Inspiration: The Holiday Glamour Social Sew

Holiday parties and get togethers and events are heeeeere! If you're anything like me, you are looking in your closet and just seeing the same old dresses you've worn to a million things already. Well, in the spirit of Holiday Glamour, sew up something new for the social sew!

Remember, my main goal is designing the Social Sew link-up was to make the theme narrow enough that someone unsure of what to make next could find some guidance, but broad enough that someone with sewing plans could find a way to make their pieces fit. If you're a bit stumped on what to make for this month's theme let me suggest...

A little black dress: Probably the most obvious option but also possibly the most useful, and there are about a million options from sweet to sexy. I have plans to make one in addition to my main project. Got to have something for new years!
Patterns: Any pattern... but in black. But, seriously.

A winter cape What better to pop over your new lbd than a toasty wool cape? I have a vintage cape, but haven't made one yet, though I have my pattern all ready. Plus--minimal fitting!
Patterns: Simplicity 8017 is a rereleased 60s pattern (and the pattern I have), and Style Arc's Clover has some wonderful military detailing. Burda has tons of cape patterns; I like this double-breasted one, especially in red!

A party skirt: Sometimes a dress just feels a bit expected, don't you think? A knockout skirt with a simple sweater or silk cami is a nice change from a cocktail dress (and warmer, too) and even Jennifer Lawrence is doing it!
Patterns: The Sewaholic Gabriola or Megan Neilsen's Cascade are gorgeous pieces, but any skirt pattern in silk, tulle, or sequins would be a perfect glamorous addition to your closet...

I have a few glamorous makes on the docket, including several dresses--making my Basel dress got me in the mood to make dresses, and it's also been a while since I've made any vintage... like, who even am I? Perhaps this month will be a return to form...


ps: i expect to see some faux fur and satin, ladies.

allie J.

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Social Sew #9: Holiday Glamour (& Introducing...)

The December Social Sew is here and it's time for a bit of Holiday Glamour, don't you think?

All the details are here... plus, scroll down to the bottom for an announcement!

Some rules: 
1. This is for adult apparel sewing, so no kids clothes or home decorating (unless specified otherwise in the theme).
2. Newly blogged garments, please: the things you add to the link up should be made or blogged in the month the link up is for. Remember, the theme and the link up are there to inspire you to create something new!
3.  Please click on the logo above to download it, and put it either in the post you are linking up, or in your sidebar. I'd also appreciate you linking to the Social Sew--the more people who discover it, the more participation we'll have, the more inspiration! Thanks, y'all.

Upcoming themes:
December (this month): Glamour
January: New Year, New Wardrobe
February: Date Night
March: TBD

And my announcement...

A few months ago, I sent out a survey to participants asking how I could improve the Social Sew. Several respondents mentioned they'd like more reminders, and had various suggestions for how to go about making that happen. I try to mention the Social Sew cut off on the last Monday post for the month, but I admit I've been a bit lax about posting reminders on my facebook and instagram accounts. I'm making an early resolution to improve on those front, but I'd also like to introduce a new way to get Social Sew reminders... the brand-new allie J. newsletter!!

Join the fun!

* indicates required

I'm excited about this--you can sign up right here and I'll be using it for sneak peeks, Social Sew announcements, and even some vintage pattern sales & giveaways, so sign up for all the details and exclusives! psst: there IS a giveaway in the first newsletter, which will be sent out December 8th... but you'll have to sign up to see what it is, so make sure you've signed up by the 8th!


ps: i absolutely can not wait to see y'all glammed up! 

allie J.

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Cozy Layers Social Sew Round Up!

Grab your mug of cocoa and curl up in a blanket for this one--this month's Social Sew participants are super cozy and I'd hate for you to get jealous...

In the Social Sew spotlight this month is the Tell Tale Tasha's ah-mazing red bomber. Be sure to read alllll the details on her blog!

