First Day of Summer (Named Beverly Bikini & Evie la Luve Maxine)

It's the first day of summer--the perfect day to share a new swimsuit! Last year I made my first swimsuit and decided I wanted to make lots more. Despite the fact that I really only need one or two bikinis total, since I don't spend all that much time at the lake, beach, or pool, there are lots of really cute swim patterns out there, and I want to make them all!

If you have some experience sewing knits, the hardest part is making swimwear will sourcing notions and cute fabric. This top called for swim elastic as well as the clear elastic (like the kind you use to stabilize shoulder seams) and a clasp hook. I couldn't find a clasp hook, but they had swimwear hooks and both kinds of elastic at my local JoAnn fabric. The fabric is from Spoonflower (c/o). They're actually right around the corner from me in Durham, so I've been to their offices a few times for various projects, and they very nicely sent me some of their "sport lycra" to make this with. I am totally head over heels for the palm print--the printing is vibrant and crisp and it is exactly the print you want for a tropical getaway (it's this one, which comes in this gorgeous hot red and aqua too). I pre-washed this fabric, and didn't notice any of the bleeding that can sometimes occur with print-on-demand fabric. I haven't worn this in the pool (I prefer sitting by the pool than being in the pool to be honest) but it says it should be chlorine safe.

I used two patterns for the suit--the unique top is the Named Clothing Beverly Twisted Bikini (c/o Indiesew). I've never seen a bikini top like in in RTW but I've loved it ever since I saw Sophie's knockout version (omg, right?) and I think it goes so well with the palm print for a super tropical look. I mentioned on instagram stories that the construction is so thoughtful and you end up with a really well-made, professional looking bikini top. There's boning involved, so you know it's good, right? (If you poke around you can find some larger bust ladies modeling if you aren't sure if this style will work on you, fyi.) Named patterns are a little more expensive than some other indie patterns but now that I've made two (a complex bikini top and a simple sweatshirt) I can tell you they are worth it--the designs are unlike any others and both of my projects went together perfectly and fit beautifully. I'm a convert!!

Rereading Sophie's post after finishing my version, I realized that totally copied her by swapping out the mid-rise Beverly bottoms (which you can see on Rachel here) for a high-waisted underwear pattern--she used the Ohh Lulu Ava pattern and I used the recently-released Maxine pantie, a free pattern from Evie la Luve. I thought about using the Sophie bottoms, but they're paneled, and I didn't want to break up the print, and it's super easy to use that to make swim bottoms; I followed this tutorial. It ended up a little more cheeky than I was expecting, so when I use the Maxine again (for swim or underwear) I might extend the back leg a bit more. Other than that, I love the fit, and for $0 it can't be beat!

I have a little bit of this Spoonflower print left over, so I'm thinking about making a low-rise bottom (maybe with tie or knot details on the sides to match the top?) and if I'm lucky, my scraps will be big enough to squeeze out a Sophie top since the pieces for that one are so small (numerous, but small). Then I can have a whole mix-and-match swim wardrobe! Now... who has a beach house? I'm thinking sewing retreat? You're invited!

xoxo,
allie

ps: also, from the same spoonflower seller--the most perfect lemon print you ever saw, spectacular mid-mod roses in every shade, red white and blue willow, and my same palms with a subtle barkcloth-like texture in the background. one of each please!!



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Casual Cute (Named Slone Sweatshirt)

Thank you to Indiesew for providing this pattern as part of their blogger network.

Sometimes on a Friday night you just want to cozy up in a sweatshirt and catch up on blogs with a glass of wine, and sometimes you want to dress up in your ruffliest outfit and fake lashes and throw a silly dance party with your girlfriends. This is the magical sweatshirt that is totally appropriate for both.

The Sloane Sweatshirt is my first Named Clothing pattern, but it won't be my last! (No, seriously, I'm working on another one right now.) I'm also like the only person in the world who still hasn't made an Inari, sorry. I had a few different ideas for this sweatshirt. I knew I wanted to use a classic heather grey fabric (this french terry is from Mulberry Silks and it's cosy and soft and wonderful) but I wasn't sure how I wanted to change up the design. I was going to copy that J. Crew sweatshirt from a while back that had a woven ruffle at the neckline, but changed direction at the last minute and decided to go for these ruffled shoulders. I like the little peek of the wrong side underneath, it ties in with the cuffs, waistband, and neckline, which I also made with the wrong side showing. To make the ruffles, I cut strips of the fabric, rounded off the edges, and gathered them slightly before inserting them in the seam. These go from front to back armscye notch, and are about 1.5x the length of that distance (I just eyeballed it--I'm pretty good at ruffles, y'all).

