Simple florals (Simplicity 4475)

One dress that I reach for over and over in the spring and summer is my light blue seersucker Simplicity 4475. This is the type of dress I want to wear every day during the summer--sleeves so I don't have to wear a cardigan to work, fitted enough to flatter, but not constrictive, with a full skirt long enough to do all the bending and crouching my job (children's librarian) requires. I also love that I can wear this type of dress with little sneakers and a ponytail for a casual look or espadrilles or wedges and pearls to dress it up a bit. Honestly, it's the easiest possible outfit. At one time, I felt like this was all I was sewing fit-and-flare dresses but looking in my closet, I actually don't have a huge collection of this type of dress, due to purging old makes. Looking back on past Me Made Mays, though, I can see that I love wearing them!

This has the same small modification as my black swiss dot version--a slight small bust adjustment (about 3/8"). This is something that I had been meaning to do since my first version and never bothered to do since it's just a small thing, but it really does make all the difference! This is the best fitting pattern ever, I just love it. I have about 5 or 6 of these by now and love them all.

The fabric is a little cotton lawn from Robert Kaufmann, part of their "London Calling" line, which I think is meant to be reminiscent of Liberty. At about $10/yard, it's so much cheaper. I have to admit though... I treated myself to some Liberty Tana Lawn for my birthday next month to make another of this pattern!

xoxo,
allie

ps: i also have a few stash fabrics that might turn into this pattern as well!



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Me Made May Flowers (Deer and Doe Goji & Harts Fabric Tour)

Thank you to Harts Fabric for providing the materials for this post. See more photos on their blog!

Y'all have seen about 87 versions of the Sewaholic Rae skirt here on the blog so today I'm trying out a similar pattern for comparison, the Goji Shorts and Skirt from French pattern company Deer and Doe. In terms of style these two skirts are very similar--they are both paneled A-line skirts with gathered waistbands. However, the Goji also has pockets and a shorts variation, so if the idea of paying $18 for a super basic skirt pattern seems unreasonable, you can level up to a $20 pattern that comes with a shorts version and pockets!

Both Sewaholic and Deer and Doe both have reliable, high-quality drafting. Although Sewaholic patterns are drafted for pears (and their measurements match mine almost exactly), I've had lots of success with Deer and Doe Patterns in the past as well! This first time making the Goji, I used a lovely soft rayon challis from Harts Fabric as part of their #memademayflowers blog tour! I'm soft for a pretty floral so I couldn't say no. I didn't add a lining or anything since I always wear a slip with my skirts. For more details on the fabric, head over to my blog post on the Harts Fabric blog!

Comparing the pattern pieces from the Rae and Goji, the two patterns are very similar! The Goji skirt is most like view A of the Rae in fullness; I usually make view B/C, the fuller variations. Both have front/back and side panels. The main difference is that the Goji has a separate waistband, while the Rae waistband is all-in-one with the skirt panels. Additionally, the hem of the Goji (shorts and skirt both) are finished with facings, rather than folded under and hemmed that way. That does make the Goji a slightly more challenging sew than the Rae, but both are appropriate for beginner sewers in the right fabric! The main visual difference (besides the pockets, which I left off in this make) is the waistband elastic--the Rae just has one wider elastic casing and the Goji has two rows of elastic and a drawstring for a slightly sporty look.

Although I've made Rae about 100 times and will never let go of my Rae pattern, if you are in the amrket for a new pattern I think the Deer and Doe Goji is a slightly better option just because of the added pockets and the shorts variation. By leaving the pockets off, you can make a skirt that's very similar to the Rae, and either of them are good starting points for my Rae hack tutorial, so why not get the bonus shorts at the same time?

xoxo,
allie

ps: get the fabric here.



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Klum House Maywood Totepack

I mentioned that I wanted to make another Klum House project in my 2019 Make Nine plans so I was obviously so excited when the ladies at Klum House reached out to me to be a reviewer for their latest kit, the Maywood Totepack. I just recently purchased myself a cute Fjallraven backpack and didn't need another backpack at the moment but my husband Alex has been using a ratty old work-swag backpack to lug around all his Dungeons & Dragons gear (books, notebooks, pencils, dice, miniatures, etc.) and it was time for an upgrade. Plus, in waxed canvas and vegetable tanned leather, it totally fits the aesthetic of a roving band of adventurers, don't you think?

As with the Woodland Dopp Kit, the Maywood Kit that Klum House put together was gorgeously packaged, super organized, and contains everything you need to make a professional quality bag. The Maywood is a convertible bag with an ingenious system of straps that allows you to use it as either a backpack or a tote bag. It also has a large internal pocket big enough for a 15" laptop, a front pocket with a magnetic snap, and a zip top to keep all your gear secure!

