park--with a lot of tried and true patterns!!--so i expect to be impressed... 

allie J.

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