Indiesew has a few different similar-ish sweatshirts, but the Sloane is my personal favorite style, I think--it's so classic, but the french darts give it a nice shape. (If you have a larger bust, Bianca has a great tutorial on doing an FBA with this type of dart, fyi.) Honestly, I'm really loving this new sweatshirt and I don't have that much else to say about it because it's just that great! This pattern went together beautifully, the fit is spot-on... I've basically been wearing it as much as possible. In this heather grey, it's not quite workwear, but in another color, it totally could pass.

Do you have a favorite sweatshirt pattern? Wait, first let me guess: is it the Toaster #2? True confessions--I actually really prefer the less-popular Toaster #1 and have had it on my to-sew list for ages!

xoxo,
allie

ps: are you a member of Girls Night In? it's my new favorite newsletter (besides my own, duh), and they would totally give this sweatshirt the 100 percent emoji stamp of approval.



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The Alston Dress: The Making Of!

This post contains affiliate links to Craftsy, but it isn't sponsored by them; I bought all my classes myself. If you've enjoyed following along with my pattern drafting and want to learn how to do it to, please consider supporting this blog while you're at it by using one of my links to purchase your Craftsy classes! It doesn't cost you anything extra but I get a little tip from Craftsy. 

In my last post, I showed off the final product of all my hard work learning to draft patterns, but today I wanted to get into the nitty-gritty details of how I did it. As I mentioned, at certain points, I really did feel like I had made a terrible mistake getting into this whole mess... but in the end it was worth it! I wanted to do a little bit of a review of the classes I used, so you know what you're getting into if you decide to sign up! I had a great response to my (seemingly endless) instagram stories of  this process, so this is a full review, and therefore, a suuuuuper long post. There's no giveaway at the end or anything, so if you are just here for the pretty pictures... sorry! More of those next week. :)

The Alston Dress


I want to post a million zillion pictures of this dress because y'all, I made it myself. Not just the sewing part either--the pattern!!

I've named it the Alston after the new last name of the friend whose wedding I am planning on wearing it to. (Not this version--white eyelet to an wedding? no way!--but another version in navy silk and lace that I'll have queued up.) I love the look of white eyelet and I already have another dress and a shirt in mind using the same fabric, in addition to this dress and my pleated skirt--also, how much white eyelet is too much? Asking for a friend...

Back to the dress: the Alston has raglan sleeves, a pleated midi skirt overlay with a shorter lining, and a round neckline, with waist darts and a shaped waistband. The highlight of the dress are the panels: the plunge front, sleeves, and upper back. In this eyelet version, those panels are sheer, but I imagine it would be great underlined with nude or white for modesty, or even colorblocked. I'd also love to make a "night-out" version with just the shorter skirt "lining" and no overlay for a slightly sexier look (I don't really do sexy, but I can do slightly sexier occasionally). The back on this version is sheer all the way to the waistband, but I also have pattern pieces for a higher back panel (that covers my bra strap) and the original back panel that's all one piece. I love the exposed zipper gold zipper, but I think for the navy one I'll do an invisible zipper. I'll also make it a bit snugger at the waist. The fit on this is perfect for a sundress (I mean, it's drafted specifically for me!), but there's a little more ease than I'd want in a more formal dress.

If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, you'll know that I drafted this dress off of my first sloper using a few of Suzy Furrer's excellent classes on craftsy, Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper and Patternmaking and Design: Creative Sleeves. It was the most math I've done in ages and it took an entire long weekend (plus a few more days) of doing basically nothing else and working late into the night, but my moulage fits like a second skin--I'm obsessed--and my sloper is amazing. At this point, I basically feel like I can do anything!! Do you remember when you sewed your first successful garment, and a whole new world of creative opportunity opened up? This is like that, over again. (And if you haven't sewn a garment--what's keeping you?!) I started with a pretty challenging design (duh, it's me) and there are tons of little details on this dress. That's really the reason why I designed and drafted this myself: I couldn't find a pattern for it, and even my closest pattern (vintage Simplicity 4475) would have required a lot of hacking. At some point, you just have to start from scratch, right?

The resources I used to make this dress are Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper for the body and Patternmaking and Design: Creative Sleeves and the raglan sleeve section of Patternmaking for Fashion Design vol 5. for the sleeves. That's it! (Well, I also called in my husband for measuring help and moral support and Madeline when I got stuck on my swayback alteration.) I'll do a review of these later this week--for now, I just want to bask in the glow of having made my own design, from start to finish.