Veronika of B-rouchka made four coordinating loungewear items from some super-luxe fabrics purchased in Kuala Lampur. Who says your at-home wear shouldn't be as gorgeous as your out-and-about clothes?

I love a two-piece set and See Carmen Sew's royal blue dress and top are no exception! Her blue quilted knit is stellar and I enjoyed hearing about her "improvisational" sewing experience.

Laura aka Petite Passions made two stripy Mollys from the Sew Over It City Break book, a dress and a top. I can't decide which one I like more!

Angela from My Little Sewing Dreams created a whole collection of dreamy little items--a bra, two camis, and two undies! Lace and bamboo knit sounds cozy indeed.

Domestic Coquinette Claire used a standout wool knit and a simple pattern for a wonderful winter vest perfect for when you want to be cozy and still look totally put together.

Rosanna of Zak's Room made a clever lounging set consisting of pants and a kimono! Not two items I would have thought about matching but it really works! (If you are wondering about the title of the blog, check out her about page--the story is so sweet!)

Seamracer made three items--a whole outfit!--all from vintage patterns. I love her knit flare jeans (so comfy cozy) and check out her cool draped vest. I agree that it's quite reminiscent of Rey (from Star Wars VII) but everyday wearable!

Thank you to everyone who participated! I know November and December are busy months but I really enjoy seeing what everyone is making... and I can't wait to see your December makes--the theme is Holiday Glamour and y'all never disappoint!!


ps: i have a great tutorial for next month's glamour theme, i think you will all really like it! 

allie J.

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Dinner Party Basel by Honig Design

I absolutely love Elise of Honig Design's style, so when she asked me to try out her first pattern for sale, of course I said yes. Described as being "a modern take on a much-loved 1960s silhouette"--um, so up my alley, right??--the Basel dress is a kimono sleeved dress with a pleated tulip skirt and either a boat- or v-neck front and back.

I made a size 3 bodice and size 4 skirt, then increased the depth of the front pleats and back darts to compensate. This is a pretty easy way to "grade" and if you're only going up or down one size it doesn't affect the shape too much, but I wouldn't suggest it if you're grading up or down more than a couple sizes. Since I omitted the lining (opting instead to use a neckline facing) and used a stretch cotton sateen, my dress ended up a bit too big, but it was a simple fix to take in the sides a bit. Elise mentioned that the other testers didn't have this size issue... Probably because they followed the instructions? I love the neckline and sleeve length, it's super easy to put together, and I actually really enjoyed wearing this skirt shape--it's not my usual! As drafted, it's definitely closer to the longer just-above-the-knee length you see here, not the mini length seen here (I'm 5'7").

Since my dress is more cocktail than casual fall attire (although as my Nana taught me, any dress can be a winter dress if you just wear a turtleneck underneath), I opted for an indoor photoshoot for this one, and wore it for a recent dinner get-together my husband hosted at our house. He's recently been exploring Chinese cuisine--we both love Szechuan food especially and he wanted to show off what he's been learning! He made a huge spread from the cookbooks Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian Recipes and Mission Chinese Food--so, not 100% authentic, but more so than your standard American Chinese food, and so delicious! Our meal included Chongqing chicken wingsmapo tofu, Sichuan catfish soup (this recipe is close), long beans, and bok choy. So. Good. Thanks Alex! You cook, I'll clean.

Those green beans are the best things ever. Actually the fish soup is my favorite but not very photogenic!

Okay! Back to the sewing--from Elise's introductory blog post (which you should totally read, it's really sweet): "My take is contemporary sewing patterns based on classic silhouettes.  You can find my shop on Etsy, and my first pattern - the Basel Dress is available now.  (It's 25% off with the code honigdesignpatterns until midnight Monday UK time)." I can't wait to see what she comes up with in the future, and in the meantime, you can download her free pattern (this one is just drafted to her measurements, though, fyi).

