Baby Shower Dress (Simplicity 6820)

Hello! Today I'm here with my one and only maternity make ;)

If you've followed this blog for any amount of time you'll know I have a few standard patterns I return to again and again. One of my favorite all-time dresses is this leopard print swing dress, which I wear all. the. time. It's also been a go-to item in my maternity wardrobe since it is... quite voluminous. For my baby shower luncheon, I knew I wanted to make something special and that I could wear post-baby, so this same pattern, vintage Simplicity 6820, was a natural choice. I knew it would fit and that I liked the shape on me both pre- and mid-pregnancy.

I (as you can probably tell) made some modifications this time around! I've only ever made it with short sleeves, in fact, I usually make the sleeves slightly shorter than they are as drafted. This time I wanted to change it up and added long sleeves with gathered cuffs. These aren't too dramatic--I just extended the length, rather than adding a major bell. I also altered the neckline slightly--it isn't quite a boatneck as written but it is a bit wide, especially for a vintage pattern where you often find those super-tight jewel necklines, so I brought it in a little bit in the sides and back. One change I did not make is perhaps worth mentioning--I didn't extend the center front hem. Several of my other versions of this dress have a bit of a uneven hem due to the fabric relaxing and honestly, it doesn't bother me. I did let this hem settle overnight beforehemming, but I figure I'd rather deal with a lifted from hem now and then have it look normal later, rather than the other way around. Whatever.

I wore this to the shower luncheon with tights and black heels and was comfortable (or as comfortable as one can be at 29 weeks with twins) and felt chic (or at least as chic as one can feel at 29 weeks with twins). I've been wearing black this whole pregnancy--part of the reason I Overtoned my hair pink!--but this was much more glam than my usual Citizens of Humanity black maternity skinnies and target brand maternity tanks and tees.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for sticking around through this extended period of very little sewing output! I appreciate you all so much.

xoxo,
allie

ps: lot of good and interesting thoughts on maternity sewing from someone who actually made maternity clothes here and here!



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Spring Blush (True Bias Roscoe Dress)

Just a quick note that I have a guest post up on the Minerva Craft blog! You can see more photos of this dress and read my review here.

xoxo,
allie



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Flannel (Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas)

Thank you to Minerva Crafts for providing the materials for this project. I have a blog post over on their blog today with all the details, check it out!

ps: this project was technically part of 2019's #makenine. although it got bumped into this year's posting schedule over at Minerva, it was sewn in 2019!



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Coated Denim Ginger Jeans


I've been on a pants roll, y'all! It must be cooling down here in North Carolina since I recently remade the Ash jeans (as yet unblogged) and now another pair of Gingers. These are totally different than any previous jeans I've made though, because I used this suuuuper cool coated black denim. I ordered this from The Fabric Store in Australia because I couldn't find anything similar anywhere closer, and paid almost as much for shipping as for the materials, so I bumped it way up my to-sew list for fear of it languishing in my stash for ages, staring at me and making me feel guilty. The coating is not wax, like some coated jeans are, it's some sort of plastic-y something--it's not a bad plastic-y, I just don't know what it is. Underneath the coating is a nice black denim with about 15% stretch--perrrfect for some skinny jeans! These aren't the most forgiving/comfortable of jeans--but then again, they aren't for every day wear.

I went with the Gingers instead of the Ash jeans for two reasons--the fly instructions and the pocket bags. First, for this slightly shiny fabric, I really wanted to have the flattering interior pocket stay. Second, this fabric is a bit unforgiving when it comes to unpicking, and the Ginger fly which requires less unpicking than the Ash jeans.

As I mentioned, the coating on this fabric does show little pinpricks wherever there was a needle or pin hole, so this was an interesting challenge in terms of construction! I pinned only in the seam allowances and was extra careful not to do more unpicking than required by the pattern. I do have a couple little spots I messed up on, but my mistakes aren't visible unless you are looking for it, so I'm not stressed about it.