Would you ever draft something totally from scratch? I felt like I was drifting into madness at times but in the end, I think it was totally worth it. I hope you agree!!

xoxo,
allie

ps: i told myself this dress would be done for my birthday... and it is! happy 28th to me :)



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Jeans Pattern Round Up!


This year was a Me Made May of firsts--my first May with instagram stories (aka the BEST way to share your #ootd) and my first May with handmade jeans! I ended up wearing my denim gingers besically every day, to the exclusion of the skirts and dresses I've relied on in past years. Having handmade jeans has made a huge impact on my handmade wardrobe: if I wore the same bold floral dress every day for a week, people would notice, but the same pair of jeans seven days in a row? Totally normal. (This is totally normal, right?)

If you haven't made jeans yet, now's the time to start psyching yourself up. That way you have about 10 months to leave your denim on the floor and stare at it guiltily before you get down to business and start sewing, finishing April 31st of 2018, just in time for #MMMay18. Or you could just make some dang jeans already! In the interests of getting alllll y'all to sew up some jeans this year, I've rounded up ten of the most popular jeans patterns for a little compare/contrast.

Also--I'm sorry if the formatting for this post is weird, I really don't know how to put small photos in line with text so I did the best I could. #notaproblogger


Closet Case Ginger
Description: "View A features a comfortable low rise with narrow stovepipe legs. View B is sexy and high-waisted with skinny legs and a tummy-slimming pocket stay.  Engineered to be as flattering as possible, Ginger Jeans feature subtly shaped back pockets to highlight the curve of the bum, slimming side seams and a higher back rise to prevent peekabooty. Designed for stretch denim, Ginger Jeans will hug you in all the right places."
Price: $18
Size Range: hips 33-48"
Variations: low rise stovepipe legs or high rise skinny legsmidrise sold separately ($12)flares exension sold separately ($7)
Support: sewalongonline classhardware kitsin person classebook
Makers: Curvy Sewing CollectiveJasika Gingers, Miss MakeGinger Made (pattern namesake!), A Fashionable Stitch


Closet Case Morgan
Description: "Featuring a mid-rise, traditional five pocket construction,  contoured waistband, tapered leg and button fly, Morgan fits snugly through the hip but relaxes and conforms to your curves with a little wear (size up for a slouchier, more casual fit). Choose between a regular or cropped inseam, and add an optional leather waistband patch."
Price: $18
Size Range: hips 33-48"
Variations: n/a
Support: online classhardware kitsin person classebook
Makers: Jasika, The Pug and NeedleCrab and Bee (pattern namesake!), Sew A Button on your UnderwareCookin' and Craftin'That Black ChicA Colorful Canvas





Deer and Doe Safran
Description: "High waisted skinny jeans and pants. Version A has back pockets and belt loops, and version B is pared down with a cropped ankle length."
Price: 14 Euros
Size Range: hips 33 3/4-43 1/4"
Variations: n/a
Support: some fitting help on their blog
Makers: Jasika, The Quirky Peach, What Katie Sews, By Gum By Golly, Lise Tailor (fr), Along Avec Anna, Madame Tifaine, Les Lubies de Louise (fr)








Sew Over It Mia
Description: "A quintessential pair of skinny jeans, Mia is the perfect pattern for jeans newbies. High-waisted with a front fly and back pockets, they are fun and interesting to sew as well as being flattering, stylish and chic. The Mia Jeans will be worn again and again." (Note: With no front pockets or back yoke, this is more of a "jeggings" style.)
Price: $20 (part of the City Break Capsule Wardrobe book)
Size Range: hips 36-48"
Variations: n/a
Support: n/a
Makers: This blog is not for you (2 pairs), LauraFionaThe Pug and Needle



Mimi G Simplicity 8222
Description: "Stretch denim skinny jeans with fly front include separate pattern pieces for slim, average, and curvy fit."
Price: $12.57 (also includes a bomber jacket)
Size Range: hips 32 1/2- 46" (although it's big 4, so you may be able to wear them even if you are slightly out of their size range--does anyone know?)
Variations: n/a
Support: Sewalong (video)
Makers:That Black ChicSew Much To Do Sew Little TimeEqual Opportunity CrafterSee Carmen Sew





Itch to Stitch Liana
Hip 34-48 3/4
Description: "Liana Stretch Jeans are designed to fit real women. These mid-rise jeans have three different leg options – skinny, straight and boot."
Price: $12
Size Range: hips 34-48 3/4"
Variations: skinny, straight, and flare legs
Support: Sewalong
Makers: The Pug and NeedleHelenaShannonTonyaAll Sewn Up