I did make one large-ish mistake in the construction of this bag--I was so excited about learning my new riveting technique that I got totally carried away and riveted the lining and exterior fabric together in several spots where only the exterior was supposed to be riveted! Klum House's kits do provide extra rivets in case of mistakes but... I had riveted too many rivets to turn back. This made my sewing a little challenging since my fabric was stuck together at spots it was not supposed to be. I would not recommend this--I recommend following the instructions, which clearly state not to do this--but I managed with some wrangling. The end result is that the inside of my backpack isn't quite as tidy as it is intended to be. Everywhere you see leather supports and rivets on the inside, like in the last photo, they should be hidden by the lining.

These kits are not the most affordable afternoon project (for that I'd go with the free Megan Nielsen Acacia undies pattern and some jersey scraps from your stash!) but I do think they are worth the price. First, Klum House does all the hard work of sourcing all the matching notions. They cut and punch all the leather strapping so you don't to invest in a full hide or any leather tools. The even cut the fabric pieces for you, and wrap it all up in a beautifully packaged kit. (Bonus: if you purchase the kit, you also get free access to the virtual class on April 28th.) If you compare the cost of a Klum House kit to, for example, the waxed canvas-and-leather Filson bags my brother collects, it's competitively priced.

It's honestly so satisfying to learn a new skill, and just as when I made my first jeans using a jeans hardware kit, or my first bra using a bra making kit, it's nice to know that you have all the necessary and appropriate gear. Focusing on the skills you are learning without having to second guess your materials is one of those little luxuries in the sewing room!

xoxo,
allie

ps: did i punch through my cutting mat and into my table a little? maybe.



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Little Black Day Dress (Megan Nielsen Sudley)

Just dropping in to let you know I have a guest post up today on the Minerva Crafts blog featuring this sweet and simple Megan Nielsen Sudley dress in black rayon from Atelier Brunette! Click here to read my review.

xoxo,
allie

ps: i also love that this company is called minerva, goddess of arts but also war strategy :)



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Candy Stripe (Sewaholic Granville)

Thank you to Sewing Supply Plus for providing the fabric for this project.

As part of my quest for the perfect fitting oxford shirt, I'm making a few variations, and here is the girliest one by far!

Doing the tiniest fit adjustments here: first, I shortened the sleeve (at the lengthen/shorten line) by 1/4" since the Granville sleeves have always been a tiny bit long on me. Then I did a 1/4" broad shoulder adjustment, which affects the front bodice and back yoke pieces. It only took a few minutes and I don't know why I didn't do it before! I don't actually have broad shoulders (this isn't one of my usual adjustments) but since I plan on wearing this buttoned up all the way, it just gives me a little extra room across the shoulder. I also did the smallest scant 1/4" full bust adjustment (my first FBA ever haha) and slimmed down the hips about 1/2". Overall, it was lot of teeny adjustments that improve the fit almost imperceptibly. I felt confident in making these changes sans muslin because the original Granville fit me pretty well already and none of the changes are that drastic.  You can't really tell in photographs which I why I'm not bothered by just covering up the whole shirt with a sweater :) Y'all have seen 80000 Granvilles from me already.

Unlike the very subtle fit adjustments I made, the design changes I made to this one are pretty obvious! Instead of the Granville collar piece, I cut out a little rectangle and gathered it to make a sweet ruffled neck. Similarly, I shortened the cuff pieces and inserted a little ruffle there as well. I plan on wearing this most underneath a sweater or sweatshirt and having the little ruffles peek out of the neckline and cuffs is just the cutest thing in my opinion. This is a really easy "hack" that changes the whole look of the pattern!

If you want to do the same, here are the dimensions I used on this size 6. You can use roughly the same dimensions on shirts around this size and just gather to fit:
- shortened the cuff by 5/8"
- cut neck ruffle 3 1/4" x 32"
- cut sleeve ruffle 2 1/2" x 16"

To make the ruffles, fold in half lengthwise right sides together, sew short edges, flip right side out, press, two or three rows of basting stitches along open long edge, gather to fit cuff length or collar band length. Super easy!

I love how it looks dressed here, peeking out from underneath my sweater, but this change would also look super cute with a blazer or nicer cardigan and a pencil skirt for a more feminine take on business wear. The fabric I used is a really nice Egyptian Giza cotton oxford shirting from Sewing Supply Plus, and it feels so smooth and wonderful--noticeably nicer than other Oxford cloth I have sewn. It was great to sew and should wear really well--I anticipate wearing this shirt constantly!

I have another length of Sewing Supply Plus oxford cloth with which I was planning to make a classic white shirt, but I love this version so much I'm thinking I should make a ruffle collar Granville in white too--I love the little ruffle peeking out and white would go with everything! Once again, how many Granvilles is too many..?

xoxo,
allie

ps: you can add this ruffle onto any collared shirt pattern!



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Gucci-inspired Bomber Jacket (StyleArc Bobbi + Harts Fabric)


Thank you to Harts Fabric for providing the fabric for this post! 

So a couple of months ago I was casually browsing the Gucci website as one does (they have the most amaaazing florals) and found a super-cute black leather bomber jacket with a ruffle and a bow. A few years ago when everyone was making bomber jackets, they never really appealed to me, but after seeing the Gucci bow collar one I suddenly needed a bomber jacket? a black one? with a bow?