It's still a little bit too warm most days to wear coated denim, but I'm really excited to wear these this fall with an oversized sweater or hoodie, or dressed up with booties and a cute top. It's a little bit out of my comfort zone (I am after all a 30 year old librarian, haha) and I don't anticipate wearing these, like, every week, but I do think they will be perfect for nights out!

xoxo,
allie

ps: ummmm these will be so cute with my memento mori sweatshirrrtttttt



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End of Summer Sudley #2 (Harts Fabric)


Thank you Harts Fabric for providing the fabric and thread for this post. If you haven't shopped online with Harts Fabric before, they have a thread matching program that is the besssst. Just check "Matching Gutermann Thread" when you add yardage to your cart and they will pick the best match thread color and send it with your fabric. Genius.
A couple of weeks ago I showed you a button-back Sudley dress in olive green and today I'm back with part two! These two dresses are the same exact pattern but I think they have very distinct feels since even though both fabrics are rayons, they are totally different! For dress number one in olive, I used a gorgeous Tencel twill, a drapey, medium weight woven. For this one, I used this pretty coral pink viscose, which is a little less densely woven for a floatier lightweight feel.

The skirt on this coral version is, you can probably see, a bit fuller than the olive version. For the olive dress, I used one width of fabric: 60", or about 1.5 times the circumference of the bodice. Because the tencel twill is heavier and has a bit more body, a fuller skirt would make the dress pretty heavy--this would be okay with a fitted, structured bodice, but with this silhouette it would potentially hang weirdly.

The coral rayon is a lighter weight, so the gathered skirt is about twice as wide as the bodice. The difference from 1.5x to 2x may not seem like a lot but it can make a big difference visually! I also added some elastic to the waist for a more fit and flare silhouette. You can do this simply by zig zagging some 1/2" elastic to your waistline seam allowances; it's really easy but makes a big impact. Between the slightly increased fullness and the elasticated waist, the skirt here feels much swishier, which I love. I quickly made a sash but I think I might add some thread loops on the side seams for a proper belt.

Both this dress and the olive version are easy to wear, comfortable, and will transition nicely from late summer into fall here in North Carolina--I can totally picture either with black tights and boots and a cute jacket.

Overall, I really enjoyed sewing and wearing both the viscose and the tencel twill, and it's fun to have a few different variations of rayon in my repertoire. If you are a beginner to drapey fabrics, I recommend the tencel twill, as it is a bit sturdier and less shifty on the cutting table--but both are definitely doable even for an adventurous beginner, and a great way to "level up" your sewing from cottons!

xoxo,
allie

ps: 



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Candy Striper (Sewaholic Oakridge Dress)

After two successful shirtdress hacks of the Sewaholic Granville, I'm back with a dress version of the Granville's sister pattern, the Oakridge. While the Granville has all the styling details of a traditional men's shirt, the Oakridge turns the femininity up some with a lowered neckline, an optional bow, a plain rather than yoked back, and bound placket cuffs rather than tower plackets. I've been wearing my Granville shirtdresses all the time, and recently, a patron stopped me in the library and said "that's a beautiful everyday dress!" which was lovely since I designed that hack to be just that--my ultimate everyday dress, super wearable and functional as well as pretty.

I used the shape of the Oakridge pattern once before to extend the Carolyn pajama top to a shirtdress, so I knew it was possible, would fit over my hips, etc. However, I had never made the Oakridge before! I was really winging it by making a bunch of changes to an untested pattern right off the bat--but this is the kind of thing that a trusted pattern brand allows you to do. I felt confident that the Oakridge would fit well since I love the Sewaholic block on me. To extend the length, I used my hip curve ruler and followed the curve of the shirt, extending the shirt by about 16 inches. The bottom hem is straight across, although you could also retrace the original hem to maintain the shaped shirt hem.

I wanted this to be a wash-and-wear dress so I made a few changes with that in mind. First, I cut the sleeves shorter and gave them a little sewn-down cuff (a cute cuff detail but no ironing/fiddling). I also topstitched the whole bow neck. For ease of cutting/construction, I attached the button band to the front of the dress. The pockets are topstitched to the front of the dress so they don't flap around, which is my new favorite casual dress detail. Finally, the waistband is elasticated so there's no belt or tie to keep track of. It's nice to make these changes and know that I can make a pretty dress as functional as possible!