Named Jamie Jeans
Description: "Skinny jeans with a regular rise and slimming vertical front seams. Slanted front pockets with a contrast panel. The thin pocket panel can be made of wrong side of denim or any other contrasting material."
Price: $17
Size Range: hips 33-44"
Variations: n/a
Support: n/a
Makers: HelenaSew Busy LizzyVery Purple PersonRight Sides TogetherCut Cut SewMeggipegDesign by Lindsay


Jalie Eleonore Pull-On Jeans
Description: "Stretch pull-on jeans (long or cropped) with wide waistband. Yoke, faux fly in the front, patch pockets in the back. Fitted through waist and hips, straight from the knee down. Very easy to turn into skinny jeans!" (Note: with a faux fly and no button, these are more of a "jeggings" style.)
Price: $10
Size Range: hip 36-53
Variations: n/a
Support: n/a
Makers: Two On Two Off, I believe I can Sew, Sewmanju, Goodbye Valentino (alllmost convincing me to wear jeggings), Sew Many Things, Sew Country Chick, Sweet Alchemy (negative review)





Baste + Gather Birkin Flares
Description: "The Birkin Flares feature a high waist, trim fit to the knees and a fashion-forward, flared leg."
Price: $12
Size Range: hips 34-45"
Variations: n/a
Support: This pattern has half a sewalong--since releasing this pattern Lauren has moved on from pattern making so I'm not sure if there will be a full sewalong or not.
Makers:Ada Spragg (the jeans that had me clicking the add to cart button), Mabey She Made ItSew OutnumberedSew DIYOonaballoonaHandmade Martini







Papercut Starboard
Description: "The slim leg Starboard Jeans feature angled front pockets, additional zippered front pockets, back yoke and zip detail at the ankle. With a mid-rise waist for a flattering fit and back pockets with room to add your own top-stitching design."
Price: $21.18
Size Range: hips 34 1/2-46 1/2"
Variations: n/a
Support: n/a
Makers: OffSquare (do you know of more? I'd love to add them!)








Although I've only made the Gingers and the Birkins, here's what I see from this comparison:

Most Support: Closet Case Ginger Jeans, which has hardware kits, a full sewalong, a video class, and even in-person classes in some areas.
Best Size Range: For a true jean, Itch to Stitch Liana, which should fit people with 34-48 3/2" hip measurements. Jalie's Eleonore Pull-On "jeans" go up to a 53" hip.
Most Versatile: Closet Case Ginger Jeans has three rise options and three leg options under the "Ginger" banner, so if fit is your concern, there's lots of opportunities with this pattern to perfect the fit and then change it up. However, that will cost you--$37 for all the variations! The Liana jeans from Itch to Stitch ($12) have only one rise, but three leg variations.
Best for Curves: Mimi G's pattern for simplicity comes with slim, average, and curvy fit pattern pieces and goes up to a 46" hip.

Finally, if you already have a favorite pair of jeans and want a pair that fits just the same way, there's also the Sew Your Favorite Jeans Workshop ($59) by Allie Olson of Indiesew! This workshop is designed to help you create your own jeans pattern from your favorite pair of store-bought jeans, so it's a little bit different than the rest of the jeans patterns here--it's like a sewalong with a pattern you make yourself! Allie's also adding a segment on distressing, so your jeans can look just like store bought.

Similarly, there are a few classes on Craftsy about making jeans--this one on making "designer" denim, this one on fitting jeans, and this one on duplicating your jeans without taking them apart. I can't actually tell if those first two come with patterns or if you can use whatever pattern you want (and buy separately)--has anyone taken either one of them?

If you've made jeans, do you have a favorite from this list, or one I missed? There are so many new jeans patterns popping up as more of us decide to take the plunge. Is there a style of jeans that you are just waiting for someone to make a pattern for?

xoxo,
allie

ps: there are also some great retro patterns--i left these off this list because they're pretty niche but the wearing history 1940s overalls and jeans are so cute!



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Inspiration: Sewing for Him (+ Harry's Giveaway)

sewing for him...
a travel set of luggage for weekend trips away
a classic button-down shirt in his favorite print
a go-anywhere convertible bag

...or not.
a high-quality shave set (that smells super nice, too)
a natural leather wallet that will last forever
D20 coasters, perfect for game night

Almost two years ago (look how small and scraggly Wooster is!!) I made Alex a pair of short shorts using the Thread Theory Jedediah pattern. It was such a challenge--my first fly front, which I totally messed up, and some creative pattern hacking. I've also made him a Negroni (which has a camp, not stand collar and is therefore not a favorite) and another shirt that has the buttons on it backward, for a grand total of three. items. Y'all. Do you know how much sewing I do?