I've been wondering about kimono sleeve bodices recently--do you think you could use the clean lining technique seen here (aka the best way to finish a bodice ever)? Couldn't you trim 1/2 inch off the lining sleeve hem to finish your sleeve? I don't see why not, but is there something I'm overlooking? Also--any amazing Asian cookbooks to try, Szechuan or otherwise?


ps: after all the guests had gone home, i changed straight away into my new double gauze pajamas. it was a good, handmade night :)

allie J.

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What I'm Reading (+ Organic Cotton Double Gauze Carolyn Pajamas)

Thank you to Organic Cotton Plus for providing the fabric for this post. 

In my non-sewing life, I'm a children's librarian. Did you know that? Generally, if I'm not sewing (or thinking about sewing) I'm reading. Especially as it gets a bit colder, nothing feels quite as nice as curling up in your pajamas with a cup of mint tea and a library book. I love to peek into people's reading queues and so I'm sharing a bit of mine with you today, as well as a lovely new pajama set.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
This was my favorite book between the ages of about 8 and 12. When Natalie Babbitt died recently, I knew I wanted to reread this classic of my childhood--after all, it deals so beautifully with the concept of death. It's a short read at only 139 pages but it was even more perfect than I remembered, and much more "literary" although I'm not a huge fan of the term. To be honest, I read this on my lunch break and had to hide in the bathroom for a few moments after finishing to recompose myself.

Couture Confessions: Fashion Legends in their Own Words by Pamela Golbin
I'm not much of a Fashion Person myself. I'm always aware of NYFW but I don't watch the runway shows obsessively like some do. However, I found this book to be very interesting--Golbin has constructed interviews with some of the most recognized designers ever (think Vionnet, Chanel, Dior) out of "their own words" but in a casual interview setting. I'm not sure how to describe it exactly, but it's as if she's interviewing them herself, but of course, they're not really available for interview (most are dead), so she pulls  their responses from other interviews, memoirs, autobiographies, etc. If you aren't quite ready to pull the trigger on that 400-page biography of Coco Chanel (or whoever), start here.

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick DeWitt
My dad recommended this to me as being reminiscent of my very favorite author, Lloyd Alexander, but for adults (and I do mean adults, watch out for the random orgy scene!) and I agree--the writing style has a similar poetic straightforwardness even as it that pokes fun at the characters. I have mixed feelings about the story itself--the main character Lucy is self-important in a way that's a little too Guy in your MFA for me, and I know that that's the point but it still bugs me. I'm also reading his other book The Sisters Brothers which I like more but I'm not entirely convinced by that one either.

And the pajamas! My pajamas are the Carolyn in the short sleeves + boxers version, made with the organic cotton double gauze in opal from Organic Cotton Plus. I wanted to compare this double gauze to the only other double gauze I've used, a Nani Iro floral which I made into a crop top and short shorts co-ord (and a little skirt which I really ought to unpick and resew as I never wear it). It's quite nice, a little looser than the Nani Iro, and wonderful for snuggling up in. If you like your pajamas soft soft soft this could be your new favorite!

I used a pack of ric rac from my stash instead of piping and had just enough. It's not perfect, but even in its imperfection I think it's a nice touch, and, after all, it's just pajamas!

My only complaint about the pajamas is that the back of my neck looks a little sloppy where you topstitch down the collar. Heather mentions (in this great tutorial) picking this collar construction expressly because she dislikes facings/yokes, so I think this is just personal preference, but is there a better way to sew this type of collar? Does anyone have suggestions? I'd really like to make a bunch of pairs of  these (and I already have my next fabric selected!) but I'd love to know if you have any tips!

What are you reading? And do you like to wear matching pajama sets, or are you more of a boxers and tee shirt sleeper? I admit to wearing my nike shorts more frequently to sleep in than run in, what about you?



allie J.

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Winter Wish List


ps: i imagine if you a fashion blogger that makes these product collages every week, you get faster, but oh my gosh, this takes forever! 

allie J.

