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!


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!



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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.


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.


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

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My favorite woven top (Megan Nielsen River)

Recently I was struck by the all-consuming "need" to track down and purchase The Ultimate Woven Tee pattern. For a long time, the online sewing community was allll about the Grainline Scout, but recently, there haven't been a lot of woven tee patterns that take over the blogosphere in the same way that one did. I don't know if it's because people are getting into knits, or less interested in woven tops in general, or some other reason (I'd love to hear your guesses as to why). But for someone as knit-averse as I am, a simple woven tee pattern sounded like the perfect way to use up some stash materials and broaden my handmade wardrobe.

After looking at a bunch of woven tee patterns, I realize I already had one that I like in my stash--the River from Megan Nielsen. I was actually a tester for this pattern, approximately 100 years ago, so I have made the top in both a knit and woven. The knit one never made it to the blog--I wore it a ton but it was still in testing when I spilled on it and stained it. RIP white knit River tee! The woven one you can read about here. For this third one, I pulled a piece of rayon/linen from my stash, left over from this dress. The tee version requires 1 1/4" of 60" fabric, but I squeezed this out of under a yard by cutting the back piece in two and shortening the sleeve pattern piece--the short sleeve pattern pieces are really long as drafted so that you can cuff them.

The other change I made is to draft a facing for the neckline finish instead of using the bias bound finish. It is hard to get that point in the V neckline sewn crisply, and with a v-neck there is a lot of bias cut edge that is prone to stretch out if not properly stabilized, so I think a facing is a bit easier to deal with. In this case, a topstitched facing is no more casual than the original bias finish, so it doesn't much affect the dressiness of the top, and is easier to sew.

The next tweak I'd like to make is to put a  little dart in the top of the sleeve to allow the sleeve to lay better from the neckline to the em. Currently it sticks out, and I think I should be able to add a dart somewhere to smooth it over the shoulder (like in many other raglan pattterns). You can see in the photo the fold in the sleeve that I could rotate into the neckline... I haven't quite figured out this alteration yet, though, so you may or may not see it on my next River!


ps: i have a few more piece in my stash that may turn into rivers as well--it's such a simple pattern to knock out!

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Fall Sewing/Style Plans

My fall/winter color scheme. Three out of four of this stack are in fact already sewn! 

Black twill jeans. I have some black stretch twill from Theory that I'd like to make I've actually already made another pair of jeans out of. I love my black denim Gingers (although they are a bit worse for the wear) and my black distressed Ashes and I've worn both items tons and tons since I made them, so I may as well have another pair considering I already have the fabric and two patterns I like!

Coated denim jeans. This is my most exciting project for fall! I ordered some amaaazing coated denim from the Fabric Store (all the way in Australia) and shipping was a fortune so I absolutely HAVE to make some black leather-look jeans out of this. It is just in the stretch range for the Ash or Ginger pattern so now I just have to decide which I want to make! I'm thinking Ginger, for the pocket stay. This will be a tricky project since I've never used this type of fabric before... I think it will be a no-unpicking zone, yikes!

Something with the leftover black sweatshirt fabric/ribbing I have. I don't know what, I'll have to measure it. I could just make another sweatshirt, maybe cropped this time?

Megan Nielsen River tops. I loved my white knit River (never pictured here because it was during a looong testing phase, during which time I stained it) and I also love my black linen River. The shape is everything I want in a slouchy top. I haven't made any more than that because I dislike doing the neckline binding--give me a facing every time! I want to make a couple more of these tops for fall in something drapey, but I have a few changes to make first; I want to raise the back neckline (the round one; it's meant to be reversible but I only wear it one way) and draft a facing! (I already made a blush linen blend one you may have seen in my instagram stories, and I have couple more stash fabrics I may use.)

Black eyelet top. I made this black eyelet dress a few years ago and wore it a ton and now I sort of feel like off the shoulder is done and I should rework this into something I'll wear a ton again. This is a gorgeous eyelet from Mulberry Silks and there isn't any more so this will definitely be a pretty minimal refashion. This may also end up a River top!

Megan Nielsen Sudley dresses. I made a black Sudley last winter and wore it frequently although it's a bit too short for work. I had originally elasticated the waist, but I recently unpicked the elastic and I think I like it a lot better in its originally swingy silhouette. I'd like to make a couple more in a work-appropriate length, and maybe play around with the closures some to take advantage of it's reversibility. It would be cool to have a dress that closes with, say, buttons you can either button up in the front or back. Since I already have a black mini version, I'm thinking olive green and pink would look cute with black tights and boots for winter.

That's a lot of black! I've been making black stuff all summer, I'm totally on a black/neutrals kick, so I apologize if this isn't as colorful of a space as it has been in the past! But of course, I have to have that pink in there somewhere... :)


ps: several of these should be coming up shortly! 

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