Sewaholic Shirtdress (Sewaholic Granville)

Thank you to Harts Fabric for providing the fabric for this project.

Wow, y'all are still tuning in to read about about me making Granville variations? I'm back, again, with yet another. This time, a dress version! You may remember back when I made a two-piece fake shirtdress with a Granville shirt and Rae skirt, but now I'm back with a proper full version. It basically just ends up looking like the blogger-favorite McCall's 6696 shirtdress, but by starting with the Granville, I minimized fitting.

The fabric I used is the Robert Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen in blush, a linen/rayon blend I got from Harts Fabric. I'm pleased to say I'm an official part of the Harts Fabric Street Team--which just means they will occasionally provide me with fabric for my projects (so, if you've been reading for a while, you'll probably not even notice a difference--I'm a longtime Harts fan). This is the second time I've paired this pattern + modifications and fabric; I made a trial version in black (to mask any mistakes) and then set about cutting the blush fabric after finishing that dress. (I made a few small changes between versions that I'll talk about when I post the black one.)

The trickiest part of picking out fabric is sometimes the interfacing, don't you agree? I've struggled with inappropriate fusible interfacing in my past Granville attempts so this time, when Harts was providing the fabric, I asked them to also pick out some interfacing that would be appropriate for the pattern and fabric and send it along with the Brussels linen blend. I have said like 100 times that this is one reason I love shopping at Harts--they are always super helpful and knowledgeable and can help you select the most appropriate fabric and notions for your project, whether it be jeans or a floaty sundress. Also you can add matching thread to any fabric order and they'll pick the best match. Genius, right? They are lifesavers! Or, project-savers at least.

Here's how I did it! You'll need to make alterations to the front and back bodice pieces (plus sleeves if you want short sleeves like I did) and then add some extra pieces that are just rectangles. For the front, I just cut it off 3" below the bottom of the bust dart. I cut off some more later, once the top was constructed, and I'd suggest just doing it this way, that way you can decide how short or long you want your bodice to be. for the back, I overlapped the center and side back by 1 1/4" (the seam allowances) and treated them as one. This is possible because the top half of those princess seams are actually pretty straight. you can just ignore the bottom half of the pattern pieces where the shaping is, and cut them off at 3" below the side seam notch (which matches up with the front dart).

You'll need a waistband next, which you can make as wide as you like and as long as you'll need to wrap around your waist plus 1" (for the front shirt band overlap) plus seam allowances plus ease. Make two of these, one for the outside and one for the inside (to tidy up the interior). I want to wear this dress in the heat of summer so mine is looser than my waistband are, generally. The skirt is just a two rectangles the width of the fabric, one split in half vertically for the two front skirt piece, and one complete for the back. This much in this fabric is a bit heavy--it has a satisfying swish but does drag the bodice down a bit (especially since it doesn't have the support of a more fitted waistband). I also added some in-seam pockets! This is something I almost always skip; I'm not as pockets-crazy as many of you appear to be! I borrowed the pockets pattern piece from another Sewaholic dress pattern, but you can use any pocket pattern piece (or just draw a pocket shape haha).

To put it together, you construct the whole top part, the whole skirt, and then attach the waistband and waistband lining to the bodice exterior and interior respectively, and gather the skirt into the waistband. Depending on your waist measurement, you may need to gather the bodice into the waistband, too, which I did at center back (like McCalls 6696) and the front under the bust. (I used the tips of the darts as reference points for the under-bust gathers.) I love the way the gathers in the back look--it's super flattering to your waist if that's something you are looking for! The dress is closed by buttons/holes on skirt and bodice and a hook and eye at the waistband. The waistband facing is finished by hand, or you could stitch in the ditch or topstitch. I should have interfaced the waistband. I didn't want to add bulk but it's a bit droopy.

I'll share the black version once it's clean--I've been wearing it lots since it's comfortable, practical, and pretty cool, even if it is black, due to the linen/rayon blend. Perfect for a goth retro summertime look which is totally my vibe this summer.

xoxo,
allie

ps: if you have any questions about this tutorial overview let me know and I will try to answer!



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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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