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Willa Vest (Laela Jeyne Fall Tour)

I listen to tons of podcasts while sewing--like, so many--and find it to be such an engrossing way to pass the time that I often have to pause them when I'm trying to follow tricky instructions, or else risk embroidering "from WBEZ Chicago, I'm Ira Glass" where I'm supposed to be following a fly template.

I'm also lucky enough to have seen several favorites live--last year, my husband and I saw Josh and Chuck from Stuff You Should Know and laughed for a whole hour, and he even let me take him to Welcome to Night Vale, a show he "doesn't get," but was totally worth it to see Dessa as The Weather. (She's so amazing--check her out. She's my mom's favorite rapper, to pique your interest.) A few weeks ago, we went to see Criminal, a local podcast that's part of the Radiotopia crew (you may know them from 99% Invisible). If you like Serial--and like, who doesn't--subscribe to Criminal now. (Also listen to this 3-part series from my very favorite podcast of the moment, Reply All out of Gimlet. I know it says "A Show About the Internet" but Gimlet is about the internet in the way Planet Money is about the economy, so even if you think you don't care about the internet, you'll probably like it.) I'm all in the spooky fall spirit, so some great true-crime reporting was a perfect night out, especially to debut a new make--this cute new vest!

Last year I went on an internet-shopping quest for an outdoorsy vest that looked sort of like the ones belonging to one of my personal style icons, Kate Middleton. She has several dark colored vests which she often wears when she does outdoors-type events like visiting with boy scouts or hiking. After poking around on Pinterest for a while, I designed my ideal vest combining elements of several of hers and set off to find a basic pattern that I could hack them onto... to no avail! So when Laela Jeyne asked me to take part in their fall blog tour featuring a vest, I decided I'd try out this new-to-me PDF pattern company and do some pattern hacking.

The Willa outdoor vest is a princess-seamed vest with a center front zipper and optional hood and welt pockets. As you can see, my Willa looks a bit different than the original! Although the bones are there (the only fit modification I made was to bring up the shoulders and back princess seams a bit to fix some back armhole gaping), the styling is pretty different!

I used the rest of my army green twill from Indiesew, left over from my Lonetree jacket (ps: they have kits now!!). Since the fabric was so thick, I didn't want to line it or do the bound edges the pattern calls for, so I drafted some quick front facings, used self-fabric bias strips to face the armholes, and serged and folded up the bottom. I knew that I wanted to add some exterior (non-welt) pockets on the side front panel, and decided to embed them in the panel. Although the pocket flaps are topstitched on (like the pockets on my Lonetree Jacket--and in fact these are the pocket flaps from the Lonetree), the pockets themselves are caught between the center front and side back panel, built into the body of the jacket. They're the perfect size for me and hold my phone, cards, and keys nicely. Be warned though that if you make size XXL your pockets will be correspondingly larger!

The other design change I made was to add the snap flap (what's that called?). This one was an improvization--the pattern calls for a 26" zip and so I ordered that size from Wawak, but 26" is waaaay too long. The instructions say if it's too long, just trim it--but that's a bit tricky with a brass zipper, you can't just sew over the end teeth. I didn't want to risk zipping the pull right off the trimmed top end, so I left the zipper off and decided on a snap opening. Then, since the vest didn't have an overlap, I added this panel into the CF seam. It gives at interesting asymmetrical look when closed that I'm honestly not sure if I like or not. I could always take it off and add a zipper, I guess, but I don't think I'll often wear it done up, so I think I'll keep the flap.

I'm wearing mine belted here (otherwise, you could see the pockets on my coco dress and they looked weird! haha) but it's quite flattering even without the belt, thanks to the princess seams. This was my first time using Laela Jeyne patterns but I had such a nice time participating in the fall blog tour; thanks for having me, Marisa!

How do you guys shorten metal zippers? I shortened the metal zip on my Birkin flares but there was also another piece of fabric preventing the zip from popping off the top... what should I do for something like this vest? Any tips for me?

Below the break... a giveaway and a coupon code!!


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