Once I had it all sewn up I did have to make one modification. When I extended the side seams down, I kept following the hip curve of the shirt, and the hips ended up being way too wide. Tragically, I had already added the pockets and everything, so there was a decent amount of unpicking to be done.  It took me only a few hours to make the dress from altering the pattern to nearly complete, besides buttons--and another hour or so to unpick and resew the side seams and pockets!

Overall, I'm happy with the way the dress turned out, I like the fit, and thanks to my functional modifications I do think I will wear it frequently, however, I'm not sure if I love the Oakridge neckline. I like the low neck + bow combo in theory but I think I would prefer a more traditional pussy bow right up at the neck. I have one more length of fabric with which I may make a hybrid Granville/Oakridge dress with a bow neck on the Granville body. I think between Vogue 8772 and the Granville I can mash up a cuter pussy bow for my next foray into that style.

xoxo,
allie

ps: i missed the season for this dress this year but expect to see it again next year!



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End of Summer Sudley #1 (Harts Fabric)

Thank you Harts Fabric for providing the fabric and thread for this post. If you haven't shopped online with Harts Fabric before, they have a thread matching program that is the besssst. Just check "Matching Gutermann Thread" when you add yardage to your cart and they will pick the best match thread color and send it with your fabric. Genius.
Last fall I made my first version of the Megan Nielsen Sudley dress, in a black rayon challis. Despite it definitely looking like a mini in the sample photos, for some reason I was surprised that it was a mini on me. (I'll never learn.) Although it's definitely too short for work, I do wear it regularly out nights, and the loose silhouette has really grown on me. It's a great transitional piece since it's easy to layer with tights and sweaters in the winter and wear on it's own with sandals in the summer. The time was perfect to make a couple more for early fall. Harts Fabric very generously provided me two lengths of fabric to play around with--hopefully it will interesting to see the difference substrate makes to the same pattern!

For a while, it felt like the only rayon option widely available was rayon challis, but recently there have been a lot of different options popping up. Both of my dresses are made of rayon--the general term--but this one is Tencel, and the next is viscose. I'm not a textiles expert, but my understanding is that "viscose" and "rayon" can be used interchangeably, but viscose can also refer to a specific type of rayon. I think I see British shops using "viscose" more often and Americans using "rayon," but that's just my hunch. Tencel is a brand name of lyocell, another type of rayon. Although the process used to create all types of rayon fabrics involves some serious chemicals, there's a real range represented by seemingly-similar fabrics (they're all "rayon" after all), both in final product and in sustainability. The Tencel twill I used today is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certified, which means it meets certain sustainability criteria.

This substrate is heavier than a rayon challis, with a satisfying weight and drape. I lovvvve the olive green. It's a perfect transition color and will look great with black tights and maybe my leather jacket when it's cool enough. This particular twill has a great range of projects it would be good for--it's sturdy enough to make a pair of culottes out of but certainly light enough to make this type of floaty dress or a swingy blouse.

I made a few changes to the pattern to take advantage of the fact that it's reversible. I'm not super into the keyhole neckline it has, and on my first one I just made a little slit in the back instead. This time I tried something new and added a button back (or front!). I once again cut the back in two pieces instead of on the fold and extended each side by 1/2". I drafted a facing for the back neck and button opening, so it's nice and neat inside, and the facing is topstitched down so it's easy to wear without ironing if you catch if from the dryer within a reasonable time frame. I think I'll mostly wear the buttons in the back but it's a cute detail and a nice option to have.

To solve the length issue I had with my first version I added length to both the bodice and the skirt pieces. The bodice has three lengths--empire, cropped, and blouse lengths. I cut pretty much right between the empire and cropped length so it hits roughly at my natural waist. I'm actually not sure how long the skirt pieces are supposed to be since I chucked those pattern pieces--they're just rectangles and it's easier just to figure out skirt width and length as I sew in that case. This skirt panel is the width of the fabric--I wanted it to be 1.5x the width of the waist and it just ended up that the waist is about 40" and the fabric about 60".

My next version (which you'll see soon!) has a fuller skirt for a totally different look! This is my third Sudley and it's such a quick make--it's a nice, simple pattern and I'm happy to have it in my repertoire.

xoxo,
allie

ps: keep an eye out for version 2 in pink (of course)



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