I looked at a bunch of bomber jacket patterns but I went with the Style Arc Bobbi Bomber in part because it was lined and had that nice zip guard and in part since I had never tried a StyleArc pattern and thought it was about time! This pattern company came up a lot recently in the size inclusivity discussions since it's one of those super-productive but less hyped indies (like Jalie) that are just doing their thing and doing it well: the Style Arc size chart goes from a 30-58" bust. (For reference, Cashmerette also goes to a 58" bust.) I made the straight size 8 with no fit modifications. It's actually a bit more oversized than I expected (and definitely less fitted than the Gucci version) and I could probably have sized down to a 6 for a more modern fit, but I prefer this slouchy size--it provides a bit of contrast with the bow and it is very warm and cozy.

The fabric I used is this lovely wool from Harts! It's a very fleecy black wool that was wonderful to sew--it's dense and spongy. I will say if you have a white dog (like me) it will pick up dog hair and never let it go! The ladies at Hart's recommended this fabric for the project and they did a great job helping me pick, as always. It is warm and cozy for the tail end of these chillier spring days and I'm hoping to wear this a few more times before wool melton is too warm for North Carolina weather! (Since I had someone ask on instagram, the front is soft and snuggly but the reverse side is a bit scratchy so I wouldn't suggest using this unlined.)

To make the bow neck instead of the traditional bomber rib knit neckline, I drafted a collar band using my pattern drafting book (I lovvvvve this book wow), and then just topstitched the ribbon onto it. I suggest petersham ribbon in applications such as this because you can easily curve it to fit your pattern piece. I was a bit nervous about wearing the jacket unzipped with ribbons hanging loose, but I actually like it more than I though I would. Since I know that I don't like jackets bunching around my hips, I did lengthen the bottom band slightly so that the hem is not quite so gathered. I also made the cuffs a bit longer in both directions since I love having slightly-too-long sleeves on cozy layers like this one. You can see it covers the palm of my hands instead of stopping at the wrist--I think as written the sleeves are just slightly long but would be held on your wrist by the tighter cuff.

As far as my experience with Style Arc, I really enjoyed the drafting of this pattern, the 3/8" seam allowances, and the completed style, but the instructions are very minimal. (If you've sewn a Burdastyle pattern, the instructions are similar.) For most of the project, this wasn't an issue, but my welt pockets and the lining/zipper are not sewn "correctly" because I could not for the life of me figure out how to interpret the instructions. I will definitely make another Style Arc pattern in the future, but I would suggest sticking to simpler patterns you feel confident sewing without instructions--this is not the time to try a new technique!

xoxo,
allie

ps: that pattern drafting book is the industry standard and i would recommend it not only for people who want to learn to draft patterns, but also people interested in doing any significant amount of pattern hacking! it is very useful and easy to use.



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Boyfriend Shirt (Sewaholic Granville)



The Sewaholic Granville is a a tried and true pattern for me--I've made it loads of times and I wear some version of the pattern at least once a week. A classic oxford shirt is such a wardrobe staple! I recently made a whole bunch of teeny fit adjustments for The Best Shirt Ever and now I'm taking my adjustments OTT for a whole new look!

For this version, I went a fair bit off-piste with my pattern hacking and created my "boyfriend" version of the Granville. This pattern is actually one of the more fitted shirt patterns out there, with bust darts, princess seams in the back, and a slim waist, so it may seem a little counterintuitive to take the Granville as a starting point as opposed to, say, the archer, but I just love how this shirt fits in the shoulders and bust and wanted this shirt to fit like a women's version of a men's shirt, not like an actual men's shirt. I've made the Archer before and I always felt like it swallowed be up! There's a big difference between, for example, the American Eagle "boyfriend jeans" I wore in high school and wearing actual men's jeans, and I always felt like the Archer edged too far towards the "actual men's jeans" end of the spectrum.

I made two major alterations to the shirt to transform it from fitted ladies' shirt to boyfriend-style. First, I added a lot of volume into the back of the shirt--the original has princess seams, and I removed them by grafting the center back and side back pieces together. I also added a bit of extra volume by adding pleats  at the yoke like the ones you see on men's shirts. They are 5/8" deep (a total of 1 1/4" each) because I used the seam allowances from the original pattern pieces. The second and simpler style change I made was to straighten out the side seams some. They aren't entirely straight, still slightly curved, but they are much less dramatic than the Granville as written. I kept the side seams the same above the dart and only changed it from the bust dart down, so that I didn't mess with the fit there or have to alter the dart at all, it's just easier! Then the only thing to keep in mind is having the curve be the same front and back!

I love the way this turned out. I had planned on using my last length of oxford cloth to make a "perfect oxford shirt" with the original Granville style lines, but, like, this is my perfect oxford shirt! I'll save that one for a ruffle collar shirt, I think... I can't wait to show you the pink ruffle shirt I have already made too!

xoxo,
allie

ps: im a shirrrrt machiiine



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