Alex basically wears five types of garment (tee shirts and jeans, button down shirts and chinos, and elastic-waist shorts) so it would be easy enough to get a little capsule wardrobe going for him, if I can ever tear myself away from party dresses and other selfish sews! I have a few new men's shirt pattern to try out (the Thread Theory Fairfield shirt, pictured above, and M6044, a recommendation from Madeline) and I want to make another pair of hacked Jedediah shorts, with a better fly zip this time.

In the meantime, I also included a cheeky round up of items that say "I'm sorry I spend all my free time barricaded in my sewing room and yes, that is the third Mood package to arrive this month". Given that I've put the buttons on the wrong side of Alex's handmade shirts and improperly installed the fly on his shorts, sticking to store bought might be my safest option going forward... and I have a little giveaway today! Maybe your man would accept a very nice razor set with fancy (yet inexpensive!) blades while he's waiting for his long-overdue handmade present? Alex loves his Harry's razor, and you can't put buttons on the wrong side... enter below to win your own razor set!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Do you sew for the men in your life? Do you have any favorite patterns? I'm on the hunt! Part of my reluctance comes from the fact that Alex loves plaid... could he pick a more challenging sew than a plaid shirt? Yikes!

xoxo,
allie

ps: and if you keep the razor set for yourself, i won't say anything.



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Cherry Blossoms and Honey Bees (McCall's 7544 + free embroidery pattern!)

Thank you to McCall Pattern Company for partnering on this post.

Good morning! I'm so excited to be sharing this top with you--it may look simple but it's hours of work learning a new skill and embroidering a pretty floral yoke on this otherwise simple linen top. McCall's 7544 caught my eye as soon as I saw it in the McCall's spring lookbook, and I had intended to make it in a cotton shirting or oxford cloth before I saw embroidery popping up everywhere and decided to make a pretty linen blouse with an embroidered yoke.

This is a total mash-up of views--I used the short sleeves and pleated front piece of view A. My front is gathered, but view A is much narrower than than the gathered views, and I knew I didn't need tons and tons of gathered fabric in front, especially with a bouncy fabric like linen. (The width at hem for size 10 is 52.5" for view A or 58" for views B, C, & D.) With such a voluminous top, I wanted the sleeves to be slightly shorter than written, so instead of shortening the pattern pieces, I cuffed them for a little added dimension. After the shirt was complete, I went back and forth and almost cut it into a crop top (how cute would that be!!) but finally decided to keep the length--I'll just have to make another version, next time cropped!

McCall's 7544 is perfect for an embroidery beginner like myself because the yoke is fairly small. This still took hours (and a decent amount of careful unpicking) but I found that I really liked having a project to work on in the evenings with Death in Paradise on in the background. In true Allie style, I went all out and decided not to stick to a simple, monotone embroidery design or a pre-made pattern. Instead, I checked out every embroidery book from the library and decided to use all of them and do a little bit of everything. This design, which I made myself, has backstitch, satin stitch, lazy daisies, all different weights and colors of floss, two types of bugs, and even a tiny little spider web if you look closely.

Luckily for you, I've drawn this up as an embroidery pattern, so you can join me in beginners embroidery and make your own! I really like the bees and spider--so much so that I took these photos in front of a bee-covered wall--but if you want a classically pretty floral-only design, it's easy enough to leave them out and add more tiny flowers (those are called lazy daisies and they. are. addictive). You can download the pattern for free here!

This pattern is designed for McCall's 7544 in size 10, but it's flexible--you could certainly fit this onto a size 6 or 8 yoke, or spread it out (and add a few more lazy daisies around the edges) to fill a larger size. If this blousey top isn't your style, you could also rearrange the two springs on either side of any neckline! (I'd be tempted to flip them and put them on either side of this faux-wrap bodice but it would also be pretty on view D of this top.) You'll need about 10 skeins of embroidery floss, a hoop, and a needle, all of which will set you back around $20--or wait until JoAnn's has an embroidery floss sale. If you decide to make it, please let me know and tag me on instagram--I'd love love love to see what you make!!

Do I now want to embroider bees on everything I own? Yes, yes I do. What about you? Have you done any embroidery? Would you? Or are you more of an instant-gratification sewer?

xoxo,
allie

Photography by Alex Craig.

ps: honeybees are one of our most important pollinators and are in danger! learn more about honeybees from the Honeybee Conservancy and consider planting a pretty and pollinator-friendly bee garden.





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